The Jimmy Garoppolo trade impacted Kirk Cousins and his future after the 2017 season.
1. The Garoppolo trade wasn’t great news for Kirk Cousins, especially since Jared Goff’s play has taken the Rams as a potential 2018 destination off the table. That means both Cousins’ ex-coordinators—Shanahan in San Francisco and Sean McVay in Los Angeles—are highly unlikely to pursue him. That said, Cousins’ value is still unique to the market, since he’s both experienced enough to be the answer for a win-now team like Jacksonville, and young enough for a team that’s a year or two away, like the Jets, to build around.
2. The Panthers’ decision to deal off Kelvin Benjamin was an idea that came up on the fly—Buffalo initiated the discussion. But once the Carolina brass started to think on it, and weigh their need to get faster, it made sense. Over the first half of the season, the Panthers have seen a ton of press against Benjamin and Devin Funchess, supersized receivers drafted to give Cam Newton big targets down the field on broken plays. It’s led to sacks and turnovers, and the realization that they needed a spark like the move from crafty veteran Jason Avant to speedy rookie Philly Brown gave them in 2014. Funchess will now move to his natural position, the X, and the swift Curtis Samuel and Kaelin Clay will get more snaps, as will Damiere Byrd, who’s run a 4.29, when he comes off IR.
3. As for the Bills side of this, I’ll say that the relationship between the GMs—Brandon Beane and Marty Hurney worked together for over a decade in Carolina—helped facilitate the transaction, because Beane could trust what the Panthers were telling him. Despite all the hubbub over his weight, Benjamin has stayed within a four-pound range (242-246) since the beginning of training camp, and was a good soldier otherwise this year for Carolina.
4. Bengals QB AJ McCarron’s chance to finish out the final year of his rookie contract as a starter has gone by the boards now, and that’s a shame, because he and Browns coach Hue Jackson have a great rapport—Jackson was a major advocate of McCarron prior to the 2014 draft. And McCarron has more experience playing for Jackson than any quarterback on Cleveland’s roster.
5. The line you should pay attention to in Browns EVP Sashi Brown’s statement on Josh Gordon’s conditional reinstatement: “Josh will be in our building in the coming days and we look forward to having him back and sitting with him to discuss his future with our team.”
6. Monday was the first night where you couldn’t point anywhere but at the quarterback to explain the Broncos’ problems, and Vance Joseph’s decision to pull Trevor Siemian makes sense. Still, this really isn’t about Siemian or even Brock Osweiler. It’s about Paxton Lynch’s failure to this point—and yes, he’s hurt now—to win the job outright. And that’s highlighted, again, by Joseph saying Wednesday that job is Osweiler’s as long as he “plays well.”
7. The Rams come off their bye with a trip to the Meadowlands on Sunday. The “1” in the 4-1 run they’re on may have done more to instill confidence than the “4” has. Why? Well, the Rams have beaten the Seahawks in the past, but often there were fluky elements to those games. On Oct. 8, it was the opposite. They may have lost, but they felt like they took it to big, bad Seattle. And two convincing wins followed.
8. Should be interesting to see what kind of adjustments the Packers made offensively to accommodate Brett Hundley coming out of their bye. If you want examples of what can be done, we’ve seen the Texans effectively adjust to Deshaun Watson, and new Rams coach Sean McVay do certain things to make his offense work for Jared Goff.
9. Smart of the Patriots to do a three-year deal with Brian Hoyer. That basically buys them flexibility not to force a draft pick on a quarterback if they don’t want to in 2018 or ’19. I’d still expect them to strongly consider taking one, though, after trading Garoppolo and 2016 third-rounder Jacoby Brissett over the past two months.
10. So why did the Jaguars move on Marcell Dareus? The presence of head coach Doug Marrone and assistant defensive line coach Jason Rebrovich—Dareus had his best seasons in Buffalo with those two was a factor. But a bigger one was that the Jags front, which has been a nightmare for opposing offenses, needed a run stuffer and another layer of depth, and Dareus gives them that.