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2020 Free Agency and Trade Discussion

Tom Brady
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

This is our annual open thread to discuss all the free agent movement, trades, cuts, and other news for the first few days of free agency, starting with the "legal tampering period" that begins at noon Eastern on March 16.

We'll start with two deals with players that were cut in the past few days, so they are not subject to waiting for the official start of free agency on Wednesday.

Green Bay signs ILB Christian Kirksey.

Green Bay signs OT Ricky Wagner.

Minnesota signs a 2-year extension with Kirk Cousins worth $66 million.

UPDATE: MONDAY 1PM

Cleveland signs TE Austin Hooper (4 years, $44 million, $23 million guaranteed over the first two seasons).

Miami signs G Ereck Flowers (3 years, $30 million, $19.95 million guaranteed).

Houston trades WR DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick to Arizona for RB David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick. To quote Dave Bernreuther on our internal channels, "Chris Ballard could trade T.Y. Hilton and a pick for Todd Gurley right now and it still wouldn't be the worst move in the division in the last twenty minutes."

UPDATE: MONDAY 3PM

Baltimore trades TE Hayden Hurst and a fourth-round pick to Atlanta for second- and fifth-round picks.

Miami signs DE Shaq Lawson (3 years, $30 million, $21 million guaranteed).

Pittsburgh G Ramon Foster retires.

San Francisco re-signs DE Arik Armstead (5 years, $85 million).

Tampa Bay re-signs DE Jason Pierre-Paul (2 years, $27 million).

San Francisco trades DT DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the 13th overall pick in the draft.  The Colts then extend Buckner to a deal that makes him the second-highest paid DL in football, behind Aaron Donald ($21 million a year, exact terms still pending).

Cleveland signs OT Jack Conklin (3 years, $42 million, $30 million guaranteed).

Denver signs G/C Graham Glasgow (4 years, $44 million, $26 million guaranteed).

UPDATE: MONDAY NIGHT

Miami signs CB Byron Jones (5 years, $82.5 million, $57 million guaranteed).

New York Giants sign CB James Bradberry (3 years, $45 million, $32 million guaranteed).

Baltimore signs DL Michael Brockers (3 years, $30 million, $21 million guaranteed).

Minnesota trades WR Stefon Diggs (and a seventh-round pick) to Buffalo for the No. 22 pick, a fifth- and sixth-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

UPDATE: LATE MONDAY NIGHT

Dallas re-signs WR Amari Cooper (5 years, $100 million, $60 million guaranteed).

Chicago signs TE Jimmy Graham (2 years, $16 million).

Las Vegas signs QB Marcus Mariota.

San Francisco re-signs DB Jimmie Ward (3 years, $29 million).

UPDATE: TUESDAY 9AM

New England QB Tom Brady announces via Instagram that he will leave the Patriots.

Buffalo signs DE Mario Addison.

Detroit signs LB Jamie Collins.

Houston signs WR Randall Cobb (3 years, $27 million, $18.75 million guaranteed).

Miami signs LB Kyle Van Noy (4 years, $51 million).

New York Giants sign LB Blake Martinez (3 years, $30 million).

Washington signs CB Kendall Fuller.

UPDATE: TUESDAY 1PM

Carolina reportedly will sign QB Teddy Bridgewater (3 years, $63 million).

New Orleans re-signs QB Drew Brees (2 years, $50 million).

Las Vegas signs LB Corey Littleton (3 years, $36 million).

UPDATE: TUESDAY 4PM

Indianapolis signs QB Philip Rivers (1 year, $25 million).

Las Vegas signs TE Jason Witten, former Monday Night Football announcer, to play for Jon Gruden, former Monday Night Football announcer.

LA Chargers sign OT Bryan Bulaga (3 years, $30 million).

NY Jets sign LG Alex Lewis (3 years, $19 million).

Cincinnnati signs CB Trae Waynes (3 years, $42 million).

UPDATE: TUESDAY 7PM

Tampa Bay signs QB Tom Brady (early reports indicate 1 year, $30 million).

NY Jets sign C Connor McGovern (3 years, $27 million, $18 million guaranteed).

Washington signs LB Thomas Davis.

Cincinnati signs DL D.J. Reader (4 years, $53 million).

Chicago signs DE Robert Quinn (5 years, $70 million, $30 million guaranteed).

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 2PM

Jacksonville trades Nick Foles to Chicago for a fourth-round pick.

Tennessee trades Jurrell Casey to Denver for a seventh-round pick.

New England trades Duron Harmon to Detroit for a swap of late-round picks.

New Orleans signs FS Malcolm Jenkins.

Los Angeles Chargers sign CB Chris Harris.

Las Vegas signs CB Eli Apple.

UPDATE: THURSDAY 10AM

Detroit trades CB Darius Slay to Philadelphia for third- and fifth-round picks.

UPDATE: THURSDAY 4PM

Los Angeles Rams cut RB Todd Gurley and OLB Clay Matthews.

UPDATE: FRIDAY NIGHT

New Orleans signs WR Emmanuel Sanders (2 years, $16 million)

Atlanta signs RB Todd Gurley (1 year, $5 million)

 

Comments

287 comments, Last at 24 Mar 2020, 5:50pm

1 FWIW, the money line on…

FWIW, the money line on Brady seems to be -150 to TB, +110 to NE. Or at least was earlier this morning.

2 Wagner and Kirksey deals…

Wagner and Kirksey deals seem to make sense for GB: mid-tier starter upside at RT and LB, where there aren't currently clear starters on the roster, and neither will get in the way of a younger player if they go that direction in the draft. Wagner's contract seems reasonable. I'm seeing two different numbers ($13m and $16m) for Kirksey - the first would be a lot more reasonable given his injury history, but either way the guarantees are probably pretty low.

3 I know FO folks in the past…

I know FO folks in the past have expressed the view that mid-tier free agent contracts are often bad investments, but it seems to me the Packers strategy of high floor/mid-tier ceiling for these types of contracts is a good one. Little chance of a total bust and none of them would ruin the cap situation even if they do flame out entirely. Aim for the Super Bowl-winning players in the draft and fill in moderate holes with free agents.

4 An added bonus

I'll say this in support of Green Bay: signing two players who were cut rather than going to regular free agency means signing two players who will not count in the compensatory draft pick formula.

6 And they need players there …

And they need players there - Ted Thompson studiously avoided these types of deals, which on average was probably wise just from the perspective of the value of an individual deal/contract, but that sometimes led to seasons where certain positions or even entire position groups became black holes when the starters got hurt and the UDFA scrubs they put on the field were cheap and efficient, but utterly useless. Offensive line in the late 2000s, defensive backfield circa 2013... Mike Tanier wrote about it one year in FOA.

8 Agreed. I am also a big…

Agreed. I am also a big proponent of having depth at OL versus stars and scrubs, because one weak link on a line makes a huge difference. Packers (as of now) are keeping Taylor and adding Wagner, plus keeping around the other 4 starters. Keeping Bulaga for one more healthy season, maybe, is not worth it to me.

I think the same thing about the back 7 of the defense, which is why I'm really hoping the Packers pick up another LB or hybrid safety type.

50 I'm another who loves these…

I'm another who loves these signings. Neither signing breaks the cap and both are adequate starters. Now, if they can get someone like Delanie Walker to take over the Marcedes Lewis role or a cheap run-stuffer on the D-line to make Kenny Clark's life easier, they can go into draft weekend with only a pressing need at WR. (I wouldn't mind a budget WR signing either.) Still hoping for Murray or Queen to fall to #30, but at least now the ILB need drops from critical to orange. 

53 So does the addition of…

So does the addition of Wagner mean that Baluga* will not be resigned by the Packers.  Seahawks could use him.

 

* I know...but anytime you can name an offensive lineman after a whale you gotta do it.

60 Yeah, at this point given…

Yeah, at this point given Bulaga's rumored value ($12 million/yr) the Packers can no longer afford him. He's had a great career and wish him the best of luck! Just hard for a team that's as hard against the cap as GB to commit to him given his age and injury history.

I wonder if that nickname never caught on for him because they had a very good OL named Wahle not too long before Bulaga came on the scene, haha

7 Trade Alert!

Arizona gets:
WR Deandre Hopkins
A fourth-round pick

Houston gets:
RB David Johnson
A second-round pick
A 2021 fourth-round pick

Rivers, I am so, so sorry.

14 How bad is it?

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

Historically speaking, how bad is this trade?

I mean, my initial impulse is it belongs in the same discussion with the Ricky Williams and Herschel Walker trades.  But that can't be right, can it?  Those trades were teams offering up way WAY too much draft capital for a star.  This one is a team giving away a star for peanuts. 

 

25 And don't forget, Washington…

And don't forget, Washington got Coach Janky Panky and Sheriff Gonna Getcha in the deal, too!

Plus, it's worth noting that Portis was pretty darn good for awhile there. I mean, HOF CB for non-HOF RB is always a losing trade, but it's not like Washington got no value back.

39 champ

Champ wasn't going to stay in DC regardless.  And Portis gave the Redskins a few very good years.

To all appearances, David Johnson isn't a good RB any longer.  Just too many injuries.  His one great season was four years ago.  

Meanwhile, in the past three seasons, while Johnson has been battling injuries and losing his starting job, DeAndre Hopkins has been 1st team All-Pro three times.  

I have to say what I said about the Red Sox after the Betts trade: you do not trade your best player.  End of discussion.  

 

27 You know, in a vacuum, I don…

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

You know, in a vacuum, I don't hate Hopkins for a 2nd rounder. I do hate it for a contending team, which the Texans are (well, ought to be). But (pre-total lunacy) Antonio Brown only got a 3rd and a 5th; a similar caliber player with less leverage and jackassery fetching a 2nd and a 4th-swap seems roughly in-line with the market (although I'd be willing to trade a 1st for Hopkins, personally).

The problem, of course, is that Johnson is significant negative value. If it weren't for that contract he'd be likely to be just plain cut; with that contract, the Cards should have to be packaging picks just to get rid of the contract, Osweiler-style. I'm not going to say that coaches should never be GM (that guy in New England seems to do pretty well juggling both hats), but this reeks of a decision-maker who just remembers "Johnson good!" and hasn't paid much attention to out-of-conference teams in the last few years.

32 Even with a second router I…

Even with a second router I hate this move. the odds of that second round pick approximating anything close to Hopkins is a Longshot. Top of that, Hopkins was that rare wide receiver Superstar who wasn't also a diva. And considering you're trying to build around your star quarterback, doesn't make sense to ship off his best weapon who also happens to be the team's best player. 

 

I hate this trade and it feels unjustifiable unless Hopkins has some undisclosed medical condition or was demanding a trade in secret.

38 There are some pretty big…

There are some pretty big differences between Brown last offseason and Hopkins now, all of which point in Hopkins's favor.

For one, Brown had way more headcase/diva concerns (even before they unfolded through further episodes).

For another, Brown basically gave Pittsburgh no choice but to get rid of him so the Steelers had to take whatever they could get. The Texans had a choice, and space to maximize what they could get back in a trade.

For a third thing, Brown was demanding a big new contract and got a 3-year $50M deal. Hopkins is owed just $40M over the last 3 years of his contract, $10M less.

For another, Hopkins is 3 years younger than Brown was last offseason. Brown signed for ages 31-33 is much more likely to involve decline than Hopkins signed for ages 28-30.

73 Hey, is there a way we can…

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

Hey, is there a way we can get Hopkins on our team? He fits our playstyle.

Yeah he is pretty good, but wants a lot of money. We do want a first rounder and second rounder for him though.

Hmmmmm. Thats steep, what about a second rounder and a player?

You will have to give up a real great player for that! Johnson the RB for example.

*Is this guy serious?* Uh eh yeah well that is a hard bargain!! Busting my balls here... Can we swap fourth rounders though?

Deal.

Deal.

 

13 DeAndre Hopkins being traded…

DeAndre Hopkins being traded for David Johnson is the most WTH headline in the NFL I've seen since Andrew Luck retired. I'm not convinced of the argument that Bill O'Brien is a terrible coach, but he's certainly an awful GM. Reminds me of GM Chip Kelly, who ruined any chance Coach Chip Kelly had of succeeding.

15 Unfortunately, as the Texans…

Unfortunately, as the Texans just do well enough to win their division and make the playoffs every year (or so it seems), nobody appears willing to take the keys away from him.  This cannot make Watson happy.  To give away a top 5 WR with three years left on his deal for a running back who hasn't been good since 2017 and a 2nd round pick?

To look at it another way, O'Brien traded away Hopkins at 12.5 million in order to pay Johnson 11.25 million.

17 At least his trading for…

At least his trading for tunsil made some narrative sense. It was an over-reactive move to a bad situation. But after watching his defense getting gored to death, the obvious answer is to trade away your best player for a running back? 

248 Explanations I have heard…

Explanations I have heard floated include "O'Brien doesn't like Hopkins because he's critical of his playcalling" and "Easterby doesn't like Hopkins because he has children with several different women."

18 I had a good laugh yesterday…

I had a good laugh yesterday when the Jags gave Calais Campbell to the Ravens for nothing. I'm a Colts fan, so it amuses me when division rivals actively make themselves worse.

What Bill O'Brien just did makes that seem like a warm up. It's not even close to the same thing.

 

When Ryan Grigson traded a first rounder for Trent Richardson, we all (properly) mocked him. But even if you ignore the quality and depth of that draft, this is still worse. That first round pick was still an unknown. Nuk Hopkins is one of the best players in the NFL. He's a key component to that offense, and a great pairing with a very talented QB. He's also cost-controlled (although he does apparently want a new deal... but who cares, really? From ownership's perspective, he has no leverage, and even if he did, he's still a bargain; he's 27 years old! $14m on the cap for a receiver that never drops the ball and can't be covered is nothing). 

 

This very same franchise recently executed a trade in which they received a high-value pick (a 2nd from a bad team) in order to shed a bad contract; that GM lost a power struggle to the coach, who is now that franchise's current GM. This person just gave away his best player (or, at worst, their 2nd best - I'll rank him above Watt due to durability) in exchange for a high-priced damaged goods player at a low-value position (RB) whose skill set is the roughly the same as another - cheaper - one (whose first initial and last name are the same, coincidentally) that they already employ. Without saving any money at all, because their cap hits are nearly identical!

 

This is sheer lunacy. I am as willing as any to point to the rest of the AFC East as a reason why Pats fans have lived a blessed and lucky life... but as a Colts fan, damn. The last 15 years of the AFC South leadership make it really hard to say that out loud. When the Grigson/Pagano era isn't even in the top 10 list of AFC South laughingstocks since the first Tom Coughlin regime... when the answer to "who's the best non-Colts coach of the last 15 years in that division" might come down to Jeff Fisher vs Jack Del Rio... when TWO of your rivals have hired and clung to Mike Mularkey, one of them stuck by Doug Marrone even after seeing his previous coaching stops, and moves like this are so bad that you forget about how absurd the Calais Campbell trade was, just 24 hours earlier.... well, maybe all of us Colts fans should still be lining up to high five our [certainly rife with his own issues, to be polite] owner for his hiring and management skills.

 

It says a lot that I'm a Colts fan and I feel really, REALLY bad right now for our own Rivers McCown and for DeShaun Watson. If the world was fair, he'd be able to demand a trade right now without being villainized. He certainly deserves it. What a shame this is for him.

 

20 DeShaun Watson probably…

DeShaun Watson probably could demand a trade now without receiving much criticism. This isn't even a trade that will be popular among the most casual, least informed Texans fans. Exciting players in skill positions like Hopkins are more likely to be overvalued by fans than undervalued.

23 At this point in time, you…

At this point in time, you could probably offer Bill O'Brien 2 second round picks for Watson and he'd accept the offer. How he hasn't been fired before now is one of life's true mysteries.

76 Okay, so trading away Nuk …

Okay, so trading away Nuk (no "e"?) was a giant, inexplicable fail for Houston that Colts fans will property cheer.  I admit I did a little dance.

So when Indy signs Phil Rivers, will someone please come to my house to yank the knife out of my forehead.  (Apply pressure, ice, and a sledgehammer.)  Not sure how it will have gotten stuck there, but pretty sure that's what'll happen when they sign an old man to a position where they had a shot at drafting the future.  

Why?  WHY?  Do they really think they're in win-now mode?  Will they pay him $30M for his one remaining year instead of paying about $30M for the first four years of a young 1st Rd/high 2nd Rd QB's career?  

As a Colts fan, I am required to truly hate Rivers (although I somehow loved Sproles... go figure.  Probably because I am short.).  I regard Greg Marmalard as a HOF QB who never had the right team/coaching to get him the ring--surely the equal talent-wise of his SB-winning classmates Ben and Eli.  Who are both, also over-the-hill or retired.  So I acknowledge that he was a very, very good QB.  But not in 2020, and not for a Colts team that is not "just one QB away from a Lombardi."  This move seems very un-Ballard-like to me.

What am I missing?

 

105 Even if they ARE in win-now…

Even if they ARE in win-now mode (which would be foolish), there is NO indication that Rivers is the guy to do it. He is the unluckiest QB of our "generation" and horribly underrated to the point that I have rooted for him despite hating him in that 06-08 span because he deserves to have been on a winning team... Hell, I'll argue that even you're underrating him. He's head and shoulders better than Eli and always has been, and I'd rather have had him than Ben for almost every year of their careers as well.

But the dude's arm is cooked. It's as bad now as 2015 Peyton's was alleged to be (well, still was... but I'll swear til my dying day that part of Peyton's lateness on things was the added split second of processing time required of him by being square pegged into Kubiak's round hole of an offense at the end of his career. Which is exactly my fear for Brady as well) and it's not going to get any better. There's no reason to believe that he's suddenly going to cut the turnovers down in 2020 while in a new (ish) offense and another year older, and there's also no reason whatsoever to pay him a ton of money to do so when so many better options exist.

But yeah. I'm with you. I don't know what they see in him, would really think a lot less of Ballard if he was to sign him even if it was for a bargain price, and if I was still in that building I'd be going door to door aggressively (well, I guess not now, given the quarantines) making the case that it's a terrible decision.

78 Best AFC South Coach

"who's the best non-Colts coach of the last 15 years in that division" might come down to Jeff Fisher vs Jack Del Rio.

I'd take Kubiak over either of them, and I'd probably pick him over some of those years of Tony Dungy.

104 "I'd take Kubiak over either…

"I'd take Kubiak over either of them"
 

Ew. Kubiak is a good coach for if you have a non-talented QB that you can't trust to win you a play on his own, let alone a game. But he is and always was tactically awful, and single-handedly cost that team several winnable games against the Colts back when it was still Peyton's division. From 08-on they started having a pretty significant talent edge but still failed miserably to put the Colts away when they had chances. The best thing I can say about Kubiak is that he twice had the good sense to hire Wade Phillips, although I even hesitate to give him (and mostly Elway) credit for that the second time through, given that he wasn't even their first choice. 

Anyway, to me it's absolutely a question of Fisher vs Del Rio. To be honest, I think Del Rio's sort of buffoon-ish behavior has made us underrate him. He was aggressive - properly - long before much of the rest of the league caught on, and it was generally to his team's advantage. 

I will join you in the "Tony Dungy (IND version) was not actually all that good either" camp, though, even though I disagree on Kubiak...

90 Brady just stated he is not…

Brady just stated he is not coming back to NE.    Why do I think that Belichick is going to give his ole buddy O'Brien and see what he wants for Watson?

 

BoB can reload the Patriots before he gets fired.

92 They could do a lot worse…

They could do a lot worse than flip the Bengals a low pick for Andy Dalton.

 

There is also a report out there that the Patriots were in on DeAndre Hopkins, which leads to the following questions:

1) How could they not beat the Cardinals outlay, unless as mentioned elsewhere BOB had a 10-inch for Johnson (Hah!)

2) If the Patriots added Hopkins, would Brady have stayed? 

141 Brady is leaving because the…

Brady is leaving because the Patriots were nowhere near what he wanted money wise because they don't think he's a starter anymore, so no. 

 

There was no way they were keeping him if it got to the FA period - his cost just went way up because of the inability to push his bonus around. 

144 Oh, I disagree.  I think the…

Oh, I disagree.  I think the money was probably close enough that a player who has never chased top dollar before wasn't going to start now.  I think it's far more likely that Brady wanted to take a holiday from Belichick, either to prove he could win without him or to be free of being yelled at.

Now, Tom Curran, who is as unreliable a source as inhabits this realm, has claimed that the Patriots never made an offer at all.  So if that's the case, yeah, Belichick thinks he's cooked and they're better off going with Dalton or Stidham or whoever.

145 "I think it's far more…

"I think it's far more likely that Brady wanted to take a holiday from Belichick, either to prove he could win without him or to be free of being yelled at."

 

If that were true, why not come out and say it earlier unless he personally enjoyed keeping the Patriots twisting in the wind. I get a sense that this was about money and the years. Brady either wanted a big chunk of money now for a 1 year contract or guaranteed two years and both seemed off the table. 

146 "I think it's far more…

"I think it's far more likely that Brady wanted to take a holiday from Belichick, either to prove he could win without him or to be free of being yelled at."

 

If that were true, why not come out and say it earlier unless he personally enjoyed keeping the Patriots twisting in the wind. I get a sense that this was about money and the years. Brady either wanted a big chunk of money now for a 1 year contract or guaranteed two years and both seemed off the table. 

205 Yeah, I don’t really see how…

Yeah, I don’t really see how the player/coach relationship between Brady and Belichick could have suddenly soured to the point of no return after 20 wildly successful and drama-free years. The simplest, most plausible explanation to me is that is was a cold business decision. Brady, having given the Patriots a significant discount on his services for several years, this time round decided to seek his full market value (for whatever reason). To which Belichick simply said “nah, I’m out”. 

147 Brady

"I think it's far more likely that Brady wanted to take a holiday from Belichick, either to prove he could win without him or to be free of being yelled at." - This rings somewhat true to me, but it's highly speculative. My view is that Brady is quiet savy in understanding that his brand is worth more than anything NE can pay him within the salery cap structure and has therefore been more interested in reinforcing his future earning potential via winning then immediate earnings (e.g. TB12 sales). At present there is a lot more for him to gain winning elsewhere then there is to continue to win in NE. The body language on the sidelines & in play had the appearence of a deeply frustraighted induvidual that didn't view what was going on as "his fault" (not making a claim here on the validity of that view). It seems to me like the incentives line up with TB being interested taking an "away" discount as a result rather than a "home town" discount when viewing the possabilities. At the same time if BB can get to functional on the offensive side next year (and solve the kicking problem) there's every chance there right back at the superbowl - paying Brady 30M in there current cap situation does not align with getting the offense to functional in any way that I can see.

52 He's not a terrible head…

He's not a terrible head coach. He's a bang average head coach - maybe even a little better. Now, I'm of the opinion that teams should aggressively try to get their hands on really good coaches, which means that once you have enough data to be confident someone isn't one you should get rid of them, so I would have sacked O'Brien a year ago at the latest.

O'Brien the GM, on the other hand... Jesus wept.

16 I wish I could ask what Bill…

I wish I could ask what Bill O'Brien was thinking...but this move is perfectly in line with all of the other moves he's done before today. Basically hands up in the air this makes no sense.

I mean...wtf...

26 One reason I think Omar Epps…

One reason I think Omar Epps doesn't get enough credit as a coach is that he's been consistently successful in the AFC division that has only one hopeless team, instead of only one that isn't.

136 Too easy to credit the HOF QB

It's been easy to credit all the offensive talent they've had, incl Bell & Brown.  And Epps inherited Ben, who already had won a SB; plus a world-class D.

I'm a Ravens fan, so have a love/hate relship with that team.  But to my mind, the Steelers have under-achieved for many years.  Very sloppy week-to-week; never seemed like they were being held to a standard of play.

This past season was the first I have been willing to give Epps credit for anything.  Again, biased fan here; but I think it's a valid point.

139 I am always befuddled by the…

I am always befuddled by the assertion that a team has underachieved, while amassing one of the top 6 winning percentages over 200 games, won a championship, lost another, while playing in the same conference as the greatest coach/qb duo in history, and in the same division with a  HOF general manager. When it gets to the point that you have to improve on that, to have achieved properly, I think sight has been lost on how damned hard it is to win a game in the NFL.

151 down on Tomlin

People  are down on Tomlin because the Steelers have won only 3 playoff games in the last 9 years.

And some of the losses are downright embarrassing.

- giving up 45 points to Jaguars??

- giving up a 80-yard game-winning TD pass in OT to Tim Tebow???? 

The loss to Tebow is squarely on Tomlin.  The Steelers were 12-4, the Broncos were 8-8 with a mediocre, inaccurate QB who could only two two things: crash into the line and heave the ball deep. 

 

155 I think this is right and…

In reply to by RickD

I think this is right and the devil is in the details. Some of the Steeler losses have been off the unthinkable variety. I'll never forget that opening game against NE where they decided not to cover Gronk at all for the vast majority of the game. It was unbelievable.

Tomlin's work this season was impressive but its hard to square that this is the same coach who helmed teams who have had some inexplicably awful performances against some bad teams. 

202 Its not 2 games though - it…

Its not 2 games though - it took until last year for the Steelers to stop presenting Tom Brady with soft zones and safeties deep.  During much of his tenure they were one of those teams that refused to adjust to their opponents. 

203 I was just referring to…

I was just referring to another post. Look, any coach can be cherry picked. Meanwhile, the sample size is large, and the wins are the wins. Then people try to ding Tomlin for having talent, as if coaching meatheads like Roethlisberger and Brown has just been a matter of tossing the ball out on the field and letting them have at it, and as if any coach with a terrific winning percentage hasn't had terrific talent.

Do I think it is proven that Tomlin is a first ballot HOF coach? No. Do I think it is highly, highly, unlikely that Tomlin is not an above average coach? Yes.

181 Perspective is important

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

This. I've never understood the Tomlin detractors. It seems like a lot of cherry-picking just to avoid giving a person credit for a decent team. 

209 Let me try to summarize the…

Let me try to summarize the anti Tomlin sentiments(note, I don't necessarily believe all of them or even most of them, just trying to list them out).

1) He inherited a sb contending roster from jump. The team has known nothing but success prior to his days so there's a sense he jumped on a bandwagon and didn't screw things up(a skill to be sure).

2) Assigning credit for coaching is a very hard exercise. Winning games, including playoff games, is too nebulous a concept because a lot is involved. As we have seen with countless head coaches who were successful over a period of time and then lousy over the next period of time, wins are a problematic gauge.

3) The steelers have had pretty good talent at prime spots so its not like hes taken the Dolphins and won 6 games. There is a sense the Steelers with an average coach would have achieved roughly similar results.

4) His purported expertise, defensive backs, has not been a hall mark of the Steelers during his era. The Steelers historically have been a stop the run rush the passer kind of defense. His tenure did nothing to change that reality, which suggests he provides 0 imprint on schemes. 

5) Most of this decade, the Steelers have been driven by the pass offense. Tomlin being a defensive coach should not be given credit for the offenses' success.

6) He's had more than a few high profile stinkers where the team looked thoroughly unprepared. In addition, they seem to always be the prime candidate to lose to some bad team for no reason. 

 

I don't think there's an easy way to bat away all 6 of the points. They are arguable and where you fall on them probably influences your view of Tomlin. I will agree with Will, there is a skill in managing big egos and keeping a good ship afloat. Worse coaches might have tried to force their imprint on the team and watched it blow up. 

 

In my opinion, he is a solid to good coach who probably would get fired if he were shipped to Cleveland or Cincinnati or Detroit or a number of ho hum teams with no track record of success. He strikes me as a good coach for a good team, not a coach who will take a bad team and make them good. That means he's probably somewhere in the top 10 of coaches. You can almost certainly do worse. 

 

 

212 You missed #7 - He's not as…

You missed #7 - He's not as successful as Bill Belichick

Basically this is the problem with fans who say their teams underachieve. Outside of the Patriots, no team has made the Super Bowl frequently.

The NFC gives you a much better look at this.  Twelve of the teams have been in the Super Bowl in the past twenty years or so. (Washington, Cowboys, Vikings and Lions haven't).

The Giants massively overachieved to be the only NFC team to win TWO Lombardi's.

The Seahawks have made three appearances under two different coaches but only won once,

The Panthers lost twice.

The Eagles have appeared twice and won one.

The Rams had sixteen years between appearances

I don't think any other NFC team has been back unless you want to start going back to the 90s.

Fans of Brees and the Saints could feel they've underachieved coming from a division that has no dominant team.

Fans of Rodgers and the Packers could feel the team underachieved coming from a division where the Vikings haven't been the Lions or Bears.

If any team has underachieved, I'd say it's Dallas. No Super Bowl appearances from a division which has been there for the taking especially since Reid left. Yet lots of talent

Back in the AFC, think about how Peyton and the Colts (and then under Luck) could be said to have underachieved with only two SB appearances and one win despite numerous winning seasons.

Basically the Patriots are an outlier. The NFL will be a much more interesting place once Belichick hangs up his hoodie. Not that I want to see that but I expect to see the AFC get the same sort of parity that the NFC has once he's gone. Maybe it's all down to Brady and we see that next season.

215 My counter to that is I don…

My counter to that is I don't solely judge on Superbowls when assessing a coach as good or bad.

 

I believe Andy Reid has mismanaged some playoff games that have led to losses, but even before he won the super bowl, I believed he was the 2nd best coach in the league. I also think Carrol is a terrific coach. I am less certain about Tomlin for some of the reasons I listed above.

221 I think of it this way: if…

I think of it this way: if there were a "coach draft" where I got to pick a coach from the current pool to try to win this year, how would I sort them into "tiers" (Patriots style) of draft priority.

For me it's something like:

Tier 1: Belichick

Tier 2: Reid, McVay, Harbaugh

Tier 3: Rivera, Payton, Carroll, Lynn, Arians

Tier 4: McCarthy, Zimmer

...

Tier 99999999: Gase

This obviously isn't exhaustive and the point isn't to argue who goes in which tier exactly, and it intentionally blends objective and subjective assessments. But viewed this way, I think Tomlin slots somewhere in Tier 3-4, i.e., someone I'd be happy to take, and take relatively high, but not one of my top "targets" if I had the pick of the whole litter. But he's better than most, and I'd still be happy to have him in charge of my team.

217 Not to disagree, just to add…

Not to disagree, just to add:

I suspect if you polled every team and coach as to who they dislike of coaches, he would be the least popular by a landslide.  He is a good coach, but in the same way that most people like mcvay, most dislike him.

219 4) His purported expertise,…

4) His purported expertise, defensive backs, has not been a hall mark of the Steelers during his era. The Steelers historically have been a stop the run rush the passer kind of defense. His tenure did nothing to change that reality, which suggests he provides 0 imprint on schemes. 

It's weird this is considered a flaw.

Shula didn't have a top-half defense in his last 12 seasons. Lombardi had better defenses at GB than he had offenses. Dungy often had terrible defenses at Indy (but excellent ones at TB).

Tomlin began with excellent defenses at Pittsburgh, and then the strength flipped at offense. Notably, this happened to Belichick, too. There is a recency bias in effect the last year or two, but as recently as 2017, NE had one of the worst defenses in the league, and got lit up by Blake Bortles and Nick Foles in succession.

226 I think the point there…

I think the point there would be he has not applied his expertise to the team that hired him. On the surface, it seems quite strange and yes it is telling when someone comes from a particular side of the ball and that side stinks. This was the charge people used against Brian Billick. 

And btw, if Belichick had won 6 superbowls where his defense stunk the whole time and the offense kept lighting it up, people would not be crediting him as the goat coach. Are there mitigating circumstances? Sure, like Dungy going to an all offense team that rarely committed dollars beyond their two pure pass rushing defense ends to explain the poor defensive performance. But that's not been the case in Pittsburgh with Tomlin. 

28 Colts trade for Buckner

Details are still a bit hazy, but it looks like Indianapolis is sending pick #13 to the 49ers for DeForest Buckner, and making him the second-highest paid defensive lineman in football.

Quick thoughts:
* The Colts are happy with their QB situation, though whether that's Brissett or a free agent we don't know yet

* No way the 49ers USE both #13 and #31, not with no picks between #31 and the fifth-round. I would assume they keep #13 and trade down from #31.

* $21 million is a hell of a lot of money for an interior lineman, though Buckner may be one of the few worth something near that stratosphere.

* Trading away from a position of overwhelming strength to try to bolster a position of relative weakness isn't a bad long-term strategy but man, I'll miss Buckner as a 49ers fan.

30 Previous trades today gave…

Previous trades today gave me plenty of things to say, but for this I'm speechless; I have no idea if this was a good or a bad move.

I know that the heart of why the 49ers were great last year was their D Line. And I know that Buckner was really good, and capable of being great no matter who he was up against... but I also know he wasn't their only great talent there, and that the 13th pick and that much money is a HUGE cost.

So I honestly have no idea what to think. I guess the fact that I'm not high fiving my imaginary friends from quarantine probably means something...

 

As for the QB situation, I don't think they're happy with it. But I also know that I'm going to throw a fit if they commit anything more than a vet minimum (with a written commitment to put him on a pitch count and basically not even start him til late October so his arm doesn't fall off) deal for Rivers. Because for as much as it totally makes sense as a fit on paper, the tape shows that Rivers isn't going to win them any games next year. 

And if management thinks that he will, then suddenly my trust in them disintegrates a bit, and with it, so too does my snap judgment of this trade and deal. 

33 Buckner was under contract…

Buckner was under contract for just this season on his $12.4M 5th year option. Getting a 1st round pick for any player in that situation is a good deal, unless it's a franchise QB that you want to keep and build around.

34 Oh I know that for those…

Oh I know that for those reasons it's a good deal for them; Don't forget I'm a Colts "fan" though. My response is solely from that perspective.

(Of course, the fact that I can even say that first sentence absolutely should skew the final verdict from the other side's perspective...)

45 getting "value"

I understand the argument behind getting "value" by trading away a player in the last year of his contract who is about to cash in.

But....

In this case, the 49ers just went to the Super Bowl.  This trade clearly makes their team weaker for next year.  I think they're close enough to winning a title that they should think a bit more about the present.  

Unless, of course, you think the 49ers are so deep on the D-line that they can weather this loss.  But I'd be skeptical.  

81 What does 'good' look like?

This all depends on your definition of 'good', and 'close to winning a title', I think.  How good does a team have to be in order to win a title?  There was some fairly compelling work done around the beginning of this decade that all you had to do was get into the playoffs.  After that, it's all a crapshoot, so 'good enough to win a title' and 'good enough to make the playoffs' were basically the same thing.

Subjectively, it feels like this has shifted a little in the last five years or so, and there is now a definite top tier to the playoffs, so 'good enough to win a title' is now different to 'good enough to make the playoffs'

 

Losing Buckner makes the niners weaker (probably - you never know what the 13th pick will be...) this year, but how much weaker?  And does that matter?  Also, do you want to win a single title, or contend for a decade

84 Also, do you want to win a…

Also, do you want to win a single title, or contend for a decade

Ideally, both. But if my team isn't in the AFC East or South, I want a title.

Go ask Philadelphia whether 10 years of playoff flame-outs was better or worse than one title and a mess of injuries.

31 A moderately high first…

A moderately high first-round pick for someone like Buckner isn't bad by any means, but given how little it took to get Hopkins and how little the Texans got for clowney, this sort of feels like an overpay.

 

however Buckner is so good that I'm happy with this trade even if it means the Colts are not going to get Jerry jeudy.

 

I don't like this move for the 49ers. If you're going to be stacked at something, defensive line is probably the best place for it to be at. I realize it would have taken a lot of cap gymnastics but I would have found a way to keep their whole d-line intact. Also an underplayed subplot, this was by far Eric armstead's best season and it came in a contract year. I think the prudent move would have been to franchise tag him and make him prove it again

35 2018 was lowkey a fantastic…

2018 was lowkey a fantastic season for Arik as well, and Buck was the lesser player last year. My guess is that the front office sees them as pretty similar, and may like Arik's versatility a little more. And they definitely like the extra 5m/y for Kittle (and maybe even holding on to Sanders or Ward), plus a first rounder (no way AA was fetching a 1st rounder, let alone top 15).

As a niners fan, I like it.

36 I highly doubt there was any…

I highly doubt there was any amount of cap gymnastics that could have kept both Buckner and Armstead on the team, at least not without letting George Kittle walk (his deal expires after 2020, and there ain't no way they're letting him go).

They did this a little to themselves, with the big contracts for Kwon Alexander and Jerrick McKinnon and the like, but I suppose there's only so much you can do at some point, and no would have been compalining if they had called the Super Bowl at halftime.

Ultimately, it looks like the 49ers decided on Armstead + $4 million in extra cap room + the #13 overall pick over Buckner + a 2021 compensatory selection.  I...think that's an OK deal?  It's rough, but understandable?
 

But I don't feel like this is a clear win for the 49ers OR Colts, which probably means it's a good trade on both sides!

40 Yeah I think it's a good…

Yeah I think it's a good trade for both sides, but given that the Colts had the decided leverage in this situation, it feels like a missed opportunity to extract a little more value.

 

I would also say that front offices usually should be thinking at least one year ahead. they had to know arik armstead will be entering free agency and Buckner a year after. I'm assuming the plan was to let Buckner get the big contract and let armstead walk but armstead drastically out performed expectations. Honestly if you like both players then you should be trying to keep both players.the 49ers could have gotten Buckner for under 21 million dollars because they had the leverage of his fifth year.my general point is you should try to keep your elite talent unless they really want crazy money or they are crazy people

77 Happy with Buckner

A little expensive, and I'll miss whoever goes #13, but that could have a huge impact on the whole D.  Inside pressure from him, outside pressure from Houston and the "kids" when they are healthy)

But with those three relatively high picks, I was hankering for either Bryce Love or Jeudy/Lamb at #13, then (assuming a QB at #13) a quality but not elite WR or EDGE or Safety at #34, followed by another step down at one of those three same spots at their next 2nd round pick.  

Please, no Rivers.  I'm not ready to kick Brissett to the curb--after week 8 he was hurt, Hilton was out, Ebron was injured, Campbell wasn't in much and the run game was less dangerous probably because of the other issues--aside from the OL being good, the whole offense was stumbling.  Brissett was not good enough to carry them, but a well-rounded team does not need that.  If he returns to start and plays like he did during their 5-2 beginning last year, all is well.  Given his salary and one more year under contract, I was okay with a first round QB draftee as well.

But no Old Man RIvers.

91 I have bad news for you…

I have bad news for you regarding Bryce Love: he was chosen by Washington in the 4th round of last year's draft. (He wasn't really heard from after that, since he spent the full season recovering from a torn ACL.)

142 Ahhhh, OK. That makes more…

In reply to by GwillyGecko

Ahhhh, OK. That makes more sense! I'm not too up-to-date on the current draft class, otherwise I probably would've understood what was meant.

190 Bryce Love/Jordan Love... I…

Bryce Love/Jordan Love... I am an idiot.

Next year there will be a player named Jordan Bryce who I will confuse with Bryce Jordan, and now you know why. (but probably not a player named Love Love)

37 In the abstract I agree that…

In the abstract I agree that it's great to be stacked in the DL, but when it's time to spend your cap dollars, I don't think it's wise to spend such a large percentage of them at the same position. I don't know about the Colts, but it seems like a very nice move for the 49ers.

42 The Colts are a deep team…

The Colts are a deep team with no top end talent outside of Darius Leonard  on defense. Buckner is either elite or just below that conversation and he's young so I like this move. I don't love this move. 

44 The Colts have gobs of cap…

The Colts have gobs of cap space -- $70 million as of this morning -- so if anyone around there can throw dollars at a problem to try to fix it, they're right at the top of that list.  

 

The 49ers did not -- $16 million BEFORE the Armstead signing.  They probably couldn't afford to dump all their money into one position.

47 Thought the Vikings would…

Thought the Vikings would trade Diggs, but the Texans may have screwed up the wr trade market so badly that it becomes impossible.

49 When you register that…

When you register that DeAndre Hopkins wasn't really aquired for a second round pick, but that the second round pick had to be thrown in to shed a bad cap number, it really puts the light diggs' value at no more than a third of 4th rounder. 

 

Literally all 31 teams should be signing up for that.

56 Miami have been busy. Erik…

Miami have been busy.
Erik Flowers, Shaq Lawson and now Byron Jones and Kyle van Noy? And none of them cheap-at least on the surface.

No idea what to make of this, but I've seen Miami be offseason champions before and it hasn't gone well

61 Trade Alert!

Buffalo Gets:
Stefon Diggs
A 7th-round pick

Minnesota Gets:
The #25 overall pick
A 5th-round pick
A 6th-round pick
A 2021 4th-round pick

....OK, now compare that to DeAndre Hopkins

63 Hesitantly...

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

close to a win-win.  Diggs is a darn good player who fills a real need.  Who knows whether the top WRs in this loaded class fall to slot #25...although Tee Higgins might.  But the Bills paid a lot.  Good job by the Vikings front office.  The trade is rational, as distinguished from the Texan fiasco.

64 That might still be a fine…

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

That might still be a fine trade for the Bills, but I would be gnashing my teeth that you didn't get a chance to do a deal with the Texans. It wouldn't have been hard to surpass the Texans offer. Then again, maybe Bill O'Brien was just set on David Johnson for some reason.

69 It's like a fantasy league…

It's like a fantasy league trade where the dumb owner gives up a good player for three mediocre ones and every other owner is pissed they didn't have a chance to beat the crappy offer that ultimately got the star player.

How many teams just said, "wait, they got him for a 2nd and an overpaid RB?!"

74 Right? Diggs is a fine…

Right? Diggs is a fine receiver but IMVHO he's nowhere near Hopkins' level. I guess being locked into a long and reasonable contract is valuable, but I'm kind of shocked the Bills were able to look at the Hopkins trade and then still sign off on this... unless they wildly overvalue David Johnson too.

BILLS: Okay, so we agree that Diggs for a 2nd is fair- whoa, did you guys see this Deandre Hopkins trade?

VIKES: Yeah, it's awf-

BILLS: A second AND David Johnson!

VIKES: I know, just awf-

BILLS: He's famous! He had 2000 yards once!

VIKES: Oh my god you think it's a good- I mean, awesome. It's just an awesome trade, for the Texans. That's what I was definitely going to say, definitely.

BILLS: We almost pulled a fast one on you there!

VIKES: ...yep, you sure did!

BILLS: So what do you think is fair for Diggs now?

VIKES: *crossing fingers as tightly as humanly possible* A first-round pick?

BILLS: Throw in a 7th and you've got yourselves a deal!

VIKES: A pleasure doing business with you. *faxes paperwork to the League office so fast it defies physics*

68 That seems pretty balanced,…

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

That seems pretty balanced, assuming that Diggs is willing to play under his current contract (roughly $12M/yr for 4 years from the Bills).

70 That'a a very good trade for…

In reply to by Bryan Knowles

That'a a very good trade for the Vikings, which is not to say Diggs will be a bust in Buffalo. Diggs was about to the supernova stage in The Life of a Diva Wide Receiver, and the Vikings needed to move on.  When you see what the Texans received for Hopkins, I'd say Zimmer and Spielman did a great job of managing his exit, which has been building for a long time. The extended Cousins and lowered his cap number this year, so losing Diggs might make it possible to resign Everson Griffin, who's still.a quality player and by all reports terrific guy to have around, as long as you don't have to still pay him like a Pro Bowler. The need to sign a gusrd as well.

Diggs might be great for the Bills, but I think it more likely that he's going to be a problem greater than his production.

102 Will, I'd love to get your…

Will, I'd love to get your perspective on this as a Vikes fan. It seems to me that they have two massive divas at the position, but Thielen has been getting a total pass for it, and Diggs has been dogged constantly. It probably was best for all involved to make these deals, kudos to the Vikings for getting value, and kudos to the Bills for addressing a shortcoming with a very good player. But I'm frustrated by what appears to be a double standard.

128 I'm not close to people who…

I'm not close to people who personally knew the players well, like I was deep into 90s, so my perspective is limited. I've never heard of Thielen bitching and moaning about targets after a victory, which to me is the unforgivable (for anyone with less talent than Randy Moss) action of any receiver. When Diggs was sulking after beating the Saints in January, that was it for me. A guy who doesn't value winning playoff games has to go.

(edit) And much more visibly, Diggs chose to not show up for work. I will tolerate that at the beginning of camp, if a guy wants to go to war over his contract. A guy doesn't show up for practice, because he's mad about targets and playcalling? Eff him with a kicking tee. That's an abject betrayal of your teammates. Like I said, Zimmer and Spielman really managed a potential disaster with considerable skill. The people who think those two should be in jeopardy are utter morons.

66 Stefon diggs for what was…

Stefon diggs for what was giving for him and DeAndre Hopkins what was given for him. Bill O'Brien is the dude in the fable where they describe how a fool and his money are easily parted

75 Another good signing

In other news, I'm happy to see Brock Landers get a good new role in Baltimore, after it looked like his career had died down in the 80s.

79 The weird thing about the…

The weird thing about the Hopkins trade is that if what I read about the new CBA punishing holdouts more stringently then Hopkins had very little leverage in this situation. Other than dropping a few balls at important points of games.

96 This is a great point - a…

This is a great point - a lot of WRs have been successful recently threatening holdouts to get new contracts with 2+ years remaining on their deals (I think Julio has even done it twice). Sounds now like if a veteran player holds out for more than 5 days, teams are not allowed to waive their fines, plus the fines have increased, and the player won't accrue a season. I don't know how much that last point might affect 5+ year vets on high value deals, but those are still some pretty harsh terms.

Based on the ESPN article I just found, these new rules don't apply to players still on their rookie contract, so they still have more flexibility to hold out.

83 best signing

so far was Raiders gettifgn marcus mariota. will be like when Raiders got Jim Plunkett ands Rich Gannon. Mariota with rightg coahcing liek he has with Raiders now cna win Super Bowl.

166 Generally. Gannon's best…

Generally.

Gannon's best comp, oddly enough, is probably Cunningham. He was a small-school QB who started his career as a punter and was recruited as much as an RB as a QB. Gannon and Mariota's combine numbers are similar.

86 Brady leaving NE

Tom Brady just announced on all his social media he is leaving NE. No reports yet on what his destination is.

94 Patriots triumph again. Now…

In reply to by PatsFan

Patriots triumph again. Now is clearly the perfect time to get out of the Tom Brady business. They basically timed it absolutely right. That doesn't guarantee their success going forward, of course, but it is the right move.

In more general terms, there was a time when Brady leaving for another team would have been a very interesting story line. Almost twenty years of Belichick and Brady has been pretty boring. It would've been fascinating to see how Brady would have performed without Belichick if he left while still in his prime. At age 43 I don't expect much and don't think it will be especially interesting.

95 The problem is the Patriots…

The problem is the Patriots don't have a clear succession plan at the moment. they did four years ago but that was four years ago. I suppose it's not absolutely clear that Brady is better than Andy Dalton at this point, but he still feels like the best short-term option out there in the free-agent market. I think losing him was a sub-optimal move given their circumstances.

113 four years ago

The plan was for Garoppolo to wait two more years for this opportunity.  

If Brady had had a typical career arc, Jimmy would be in his third year as starter this Fall.  But instead, Brady played at an MVP level in 2017 and Jimmy wasn't going to wait around while Brady kept defying Father Time.

I don't think anybody involved (Brady, Belichick, Garoppolo, or Kraft) did anything wrong here.  Most teams don't have an elite-level QB sitting on the bench waiting his turn.  (Aside from Steve Young and Aaron Rodgers, it's basically unheard of.)  

Now the Pats will be like the Broncos waiting for the next Elway, or the Dolphins waiting for the next Marino, or the Bears waiting for Godot...

 

167 Yes he is. On a per game…

Yes he is.

On a per game basis, Rodgers is better than Rivers (1.0 AV per game, versus ~0.9 AV). However, on a per-season basis, Rivers (12.8) is better than Rodgers (12.3). Availability is also a skill.

Young has roughly Rodgers' per-game metrics, but has somewhat lower per-season numbers (11.4). Young rode the pine a lot. Young only started a full season three times.

122 You don't have faith in the…

In reply to by RickD

You don't have faith in the Patriots remaining competitive in the future? Isn't Belichick still there? Ok, so he won't luck into another Hall of fame QB(likely), but that doesn't preclude the Pats from remaining relevant provided BB is there and motivated.

 

I also feel like people seriously short change the Broncos post Elway and pre Manning. They had a lot of success in that period despite playing in a division with the Patriots, prime Manning Colts, Steelers and Ravens. The AFC was by far the better conference. The broncos acquitted themselves quite well, unlike the Dolphins who never got beyond plucky wildcard team after Marino. 

154 BB is nearly 70

I figure they'll be competitive but the offense needs serious re-tooling, and the defense just lost two key linebackers. 

Also: the Ravens are very good and the Chiefs are the champs.  Mahomes is going to be a force to reckon with for quite some time.

The best hope is that Belichick can mirror Joe Gibbs' ability to plug-and-play different QBs.  Even though that hasn't been the model in New England.

 

225 I'm confused why you think…

In reply to by RickD

I'm confused why you think losing the qB with the 2% dvoa last year and shedding 10m worth of cap space makes it harder to retool the offence. 

252 hmm

I wonder if you appreciate that DVOA is a team stat.  Hard for a QB to get passing DVOA if his receivers are bad.

If you think it'll be easy to replace Tom Brady, I honestly don't know what to say.  But I'd wager a good amount of money his DVOA will be much higher for the Bucs this year than it was last year for the Pats.