I am scrambling to find paczkis for Fat Tuesday. Usually, I’m all over the pre-orders. But this year, Paczki Day/Fat Tuesday snuck up on me like it was nobody’s business. If any one has suggestions for a Lincoln Square resident like myself, ping me on Twitter.
Bears Overlap with Steelers
As the Pittsburgh Steelers continue their search to replace GM Kevin Colbert, I’ve been following along closely. Not because of any potential implications for the Bears — who filled their GM vacancy in January, mind you. Instead, because I see Pittsburgh as something close to a model organization. Or, at least, the type of organization the Bears should strive to become (the Rooneys are the blueprint for what a family-owned NFL franchise should be. Full stop.). And so I found it interesting to see how much crossover there has been between the Bears Steelers interviewees.
Take a look for yourself:
Steelers GM interviews so far:
🏈Colts Morocco Brown
🏈49ers Ran Carthon
🏈Titans Ryan Cowden
🏈Colts Ed Dodds
🏈Ravens Joe Hortiz
🏈Pitt Brandon Hunt
🏈Pitt Omar Khan
🏈Panthers Dan Morgan
🏈Bucs John Spytek
🏈Eagles Andy Weidl
🏈Packers John Wojciechowski
🏈Chargers JoJo Wooden
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 26, 2022
Unsurprisingly, teams around the league have eyes for the same hot candidates. But the Steelers, in particular, have spoken with a handful of potential GMs with whom the Bears had discussions. Was Chicago’s process tedious? Sure. But was it thorough, as is the case with the Steelers? YUP.
The Bears had interviews with Morocco Brown, Ran Carthon, Ed Dodds, and Omar Khan. They were scheduled to have an interview with JoJo Wooden. And Joe Horitz was a name that briefly came onto the radar, but an interview was never officially set up. Ultimately, we’re looking at 4-6 names when it comes to the crossover. And if you’re sharing common names with the Steelers, I feel like you’re doing something right.
Poles Almost Wound Up in NY
Circling back, seeing this many names on a wish list makes me wonder if Pittsburgh is about to entertain an organizational restructuring at the top with two of these candidates leading the charge. It isn’t a far-fetched idea. In fact, in the case of the New York Giants, it was something they were trying to do. And with someone Bears fans know quite well:
.@JordanRaanan on why Joe Schoen stood out more than the rest when hired and if Ryan Poles didn’t get another GM job, there’s a chance he would be the Giants Assistant GM 👀👀 pic.twitter.com/KcxNjPcqEE
— Talkin’ Giants (@TalkinGiants) February 22, 2022
In a recent podcast about the New York Football Giants, reporter Jordan Raanan notes that in addition to hiring Joe Schoen (who also interviewed for the Bears GM gig) in January — the Giants were also aiming to hire Ryan Poles. Yes, that Ryan Poles. Our Ryan Poles. The same Ryan Poles who Chicago made its general manager back on Jan. 25.
And that caught my attention.
Generally speaking, the Schoen hire was widely applauded (frankly, the same can be said about Poles). Putting them both in the same front office? That would’ve been a home run for the Giants. Even without knowing what could happen down the road, re-shaping your front office with two top candidates makes for good process (even if the result is unknown). And who knows where that would’ve left the Bears. It all makes for a fascinating web of tangled football, to say the least.
Of course, it didn’t happen because the Bears hired Poles and gave him the top job. And shortly after that, Poles brought in an assistant general manger of his own when hiring Ian Cunningham. Again, time will tell how good these hires turned out to be. But re-vamping the front office with two new sets of eyes — one of which comes in the form of someone in a newly created position — feels like a step toward progress for the Bears.
OT Rule Change Banter is Coming
The Colts submitted a proposal to guarantee each team of at least one possession in overtime, both in regular season and postseason games, source says. But, again, it will need 24 votes to pass and that's a significant task.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) February 28, 2022
The Latest in the Aaron Rodgers Saga
After the 2021 offseason left us reading tea leaves trying to figure out what was going on with the Packers QB, Rodgers is being a more accessible, forward facing person this offseason. Then again, you have to be when your decision will ultimately impact your team, current (and future) teammates, the NFC North, and the entire conference altogether. With that being said, Rodgers could leverage this and cash out in a big way.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini delivers the shot:
She reported this morning an update on a when Aaron Rodgers could make a decision on his playing future and @diannaESPN joined us to explain what she's heard on the matter:#NFL #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/hLC5CMIVlc
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) February 24, 2022
… while Rodgers pulls up with the chaser:
Narratives have gone unchecked for a very LONG time.. I reached AHT to @AaronRodgers12 this morning & asked if he wants to be the highest paid NFL player by a large margin…
— WrestleMania Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 25, 2022
Rodgers calls it “categorically false” that he wants to be paid as the league’s highest player. A deal that could be worth $50 million per year would be totally bonkers. But when you win back-to-back MVP trophies, then I suppose you can make a case for such a demand. After all, asking for $50 million isn’t all that outlandish when your cap number is already north of $46 million. What’s a few more dollars to make it an even $50 million?
These QB contracts have been skyrocketing since Derek Carr became the NFL’s first player to land a contract that paid him $25 million per year. Ahh … those were the days.
• The Packers are going international. And frankly, I wouldn’t shed a tear if they lost their passports and were stuck in London forever:
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) February 28, 2022
Leaving Rodgers and Davante Adams off the graphic is either a wink-and-a-nod that is rooted in an epic troll job, a slight oversight, or a sign of things to come.
• Because the Packers just seem to be all over the news cycle today:
#Packers Mark Murphy says Green Bay is one of three finalists to host 2024 NFL Draft. It’s between GB, Detroit and Washington, DC. They expect to hear by league meetings at end of March at the latest.
— Rachel Hopmayer (@rachelhopmayer) February 28, 2022
The Packers were hoping to snag the 2022 NFL Draft, but that never came to fruition. But that isn’t stopping the team from angling to get a different draft. Having been to Lambeau Field recently on a visit, I’d venture to say that there is enough open space to host the draft weekend activities. But for people who aren’t in a position to take a 3-hour, 7-minute road trip up the highway, I doubt Green Bay is high on the list of ideal places to host the draft.
Also … what has the Washington Football Organization done to merit hosting an upcoming NFL Draft? Considering the franchise’s many off-the-field missteps, the last thing I’d be doing as a league is rewarding Daniel Snyder with anything.
• What the what?
Before the Brian Flores lawsuit was filed, the Dolphins had planned to attempt to finagle a Sean Payton/Tom Brady package deal for 2022. https://t.co/37l1Aq1tiH
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 28, 2022
• Another Tom Brady nugget:
Brady was scheduled to get a deferred $15 million bonus paid in February, and his contract allowed for Bucs to ask for $16 million to be repaid if he retired. Looks like neither of those will go through, essentially a wash. Huge help for Bucs from a cap standpoint down the road.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 28, 2022
• Kyler Murray is being real extra right now:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2022
This feels like a bold attempt to win over the court of public opinion. To that end, kudos to Murray’s agent for waging that battle. Unfortunately, the vibes withe he message above is that this could get worse before it gets better. Maybe I’m reading in between the lines too much, but that statement is a sentence away from essentially declaring that Murray would threaten not playing in 2022 if his contract demands aren’t met. Perhaps that is me taking a leap. And that might be the case. But it feels like there is something brewing underneath the surface that needs to be put to rest before these two sides come to an agreement.
• Say it with your chest, Kyler:
Damn, Kyler. Tell ‘em how you really feel. pic.twitter.com/IKxe8MYHc1
— Funky Cold Luda (@lcm1986) February 28, 2022
• Tag SZN is coming:
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) February 28, 2022
• With Doug Pederson (Jags) and Josh McDaniels (Raiders) leading their respective teams as Year 1 coaches, this will be far less chaotic than had it been Urban Meyer and Jon Gruden meeting up in Canton, Ohio:
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 28, 2022
• What took you so long?
Beginning in the 2023 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be bringing back their creamsicle colors, their original orange and white uniforms for Throwback Games, as they did from 2009-2012.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 28, 2022
• Glad I’m not alone in gearing up for the Combine:
— Tyke Tolbert (@CoachTykeT3) February 28, 2022