Seventeen days until the NFL draft…
1. With all of the back and forth over what happened in the thick of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade negotiations, it’s worth mentioning that the 49ers were engaged, on and off, in trade talks with the Giants involving him for a full year. They knew what the price would be, and as GM John Lynch said, having the second overall pick as their first-rounder complicated things a bit. (One potential solution that I heard involved a pick swap, with San Francisco and New York trading places in the first round. But obviously that never got too serious.)
2. A few people asked me why the Patriots were not one of the four teams who touched base with the Cardinals about Josh Rosen (in MMQB earlier today, those teams were the Redskins, Dolphins, Giants and Chargers). I’ll tell you I wouldn’t be surprised if New England does wind up calling Arizona, and I also wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t. My understanding is the Patriots didn’t love Rosen last year, but that was within the context of moving up to take him high in the first round (the Cardinals drafted Rosen with the No. 10 pick in 2018). Conversely, Bill Belichick loves the idea of buying low on players, and this could be an example of that—flipping a pick for a player with $6.24 million over three years left on his rookie deal, when his value is low—keeps me from ruling anything out.
3. I’m surprised that anyone would be surprised with how the Antonio Brown saga has dragged out, and continues to play out now—a month after he was traded. Pittsburgh is historically one of the most player-friendly environments in the NFL, routinely able to absorb even the biggest personalities and problem children. Guys love playing there. Alumni get treated like gold. My antennae goes up when a player wears out his welcome there, because usually that isn’t the end of the guy’s problems.
4. 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin tweeted on Monday that he’s gonna win the long jump at the 2020 Olympics—and he’s the rare player that teams actually have to take seriously when he says something like this.
He won two collegiate national championships in the long jump at Texas, and made the 2012 Olympic team with a jump that would’ve been good enough to win gold in London the following summer (he didn’t jump as well at the actual Olympics due to a hamstring injury). So will Goodwin try to make the team for Tokyo? He’ll have to work that out with his bosses first. The 2020 Games are scheduled to be held right in the teeth of training camp, and there’s nothing in Goodwin’s contract, I’m told, that would let him out of training camp to go. (I’m sort of hoping he finds a way to do it, though.)
5. Speaking of the Niners, coach Kyle Shanahan said the other day, “You can never have too [many] d-lineman.” And that especially goes for his defensive coordinator’s Seattle-style system, which is dependent on the front to generate heat on its own. Worth mentioning too that Robert Salah worked under Gus Bradley in both Seattle and Jacksonville. Joey Bosa now plays for Bradley in Los Angeles. Joey’s game is a lot like his little brother Nick’s. So it probably won’t be too tough for the 49ers to project what the younger Bosa will look like in their defense.
6. We mentioned in MMQB how the Colts’ lukewarm feelings on this year’s crop of receivers contributed to their decision to sign Devin Funchess. They aren’t the only team that’s skeptical about the 2019 draft class at that position. The good news? Well, someone pointed out to me this morning that next year looks pretty crazy at the position, with Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, Clemson’s Tee Higgins, Colorado’s Laviska Shenault and the Alabama trio of Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Devonta Smith all likely to be a part of the class.
7. The clock is ticking down in Seattle to Russell Wilson’s self-imposed deadline. And it’s worth mentioning again—this is a baseball agent wanting a baseball deal, which means lots of guarantees. That was said the last time around, of course. But this is different in that, at that point, Wilson still hadn’t a gotten set-for-life windfall as a pro athlete. Now that he has, it makes sense that he’s more willing to sit tight if a deal isn’t just what he wants.
8. As the Jets open their offseason program, Adam Gase will get his hands on his second team as a head coach for the first time. Since you’ll often hear coaches talk about what being fired taught them, I asked Gase what he’s taking for his first go-round, a three-year run with Miami.
“I mean, I just went through this process three years ago,” Gase says. “Now you walk in, you know what’s important, you know what’s not important, you know what you need to be involved in, you know what you don’t need to be involved in. You know what to give your coordinators. You know when to say, ‘You guys don’t need me for that.’ Everything moves a little quicker, and you feel like you spend your time on the most important things. That’s where the value of going through this three years ago pays off.”
9. While the Jets, Cardinals and Packers started their offseason practices today, the Bengals gave their guys another day and will kick of the program tomorrow—the last of eight teams with new coaches to get going. New coach Zac Taylor wanted to give his guys the weekend, plus an extra day to get back into town and situated for the spring. They’re going Tuesday-Friday this week, then will be Monday-Thursday the rest for the rest of the program. Taylor plans to set expectations for the team, and illustrate what the program will be about tomorrow morning, when he gets his players en masse for the first time.
10. Just to update, six of the 12 guys I had on my AAF watch list have signed with an NFL team: QB Garrett Gilbert (Cleveland), CB Keith Reaser (Kansas City), S Derron Smith (Minnesota), WR Rashad Ross (Arizona), DE Jayrone Elliott (Miami) and DE Damontre Moore (San Francisco). QB John Wolford, another name on the list, will work for the Vikings on Thursday. The other five: RB Zac Stacy, WR Charles Johnson, WR Jalin Marshall, DE Karter Schult and NT Mike Purcell.
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