Orlando Brown, Daniel Jones, and the Tag of Destiny

Kansas City Chiefs OL Orlando Brown
Kansas City Chiefs OL Orlando Brown
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Offseason - Should the Kansas City Chiefs really franchise-tag left tackle Orlando Brown for the second straight year?

Let's see. [Begins punching buttons on an imaginary old-timey cash register.] Brown was tagged at $16.7 million last year. A second tag comes with an automatic 20% raise, so he will cost the Chiefs a little over $20.0 million in 2023.

Patrick Mahomes' cap figure for 2023 is $49.2 million. Whatever, he's Mahomes. Travis Kelce costs $14.8 million, Chris Jones $28.2, Joe Thuney $22.1. Add it up, carry the two, and the Chiefs will be able to field a 2023 team of Brown, Mahomes, Kelce, Jones, Thuney, their 2022 draft class, their 2023 draft class, and a few dozen guys named Mike Caliendo. (All cap figures from OverTheCap.com.)

And that team could probably go 13-4.

The Chiefs' cap situation isn't actually all that bad. They can finagle some of their bigger contracts. Frank Clark is a potential cap casualty. That loaded 2022 draft class gives them lots of flexibility. But getting Brown to agree to, well, anything except an annual, non-proratable lump sum would give them even more flexibility.

Holding his breath until mom replaces the spinach with French fries has worked out rather well for Brown so far in his career. He forced a trade from the Ravens, and it's a good thing, because the combined contractual expectations of Brown and Lamar Jackson would cause a tidal wave in the Inner Harbor. He earned a Super Bowl ring for his obstinance. Brown turned down a reported $139-million extension in 2022, and while that decision may well backfire financially in the long run, he has the Chiefs dancing to his tune right now.

The Chiefs could use the 32nd overall pick in the draft to replace Brown, but this draft class is short on sure-thing left tackles. The player the Chiefs could get with that pick would likely need a redshirt year (Maryland's Jaelyn Duncan) or be better suited for right tackle (Tennessee's Darnell Wright). The Chiefs don't want to swap out a capable veteran for an unknown on Mahomes' blindside while defending a championship.

So Brown gets $20 million, and the Chiefs must either sweeten a long-term offer for him or clip coupons.

One possible scenario: the Chiefs tag Brown AND draft someone such as Wright so they don't have to go through this next year, when tagging Brown a third time would cost $28.8 million.

Daniel Jones and the Tag Team

Earlier in the week, friend-of-Walkthrough Judy Battista counted down the most likely players to get slapped with the franchise tag at NFL.com. Let's scroll through the list and give it the ol' Walkthrough spin.

Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL

Well, duh.

Daniel Jones, QB, NYG

Jordan Raanan of ESPN reports that the Giants are trying to sign Jones toa long-term deal in the $35-million range. That rings true with what Walkthrough has heard, as well as the Mara family mentality.

There's also some silliness about a $200-million contract floating around. Be careful where you get your cap and contract information from, folks. If Jones somehow does get a $200-million contract, much of it will be back-end phony-baloney money. It's more likely that Joe Schoen is trying to craft something in the four-year, $150-million range, with the fourth year more or less theoretical.

At any rate, Jones is changing agents right now, so don't expect any announcements until both sides get to scribble their demands on a cocktail napkin at Nicky Blaine's next week.

The Giants are going to overpay for Jones no matter what. In the current quarterback market, overpaying for continuity and stability makes sense, to a degree, and the fellows who sign the checks in East Rutherford worship at the altar of continuity and stability. General manager Joe Schoen must find a way to mitigate the overpayment: $35 million per year for a few years won't cripple the Giants' ability to build elsewhere and will provide an exit strategy for when Jones proves he's weak-tea Ryan Tannehill. It's a calculated risk, but so is every quarterback contract and transaction.

Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG

The analytics-catalyzed plunge in running back salaries has created a paradox: tagging a running back sometimes makes sense. The franchise tag figure for running backs is just over $10 million. That's not an exorbitant à la carte price for one year of an outstanding rusher's late prime. It's like renting a limo for homecoming! And despite what someone is racing to type in the comment thread, Barkley is more likely to have a productive season than whomever the Giants might draft in Day 3, though it's also likely that someone drafted sometime on Day 3 has a more productive season than Barkley. That's a subtle but important distinction.

Keeping both Jones (a long-term deal with lots of dough in 2024 and 2025) and Barkley (franchise tag, then a "thank you" bouquet) for a year would make fans happy, ownership happy, and lots of folks in the locker room happy. Walkthrough doesn't love it, but we get it: a little marginal overpayment is often preferable to playing non-stop Moneyball.

Jordan Poyer, S, BUF

Poyer turns 32 in April and looks to have lost a half-step. The Bills have real cap maintenance to do over the next few years. And while the 2023 draft class may not be chock full of safeties, it has cornerbacks to burn. Forget tagging Poyer, Bills braintrust: draft some 6-foot-2 cornerback in the first round, perhaps another in the second, pair them with Tre'Davious White and the guys you drafted last year, spend the Poyer money elsewhere, and it won't really matter who is playing safety.

Poyer remains a solid defender and clubhouse leader. The Detroit Lions will just love him.

Evan Engram, TE, JAX

We're through the looking glass, folks: the Jaguars are a playoff team, Engram is a reliable offensive weapon, and tagging him makes actual sense. If Trent Baalke really does it, we won't know how to respond.

Engram has been so unpredictable in the past that tagging him makes more sense than extending him.

Daron Payne, DT, WAS

A better-run organization would have extended Payne before his 11.5-sack breakout season; it's not as if the former 13th overall pick came from nowhere.

The Commanders did extend line-mate Jonathan Allen, but Montez Sweat will play for his fifth-year rookie option in 2023, and it's now extension time for Chase Young. Better planning would have made it easier to keep the Commanders front four intact at relatively affordable prices. Now, the team is likely to tag Payne at nearly $19 million, eating up a chunk of the savings they will get from releasing Carson Wentz.

Extending Payne, Sweat, and Young in one pricey bundle makes more sense than playing last-minute tag games with them, and it's possible to do if the Commanders trim some Logan Thomas/Curtis Samuel types and go with Sam Howell for a year. The Commanders could rebrand themselves as a sack-happy team that can win with a rookie-contract quarterback. Which is maybe what they thought they already were? Who knows.

Josh Jacobs, RB, LV

Like Barkley, Jacobs is valuable enough to merit a one-year, $10-million contract. Unlike the Giants, however, the Raiders are a team going nowhere that should be banking resources for the future, not splurging at low-leverage positions.

Counter-counterpoint: it's not like the Raiders have many young in-house veterans in the contract-extension pipeline (see; the 2019-to-2021 draft classes), and they have to spend a little money somewhere. Jacobs could help keep the lights on offensively as the Raiders try to figure out what to do at quarterback, along the offensive line, across 10/11ths of their defense, and so on.

Do whatever you want, Mark Davis and Josh McDaniels. No one will be paying attention by Halloween, anyway.

Not Listed: Jessie Bates, S, CIN

Tagging Bates for a second straight year would cost the Bengals about $15.5 million. That's a lot for a safety, but the best time for the Bengals to do something about it would have been roughly 2021, when they should have extended Bates. It now looks like the Bengals are saving up to pay Joe Burrow, and then Ja'Marr Chase. Left tackle Jonah Williams is also due for an extension, further complicating matters.

With Chase still a year away from an extension and $35 million in paper cap space, the Bengals could extend Bates, Burrow, and Williams if they are willing to plow lots of bonus money into the next three years. Doing so would make sense in a Super Bowl window. But Walkthrough has a feeling they don't have the ready cash to pull it off.

Kyle Trask? Why Not?

Stop the quarterback carousel: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to get off! Indications out of Tampa suggest that the Buccaneers will just shrug their shoulders and give Kyle Trask the starting job in 2023.

There's also speculation that new offensive coordinator Dave Canales, a long-time assistant on Pete Carroll's staff, will import Drew Lock from Seattle as Trask's challenger. That sounds a little tea-leafy—why would Canales want to work with someone who lost a quarterback competition on his watch last year?—but it does make a little sense. Affordability will be the name of the game for the Buccaneers as they pay the bills for the Tom Brady era. Lock is walking, talking replacement level, but he has the name recognition to make a competition with Trask at least sound like something fans should care about.

Maybe the Buccaneers will go with Trask and Sam Darnold instead of Trask and Lock. Or Trask and Hendon Hooker? Trask and Carson Wentz, leaving a trail of necrotic dead cap money in his wake like a demon lich? Insert your favorite low-cost reclamation project of second-tier rookie if you like, but it sure sounds like the Buccaneers are punting on both the quarterback free agency market AND the first-round prospect sweepstakes.

Frankly, good for them. General manager Jason Licht fired all the Glazer cannons, won a Super Bowl, competed for another, watched the Brady mini-era roll to a stop, and now looks ready to unapologetically start over. The Bucs might as well kick the tires on Trask and some other youngster while they eat money. And Trask will at least get the benefit of a solid supporting cast, even if a few Mike Evans-types beg to be traded to the Lions.

And now the discouraging news: Trask is 72-of-122 for 769 yards, two touchdowns, four interceptions, 13 sacks, a 59.0% completion rate, 6.3 yards per attempt, and a 9.6% sack rate over two preseasons of extensive action. Preseason stats are essentially gibberish, but there's nothing in that stat line to inspire much hope, and the sack rate (as well as the fact that Trask could not supplant Blaine Gabbert on a cap-tight team in 2022) are worrisome.

Whatever. No one expects Trask to be good, just semi-competent and cheap. Licht, unlike other general managers in the NFC South, knows how to swallow his cap medicine. And if the Buccaneers do manage to scavenge a decent quarterback from the bottom of the bargain bin, they could still actually compete for their woeful little division.

Freakish Deakish

Can we please retire the phrase "Freakish Athlete" forever and ever?

No, I'm not concerned that the term "freak" is offensive to carnival performers or such; Rick James took us across that Rubicon decades ago, and even Martha Wayne never owned enough pearls for that level of clutching. The issue is that "freakish athlete" is an overused cliche that is now being applied to pretty much every big/fast individual in every sport, but especially to draft prospects.

While compiling scouting reports and profiles for the FO-100 (available soon to FO+ subscribers!), I have read variations on "freakish athlete" used many times at various outlets (Yes, I peek. We all do.), often for athletes who did not appear freakish in any way when I watched their film. The phrase is often used as empty calories to fill out paragraphs about players who have not played much. Yeah, he was injured all of 2021 and rotated with a true freshman in 2022, but he's a freakish athlete.

If an offensive lineman weighs 315 pounds but can dunk a basketball, like Georgia left tackle Broderick Jones, write something like "he weighs 315 pounds but can dunk a basketball" instead of saying "freakish athlete." If an edge rusher tosses aside someone like Jones with one arm on film, just say "he tossed Broderick Jones aside with one arm against Georgia" instead of burying the specifics beneath nonsense syllables. If he's just some 6-foot-2 cornerback with an amazing 40 time, he may be a top-15 pick and future Pro Bowler, but he is not "freakish."

And if you don't know why someone is ranked among the top prospects at his position, you should say so instead of pointing to vague physical awesomeness. I will be saying such things about Will Levis for the next two months.

Bruce Feldman's annual Freaks List can be grandfathered in as a tradition. Color commentators can be forgiven for using "freakish athlete" up to a point, because it's hard to speak off the cuff for over three hours without falling back on some clichés. But the moment anyone types "freakish athlete" into an article or scouting report, that little digital paperclip assistant from the 1990s should pop up and stab them. The phrase is neither informative or entertaining, and it makes the writer sound like they are just passing along third-hand information.

The term "freakish athlete" sounds even sillier in a draft class featuring Georgia tight end Darnell Washington. There's a 6-foot-7, 270-pound CGI Marvel character roaming around in this draft class who just looks different from anyone else on the field. The lad looks like he could dunk from the opposite foul line. Washington could be classified as "freakish" without too much hyperbole, but once applied to him, the phrase simply does not fit the dozens of other players with traditional measurements. And yet it clutters up our conversations.

Oh, and don't you dare call anyone a "generational talent," particularly in this draft class.


72 comments, Last at 28 Feb 2023, 10:30am

#1 by Jetspete // Feb 23, 2023 - 11:08am

Bowles and Trask is a full on admission of tanking. Whatever the o/u of wins is take the alt under. 

Points: 3

#8 by BigRichie // Feb 23, 2023 - 12:47pm

Actually take the over. The professionals who set those lines don't go "Gee, I wonder who the Bucs' quarterback is gonna be?? Ahh, who cares."

Points: 2

#49 by ImNewAroundThe… // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:02pm

And that's alright. Probably the right thing to do actually. 

No need to purgatory yourself with a Carr/Jameis/etc for a WC exit.

Points: 1

#50 by ImNewAroundThe… // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:02pm

Double post. 

Also gives them a shot to get something out of the 21 2nd rounder. Probably buns but now they can confirm for sure and show the whole world (for whatever few true believers there are that might clamor he just needed a shot)

Points: 0

#2 by theslothook // Feb 23, 2023 - 11:27am

I argued a year ago there would have been a team willing to trade two first rounders for Lamar Jackson & sign him to a fully guaranteed contract.

A year later, I think any team that does this is making an absolutely horrible decision. On top of the fact that Lamar doesn't feel like he's ever going to be the player he was in his second year, he's now had injuries ruin The Ravens for two straight years. Not only does that have consequences in the next few seasons, but it casts serious doubts at least to me about his long-term value

He's still really good, which makes this still a predicament. But a year ago, I was more confident that the Ravens should give him most of what he wants. A year later and I think it's better to tag him and play hardball than to acquiesce

Points: 5

#5 by billprudden // Feb 23, 2023 - 12:44pm

Sir - 

My gut tells me similar things.  I think both he and the Ravens missed the boat by not forcing a long-term solution last year.  How many draft picks?  How much guaranteed money?  Boggles the mind.  Bot now, not so much...


Points: 1

#9 by Pat // Feb 23, 2023 - 12:51pm

A year later and I think it's better to tag him and play hardball than to acquiesce

There's also just the issue that if he's this hard to negotiate with, that automatically lowers his value anyway.

The only counter I would have to this is that the Ravens do have an established history of dragging their feet in QB negotiations.

Points: 1

#12 by JoelBarlow // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:33pm

he "bet on himself" and lost

then again, if Daniel Jones can earn 35 M, what is Lamar worth?

doesn't the success of Hurts or even Brock Purdy suggest that guys can be found/developed easier than we might think 

Points: 2

#13 by theslothook // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:35pm

doesn't the success of Hurts or even Brock Purdy suggest that guys can be found/developed easier than we might think 

For every success story like that, there are many more Sam Ehliger horror stories that get everyone in the room fired. That's the kind of extreme downside starring you in the face when you decide to play hardball at QB.

That said, Lamar's line in the sand is so extreme at this point that its hard to justify. There was always going to be a QB whos really good but not good enough to justify the enormous pie in the sky numbers he wants. 

Points: 5

#21 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:20pm

There was always going to be a QB whos really good but not good enough to justify the enormous pie in the sky numbers he wants. 

But we've never found that quarterback.

As a practical matter, the leadership of a team who lets a good QB go only survives doing so if:

  1. They have an immediate near-peer or better replacement, or
  2. The QB who walks away immediately craters for their new team, or
  3. They are intentionally tanking and/or completely uninterested in short-term team success


  1. Rivers Chargers and Rodgers Packers
  2. Post-Wilson Seahawks, post-Ryan Falcons
  3. Legion, but includes post-Ryan Falcons, post-Stafford Lions

The only exception I can really think of is the post-Brady Pats, but they are a pretty unique set of circumstances. And that may have been a quasi-type 3 rebuild.

Points: 0

#25 by theslothook // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:43pm

The Ravens are one of the very teams that can get away with saying bye to Lamar in one year.

Russel Wilson's situation illustrates the catastrophic downsides that leave you trapped when you guarantee a lot of money and a lot of years.

Points: 1

#32 by LionInAZ // Feb 23, 2023 - 11:43pm

If the Ravens say bye-bye to Jackson in one year, where will they be, exactly? They're not exactly the Ray Lewis/Terrell Suggs defense that made the Flacco years productive.

Points: 0

#59 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:46pm

"They have an immediate near-peer or better replacement, or

The QB who walks away immediately craters for their new team, or"


Sure, but this is a bit of circular logic. If coaching, scheme-fit, etc are more important, and nfl-possible quarterbacks are more common than thought, then you'd expect teams that knew what they were doing to have these sort of replacements, and you'd expect the leaving QBs to be worse - and that's exactly what happens. 

The Patriots were worse, but fine, with Matt Cassel. They were fine with Brisset and Garoppolo. Worse, but fine, with the corpse of Cam Newton. Worse, but fine with rookie low-ceiling noodle-arm Mac Jones. It wasn't until the coaching fell apart that the offense was actually bad. 

Points: 5

#62 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 24, 2023 - 2:21pm

Worse, but fine, with the corpse of Cam Newton.

Kind of?

Their record was okay, but they were possibly a worse offense in 2020 than they were in 2022! Cam was basically unable to pass and they were running something of an option rushing attack. As bad as Mac looked this year, he was better than Cam!

Points: 2

#69 by KnotMe // Feb 25, 2023 - 1:02pm

Even for the Pays you could argue they let Brady go a year early but they were in a rolling rebuild anyway with SB winning core aging out and wernt going to go anywhere with him anyway. 

Belichick is basicly unfireable at this point unless he clearly goes senile or something. He definitely screwed up with Patricia but almost coached his way out of it anyway. 

It's such a unique situation I don't think it tells you much about where it goes with BAL. I think they pretty much have to keep him or get a crazy trade return. 

Points: 0

#16 by BigRichie // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:45pm

The success of Hurts and Purdy suggests (strongly, imo) that a lot of what we credit(blame) quarterbacks for actually more stems from the players and coaches around them.

Points: 10

#52 by KnotMe // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:58pm

I think the relationship is probably more complicated than X(player coach, support) is good or bad. I suspect if you gave Josh Johnson a HOF offence he might be a bit above average at best.  Similarly, if you put Mahomes on team with bad support (say CHI) or bad coaching(say, NE) he probably would look average also. 

Points: 0

#60 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:59pm

Mahomes wouldn't look anywhere near average in NE's offense this year. People still don't realize the extent of the dysfunction in NE this year. No amount of quarterback talent was going to fix that. 

Points: 1

#68 by KnotMe // Feb 24, 2023 - 5:34pm

It's hard to say, but my assumption is Mahomes in pure sandlot mode "you guys run around and I'll throw you the ball" would probably be like 20th in DVOA and he would just ignore Patricia after a point. 

Points: 5

#57 by luisguilherme // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:20pm

Minshew was more than fine by DVOA. Wins are not a QB stat.

Points: 2

#22 by Oncorhynchus // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:26pm

doesn't the success of Hurts or even Brock Purdy suggest that guys can be found/developed easier than we might think 

Yeah, why doesn't everyone just draft Tom Brady in the 6th round? How hard can it be? On an unrelated note, I don't understand why people struggle to pay their utility bills - the success of me drawing money from my trust fund suggests money is easier found that we might think. 


Points: 7

#55 by JoelBarlow // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:03pm

Brady isn't the comp - there's no track record of "pro-style" (as defined in 2000) QB success being anything other than totally random

but probably 45 power 5 teams are running a QB--friendly, QB-run adjacent offense now and it seems like the next Jalen Hurts (a 2nd round imminently unheralded pro prospect) is relatively doable

Points: -1

#39 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Feb 24, 2023 - 9:37am

"doesn't the success of Hurts or even Brock Purdy suggest that guys can be found/developed easier than we might think "

Absolutely. I think there are a handful of guys who are pretty much guaranteed to succeed (the Peyton Manning types), and then a huge swath of guys who could be very successful in the right environment. I think Tom Brady was in the 2nd group - and that if he'd landed on a badly run team as a rookie, or a team that wanted to throw deep all the time, or run a lot of bootlegs, he never would have succeeded. Instead he landed with a team with a new coach who was concerned that Drew Bledsoe couldn't think fast enough. 


I mean, christ, look at Mac Jones this year. Roughly top 10 as a rookie, reports from offseason/TC are that he looks fantastic - and then year 2 is "borderline NFL player" with pretty much the only change being a dysfunctional offensive coaching situation. Coaching, fit, etc all matter. 

Look at the difference between Alex Smith playing for Andy Reid and Jim Harbaugh/Singletary/Nolan. Mahomes is clearly way more talented than Smith was - but he's benefitting from a lot of the same things. 

(And this doesn't mean there aren't guys who just don't have the talent). 

Points: 4

#44 by theslothook // Feb 24, 2023 - 10:59am

Well, one counter point to Purdy is the fact that all the prior backups mostly stunk under Shanny. Yeah maybe Nick Mullins was ok for a time, but most often Jimmy G would get hurt and the team's record would nose dive.

Points: 1

#48 by IlluminatusUIUC // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:02pm

While true, usually everyone else would be hurt too. Deebo, Kittle, the halfbacks, etc. Look at the injury reports for some of those years and there's more red than in the stands. In 22 it seems like the bomb went off in the QB room, but the rest of the skill position players were all largely available (and they added McCaffery)

Points: 1

#61 by Hoodie_Sleeves // Feb 24, 2023 - 2:02pm

"Well, one counter point to Purdy is the fact that all the prior backups mostly stunk under Shanny."

Nobody is making the argument that QB talent is irrelevant. We're making the argument that performance and talent are not the same thing, and that coaching heavily modifies performance. 

Points: 3

#63 by theslothook // Feb 24, 2023 - 2:22pm

I tend to take the following view on coaches.

10 percent are amazing difference makers. 10 percent are game wreckers/gremlins in the workshop.

And 80 percent are milquetoast bystanders.

The real difference maker comes from the supporting casts. However, I don't think tying yourself to low round picks works as a long term strategy. The goal is to get a really good, tier 2 player. Once you have that, your whole approach changes. 

Points: -2

#73 by Steve in WI // Feb 27, 2023 - 2:15pm

and then a huge swath of guys who could be very successful in the right environment

I always wonder how many late-round guys like this never even got a chance to play meaningful games because they were buried on the depth chart and the players ahead of them happened to stay healthy and productive.

Points: 0

#64 by Legion // Feb 24, 2023 - 2:23pm

Even the team that liked Brock Purdy made the football gods slay two of their quarterbacks before they would play him.

It’s just not a high-odds move.

Points: 2

#20 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:14pm

There's also just the issue that if he's this hard to negotiate with, that automatically lowers his value anyway.

You're going to have to explain that, but also clarify which definition of value you are using.

Points: 0

#26 by Pat // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:52pm

Anything that makes the team's job easier in terms of managing salaries and negotiation time is valuable. Defining and assigning that value is totally a team-dependent thing, though. Even just in terms of the fact of if they have to use the franchise tag on him this year, that's a resource they don't have available for anyone else.

Like I said, though, that's colored by the fact that the Ravens have previously held off signing a QB until way too late, so it might not be Lamar.


Points: 0

#28 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 23, 2023 - 4:30pm

Well yes, people who are both good and willing to play for free are quite valuable.

They are also idiots.

Even in baseball, where if anything the player-owner relationship and inhumane pursuit of efficiency uber alles is even worse, the Aaron Judges and Scott Borases of the world make substantial bank. It's not a show-stopper.

Points: 0

#38 by Pat // Feb 24, 2023 - 9:04am

Where did I say free?

When you can't sign a player long term and get a real commitment, it causes problems for the team. Just like if a team can't commit and doesn't sign a player long term, it causes problems with the player. Same deal. If Lamar's the one being stubborn, the team has to be wondering "man, is this worth it? Who knows how long we'll be able to keep him happy anyway?"

Wilson was a problem in Seattle, for instance, and obviously Aaron Rodgers practically blew up the team by himself by demanding a billion dollars and then being like "eh, maybe a year?"

Points: 0

#41 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 24, 2023 - 10:00am

Anything that makes the team's job easier in terms of managing salaries and negotiation time is valuable.

Your thesis is teams will avoid players who are expensive in time and/or money.

My counter-argument is that there are plenty of players who are both in an even less-forgiving environment, and to a certain extent, it is in the interests of the player to be that sort.

Players aren't in the business of making the team's life easier.

Points: 0

#46 by dryheat // Feb 24, 2023 - 11:18am

I don't think the key word is expensive, I think it's difficult.

Points: 0

#58 by Pat // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:46pm


Players aren't in the business of making the team's life easier.

I disagree. Plenty of them are, because it's a team game and they know it - the best way for them to maximize their career earnings is for the entire team to be successful.

Quarterbacks in general have signed exceptionally team friendly deals historically, and in fact, very few quarterback contracts actually look like they follow "better play = better pay." Instead it looks far more binary, like "are you a starting NFL QB? If so, take previous contract and increase." There's just very little variation in actual starting QB pay compared to the large variation in actual QB performance.

But I'm not saying that teams will avoid them - I'm saying teams will be less likely to give favorable terms to a player like that. So again - if the Ravens aren't the problem (which they very well could be!) then just the simple fact of Lamar being difficult to negotiate with might make them less likely to give him what he wants.

I think the grumbling regarding Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers is just evidence of that.

Points: 1

#65 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 24, 2023 - 2:25pm

You hear grumbling about Wilson and Rodgers because they didn't work out. But no one said boo to them so long as they were turning out wins and yards.

If the performance is there, someone will pay them what they want, no matter how much CoD they play.

Points: 1

#67 by Pat // Feb 24, 2023 - 3:29pm

I'm talking about the grumbling about Wilson in Seattle. When he was working out perfectly fine.

Points: 0

#27 by almon // Feb 23, 2023 - 4:08pm

i get that lamar's lost the bet on getting a fully guaranteed contract...but did he really lose?

if he says right now, "hey decosta, i wanna be a raven for life. changed my mind and willing to take top-market qb money at $45m and guaranteed for 3 yrs", wouldn't the ravens sign him tomorrow? this would be the same offer ravens would have given him all year long

ravens are 4-8 without lamar. in those 4 games their opponents scored 10, 13, 14 & 9 points. i love how the ravens do things, but they're hot garbage without lamar

Points: 2

#37 by jackiel // Feb 24, 2023 - 7:51am

IMO Lamar is losing because the longer he delays signing his second contract, the less likely it is that he’ll be able to sign his third contract during his prime. He should look at how quickly Cam - a guy with a similar playing style who was built like a defensive end - went from being a top echelon starter to out of football to understand how things can fall apart for mobile qb’s with an injury history. It’s also important to note that Watson’s Cleveland deal was his third contract so he could afford to be more choosy/principled in his approach since it was untenable that Houston would make him a healthy scratch for a 2nd year. Also since no one else other than Watson has gotten a fully guaranteed deal, it’s hard for Lamar to state that Watson’s deal isn’t an outlier. This will become clearer when guys like hurts, Herbert, burrow don’t push for full guarantees for their extensions. 

Points: 2

#40 by Chuckc // Feb 24, 2023 - 9:53am

Kirk Cousins got the first fully guaranteed contract. Watson being the second makes it easier to argue that this is a trend that is going to gain steam

Points: 0

#43 by theslothook // Feb 24, 2023 - 10:52am

I'm genuinely curious what Burrow will ask for. He's not Mahomes thus far, but he could make a very credible case he deserves the farm and all of it guaranteed.

Points: 3

#45 by jackiel // Feb 24, 2023 - 11:16am

I disagree. Cousins only got that far because he was one of the few nfl players to reach full free agency in their primes. Most nfl players at Lamar’s level don’t get to free agency.  Everything about Watson’s situation is an outlier as that type of contract was only possible due to his off-field transgressions. It’s only a trend if Lamar’s contemporaries demand fully guaranteed contracts. Most of them won’t since top qb’s aren’t exactly undervalued in the league. This offseason will make that reality clear since hurts has no incentive to play hardball and herbert and burrow play for teams with cash poor owners.

Points: 2

#54 by KnotMe // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:00pm

Agree on Burrow. If you were gonna pick "the next Mahomes"...he's probably the best bet, although I'd give him maybe a 50% chance of reaching that level. 

Points: 1

#3 by Harris // Feb 23, 2023 - 11:28am

Can we also add "needs to get stronger" to describe draft picks, especially linemen? They all need to get stronger. Anyone who doesn't can probably be safely described as a freak athlete.

Points: 3

#4 by BigRichie // Feb 23, 2023 - 12:43pm

That actually has meaning to it. Means "he didn't anchor all too well in college, so he'll need to get really better at that to play in the NFL".

(you can quibble with the phrasing if you want, but it actually tells us something both specific and relevant)

Points: 4

#10 by FanZed // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:13pm

Maybe you can serve as FOs resident cliche decoder. The problem is, there are too many people writing prospect evals for us to be sure that these phrases consistently mean one thing. If "needs to get stronger" does in fact mean "lacks a strong anchor", then why not say that?

Points: 3

#17 by Harris // Feb 23, 2023 - 2:19pm

Then they should say, "doesn't anchor well." A poor anchor could be a matter of technique or size. Needing to get stronger could mean he doesn't move people in the run game or he can be overpowered by bigger players or just that he lacks the necessary bulk to survive the season. Why use a euphemism when the exact words are right there?

Points: 3

#19 by KnotMe // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:01pm

Arn't prospect breakdowns one of those things that has devolved into a mass of cliches that are probably best written by ChatGPT at this point. 

Points: 1

#51 by TTP // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:40pm

ChatGPT Prompt: Write a fictional draft scouting report for a guard projected to be drafted in the first round of the NFL draft

Name: Jonathan "J.J." Jackson

Position: Guard Projected

Round: 1st Round

Overview: J.J. Jackson is a dominant offensive guard who possesses the necessary physical attributes, football IQ, and work ethic to become a valuable addition to any NFL roster. He has consistently demonstrated an ability to protect the quarterback and create running lanes for his ball carriers at the college level, and is projected to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

Strengths: Jackson is a physical specimen, standing at 6'4" and weighing in at 330 pounds. He possesses a rare combination of strength, agility, and speed that allow him to overpower defenders and clear paths for his teammates. He is also a highly intelligent player, displaying a strong understanding of defensive schemes and offensive game plans, which enables him to anticipate and react to opposing defenders.

On the field, Jackson shows excellent footwork and the ability to maintain his balance, making him a formidable presence on the offensive line. He consistently wins one-on-one battles with his opponents, using his brute strength to bully them out of the way. He also demonstrates a great deal of versatility, having played both guard positions and even some tackle in his college career.

Weaknesses: Jackson's size and strength can occasionally lead to over-aggressiveness, resulting in penalties. He will need to refine his technique and become more disciplined in his approach to avoid giving up unnecessary yardage. He can also struggle at times against speed rushers, who can get around him on the outside and disrupt the quarterback's timing.

Despite these areas for improvement, Jackson's raw talent and potential make him a highly coveted prospect in the upcoming NFL draft. His work ethic, intelligence, and physical tools should allow him to overcome any initial struggles and become a dominant force on the offensive line at the next level.



Points: 7

#53 by theslothook // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:59pm

I guess there's going to be a lot more draft writers unemployed. Well, Uber needs drivers


Points: 0

#56 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 24, 2023 - 1:04pm

I guess there's going to be a lot more draft writers unemployed.

tiny violins play below the hearing threshold.

Points: 1

#66 by Scott P. // Feb 24, 2023 - 3:12pm

Yeah, having edge rushers get outside is a big red flag when evaluating a guard.

Points: 5

#72 by Raiderfan // Feb 27, 2023 - 9:35am

I didn’t realize ChatGPT has been around for decades.

Points: 0

#71 by FanZed // Feb 26, 2023 - 1:13pm

This is brilliant. Bleached Report and ChatGPT were made for each other.

Points: 1

#6 by anotheroldguy // Feb 23, 2023 - 12:44pm

'commentators can be forgiven for using "freakish athlete" up to a point, because it's hard to speak off the cuff for over three hours without falling back on some clichés.'

It's admittedly off topic a bit, but this triggered a pet peeve of mine:
"Unbelievable, Jim" for some fairly routine play by one of these highly trained and conditioned athletes we see every Sunday. I just saw it happen. I believe it, almost expect it.

Tony Romo is the most frequent offender, maybe 3 -6 times a game. I've noticed that Greg Olsen has started to pick it up.

Points: 0

#14 by BigRichie // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:37pm

Well, they're paid to be shills. Who professionally need to keep enough of a handle on it so that we forget they're paid to be shills.

Points: 2

#7 by Pat // Feb 23, 2023 - 12:45pm

One possible scenario: the Chiefs tag Brown AND draft someone such as Wright so they don't have to go through this next year, when tagging Brown a third time would cost $28.8 million.

Tagging Brown a 3rd time will cost upwards of $45M.

For every position except QB (the highest paid position), the 3rd tag jumps to the exclusive franchise tag for QBs, since it's obviously the highest. For QBs, it's either a 44% raise on year 2 or a 20% raise on the exclusive tag value (whichever is higher).

Points: 5

#11 by serutan // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:25pm

Can we please retire the phrase "Freakish Athlete" forever and ever?

Oh, and don't you dare call anyone a "generational talent," particularly in this draft class

   How dare you attempt to inject rationality into sports reporting/commentary!  

Points: 1

#15 by BigRichie // Feb 23, 2023 - 1:40pm

Well, draft coverage anyway.

(Baseball prospect coverage is yet worse. "The Top 41 Prospects in [your favorite team's] System!!!" Seriously)

Points: 1

#47 by dryheat // Feb 24, 2023 - 11:23am

Why?  Are the 267 "once-a-generation" players that were drafted in the last ten years too many?

Points: 2

#18 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:00pm

And despite what someone is racing to type in the comment thread, Barkley is more likely to have a productive season than whomever the Giants might draft in Day 3, though it's also likely that someone drafted sometime on Day 3 has a more productive season than Barkley. That's a subtle but important distinction.

  1. People hit the lotto every week.
  2. That person is not you.


Points: 6

#24 by Ryan // Feb 23, 2023 - 3:28pm

"OK, so he's not a freakish athlete. But look at that arm talent!" 

Points: 1

#33 by mehllageman56 // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:30am

"Give me back my hand!" Every Jets QB since Namath.

Points: 2

#30 by Jackson87 // Feb 23, 2023 - 4:39pm

Re Payne: Chronic underachiever has career year in his contract year, signs big deal, goes back to underachieving, episode 94

Points: 2

#34 by ImNewAroundThe… // Feb 24, 2023 - 12:54am

Ironically it was his worst graded year. Just played the most though (+ some luck). 

Points: 0

#31 by Tutenkharnage // Feb 23, 2023 - 8:13pm

Trask and Carson Wentz, leaving a trail of necrotic dead cap money in his wake like a demon lich?

Die, Wentzna, Die!

Points: 0

#42 by Aaron Brooks G… // Feb 24, 2023 - 10:10am

It's just German for The Wentz, The!

Points: 2

#70 by BroncosGuyAgain // Feb 25, 2023 - 6:00pm

Speaking of cliches, I propose 6 months in jail for use of "slapped with the franchise tag".

Points: 0

#74 by Lost Ti-Cats Fan // Feb 28, 2023 - 10:30am

The franchise tag system would be less tilted towards owners if the GM had to successfully physically slap the tag onto the player in order for it to apply.

Points: 0

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