When the NFL free agent marketplace gets into gear, there is always a flurry of activity; and because of the fan interest – – and by derivation the wagering interest – – associated by any alteration of team rosters in the NFL, there is intense focus on some of the movements that are deemed to be significant. I have been focused on other topics in recent days, so today I want to circle back and comment on a few of the exchanges/signings that have taken place in the last several days.
The trade that allowed the Panthers to acquire the overall #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft did indeed provide the Bears with plenty of high value picks over the next two seasons allowing the Bears – – if they scout and draft effectively – – to fill some of the many holes they had in last year’s roster. However, I want to focus on the Panthers’ side of the deal. On one hand, you have to think that the Panthers have a single QB in mind that they want to take out of this year’s crop of collegians; if they were ambivalent, why spend all that draft capital to get to the #1 slot? And then you read reports from insiders who say that the Panthers have an internal debate about the pick because coach Frank Reich likes one guy and owner David Tepper likes a different guy.
I have no inside info here and have no chance of getting “the scoop” here. However, I will say that teams treat the NFL Draft and their potential picks in that draft as if it were vital national defense information. In addition to the cloak of secrecy about teams’ draft boards, there are always active deception operations launched by various teams. I think the reports of a schism between the new coach and the owner is more likely to be a deception operation than reality. We shall see…
Other reports about the Panthers say that Ohio St. QB, CJ Stroud is their likely pick with that first pick. When I read that, I thought to myself that Ohio St. is not exactly the source of great NFL QBs. In fact, the first thing that came to my mind about Ohio St. and recent QBs was that they had Joe Burrow on their roster and decided to go with JT Barrett instead and let Burrow transfer to LSU where all he did was lead the Tigers to a national championship. So, I went looking for the starting QBs at Ohio St. over the last 20 years or so to see how many of them “made it” in the NFL. Separating the wheat from the chaff:
- Chaff: Todd Boeckman, Cardale Jones, Craig Krenzel and Braxton Miller
- Wheat: Dwayne Haskins (?), Terrelle Pryor (?), Troy Smith (?), and now Justin Fields.
As I suspected, the Buckeyes have not been the cradle of great NFL QBs this millennium. So, I need not go all the way back to Art Schlichter to dress up my sense that great NFL QBs do not come from Ohio St.
I was interested in the trade of Jalen Ramsey from the Rams to the Dolphins because of what the Rams got in exchange for Ramsey. I understand that the Rams are in salary cap trouble and had to move someone to get some breathing room. At the same time, Ramsey is an elite corner back which is an important defensive asset for any team. In exchange for an elite CB who will turn 29 in the middle of next season, the Rams only got a third round pick and a tight end who projects to be a backup on the Rams’ roster next season. That seems like an awfully light return in the exchange.
I understand – – although I am not sure I completely agree – – that the Raiders decided last year to move on from Derek Carr as their QB. I can be convinced that signing Jimmy G as his replacement was the Raiders’ plan from as far back as last December since Garoppolo had spent several years in New England with Josh McDaniels and would arrive in Las Vegas with experience in hand. If that was their plan, then kudos to the Raiders.
Now, can you explain to me why they traded Darren Waller to the Giants for a late third round pick? The offense that McDaniels ran in New England featured some talented tight ends and last time I checked, Darren Waller is a talented tight end and the Raiders’ braintrust gave him a contract extension at the beginning of the last NFL regular season. So the Raiders traded him away and got a third round pick in exchange?
The Niners signed Javon Hargrave as aa free agent defensive lineman. When the Niners deploy Hargrave along with Joey Bosa, Arik Armstead and Javon Kinlaw, that may be the 2023 reincarnation of the “Fearsome Foursome”.
I know that Stephon Gilmore will be 33 at the start of this year’s NFL regular season but I also know that he was once named Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL. So, I was surprised once again by the meager return that the Colts got by trading Gilmore to the Cowboys for what was a compensatory draft pick at the end of this year’s fifth round.
The Commanders re-signed DT, Daron Payne to a long-term extension making Payne the second highest paid defensive tackle in the league behind only Aaron Donald. However, the much more important moves made by the Commanders involved the signings of two solid offensive linemen – – Nick Gates and Andrew Wylie – – to address a large insufficiency in the Commanders’ roster from last season.
And still, we wait for Aaron Rodgers’ decision regarding his retirement or his return to the NFL to collect about $60M in salary/incentives for next season. I said about 6 weeks ago that he would bask in the spotlight of public attention and drag this out for a while before “making his announcement”. Everything is going according to his attention-seeking plan; he still says he will have his mind made up “shortly”.
Finally, let me close today with this observation by author/philosopher, G.K. Chesterton:
“Journalism consists largely in saying ‘Lord Jones died’ to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………