NFL 2023 Off-Season Thread

Rather than posting this in the Super Bowl thread, I thought I’d start up a general post-season thread.

To no one’s surprise, the Raiders released Derek Carr today, just prior to a deadline at which Carr would have been guaranteed $40 million under his current contract.

Carr had refused to waive his no-trade clause; this ESPN article indicates that the Raiders had found only one potential trade partner (and that team was demanding a pay cut for Carr as part of the deal).

As a result of being released (rather than becoming a free agent due to his contract expiring), Carr could sign with another team immediately, rather than having to wait for the league’s new “year” to begin on March 15th.

The Raiders now have only one QB under contract: Chase Garbers, who was an undrafted free agent rookie in 2022, spent most of the season on the practice squad, and saw no regular-season action.

Thank you, @What_Exit – I messed up the terminology on my original title.

Important dates to keep track of:

Feb 28 - Combine
March 7 - Tag Deadline
March 15 - Free Agency Begins (after a 2 day “legal tampering” period)
April 27th - Draft

My understanding is that it was the Saints who were trying to trade for him, and he’s still linked to them. He visited them after all.

Now that he’s a free agent though, it’s likely that other teams will be interested in him. And there’s still the question of whether or not Aaron Rodgers will stay with Green Bay. If he’s also looking for a team, then Carr’s value will be diminished, at least until Rodgers gets signed by somebody.

Geno Smith is set to be a free agent and there’s no guarantee that Seattle will sign him. I think they absolutely should, but it depends on what he is demanding for compensation. Geno is a very interesting puzzle; he was a Pro Bowler last year and earned Comeback Player of the Year. But he also spent most of his career as a mediocre-to-poor QB and has been a backup for most of it. And he’s not old, but not young either. So what does a team do with him? I expect Seattle to wait for some other players like Carr to get signed so that they can see what the market is like before they really start negotiating.

I wish Carr was talking to the Jets instead of the Saints. The Jets are so frustrating with good skill positions, talent along the line, and just no quarterback at all.

I mean, I love Mike White, but he’s both inconsistent and fragile. I love him as the primary backup. I have every faith that he could step in and go full Superman in any random game. I’ve seen him do it twice, coming in and lighting it up two years in a row. But give him three consecutive starts and he’ll start to fade. To my mind that makes him kind of the perfect backup quarterback. And his teammates love him.

I don’t know what to think about the Giants. I fear this is as good as they can get with Jones. Winning playoff games is not nothing, but it’s only the second goal: Make the playoffs, win a playoff game, get to the super bowl, win a super bowl. The Giants have never been the kind of team that makes the playoffs every year but never wins. I worry that’s where they’re headed.

The Andy Dalton-led Bengals were the NFL version of Purgatory, nobody wants their team to be like that.

On the Derek Carr thing. It will be very interesting to see what the final numbers are here. At a glance, it seems like Carr is taking a huge gamble. Dude’s already made a pile of money so he’s not likely to be busking any time soon, but by forcing the release he walked away from a $40M guarantee and an annual salary of $40M+ over the next 3 seasons. Will he command comparable money as a FA? Is he going to basically light $40M on fire out of spite?

Certainly, he has no motivation a) help the Raiders who have treated him like shit the last few years, or b) help the Raiders capture draft picks or players which deplete his destination team. So that makes sense, but if he would have pushed the deadline he might have found a trade partner that kept him at the same salary under the same deal. If he ends up signing for a Jameis Winston sized contract he’ll be leaving a lot of cash on the table.

I suppose his rationale is that he wants to be able to sign with a team before the Combine. Before regular free agency starts. This makes him the “first mover” which in theory would allow him to set the market. He might be able to get any one of the QB-needy teams to leap at him instead of trading a boatload to move up in the draft or trading a buttload to get Aaron Rodgers. Or…he could end up being everyone’s fall-back option which might suck. Gonna be interesting either way.

Speaking of the Combine, I’m going to be engrossed in the underwear Olympics more than possibly ever before. The Bears control this draft and the best possible outcome is for 2 or 3 of the QBs to absolutely light the world on fire in their pre-draft process. We want an absolute feeding frenzy for QBs. We also want there to be a bunch of WRs, Edges and OLs to grade out really highly so that elite talent slips to the 15-50 pick range.

I may need to take a few days off of work.

They stalled after step one, though. They never managed to win a playoff game. I’m thinking more along the lines of the Chargers with Philip Rivers. I’m not looking for that.

Then again, I guess by the pattern the Giants aren’t due for their next championship until 28. Can’t imagine Daniel Jones will still be there, but DaBoll might. Especially if they keep making the playoffs.

(If the Giants did somehow win their next Superbowl in 28, I think my mind might actually be blown. Bet the ranch on 32!)

I thought that’s what you meant by…

I meant never wins it all. I think I trimmed “it all” to make the sentence less awkward, but you’re right, I butchered the intended meaning in the process. Mainly I was just riffing on the “four goals” concept.

It was great when the Bengals reached the first goal of making the playoffs, but it started to feel like a monkey paw cursed wish when they could never advance to the second of actually winning a playoff game.

The Giants knocked out the first two in one shot this year, but as good as that is, I really don’t want them to become like the Philip Rivers Chargers, where you are a perennial playoff participant and generally advance, but never to the Superbowl.

Today, the Bears officially closed on their purchase of the Arlington Park property, in northwestern suburban Arlington Heights, a year and a half after entering into an initial purchase agreement.

The team is stressing that this does not necessarily mean that they have yet committed to actually build a new stadium there, but signs certainly point that way.

I’m sure a person falling out of a plane has yet to commit to hitting the ground, but signs certainly point that way.

Geno reminds me of Case Keenum, a career backup who caught lightning in a bottle in 2017 for the Vikings and got them all the way to the NFC championship. The Vikes nevertheless moved on, and Keenum never won another meaningful game.

I only saw one Seattle game this year so I can’t really say if he’s good enough for a long term deal. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks tried to sign him to a modest deal while also drafting their QB of the future.

He’s going to be just fine. With his track record, and at his age, he’ll likely command a deal with at least $40 million guaranteed – and it will be with a team he wants to join, instead of somewhere dictated by trade.

I have read speculations that Jimmy Garoppolo won’t be back with the Niners. He may end up in Vegas next season.

Is there really any doubt about that?

Jimmy G won’t be “the” guy in SF. At best, he’ll be a 1 year stopgap while they continuing looking at Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. Even in neither of those works out, they’ll be looking at a new player, not him. Even this year, he went back to the 49ers because nobody else wanted him enough to pay what he wanted.

It’ll be interesting to see where he goes this year, though. If Aaron Rodgers does leave GB, he’s clearly the top QB available. Teams would probably want Derek Carr next after that. Lots of competition.

And if teams are thinking short term veteran while they draft/develop new player, even Baker Mayfield or Jacoby Brissett are out there for maybe a fraction of what Garoppolo would want. Or maybe even Lamar Jackson, if the Ravens can’t get something worked out with him. Geno Smith is probably getting tagged, but he is technically a free agent as well.

A modest deal would be fine. The word on the street is it will take $30 million, which is way overpriced. I like the guy, but $15 million is plenty.

My predictions for QB landing spots (hope I do better than the Super Bowl thread):

Rodgers → Jets
Carr → Titans
Garappolo → Bucs
Jackson → tagged with Ravens
Jones → re-signed by Giants
Smith → re-signed by Seahawks
Mayfield → Raiders

Texans, Colts and Panthers get in a bidding war for the Bears’ #1 pick. QBs go 1-2-3 to these teams, but I can’t predict the order. (The Cardinals’ #3 pick may also be in play.)

Note that $30m is cheaper than the franchise tag would be ($32m).

I don’t like that price either, but if he continues to play the way he did last year, $30m seems pretty reasonable considering that it would put him at the bottom of the top 10 QB salaries (as they stand now) and I’d say he was definitely a top 10 QB last year. (Though that is a big “if”; he had one great year in a 10 year career.)

And also consider that we have some other QBs needing new deals, and players like Rodgers and Carr at least might be looking at paydays, which may push the market upward. That $30m might not look as bad in a few months.

I really do hope that he can work out something where Seattle isn’t on the hook for that much money though. I think it would be nice if they could offer him a deal for a couple of years at a slight discount, which gives him some job security, and if he continues to play at a high level, great. If not, then they have him for a couple of years to mentor the next guy. It seems like he loves playing in Seattle and they love him, and he has indicated he wants to continue to play there, so maybe a deal can be done.

Yeah. Maybe another deal with a lot of incentive money.

This should give @Hamlet a chuckle:

Looks like Jones fired his agent and is now asking for $45 million, on par with Patrick Mahomes. Sure, Daniel, that seems like fair market value.

The article says they’ll franchise tag him for $32 million using the tag that lets him talk to other teams. Nobody’s giving him $45, much less an additional two first rounders they’d have to send over if they wanted to pry him from the Giants.