2022 Dynasty Offseason: Four Things Report for 5/25/2022
-Thing #1: The Carolina Panthers Outlook…with Baker Mayfield (if)?
For the past week or so, I’d been going through all the teams and their offseason moves, and possible starting lineups, and the way their schedules are laid out…and Carolina has another fast start lined up for them, like they did last year when they started (3-0).
The Panthers host likely Watson-less Cleveland Week 1. They go at the Giants Week 2. Then they have the Brees-Payton-less Saints. Three potential wins.
But when you have Sam Darnold or Matt Corral as your options…you’re probably not going to take advantage of the nice schedule start. But what if the Panthers did acquire Baker? Things would take an immediate uptick for Carolina in our system.
Carolina has a decent defense. They have decent offensive weapons. Their O-Line sucks. Baker could come in and probably squeeze 2-3-4 more wins out of this team than the Darnold/Corral connection. D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson would instantly get a boost. McCaffrey’s outlook would get a bump.
Carolina is the one place Baker could land and have a shot at flirting with the playoffs. I’m not sure why he (reportedly) doesn’t want to go there. It may be the O-Line…or Matt Rhule. He’s not winning anything in Seattle. I think Baker doesn’t want to play anywhere as a one-year rental unless it’s for a real top team who lost their QB to some fluke injury. There’s nothing in it for Baker to play for cheap for a year for a non-contender.
Carolina is obviously in the QB market. They tried to get Deshaun. They tried to get Baker already. They researched all the rookie QBs (and passed). I think they know they’re dead with another year of Darnold…or if Corral is forced into action quickly. Baker could possibly help the current staff stay employed. I wonder if the hang up is…Week 1, Browns at Panthers. Do the Browns want that heat?
If the Browns are gonna dump Baker cold for anything they can get, and if Carolina is offering the most in return…the Browns are better off waiting as long as they can this summer so that Baker is as unpracticed, unfamiliar with his new offense as he could be for that Week 1 affair.
I do think it is possible Baker heads to Carolina (unless a top QB gets a serious injury this summer, then he’d more likely go there). But I can’t base any projections on it until it really happens.
Odds that Baker starts Week 1 for Carolina hosting Cleveland…I’d say it’s about 20% right now.
Odds Baker just stays on the Browns, paid to stay home, and then cut midseason to undermine the effect he could have going anywhere else as a true free agent…50%
Odds Baker doesn’t play a snap in the NFL this year…50%.
-Thing #2: The Trey Lance Tug of War…
Are the 49ers worried about Trey Lance? T
That’s been, arguably, the top storyline for the mainstream football media all offseason. I know it has to be…because everyone in the media seems to have a strong opinion on it.
From the same people who brought you an offseason of Deshaun Watson going to New England a couple of years ago…and for the last two+ years how the Vikings hate Kirk Cousins…and other ‘big inside word’ from the past 1-2 years like -- how the Lions want to replace Jared Goff…and how Vegas is wanting to move on from Derek Carr…and basically how they want to stir the pot on every QB they don’t like or where they see some possibility of a melodrama to get a QB they do like moved to another team – from all those people comes the ‘49ers don’t trust Trey Lance’ chronicles of 2022.
I’m not saying the football media can’t be right about their suspicions/inside scoop – they were on the Russell Wilson thing ahead of time, and the Jared Goff-Sean McVay problems ahead of time. For every time they have the inside scoop…there are 2-3-10 examples of them just throwing ‘wishful thinking darts’ to have something to write about during the summer.
The 49ers haven’t traded Jimmy G. yet…so, that must be a sign of the team worried about Lance, they want to hold on to Jimmy G. – this is a strong part of the basis of the anti-Lance theories I’ve seen. If the 49ers are worried about Lance, the JG non-trade away at this point has nothing to do with their Lance feelings.
Jinny G. had a serious shoulder surgery a few months ago and no one can know how well or not it went for another few months. Who is going to trade for currently damaged goods, expensive Jimmy G.? No one. And why should SF just take anything in trade for him in that case? They’re better to wait for Jimmy to be healed and throwing fine in order to up his trade value in July or August.
Why not just cut Jimmy G. now and proclaim love for Lance? Well, SF can cut JG anytime they want. He’s a salary cap albatross at $26M this final year of his deal…BUT he can be cut for a minor $1M+ hit. BUT the team would owe him like $7M+ more if they cut him today because a special guarantee for injury kicks in, if he can’t pass a physical and is cut. Their best play is to wait for like August, for him to be healed up/pass a physical…and then cut him and not have to pay that extra $7M, if I understand his special contract situation properly.
So, the 49ers are in no rush to make a move right now – no team is willing to trade for him and a too-early cut move would cost SF $7M in cap space. The 49ers can just wait and wait…once JG is deemed healthy, they can avoid the extra cap hit to cut him or trade him. There won’t be a JG move for months…and SF also has the insurance that if Lance tears an ACL in summer workouts, boom you have JG in your back pocket under contract control.
The 49ers have nothing but time on their side with JG. They didn’t want it to be that way (I believe) but JG’s shoulder forced them into this scenario.
The football media wants their resolution NOW, like a bunch of three-year-olds, so everything is being interpreted as ‘the 49ers haven’t done anything to fully resolve the situation, so they must be waffling…they must secretly love JG…they must worry about Lance…’ I don’t think so.
If the 49ers shout to the world that they are for sure trading Jimmy, then whatever value they thought they’d get in return is reduced by 50-75%. There is barely a market for JG (or any QB) as it is, so SF might have to just dump/cut Jimmy ultimately, but if they’re gonna get anything in trade…it won’t be until he passes a physical for his shoulder. The 49ers are in a position to just do nothing but wait.
In a perfect world, Jimmy G. would be cheaper on the payroll and SF could have the best of both worlds until Lance is ‘ready’, even if that’s now…hold JG as a sweet backup. But Garoppolo’s huge contract due in 2022 means it’s ‘go all-in’ with Jimmy or go all-in with Lance. And why would you choose the $26M QB with one year left on a deal who is coming off shoulder surgery, who can barely stay healthy any given year?
I think this will be Trey Lance’s job for 2022, whether the 49ers are 100% secure or 50% secure in the decision. It’s really the only way they can go.
And I maintain if Trey Lance is the starting QB for SF with JG gone…Lance is a threat to be a serious top 5 scoring Fantasy QB…a threat to be THEE top scoring Fantasy QB, even if he’s still wobbly and choppy getting up to speed on the NFL. All these stories about the 49ers ‘unsure’ is giving me a window to make FF-moves for Lance as my 2nd QB (I usually have power at #1 QB) at a discounted (from what he should be) rate…and I get a cheaper-than-it-should-be look to see if Lance is the better Josh Allen metamorphosis in 2023 or 2024.
-Thing #3: Hot Devy (and Betting?) Tip…
QB Cameron Ward…now of Washington State (transfer portal in 2022), formerly of Incarnate Word.
I was watching tape of the Sam Houston State (the 2021 FCS champs) defense to watch/scout Zyon and Tristan McCollum, and then also watching it to scout/watch Incarnate RB Kevin Brown…and Incarnate’s QB kept impressing me early on…and then kept impressing me to where I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
It was inconceivable to me that anything football-good was going to come from ‘Incarnate Word’, but then there was Cameron Ward…a gunslinger mentality with good size, a strong arm, and great vision and touch.
I haven’t fully scouted Ward, but I just wanted to pass it on early to you Devy players…
I don’t know how good he is, but I was captivated by him…then I sent an extended game highlight tape to Ross without any prompting/hint of what I saw, and asked him to see what jumped out at him from this tape no one would watch -- and he got caught up by the same thing with Ward. There’s more scouting work to do…I don’t know if there are zero or 15 college QB prospects better than Ward…I just know that when I get this ‘feeling’ on a player, I know not to dismiss it.
I do know that a quick search of some deeper Devy ranks of QBs on mainstream sites -- they don’t even have him anywhere on a radar. He’s wide open for you, for now, if you desire.
And I am going to assume Ward will win the starting QB job for Washington State (he’s had a good summer camp)…and be a pretty good QB this season – and thus Washington State could be a bit of a surprise team in 2023, especially (when they are announced) with the early betting lines of their early season games, not knowing/reflecting how good their new QB might be.
We’ll be looking deeper at Cameron Ward in July with our Devy summer series, but for now I am just putting him on your radar as an opportunity…in Devy, and perhaps…as a bettor.
A highlight of the game where I ‘found’ Ward…an FCS playoff game against the eventual FCS champs, one of the most entertaining games/finishes of my 2022 scouting of college tape.
2021 season San Houston State vs. Incarnate Word: https://youtu.be/3Zx_27HNpCo
-The non-football Thing #4: RC Ruins Healthy Food…
So, I got the wonderful idea of wanting to support local farmers and looking further into non-processed foods the other day/week.
I’ve heard and seen the horror stories of how our food is made and what chemicals and mind-control things they slip things into mass produced foods – so, I was going to fight back against the man whilst becoming super-healthy all at the same time by going down to the local fresh market we have on Saturday mornings in our little town and buying some farm fresh foods.
So, I did.
I usually eat all processed foods…even in the ‘healthy’ foods I do eat. Fruit is better in heavy syrup than off a tree. Salad is better when it’s all fruit. Veggies are better in a can swimming in a vat of salt solution and various other chemicals in a can then they are ‘fresh’. A fast-food burger is more desired than a fine steakhouse meal. That’s just how I roll.
But I’m trying to change…
So, I go down to the every-Saturday local fresh market for the first time and bought some fresh butchered and processed ground beef and a big carton of farm fresh eggs. I knew I was gonna become super-fit and take down the big food processors all with this $9+ purchase. My wife was happy and proud, as she got some fresh picked greens for herself…she was so excited to take down ‘Big Food’ with me with these slick purchases.
Now, it was time to taste all the healthy offerings!
First up, for me, let’s try this fresh ground beef out. Doesn’t look like the burger I buy at the store, but hey…ugly is healthy I guess, right? The grosser something looks, the better it must be for you? But what to make to eat out of this burger? I know…how about a simple hamburger?
My wife was out with a gal-pal for dinner, so I was on my own to forage for dinner…a perfect time for a healthy burger! I got out the farm fresh ground beef and grabbed a scoop to form my own not-too-thick-not-too-thin patty(s), the way I like it. So, I started to hand form the burger and pressing down on it…and…and what are all these white lumpy things in this burger? I make my patties by hand all the way through the process, and I know what store-bought burger feels like when I do that…every so often you feel one of those white cartilage or bone or whatever it is, and I typically pick it out and ditch it…it’s a fairly rare occurrence from the grocery store meat. But this farm fresh burger…I felt like I was handling and pressing Jif Extra Crunchy Peanut Butter, not fine ground beef. I started to pick these aberrations out of this new beef because I could feel their presence on my delicate hands as I smashed and shaped, but there were so many it was futile. Not a good start, but I decided to press on in the name of ‘healthy’…but I gotta be honest – the mental war was being lost, for sure.
I shaped up two patties, flipped them into the frying pan and I was on my way to a better life. Only, they didn’t really look like I expected as they cooked up. Instead of a fall apart soft/tender, well grilled juicy burger…my recently killed meat looked more like a school lunch burger forming. More like a sausage patty than a delectable burger. This is not going the way I expected.
I soldiered on. Finished cooking the patties, slapped them on some bread and processed cheese slices and took a tepid bite…not good. A little tough, a little chewy…not McDonald’s quality at all. I took a second, more courageous bite to try and make a stand…and then I spit it out and cut the rest up to give to my dog. My dog…and ‘Big Food’ and my early death from a bad diet were all ‘winners’ in this healthy food war I just declared…and I was the loser. Strike one.
My wife went to go use her healthy greens, and as she separated the leafy from the stalk…a small clump of dirt flew out and a bug went crawling around frantically looking for an exit. Do I have to wash my healthy, earthy food with a loofah before I can consume it…or give it a Silkwood shower before I can eat it? I don’t wanna have more tasks involved in my meals. I want to grab and go, not grab and start a 30-minute to-do list. Things I don’t wanna thoroughly wash: my car, my elderly parents, or my food. Strike two.
Oh, and I forgot to mention…we also bought something called ‘Mountain Butter’. It must be healthy with that name, right? I asked the gal at the table display, ‘What is Mountain Butter’? I kid you not, the answer…”Well…it’s regular butter…but from the mountain.” Thanks for that amazing sell job. Sounds wonderful. I think we all know that food always tastes best when it was made the same way it’s made everywhere else…only at a higher elevation. That’s why NFL kickers do so well kicking at Denver…and why the food is 10x better there as well. You know how people are constantly going on about New York or Denver style pizza or Texas or Carolina or Denver BBQ. My wife gleefully took a slice of this mountain butter and slapped it on a roll…then made a face, and then threw the entire butter brick out. Strike three.
So, it was down to the farm fresh eggs. I just had them last night. You know what farm fresh eggs taste exactly like? Just like the ones I get from my local Publix…the ones that are 50% the price but in a better carton.
So, my healthy eating regime lasted about a week. I’m going comfortably back to my canned ravioli and Cinnamon Toast Crunch-based dessert ways and washing it down with carbonated aspartame.
Hey, maybe I should just drink water instead to be healthy! What’s that you say? The average bottled water drinker is consuming a credit card sized amount of microplastics a week by doing that (as we are now finding out, supposedly)? OK, if Bill Gates is gonna kill me – it’s gonna be on my terms…it’s gonna be over my Pop Tarts and frozen burrito filled dead body.