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Disastrous NFL Offseason Moves Are Everywhere, but Can Anyone Stop Them?

Mike Tanier@@miketanierNFL National Lead WriterMarch 5, 2019

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Kyler Murray #QB11 of the Oklahoma Sooners is seen at the 2019 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 1, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Watching this offseason unfold is like watching slow-motion footage of two trains chugging toward each other on the same track while a tornado approaches from the horizon.

Multiple disasters are coming. And there's nothing we can do to stop them.

Trade whispers and free-agent rumors are supposed to make fans cheer. This year's gossip inspired more facepalms and shrugs.

Nick Foles to the Jaguars? Too safe. Kyler Murray to the Cardinals? Too dangerous. Le'Veon Bell to the Jets? Too Jetsy. Eli Manning back while the Giants move on from defensive starters like Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon? Too depressing.

If most of the rumors are true (and most were too widely circulated during combine week to be a smokescreen), this is going to be an offseason full of unsuccessful organizations committing to dubious, expensive, imperfect solutions in moves that appear doomed to failure before they even happen.

Just how bad is it? Let's find out by examining some of the biggest coming transactions on the grapevine, their likely results and the ways teams can do a little damage control and prevent the disasters they appear to be purposely aiming for.

    

Kyler Murray to the Cardinals

Likelihood of happening: Higher than Murray can reach without a footstool.

Disaster potential: High, with more moving parts and yellow and red flags than a marching band competition.

Best-case scenario: Murray is Russell Wilson, Kliff Kingsbury is Sean McVay and the rest of the Cardinals roster somehow rebuilds itself.

Worst-case scenario: Murray is Joe Hamilton (look him up), Kingsbury is Chip Kelly and everyone gets fired when the offensive line breaks down and Murray becomes a thin slice of tomato in a Rams sandwich.

Most likely scenario: Lots of growing pains. And if the Cardinals knew how to handle growing pains, they wouldn't be moving on after one year from Josh Rosen to Murray.

How the Cardinals can prevent disaster

Step 1: Be aggressive and quick about trading Rosen. The market will be flooded with other options (Ryan Tannehill, Teddy Bridgewater) if they wait too long. And don't expect much; their eagerness to move on from Rosen in itself is enough to limit Rosen's marketability. 

Step 2: Sign a center like Mitch Morse or Matt Paradis in free agency. Rosen spent half the season digging bad snaps out of the dirt last year. No quarterback can develop under those circumstances.

Step 3: Draft nothing but offensive linemen and weapons, including a tight end or two.

Step 4: Murray will need a veteran mentor who can soak up starts if the offensive line is still a wet coffee filter come September. You know who would be perfect for the job? Yup: Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Step 5: Wait three years for results, no matter how exciting hiring Mike Leach and drafting Tua Tagovailoa sounds.

   

Nick Foles to the Jaguars

Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press

Likelihood of happening: It hasn't happened already?

Disaster potential: Moderate. The mediocrity potential, however, is stratospheric.

Best-case scenario: Playoff Foles shows up for 16 games, and then the playoffs.

Worst-case scenario: Remember the 2015 Rams?

Most likely scenario: Foles provides stable-but-ordinary quarterback play at a mega-premium price, trapping the Jaguars in wild-card purgatory for a few years while their great defense grows older and more expensive (aka The Cousins Paradox).

How the Jaguars can prevent disaster

Step 1: Move money around so they can pay Foles up front on a short contract, because the thought of Foles carrying some $50 million dead-money figure in 2021 is too terrifying to entertain. So farewell, Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus and others.

Step 2. Draft replacements for Jackson, Dareus and others.

Step 3: Search for bargain-bin receiving talent in late rounds and free agency.

Step 4: Realize that there is no good way to both pay Foles and surround him with the weapons he needs to succeed while keeping the defensive nucleus intact.

Step 5: Go back to before Step 1 and consider trading for Josh Rosen instead.

   

Le'Veon Bell to the Jets

PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 14:  Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Heinz Field on January 14, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jaguars defeat Pittsburgh 45-42.  (P
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Likelihood of happening: High. It's the perfect union of a player who wants to be overpaid and a team that likes to overpay.

Disaster potential: Low. Le'Veon Bell-to-the-Jets only sounds like a terrible idea because it contains the words "Le'Veon Bell" and "Jets."

Best-case scenario: Bell signs a short, front-loaded deal and helps the Jets become a playoff team while Sam Darnold is still playing on his rent-controlled rookie contract.

Worst-case scenario: Jets GM Mike Maccagnan signs Bell for six years and $95 million or something, Bell duplicates DeMarco Murray's late career, and the Jets are eating Bell's dead money when they fire Adam Gase and hire Sean McDermott in 2022.

Most likely scenario: The Jets overpay a little and Bell isn't quite who he was in 2017, but neither Bell nor the budget is the Jets' biggest worry.

How the Jets can prevent disaster

Step 1: Give Bell lots of guaranteed dough up front (the Jets have cap space to burn), but don't extend the contract past three years or prorate a big bonus. The best Bell contract is one that keeps him playing hard for his next contract.

Step 2: Find someone in the organization who can identify the best available athletes in every round and make that person Maccagnan's life coach.

Step 3: Draft the best available athletes in every round.

Step 4: Make peace with what they are doing: paying top dollar for a mercenary who can fast-track Darnold's development and can churn touches and yards while they fix other problems. Bell is scaffolding, but the Jets may think he is a cornerstone.

    

Eli Manning remains the Giants starting quarterback

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

Likelihood of happening: Almost inevitable.

Disaster potential: Global extinction level.

Best-case scenario: The offensive line improves, Odell Beckham Jr. stays healthy and motivated, Saquon Barkley generates 2,500 scrimmage yards, the defense plays well despite veteran departures and a vindicated Eli triumphantly leads the Giants to 10-6.

Worst-case scenario: If you thought 2017 was bad, wait until you see the sequel.

Most likely scenario: Manning puts up respectable numbers against bad teams because Barkley breaks a zillion tackles after screen passes, and we all get to have this conversation for a third straight year. Hooray!

How the Giants can prevent disaster

Step 1: Draft a real quarterback of the future, not a consolation prize (Davis Webb) or small-school project (Kyle Lauletta).

Step 2: Sign Landon Collins to a long-term deal. (As of now the Giants don't even plan to franchise-tag him, according to the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Kimberly Jones.) There's a difference between getting out from under the hefty Olivier Vernon and Alec Ogletree contracts and gutting the defense of young core veterans.

Step 3: This is a great defensive draft. Draft some great defenders. It's the one thing GM Dave Gettleman is unquestionably good at.

Step 4: Commit to 2019 as a rebuilding year while getting the quarterback of the future ready. (This advice was cut-and-pasted from 2018).

Step 5: Either hope Eli retires when he sees the state of the rebuilding roster or use hypnosis, aversion therapy, nicotine patches or whatever it takes to ween the Giants from their all-consuming Manning nostalgia/obsession by 2020.

         

Mike Tanier covers the NFL for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter:@MikeTanier.


Nate Burleson joins the show to put his name in the ring for the open Monday Night Football announcing spot, weigh in on the Josh Rosen-Kyler Murray dilemma for the Cardinals and discuss the AB-Steelers situation. Connor Rogers from Stick to Football joins the show to recap the NFL combine and breakdown the incredible performance of D.K. Metcalf.

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