Mailbag! On the Giants' QB plan, the Packers' new formula & those poor NFL running backs
Excellent questions from all in our first Go Long mailbag. Also inside: Aaron Rodgers' leadership, the best backup quarterbacks in football and... gambling talk. Fire away with your comments.
Happy Friday, all.
Wherever you are, thank you for making Go Long part of your life. We are long overdue for one of these. Fantastic submissions by all. If this is something you enjoy, hey, let’s fire up more mailbags throughout the offseason. Any day, any time, send your questions and thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fire up the Turnpike Troubadours, and let’s get to it…
Hello Tyler! I hope you're doing well as the world opens up again! Your draft coverage was fantastic, and with a stellar QB class next year led by CJ Stroud and Bryce Young I cannot wait for what goes down come next draft. For the mailbag, I have a Giants question:
Should the Giants, who seem to have a plan under Joe Schoen, tank one more year to try and snag a top QB as Danny Dimes' fifth-year was declined or should they avoid another tank job under the current roster, risking that it could result in a bad pick and no playoffs?
Thanks for the great coverage. -- Thomas
Fantastic question, Thomas. That always depends on what your definition of “tank” is, right? I feel like we’re always circling back to that question on the podcast with Jim Monos, the former Bills’ personnel director. Guys like him and Doug Whaley lived this predicament in which you can talk yourself into a winning formula with the quarterback currently on the roster. By now, we pretty much know what Daniel Jones is as a QB. The turnovers and injuries are concerning, and not something any new GM and head coach are in a rush to tie themselves to long term. If Jones enjoys some sort of renaissance, then maybe they’d entertain a contract. But if Jones falters, if the Giants start 1-6 or something, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Giants hand the ball to Tyrod Taylor and ever-so-gently roll into 2023. That’s when you could see the Giants off-load assets, like running back Saquon Barkley. Obviously, GM Joe Schoen already did some of that to clean up the cap disaster Dave Gettleman left behind.
I think it’s a guarantee that Schoen and his reconfigured front office — so long, Chris Pettit — will be thinking about the 2023 draft class just about every day this fall. Schoen was hired by the Bills as the assistant GM in May 2017 and then those Bills tracked the 2018 draft class unbelievably closely — start to finish — to get a grip of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Josh Rosen. Countless scouting trips, conversations, visits, workouts paid off. They knew Allen had the work ethic required to improve what so many skeptics deemed a fatal flaw: inaccuracy.
The Bills knew the person, not just the player. That bet effectively changed the entire Bills franchise and helped get guys like Schoen promoted to this very position.
So, who’s his Allen? Stroud? Young? Most likely, Schoen doesn’t have a clue yet but he’ll be doing everything in his power to find out. As will his handpicked assistant GM, Brandon Brown. That being said, the Bills drafted Allen the spring after breaking the franchise’s 17-year playoff drought. Brandon Beane (with an assist from Whaley and Monos the year prior getting them an extra first) was able to shimmy up to the seventh overall pick and capitalize on the Jets colossal error in choosing Darnold. I think Schoen would prefer to compete in 2022 exactly as that 2017 Bills team did and figure out the draft maneuvering later to find his QB, rather than outright tanking. Losing breeds losing. It’s difficult to remove the stench once its embedded into the fabric of your organization, too.
Two weeks ago, SI had a damning, detailed look at Hue Jackson’s Cleveland Browns days and how the organization structured Jackson’s contract in a way to essentially incentive losing with a “4-year plan.”
For the coach to earn his draft-capital bonus in the plan’s first year, 2016, the document said that the Browns would have to make at least 11 picks in the NFL’s seven-round draft, with five in the first three rounds. In the ensuing three years, that shifted to 10 picks per year, with four in the first three rounds. The salary cap clauses called for the Browns to “rank in the bottom quarter of cash spend” in the plan’s first year and “carry over at least 15% of league cap” into the following year, referring to the fact that teams can carry unused cap space from one season to the following year.
The co-author of this piece, Conor Orr, joined the podcast this week to discuss. That episode is on Apple and Spotify and I apologize in advance for the static on our audio. Orr’s perspective on the Browns toward the end of the pod is fascinating. The point here? Schoen will have time to build — the Maras don’t want to cycle through GMs and coaches — and I can’t imagine there are any sneaky provisions in place to encourage losing, tanking, etc. If Jones excels in Daboll’s offensive system, they’ll let the good times roll and see where it leads. Anything short of that, they’ll be doing everything in their power to get the quarterback they want in 2023.
I really enjoy reading and listening to your overview on the Packers. Do you believe that the Packers defense will be top 5 in the NFL this season and if you agree they will, can the Packers actually win the NFC North and Super Bowl this season? – Kate
Is my draft math correct and did the Packers pay more draft capital to move up to select Watson than Detroit did to select Williams? Personally, I would have preferred Williams over Watson even if Williams is not available until the last half of the season. – Ronald R
Grouping these two questions together to talk Packers…