Buying or Selling All the Latest Draft, Free Agency and Trade Chatter
It's that time of year when nearly every phase of the NFL offseason is overlapping. Free agency, trades and the NFL draft are all playing out right before our eyes as teams scratch for every competitive edge they can get.
Some organizations practice patience, while others frantically load up for a last-ditch effort at glory.
Amidst the chaos and swirling rumors, truth finds a way through the cracks eventually.
This slideshow attempts to predict the validity of each major news story by providing a verdict of either buying or selling.
Bortles' Stock Soars Past Bridgewater and Manziel After Pro Day
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle via B/R Team Stream, Blake Bortles’ stock is “definitely” on the rise after what many analysts are calling an impressive pro-day performance in front of GMs, coaches and scouts.
It appears all signs are pointing towards the Central Florida product separating from the other quarterback hopefuls, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater left the door open after struggling at his pro day with questionable mechanics and troubling arm strength and accuracy according to ESPN's Ron Jaworski (via USA Today's Jarrett Bell).
McClain seems convinced the Texans are going quarterback with the first overall pick. Has a solid pro day more or less sealed the deal for Blake Bortles?
Well, there’s still time for flip-flopping in Houston’s front office on which QB gives them the best chance considering Johnny Manziel might be able to close the gap during his private workout on March 27th. With that said, Manziel’s pending performance may not matter for the Texans anyway: McClain believes Johnny Football is not a prospect that fits with Houston’s plans.
Teddy Bridgewater Could Slide out of the Top 10
Former scout and NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has been asking around with those in the know and seems to be hearing that teams are not interested in taking Teddy Bridgewater in the top 10 of this draft.
As mentioned, Bridgewater’s stock seems to have taken a big hit after struggling to impress during his pro day.
In the video above, Matt Miller is not buying the rumor that Bridgewater’s stock is dropping, while Chris Simms seems to think otherwise—at least to an extent.
I’ve had my concerns about Bridgewater before his pro day. The issue for me was that I rarely saw Bridgewater having to struggle with a shaky pocket and his targets seemed to be wide open or he would just hit the easy check-down route.
The likely scenario here is that front office execs were on the fence about Bridgewater’s true value as a prospect and had several concerns and lingering questions they were hoping to get clarity on with his pro day. Unfortunately, he failed to alleviate those concerns in front of a packed house.
Michael Sam Eliminates Concern About Athleticism
Heading into Missouri’s pro day, Michael Sam was under a lot of pressure to improve upon his incredibly disappointing pro day.
According to NFL Media Reporter Albert Breer of the NFL Network and NFL.com:
One NFC personnel executive termed his performance in Indy as "awful for an undersized pass rusher", and said he needed to show he's a "better and faster athlete" than he appeared to be there. A college scouting director added that it'd be vital that he show "good movement in the linebacker drills", in part because of his lack of ideal size.
While in Indy, Sam ran a 4.91 40-yard dash time with a 25.5 inch vertical jump and only benched 225 pounds 16 times. During his pro day, Michael Sam was able to improve upon each of those numbers to a limited degree.
The headline in Breer’s article says: “Michael Sam eliminates some concerns at pro day.”
Unfortunately, I don’t think Sam was able to do quite enough to really get himself where he needs to be in order to be drafted. This is unfortunate because I do think this guy can contribute on a NFL team as a special-teams guy or role player. But in order to justify the high profile and unprecedented circumstances he comes with, I think Sam’s talent would have to speak significantly louder than any potential distraction GMs are bound to perceive with him.
At his pro day, Sam pulled his hamstring while running a 40-yard dash but still managed to improve his time to a 4.75. He also went for 16 to 19 reps on the bench and improved his vertical jump to 30 inches.
These numbers, though improved, are not enough to really bolster his draft stock, let alone quell concerns about his being an athlete.
It seems ominous for Sam’s draft potential to give critics of his so much ammunition in terms of measurables and athletic potential, but it seems the likely reaction teams will have here.
So, did Sam truly eliminate concerns about his athleticism?
Panthers Could Sign DeSean Jackson
According to NFL Live’s Ed Werder on SportsCenter the Panthers "might entertain the idea" of trading for DeSean Jackson.
These reports were also corroborated by Ian Rapoport.
The Panthers are one of the most salary-strapped teams in the NFL, while DeSean Jackson will count over $10 million against the cap in 2014. Considering the massive cap hit that comes with Jackson, the Eagles have supposedly made the trade compensation extremely affordable. The going rate to acquire this 27-year-old wideout is only a third-rounder, but that also frees the Eagles from an inflated contract.
As much as this move would make sense for the Carolina Panthers considering how bad they need a wide receiver, there is not likely to be a deal made by them.
DeSean is coming off a career year, racking up 1,332 yards through the air, and has been labeled by some as immature.
The Panthers have only $8.5 million of salary cap space, while Jackson’s base salary would count $10.5 against the cap next season.
That type of limitation in cap space makes the addition of Jackson highly unlikely.
Panthers Have Expressed Interest in Kenny Britt
If Carolina is not going to acquire DeSean Jackson, they might as well look for a veteran presence at a price they can afford.
NFL.com Around the League writer Marc Sessler reports that Kenny Britt could land with the Panthers. He is currently scheduled to meet with Washington, according to Albert Breer, and has received interest from the Patriots and Seahawks.
Britt is a troubling prospect who finished the season with just 11 catches last year. However, at the age of 25, Britt still has a ton of intriguing, untapped athletic potential.
With interest from numerous teams heating up, it’s hard to say exactly where Britt will land, but the Carolina Panthers should make a realistic push to bring him onto a depleted receiving corps that features the mediocre, yet newly acquired, Jerricho Cotchery as their most established talent on the outside.
Britt just makes too much sense for the Panthers here, but they might have to engage in a bit of a bidding war that shouldn’t get too egregious.
Whether Britt signs with Carolina or not, the interest is real.
Raiders Targeting Schaub
As reported by nearly every major sporting outlet, the Raiders appear to be waiting in line to swoop in on Matt Schaub after the Houston Texans release him.
Schaub became expendable after the Texans signed backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a modest deal.
Media insider Ian Rapoport has reported that "the Houston Texans quarterback is on [Raiders GM Reggie] McKenzie's radar."
It’s hard to say whether this would be a move to end any possibility of Oakland drafting a QB in the first round, but it does look like they would rather go in a different direction with the fifth pick in the draft.
Matt Schaub is coming off a nightmare season in Houston that could be difficult to bounce back from and be a guy who the team can rally around. Schaub is a savvy veteran who could make a solid backup at this point, but any ideas of making Schaub the answer at QB would likely lead to the firing of Reggie McKenzie. With that said, it’s not a stretch to imagine McKenzie believing in Matt Schaub as a stop-gap answer to the position.
Jared Allen Could Retire If the Money Is Not Right
As reported numerous times by Ian Rapoport, former Minnesota Vikings DE Jared Allen will walk away from football if he doesn't get the right contract.
Apparently the 31-year-old believes he is worth a certain amount of money regardless of whether or not the league agrees with him. However, he is willing to drop his asking price in order to play for a contender.
Allen just finished up a visit with the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday and left without signing a contract. Apparently he needs time to mull over his options, including the possibility of retirement.
One thing I’m extremely confident about is Jared Allen won’t retire this year. I just can’t see this intense competitor turning down huge amounts of money along with the ability to win a Super Bowl just because he wants to make a few million dollars more.
Sometimes a guy needs to set his pride aside and do what’s best for a team and ultimately his legacy as a potential Super Bowl champion.
So, will Allen retire?
Ryan Riddle is a former NFL player and writes for Bleacher Report.
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