NFL insider notes: Texans looking into veteran QB, Bears may not stop at one trade in 2023 NFL Draft, more
Everyone is waiting for the Chicago Bears to trade the first pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but they can’t stop at one deal.
League sources told CBS Sports last week in Indianapolis that the Bears could be demoted once and then demoted again in the first round of the April draft. That result would net Chicago several first-round picks in 2023 and 2024, as well as several other day two picks.
Here’s how one prominent league source sees it: The Bears are giving the top pick to the Texans, who are currently second overall. The Texans don’t want their top pick to be jumped over, and armed with a dozen picks in this year’s draft and two firsts in next year’s draft, they’ll be able to pay Bears GM Ryan Poles enough compensation to get their quarterback in the future.
In some respects, the Bears may be in an even better position to make the No. 2 deal. The Texans would have taken their best quarterback, and if teams feel there are two players in the QB for the 2023 season making the difference, they’ll want to talk over telephone with Chicago before anyone else does.
Basically, Chicago gets two bites from the apple.
“Yes, there have been several calls, just probing, trying to figure out what we want to do, what we are ready to do, and we are going to take this information,” Powles told me last week in Indianapolis. “I talked about it a lot. This whole setup here at the Combine gives you the opportunity to collect information and then contact your team and I will talk to my team and we will make the best decision for our move. We’re going to evaluate guys who can help change our culture and improve our team and really move forward, but there will also be options to go back.
“Then we have to play the numbers game, how many guys are in the range and at what value do we feel comfortable to go back and we feel like we can still get them. So a lot is happening. Put it all together, but I know that as a front office, as an organization, as a coaching staff, we are pumped up. We’re really excited to bring this team to where it needs to be.”
Bears certainly don’t want to go too far. It’s not clear how many real first round players they’ll have on the board, but in any given year it could be around 15 or so players.
If Chicago could go from one to two and then two to… let’s say… nine with Carolina, I think the Bears would see it as a massive upheaval in the franchise’s long-term vision.
Jimmy G with the Texans?
One big issue standing in the way of the above is whether or not Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans are willing to swap to No. 1.
Sources tell CBS Sports there is push inside the building to sign quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and play him in 2023, while at one point in the first round a quarterback is drafted in with a plan to keep him for a year and grow.
Houston is now in 2nd and 12th with over $40 million in caps, so the Texans can easily place their future quarterback on the team next to current quarterback if it’s Garoppolo.
The Texans hired Bobby Slovik of the Nine as offensive coordinator. Who better to execute this offense quickly and efficiently than a healthy Garoppolo who knows the head coach and offensive coordinator from his time in the Bay Area and the general manager from his time in New England?
However, Garoppolo will have to want to go to Houston. A free agent, Jimmy G can choose his seat. The Jets are waiting for Aaron Rodgers and hoping that he will give an answer any day. Raiders might be interested in Garoppolo. But these places will apparently be the best places to land.
If the Jets get Rodgers and the Raiders decide to go the other way, Houston will be the best seat left for Garoppolo. The Texans could get him a heavily motivated deal (due to his injury history) that they can get with little to no penalty after a season that saw their first-round quarterback turned into a 2024 starter.
lamar jackson latest
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens use a non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson on Tuesday. I used to think that Baltimore would use the exclusive tag and the Ravens still might. But after Indianapolis, it looked like the Ravens were ready to go non-exclusive. Why? This is almost $13 million less, and in 2023 they will amount to $32.4 million. The Ravens and Jackson have so far tried to make a deal to no avail, and it is clear that the problem is the underlying one and the fact of fully guaranteed money. If you’re Ravens and you’ve been trying for so long and haven’t landed a deal, why do you think you’ll come up with one by the July 17th deadline to secure an extension?
The exclusive tag will make the Ravens use about a fifth of their space on Jackson. They will have to cut or restructure veterans like Calais Campbell, Gus Edwards, Patrick Rickard, Devin DuVernay and/or Morgan Moses no matter what, but that number will force Baltimore to make even tougher cuts. (By the way, this is not Jackson’s fault, but the reality of the situation.)
The non-exclusive tag obviously opens up the possibility that the Ravens will lose Jackson. They could not replace Jackson in 2023. Without him, they would be a smaller team. But from the team’s point of view, they could let him test the market. As one source said, he might benefit from seeing what other teams think he deserves. If there’s a deal he’s willing to sign, the Ravens can always tie or get two first-round picks by losing to him.
There are two dangers here. First, those two picks are far less than what the Ravens should be getting for him. But if Baltimore never gives Jackson what he thinks he deserves, and if this saga continues for another year, maybe the Ravens will take what they can get.
The second danger is that you will never feel safe if you are a Crow. Here’s what I mean: A non-exclusive franchised player is “fully free to negotiate and sign an offer sheet” with another team from the start of free agency on March 15 until the Tuesday following week 10 of the 2023 season. if he never signs the tag, according to the CBA.
It’s hard to believe that he’ll rush to sign a contract this spring or summer. In such a scenario, any interested team can make an offer until he decides to sign and report back to the team. This can continue into training camp as well, and it’s a unique challenge for the Ravens to tackle.
More insider notes
- Leaders franchise tag waiver Orlando Brown Jr means they could very well lose him in free agency. It was a long negotiating process in Kansas City that Baltimore anticipated when he traded him there two years ago. The Chiefs could still make a deal, but it looks like he’s destined for a free-agent test where he’ll no doubt be the highest-paid hitter in the free-agent class this year. If nothing else, chiefs got a Super Bowl and a T-shirt from it.
- One source in the league that I mentioned…