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2022 Dynasty Offseason: Four Things Report for 4/20/2022

Published:
April 20, 2022 5:56 PM
April 20, 2022 5:54 PM
Updated:
April 20, 2022 5:56 PM

2022 Dynasty Offseason: Four Things Report for 4/20/2022

 

*I will have a separate piece on the Deebo situation ASAP, with thoughts on that. So, no Deebo mentioned here. I need more room to discuss that one.

 

-Thing #1: Ronald Jones v. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

When news hit on the Chiefs signing Ronald Jones a while back, I thought it was ‘interesting’ or ‘curious’…considering the presence of 1st-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The signing seemed like it was a minor vote of ‘little confidence’ in CEH, which had some logic because CEH has been average/OK or a disappointment or hurt for his first two NFL seasons…a wasted, stupid 1st-round pick in retrospect.

In 2021 season, Darrel Williams was as important to the Chiefs…and (late season) Jerick McKinnon was just ‘better’ than CEH for KC. The Clyde Edwards-Helaire mystique is fading away. When RoJo signed, it made me wonder if that was another hit to CEH’s status with KC management. I was assuming it was more of a slap in the face/concern over CEH.

However, now that I see the contract details for Ronald Jones…I’m changing my tune. One-year, $1.5M for RoJo with $750K guaranteed. D’Onta Foreman got a better deal from Carolina…to be a known backup. Brandon Bolden got a way better deal to go to Las Vegas.

Essentially, RoJo got a little bit better than a chump deal (for an RB) to join KC. There was no purpose or enthusiasm…just a basic, nothing-of-a-deal warm body RB signing. No ‘message sent’ other than a big downgrade in player from Darrel Williams to Ronald Jones, as a backup entity. Williams was really good in the passing game and as a short yardage back, and a great blocker who knew the system well…RoJo can’t catch a football to save his life.

I’m not sure what RoJo’s touch count will be, but his basic nothing-of-a-contract says it won’t be some even split or threat to CEH…just an insurance chip/warm (big) body. CEH is not hurt by this…only helped but may lose out on some short yardage TD runs.

I’d be a seller of RoJo hot if you had anyone thinking he’s coming in as a split-role, possible CEH takeover – I don’t see it, and Jones is nothing in the passing game/PPR if CEH gets hurt and RoJo gets more touches. Jones is only a carrier of the ball…not a three-down back.

 

 

-Thing #2: The Packers WR situation…

In 2021, the 1-2 punch for Aaron Rodgers was Davante Adams and then an MVS/Lazard split as his #2s…with some Randall Cobb occasionally.

As of today, in 2022, the 1-2 punch is Lazard and Sammy Watkins. Are you kidding me?

How is this possible? Of all the WRs in the world, the Packers have only been able to attract Sammy Watkins? How does Sammy Watkins even get a deal from any NFL team in the Year of Our Lord 2022?

What’s Green Bay to do?

Let’s review the WR migration…you know I’m going to crow about my ‘players with options/in control aren’t going to the Northeast or Midwest’ theory/reality happening the past few years, and it’s really gripping now in 2022.

Tyreek Hill leaves the cold of KC for the warmth of Miami…dissing NYJ and PHI, among others for his choice.

Davante Adams leaves the cold of Green Bay for the dome in Las Vegas.

Allen Robinson was a free agent fleeing Chicago…chooses L.A. over Philly, Green Bay among others.

Overrated desperate WRs will be happy to go to the Northeast or Midwest for money because there’s no desire for their inflated ways from the South and West…those geographies can get whomever they want, they don’t want or need JuJu Smith-Schuster or Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Sammy Watkins (two of whom went to KC this offseason, one left their to go colder…for cold hard cash).

Focusing in on Green Bay…Davante Adams just cold dumped the Packers. Last second. Without real warning. Marquez Valdes-Scantling took the better money in KC.

What’s Green Bay to do? They’ll have to draft WRs to imprison them to stay for at least three years (until they want a new mega-deal if they are hot). And that’s fine, but in 2022…with Aaron Rodgers in the twilight of his career…and is a quarterback that favors QB-WR relationship – rookies have a hard time coming in with ‘a bang’ for Rodgers.

All roads may be leading to WR1…Allen Lazard, no?

And with that…wouldn’t Robert Tonyan be an interesting TE1 threat as well?

Both Lazard and Tonyan have a relationship with Rodgers + are stuck in Green Bay trying to prove themselves out of Green Bay. A perfect equation for one or both to break out in 2022.

You know we’ve been pining for Lazard for years…we may have just hit the (temporary) jackpot.

Lazard is trading as a WR3-4…and with WR1 hopes, and maybe a WR2 floor, he’s a great asset to acquire right now.

When Green Bay drafts ___ sexy rookie WR on draft day/s, the Lazard price will fall one level. If he’s a WR3-4 now, with WR3 leanings in Dynasty…then he’ll fall to a WR4 afterthought. People are already assuming GB to draft WRs, and they will, so Lazard’s price hasn’t rocketed that much  higher during all this WR chaos.

…this is all assuming the Packers sign Lazard back to a new deal (he’s a restricted free agent with a 2nd-round tender). It would make all the sense in the world for Lazard to sign his free agent tender (one-year, $4M) to try and have a mega-year with Rodgers, and then cash in on a big deal in 2023. It’s very, very likely Lazard signs his deal and plays for Green Bay in 2022…but predicting Green Bay WR motives in 2022 hasn’t been easy.

 

 

-Thing #3: The 2022 Atlanta Falcons QB…

So, who is the Falcons QB going to be? Matt Ryan is ‘out’ (and that’s long since overdue). Marcus Mariota has been signed. Rumors swirl on Pickett-Willis-Corral-Howell-Ridder via the Draft.

Is Mariota a placeholder? Would Pickett start right away? Would Malik Willis be a wise pick to let him acclimate under Mariota…with Mariota starting 2022 and being a bridge to an eventual Willis ascension.

To me, Kenny Pickett is the only real viable plug & play Week 1 starter potential among the 2022 group. Not that Willis-Howell-Corral couldn’t hold their own, but in terms of pro-style ready…it’s Pickett right away. But Pickett would probably be a #2 behind Mariota to begin 2022.

Whatever Atlanta does at QB, I think there’s pretty good odds Marcus Mariota is starting Week 1…and most/all of the 2022 season. I’m starting to buy into that notion more and more.

Why?

Well, I went back and watched Mariota’s last NFL start…a 2020 COVID (for Carr, if I remember correctly) forced start Week 15 vs. the LA Chargers.  And I gotta tell ya…Mariota looked pretty darn good. Mariota hasn’t been a starter since early 2019 season, where he doing OK, but got nicked up and then replaced by Ryan Tannehill…for good, in Tennessee. It’s been 2+ years since we’ve really seen Mariota, and any growth (or not)…the spot start in 2020 is all we have.

Not only was Mariota running the ball with purpose (9 carries for 88 yards and a TD) in that 2020 start, but he was dissecting apart the defense in the quick passing game…a modified version of his old Oregon ways. Mariota has played in the league for seven seasons now and he’s obviously well-trained in working his passing game and reading defenses – and he looked confident and efficient as a passer…best I’ve seen him in a while.

But even more impressive in that 2020 start – his tough running ways. I remembered Mariota as a finesse runner, a skinny speedster out of Oregon who would surprise NFL defenses with the occasional escape and sprint. But in his 2020 start, he’s filled out with a bit more muscle/got a better frame now – and he was running on purpose, with some toughness. He played his 2020 start like a better version of Jalen Hurts or Lamar Jackson – much more accurate/efficient a passer and just as purposed/tough a runner.

Lest we forget, Mariota is 6’4”/220+ and ran a 4.52 40-time and an impressive 6.87 three-cone at his NFL Combine…the fastest 40-time (registered) and best three-cone among the high-end FF running QBs in the NFL today. Let’s look at some comparisons of the current highly-mobile QBs (and Trubisky thrown in for context and upside running hope).

 

6’4”/222, 4.52 40-time, 6.87 three-cone = Mariota

6’3”/222, 4.59 40-time, n/a three-cone = Hurts

6’2”/212, skipped all drills = L.Jax

6’5”/237, 4.75 40-time, 6.90 three-cone = Josh Allen

6’2”/222, 4.67 40-time, 6.87 three-cone = Trubisky

6’2”/221, 4.66 40-time, 6.95 three-cone = D. Watson

 

Mariota is playing for his life in 2022…his last chance to really shine and hope to be worthy of a huge contract in 2023. He might shock with his numbers/output in 2022. Not many believe that Mariota will start in 2022, or last long into the season as a starter if he does get the nod Week 1…nor do many believe he’ll produce enough to really FF matter. I get all that, but I’m starting to see a path to a Mariota redemption forming…a perfect opportunity with desperate Atlanta, with his former Tennessee O-C.  Jalen Hurts may not be a great or a beloved NFL QB, but he was #7 among QBs in FF PPG (4pts per pass TD) in 2021 (Weeks 1-17) and not far off the top 5/past Mahomes. The ‘runner’ works for FF in the right spot.

Mariota may be a vastly cheaper version of Hurts/2021 in Dynasty right now – where a Hurts-Lamar with Mariota tandem in 4pts per pass TD leagues may be the most cost-efficient way to play your QB situation in 2022. At bare minimum, Mariota is a low-cost investment in any league that might have a spike ROI ahead…worst case no real cost if he flames out/gets replaced.

 

 

-Thing #4, the non-football thing: The USFL Debut…

This is supposed to be a non-football area/thing…an area where I can write about something not football for a breather, but the USFL, I guess, it is ‘football’ related – but I’m going to complain about something kinda not football about it, in a sense…but then again it will be about football, in a sense. Who knows? It’s my free-for-all segment…and it’s what is irritating me this very day…so, here goes…

Did you watch the big USFL debut?!?!

No?

Me either.

I am happy some fringe guys are getting a chance to play more and make a few bucks. We need a secondary league to help some guys the NFL is totally missing on to get a chance to showcase their skills. But I won’t watch a second of it on purpose. I might check in on Kyle Sloter, but that’s the extent of it. When their season is done, any player overproducing…I’ll scout the tape to see if they should be included in our Dynasty offseason rankings.

But that’s not what I want to talk about.

I want to discuss the BIG headline that has come from the USFL so far (which shows how interesting this league is…not very) – a USFL player getting cut for violating team rule 46 or 47 (per the coach’s explanation, not mine), I can’t remember which…and rule 46 or 47 was breached by the player asking for a slice of pizza (he saw in the room) when chicken salad was what he was being offered by the team, I think/guess – and that broke some kind of code of respect for others that laid out in the preseason from the head coach.

If you haven’t seen this story, or bothered to dig further into it…then let me share a video of it…because what I wrote above sounds like I’m making things up. Here’s Pat McAfee’s radio show take/synopsis (warning: F bombs): https://youtu.be/Dhd1xGBnggM

Why do I bring this up? What does this have to do with anything? Is it just a chuckle at some random pizza v. chicken salad nonsense? Which I would have been cut too…because no way I’m eating chicken salad. My neighboring town has a chain called ‘Chicken Salad Chick’, and it’s my wife’s favorite place…and I refuse to go into it. I just won’t eat, period, if the option is chicken salad. So, I get the player’s angst. But it’s not the menu battle that has my attention.

What caught my attention is there is a grown man, otherwise known as a professional ‘head coach’ in a football league, who is in a room with two other lackey coaches there for this big meeting with this player…and with the head coach wearing a giant 1980s/high school bomber jacket 3x too big for him for some reason (indoors), and the player comes into this meeting/trap…and the head coach is very serious and solemn and tells the player he’s being cut for violating rule 46 or rule 47 or whatever it was. The player is in disbelief and tries to explain what happened – the head coach is not having it.

This head coach, Kirby Wilson, is a long-time assistant coach in the NFL…who is now getting a ‘big’ shot to be a full head coach…and now he’ll forever be embarrassed by this – except he won’t be embarrassed, he’s probably proud of his 46 or 47 or 115 rules he set up for the players.

If you wonder why NFL teams do the things they do, whether in personnel or trades or drafts or play calling…we all know these coaches have a lot of sway over football and personnel decisions, obviously. A guy like Kirby Wilson would have likely chimed in on/filed scouting reports on what he thought of various players through the years for his team to draft or play/start week-to-week (doing so with WSH, NE, TB, ARI, PIT, MIN, CLE, and LV over 20+ years in the NFL). Kirby Wilson is not an isolated incident/idiot coach. There’s a majority of Kirby Wilson type coaches running around the NFL…people who have no clue of running a team, a business – they are like low level (or high level) politicians -- they just wanna be in charge of something…they want to control/rule people whose career fate they hold in their hands. They love to be authoritarian. They love that the players HAVE to fear and respect them (but they really don’t…it’s a ‘con the boss’ game we all play). These head coaches think their team is some kind of ‘family’…but in reality, these fake family members are just toys for the patriarch/head coach…the players are pets they want unconditional love from at a moment’s notice.

NFL coaches, the majority, ‘let the badge go their head’s’ in policing terms.

So, when we try to guess what kinda players teams are going to take in the upcoming NFL Draft…just know you’re trying to get inside the mind of people like Kirby Wilson, a guy who thought it was brilliant to have a three-coaches-and-one-player meeting, on camera, to cut the player over some nonsensical rule. What players are really going to want to sign to play with this coach in the future? What do you think these Kirby Wilson type coaches are ‘figuring out’ in a 30-minute meeting with a prospect when they sit with them? You really think they can get a feel for a player…or any human, at all? They think they can, because these coaches think they’re all beyond brilliant…when really the majority of them are the least real-world educated, most insulated from reality people in the billion-dollar business they are somehow running.

We have a President and a Vice President and 100 Senate members and 500+ House of Representatives. In any recent era, do you think they are our best and brightest? Of like 7 billion people in the U.S., you’re telling me that Joe Biden, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Lindsay Graham, and Kamala Harris, etc., are the current cream of the United States’ Crop? They are RUNNING our country (into the ground) with their ‘decisions’ and ‘ideas’! How do you think they’d do in running a football team or putting a draft board together…or operating a lemonade stand, or doing anything where decisions are made?

We mock our political leaders…and worship our football coaches (and football media).

If you (Kirby Wilson) don’t like the player…just cut him, one-on-one in private, and move on. You don’t have to try and humiliate him…which ended up humiliating you on the world wide web. But mostly, for me, the lesson learned…or it was more of a reminder – these coaches are the people with big influence over the draft/setting draft boards, and influence over setting depth charts, and influence over doling out playing time, etc. And mostly, these coaches are loons.

What I’ve learned in my decade+ experience getting closer to the ‘inside’ of football…or more so I should say, ‘getting closer to the Wizard of Oz’s curtain’ is – I didn’t realize how totally unimpressive and bizarre the league’s head coaches and assistant coaches/future head coaches are. I thought I left bizarre decision makers behind by leaving the corporate world. Nope…they are everywhere, even in football…on display over chicken salad.

And we all have our flaws and problems, I’m not isolating stupidity onto only football  ‘coaches’…my point being – these football coaches are not gods among us, but we (football society) try to make them as such. Part of my job is interpreting and projecting what they are going to do with or for or against players…which is not easy to interpret because they operate in a whole different reality. 

*I’m sure there is more to the story of why they cut him, as Wilson is trying to say – but there exists a video of them meeting over a chicken salad incident, nothing else mentioned. And why is this on video? A head coach should fight for no recordings of this personal moment…but they love it, like Hard Knocks. They love the control over a person’s fate. Just like annoying politicians, etc. 

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