All That and a Bag of Mail

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It’s Friday and I’m here to spread sanity in an insane world.

And as soon as I do that, it’s officially little league baseball season so once I finish this article I’m a baseball dad for the weekend, driving my kids around to their games.

Here are your questions for the week:

Colt writes:

“Why aren’t more people talking about the Browns only “paying” Deshaun Watson $1M in the first year of his contract? It’s clear it’s only so he doesn’t have to give the NFL as much when he is fined a % of his year’s salary. Quite the gaming of the system.”

I don’t blame Deshaun Watson’s team for negotiating a salary like this. It’s what they should do. Their goal is to maximize as much money as possible for their client.

But I do believe the Browns decision should be a major point of discussion in the media. The Browns, effectively, are working to make sure that Watson suffers virtually zero consequences from the allegations that he sexually assaulted 22 women. They are actively limiting any punishment he can receive from the NFL. Well, that defeats the entire point of the punishment itself. (By the way, I remain of the opinion that the NFL should not be punishing players for off field incidents at all. I have never supported the NFL personal conduct policy. But if you have the policy, a player or team’s attempt to avoid all the consequences of punishment defeats the purpose of the punishment in the first place.)

Think about this for a moment. At least so far Watson hasn’t lost a dollar of his salary. He got paid his entire salary last year despite not playing a single snap and refusing to play for his team. (Plus, the Texans had to keep him on their roster, meaning they were playing with one less member of their team all season.) Then he demands a trade and gets to pick the team he’s traded to, where they subsequently sign him to the largest guaranteed contract in the history of football.

Far from suffering consequences for his alleged behavior, Watson has benefited from it.

I don’t know about y’all, but it seems like it’s going to be awfully hard to argue the NFL is racist against black quarterbacks when all this was just done for a black quarterback. That seems like an awful lot of privilege to me. (If a white quarterback had the exact same history as Deshaun Watson, the usual blue check woke suspects would be arguing this was an example of #whiteprivilege. But it happens for Watson and they’re all silent).

Of course, the reality is pretty straightforward here, the NFL doesn’t care about anything except for your talent. So long as an NFL team believes your talent exceeds your problems you will always be employed in the NFL whether you’re black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay or straight, criminal or saint, nothing matters but whether you make a team more likely to win football games.

That’s it, the NFL is the ultimate meritocracy. And the only merit that matters is on field talent.

Brian writes:

“Will Joe Biden be in office for his entire 4-year term, and can the country recover from the disaster that his presidency has been?”

Yes, I think he’ll finish his four year term. Primarily because Kamala Harris is such a disaster I don’t think anyone wants her taking over.

What I’m more interested in, honestly, is whether he’s going to run for re-election or not. Biden will have to make a decision on that issue by early 2023. So we’re less than a year from hearing his plans in this arena. If he decides to run again, and I’m leaning towards he won’t run, then I’ll also wonder whether Biden will face 2024 challenges from inside his own party.

I think he would because Biden will be 82 on election day in 2024. And he’d be 86, 86!, when his second term ended if he won re-election.

I just don’t see any way possible he has the physical stamina to run a full election campaign in 2023 and 2024 while governing full time as well. (He didn’t have the stamina to do it in 2020 either, Democrats were just able to hide him in his basement and blame covid for this choice.)

Will we be able to recover? Yes, of course. Look, I’m an optimist. America has always managed to bounce back from bad presidents and bad historical cycles. One of the reasons I love being a history nerd is because history teaches you perspective, you panic less and see a longer view of the country’s future. We had elections during the Civil War in 1864 and during World War II in 1944. In the middle of the two wars! And those elections were partly about whether or not to continue the Civil War and World War II.

Right now I believe we’re seeing history repeat itself — Joe Biden is an accidental president in 2020 just like Jimmy Carter was an accidental president in 1976. Carter got elected because of Watergate and Biden got elected because of covid. What happened in 1980? Carter got trounced by Reagan and for the next twenty years we basically had sane, logical governance. (You can dislike Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton, but they were all eminently reasonable leaders who led from right of center or center.) Then George W. Bush got elected and he would have been, I think, similar to his three predecessors but 9/11 happened and sent him off into a geopolitical mess. But even Obama’s 2008 campaign, to a large extent, was about how great America was. That’s almost thirty years of peace and normalcy after the insanity of 1968 and Watergate.

So I think we’re headed towards a period of relative stability over the next twenty years where the outlandish left wing absurdity is repudiated and the Democratic party as we know it, is destroyed. Much like happened after Jimmy Carter. Remember, Bill Clinton rebuilt the Democrats as a centrist alternative to the failed left wing ideology than ascendant. In my opinion history will repeat itself and we are poised to elect a modern day Ronald Reagan. Who is that person? Well, we can spend a ton of time debating that, but I think it’s where we are headed.

Bear writes:

“What’s to prevent an athlete at this point in high school from using the leniency given to transgender athletes to attempt and “fake” a lifestyle change in order to earn an athletic scholarship as a “women’s” collegiate athlete?”

It’s an excellent question because I’m not sure to what extent most high schools and high school athletic associations have the ability to ascertain what lifestyle changes are occurring to constitute a man becoming a woman and therefore being allowed to compete against a different gender. (For competitive purposes we only really care about men becoming women because women becoming men have no chance of winning anything in high school or college.)

That’s why I support legislation that requires high school athletes to play sports based on the biology on their birth certificates.

This seems eminently logical to me, you compete against your sex at birth.

I’m also, by the way, opposed to the idea that minors should be able to get their gender changed. We don’t let kids drink beer legally until they are 21, but we let 12 year old’s change their gender with incredibly expensive and serious surgery? This seems crazy to me. Absolutely and completely insane.

Once you become an adult if you want to change your gender, have at it. That’s your decision. But changing your gender when you’re a minor, in my opinion, is child abuse. You just don’t have the requisite mental faculties to make that choice, you’re still too young, your brain is still developing.

Having said that, even if you’re an adult and start changing your gender, I don’t believe you should be able to compete against women if you’re a man. As we’ve seen with the Penn transgender swimming case, you can’t erase biology. Men are bigger, stronger and faster than women. Even if you suppress testosterone you still can’t change the height of the swimmers, the size of their feet and hands, the width of their shoulders, men get benefits from puberty that women don’t.

And you can never erase these benefits later in life.

Put it this way, LeBron James could suddenly decide to become a woman. In a year or two, guess what, even after the medical treatments he would still be the most dominant WNBA player of all time. No one else would be close to him/her.

Allowing a grown man to decide to become a woman and play women’s athletics is patently absurd and destroys the entire existence of “women’s” athletics. Because if this continues, eventually many of the top athletes in most sports will be men identifying as women.

SJW writes:

“Is the left’s continual compare/contrasting of Kavanaugh to KBJ red-pilling people once again? One was falsely accused of being a gang rapist and asked about their high school yearbook. The other was questioned about their legal work and decision making. Seems like a stupid angle.”

It is an insanely stupid argument.

The Washington Post editorial board, incredibly, actually argued that Ketanji Brown Jackson had been treated WORSE than Kavanaugh had at their respective hearings. No one with a functional brain believes this. And I think arguments such as these increasingly make it clear why Democrats are going to get destroyed in 2022.

The biggest problem the Democrats have is they believe Twitter is real life and they try to ensure their opinions are popular there.

It isn’t, not remotely close to it.

So the Democrats all fight to be popular on Twitter, which pushes them further and further to the left, thereby further alienating them from people living in the real world.

It’s my opinion that covid was a shield from real world reality in 2020. Enough suburban women — and some men — were willing to buy into the argument that Trump’s response to covid was dangerous and we needed someone new at the helm to “shut down covid.” Well, look at the numbers, Biden has done virtually nothing to shut down covid. The one saving grace of Biden’s election is it’s made it clear that neither party was going to “shut down” covid. In fact, I think you can make a strong argument that virtually nothing we’ve done has made a very substantial impact on covid at all.

Worse than that, I think when you look at many of our interventions — shutting down schools and trying to decide between essential and nonessential businesses, for instance — I think we’ve made things far worse than if we’d done nothing at all.

That’s why a reckoning is coming in 2022 and 2024.

Jorge writes:

“With the recent wide receiver movements these past couple of days you think the Titans pay AJ Brown when it comes time to?”

Well, AJ Brown is going to want over $20 million a year as a new contract. And you can’t blame him for that. Because by the time he finishes his fourth season with the Titans AJ Brown will have made a total of just $5.7 million in those four years. That means the Titans have had access to one of the top receivers in the NFL and only had to pay him an average of $1.4 million a year.

I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if AJ threatens to hold out this offseason and demands a new deal. I probably would if I were him.

Because otherwise he could get franchise tagged for one year and still avoid his big guaranteed money.

One of the intriguing angles that isn’t receiving a ton of attention is how do you balance having a top paid quarterback — a guy making in the neighborhood of $50 million a year like Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes — with a top paid wide receiver who wants over $20 million a year?

Given that the NFL salary cap is roughly $210 million, if you pay top market to a top quarterback and a top receiver, you’re locking up $70+ million of your entire salary cap on just two players. It’s difficult to build a great team with a third of your salary cap spent on just two players. So I suspect you’ll see more and more top receivers being traded and you’ll see teams trying to go back into the draft and finding young players to replace them.

The theory is, which I agree with, that it’s easier to replace a top wide receiver than it is to replace a top quarterback.

That’s certainly what the Packers and the Chiefs appear destined to do.

The difference is the Titans might do the opposite — they might lock up AJ Brown and let Ryan Tannehill go. If they did that they’d go back into the draft, presumably, and grab a young quarterback and hope it works with AJ Brown going forward.

Or, depending on how this year goes, the Titans might recognize their window is closing and decide to let Tannehill and Brown both walk and remake their roster with several draft picks they get for Brown in particular.

That’s what makes the Bengals loss so crushing. The AFC is absolutely loaded with talent now and the chances of the Titans, frankly, being the overall number one seed again feels really slim. With back-to-back division wins and home playoff games the Titans went 0-2 and missed their window to compete for a title.

I’m just not sold on Tannehill as being a guy who can win you a Super Bowl. And I suspect most Titans fans agree with me.

Furthermore, it appears Tannehill is on the decline now as opposed to the ascent.

So I think the plan going forward with AJ Brown will be dictated, to a large degree, by what happens with Ryan Tannehill.

And as much as I’m an optimist in life I’m not at all optimistic about Tannehill’s games to come.

As always thanks for reading Outkick and I hope all of you have fantastic weekends.

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.

One Comment

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  1. If you have a top QB, I don’t think you need a top level receiver. As a Saints fan, I can tell you that Brees’ best years were with Marques Colston being his #1 receiver. I always believed Colston was massively underrated. Homerism aside, looking at his numbers, not bad. 10 years, 9,700 yards, 72 TDs, career earnings of $42 million dollars.

    Similarly, there was Greg Jennings, a Colston contemporary. 10 years, 8,300 yards, 64 TDs, career earnings of $52 million. Both Colston and Jennings played with elite QBs. Both won Super Bowls.

    Compare them to to Andre Johnson, another of their contemporaries. 14 years, 14,100 yards, 70 TDs, career earnings of $106 million. Essentially the same average per year, but $60 million more with nothing to show for it. But the Texans needed him because they didn’t have an elite QB.

    If you can swing both, do it. But if you have to choose, you spend on a proven QB. Miami needs Tyreek more than Mahomes needs Tyreek.

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