Plus, Jameis Winston’s poor choice of words, Deshaun Watson’s accomplishments, and one more reason Pittsburgh needs James Harrison
The date was February 21, 2017, a Tuesday, and The MMQB’s editorial team was having its weekly editorial meeting when Mark Mravic, executive editor, presented an idea: Bring back an old favorite, the “10 Things I Think I Think” column, for the offseason, as a way to round up the news.
There was a lot happening in the league, despite it being the middle of February. Darrelle Revis was getting arrested, Jimmy Garoppolo was apparently on the trade block, the combine was a week away. Everyone agreed it was a good idea, or at least tacitly agreed by not responding.
That was my take. I attended the meeting because I live in New York, where The MMQB is headquartered, and because I wanted to discuss my upcoming assignments. I also happened to be the only reporter not named Peter King in the room. Matt Gagne, another MMQB editor, the keeper of the schedule, noticed.
“Great, Tim will do the first one. You know why? Because you’re the only reporter here.”
That’s how I came to be writing this column today, so let’s get to the news…
1. The Patriots are reportedly willing to move Jimmy Garoppolo if they get the right offer. I think they should deal Garoppolo, if they can get back a first round pick. As Peter King pointed out, Tom Brady has played in 141 of the Patriots’ last 145 games—Deflategate being the only thing keeping him off the field. Brady says he’s going to play another 3-5 years, and there’s no reason not to believe him. Why not add a game-changing defensive player in the draft, one who could help Brady win another title or two? I know it’s difficult finding a good quarterback, but while you have the best one of all time still under center, why not maximize your chances of winning?
2. I think the Garoppolo sweepstakes will play out like the race to get to the top of the 2017 draft. The demand for a quarterback is so high that a year ago two teams traded to the top of the draft (the Rams to get Jared Goff, Philadelphia for Carson Wentz). A bunch of quarterback-needy teams are drafting high in this draft, too. The Patriots will play those teams against each other and drive up the price. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes the market for Garoppolo will be a second-round pick. I wouldn’t be surprised if a team ends up giving up a first. Garoppolo may be more of a sure thing than any of the quarterbacks in the draft. The Browns have the ultimate trump card, too—the No. 1 overall pick—and I don't think it'd be that crazy to trade it for a franchise QB.
3. If the Bears cut Jay Cutler, I think the Jets should sign him. *ducks*
This would be mostly for our collective amusement. I know Cutler isn’t the best locker room guy. I know he and Brandon Marshall didn’t end on good terms. But just imagine the weekly tabloid headlines, Cutler gallivanting about town. Watching Cutler throw to Marshall and Eric Decker and hand off to Matt Forte would be highly entertaining, too. This move also screams Jets. Cutler is basically a 2017 Joe Namath, no? Just call him Broadway Jay.
4. James Harrison turns 39 in May. The average age of the rest of the linebackers on the Steelers roster is about 25 years old. But seeing Harrison interact with the Steelers’ younger players, I think he’s definitely worth bringing back for another year, no matter what kind of production he will provide. Everyone in that locker room reveres Harrison, respects him, looks up to him. And judging by his Instagram account, he’s the hardest worker on the team.
Perhaps most importantly, Harrison also seems to have the respect of Antonio Brown, the Steelers’ star receiver whose locker is a few feet from Harrison’s. Just look at the back of the folding chair at Harrison’s locker as proof. A few years ago, Harrison and Brown started a tradition where, each year, they would both autograph the chair. I once asked Harrison about it, and he essentially said it was just for fun. But the point is: Harrison is the type of leader who can command respect from anyone in the room—and keep them on track.
5a. During Super Bowl week, I spent seven hours one night riding shotgun while shadowing an Uber driver desperate to make money, picking up drunk customers heading to parties. We made 14 rides over the course of seven hours of work. Only one person tipped the driver. This is a public service announcement: There is no tip included in your Uber fare. I think people should start taking the initiative to tip your Uber drivers.
5b. Also on the subject of Uber, I think these sexual harassment accusations against Uber are appalling and need to be taken seriously.
6. I think this Jerry Brewer breakdown of the Bruce Allen-Scot McCloughan dynamic in the Washington Post is definitely worth your time. It’s a reminder of how messy it can get when decision makers get greedy and want credit for their individual contributions. Imagine if the Washington football team had actually won a playoff game these last two years.
7. Here is a list of programs Deshaun Watson has beaten over the last two years: Louisville, Notre Dame, Florida State, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and Nick Saban’s Alabama Crimson Tide in the national title game. He’s a proven clutch performer, he’s probably the most tested quarterback in this year’s draft class, and while others will pass, he’s still fully participating in the combine. I think that says a lot about Watson.
• DESHAUN WATSON, ACCORDING TO NFL MINDS: Our panel of NFL quarterbacking experts—long-time coach Mike Shanahan, Browns QB Josh McCown, and retired star Randall Cunningham—share what they see in Watson.
8. If you’re the person who stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl 51 jersey, congratulations: the police just valued the jersey at $500,000. My question is, if you’re in possession of that jersey, what’s your next move? Do you try selling it on the black market and risk being found? Do you return the jersey and hope Brady is so overcome with joy that he gives you some signed memorabilia in exchange? This is the standard transaction that takes place in baseball, when a fan catches a ball for a momentous home run. Dan Barry, of the New York Times, had a funny riff on the situation. My take? I think the thief should store the jersey in a box and bury it next to a stone fence, underneath a tree, in a hayfield in Buxton, Maine, until jersey-gate all blows over. Then retrieve it one day and head for a coastal town in Mexico.
9. I think, for the sake of clarity, the league needs to do something in the Joe Mixon situation. First I should say: Mixon striking that woman was reprehensible, unforgivable—I think we can all agree on that. But the question becomes, should Mixon get a second chance? And what does that look like? Ever since the Ray Rice incident, I think that’s the one area that the league hasn’t properly addressed. Maybe the league should devise some sort of committee that reviews incoming prospects with character concerns. The committee would review the player’s case and maybe recommend conditions under which the player can enter the league. Maybe the player is required to complete an anger management course. Maybe the player is placed under some sort of probation for a certain period of time. Maybe the player is assigned a mentor, a former NFL Man of the Year, or a counselor, who he is required to check in with. Maybe then an NFL team would give guys like Mixon a true second chance. By staying quiet and not inviting Mixon to the combine, the league is indicating to all 32 teams that they can draft Mixon but at their own peril, and they will receive no support from the league.
10. I think someone needs to have a chat with Jameis Winston, after he made what appeared to be an inappropriate comment while speaking to an elementary school classroom earlier this week. Winston empowered the boys in the room, telling them they were “strong,” and that they’d accomplish anything they wanted in life, then adding “but the ladies, they’re supposed to be silent, polite, gentle.” Twitter immediately jumped on Winston for the word “silent,” in particular, and Winston later said that he used poor word choice. The word “silent” is bad, but this goes beyond that. Speech like this basically implies that men and women are not equal and are defined by these gender roles, and Winston is saying all of this to elementary school students. According to the Tampa Bay Times, one girl in the class turned to a teacher and said, “I’m strong too.”
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