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  • Plus, notes on Burfict’s release, Fitzpatrick’s fit in Miami, Tannehill landing in Nashville, Ngata’s Hall of Fame chances and Johnny Manziel’s AAF arrival.
By Albert Breer
March 18, 2019

We’re officially one week into the 2019 League Year. Let’s dig through some more rubble …

1. Teams are still in the dark on the availability of Cardinals QB Josh Rosen. But I’m told that’s not stopping them from getting their ducks in a row, with guys who’ve worked with Rosen over the last few years fielding phone calls and having discussions with intrigued teams gathering background. If you want to see the real-life application of the perception that Kyler Murray is Arizona-bound, there you have it.

2. If you want the numbers on why Jabrill Peppers vs. Landon Collins worked for the Giants, consider this: They have Peppers for about $3.3 million for the next two years, and hold a 2021 option on him that will likely come in around $7 million. That adds up less than the $11.15 million it would’ve cost them to tag Collins for 2019 alone. It’s also worth mentioning that Peppers played in the “Viper” position in Michigan’s defense as a collegian, a kind of safety/linebacker hybrid that’s not unlike the role the Giants saw Collins in.

3. Ryan Fitzpatrick’s background in a wide array of offenses, and in Bill O’Brien’s scheme in 2014, makes him a good fit for Year 1 of the Chris Grier/Brian Flores Era in Miami. The Dolphins needed a guy who could not just hold the fort, but help teach the younger guys, and they got that in Fitzpatrick. And Fitz’s presence helps them maintain flexibility to draft a quarterback this year or, if they see fit, wait until next year.

4. The news out there (via Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald) that the Dolphins are willing to eat salary to get a return for Robert Quinn should get more attention than it has, because they did in the case of Ryan Tannehill as well. You could view it as buying draft picks, like the Browns did in a different way, when they took on Brock Osweiler’s contract. For a rebuilding team, that’s a sharp way of using cap space that otherwise might go unoccupied.

5. Also, a good, low-risk move by the Titans to bring in Tannehill for a Day 3 pick and swap of picks at the bottom of the draft, plus $2 million. Durability questions have hovered around Marcus Mariota since his days at Oregon, which is why there is still some doubt on whether he’s Tennessee’s long-term answer. Tannehill, at the very least, can come in and be a more effective pinch-hitter than Blaine Gabbert. And he should push Mariota too. No matter how all that plays out, the Titans have big decisions to make—the team has a grand total of zero quarterbacks under contract for 2020.

6. Johnny Manziel is getting a good opportunity in the AAF, and walks through the door that Christian Hackenberg’s problems opened for the Memphis Express. But just talking to people working for teams there, no one is under the illusion that this is a football-first move. It’s about drawing eyeballs. And I’ll raise my hand here, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t more likely to tune into an AAF game Manziel is playing in than one he’s not a part of.

7. The decision on Vontaze Burfict for the Bengals’ new staff was pretty simple, and relates back to the sliding scale all pain-in-the-rear-end players live on. As his play slipped—and the coaches do feel he’s lost a step (maybe two)—his problems started to outweigh his performance. So he’s gone, and everyone would be correct to look at Oakland. Raiders DC Paul Guenther has forever been a big advocate and staunch defender of Burfict’s, and linebacker is a big need for Jon Gruden’s crew.

8. If I had to guess right now, I’d say the Cardinals take Kyler Murray first, and the 49ers waste no time grabbing Nick Bosa with the second pick. And the likelihood of that scenario coming to life means the Jets are rooting hard for the rest of the quarterbacks in the class to catch fire. Related: Dwayne Haskins’s pro day is Wednesday in Columbus.

9. The Redskins move to take care of Adrian Peterson early—signing him to a two-year, $8 million deal on Monday—was largely prompted by other teams’ interest in him. Which is amazing considering where he was at this time a year ago. This year, both the Bears and Jaguars were in it before Peterson decided to go back to DC.

10. It’s hard to find a better way to announce a retirement than what Haloti Ngata pulled off on Monday morning: posting a picture of himself holding a flag atop Mount Kilimanjaro. I’m not a Hall of Fame voter, and I try to be sparing with calling guys future Hall of Famers, but Ngata should be a serious consideration in five years. Really, he helped anchor a generation of great defenses in Baltimore, along with Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, 2019 inductee Ed Reed and Terrell Suggs, another potential HOFer. If all four get in, by the way, that would be more than the ’86 Bears defense had inducted (Dan Hampton, Richard Dent and Mike Singeltary are the three from that group), which says a lot about the job Ozzie Newsome did building those teams.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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