More NFL offseason quick hits

–It is almost hard to believe the reports the owners are giving Roger Goodell another contract extension at age 64. The league desperately needs new leadership. Pete Rozelle retired at 63 and Paul Tagliabue at 65. The owners like that Goodell keeps bringing in new revenue but he shows little interest in the game on the field or what is good for the game and the fans.

–The Cowboys making a trade with the Texans for Brandin Cooks is a classic example of a team trying to win it all this year making a trade with a team that wants draft picks to build for the future. Cooks will be the Cowboys No. 2 receiver. Trading for Cooks probably means Cowboys aren’t in the market for Odell Beckham. The Texans only got a 2023 fifth round pick and 2024 sixth round pick for Cooks but they dumped his salary although they will pay six million and the Cowboys will pick up the other $12 million. Cooks has now been traded four times and the Cowboys are his fifth team.

–There were questions about whether Tua Tagovailoa had a future in the NFL after the concussion issues he dealt with last year. But the Dolphins are gambling he can stay healthy for at least this season as they exercised the fifth year option on his rookie deal. He will be paid $23.17 million this year. Of course, the Dolphins didn’t give him a new deal because they can’t be sure he will stay healthy. Meanwhile, Mike White will be the backup in case Tagovailoa goes down again.

–The Texans dumped Cooks and his salary but they made Laremy Tunsil the highest paid left tackle in NFL history when he signed three-year $75 million deal with $50 million guaranteed. The Texans figure to take a quarterback with the second pick and obviously want to protect him.

–A player has to know his worth. Safety Chauncey  Johnson turned down a multi year offer from the Eagles and wound up signing for the Lions for less at just $8 million for a year after the market dried up.

–It is all quiet on the Aaron Rodgers and Lamar Jackson front. The Packers are still asking the Jets for a first round pick and more and the two sides are at an impasse for now. Meanwhile, Jackson can’t find a team willing to give up two first round picks and meet his contract demands.

NFL offseason quick hits

–Two more starting quarterbacks changed teams when Derek Carr signed with New Orleans and Jimmy Garoppolo signed with the Raiders. Is Jimmy G much of an upgrade from Carr? We will find out if both players needed a change of scenery. But the Raiders are in effect trading Jimmy G for Carr. That may not be much of an upgrade for either team. But both players seemed to have worn out their welcome with their former teams.

–Carr’s arrival in New Orleans likely means that Jameis Winston will return to being a backup unless Carr is injured. Winston, who never lived up to the hype when he was the first pick in 2015, spent five years in Tampa and three in New Orleans. Last year, he started the first three games before being replaced by Andy Dalton, who has moved on to Washington. Winston said he wants to remain in New Orleans because he likes the atmosphere. Gardner Minshew signed with Indianapolis and can play if the quarterback the Colts draft with fourth pick – or if they move up for one –isn’t ready. With Minshew moving on, the Eagles signed Marcus Marioto to be their backup.

–Dalton’s signed by Washington and Jacoby Brissett being signed by the Panthers shows both teams want a veteran stopgap in case their young quarterback isn’t ready to go when the  season starts. Dalton can step in if Sam Howell isn’t ready and Brissett is a safety net in case the quarterback the Panthers sign with the first pick isn’t ready at the start of the season.

–Baker Mayfield continued his journey around the league by signing with the Bucs where he will compete for the starting job with Kyle Trask. That means Blaine Gabbert will be looking for a new home.

–Aaron Rodgers is ready to move on to the Jets, opening the door for Jordan Love to be the third Packer starter in decades as he follows in the footsteps of Brett Favre and Rodgers. But the Packers want a first round pick and more for Rodgers,, which is ridiculous for an aging player the Packers don’t want to keep.. So Rodgers can’t move on until the Packers agree to more sensible terms.

Big trade could mean big regret for Panthers

The Carolina Panthers are like the dog that caught the car.

They traded four draft picks, including two No. 1 picks, and receiver D.J. Moore to the Chicago Bears for the top pick in the draft.

The next question: Now what?

The Panthers made the trade before they decided which quarterback they will take with the top pick.

That means there is no automatic first choice like when players like Trevor Lawrence and Andrew Luck were at the top of the draft board.

Instead, there are four quarterbacks likely to be drafted high on the first round, but it won’t be an easy decision. And if the Panthers pick the wrong one or none of them make it big, they will be back to square one.

It is likely they will choose between C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young, who had a great college career at Alabama but is only 5-10 1/8.

The most athletic quarterback is Anthony Richardson, who had a dynamite combine but a lackluster college career.

The fourth one is Will Levis of Kentucky, who isn’t likely to be the top pick.

If nothing else, the Panthers have created a lot drama. They can’t afford to miss on this pick.

In another interesting development, even the Panthers aren’t convinced the player they draft with the first pick will be ready to start as a rookie. They signed veteran Andy Dalton to give them a stopgap starter if the rookie needs time to develop.

The Panthers also could have gotten a shot at Lamar Jackson for two No. 1 picks if they had offered him a fully guaranteed contract. They then could have saved two picks and kept Moore. But the NFL is trying to hold the line on fully guaranteed contracts because most owners were unhappy that Deshaun Watson got one from Cleveland.

So the Panthers are now on the clock. We can only wait to see what they will do.

NFL quick hits

–It is tag season and the most controversial tag was placed on Lamar Jackson by the Ravens.  If a team makes a deal with Jackson, the Raven can match or let him go for two first round picks. But no team seems to be rushing to sign him because he apparently wants a fully guaranteed deal like the one Deshaun Watson got. The NFL is trying to hold the line on fully guaranteed deals, which is otherwise known as collusion. But what is overlooked is that the NFLPA should never have agreed to tags in the first place. They weren’t in the original press release the league sent out when the two sides first agreed to a salary cap and free agency after four years.

–Have the Titans put Derrick Henry on the block or not? There have been reports both ways. At age 29, Henry probably doesn’t have much left in the tank. But they could probably challenge the Jaguars in the AFC South with him. They are not likely to without him. We will have to wait to see what they will do.

–The league just can’t seem to let go of Tom Brady. Rich Eisen, who should know better, said there was chatter at the combine that Brady still might return. Brady replied with a joke saying if you get a kitten for your kid, you don’t have time to return. After retiring and then returning last year, Brady doesn’t figure to do it again. 

–Another apparently bogus report was that Philip Rivers contacted the 49ers and Dolphins late last year about returning and still might look to return this year. Rivers quickly shot that down, saying he didn’t contact any team. He said he was contacted without naming the teams but said he is retired. At age 41 after being away for two years, it is not likely to return.

–It is surprising more players don’t skip the combine. Even though they are running around without pads, there is still an injury risk. At least five players were injured in this year’s combine, including offensive lineman Andrew Vorhees of USC. He suffered a torn ACL and will likely miss this upcoming season. He showed he is a tough guy as he did 38 reps on the bench after suffering the injury but the injury is likely to cause him to drop in the draft. Players should tell teams to look at their college tape.

Bieniemy deserved (and still deserves) better

Eric Bieniemy was treated like a rock star or a head coach when he had his first press conference as the new offensive coordinator of the Washington Commanders last week.

He made a good impression as he set out his plans for his offense and the players who attended gave him positive reviews. His new quarterback, Sam Howell, said he is super excited to play for him.

Yes, this is the same Bieniemy who was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs as they went to three Super bowls in the last four years and won two of them, but he failed to get a head coaching job despite all that success.

He is the best example recently of how difficult it is for black coaches to get head coaching jobs. It’s even often difficult for them to keep them once they are hired.

Some of the excuses for Biemiemy being overlooked included that he hasn’t called plays in Kansas City and that he doesn’t interview well. And some off the field problems he had when he was younger sometimes get brought up.

Those are just excuses.

With the Commanders he will call plays and hopes that will help his resume. But the Commanders have been one of the worst run teams in recent years under Dan Snyder while the Chiefs have been one of the best with Clark Hunt as the owner. And Snyder is supposedly planning to sell the team. So there is the that the new job won’t help his quest for a head job although he said his only focus now is being the OC for the Commanders.

And there is no guarantee he will get a head coaching job even if he has success. There’s also the chance he will lose out on winning more Super Bowls with the Chiefs.

Still, Bienemy is getting a raise and a longer term contract than he had in Kansas City, and a chance to call the plays and run the offense.

Granted, there is no guarantee he will be a good head coach. But he deserves the chance to show whether he can be a successful head coach.