HOUSTON, TX - With Free Agency over a month old and the draft fast approaching, various NFL franchises are making their moves. In particular, those franchises looking towards the future are posturing themselves to obtain that most critical piece: A franchise quarterback. As this most recent run to the Super Bowl showed, if you don’t have a franchise quarterback, you aren’t going to win the big one. Brady, Mahomes, Rodgers, whatever that was in the backfield for the advanced all-field-goal-offense playing KC in the AFC Championship...you need someone like that.
Some teams made news by keeping their quarterbacks. Brady, once he sobered up from the avocado tequila fumes, resigned with Tampa Bay. Rodgers and Russell Wilson stayed with their teams, even after they wanted to change scenery. Others made some moves to actually pick up a starting quarterback. Detroit reset the NFL landscape with their huge deal to send Matthew Stafford to the LA Rams. The Philadelphia Eagles would later send Carson Wentz to the Colts. The Washington Red, no, the Football Team...it is still Football Team, right? Well, they felt like a great upgrade would be Ryan Fitzpatrick. “Plenty of starting experience” noted Ron Rivera. Chicago solved their immediate QB1 problem by picking up Andy Dalton. “He also has starting experience, and he has lead a team to the playoffs” noted an exasperated and rather desperate looking Ryan Pace. What the not-quite-so-immediate outlook for Chicago’s QB1 will be...yeah, we don’t know either.
Others did some wheeling and dealing with an eye towards the draft. While Jacksonville is already mass producing the Lawrence jerseys, other teams are setting themselves up nicely for the draft. The team currently holding the #2 pick, the New York Jets fortified their future plans by trading Sam Darnold for a bunch of non-1st round picks to Carolina, which in turn, provides the Panthers their next future franchise quarterback...maybe. “So much potential with him...we think. This is the best move we can possibly come up with...clearly, no doubt. Future franchise quarterback, for this off-season” noted a seemingly forlorn Carolina owner. “That 59% completion number. So great. Couldn’t find anyone within 10 percentage points of that...and think of all the incompetent coaching and injuries he fought through...good...no, great addition.”
Then there is the team holding the #3 pick in the draft. After a recent trade with the Miami Dolphins, who are in a dead with the Oklahoma City Thunder for which US pro team can hold the most high draft picks, San Francisco holds the #3 spot. Their current starter has overcome injuries, had some questionable actions with women, and led his team to a Super Bowl. San Francisco is excited to draft a new quarterback. “Such a luxury to know that we have a good bridge QB, and a two-time Super Bowl winner at that, but we will get that star of the future.”
As for Miami, who seem to be on quite the path to glory, there are some questions about their current starting quarterback. “Oh, he’s fine” noted a Miami executive. “Besides, if we ever felt like we need an upgrade, we can just draft one or two or three...maybe we could even trade a few picks for a surefire on-field talent. We’re good.”
Thrown into this mix is the once-powerful New England Patriots, who have overcome age, injuries and bad leadership decisions. They might be in the market for a new starter, even with a former NFL MVP and Super Bowl starting QB. “We keep our options open” muttered Bill Belichick.
All of these teams, looking or thinking they found the best option. But have they really found the best options? Have they really?
In recent days, various individuals with the teams we spoke of earlier reported receiving calls from an 832 or 833 area code. “They keep calling and calling. It’s been bad for the past two weeks or so” lamented one harried unnamed exec. “This strange, kinda reptilian, raptor-like voice, keeps going ‘We got the guy for you. Just give us a couple of draft picks and you can have him. You’ve seen his numbers, right? 70% completion rate, 30+ TDs, leading passer in the NFL last year. Guy has actually won a [Easterby] playoff game!!! And he is only 25!!! You want him!!!”
“Put that number on the block list. My life is so much better.” sighed the unnamed executive.
When we caught up with Bob Kraft, he had this to say. “Yeah, I think we got a call or two about this so-called can’t-miss-QB-offer. Bill might have even mentioned it to me. Yet, I don’t know. I think we are in good position. Clearly, we don’t mind even if the individual might have a few character flaws or some ‘issues’ but nah, I don’t think we are going anywhere near that one. Besides, I think I know the primary salesman. Not interested. Now, off to get a massage.”
We pretty much got the same response from all the other organizations. When we brought this up to the Carolina owner, who was desperate for a franchise QB this off-season, he seemed a little defensive. “Well, DUH!!! I got that call too. Some QB who used to be really big in this region, even led his team to a national championship. Would be nice, but Pope Urban ain’t givin’ up Lawrence for all the mustard BBQ in the entire state. As for this other ‘QB’...nope, don’t know what your talking about.”
The only team official who seemed interested was up in Washington. When soon-to-be-sole owner of the Washington WTF, no FTWs, no WFTs...no, you know what, we will just call them...ah [Easterby] it, it doesn’t matter. Anyway, when we talked to Dan Snyder, we mentioned this possible QB option. ‘Oh, yes, now that you mentioned it, I did see those calls. However, I actually picked up the phone while on my yacht, and I have to say, the offer sounded really great. Yes, I know about the legal issues thing, but honestly, those are my kinda of issues. I can work with this...In fact, I’m calling Ron [Rivera] right now.”
Once Snyder got a hold of Rivera, there was quite the animated conversation. We couldn’t intercept pick-up everything of what was said. However, Snyder’s enthusiasm was unmatched. We thought we overheard something about ‘an entire draft’. This went on for a few minutes, until an irate Rivera roared “I have two words for you....WASHINGTON POST!” At that point, Snyder clammed up, and could only meekly put the phone down. “Yeah, that’s why I keep him around. Sanity. We have Fitzpatrick and that other guy we started against Tampa Bay...we will be fine at QB.”
So it goes that the NFL off-season lumbers on. Teams will pin all their hopes and fortunes on young men who maybe, just maybe, can take them to the promised land of championships. It is all a matter of finding the right quarterback, at the right price.