Despite having all the ingredients for a firesale at this past year’s trade deadline — aging veterans, expiring contracts and a team out of playoff contention — the Bengals stubbornly held on to all of their players this year, even to the point of frustration with other NFL teams. Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin offered a window into the team’s philosophy on trades, which adheres closely to the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush mantra
“The draft pick is not just a draft pick. It’s an actual player, and that player is an unproven NFL player. And you’re giving up a proven NFL player for an unproven NFL player,” Tobin said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “Maybe that guy will develop. Maybe he’ll develop quickly, or maybe he’ll develop slowly. You know what you have here. If this guy is a high-level football player, I’m taking him for our football team because I know what he is. I can’t predict injuries — nobody can. It’s unfortunate that maybe our best player was hurt all year and our first-round pick got hurt and didn’t play all year. I can’t predict that stuff. But I know what A.J. Green is. I know what Geno Atkins is. The pick that you’re talking about, now, you might get a good player there and we’re gonna try to get good players with every pick, but you can look at everybody’s draft, and that guy didn’t work out, that guy didn’t work out and that guy didn’t work out. I understand the school of thought. If you have a proven guy, it’s better to stay with the proven guy so he can continue to produce, and we think those guys can continue to produce.”
- Colts GM Chris Ballard said in a radio interview Friday that he communicates regularly with free agent LT Anthony Castonzo. (Kevin Bowen)
- Ballard mentioned that there’s nothing new with Castonzo at this time, but he reiterated that the veteran tackle is very important to them.
Ravens QB Lamar Jackson honed in on his passing mechanics in the offseason following his rookie season. The resulting improvement helped Jackson take the league by storm as a sophomore and he should run away with the MVP award in February, too. But Jackson’s not satisfied and says he wants to improve “everything” going into his third season.
“There’s always room for improvement,” Jackson said via Ryan Mink of the team’s official website. “I’m not the best. I’m not the greatest. I’m going into my third year and I’m trying to get somewhere. I’m trying to get to that Super Bowl, so I’ve got to work on everything.”
Jackson later added that the aspect of his game he’ll focus on the most this offseason will be the mental side, with the command players like Tom Brady and Drew Brees have over the playbook and offense as the standard he aspires to.
“I’m trying to get deeper into the playbook, I’m trying to be on my Brady and Drew Brees stuff,” he said via ESPN’s Omar Ruiz. “I’m trying to make my mind grow a lot to help me out during the game.”
- Free agent WR Dez Bryant tweeted that he wants to play for only three teams including “black and purple.”