“Think about how many teams usually take a developmental guy in the mid-rounds,” said the agent, who routinely signs quarterbacks. “They aren’t there. There might not be a Day 2 quarterback in this draft. It’s more advantageous for them to stay in school now, see if they can improve next year and then come out.”
Fellow rookies Bailey Zappe (New England Patriots, fourth round) and Anthony Brown (Baltimore Ravens, undrafted) won games, and Desmond Ridder (Atlanta Falcons, third round) showed promise. Malik Willis (Tennessee Titans, third round) has a ways to go but still ended up starting critical games. Regardless, stashing quarterbacks in the middle rounds has been a staple of roster building — a tactic that occasionally nets a Russell Wilson — but the strategy will be in short supply this spring. And that’s good news for the NFL’s journeyman quarterback cohort.
“I bet he stays at Fox,” predicted one general manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he’s not permitted to speak about other team’s hiring pursuits. “It’s a better field next year. Both L.A. jobs will probably be open. Tampa is probably open, and those owners have won a Super Bowl. The Jets and Packers could be open, [possibly] Dallas. I think he could do even better next year.”
Meanwhile, as predicted, the hiring cycle seems destined to play out at a much slower pace than in years past, thanks in part to the expanded requirements for interviewing minority candidates. Some agents and executives believe there will be multiple jobs still technically open leading up to the Super Bowl. “I don’t ever remember a year like this, where we’re two weeks in and nobody really knows who’s getting which jobs,” the GM said.
“Once he gets the tag, they have to be ready to move him as soon as possible,” one GM said. “It’s going to get really ugly there if they let this play out and he’s sitting on that tag through the offseason. They said what they had to say to protect his trade value. That’s all it was.” …
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