For months, football writers have been able to fulfil their vocational duties by writing ad nauseum about free agency and the draft. But the draft has come and gone, and all the big-name FAs have new homes.
Uh oh. What do we do with the remainder of the NFL’s seemingly eternal offseason now?
I know! We’ll showcase our creative hops by high-pointing every rumor like it’s an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary!
This offseason has already given us ample grist for the keeping-writers-employed mill: DeflateGate reared its immortal head thanks to Brady’s four-game suspension being reimposed; Johnny Manziel stayed relevant by getting his a** arrested; and perennial disappointments RGIII and the Cleveland Browns got together to form … what’s the opposite of a power couple?
Now Raiders owner Mark Davis did us all a huge favor, signalling his interest in moving the silver and black to Las Vegas.
It’s going to take some time for all of these storylines to reach their inevitably anticlimactic conclusions. But that’s great for me, you see, because I’m in the prognostication business; it’s my job to speculate. Speculate analytically and logically, of course, but speculate nonetheless.
And hey, I can’t help it if these sagas never really end and my predictions can’t be proven false. C’est la league.
Davis’ Los Angeles dream didn’t come to fruition, losing out to the Rams. He doesn’t have any competition for Vegas and the city/state of Nevada have been receptive so far. But the move hinges on building a stadium, and there’s no guarantee that gets done, since there is competition for the necessary tax dollars. (The city is also considering an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez noted that doing both projects isn’t feasible.)
If he manages to land on a roster early in the year, it will be deep on the depth chart. The more likely scenario that gets Manziel on the field: he remains a free agent until late in the year when some team encounters horrible injury luck and is forced to make a desperation play. Heck, if injuries can lead to Jimmy Clausen and Kellen Moore getting snaps, why can’t they do the same for the more talented problem child?
Brady still has some longshot appeal avenues, but the league isn’t talking settlement. I think this one’s finally over.
Remember how strong the team remained when Matt Cassell was at the helm in 2008? This year could play out much the same; Jimmy Garoppolo is a serviceable backup, and the rest of the roster is Super Bowl caliber. Their early schedule features three winnable home games against the Fins, Texans, and Bills. At this stage, the Pats would be favored in all three, even without Brady. Their season opener at Arizona is a different story, though.
You have to like what the Browns did this offseason. They brought in a promising coach (Hue Jackson); they traded down in the draft instead of reaching on another first-round QB; then they actually used all of their 14 draft picks, addressing manifold other holes on this roster. The future is finally looking a little brighter in Cleveland. But not for 2016. Sorry Dawg Pound.
(Photo credit: Zennie Abraham (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].)
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