We’re just around 200 days from the next regular season NFL football Sunday. You can do it, my friends.
Until then, Bullets …
- Finding trade fits for quarterbacks this time of year can be an exercise in futility (albeit fun futility). Yet, because there is so much expected quarterback movement on the horizon, it’s reasonable to match a team with any number of potentially available signal callers. For example, SB Nation’s Bengals site lines up the Bears as a fit for quarterback A.J. McCarron. The Bears have a need and the Bengals have a perceived surplus with McCarron backing up Andy Dalton – and nearing the end of his rookie contract, are a team that could be looking to use the the current market to sell high. However, it’s possible an asking price of the Bears’ second-round pick could be a deal-breaker considering his experience. We’ve discussed McCarron here before, if you missed it.
- Speaking of potential trade fits, a panel of six experts took to NFL.com to discuss Jay Cutler’s future in the wake of the news of Cutler’s impending departure. A pair of pundits opined that the Jets represented an ideal fit for Cutler based on New York’s need, a prior relationship with quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates, and head coach Todd Bowles’ need to put a winning product on the field in 2017. A reunion with a Shanahan (in this case, Kyle) in San Francisco isn’t out of the realm of possibility, though one writer offers up the thought that Cutler might not be a viable solution for any team on the quarterback market. Again, Cutler will have options should he so choose, though, they might not be as attractive for his age 34 season.
- Over at CSN Chicago, Chris Boden writes about the decisions the Bears have made (and will make) with regard to the futures of two players who were key cogs in their offense a few years ago – Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery. Boden tries to find a buyer who would be in the market for Cutler, running through the Browns, Rams, 49ers, Bills, Cardinals, Texans, Broncos, and Dolphins as potential suitors. Each team would have its reasons for inquiring – or even adding – Cutler to the mix, but there are too many factors to find a concrete landing spot.
- As for Jeffery, Boden writes “all is quiet on the franchise tag front.” There hasn’t been much on the public radar as far as potential extension talks between GM Ryan Pace and Jeffery’s representation. Of course, the Bears didn’t slap the franchise tag on Jeffery until the day before the deadline, so it’s not as if a decision needs to be rushed. And the Bears aren’t the only team with tight lips on the franchise front, with the the Chiefs (Eric Berry, Dontari Poe) and Redskins (Kirk Cousins) are among teams with players who could be tagged, but haven’t been – yet. And even when that decision is made publicly, it would be just the first domino to fall this offseason. Franchise decisions are due by 3pm CT on March 1, which is just three days away.
- For what it’s worth, Matt Eurich of 247Sports notes that Jeffery is staying local this offseason, deciding to workout in Chicago this winter. Jeffery has opted to skip town for offseason training in prior years, but seems to have a laser focus this offseason.
- Add the Bills to the potential list of suitors if Jeffery makes it to free agency. Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News writes that the Bills could seek help at receiver via the free agent market and lists Jeffery as a possible target.
- And we can’t discount the Eagles, even if it doesn’t look probable because of Philadelphia’s cap situation. ESPN’s Tim McManus talks to network teammate Matt Bowen, who believes Jeffery would fit well with quarterback Carson Wentz as he settles into his second year as a starter.
- NFL Network’s Peter Schrager discusses why there has been no consensus about the quarterback position in the draft this deep into the offseason. The NFL Combine is this week, yet you can make a case for any one of Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, or Patrick Mahomes to be the position’s top prospect. Each of the top-rated quarterbacks in this class each has a certain amount of skills that intrigue NFL talent evaluators and fans alike, but the notable flaws understandably give reason to pump the breaks on anointing a consensus top quarterback. Perhaps someone will break out from the pack (Kizer is Schrager’s guy, and he’s got some good tools) at the Combine, but teams should be wary about falling in love with a workout champion whose skills might not directly translate to the playing field.
- Over at Pro Football Focus, the third in a series focusing on which players had the most success on different routes turns to quarterbacks. Eliot Crist breaks down which quarterbacks were the best passing to each route type in 2016, and the list features a ton of familiar names with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan each making multiple appearances. What you won’t find here is a Bears quarterback, which isn’t surprising. And Kirk Cousins is the only one who could be available in free agency.
- None of this is surprising when considering how difficult it can be to find an elite quarterback.
- Moving around the NFC North, Tim Twentyman writes Lions president Rod Wood has had a busy first year-and-a-half on the job. Between Detroit’s on-the-field success and re-branding efforts that featured the addition of cheerleaders in 2016 and a new jersey rollout in 2017, Wood has put his stamp on the Lions in the first 400+ days of his term.