As a reporter, you develop certain senses. Some things you know, some you figure out, some you’re told. But some things, you have to smell.
Sources are now telling reporters that Deshaun Watson is willing to waive his no-trade clause with the Houston Texans if he could go to the New York Jets, Carolina Panthers or Miami Dolphins. That doesn’t smell right. The B.S.-o-meter is going off. By the end of last week, sources were saying that quarterback Russell Wilson would prefer to come back to Seattle, but if not, then he wants to be traded to the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Las Vegas Raiders or. . .
The Chicago Bears.
Russell Wilson is interested in coming to the Bears? The B.S.-o-meter is going off so strongly that I’m afraid my head is going to explode. I’m suspicious of any star QB who wants to play for the Bears, where quarterback careers go to die.
Russell Wilson is not going to play for the Bears. And for him to say so, or for some “source’’ to say so on his behalf, is proof that it’s now time to call the bluff on these elite quarterbacks whose sources keep saying they want to leave their teams the way Tom Brady did.
Here’s what Seattle should be telling Wilson: You want to go play for the Bears? I dare you.
It’s apparent now that the entire quarterback carousel that everyone keeps saying is about to happen is simply not going to happen.
This is all manufactured by and perpetuated by agents. Why would they do that? NFL teams lost money without fans this past year, and they would prefer to have the cheap, rookie contracts of young quarterbacks instead of the massive contracts of superstar QBs. So the agents of those superstars are getting word out to the fans that, guess what, your favorite player might be leaving.
Fans get angry. General managers and owners start cutting big new deals.
What evidence do I have of any of this? None. It’s based on my sense of smell. I once relied on that sense of smell when I told a Chicago Blackhawks coach that he was about to be fired and to ask him why he would want the job anyway. The PR guy standing nearby started yelling at me about how unfair that was of me. A few days later, well, you know what happened.
This is the agents’ season, the negotiation and renegotiation season. And if you think I’m calling them slimy, well, two things: 1) I am. 2) If they’d be interested in representing me, I’m here for them.
Sources around Watson have said he won’t play for the Houston Texans anymore. It’s like a moral thing because he was left out of the Texans’ coaching search. But then why is he willing to waive his no-trade clause for only three teams? If the Bears want him, does his moral opposition to the Texans disappear?
Aaron Rodgers didn’t even get through the post-game press conference after losing the NFC Championship Game before he started dropping hints that he’d be interested in leaving the Green Bay Packers. The next few days, sources said he wanted to go. What happened to that? Here’s a prediction: He’s going to sign a new deal with the Packers.
God bless sports agents. They truly know what they’re doing. They are creating this market. The other day, I wrote that the QB carousel everyone keeps talking about “was a myth from the start. It was part Ponzi Scheme, part shellgame.’’
The pressure is now building in cities where teams need a quarterback and where fans see superstars supposedly willing to come.
Bears general manager Ryan Pace has been given one last chance to land a real quarterback, something the Bears haven’t had in 70 years. The fans hear that Wilson is interested. Pace knows he’s not going to get him.
So now what? The story in Chicago suddenly is that the Bears still might end up with Nick Foles as their starting quarterback next year.
As a refresher, the Bears brought him in last year to save Pace’s and Nagy’s job in case quarterback Mitch Trubisky failed again. Foles is the mediocre quarterback who won the Super Bowl in Philadelphia.
When Trubisky did fail, Foles was made the starter. A few weeks later, Trubisky was starting again.
Look, there are only a handful of elite quarterbacks in the first place. Matt Stafford did want to leave the Detroit Lions — who wouldn’t? — so Detroit traded him to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and a few other things.
Maybe Watson really does want to leave. But I don’t see any other elite QBs leaving, which means that teams will want to hang on to their next-tier quarterbacks, like Las Vegas’ Derek Carr. Look for him to get a new contract.
This same game happens every year, but with Tom Brady’s move and Super Bowl win last year, this year’s QB carousel rumors exploded. In the end, mediocre quarterbacks like Marcus Mariota will be gobbled up by panicky general managers and be paid like stars. I’m talking about quarterbacks like. . .
Foles was just last year’s version of the type of quarterback that will be available to the Bears this year. There is no point in overpaying to bring in a new Foles when the current one is still under contract. It’s like turning in your iPhone 11 for an iPhone 12.
No Watson. No Wilson for the Bears. At this point, I’m not smelling it.