The Carolina Panthers sent a ton (literally, a ton) of representatives to CJ Stroud's Pro Day at Ohio State on Tuesday. The Panthers own the No. 1 pick (acquired in a trade from the Chicago Bears) and are going to be pretty busy over the next month deciding whomst to select with that No. 1 pick. Stroud was the one they were getting to know first.
Panthers GM Scott Fitterer said of Stroud: "Really knows football. It's not too big for him. He's very comfortable being in that environment and being in command." Fitterer also said the team's brass had a dinner with the likely first-rounder.
Who the Panthers are taking with the first pick is anyone's guess, but the two seemed pretty damn chummy.
The Panthers will do their due diligence on other top candidates as well, traveling to Alabama on Thursday for Bryce Young, and Kentucky on Friday for Will Levis. That's a lot of wining and dining. In fact, Panthers' execs had dinner with Young on Wednesday night.
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Former MVP (see how we can use that whenever we want? and Carolina Panthers/New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton threw more than 30 passes on Tuesday at Auburn's Pro Day. Newton obviously is looking for a return to the NFL, as he hasn't played since 2021.
Newton was also showcasing his brother, Caylin Newton, a wide receiver.
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The time has arrived.
Baker Mayfield officially signed his contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday.
Mayfield signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal, with $4 million guaranteed. The rest I we assume will come in incentives, i.e. playing time. Mayfield will compete with Kyle Trask, and at this point, I think it's Mayfield's job to lose.
This is a good opportunity for Mayfield to come in and prove it - he played well during a short stint with the Los Angeles Rams last season. Mayfield wanted a team that would put him in a good situation to win and thought Tampa was a good spot (maybe because of their god awful division). "It was important for me to be in a place that's stable and knows how to win, knows how to do it properly," he said in Monday's press conference.
And for the Bucs - they're in a semi-rebuild mode after Brady announced his retirement (again) earlier this offseason. But don't call Mayfield 'Tom Brady' just yet. "Listen, I'm never going to be Tom Brady. There's a reason why he's won so many Super Bowls. He's the greatest of all time - there's no doubt about that. I'm not going to try to be Tom. I'm going to be me."
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Sam Darnold signed with the San Francisco 49ers this week, and we can't wait until he plays in next year's NFC Championship Game. Darnold will be the insurance policy for presumed starter Trey Lance as Brock Purdy recovers from UCL surgery.
Darnold said he's not concerned at the moment about who starts, but about how they work together. Aaaw. "I think those things that, with a good quarterback room, as long as we stick together, and we understand that we just got to work hard and continue to put the best foot forward for each other, and everything's going to work out. And I think at the end of the day, as long as we're winning games, that's the only thing that matters to me."
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He finally said it. Aaron Rodgers stated on The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday that his intention is to play for the New York Jets. The question is, when? Whenever the Jets and the Green Bay Packers work out the compensation. There were rumors that Green Bay was seeking multiple first-round picks for the almost 40-year-old QB, but those were redacted, saying both sides were still negociating.
Then, there was talk of a supposed "wish list" - Rodgers had a list of guys (allegedly) that he wanted the Jets to look into and potentially sign. Not true, he said. (To a point - former Packers WR Allen Lazard signed with the Jets on Tuesday.)
Some other fun nuggets from his appearance - Rodgers went into his infamous "darkness retreat" 90% sure he would retire. He explained he came out of his meditation fest thinking that the Packers no longer were interested in his services, and decided the chip on his shoulder was way too big and he wanted to continue playing, but elsewhere. Rodgers also mentioned that one of the main reasons he picked the Jets (other than that it appears no one else is that interested) was new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, whom he previously worked with in GB.
That one spot elsewhere appears to be New York, or New Jersey. Whichever. And it's a matter of when, not if.
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Aaron Rodgers has a wish list now
If Aaron Rodgers is going to play for the New York Jets, he wants to do it his own way, and with some of his friends. Rodgers has given the Jets a 'Wish List' of players he wants the team to target and/or sign, because of course he has. The list includes former teammates Allen Lazard, Marcedes Lewis, best friend Randall Cobb, and Odell Beckham Jr.
One of them is already checked off the list - Lazard signed a four-year, $44 million contract with New York on Tuesday. The rest? Unsure, although the Jets did attend an open workout that OBJ held in Arizona late last week.
The Jets also have Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson, Elijah Moore, Corey Davis, and Denzel Mims in their wide receiver room. Not bad. So why does Rodgers want all these older guys in the room, unless he's on a complete power trip? He's already holding two teams hostage during the peak of free agency - the Jets and the team that is hoping to trade him, the Green Bay Packers. Neither can do much until there's a resolution.
Hopefully one is coming soon, as Rodgers is scheduled to appear on his friend, Pat McAfee's show on Wednesday at 1pm.
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March 14th, 2023
The Las Vegas Raiders have found their Derek Carr replacement, and it's an upgrade to QB Jimmy Garoppolo. He was their best target, after losing out on Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets (maybe?), and they locked him in with a three-year, $67.5 million deal, with $34 million guaranteed.
The main reason he landed in Vegas was his relationship with ex-New England Patriots offensive coordinator (Garoppolo was Tom Brady's backup for years in NE) Josh McDaniels, who is now the Raiders head coach. Garoppolo has a familiarity with McDaniels' offense that it seems Carr wasn't able to grasp. And if we're going off of last year, it appears the team wasn't willing to adjust, based on how poorly Carr played. The writing was on the wall probably midseason that they needed a shot at someone else.
The one knock on Jimmy is his inability to stay healthy - if he can, he plays very well and could get the Raiders a postseason bid. If not, the Raiders have to have a backup plan. With them picking at No. 7 in the 2023 NFL Draft and Garoppolo's short-term deal, they may choose to go the draft-and-sit route.
The Houston Texans were also interested in Garoppolo - with them passing on him, it seems most likely that they'll draft their future QB with the No.2 pick and have him compete with current starter Davis Mills or sign a cheap vet like Carson Wentz.
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The New York Jets met with Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday - flying in the G5, G5 to California to meet with him. The team's brass is set to fly back to New Jersey on Wednesday, with thoughts of Rodgers running through their heads. This is probably going to be a long-ish process, as Rodgers likes to take his time, but it's clear he's the Jets' top target.
And yes, the Rodgers to NYJ talk has led to an increase of folks betting on the Jets to win next year's Super Bowl.
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Derek Carr has found his new home. Carr is signing a four-year deal with the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints were the first to show interest in Carr, even proposing a trade before he was released from the Las Vegas Raiders. Carr is a noticeable boost from last year's Andy Dalton Experiment and should considerably boost wide receiver Chris Olave's production.
The best nod for Carr, however, is that he gets out of the toughest division in football - playing Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert twice a year - to one of the easiest, where he's currently the best QB in the division. How long that will last is to be seen. Carolina seems set on drafting a QB, while the Falcons and Bucs could explore trade options for vet QBs.
Carr also received a no-trade clause as part of his new deal.
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The New York Giants and Daniel Jones' agent have been working hard at hammering out a new deal for the QB, including meeting in Indianapolis. With Tuesday's franchise tag deadline looming, both sides hope they will get something done before then but are willing to tag him if they can't reach an agreement.
A new report came out on Friday that Jones is asking for more then $45 million per year. This report makes it seem more likely that the Giants will stick the tag on Jones before the deadline.
An update suggested on Friday that the team and Jones are progressing in contract talks, and still hope to get a deal done by the deadline.
An update late Saturday night stated that Jones' agents left Indianapolis with no deal in sight. As the clock ticks, Monday and Tuesday will be key for the Giants and Jones' team to work something out.
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