The first ever PFT Twitter mailbag

Usually, I ask for questions via the PFT Twitter handle in the hopes of generating discussion points for PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. I’m off this week from radio. But I’m not off this week from the website. So instead of answering your questions on the radio, I’ll answer them here.

And already I’ve realized it’s a lot easier to do this by talking than by typing.

Which means that this may be something I ever only do once. A lot of it depends upon whether any of you read it. Whatever the over-under is for clicks, I’m rooting for the under.

Even if Commissioner Roger Goodell chooses not to reject all or part of the multi-million-dollar efforts of Ted Wells in the #DeflateGate investigation in reaching a ruling in the Tom Brady appeal, the controversy engulfing his report makes it very difficult for the NFL to ever use him again. Thousands of lawyers could do the same job, without the baggage. (Based on the quality of the report, thousands of lawyers also could probably do the job better.)

Wells added to the controversy by angrily defending his work in a media conference call. Common sense suggests that his anger didn’t subside after the conference call ended, because the criticism continued. Common sense also suggests that Wells directed that anger to folks in the league office who weren’t working hard enough to defend his work.

It adds up to the NFL finding someone else to do the work if similar work needs to be done in the future.

The Cowboys and franchise-tagged receiver Dez Bryant have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal. After that, the rules of the tag allow only a one-year contract.

In late June, reports began to emerge from Dallas regarding the imminent announcement of a deal. As of Friday, July 3, some were suggesting that the team and the player were waiting until Monday, July 6 to make it official.

Three days later, nothing. While something could come at any point in the next six days (which undoubtedly would prompt those who have claimed a deal is “imminent” to declare victory), there’s no clear evidence at this point that the two sides are closing in on a contract.

Which wouldn’t be a surprise. It’s believed that the Cowboys are taking a hard line with Bryant because they think he won’t pass up game checks that will exceed $750,000 per week. Some wonder whether he’ll show up for training camp simply to get the training camp and the per diem.

From a broader standpoint, work stoppages don’t work because players don’t want to give up the money and the privilege of playing. In Bryant’s case, the Cowboys are banking on Dez quickly blinking, which limits what the Cowboys are willing to do.

Shortly after the Raiders and Chargers announced their intent to build a shared stadium in Carson, PFT reported that one of them would change conferences, if the plan becomes a reality.

The early thinking pegged the Raiders for the move, with either the Rams or Cardinals jumping to the AFC West.

The Seahawks spent 1977 through 2001 in the AFC West. Keeping them in the NFC West and moving the Raiders there would create a potentially intriguing twice-per-year round-robin rivalry among the Raiders, 49ers, and Seahawks.

It’s one thing for the Albert Haynesworth of today to offer advice to his younger self. It’s quite another for the younger Albert Haynesworth to heed it. I doubt that the younger Albert Haynesworth would have listened to anyone, including himself as a man in his 30s.

I agree with the idea that former Washington coach Mike Shanahan didn’t use Haynesworth properly, but I still wonder whether Haynesworth would have continued to be dominant after he no longer was chasing a long-term contract. Plenty of players lose their edge once they cash in, and it’s hard not to think Haynesworth would have struggled even if he had stayed in Tennessee.

You’re not. Whether because of injury or ineffectiveness, Sam Bradford is no lock to win the job as of Week One. Sanchez has the benefit of a year in the system, and in Philadelphia knowledge of the system and an ability to run it the way coach Chip Kelly wants it to be run becomes more important than it would be elsewhere.

The trade compensation given to the Rams for Bradford suggests that the Eagles think highly of him. The ongoing absence of a long-term deal invites fair questions as to how highly they think of him, and regarding whether he will be on the team in 2016.

Still, there’s currently no sense that Kelly plans for an open competition, like the one held two years ago between Mike Vick and Nick Foles. It doesn’t mean Sanchez can’t swipe the job from Bradford; it just means Sanchez will have to significantly overachieve — or Bradford will have to significantly underachieve.

Or that Bradford will have to get injured again.

I’m not convinced Tom Coughlin is retiring after the 2015 season, which undercuts the idea that the players will be playing harder than they otherwise would be. (I’m not sure they’d be playing extra hard even if they knew their head coach, regardless of who he is, were retiring.) But the Giants still have the potential to be competitive as quarterback Eli Manning becomes more comfortable in Ben McAdoo’s offense.

The key will be the offensive and defensive lines. Those units both played at a high level when the Giants won Super Bowls to cap the 2007 and 2011 seasons. They need to get back to that quality of performance, Left tackle Will Beatty’s offseason pectoral injury and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul’s fireworks mishap will make that more difficult.

At plenty of positions, the Giants have suffered more than their fair share of injuries in recent seasons. Declared to be “a cancer” by Coughlin when he was hired, failure to find a way to keep guys on the field could result in a forced retirement, not only for Coughlin but for plenty of other employees of the organization.

The NFL already didn’t have a salary cap, for a year. Sort of. The labor deals that instituted the salary cap made the final year uncapped in order to create an incentive to extend the contract before it expired. Before 2010, the labor deals never got to the final year.

In 2010, the labor deal did, and the cap went away. With express (and implied) exceptions.

The cap is now back, and it’s unlikely that the NFL and the NFL Players Association ever would agree to get rid of it permanently. Without it, a small handful of owners would overspend on players in an effort buy to championships, throwing the league out of its current competitive balance.

“You wouldn’t want to see the size of the check that I would write if it would for sure get the Dallas Cowboys a Super Bowl,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last year.

We’ll never see it, because he won’t ever have the chance to do it.

That’s a great question, which is something I usually say during radio interviews to buy time. So I’ll sit here and take some time before answering this one.

For starters, Galette isn’t a star player. If this were a franchise quarterback or one of the short-list superstar defensive players in the league, it would have been a much bigger deal.

Also, the video lacked the kind of short, simple, one-pounch clarity from videos generated by the likes of Ray Rice and De’Andre Johnson. While there’s a moment where Galette hits a woman in the head with a belt, the entire video is too chaotic to allow for the kind of raw, visceral reaction generated by the Rice and Johnson videos.

The fact that the fans and media largely ignored the video doesn’t mean the NFL will. The problem for the league is that the behavior occurred before the Rice case forced the NFL to change its Personal Conduct Policy, limiting what the league could do to Galette.

Browns starter Josh McCown may be the best quarterback on any of those three teams. He played extremely well in 2013 when Bears starter Jay Cutler was hurt. McCown’s regression in 2014 was fueled by the absence of an offensive coordinator, which continues to be one of the most underrated story lines of last season. But the rest of the depth chart in Cleveland seems shaky, at best.

The Jets have a potentially great fit for Chan Gailey’s offense in Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Fitzpatrick doesn’t seem to be getting serious consideration to start. Bryce Petty quickly could develop into the best option, simply because there’s no reason to believe Geno Smith will suddenly become dramatically better in his third season.

In Buffalo, the bad news is that Tyrod Taylor could be the best option. Depending on how well Taylor plays, however, that could end up being good news. Whether it’s Taylor, EJ Manuel, or Matt Cassel, whoever gets the job will face plenty of pressure to take full advantage of the team’s impressive (but potentially volatile) collection of offensive weapons.

Ultimately, none of the three teams has a great quarterback situation, which means that Russell Wilson, Eli Manning, and Philip Rivers will make plenty of money in 2016, either from their current teams or from one of the NFL teams desperate to find a franchise quarterback.

Like the three teams discussed in this answer.

For years, the silence of Rams owner Stan Kroenke fueled speculation that he’d move the team to Los Angeles. Now, some view his ongoing silence as proof that he’s ultimately trying to secure the best possible deal to keep the team in St. Louis.

Much of the outcome hinges on whether a public vote will be required to use public funds on a new stadium, and if so whether the public would vote in favor of the measure.

It’s far from over for the Rams in St. Louis. And the end result could be another opportunity to steal another team from another city, like St. Louis has done twice before with the Cardinals and the Rams.

Without question, running back Latavius Murray needs to have the kind of success that forces defenses to devote extra resources to stopping him. That will make it easier for Carr to find open receivers, and for the offensive line to protect him.

Sure, Oakland is holding out hope that Trent Richardson will finally become what he never has been in three NFL seasons. But the move of Taiwan Jones from cornerback back to running back shows just how desperate the Raiders are to develop a solid backfield.

For now, though, Murray is the player with the arrow pointing up. Even though he gained only 424 yards last year, he averaged 5.2 yards per carry and paid homage to Bo Jackson in prime time with a 90-yard touchdown run. If Carr is going to fully develop as a passer in his second NFL season, Murray needs to run more like Bo and less like pretty much every other running back the Raiders have had since Bo.

I do, primarily because Hoyer has more game experience than Mallett. The third-round pick in the 2011 draft, whose stock as a potential first-rounder plummeted due to off-field concerns, still hasn’t played in enough regular-season game situations to allow a full evaluation of his strengths and weaknesses.

The Texans apparently agree, because they gave Hoyer a much richer contract in free agency than they gave to Mallett.

Coach Bill O’Brien hinted during the offseason program that the competition between the two may be resolved before training camp. If true, that’s great news for Hoyer, since if they pick a horse before camp starts, Hoyer is going to be the winner.

Especially since Hoyer can run better than Mallett. Which also gives the former Brown an edge.

13 responses to “The first ever PFT Twitter mailbag

  1. I don’t use twitter

    Riddle me this Florio. Why is no one at espn or any other news organization going after chris Mortensen for printing lies 11 of 12 bass 2 psi under.

  2. please link this twitter thing to it’s own page, I really don’t want to have to scroll this much to get to the other content…thanks

  3. I’m not a Jets fan (I’m quite the opposite, in fact), but I TOTALLY think there IS “reason to believe Geno Smith will suddenly become dramatically better”.

    If NFL fans and “experts” didn’t have their heads up their rears, they would realize that Smith was an EXTRAORDINARILY raw QB prospect coming out of college. He needed at least a couple of seasons of seasoning before any kind of real evaluation could begin. And yet, people act like playing Smith before he was ready should have MAGICALLY accelerated his growth and that he now is what is going to be. Ridiculous.

    Smith has shown that he has the physical skills to succeed; he now needs his mental game to catch up. It might, or it might not. But it NEVER WAS GOING TO before this season, no matter what happened. So the simple fact that this is his FIRST SHOT at actually being NFL ready is the reason why he very easily could show dramatic growth this season. Duh.

  4. Here’s the mail,
    it never fails,
    it makes me want to wag my tail,
    when it comes I want to wail:

  5. Is mauling women on video and blowing ones finger/s off with fireworks becoming a trend?

  6. If he hadn’t put his own tweet in there every time, he could have saved a foot of real estate.

  7. Should LA hit the “Trifecta”, Cards to the AFC West makes sense WRT Denver and KC. If the Chargers & Raiders bolt but the Rams stay in STL, then Rams to the AFC West makes sense.

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