On Monday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Packers are preparing a new short-term contract for Aaron Rodgers should the two-time reigning MVP decide to stay in Green Bay.
Rodgers, of course, is the biggest domino of this offseason. And I want him to get his money from the Packers. How about a two-year deal worth $50 million per season? He’s more than earned that kind of record-breaking dough. Same story with Davante Adams. Green Bay should rightfully make him the richest receiver in the league. Pay the men, Pack! That’s the clear antidote to another offseason of high drama in Titletown. No-brainer stuff to me, really.
Of course, Green Bay isn’t the only NFL locale with critical decisions looming in the coming months. It’s team-building season. And surprise surprise … I have takes!
Here is what I’d like to see this offseason, Schein Nine style.
1) Seahawks trade Russell Wilson
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Seattle finishing in the divisional cellar for the first time in a quarter century was not a fluke. The Seahawks had the worst offense and defense in the NFL’s best division; no wonder they were the only team with a losing record. The days of these ‘Hawks churning out double-digit wins as an annual Super Bowl threat are over. And despite posting the worst mark of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider era (7-10), they don’t even get the benefit of a high first-round pick because of the ill-fated Jamal Adams deal. Time to reset and restock the draft coffers by trading the franchise quarterback.
Yes, I called for this bold action in this space almost exactly one year ago. That came shortly after Wilson publicly aired his grievances with the franchise and Wilson’s agent publicly revealed four preferred trade destinations. Seeing how Wilson went on to experience his most disappointing professional season while the Seahawks never even sniffed a winning record beyond September, it’s a move that should have been made. Now, one year later, the ‘Hawks still have the worst roster in the NFC West, with or without Wilson on it. Don’t make the same mistake for a second consecutive year. It’s time for a change.
Wilson will always be entrenched as a Seattle legend. The Seahawks should let him go somewhere else to try and win, while simultaneously securing the exorbitant draft currency that a 33-year-old franchise quarterback demands in a trade. It’s win-win for a player-team pairing that brought Seattle immense joy over the past decade.
2) Giants trade Saquon Barkley
Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll taking over as the Giants’ new general manager and head coach, respectively, is the best news this franchise has had in a decade. Hyperbole? Well, considering Big Blue played in one postseason game in that span — a 38-13 loss to the Packers — you can’t really say I’m exaggerating.
The Dave Gettleman era mercifully came to an end in January, but the former general manager’s fingerprints remain all over this highly flawed roster. And nothing represents his dated approach to team-building more emphatically than when he inexplicably spent the No. 2 overall pick on a running back. Barkley can’t stay healthy and he just isn’t the dynamic threat he used to be. He represents the past, something this proud franchise needs to move beyond. Who cares about what you get back in return? Saquon’s a sunk cost. Just turn the page.
3) Cardinals don’t extend Kyler Murray
The statement released by Murray’s agent on Monday was cringeworthy — and not just because of the tiny-font/all-caps approach. Publicly begging — nay demanding — Arizona pay Murray after three years is a wild strategy. Not mentioned in the statement: Murray collapsing down the stretch in each of the last two years, his 1-6 record against the Rams, his 2-6 record in prime-time games.
Look, Murray’s obviously an enticing young talent, with a Rookie of the Year award and two Pro Bowl nods already on his résumé. He’s put up some strong numbers with his arm and legs. But consistency is an issue, as is maturity. Scrubbing the Cardinals from his social media accounts felt like the actions of a petulant middle schooler. And now, with two years left on his rookie contract, he wants to be immediately compensated as an established face-of-the-game type? It doesn’t add up. How about he delivers in a big spot first? How about he prevents the Cardinals from backsliding into the winter?
4) Raiders do extend Derek Carr
There are two types of teams in the NFL: Those that have a quarterback and those that don’t. The Raiders have one, a great one. I’ve argued this for years, and the man just continues to make me look smart. Carr’s fresh off a season where he dragged the Raiders to the playoffs despite unprecedented adversity for the franchise, setting a personal high along the way with 4,804 yards passing. With one year left on Carr’s current contract, Las Vegas needs to lock up the 30-year-old for the foreseeable future.
Josh McDaniels was hired for his quarterback/offensive acumen. He’s a true guru and can take Carr to a new level. That’s exciting — and something that didn’t exist with Jon Gruden, who never gave Carr the support he earned. The haters have been wrong about Carr all along. Now it’s on the Raiders to provide the full commitment a true franchise quarterback deserves.
5) Bengals bring in a new offensive line
Like, a totally new line. Don’t just tinker; give me the EXTREME makeover. It’s just too important for the coming season — shoot, the coming decade — of Bengals football.
Coming off its first Super Bowl appearance in 33 years, Cincinnati could become a truly consistent contender behind a truly special quarterback. But the Bengals have to keep the franchise’s golden ticket upright. Joe Burrow took a whopping 70 sacks last season, including seven in the Super Bowl LVI defeat. That’s just not a sustainable amount of QB carnage. Cincy needs to pounce on O-line resources in free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. Taking Ja’Marr Chase over Penei Sewell obviously worked out swimmingly for the Bengals, but now it’s time to protect Burrow at all costs. With nearly $50 million in cap space, per Over The Cap, Cincinnati needs to attack the OL pool in free agency. And then use multiple picks on blockers in the draft — you can get plug-and-play starters, especially on the interior, long after Round 1.
Throw all available resources into Burrow’s protection, Duke Tobin … Or live with the consequences.
6) Steelers sign Jameis Winston … and draft Malik Willis or Kenny Pickett
I’ve been begging the Steelers to sign Winston for multiple years now. And in the wake of Ben Roethlisberger’s (overdue) retirement, the Steelers need to start over at the game’s most important position. Mason Rudolph and/or Dwayne Haskins ain’t it. This franchise needs to refill the quarterback room with a veteran and some young blood.
With Winston coming off knee surgery, the price tag shouldn’t be too steep for the former No. 1 overall pick. Scoop him up and then supplement that move by drafting a quarterback of the future who can marinate behind the 28-year-old. It’s not a great QB class, but I’m into two passers from the group. I really like Pittsburgh product Kenny Pickett a lot. He reminds me of Ryan Tannehill. That’s a compliment — that’s a guy you can win with. Meanwhile, Malik Willis oozes raw talent. If Pittsburgh can get Jameis to hold the fort in 2022, Willis would be a perfect draft-and-develop candidate.
7) Browns add a quarterback
If Baker Mayfield is the answer, I’d love to know the question. The Browns have to feel this way, right?
Plugged-in beat writer Mary Kay Cabot says the team “will explore all available veteran and rookie quarterbacks,” so that’s good. Could they use the No. 13 overall pick on the position? Possibly. But I’d be more prone to inserting a veteran option on a roster that’s ready to win with good quarterback play.
I’ve heard Marcus Mariota and Mitch Trubisky mentioned as possible free-agent targets, but I’d like to see Cleveland go BIG. How about a trade for Kirk Cousins? Kevin Stefanski knows him quite well from their two years together in Minnesota. I think they could make sweet music together in Cleveland. The Browns are loaded with talent. They need a new quarterback to truly compete after a highly disappointing 2021 campaign.
8) Patriots bring back J.C. Jackson
Jackson picked off eight passes for Bill Belichick’s team last year. Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2018, he’s racked up a whopping 25 interceptions — tops in the league in that span. The man is a certified ballhawk.
History says Belichick will let a player walk before overpaying him, and the market for Jackson should be red hot. But on a defense that lacks dudes, Jackson is a proven 26-year-old who cannot be treated like a haphazard piece. New England ponied up for Stephon Gilmore, another 26-year-old corner fresh off his first Pro Bowl, four years ago. Jackson should be the latest exception to Belichick’s rule.
9) Mitch Trubisky gets another chance
The Mitch Trubisky era in Chicago was doomed from the beginning. It was the irresponsible trade-up by Ryan Pace. It was Trubisky over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. It was Matt Nagy’s failure to live up to his QB guru reputation. And yes, of course Mitch’s own poor play also led to his failure in Chicago, but that wasn’t exactly the most beneficial environment for a quarterback who entered the NFL after making just 13 collegiate starts.
The best move Trubisky made was signing a one-year deal with the Bills last season. Learning under Brian Daboll and Ken Dorsey while serving as Josh Allen’s backup, Trubisky essentially took an advanced quarterbacking class in 2021. And with that perspective — along with everything he learned from a trying tenure in Chicago — Trubisky’s ready for another chance. I think he could start for teams like Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. If the Seahawks trade Wilson, he could be the new guy in Seattle. Same with Minnesota, if the Vikings deal Cousins.
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