It doesn’t matter that there is still this little thing called the Super Bowl to play; The NFL’s offseason, the peak season for the football business, has begun. And the main media message for this 2021 offseason is one of change and chaos in the game’s marquee position. Now it’s hard to turn on any sports programming (TV, radio, podcasts, etc.) and not hear a segment about a quarterback who has been the face of his franchise being Photoshopped on different uniforms, leading to more comments on trade compensation. weapons on the new team, blah blah blah.
I get it, since I am part of the media (more or less), but Please. Someone has to be the voice of reason to stop this train of fantasy football speculation, and it may as well be me. Beyond the quarterback move that just happened over the weekend, I don’t see much change, if any. Let’s examine.
The one that happened
The 2009 first draft pick, Matthew Stafford, was voluntarily sent from the Lions to the Rams in exchange for the 2016 first draft pick, Jared Goff. The Rams had a lot more to include in the deal: two future first-round players and a third. And both players leave a huge trail of dead salary cap money on their old teams’ books for 2021. Indeed, this is what quarterback situations will look like for the two teams in 2021:
Lions: Goff: $ 21 million; Stafford: $ 19 million
Rams: Goff: $ 22 million; Stafford: $ 20 million
Unlike the quarterbacks discussed below, Stafford and the Lions mutually agreed to part ways, as he and his agents came to the Lions and said, in many words, “Hey, we’ve had a hot streak, but it’s time. of a change. “Stafford still has an elite arm and the quarterback is, in my opinion, an arm position. So the Lions were able to take advantage of multiple offers on some good loot from the Rams, with one of those future top picks. round likely seen partially as an “incentive” to take on Goff’s remaining $ 43 million in future guarantees.
The Rams have shown us that we are the NFL team least concerned about first-round picks and cap money on their roster. Most teams view first-round picks as valuable assets; the Rams have given away five in total by Brandin Cooks, Jalen Ramsey and now Stafford. As for the dead cap, charges over the team salary cap for players who are gone, the Rams now have the two highest positions in NFL history, more than $ 21 million for the Cooks and more than $ 22. million for Goff.
The fact that the Lions had so many teams interested in Stafford is because, in my unpopular opinion, teams know that Stafford was and will be the only marquee canopy in commercial market. I know it’s fun to speculate: “Well, if you can get that for Stafford, imagine [fill in the blank] I could bring! “Well my opinion is that they got that for Stafford, because [fill in the blank] not available.
Let’s look at some of those names.
Remember back in December 2020, when the weeks of Sunday morning NFL programming were centered around hot takes on Carson Wentz? Remember when the Eagles sent the Colts into the arms of their former coordinator Frank Reich? Remember when Wentz was going to return tens of millions of dollars to the Eagles, only for the Colts to return it when they traded him? Please.
When I countered that noise at the time, the Eagles weren’t going to trade Wentz because of the massive organizational investment in him and the $ 34 million in dead money left behind (a different dead money neighborhood than Goff’s). His investment in Wentz overshadowed the investment in the coaching staff, which was discarded. Instead of sending Wentz to the Colts, they brought the Colts to Wentz (in the form of new Reich head coach and protégé Nick Sirianni). Now, the rumor that had so much energy that Wentz was not an Eagle has carried over to other targets (and the thousands who attacked me on social media for holding firm that Wentz would not be traded have been curiously quiet).
With reports that Watson desperately wants to get out of Houston, regardless of the new coach, Photoshopping of Watson in different jerseys is rampant and discussions of the fantasy football trade are out of control.
I’ll stand on the same lonely and unpopular hill that I stood on for Wentz: Watson is going nowhere. Texans can be poor communicators and oddly dazzled by a soccer operations evangelist EVP, but they’re not stupid enough to trade in their best asset, regardless of payback compensation. This doesn’t even mention the reality of a dead money hit that surpasses even Goff’s if they somehow traded Watson after paying him $ 30 million for a year of service. The surest way for the new GM to become the old GM is to trade the person and the organization’s Most Valuable Player.
I know what you’re saying: “But Andrew, Watson is serious. He’s furious and doesn’t want to play for them! “Deep breaths. It’s early February; the team doesn’t even meet for three months; there’s not a significant snap in a game for eight months. What exactly is Watson’s leverage over the next six months? Will you boycott Zoom team meetings? Will it have influence if it still feels that way in September? Maybe. But that’s a long way off.
My mentor in the Packers, Ron Wolf, used to say this when we had a disgruntled player or players in the offseason: “I don’t care about harmony in March; I care about harmony in December. “Time will tell.
Speaking of my old team …
I saw three prominent ESPN personalities tell me last week that Rodgers had played his last game for the Packers. I heard about Aaron’s house in Los Angeles and what it’s like from the San Francisco area. Please. He’s not going anywhere (this year).
First, the obvious: The Packers won’t trade the best player in the NFL, not to mention they’ll incur the $ 32 million in dead money if they did. They are not stupid. Although there is this: unlike the Texans and Watson, there be be a separation between the Packers and their star QB, one that I have predicted since April. The only question is whether it will arrive in 2022 or 2023.
The Packers’ selection of quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 draft made me say something I thought I would never say: There is an expiration date for Rodgers and the Packers. First-round quarterbacks play. They don’t back down, they don’t change them, they all play, the only question is when. Aaron sat for three long years; No other first-round quarterback since then has been sitting for so long. I predicted a two-year apprenticeship for love in April, and if I am forced to choose a transfer date, I still predict it.
Aaron was much more accommodating with selecting a first-round quarterback in 2020 than Brett Favre in 2005 when we selected Rodgers. That selection prompted an immediate negative response from Favre and his agent, not to mention fans and the media.
Rodgers’ statements since the NFC championship game have illustrated the need for an open and honest conversation between the Packers and Rodgers about the future. If I were Aaron’s agents, I’d say this to the team: “Okay, Jordan is going to play, I get it. When? 2022? 2023? Transparency builds trust.
Many have speculated that Rodgers might want a contract adjustment or extension. An adjustment? Maybe. An extension? Unlikely.
I wrote about the conundrum of negotiating the Rodgers contract in 2018. There was talk about the possibility of unprecedented terms in that contract: market adjustability, cap percentage, multiple future years guaranteed, etc. And, in my opinion, Rodgers waited until he approached free agency, those pioneering precedents would have been in play. But the Packers were smart: They threw a ton of money at him, including a record $ 58 million signing bonus, and he signed while maintaining his prized structure.
Rodgers has three years left on that deal. Extending it just to get the salary cap space is not a “Packers” thing. When I handled his cap, I had a real reluctance to eliminate the pain in the cap, always conscious of leaving the team in the best position to be successful. They still have that philosophy.
I may see the Packers adding untethered money to this year’s compensation. The extra money would not — or should not — be a pro rata bonus that adds to the future pain of the limit; rather, it should be simply a salary or staff bonus (not prorated). Why do this? Well, Rodgers is, to put it bluntly, both the NFL MVP and a placeholder for Love. The Packers have had it both ways this year; next year may not be so easy.
The bottom line for Rodgers is the same as for Wentz and the Eagles and Watson and the Texans: He’s not going anywhere. I know I feel alone on this hill, but I am embracing rationality.
Young quarterbacks also stay
Sam Darnold: He’s not going anywhere. The Jets made him the third pick in the draft a couple of years ago; they are not spinning now.
Tua Tagovailoa – You are not going anywhere. The Dolphins made him the fifth pick in the draft nine months ago; they are not spinning now.
Drew Lock: He’s not going anywhere. The Broncos reversed their second-round pick a couple years ago and they like what they’ve seen; they are not spinning now.
Cheaper quarterbacks to keep than to leave
Matt Ryan: Ryan, with the same agent as Stafford, could have told the Falcons what Stafford told the Lions, but there is a complication here. Ryan’s dead money charge of nearly $ 50 million dwarfs Stafford’s $ 19 million. The Falcons may want to start over with another quarterback, but the limit ramifications of doing so are binding.
Ben Roethlisberger: Ryan’s situation also applies here. Even as Roethlisberger’s days are waning in Pittsburgh, the Steelers’ repeated salary cap restructurings have provided him with protection from release. It is cheaper to maintain.
So, according to this writer, in the wild carousel of quarterbacks that the media has been hyping for weeks, there’s a prominent team changing its name: Stafford (and a less prominent one in Goff). I know I feel lonely in this posture, but I don’t like crowds anyway.
Sorry for the lack of drama, but hey, we all need less drama in our lives.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.