It’s Friday and many of you are bleary eyed after a late night watching the NFL draft, which felt, honestly, almost completely normal. It was great to see fans behind the anchor desks screaming and yelling like wild banshees.
I think sports are officially back, even if the coronabros are still cowered in their basements.
After a long battle, we’ve won the war. The only major sporting event with substantial viewership that ended up getting canceled, really, was the NCAA tournament last year. We got pretty every other sport played.
So can we get the final tally of athletes or coaches who had serious covid health issues or died because sports were played at any level, high school, college or professional sports? I believe the answer is zero. It’s amazing how the coronabros who spent a year telling us how dangerous covid was and how all sports needed to shut down have just vanished as sport after sport has managed to play — with crowds present — without any issues at all.
Props to the NFL for managing to keep rolling without issue no matter the obstacles out there.
Okay, here we go with your questions, most of which are centered on last night’s NFL draft.
“A disgruntled Aaron Rogers is still the best QB option for GB; why would they trade him?”
Because he doesn’t have to play and might be willing to go host Jeopardy instead.
I can’t believe that sentence I just typed is real, but it is. Part of Aaron Rodgers’s leverage here is the Jeopardy gig.
Here’s the deal, the Packers have had ten drafts since Aaron Rodgers won the Super Bowl for them. Do you know how many times they’ve drafted an offensive player with their first pick in the draft? Once.
Do you know who that one player was? The quarterback picked to replace Aaron Rodgers, Jordan Love.
I’d be furious if I were Aaron Rodgers too.
The Packers traded up to grab Jordan Love and then didn’t use him at all last season. Do you think the Packers could have maybe used a first round corner in last year’s playoff loss against the Bucs? Of course they could have.
Look, the Packers gambled that Aaron Rodgers was on the back end of his career and they were going to seamlessly transition to Jordan Love. That was the rationale that justified the Love pick. But then Rodgers went out and posted, arguably, the best season of his career last year. That made the Packers look awful.
Right after doing so it appears Rodgers requested a trade. That tells me that while Aaron Rodgers stayed mostly quiet publicly, he was furious behind the scenes. So far everything about these demands, remarkably, had stayed quiet until yesterday when Rodgers and his representatives finally went public with his trade demands. The timing here was designed to exert maximum control of the situation.
This was intentional.
It was like announcing a divorce.
If I were the Packers I’d go to Aaron Rodgers, offer him an extension to make him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL, and I’d offer to trade Jordan Love too. I’m not sure if the Packers would do this, but I think that’s the kind of gesture they’re going to have to undertake in order to get Aaron Rodgers back in Green Bay.
Here’s a wild idea for you, what if the Packers offered Jordan Love to the Falcons in exchange for Julio Jones? I have no idea if the Falcons would do it, but even if they wouldn’t just leaking that story would go a long way towards helping to win back Rodgers and helping to sway public opinion in your direction.
Ultimately, however, if the Packers aren’t willing to trade Rodgers, I think he’s willing to sit out and go host Jeopardy. I doubt Rodgers wants to retire, but at this point he has relatively little to prove. He’s a first ballot hall of famer, he’s won a Super Bowl, he’s relatively healthy, he’s got more money than he could ever spend, the only reason to continue to play is because he absolutely loves the game. And if the Packers are stripping that joy from him, he could sit out a year and probably still come back and play a couple of more seasons if he wanted to do so in the future.
I don’t think the Packers have great leverage here, honestly.
“Where do you see Aaron Rodgers playing next year?”
I think Denver makes the most sense by far. Best case scenario he could ride off into the sunset with the Broncos winning a second Super Bowl just like John Elway and Peyton Manning did. And just like Peyton Manning did, I think he probably has three to four good seasons left.
There’s good young talent on offense, the defense is stacked, and the Broncos don’t have big money invested right now at the quarterback position. You’ve got Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater penciled in to battle it out for 2021, but you could probably trade Lock for a third or fourth round draft pick and then you’d have Rodgers with Bridgewater as a back up.
That makes solid sense to me.
Coming into the draft I said there were five teams — aside from the Jags, Jets, and 49ers, who we already knew were drafting quarterbacks — that had needs at quarterback.
Those five teams were the Patriots, Steelers, Bears, Washington, and the Broncos. Well, the Patriots and Bears both went and got quarterbacks. So that leaves us with the Steelers, Washington and the Broncos who still have varying degrees of quarterback need.
So let’s break those three teams down because their situations are all different.
The Steelers don’t have a need for a quarterback this year; Ben Roethlisberger clearly has at least one year left, so that takes them out of the equation and leaves us with Washington and Denver. Washington just added Ryan Fitzpatrick as their presumptive starter, but I suppose they could still be in the mix for Rodgers. But, again, they have a guy they appear to feel comfortable with in the short term in Fitzpatrick and I’m not sure Washington, which has a ton of good, young talent, wants to give up a tremendous amount of draft capital on an aging quarterback, even if he is as good as Aaron Rodgers.
Which leaves us with the Broncos, who have the clearest need at quarterback. Yes, Drew Lock is there, but he’s costing almost nothing and the same thing is true of Teddy Bridgewater. Plus, and I think this is significant, the Broncos passed on both Justin Fields and Mac Jones at pick nine last night. Why’d they do that given they only have Lock and Bridgewater? Sure, they could love Lock and believe he’s the future of the team, but I think it’s because they are trying to hammer out a deal for Rodgers in the days and weeks ahead.
Simply put, the Broncos make the most sense of the teams in the quarterback market.
One final thought, could the Texans make a hail mary play to offer Deshaun Watson straight up for Aaron Rodgers? (Or even Watson with, sorry Texans fans, more future draft picks?) Yes, I know, the Watson legal issues are incredibly risky, but if you think Deshaun avoids jail you’re effectively getting a 25 year old quarterback in exchange for a 37 year old quarterback. And, unlike with Jordan Love, who we still have no idea about, you know Watson, on the field at least, will win a ton of games for you over the next decade.
I’d at least make this call if I were the Texans.
Now I don’t know that Aaron Rodgers would want to go to the Texans given the current state of the franchise, but you could at least make the inquiry and see if it leads anywhere. I would certainly do this if I were in charge of the Texans.
But ultimately I think the Broncos are the substantial favorite to get Aaron Rodgers in the event a trade is made.
“Who is the most likely future hall of famer from last night’s draft?”
Penei Sewell would be my pick.
In order to have a hall of fame career you need incredible durability. Most players in the NFL last four or fewer years. Even players picked in the first round don’t last that long.
The typical exception is at quarterback, but picking which quarterbacks will be a hall of famer is like flipping coins to see who comes up heads or tails. It’s just nearly impossible to forecast.
Odds are there’s one hall of fame quarterback out of these five guys. That means one guy will be great, one guy will be good, one guy will be mediocre, two guys will be bad, and one of those two bad quarterbacks will be a total bust.
Again, that’s on average.
Good luck telling me which quarterbacks fulfill which roles.
This morning on the radio show I said if I had to buy stock in each quarterback in the wake of the draft I’d rate them thusly:
- Mac Jones with the Patriots
- Trey Lance with the 49ers
- Trevor Lawrence with the Jags
- Justin Fields with the Bears
- Zach Wilson with the Jets
Now these rankings are largely based on the teams that drafted them, not the individual quarterback talent alone. I like the fact that Mac and Trey can both sit for a year if necessary behind Cam and Jimmy G., like we saw with Patrick Mahomes. Justin Fields has the same situation with Andy Dalton, but I’m not sold on Matt Nagy as a head coach. The verdict is still out on how Urban will do in Jacksonville and I’m downright skeptical of everything surrounding the Jets organization.
So that’s how I’d rank the quarterbacks the morning after the first round.
But circling back around to your question, I’d ultimately bet on a tackle like Penei Sewell having a long career so he’d probably be my hall of fame favorite if I had to pick one player right now.
“Can we all agree that the draft needs to go back to the weekend? Last night was painfully drawn out.”
I actually really like the Thursday night first round on primetime TV.
And I like the pause after the first round to give some attention to the second and third round picks too, which allows further debate about players who should be drafted coming into Friday, and lets teams reassess their needs with a fresh night’s sleep.
What I do think the NFL could do a better job of is starting the clock for the first pick sooner. Roger Goodell didn’t officially put the Jags on the clock until about 15 minutes into the telecast. Given that we all knew Trevor Lawrence was the pick, why did we need to wait ten more minutes after the Jags clock started to get this pick announced?
I’d have Goodell ready to announce the first pick just after the draft begins. Go ahead and put the Jags on the clock ten minutes before the broadcast begins and then you’re ready for a huge announcement right out of the gate.
Worst case scenario, start the clock ticking the moment the broadcast begins at eight eastern and insist all the preliminary activities take place within the ten minutes before the first pick is announced.
As is, it took over forty minutes of the telecast before we got to the first pick that actually mattered — who the 49ers were taking at three.
I think the goal for the first round of the NFL draft should be the same as the goal for an actual NFL game, get the entire draft done in three hours. That means start at 8 eastern and finish it by 11 eastern. Running this thing until midnight or after on the east coast, as often happens, seems like a failure to me.