The Super Bowl is in the books but there’s plenty of offseason drama to dig into still in NFLTR Review this week, including:
- Part II of our 32 questions for 32 teams
- Around the trade block for Orlando Brown
- Much, much, much more
The Big Picture: 32 Questions For 32 Teams
For 94 percent of the NFL, the 2020 season is over and the focus has turned to the future and the promise it brings. In a league designed to promote parity, even the top teams have question marks that will need addressing in the coming months.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at the needs for every team in the coming weeks, but consider this an overview of the biggest uncertainties facing each team as it heads into 2021. This is the second half, Part I can be found here.
Cowboys: Will they extend Prescott?
Stakes are even higher between Dallas and QB Dak Prescott this offseason. The price has gone up astronomically between new deals for Watson and Mahomes and Prescott’s incendiary performance to start 2020 before being hurt. Even a second franchise tag is more expensive for the Cowboys.
But the biggest reason Dallas should negotiate like it’s do or die this offseason is because it is. If the Cowboys can’t agree on a long-term deal and Prescott plays out the franchise tag again in 2021, he is almost guaranteed to hit unrestricted free agency in 2022. A third franchise tag would cost an astronomical $54 million and that would be a tough pill even if the salary cap rebounded completely from the pandemic by then. Without the tag, Prescott would be committing malpractice not to at least see what offers were out there, and they’d certainly be lucrative for the best, young quarterback to ever hit the open market.
As much as writing a massive check now might hurt, it beats the alternative of watching Prescott walk out the door for nothing in a year. The clock is ticking again for Dallas to make it happen.
Eagles: What does the team look like by June?
Initially, the big question surrounding the Eagles was whether they would be able to fix QB Carson Wentz. We appear to have an answer to that question, though, as Philadelphia is shopping Wentz with every apparent intention to move him. With Wentz joining HC Doug Pederson on the outs, the Eagles soon will have little left from the foundation that won a Super Bowl in 2017 and was supposed to compete for more the past three seasons.
So the question becomes what’s left? There’s new HC Nick Sirianni who will look to build his own program. There’s 2020 second-round QB Jalen Hurts who becomes a potential starter for this coming season at least, though who knows what the Eagles have planned. Plenty more prominent names will likely make their exit this offseason as the Eagles shed tens of millions of dollars to get under the cap. There’s not a lot of room to go down from a 4-11-1 record this past season but it’s clear the Eagles are going to be transitioning to something else in 2021.
Giants: Can they keep rising?
In their first year under HC Joe Judge, the Giants seemed to make some real progress and turn into the type of scrappy, competitive team that no one really wanted to play. Now the next step will be morphing into a division winner and contender. Not only does the job fall to Judge to coach and develop the team, but GM Dave Gettleman needs to continue to build on the strong team-building momentum he started last year. And of course, QB Daniel Jones needs to continue to develop into the guy New York thought it was getting when it picked him No. 6 overall.
The Giants are going to be a trendy sleeper pick in 2021 most likely when the expectations for the team this past year were close to zero. If they rise to the occasion, the arrow will be pointing up and everything will be fine. If they don’t, Gettleman looks like the first one on the chopping block with Jones and Judge possibly next on deck in 2022.
Washington: Can they find a quarterback?
Washington HC Ron Rivera overcame a laundry list of obstacles to lead the team to a division championship in his first year on the job. It’s a huge accomplishment. But going forward, it’s hard to expect the NFC East to be as cataclysmically bad as it was in 2020. And after cutting their presumptive quarterback of the future, Washington needs an answer at the position to continue to compete.
There’s a good chance Cam Newton will shake free from the Patriots and he’d make a lot of sense given his familiarity with Rivera. A deeper dive into his stats shows there are reasons to be optimistic Newton isn’t toasted as an NFL quarterback, either, despite what most of the NFL seems to believe. But with how much quarterback movement there’s expected to be this year, Washington could very well be able to do better. They were in on Stafford and they’ll likely explore other options, perhaps Sam Darnold?
Bills: How can they beat the Chiefs?
The AFC title game exposed how far behind the Chiefs the Bills still are. Josh Allen is brilliantly talented but he’s not quite the football savant that No. 15 in Kansas City is. Buffalo doesn’t have anyone who can cover either Tyreek Hill or Travis Kelce on defense and Bills HC Sean McDermott doesn’t have the guts of his one-time mentor in Andy Reid when it comes to aggressive game management.
That’s the road map for the Bills. They’ve slain the Patriots in the AFC East, though they shouldn’t ignore the threat of a reanimation from Bill Belichick and crew. Now the Chiefs are their biggest obstacle toward the elusive first Super Bowl. They need more speed, more play-making and more aggressiveness. And given they’re scheduled to play a road game against the Chiefs in 2021, they might get a chance in the Thursday night opener to test how well they’ve done.
Dolphins: Watson or Tua?
Trading for a certain Texans superstar quarterback is obviously going to dominate a bunch of headlines in Miami this offseason. But at this time last year, there was another superstar quarterback the Dolphins were pining for in Tua Tagovailoa. And yet, the circumstances of the 2020 season have changed the discourse on Tagovailoa dramatically. Instead of a promising rookie leading a team on the rise, he’s talked about by some like the scapegoat who held back a potential playoff team.
That speaks to just how much progress Dolphins HC Brian Flores has made in his two years on the job, taking what a lot of observers called the NFL’s first full-blown tank job and going 10-6 in Year 2, narrowly missing out on a wildcard berth thanks to a loaded AFC field. The team’s success arguably hurt Tagovailoa in some ways, as Flores turned to him ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick when the veteran had not done anything to really lose the job and Tagovailoa arguably hadn’t done anything to win it.
On a more normal rebuilding path, the Dolphins would be targeting a playoff berth and learning some lessons from the experience in 2021. Instead, the general feeling is that 2020 was a missed opportunity and a real superstar quarterback could turn the team into a contender in the AFC, while Tagovailoa might not be good enough to ever reach those heights.
Jets: How does the new identity take shape?
For much of the season, the future for the Jets at least looked like a clear ray of sunshine to distract from how awful the present was. But a few late-season victories pushed them out of the sweepstakes for Lawrence and clouded the future. It’s starting to take shape again though with the hire of HC Robert Saleh, who is bringing a clear identity he wants to implement with him to New York.
2021 will be all about building that. There are details that need to be sorted out, such as who the quarterback will be, whether it’s Sam Darnold, a rookie or even Watson. But the vision is clear. The Jets will aim to look a lot like the 49ers on both sides of the ball, and that’s a potentially winning formula.
Patriots: How will Belichick rebuild?
Between the opt-outs and lack of cap space until late in the game, 2020 was always going to be some type of reset for the Patriots. But the team couldn’t overcome a few glaring holes on the roster to put it all together and the success of Brady in Tampa has only put a sharper exclamation point on Bill Belichick missing the playoffs for the first time since the last time he didn’t have Brady.
This year, the Patriots have a lot more flexibility to try and reload, between a load of cap space and a full complement of draft picks. It will be interesting to see how Belichick proceeds, as a significant component of his team-building philosophy has been relying on free agents to take a discount to be a part of the New England dynasty. 2020 blew a major hole in the Patriots mystique, however, and Belichick will need to be as aggressive as he’s ever been to prove the past two decades of success didn’t all disappear with Brady.
Cardinals: Can Kliff and Kyler take the next step?
Arizona was in the driver’s seat for a wildcard berth but lost Kyler Murray in the season finale and wasn’t able to pull off a victory with their backup. The end result was an 8-8 season in a year the Cardinals were a trendy pick to be a breakout team. They’ll still likely draw some attention in that role in 2021 but to make good on that potential they’ll need more from Murray and HC Kliff Kingsbury.
Murray looked on his way to contending for the MVP at one point midseason after his Hail Mary to beat the Bills. That hype quickly faded and Murray will need to become more consistent as a passer moving forward, though the talent is certainly there. As for Kingsbury, his offense became too predictable at times last year and he’s never won more than eight games as a coach at any level. In Year 3, the honeymoon is over for Murray and Kingsbury. The Cardinals need to see results.
49ers: Is Garoppolo the future?
Even having to ask this question isn’t a good sign, but it’s always worth remembering that the 49ers had the chance to go after Brady last year and passed it up to stick with Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020. That counts for something.
Now, Garoppolo also got hurt yet again after that vote of confidence from the 49ers brass and the cap-strapped 49ers could actually save a chunk of change by swapping him out for a few of the high-profile quarterbacks available this offseason. That changes the equation for sure. What it comes down to for San Francisco is how much better, if at all, they think their other options are instead of Garoppolo, and if the opportunity cost to acquire a new quarterback at the expense of potentially reinforcing the offensive line or secondary is worth it. We’ll see how it plays out.
Rams: Will their bet on Stafford pay off
Drafting this column two weeks ago, the biggest question around the Rams was what their plan with QB Jared Goff was, as it was clear they had soured on him. More than any other team, the Rams don’t accept their current reality as an obstacle to what they believe can be possible. They regularly confound the conventional wisdom of what outsiders expect them to do, they’re almost gleefully contrarian with how they throw cash and first-round picks at major acquisitions.
Their trade for Matthew Stafford surprised a lot of people, though, and indicates Los Angeles believes its roster is just a quarterback away from really contending. So those are the stakes in 2021 and beyond. Super Bowl or bust.
Much as Rams GM Les Snead likes to talk about how “anything can be done” with the salary cap, the fact of the matter is the Rams will face real consequences at some point for how fast and loose they’ve played with their money and picks if they keep misevaluating players. You can’t escape dead money. Los Angeles had to swallow a ton of cash to get rid of Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks last year and again with Goff this year, to say nothing of the draft picks they traded to acquire, dump and replace him.
If the Rams win a Super Bowl, it will all be worth it. Their chances of that are much more precarious than they may seem, though.
Seahawks: Is there real fire behind all this smoke with Wilson?
Last offseason, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson started applying a little bit of public pressure by talking openly about what he thought Seattle’s offense could be capable of if the handcuffs were taken off. Seahawks HC Pete Carroll is the NFL’s oldest coach and has been quite successful doing things a particular way for a long time, including a dogged commitment to establishing the run.
That’s part of what made it so surprising when the Seahawks started the season throwing the ball all over the yard like an Arena Football League team, seemingly answering Wilson’s and the fanbase’s plea to #LetRussCook. That didn’t last, however. Defenses figured out how to take away the deep ball, the Seahawks couldn’t adjust and it cost OC Brian Schottenheimer his job. Now Carroll is seemingly more determined than ever to put Wilson back on the backburner and reaffirm his commitment to running the ball on offense
But Wilson is not going quietly. Things have ramped up dramatically, with trade speculation being leaked to opposing teams and the media. Wilson is now speaking even more pointedly about having more say in the way the team runs things and discontent with the status quo. This isn’t a five-alarm fire yet, like the situation the Texans have on their hands. There’s something burning in the kitchen though that it’s up to the Seahawks to put out, otherwise the idea of Wilson playing elsewhere might not be so far-fetched.
Broncos: Can they get out of the shadow in the AFC West?
The AFC West is turning into an arms race. There’s the Chiefs with their all-millennium quarterback and now the Chargers have a guy who looks like he has a bright future as well. The Raiders have quite a bit of firepower on offense as well. Meanwhile, the Broncos clearly have the most unsettled, if not the outright worst, quarterback situation in the division with Drew Lock. It’s no surprise they were interested in Stafford and are exploring other options as well.
Denver’s in a weird position with the rest of their roster as well. They have talent on both sides of the ball but it’s a mismatch of younger players who are still developing consistency and older players who are struggling to stay healthy and effective. A good quarterback could help tie it all together but it’s not clear that the Broncos have that. And without one, they’re in danger of being left far behind in the AFC West.
Chargers: What does Herbert’s potential look like in Year 2?
Rookie quarterbacks typically have to be graded on a curve. The transition from college to the NFL is steep, so you’re looking for flashes of potential and progression more than you are a high level of play from start to finish. Even future starters and stars are often below average to bad their first season when compared to the league average.
That was not the case for Chargers first-round QB Justin Herbert, who had one of the best rookie seasons of all time from a production standpoint. He was responsible for 36 total touchdowns and just ten interceptions while completing two-thirds of his passes for 4,366 yards. He was sensational and looks like the next budding NFL star at the position.
Every team in the NFL, but especially the AFC and especially the AFC West is looking at the Chiefs and gauging if they can go toe-to-toe with them. For the Chargers to land a quarterback that looks like he has the potential to keep up with Mahomes in a duel, that’s huge. Taking a step toward realizing that vision is going to be huge for the team and Herbert in 2021 under the new coaching staff.
Chiefs: Can they get the dynasty back on track?
Sunday’s loss to the Buccaneers was a setback, an unexpected one at that judging by the general narrative heading into the Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes has made a lot of things look easy in his short career so far, but the fact that he’s one for three the past few seasons when it comes to winning the title when Kansas City has had teams good enough to compete at that level shows just how hard it is to win Super Bowls.
But between the duo of Mahomes and HC Andy Reid, the Chiefs have the necessary ingredients to stay at the top of the NFL for the foreseeable future. Becoming the next dynasty is still in play, they just have to retool a few things, primarily the offensive line. They still should be seen as the standard the rest of the league is chasing even as they try to catch up to the legacy Brady and the Patriots created.
Raiders: Is there another leap coming under Gruden or is this it?
In Raiders HC Jon Gruden’s first year, it was accepted that he was putting his stamp on the team. That meant trading away previous budding stars like DE Khalil Mack and WR Amari Cooper to shore up other areas and build the team he wanted. So 4-12 was kind of accepted. Year 2, Gruden and the Raiders made strides, starting the first half of the season with six wins before flattening out at 7-9. Still, progress.
In Year 3, the Raiders once again got off to a 6-3 start. But the expected next step hasn’t materialized and the team flopped to an 8-8 finish. 2020 should have been the year the Raiders took the next step into a winning, playoff team, especially in their brand-new stadium and first year in Las Vegas. With a 10-year contract and the trust of owner Mark Davis, Gruden’s job security isn’t in danger yet. Another year of busted draft picks, bad free agent signings and a disappointing record could change that, though. If that leap doesn’t come in 2021, Gruden’s seat could start to feel a little warm.
This Week In Football
- I gotta be honest with you. This time last week I was fully expecting the Eagles to have traded Carson Wentz by the time this column rolled around. Perhaps the Eagles were expecting it too. Buzz was flying hot and heavy over the weekend but by Monday and Tuesday, it had slowed down. Best we can tell, here is where we are. The Colts and the Bears are interested, but the Eagles didn’t get a taker for their initial asking price of two first-round picks. They were clearly hoping one of those teams would be desperate, apparently leaking some rumors to try and pit them against each other, but neither have taken the cheese so far. Now everyone is waiting. The Eagles say they’re content keeping Wentz in 2021 and figuring it out but it’s hard to see the state of Wentz’s relationship with the team allowing that to happen. If they’re going to trade him, it has to be before the third day of the league year when he’s owed a $10 million roster bonus. This situation probably has to shake itself out by then.
- The Jets seem to be dropping the first inclinations of what they might do with QB Sam Darnold, as New York has received numerous trade calls on the former No. 3 overall pick. The Jets say they haven’t decided what they’re doing yet but they’re not telling teams to beat it like some other franchises receiving trade interest in their passers are.
- The Seahawks did not enter this offseason thinking they would have a quarterback problem. While it’s not clear exactly how bad things are, it is apparent that Russell Wilson is not thrilled with the status quo in Seattle. Reports of teams calling to ask about Wilson’s trade availability turned out to be a precursor to a media tour by Wilson airing some of his grievances with his lack of say in personnel. It would be exceedingly difficult for the Seahawks to trade Wilson given the $39 million in dead cap and it’s not even clear Wilson wants to be traded yet. But it’s a situation worth watching for the future.
- The Cowboys’ situation with QB Dak Prescott has been overshadowed by a lot of things. But negotiations are about to stretch into their third offseason at this point as the two sides try to find common ground on a long-term deal. One obstacle won’t be Prescott’s health, as despite needing to have additional procedures on his ankle he is on schedule, if not ahead of it, to make it back for 2021.
- A new name entered the quarterback sweepstakes this offseason, though perhaps not the one people expected, as Raiders backup QB Marcus Mariota apparently has a trade market. Mariota excelled in a relief performance in a prime-time game late last season and another team could take a shot on the former No. 2 overall pick. As far as starting options go on the quarterback carousel this offseason, Mariota will be among the cheapest.
- We got more than a few “nobody cares” reactions to covering the Panthers’ full package they offered to the Lions for Matthew Stafford, including the No. 8 pick, a fifth-rounder and QB Teddy Bridgewater. But it matters because it shows how aggressive Carolina is prepared to be to go after a quarterback it sees as a clear upgrade. That’s why a number of folks aren’t counting them out of any potential Deshaun Watson sweepstakes and why they’re a likely candidate to trade up in the draft for a quarterback.
- Washington re-signed QB Taylor Heinicke, who impressed the team in his two appearances at the end of the season that included a gutsy playoff performance against the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers. At the very least, he’ll compete for a backup job, as his deal doesn’t prevent Washington from pursuing other starting options. But there’s also a chance he starts for the team in 2021.
- Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes had surgery on Wednesday to repair the toe injury that hobbled him in the AFC title game and Super Bowl. He’s expected to make a full recovery but it is worth noting the rehab timeline could push into August, which is a little close to the start of the season to just dismiss outright.
- Tampa Bay had barely woken up the day after winning the Super Bowl when the rest of us were picking apart their roster to see how many guys they’ll be able to bring back. The Buccaneers have a number of key free agents, headlined by WR Chris Godwin who it appears would take precedence for the franchise tag if a long-term deal can’t be reached. That means Tampa Bay would have no recourse to retain OLB Shaquil Barrett if their offer to him doesn’t sufficiently “break the bank” as he says he’s looking for. It’ll be a fascinating offseason yet again for the Buccaneers.
- We outlined a number of potential cap casualties in last week’s NFLTR Review. Two names mentioned in there — Broncos CB A.J. Bouye and Raiders WR Tyrell Williams — will indeed end up on new teams. Denver released Bouye outright this week and Las Vegas seems to be waiting until Williams can pass a physical to cut him.
- The Packers selected their new defensive coordinator: former Rams LB coach Joe Barry. It’s not the most inspired hire. Barry led the last-ranked Lions defense in 2007 and 2008 (0-16) and his second stint with the Washington Football Team in 2015-2016 was just marginally better as they were 28th each year until he was fired. But Packers HC Matt LaFleur has earned some benefit of the doubt.
- The NFL held its annual awards ceremony and named the following players to its highest individual honors:
- The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class was announced and includes G Alan Faneca, WR Calvin Johnson, S John Lynch, DB Charles Woodson, QB Peyton Manning, former Steelers scout Bill Nunn, former Raiders HC Tom Flores and former Cowboys WR Drew Pearson.
Around The Trade Block
If you’re the general manager of an NFL team, you have to be prepared for life to throw you a curveball you didn’t expect, like a surprise retirement or off-the-field accident. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta expected to be sitting down with OT Orlando Brown at some point this offseason to work out a long-term deal as their bookend right tackle on the other side of LT Ronnie Stanley for years and years to come.
Instead, DeCosta is weighing trade offers for the suddenly discontented Brown and adding tackle to Baltimore’s lengthy shopping list. Brown is the son of former Ravens and Browns OT Orlando Brown Sr. and says he wants to play left tackle to honor his late father. He played the position in college and shifted over after Stanley was hurt this past season, performing admirably. But as long as Stanley is there, the position is taken, meaning Browns has to go elsewhere to fulfill his dream.
It also probably doesn’t hurt that left tackles generally make significantly more than right tackles and Brown is in a contract year. He and the organization had a terrific relationship coming into this offseason, as Brown loved playing for the same team his father did and appreciated Baltimore taking a chance on him when he slipped in the draft. For their part, the Ravens also appreciate Brown as a key part of the team, both on and off the field. That appears to be why they gave Brown permission to seek a trade to see if they can find a solution that works best for all parties. Otherwise, Brown’s options are kind of limited to deferring his desires another year and playing out his contract at right tackle.
Like any prospective trade, there are two sides to the coin. The Ravens need a return that eases the pain of giving up a good to possibly great right tackle on a rookie contract and creating yet another massive hole on their offensive line. Another first-round pick would probably be enough. Brown isn’t quite on Laremy Tunsil’s level and Bill O’Brien is out of the league anyway, so two first-round picks is a pipe dream.
Is there a team that has an opening at left tackle that sees Brown as worth that return? They probably would have to be sold on Brown being able to successfully make the transition over to the blindside — and to his credit, he played a ton of quality snaps there this past season. He took over for Stanley full-time in Week 8 and in 700 snaps he did not allow a single sack. He was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl and was Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 tackle for the second straight year. He looks a lot like a player on the rise into becoming a very solid starter but there’s still a bit of a projection from solid to elite.
The other catch is that any team that acquires Brown will be shelling out a first-round pick at minimum to the Ravens and then turning around shortly after and giving Brown an extension that probably is in the neighborhood of $17-18 million a year. Teams do make these kinds of investments, see the Colts with DT DeForest Buckner last year, but typically only for elite players. Brown might not fall into that category.
Another consideration is the upcoming class of tackles. There’s still plenty of pre-draft process to play out but an early read indicates there is a ton of depth. When factoring in the total cost of acquiring Brown, including both contract and draft pick, as opposed to just taking a rookie, that could give other teams pause as well.
With all that said, Brown does have a real market per reports. His stipulation of left tackle-only helps narrow down the potential contenders, now it’s just a matter of seeing who can meet the Ravens’ price.
Bears: Solidifying the offensive line, particularly the tackle spots, is on Bears GM Ryan Pace’s long to-do list this offseason to save his job. Unfortunately, so is finding a new franchise quarterback and that first-round pick might be ticketed toward that goal one way or another. Chicago probably has bigger fish to fry than making a hard run at Brown.
Buccaneers: Donovan Smith wasn’t as much of a weakness this past season than he has been in the past but the Buccaneers finally can get out of his contract this offseason. Brown could be a worthy replacement to protect Brady’s blindside and they will have RT Tristan Wirfs on a rookie deal for a few more seasons. Perhaps Tampa Bay lets Brown play out the rest of his rookie deal before extending him in 2022 while they focus on other free agents who have earned priority. The No. 32 pick in the first round also isn’t too much to give if you think you’re getting a franchise left tackle.
Chargers: Los Angeles has four out of five starting positions on the offensive line up in the air right now, and arguably five if you’re concerned about RT Bryan Bulaga’s long-term health. Not many teams need left tackle help more than the Chargers, as protecting rookie sensation QB Justin Herbert is their top priority. However, the No. 13 pick in the first round might be a steep price to surrender for Brown. He offers a little more experience than a rookie and could hit the ground running quicker. But is he $15 million a year better than the player they could pick there?
Colts: Left tackle is a gaping hole for the Colts. But so is quarterback. So similar to the Bears’ situation, Indianapolis might need to remain flexible with that first-round pick instead of shipping it away for Brown. They do have the cap space to absorb a deal for Brown relatively painlessly, but it would also be out of character for GM Chris Ballard to deal first-round picks for players in consecutive years, per some people who cover the team.
Dolphins: Tua Tagovailoa isn’t the only 2020 rookie in Miami who didn’t necessarily hit the ground running. First-round LT Austin Jackson struggled in his first season, though it was somewhat expected given Jackson was pegged as a bit of a project. But still, if the Dolphins are looking to move into contender status with proven players as opposed to waiting for rookies to develop, maybe Brown makes sense? I’d peg Miami as a longshot regardless.
49ers: Another longshot, but it’s worth thinking about if the 49ers might be drawn to the idea of a cheaper replacement for LT Trent Williams, who has the leverage for a potentially massive deal from San Francisco or some other team. The No. 12 pick is probably too steep a price to pay for Brown, but perhaps some kind of swap with the Ravens who pick No. 27?
Jaguars: Incumbent Jaguars LT Cam Robinson is headed for free agency and Jacksonville seems inclined to let him walk and explore potential upgrades, so the need is definitely there. The Jaguars will have the most cap space in the league this offseason and are looking for building blocks, so finances aren’t an issue. And with the No. 25 pick in the first round and the first pick in the second round, Jacksonville has a couple of intriguing options to send the Ravens’ way.
Vikings: Cap woes might cause the Vikings to shy away from Brown but Minnesota has also been trying for a long time to shore up its offensive line and showed last offseason it wasn’t afraid to make aggressive moves to try and bolster its chances to contend. The Vikings pick at No. 14 in the first round so that would be toward the upper reaches of Brown’s value but perhaps the Ravens would also be interested in getting LT Riley Reiff back and shifting him to the right side?
Washington: Pro Football Focus actually graded Washington LT Cornelius Lucas a couple of ticks higher than Brown in 2020 largely due to the former’s prowess as a pass blocker. Washington could be content rolling with Lucas again in 2021 while waiting for other options to develop, but if they’re worried about the former career journeyman turning back into a pumpkin, Brown is one of the options to solidify the spot. Then again, Washington also faces the conundrum of needing a quarterback and having the No. 19 pick be their best resource toward acquiring one.
Nickels & Dimes
Quick-hit thoughts and observations from around the NFL…
In a lot of ways, the Super Bowl didn’t live up to the hype it had entering the game. But Patrick Mahomes still found a way to give us something extraordinary…
still doesn’t make sense pic.twitter.com/PzcNftUiPe
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) February 8, 2021
You want to talk about video game-style football, that was literally straight out of a video game…
Greatest Ncaa football play I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/0SkbdlSSEI
— Hayden (@therealhwilson) January 14, 2019
Meanwhile, this is what happens when you get to Lombardi trophy No. 7…
Final Super Bowl thoughts: I think the Buccaneers can be even better in 2021 assuming they’re able to keep most of their core pieces. Even if they can’t, plenty of people are going to line up to play for Brady, who will be even better his second year in the system. Can’t predict what’s going to happen in the playoffs but the No. 1 seed in the NFC is very much in play…
Conversely, I don’t think the Chiefs will be hit that hard by the Super Bowl hangover. The duo of Mahomes and Reid is too good. The state of the offensive line and Mahomes’ toe rehab are worth keeping an eye on, though…
He is. no question. https://t.co/M5fR1mpqCS
— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) February 9, 2021
Maybe this is a hot take, but I feel like the Devin White love is getting out of hand. He’s fast and that lets him do a lot of things. He’s a budding talent. But the best linebacker in the league should be able to hold up in coverage, no…?
Panthers WR Curtis Samuel is going to have a very hot market. A few places, including the Athletic and ESPN, released free agency previews this week and Samuel was a favorite speculative target for every team that needed a receiver, even appearing as the feature photo for several different pieces. His skillset is in big demand with the rise of the Shanahan offense and everyone looking for that type of multi-positional offensive threat. Carolina would love to re-sign him but at this point that can’t be realistic…
There was an interesting anecdote in the Washington Post with Washington HC Ron Rivera talking about how one of the past mistakes he’s hoping to avoid in D.C. is allowing DT Star Lotulelei to walk in 2018 when he was with the Panthers. Lotulelei wasn’t statistically productive and commanded a pretty penny from the Bills, but once he was gone Rivera realized just how much he did to enable Luke Kuechly to roam freely: “When you watch the tape, he’s running for his life because there’s nobody keeping him clean. There’s nobody keeping that guard-center combination from working to the next level to cut Luke off. That’s the thing that you sit there and go, ‘Oh.’”…
Speaking of Washington, we might see a lot more of this there next year…
Last week the Texans dismissed director of football administration Kevin Kracjcovic and equipment manager Mike Parson and his staff, amongst others. The organization is being remade and many around the league, including people there, are wondering if it is for the better. https://t.co/BtCPHCRmtN
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 10, 2021
It really is unusual to see NFL insiders, who are usually painfully diplomatic, responding in this critical of a tone to moves an organization makes…
Per @paulsen_smw: Viewership percentage declines year over year for some jewel sporting events:
Super Bowl: (-9%)
College football championship (-27%)
World Series (-30%)
NBA Finals (-49%)
Kentucky Derby (-49%)
Final round of the Masters (-58%)
Stanley Cup Final (-61%)
— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) February 10, 2021
Even though ratings fell for this past Super Bowl, this is important context. When it comes to dominating TV, the NFL is still king…
Felt this big time on Monday…