By Paul Wanecski
Adam Schefter makes things up for a living. Alright, perhaps that was a little harsh. Adam Schefter takes his opinions, mixes them with “sources” (wouldn’t we all love a job where we can just say whatever you want and then just say you heard it from somewhere else), then spits interviews and flexes his Twitter muscles all in the name of giving you the information first. Remember the Patriots saying they want a first and fourth round pick for Jimmy Garoppolo? They never said that. Schefter admitted, when pressed for detail, that he thinks that is what they will get; he went so far as to say it was a “promise” the Patriots would get at least a 1st round selection for the back-up Quarterback. With as badly as I would like every tweet of his to go unread, he is not wrong in saying the Buffalo Bills will move on from incumbent Quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Where does that leave Buffalo? Let’s examine trade partners or free agents.
Phillip Rivers – This is only here because I have heard this so often. Rivers has a no-trade clause in his contract and if he is hesitant to relocate his family if the Chargers are, in fact, leaving San Diego, I can’t imagine where he says that Buffalo is the place to go. Given the circumstances and roster, Denver makes more sense, but again, unlikely.
Kirk Cousins – Washington should place the Non-Exclusive Franchise tag on Cousins, which allows him to negotiate with other teams. If Washington refuses to match the offered contract, they receive two first round selections as compensation. The Non-Exclusive tag means that Cousin’s will be in line for $24 million dollars next season on a one-year deal. Will Cousin’s make more if he is offered a longer term deal somewhere else? With a signing bonus and base salary, yes he would, since he would receive his signing bonus right away.
Jay Cutler – Chicago might be just cut ties with Cutler, as it would actually save them $14 million in salary cap space. Cutler’s current contract for the next two years is actually rather affordable, but his base salary skyrockets in 2019 and 2020, however, those are all years that he can be released with no cost. None of his salary is guaranteed at this point. Cutler has been the definition of average during his NFL career (see his breakdown here)
Tony Romo – Romo has a massive contract but as is the standard with Jerry Jones, it is loaded with signing bonus money. Dallas would actually have to eat $19.6m if they can find a trade partner for him, which does save them $5.1 in 2017. That number is the same regardless if they trade or release him, but obviously, they would like to get something for the veteran starter (see his breakdown here)
Andy Dalton – As Marvin Lewis goes, so will Andy Dalton. The Bengals could save nearly $11m in 2017 if they decide to trade Dalton, who has just as many flashes of great play as he does head-scratching performances. He is currently signed through 2020 at a very reasonable starting salary (if traded, his cap number would be: 2017- $13.3m, 2018-$13.9m, 2019- $16.2m, 2020 - $17.7m). Dalton is currently 29 and if the Bengals determine his better years have passed him by, they will look to move on. The Bengals are an aging team that has missed in adding young talent.
AJ McCarron - McCarron will be a possible trade target too. He is 26 years old and entering the last year of his contract that gives him, if traded, a salary cap figure of $690,000. While in college, Nick Saban raved about how McCarron would call audibles, line-protection changes and was a confident leader, tools not typically given to college quarterbacks. Looking at his stat line from 2015, he completed 66.4%of his passes, a 3:1 touchdown to inception ratio and had a 97.1 QB rating. His 12 sacks in seven games is a touch alarming seeing as though he only had 145 drop-backs (that’s a sack rate of 8%), but given where the Bills are, Taylor’s sack rate was almost 9% in 2016. Only Colin Kaepernick was worse in 2016 than Taylor, as Kaepernick was at 10%. McCarrron’s number, as small a sample size as it is, still has more positive than negative. Expect the Bengals to try and get something out of the former 5th round selection in McCarron.
Napoleon Dynamite..um...I mean... Mike Glennon – Tampa Bay missed a great chance to get value for Glennon, who will now leave via free agency. Many will forget how rough Glennon actually was in 2013, fumbling seven times (losing four), 40 sacks, and attempting 416 passes, yet only throwing for 2608 yards. He is going to make a decent amount, but should not get the huge contract the Brock Osweiler signed this last offseason. Hitching your wagon to Glennon as your starter is risky.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Let’s not forget that if the team that has smoked you inside the division is willing to take your 10th overall pick to give you a quarterback, it is probably not something you want to do. Bill Polian said that Garoppolo was the best quarterback in that draft class. Given the success the Patriots have had playing musical chairs at quarterback, tread carefully.
Mark Sanchez – haha, just kidding.
Brett Hundley – Green Bay is in running back trouble in a big way. They picked up Christine Michael off of waivers, James Starks is showing seriously signs of age and Eddie Lacy is a free agent. Mike McCarthy is not known for loving rookies at skill positions and could look to add a 3rd down back via trade. Hundley was a bargain when drafted. He has a pretty quick release and showed last preseason that he could fit passes into tight windows.
Blake Bortles – New coach, maybe a new Quarterback? Having never completed more than 58.9% of his passes, Bortles showed strides this year taking 17 less sacks this year compared to 2015, impressive considering the Jaguars had no rushing attack. He did throw for 12 less touchdowns as well, but again, Jacksonville was terrible this year. Bortles clearly has some holes in his game, however, the team gains $3.2m in salary cap space for a player they didn’t pick up the 5th year option on if they are able to trade him.