Bills GM Brandon Beane explained to the media why the team was set on retaining WR Stefon Diggs.
“You got a proven product, a guy who’s been in your building, who’s got a relationship with your quarterback,” Beane said, via Pro Football Talk. “And ultimately you have to have a cutoff just like you do when you go in to buy a house. You’re going, ‘All right we’d like to buy the house for this, but we’re walking away at this number,’ and you kind of set those parameters before you do a deal. And ultimately I think Stef and his agent did a fair job of pointing out their points of even where the number two [receiver] market has gone to why the number one [receiver] market should be. Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams had gotten done before ours. I just try to envision, ‘All right we can either sign him to an extension, maybe he plays it out but maybe we have some issues with that down the line, or we can go the route that some teams are choosing trade and redraft [a new receiver] but I just couldn’t imagine where we’re getting, what we were going to get to replace Stef in the sense of what he brings to our offense. He opens it up for Gabe Davis, for Dawson Knox, and some of the other guys that we have here. We’re a different offense without Stef.”
The calculus that teams are working on is that with what seems like a deep class of receiver prospects coming into the league every year, it makes sense to value veterans less. It’s the law of supply and demand. However, Beane pointed out players like Diggs who are truly elite, No. 1 receivers are much harder to find even if it’s never been easier to fill out a three-receiver set that’s at least competent.
“I mean, I haven’t been around very many number one receivers in Carolina,” Beane said. “We had Steve Smith, and he was a clear number one. And when we got here, our offense hit another level when we got a true number one guy. To say that I’m definitely going to hit on that in the draft where we’ve been drafting, that seemed like more of a risk I wasn’t willing to take if we could get Stef done at a number that made sense for him and made sense for us, which, fortunately, we did.”
- Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that recently signed G Connor Williams has been splitting time at guard and center and is viewed as an option to start at center.
- Jackson writes that HC Mike McDaniel, OC Frank Smith, and OL coach Matt Applebaum are experimenting with offensive linemen and decisions may not occur until training camp or after multiple preseason games.
- According to Jackson, Miami did not “aggressively pursue” free-agent C J.C. Tretter before the 2022 NFL Draft but cannot be ruled out as a possibility.
Jets GM Joe Douglas dissected his team’s draft after what was widely seen as a resounding success. The Jets took CB Ahmad Gardner, WR Garrett Wilson and DE Jermaine Johnson in the first round, all of whom were top-10 players on their board. It started with Gardner at No. 4, who was the team’s preferred option even though Douglas and HC Robert Saleh have traditionally valued linemen over corners.
“We thought O-linemen could go at one, we thought O-linemen could go at three, so we were prepared for every scenario,” Douglas said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “But the one constant was if he was there, it was going to be Sauce. This was a guy that can be a dynamic guy for us at a premium position, cornerback. It’s been a position that we really haven’t been able to invest a lot of assets in, whether it’s free-agent money or draft picks.”
At No. 10, the Jets wanted to make sure they landed help for last year’s No. 2 pick, QB Zach Wilson. So they added another Wilson, making him the second of six first-round receivers this year.
“When you just watch the tape, just a great blend of route skill, ball skill, run-after-catch, and big-play ability; there was a multidimensional aspect to his game,” he said. “There was more than one way that he could help you. It just felt like he was a guy who could separate against anybody. He was going to go up and make tough, contested catches. He can run by people if he has to, and then after the catch, he’s elusive.”
That left Johnson, who was a real consideration for the Jets at No. 10. As he kept sliding down the board, though, Douglas worked the phones and eventually settled on a deal with the Titans to jump back into the first round and take him at No. 26. Johnson is older and supposedly didn’t interview well with other teams but he impressed the Jets.
“The other thing was, it felt like there was five different ways that this guy could get to the quarterback,” Douglas said. “… We were talking about Georgia. And I just said, ‘Hey Jermaine, I heard you guys don’t practice one-on-one pass rush all that much.’ And he said, ‘No, we don’t do it as much as other places.’ I said, ‘I see that. I watched the tape this year. You got so many different ways you can get to the quarterback. How did you develop that if you never really practice it before?’ He said, ‘Honestly, I would YouTube different pass-rush moves, watch and just practice it by myself. I just taught myself how to do it.’”