Let’s talk about this for a second.
First of all, any Vikings fan dreaming of getting any of these guys…quit. Saying anyone other than Kirk Cousins is going to be your starting quarterback next year is ludicrous.
There is a 100% chance Cousins starts under center next year.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at these three quarterback’s and each of their situations. For a change of pace, let’s look at it rationally and responsibly.
I enjoy the three different aspects these guys bring to this NFL offseason.
Then let’s look at the bonehead NFL player who refuses to restructure his contract, and what happens to 90% of them.
First things first.
There have been many reports out there that he wants to leave and his relationship with Houston is now broken beyond repair.
The fact of the matter is he hasn’t come out and said anything himself, aside from a few ‘cryptic’ tweets—a term I am slowly becoming incensed with.—Oh, so I’m not smart enough to get the meaning of these tweets? Only certain high IQ folks can dissect exactly what their true meanings are? Ooooohhhhh. How much for the cheat code to the holy grail?
Stefan Diggs wrote ‘cryptic’ tweets for years in Minnesota. I was never interested in anything until he said until he was actually traded. Who the hell cares what Stefon Diggs tweets?
So all you Watson followers, just let me know when a transaction comes across the wire. I do not care at all how he or anybody else feels on a 1 to 10 scale on a day-to-day basis.
As far as the situation he finds himself in, I think it is one of the most unique situations in NFL history.
When have we ever seen a top 5 quarterback in the league come available at 25 years of age?
The answer is never.
Teams don’t let players like that go.
Understand there is still some work to be done here. This isn’t going to be as simple as everyone thinks. If history is any indication, Watson asking out of town isn’t a request that’s just going to be granted.
The NFL is a cruel beast when it comes to this stuff.
Watson recently signed a 4-year contract extension with the Texans, which won’t kick in until the start of the 2021 season.
This means the Texans have the option to keep him in team control until 2026 (they can use the franchise tag on him two years in a row after he initially hits free agency.)
The growing thought around the league however is Watson is ready to be a pioneer in bringing player empowerment to the NFL. Much like Lebron James and “The Decision” brought radical lasting player empowerment to the NBA over a decade ago.
Houston will have that ‘we own you’ leverage for as long as they want to use it.
But Watson has some leverage chips of his own to play.
To start with he can hold out.
It’ll cost Watson a lot of money in the short term, but if he is really serious about never playing for the Texans again it will become quite clear when he doesn’t show up for any team activities…OTA’s, training camp, practice, preseason, and regular season games…while advertising as much along the way.
Once Houston knows for sure he’s never coming back, Watson ironically doubles down on his leverage with the possession of the no-trade clause in his contract. This will prevent Watson from being shipped off to a team, or a place, he hates just for spite or better compensation from a Houston organizational standpoint.
The overwhelming feeling around the league is Houston, even though they haven’t hired a coach or started their offseason activities yet, will work with Watson on who he would accept a trade with and allow those teams to engage in a bidding war for his services.
Their organization has basically been embarrassed the past couple of offseasons with blunders like trading two first round picks to Miami for average tackle Laremy Tunsil, and shipping DeAndre Hopkins, arguably the best receiver in the league, to Arizona for a washed up David Johnson and a 2nd round pick.
All the while having no General Manager on staff to sign off on, or void, such deals.
These moves have left the organization gutted of draft picks, stripped of weapons, and unable to provide any immediate help at the skill positions for their young superstar quarterback.
Most NFL executives feel, if Watson does eventually come out and declare he wants to be traded, Houston will use the opportunity to both appease their young QB and recoup some future assets in a trade without drawing out the process into a long and ugly ordeal.
It appears it might be the rare perfect storm for both parties.
The price tag is likely to be the highest since the infamous Hershel Walker trade in the late ’80s, and maybe even steeper than that.
I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Speaking of things I can’t wait for…Is Aaron Rodgers on his way out of Green Bay…?
Oh the potential looming Aaron Rodgers saga…
I’m not gonna spend a ton of time on this, because if I do I’ll get carried away with all the BS I can’t stand about Rodgers and I’ll be typing all night.
Let’s just deal with the facts.
His press conference after his loss to the Bucs left everyone who listened scratching their heads.
He has three years left on his contract. It won’t cost the team a lot of money against the cap to trade him before next year. After next season it will cost them basically nothing to deal him.
Here’s the problem for Captain Crybaby…
The only reason he’d leave Green Bay (which he would have to do by forcing his way out, similar to Watson) would be because of his discontent for the organization trading up in the first round of last years draft to pick his future replacement (Jordan Love) instead of adding a crucial piece to potentially put the Packers over the top.
The Packers haven’t given Rodgers a whole lot of weapons, or intelligent coaching, during his Green Bay career. Maybe he’s finally had enough, with last years draft and this year’s playoff loss being the tipping point.
If so, and Rodgers wants to leave, he would conceivably want to go to an immediate contender, play 2-5 more years, and have a chance to win a super bowl annually until he retires.
Ironically, if Rodgers and Watson are traded, whatever team either one of them ends up on better make a run at it early, because the future of their new team will be severely handicapped.
It’s a double-edged sword.
If they both get traded and end up controlling where they go, will they end up happy?
Their new team’s future will be gutted of at least 2, and possibly 3-4, years of first round draft picks. Therefore making their new homes in worse shape than the team they just departed.
Watson can stand to be patient and play through a few down years of building.
Rodgers can’t and won’t.
So how much does winning actually matter to these guys? How much does that factor in?
Looking at Rodgers, he deserves a ton of the blame for his team never making it to the big game. He is a sports media darling. He skates on criticism at every possible turn because of all the great plays he’s made in his career, but the bottom line is he’s gonna be 38 next year, he’s won one super bowl, and he’s 1-4 in NFC Championship games.
The man has just as many NFC Championship victories as Tom Brady.
It’s not all Green Bay’s fault. When the great ones get there they take advantage.
At some point someone needs to hold Aaron Rodgers responsible for some of this.
And what about Watson?
He had his team up 24-0 last year against the chiefs in the playoffs.
Final Score: 51-31 Chiefs.
I give him a ton more leeway than Rodgers, but successfully orchestrating a trade will also temporarily put Deshaun Watson in a worse situation than he’s in now, based on the draft capital his new team would no doubt have to give up. (The Miami Dolphins being the possible lone exception because of all the picks they’ve acquired the past two years they can give up, and the fact they have an extremely talented defense already in place.)
How it plays out this offseason should be fascinating.
Which brings us to Matthew Stafford. One of the most underrated players in the NFL.
If this guy didn’t play for the Lions he’d be talked about as one of the greats. He never misses a game, throws for a million yards a year, and is one loyal S.O.B.
He has all the tools.
It’s shocking he hasn’t wanted out of the Lions organization until now.
And how does he go about doing it? No surprise to me…both he and the organization come to a ‘mutual agreement,’ it’s formally announced to the media, and he’s 100% going to be traded.
Quiet and with class. Just like his entire playing career.
Whoever ends up with Matthew Stafford might be the big winner this offseason. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions and Stafford work together on a trade sending him someplace that’s mutually beneficial.
He would likely only require one first round pick, and maybe another day two selection, in compensation. A team like the Patriots, Colts, Washington, or San Francisco could plug him in without missing much of a beat.
Also unlike Watson and Rodgers, Stafford (33) is on a team friendly contract for the next two years, which won’t require any restructuring or finagling.
Speaking of which, we’re entering another offseason where several players will be presented with the option of restructuring their current contracts or getting released.
And every year I’m dumbfounded.
The egomaniacal mind of a professional athlete must be one hell of a thing to walk around with. I’d love to experience that feeling of confidence just one day of my life.
It benefits all of these guys when they’re playing in their 20’s. It’s almost a requirement. They play a game that often requires a short-term memory.
But when they hit their 30’s their judgement often gets severely blurred.
What ends up happening is an organization, for salary cap reasons, comes to a 31, 32, 33, etc year-old player and asks them to restructure their contract.
Or, essentially, take a pay cut.
Then 90% of these guys fall into the age old trap that humors, baffles, and kills me at the same time.
They come out to the media, call it insulting, say they won’t play for one penny less, call it disrespectful, and ultimately refuse to take the cut in salary.
Often times having played for 8-12 years with the same organization becomes meaningless.
Then these idiots get released, sit around all offseason, realize there is basically no market for them, and sign a skinny one-year deal to play part time for a team like New England.
Never learning from history, and the thousands of guys before them, that the deal offered under the terms of reconstruction is not only worth more money than anyone else will pay on the open market, but it will also benefit them from a familiarity standpoint [staying within the organization.]
Throw in the benefit of not having to move the wife and kids to a new city for one or two years while earning significantly less money than they would have if they stayed put, the fact that they should have already banked millions of dollars at this point and be set for life, and should either be playing only for the love of the game or retiring at this point anyway, and it’s easy to see the significant logistical reasoning to take that pay cut.
I always laugh when it happens to those on other teams, and, depending on the guy, often times wish the former Vikings player good riddance.
This year not so much.
Enter Kyle Rudolph.
In a story on espn.com this morning I hated reading, Rudolph announced he wouldn’t be taking a pay cut, is worth every penny, and is being underutilized in his current Vikings role.
Not you Kyle.
We’re talking about a guy that’s been in the organization for 10 years, been extremely reliable in the red zone and on check-downs, never put up huge overall numbers, and has made over 60 million dollars in his career.
Not to mention by far theeeeee most charitable Vikings player in the organization’s history. He spends every Tuesday during the season (his one day off) at the children’s hospital in Minneapolis and, until this year, has always been Minnesota’s nominee for the NFL Man of the Year Award. (This year it went to Eric Kendricks.)
All due respect Kyle…but what the fuck are you doing?
You wanna move the wife, those two beautiful twins girls, and your newborn son out to Boston for a year or two and rent a house? Live uncomfortably? Play outside in cold weather for a couple years? Then hang it up? For less money?
No one is looking at your numbers, your age, and their organizations bottom line after a pandemic season with no stadium generated revenue and saying ‘we need to lure that guy here and give him a big contract.’
Please figure this out in the next few months.
If this is a ‘get-ahead-of-it’ negotiating ploy you and your agent came up with in order to take the lowest pay cut possible, I’m with ya. Do what you got to do as long as your endgame is being back in the twin cities.
I guess I’ll throw you into the pile with all the other egomaniacs that’ve previously done the same thing as you.
But before you make me do that, do me a favor…
Call up Everson Griffen.
Ask him how it’s been going.
EDITORS NOTE: SHORTLY AFTER THIS WAS WRITTEN THE HOUSTON TEXANS HIRED A NEW COACH, DAVID CULLEY, AND DESHAUN WATSON OFFICIALLY REQUESTED A TRADE.