As the final 90 man roster takes shape, we're getting down to where Jimmy G will become the last loose end to tie up.
I think probably with June 1st now just days away, we'll get some answers on other issues, namely Dee Ford and Alex Mack. Does Mack retire? Do we sign JC Tretter if he does, or do the coaches feel we have an answer already "in the room?" Once we get clarity on those couple things, all eyes should go to what's next for Jimmy G, who should now be closing in on the stage where his recovery turns from healing to ramping up his throwing.
With that in mind I took a good look around the league. I looked at each teams current starting QB and asked, is he clearly better than Jimmy. For those where the answer was no, or at least "not clearly," I then looked a little deeper. I checked those teams salary cap situation and also the status of their current QB. Why is he not better than Jimmy? In some cases, it was just "because he's not" (in my opinion, that is). In other cases it was too soon to tell because the player is a rookie (Kenny Pickett of the Steelers for example) or coming into his second season (Davis Mills or Justin Fields, or even our very own Trey Lance are those examples).
When all was said and done, I found only three teams that made some sense to me, and probably only one of them is who you're expecting.
For starters, there's been a lot of "noise" about Houston being a candidate. After all, they don't have a highly drafted starter or even a viable backup that could compete to start. And then there's the (supposed) Caserio - Patriots - Jimmy connections. Well, I'm calling BS and ruling them out. Why? Two things.
- His rookie stat sheet was very comparable to veteran Jimmy G's, and as a rookie with a much weaker supporting cast
- Believe it or not, for as bad as that roster is, Texans still don't have the cap space to add Jimmy's current contract
So if you're the Texans, who probably get a pass this year in terms of expectations, why in the world would you do anything other than see what you have in Mills with an eye to the future. If he's not the guy, you've got the juice to probably get in position to draft next years #1 prospect. And even if you love Jimmy, why not wait it out and get him for $0.5 on the dollar next year? So no, I'm not buying the Patriot connection story at all.
So my three teams, in order of the sense they make to me ended up being:
1 - The Panthers. No surprise here. They've been the favorite and still make sense. They're built to run first, they have short yardage YAC weapons and should be fielding a stout Defense. That's nearly the exact formula that's helped Jimmy be part of 2 NFCC+ runs in 3 years. Of course they don't have Shanahan, but he's ours and ours alone, so they can piss off!!
2 - The Lions. Surprised? Think about it. I can see a world where Dan Campbell's demonstrative sideline frustrations with Goff last season might cut deeper than we know. Jimmy's better IMO. He's certainly a better locker room guy, and IMO stronger mentally overall, both X's and O's and how he stares down the barrel of the gun of pressure to make plays. Their current backup is a guy named Blough you probably never heard of and they've got cap space to pull it off. They can also cut Goff with very no extra consequence to their cap position. Plus, Campbell wants a run first bully-ball team. Jimmy knows what that looks like up close and personal.
3 - The NY Football Giants. Surprised again? OK. Fair. But here's the thing. They didn't even pick up Daniel Jones's 5th year option, and the guy that drafted him is no longer with the team. Yes, they have Tyrod, but I'll argue Jimmy G is better than him too. Are the Giants not tired enough of losing yet? At worst Jimmy G is a band aid, and I think he proved last year he can handle a media circus the likes of which every QB will deal with in the NY market.
That's all I got. Talk about it!