Yet another Sunday PFT mailbag

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It’s a new tradition in these parts, one that keeps me a little less bored than I’d otherwise be on the slowest news day of the week. Hopefully, it keeps you a little less bored, too.

Plenty of questions were submitted via Twitter. The best 10 are answered below.

And we’ll do it again next Sunday, unless I get bored with this effort to avoid boredom.

From @chriscarra35: “Why would [Andy] Dalton choose the Cowboys over the chance to compete for the starting gig somewhere a la Pats, Jags or to mentor a first-round pick? Is this a power play by Jerry?”

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, five teams pursued Dalton. None provided a direct path to a starting job in 2020. (This implies that the Patriots weren’t one of the five.) Dalton decided to go to the best team with the best chance to compete for a championship in 2020.

The presence of coach Mike McCarthy also was an attraction, since Dalton will have a chance to continue to develop as a quarterback.

Thus, Dalton’s goal is to be the best teammate he can be, to lead by example and experience, to support Dak Prescott, and then to hit the market in 2021, possibly as one of the top available veteran options.

From the Cowboys’ perspective, Dalton provides a veteran presence to further assist his development, and a major upgrade over Cooper Rush. Whether Jerry Jones also hopes to use Dalton’s presence as protection against a holdout by Prescott that could extend into the regular season remains to be seen. That question could become very relevant if Prescott and the Cowboys don’t work out a new deal before the July 15 deadline for signing franchise-tagged players to multi-year contracts.

The ultimate Dallas power play would entail stripping the franchise tender from Dak. That’s highly unlikely, but it wouldn’t be crazy for the Cowboys to at least ponder whether, dollar for dollar, Dalton at up to $7 million represents a better value than Prescott at $31.4 million. Washington did precisely that in 2017, considering whether Kirk Cousins was eight times more valuable than Colt McCoy before eventually tagging Cousins a second time.

From @vamos4ramos: “Do you think the Saints secretly wish they would’ve waited a few extra days and signed Andy Dalton Instead of Jameis Winston?”

No. Sean Payton is smart enough to know Dalton would have been available. It actually was shrewd to get Winston under contract for only $1.1 million before Dalton signed his new contract, since Winston could have potentially driven a harder bargain by pointing to Dalton’s deal.

If Payton wanted Dalton, Payton would have gotten Dalton. But Payton wanted Winston, and many now want to see what Winston can do while working with Payton.

From @DeShawnLynch0: “If the Saints love Taysom Hill as much as reported, why do they keep bringing in premier backups?”

At $1.1 million, Jameis Winston isn’t really a “premier” backup. The deeper issue isn’t name recognition or contract value but whether and to what extent the base offense fits Hill. It doesn’t, so the Saints need a backup (like Teddy Bridgewater in 2018 and 2019) who can run the base offense if Brees gets injured.

Next year, if/when Hill is the starter, Sean Payton will design an offense for Hill (or, more accurately, implement an offense Payton already has devised), and Payton will find a backup who can run it.

From @ChrisSteel20: “What do the Bengals do for the backup QB spot as Dalton’s away and Ryan Finley never exactly done great when he had his chance last year do they look for a experienced QB backup or stick with what’s there already?”

While it would have made sense to have Dalton around for a year or so to help with Joe Burrow‘s development, Dalton’s $17.5 million salary made that impossible. So it’s Finley for now with the possibility that the Bengals will add someone else, preferably someone who knows the offense.

Blake Bortles, who spent 2019 with the Rams (from which coach Zac Taylor was hired) and who remains available, could be the obvious answer.

From @PFTPMPosse: “Could you see a lot of players sitting out if they do the Feb-May NCAA season? A hastily thrown together season may have a lot more injuries making top players just skip it & prepare for the NFL?”

A delay in the college football season would create a wide range of issues for college football and for the NFL. The draft would have to be delayed, and it would become very difficult to balance properly scouting the incoming players with preparing them for their rookie seasons.

Then there’s the very real question of whether it would be appropriate to expect young men who played from February through May to turn around and play another season that starts in September.

The smart move for the best players (like Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence) would be to sit out a February-May season, keep themselves healthy, keep themselves fresh, and get themselves ready to go for their rookie seasons in the NFL.

From @thomasmckoskey: “Will the NFL change the rules of the supplemental draft this year because of COVID-19?”

This question has come up several times recently. Without delving into the niceties of player eligibility for the supplemental draft, it’s hard to imagine the NFL doing anything that would undermine the potential availability of college football players to play college football, either during college football season or from February through May.

The supplemental draft was devised for narrow and specific purposes. Broadening those categories to give players a way to escape an uncertain college football season will hamper the ability of college football to make as much money as possible from a workforce it doesn’t pay. And that alone is enough reason for the NFL to tread very lightly.

From @CJ_DA__TRUTH: “With the possibility of an international franchise drawing the league closer to London and Mexico, could we see a possible expansion franchise or two from new possible owners?”

Not long ago, expansion of the NFL seemed to be something that wouldn’t happen for decades. With 32 teams configured neatly into two conferences and four divisions per conference and four teams per division, the NFL has balance and order and equity.

But money still drives the bus. More teams would result in more games would result in more tickets would result in more TV money would result in more money that can be earned from all the wagering that happens on the extra games. Given the financial impact of the pandemic, owners could be clamoring to realize the huge expansion fees and the increased cash that will come from putting a couple of new teams in new (or old) places.

Think of it this way: Added one week to the season adds 16 total games. Adding two teams would also add (wait for it) 16 total games. Which could end up being a better alternative to pushing for the season to expand from 17 to 18 games.

One impediment to expansion has been the absence of enough quality quarterbacks. With a recent explosion of young quarterbacks who quickly develop, every team has access to a starting quarterback who won’t set back offensive football by 60 years. Currently, there are more passable passers than franchises, which would help justify expanding the number of teams.

From @leepers500: “What is the threshold you think the NFL would tolerate in infections or deaths from COVID if they open on time and see the disease arise in their midst?”

If the NFL decides to proceed with football season, it will accept the possibility that players and coaches will become infected, will get ill, and potentially will die. The threshold question is whether players and coaches will accept those risks. (Most players will; for coaches who are older and/or who have other health conditions like diabetes, it becomes a much tougher call.)

Testing continues to be the most important factor as it relates to the playing of football in 2020. As explained on Saturday, it’s expected that quick and efficient testing both for the virus and for antibodies will be readily available by August. That will make it easier to ensure that, on any given day, only those who test negative will enter a team’s facility.

And if/when (when) someone develops COVID-19, the NFL surely will take all steps necessary to ensure that the person gets the best possible treatment, as quickly as possible.

As life tries to move back toward normal, there will be issues and challenges for the NFL, along with the rest of society. The league will accept those issues and challenges in the name of ensuring that football season happens in 2020, for the NFL’s own good and for the good of a country craving for sports.

From @CLSportsNation: “How much did Dak’s agent cost him by holding out for every nickel?”

So far, Dak has lost nothing. He continues to have a franchise tender of $31.4 million and the leverage that goes along with it — including the ability to make 20 percent more in 2021 if he opt to play on a year-to-year basis, in the event the Cowboys fail to offer Dak an acceptable long-term deal.

The financial risk, albeit slim, comes from the possibility that the Cowboys will become exasperated with the situation and rescind the franchise tender. That would make Dak a free agent at a time when budgets have been exhausted, cap space is scarce, and financial uncertainty lingers due to the pandemic. He’d likely have a very hard time getting $31.4 million for 2020 or the kind of long-term deal that he has rejected from Dallas, to date.

Still, the stripping of the franchise tender would be a stunner, even with Andy Dalton now in position to take over the team in Dak’s absence. Which means that the agent’s negotiating posture hasn’t, and most likely won’t, affect Prescott’s earning potential.

From @ThomNFLfan_76: “Where will Cam Newton end up?”

For various reasons, the 2015 MVP remains unsigned. And he’ll likely remain unsigned at least until an interested team can give him a proper physical.

Even then, no starting jobs are available and the teams that perhaps would pursue him (Patriots and Jaguars) would have a hard time creating the necessary cap space.

Cam’s best play continues to be patience. At some point, a quarterback will get injured. And that’s when an opportunity likely will come his way. Although plenty of teams opt for the “next man up” approach when a starter goes down, no team has a “next man up” who can hold a candle to Cam. If he’s healthy by September and a starter somewhere suddenly isn’t, Newton could be in business.

34 responses to “Yet another Sunday PFT mailbag

  1. Yeah, I get it. Sean Payton is a master strategist and everything is well planned out. Is that what you’re trying to sell us?

  2. Mike I realize your stance for players as much $ as possible I think you evaded the Q on Dak by not presenting that he was offered approximately 33 mil per year contract that he declined. That may well be the lost $ the Q was referring to.
    First time question.

  3. We don’t knows what teams wanted him but if he thinks Dallas is his brest chance of getting a championship he’s in for a long wait.

  4. Which Cam are you talking about? The current old version? Or the younger more athletic one? Neither version is an accurate qb or can pick apart a defense pre-snap so I dont know why you think hes so much better than the majority of teams current backups.

  5. Hey Florio…I always challenge your abject desire for negative outcomes (LOL!) but kudos on this segment. For what it’s worth, it’s great, I look forward to it, and it tends to provide some awesome perspectives. Nice job brother!

  6. The Cowboys are a hot mess. They are willing to pay $31 million to a quarterback who has never won a playoff game to be backed up by a quarterback who, get ready for this, has never won a playoff game. What a contrast to the Redskins. The Redskins are paying the league minimum for a quarterback, better than Joe Burrow, who closed out his rookie season with a qb rating of 131 in his last two starts. These franchises are headed in opposite directions with the Redskins soaring while the Cowboys going down the drain. No wonder Chase Young was so ecstatic about being drafted by this surging squad.

  7. Dak has won a playoff game jurgyisgod. They beat the Seahawks a couple years ago.

  8. While it would have made sense to have Dalton around for a year or so to help with Joe Burrow‘s development, Dalton’s $17.5 million salary made that impossible.

    ***************************************************************************

    Bengs have $24-25 mil in cap space. Would’ve been stupid to keep Dalton, but definitely not impossible.

  9. What’s really interesting is the love and lauding of Peyton as an NFL genius yet very similar results McCarthy had in GB.

    Lots of shade on Aaron/McC for “only winning one title” – yet over the same period, Peyton is the same with just as talented of a QB.

    You can’t give Peyton and Brees a pass due to team deficits on the defensive side and not acknowledge the same for AR/McC. Especially considering it appears Peyton has a lot more say in personnel vs what Mike did in GB.

  10. If Brees retires after 2020 or moves on to another team like Brady, I assume the Saints move to sign Winston.

  11. So the Bengals knew they were taking Burrow and waited until the Free agent market dried up before letting Dalton go. That’s the thanks you get for playing in Cincy. No wonder hardly anyone wants to play there.

  12. Don’t rule Cam out for Washington, his former coach is there and if he’s willing to sign a Dalton like deal, it could happen.

  13. I would be surprised if we see expansion anytime soon. If you haven’t noticed the country has a massive unemployment problem and that isn’t going to turn around in just a couple of years. Small businesses are closing along with many other places that could leave the job market 10-15% smaller than it was 6 weeks ago. When 40M people try to find jobs again many will find that they simply aren’t there. Expansion doesn’t tend to happen in economic times we are about to see.

  14. I have to agree with the above post ..WHY hold onto Andy and not cut him before the draft?

  15. If there is a glut of starting quality QB’s, how come the Bears cannot find one???

  16. jurgyisgod says:
    May 3, 2020 at 4:46 pm
    The Cowboys are a hot mess. They are willing to pay $31 million to a quarterback who has never won a playoff game to be backed up by a quarterback who, get ready for this, has never won a playoff game. What a contrast to the Redskins. The Redskins are paying the league minimum for a quarterback, better than Joe Burrow, who closed out his rookie season with a qb rating of 131 in his last two starts. These franchises are headed in opposite directions with the Redskins soaring while the Cowboys going down the drain. No wonder Chase Young was so ecstatic about being drafted by this surging squad

    So close, you might have made a better argument if you would have brought up the best offseason moves for the skins if you would have mentioned getting a real coach and ridding themselves of the Bruce and Scott cluster that was the front office. Soaring… really? Haskins did have a QBR OF 131 for his last 2 games unfortunately they were losses. In those games he did complete 31 of 43 passes for 394 yards.Of those completions, one was for 75 yards and the next longest was 34. That means the other 29 completions went for 285 yards which is a 9.8 yard avg. Not exactly spreading the field. LaVar I mean Chase Young was a good choice, but so was the aforementioned LaVar Arrington so lets just cool our jets on the soaring. Try to get competitive first then strive for mediocrity and see how it works out for you there skippy.

  17. If Payton wanted Dalton, Payton would have gotten Dalton. But Payton wanted Winston
    =================================================

    Mmmyeah, okay lol

  18. I was hoping that the report for Sunday would include Chris Simms “Unbuttoned” show changing it’s name. Or, at least that he would loose the awful look with the slicked back hair and a buttoned dress shirt with no tie. He looks like a choir boy. Seriously, how is he the new expert for the draft, player evaluations, team out looks, and everything NFL? He was an over rated QB at Texas and a below average back up in the NFL.

  19. R U kidding me? CHRIS SIMMS is outstanding. To me he’s right at the top. Why do you think NBC expanded his role on it’s Sunday Night Football pre-game show! He and Mike together are outstanding as well. He’s blown by pops as far as where he sits on the football expert totem pole. BTW, I love it when he calls him “Dad,” instead of Phil Simms!

  20. jurgyisgod says:
    May 3, 2020 at 4:46 pm
    The Cowboys are a hot mess. They are willing to pay $31 million to a quarterback who has never won a playoff game to be backed up by a quarterback who, get ready for this, has never won a playoff game. What a contrast to the Redskins. The Redskins are paying the league minimum for a quarterback, better than Joe Burrow, who closed out his rookie season with a qb rating of 131 in his last two starts. These franchises are headed in opposite directions with the Redskins soaring while the Cowboys going down the drain. No wonder Chase Young was so ecstatic about being drafted by this surging squad.
    ———————————————-
    Closed out his rookie season with a 131 in his last two starts? Oh, you mean last two games of the season, which the Redskins lost. Daniel Jones tossed 5 TDs and 0 INTs during one of those games. By the way, Dak has won a playoff game. Look it up.

  21. So it makes sense for Cam to hold out for an injury (whic will happen) but Winston signing for $1 million on a team that supposedly has it’s backup is a smart idea too.

    Both Dalton and Winston shoulda held out for a spot. We’ve seen every single year where scrubs end up in starting positions because the QB market just isn’t very deep.

  22. Stu Bidaciou says: “So the Bengals knew they were taking Burrow and waited until the Free agent market dried up before letting Dalton go.”
    ——————————

    What if Miami was desperate enough to throw all three 1st round picks and Bengals were okay with Burrow or that Trevor Lawrence kid next year?

    Holding onto Dalton gave them options – letting him go before the draft would lock Cincinnati into just one choice.

  23. Congratulations Christopher Allan in knowing a bit of obscure trivia. Yes Dak won a measly single wildcard playoff game, or to put it another way, Blake Bortles has won more playoff games than Dak. But the Rainman ability to parrot an irrelevant fact obscures the larger truth: the Skins are a team on the rise. BTW Dwayne would have blown Jones out of the park if Dwayne hadn’t turned an ankle and was unable to finish the game. But that dynamic will change next year as Chase Young will be knocking out NFC East quarterbacks on weekly basis. I almost feel sorry for them.

  24. Stu Bidaciou says: “So the Bengals knew they were taking Burrow and waited until the Free agent market dried up before letting Dalton go.”
    —————————-

    Also, Dalton requested to be released after the draft and the Bengals GRANTED it.

    For all we know, the Bengals wanted to keep Dalton for the year while Burrow sat and learned for the first half. Instead, they did what Dalton wished and released him. Nothing wrong with that.

  25. “… no team has a “next man up” who can hold a candle to Cam.” Please stop. Please make it stop.

  26. jonathankrobinson424 says:
    May 3, 2020 at 6:05 pm
    I have to agree with the above post ..WHY hold onto Andy and not cut him before the draft?

    19 5 Rate This
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    maybe they tried to get a deal done for picks and it wouldn’t come

  27. lewansfingermoustache says:
    May 3, 2020 at 8:31 pm
    I’d take any qb over Newton.

    ————————-
    I would take some, But I wouldn’t take just any.

  28. It amazes me how many people that think the Patriots should drop a few mil on a second backup QB. Hoyer is not anyone I Would write home about but he’s a plenty good backup and a good veteran presence, dalton (or eventually Newton) would just be extraneous and tying up cap space they need to use elsewhere. It should be remembered that the thing that hurt them last year was not the QB position. The gaps elsewhere on the team were so great that having a goat qb couldn’t make the difference. If they fix that other stuff so the team is solid accross the board they can go really far with a merely ‘very good’ qb could take them really far. And what i have seen of Stidham (pretty much every on field minute barring a single very poorly timed pick play) I think its reasonable to epect him to be ‘very good’ at least. Whether he becomes great (becoming a guy that can take an already really strong team on his back and carry them over the top) is a total unknown. Because those guys are rare its fair to be skeptical. But as far as just being a ‘very good, solid and competent’ QB, I think that much he will deliver.

  29. BTW Dwayne would have blown Jones out of the park if Dwayne hadn’t turned an ankle and was unable to finish the game.

    ——————————————————————————————

    So Daniel Jones is the standard you are setting for determining that Haskins is headed for greatness?

  30. For cap reasons alone, the Cowboys should cut Prescott, and upgrade the other positions, if possible. $31M to Prescott is going to make them the next Packers…a decent QB (and he is not as good as Rogers), but one, who takes up so much of the cap that they cannot win it all.

  31. Stop with the Taysom Hill starter stuff. Everything the Saints have done points to them not believing in Hill as a future starting QB. That position is very valuable, they would not have their QB of the future playing RB/WR for years, getting hit by defenders every play, if they really expected him to be their guy. Hill is already maxed out in his role and the Saints are going to look elsewhere next year when Brees hangs it up. Maybe it’ll be Winston, maybe it’ll be a rookie next year, but it definitely isn’t going to be Taysom Hill.

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