Searching for Truth During the NFL’s Lying Season

The NFL combine is fueled by three things: shrimp cocktail, sky walks, and lies. Last year, one of the biggest headlines from Indianapolis was that the Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that the team “didn’t intend” to trade Russell Wilson. What did Seattle do a week later? He traded Russell Wilson to Denver.

Yes, it’s lying season in the NFL, and while only time will tell who ends up on Pinocchio’s biggest podium this year, a close reading of some of this week’s most noteworthy Indianapolis notes and quotes can reveal who’s on the level and who’s just trying. provoke a press conference. In that spirit, here are some notable responses from coaches and HR managers, translated into what we think they are. Really keep in mind:

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst on whether he’s spoken to Aaron Rodgers since the quarterback ended his dark retreat: “No, we exchanged some texts and things like that, but we haven’t had a chance to talk yet.”

Translation: No, we’ve exchanged some messages and such, but he hasn’t given us a chance to talk yet.

It’s not just the Packers. A third of the league appears to be on hold with Rodgers’ decision on whether and where he wants to play in 2023. Carr this week but can’t make a move until they know what Rogers is doing. The Saints wait to find out what Carr wants to do, which is affected by whether New York is his real landing spot. Green Bay is at the mercy of Rodgers because he has a contract – he’ll make $60 million next year if he plays – and can’t do anything until they know if they have to stand on the phone lines to make a deal, or make a plan. support Rodgers for one more season.

Gutekunst on the timeline to find out if Rogers stays in Green Bay: “Obviously free will is brewing here. This is an important part of what we do. So it would be nice to get some answers before then.”

Translation: Aaron, please call me.

Gutekunst on the development of Jordan Love: “We are delighted with him. I think I’ve already told a lot of people that he needs to play. This is the next step in its development. He needs to play.”

Translation: Aaron, well, if you want to play for the Jets.

It’s one area where the translation machine gets a little overwhelmed, but when you compare the way Gutekunst and Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur talked about their quarterbacks this offseason to how they did it. last The off-season, when their primary goal was to get Rodgers back on track, speaks volumes. Gutekunst has made it clear this week that he wants Love to get playing time, which would obviously be a lot easier to do if he could trade Rodgers elsewhere. Gutekunst can’t state it, but the Packers-Rogers relationship is looking more and more like the past.

Now, moving on to a potential trading partner…

Unidentified Jets reporter to CEO Joe Douglas: “Did you have any talks with the Packers?”

Translation: Did you have talks with the Packers about Aaron Rodgers?

Second unnamed Jets reporter to Douglas: “Are you worried about missing out on Derek Carr while waiting for someone else to make a decision?”

Translation: Are you worried about missing out on Derek Carr while waiting for Aaron Rodgers to make a decision?

Third unidentified Jets reporter to Douglas: Do you prefer free rein over trade? How do you feel about giving up a choice?”


What, you thought knowing he couldn’t answer the question would stop the Jets beat writers from asking it?

Either way, the Jets will have a new quarterback next season. Their stadium owners, on the other hand, are figuring out how to make this work with their incumbent passer, which brings us to the giants:

Giants General Manager Joe Sean: “It’s going to be better for the organization and I think it’s going to be better for Daniel. [Jones]and I think it would be better for Saquon [Barkley]if we can do deals without using the franchise tag.”

Translation: We’ve made offers to Daniel Jones and Sakwon Barkley, and if they want more than what we’re offering, there’s a franchise mark.

Shawn was especially adamant that the Giants could avoid using the franchise tag on Jones and/or Barkley, but especially on Jones. In this case, I have no doubt that he means what he says – that he sees the way in which both players agree to multi-year contracts with the Giants, even though the franchise issue seemed to revolve around to whom New York would use it instead whether he would use it. However, Jones does seem like the perfect candidate for the label – a player who has had an outstanding year and who the team might like to see more consistent before moving on to the long term. I believe Sean in his ideal world wouldn’t use it, but I think the tag actually makes too much sense.

Speaking of the franchise tag…

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta on Lamar Jackson contract talks: Lamar and I are talking. We met recently. This is an ongoing discussion. We both understand the urgency of the situation. It was good dialogue. Good discussion. I am an optimist and remain an optimist. And we’ll see where he goes.”

Translation: Note to self: think of other ways to say “ongoing discussion”.

DeCosta on whether the Ravens decided whether they would use the exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson if they couldn’t get a long-term deal before the deadline: “We didn’t.”

Translation: We’re still figuring out if the bridge burned down.

The Ravens’ pending decision to use the franchise exclusive or non-exclusive tag – assuming the aforementioned “ongoing discussion” doesn’t result in a long-term deal in the next few days – is one of the most intriguing dominoes yet to fall in this game. off-season quarterback landscape. The exclusive tag will be worth about $45 million next season and will mean that only the Ravens can sign Jackson. This will mean that they intend to find a solution to keep him as their quarterback, even if they remain far apart in a long-term deal. The non-exclusive tag will bring in about $32 million next year, but Jackson will be allowed to sign other teams. Baltimore would be eligible to match any contract offer and would receive two first-round picks from the Jackson-signing team if the Ravens chose not to accept. If they go the non-exclusive route, it would mean the Ravens consider it possible that Jackson is not their longtime quarterback. Looks like Baltimore is still figuring out which of these roads it’s on.

The defender move always generates the most speculation and produces the sharpest tea leaves to read, but representatives from teams that are more settled in their QB rooms also provided some nuggets:

Broncos head coach Sean Payton on the possible addition of Matt Patricia to his coaching staff after interviewing Patricia for the defensive coordinator job that went to Vance Joseph: “I think [the Patriots] won five Super Bowls while [Matt Patricia] invoked protection. It was easy. I knew right away that I wanted to interview Matt.”

Translation: Bill Belichick owes me lunch.

Seahawks general manager John Schneider, when asked about running back Kenneth Walker, “Ken. Don’t call him Kenneth. Sometimes he is an evil little elf.

Translation: I won the Russell Wilson trade, signed Gino Smith, drafted Ken Walker, Charles Cross, Abe Lucas and Tariq Wulen and feel pretty good.

Bengals chief executive Duke Tobin: “Do they need a receiver? Go find yours. In my opinion, Ty Higgins is a good figure for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Translation: I think we can sign Joe Barrow, Higgins and, next year, Ja’Marr Chase.

At a time of year when every NFL executive can rely on the old fallback answer, “We’ve got a lot of players calling,” Tobin made it as clear as possible that the Bengals didn’t want to give up on Higgins and didn’t have to think. Tobin was less blunt about running back Joe Mixon, whose offensive role has been waning as Samajé Perin has taken most of the snaps and touches, and who seems like a potential cut candidate as it would save the Bengals 7. 3 dollars. million against the salary cap. “Like the great Kevin Malone said, ‘I don’t know,'” Tobin said of Mixon’s future.

49ers general manager John Lynch on whether last season’s NFC championship game is a good reason to add an extra spot to the roster so teams can keep three quarterbacks active on game days: “Incidents like this happen very few and far apart.”

Translation: [Sobbing internally.]

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on taking on the in-game call function: “We can all use the new voice. We can all use the new voice. We can all use the feeling of motivation, challenge and so on. This is a new challenge for [Dak Prescott], his words. He is delighted with it.”

Translation: You guys have no idea how much Duck loves the third and sixth, but you will soon find out.


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