NFL News from 01/31 to 02/05/2018
Chiefs trade QB Alex Smith to the Redskins for CB Kendall Fuller and a 3rd round pick (per ESPN.com)
This blockbuster deal came out of nowhere on Tuesday night and has had an immediate ripple effect across the league, as the QB carousel becomes just a little bit clearer. The Redskins and incumbent QB Kirk Cousins appeared headed for divorce after years of botched negotiations, and after this trade, it is obvious Cousins will be playing for a different franchise in 2018.
The trade was facilitated by Washington and Alex Smith, who immediately agreed to terms on a 4-year extension that should keep the veteran QB in D.C. until his age-38 season. The Chiefs in return got an extremely solid haul, nabbing CB Kendall Fuller and Washington’s 3rd rounder in this year’s draft.
Fuller will be entering his 3rd season next year, and seems to have a promising career ahead of him after grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 6th-ranked Corner in 2017. Patrick Mahomes looked the part in his first season waiting in the wings, and he will take over at starting QB for the Chiefs next season, while the Redskins will move forward with Alex Smith. Both teams are set at QB and can focus on their other needs throughout the rest of the offseason.
Read our Nachmany Football reaction to the trade here.
Free agent-to-be Teddy Bridgewater may have his rookie contract toll one additional season (per 1500ESPN)
Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrific knee injury in the 2016 Preseason, missed all of the 2016 season, and spent the first 6 games of 2017 on the PUP list. In the most recent CBA, it states that if a player in the final year of his contract spends the first 6 games of the season on the PUP list, their contract will toll into the following season. It has yet to be determined how the NFL and NFLPA will resolve this issue, but if Bridgewater’s contract does in fact toll, it could give the Vikings another year and a legitimate chance to look at Bridgewater as their potential QB of the future. With other Vikings QBs Sam Bradford and Case Keenum set to hit the open market, this could help provide some clarity and flexibility for Minnesota as they try to figure out their QB situation for next year.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh is expected to be on the hot seat next season (per the Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec – multiple tweets)
It has officially been six years since John Harbaugh led the Ravens to their 2nd Super Bowl title, and in the past five seasons, the Ravens have only made it to the playoffs once despite usually showing promise and almost always fielding a solid defense. This year was no exception as they watched their playoff hopes slip away in the final minutes of Week 17 on a blown coverage on 4th Down that led to the Bengals Week 17 win over the Ravens. Harbaugh is one of the more respected coaches in the game, but recent results would suggest it may be time for a change in Baltimore. When Owner Steve Bisciotti spoke at a presser on Friday, he announced that all-time great Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome would be stepping down after next season and taking on a smaller role, while Assistant GM Eric DeCosta will fill his shoes. With a changing at the guard at GM imminent, perhaps a change at Head Coach could be in line too. A lot of that will depend on how the Ravens finish this year, but they have some work to do this offseason, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
2017 Award Winners Were Announced at the NFL Honors on Saturday
The annual awards show took place in Minneapolis the night before the Super Bowl, as per usual. The award winners were as follows:
MVP: Tom Brady
Offensive Player of the Year: Todd Gurley
Defensive Player of the Year: Aaron Donald
Offensive Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Marcus Lattimore
Coach of the Year: Sean McVay
Walter Payton Man of the Year: JJ Watt
The rest of the awards can be found by clicking here.
Redskins will consider placing Franchise Tag on Kirk Cousins in an effort to trade him (per ESPN.com)
Consider me very skeptical. As simple as this move may seem on paper it would actually make things very complicated. The tag would cost the Redskins $34 million against their cap until they were finally able to trade Kirk Cousins, but they wouldn’t be able to trade Cousins until he signed his tender, which he could wait weeks or even months to do. Washington would like to have a say in where Cousins lands next season, but that ship might have already sailed. They are probably better off accepting their 3rd round compensatory pick in next year’s draft instead of risking their entire offseason for a trade that may not even work out for them the way they hope. The Redskins front office has completely mishandled this Kirk Cousins contract situation from the start, so making another interesting decision isn’t completely outside the realm of possibility.
Browns hire former Redskins GM Scot McCloughan as personnel consultant for the upcoming draft (per ESPN’s Chris Mortensen)
Throw another well-respected executive into the pool of people running the Browns, as Scot McCloughan is as highly respected as they come. Credited first with building up the 49ers, then the Seahawks as an assistant, McCloughan used his impressive resume to land himself a job as Redskins GM. They got themselves back into the playoffs and things were looking up, until a power struggle within the organization led by team President Bruce Allen practically boxed him out of his GM job during last year’s scouting combine. False rumors were spread through the tabloids and McCloughan was let go. One year later he has resurfaced with the Browns and should be part of the effort to turn that franchise around. It is interesting to note that McCloughan was always in favor of extending Cousins while he ran the Redskins, but was shut down by Bruce Allen. The Browns are as QB needy as they come and have all the money in the world to throw at Cousins – the question will be if that feeling is mutual come free agency.
Lions officially hire Matt Patricia to be their next Head Coach (per ESPN.com)
This has been pretty much a sure thing for the past two weeks, it just couldn’t be made official until after the Patriots were done with their playoff run. Matt Patricia has spent his entire career as an NFL assistant working on Belichek’s staff. He started in New England in 2004, and before that was an Aerospace Engineering Graduate out of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has been the Defensive Coordinator in New England since 2012 and despite the defense not playing so great this past season, it was time for Patricia to take the next step in his coaching career. He has a history with Lions GM Bob Quinn, who worked with the Patriots prior to landing his current job. It’ll be interesting to see if Patricia can build a competitive team around Matt Stafford good enough to finally take this team over the hump.
Texans QB DeShaun Watson resumed running on Monday (per the Houston Chronicle)
In his rookie season last year, DeShaun Watson took the league by storm, completely changing the entire dynamics of the Texans by playing QB like no Texan before him ever had. The Texans seemed poised for another playoff run with the QB position finally figured out. All that changed in a Thursday practice in November when he went down with a torn ACL, effectively ending his rookie season. After subsequent check ups on his knee, it was determined that it was a clean tear, and he would be able to get back to full strength quicker than most ACL injuries. He took a huge step on Monday afternoon when he began running again, only 3 months after sustaining the injury. He is expected to be a full participant by the time OTAs roll around, and will be poised to try to finish what he started in his rookie season.
Raiders release CB David Amerson to clear cap space (per ESPN’s Field Yates)
It is that time of year. With the Super Bowl now officially behind us, teams are now allowed to begin releasing players to clear cap space, and it appears the Raiders have kicked the festivities off by letting go of CB David Amerson. Prior to the start of the 2016 season, Amerson signed a 5-year, $34 million deal. He was decent in the first year of his deal but had a rough go this year, grading out at 39.7 per PFF while only playing under 300 snaps. Amerson should get another chance somewhere else, while the Raiders will move on with Sean Smith, Gareon Conley, and Dexter McDonald at CB. They will look to re-sign T.J. Carrie who was productive in the slot last season.