NFL Notes: Free Agency, Kenny Golladay, Russell Wilson

     

Free Agency

  • According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told agents on a videoconference that replaced the annual agent seminar that he expects the salary cap in 2021 to be pretty close to the $180 million floor it was recently bumped up to. The final figure depends on the new TV deals but Smith said it will be drastically lower than the $198.2 million it was in 2020. 
  • Smith told agents they should push back hard on teams saying they are cutting players for cap reasons and should consult with each other and the NFLPA cap department on the offers they’re getting from teams. He told them it was okay to “collude” with each other to ensure the best possible deals for players.
  • Graziano points out that while corporate collusion is obviously illegal, there are no laws against worker, in this case player, collusion. 
  • Smith also told agents that the 2022 and possibly even 2023 salary caps could be affected, as the NFL is propping up the cap this year by borrowing from future revenues, per Graziano. 

Kenny Golladay

The free agency tea leaves seem to suggest the Lions won’t let WR Kenny Golladay get out of Detroit, first with the franchise tag and then presumably with a long-term deal at some point after that. Lions front office executive Chris Spielman talked glowingly about Golladay in a recent radio appearance. 

“I think Kenny is a, he’s a competitive guy and the thing that I’ve always admired most about Kenny when doing the games on TV is his ability to win the 50-50 ball,” Spielman said via the Detroit Free Press’ Dave Birkett. “I just think his size and what he can bring to the table is something that a lot of people liked about Kenny Golladay, including me.”

Some have questioned whether an extension for the 27-year-old Golladay makes sense when the Lions are staring down the barrel of a potentially lengthy rebuilding process. But Spielman suggested Golladay is one of the priorities in that rebuild. 

“I have a theory that you kind of, back when I played . . . you used to build from the inside out,” Spielman said. “Well, today’s league, I think you build from the outside in.”

Russell Wilson

  • In a report from the Athletic’s Michael-Shawn Dugar, Michael Sando and Jayson Jenks going in-depth on the conflict between the Seahawks and QB Russell Wilson, the issue is explained fundamentally as a disagreement between Wilson and HC Pete Carroll over the direction of the team. 
  • Carroll has built a potential Hall of Fame career of his coaching tenets of running the ball, playing strong defense and minimizing risk on offense. Wilson, however, sees those as limitations to his personal pursuit of being one of the best quarterbacks of all time, per the Athletic. 
  • The Athletic traces some of the start of the issues to Seahawks GM John Schneider attending Wyoming’s pro day in 2018 to see eventual Bills QB Josh Allen. The year before, Schneider would have drafted Patrick Mahomes if he had fallen to their pick and the visit to Allen’s pro day prompted Wilson’s agent to seek clarification on what that meant for his client. 
  • After some more things were kicked up between the two sides in the process of negotiating an extension before the 2019 season, the Athletic says Wilson put even more pressure on the Seahawks in the 2020 offseason to open things up more. 
  • Another issue the Athletic uncovered is that people close to Wilson feel Carroll applies the tenets of competition and accountability in his problem selectively, and his son, WR coach Nate Carroll, is exempted. The younger Carroll stepped away from the team last season due to frustration about his role, which he voiced to the players. 
  • It’s interesting because the same criticisms were applied to Carroll over his treatment of Wilson in stories a few years ago, and sources tell the Athletic they feel the current issues between Wilson and Carroll stem from Wilson being given preferential treatment before. 
  • However, there are people who are frustrated with Wilson and feel like he should be catching some of the blame given his turnover issues were part of what short-circuited the offense in the second half of the year: “He’s finally catching heat. That’s the main reason for all of this. … People are talking and holding him accountable because he’s one of the highest-paid quarterbacks, he says he wants to be the greatest, so now people are holding him to that standard… It’s a PR game. He’s trying to protect himself.”
  • One veteran coach told the Athletic after a 17-12 loss to the Giants last December he didn’t think Wilson would thrive in a more passing-oriented attack like he’s seeking: “People say their protection is not that good. That whole ‘Let Russ Cook’ thing, he is better when they can run the ball and they play off that, there is no question. No one likes that because they want him to be Dan Marino. Well, he is not Dan Marino. You are who you are. But he looks bad right now.”
  • Dugar, Sando and Jenks note that they have been told by a source that Wilson and other team leaders have been consulted for major acquisitions including S Jamal Adams, DE Jadeveon Clowney and WR Josh Gordon.
  • NFL Media’s Michael Silver says patching things up still makes the most sense for both sides and both Carroll and Wilson are aware of that. 
  • He adds there’s a belief in the building that Wilson may have had “MVP fever” and started forcing things more and playing hero ball. 
  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says more than 10 teams have inquired with the Seahawks about trading for Wilson. 
  • Rapoport echoes Silver that both Carroll and Wilson know, deep down, that their best options are figuring things out together. If Seattle were to trade Wilson, Rapoport says they would need to get a replacement back, as Carroll, the NFL’s oldest coach, has no interest in rebuilding. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler says Wilson doesn’t expect to be traded right now and Seattle hasn’t approached him with any deals. But Fowler notes a number of league executives believe the tension points to a deal being done eventually. 

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