Welcome to the Wednesday War Room, where your favorite Yahoo Sports NFL writers weigh in on the most serious and critical NFL topics of the day. Read on for how you can join in. Today, we’re talking QB situations and the misery of the Jets. Onward!
Question 1: Plenty of teams are facing a serious quarterback problem heading into 2017. Putting aside the Jets (we’ll get to them later), which teams have it worst under center?
I’ll go with one that’s not necessarily the worst, but could be the answer in nine months. What about the Washington Redskins? Kirk Cousins is fine and will play well in 2017, and that’s the problem. His franchise tag next year would cost more than $34 million for one year. You can’t field a competitive team with one player making $34 million on the salary cap. If Washington doesn’t get a long-term deal done by July 15, it’s hard to figure out Cousins’ motivation to sign one after the season. Why wouldn’t he just hit the open market and let teams go crazy trying to sign him? There’s supposedly some optimism a deal can get done, but in less than a year the Redskins could be saying goodbye to their quarterback without any backup plan in place and will presumably not be in a position to draft one of the elite QB prospects next April. That’s scary.
You can point to all the usual candidates: Browns, Broncos, Browns again, 49ers, and so on. But I’m keeping an eye on Indianapolis, where at this moment their #1 quarterback is … Scott Tolzein? Sure, Andrew Luck is recovering from shoulder surgery, but we’re three months out from the start of the season and he hasn’t even begun throwing yet. The Colts aren’t bringing him back until he’s 100 percent ready, and they have no Plan B. So if Luck doesn’t recover on the expected timetable, or if he’s less-than-effective upon his return, Indianapolis could be in a world of unexpected trouble.
No Jets, eh? Fine. Part of me really wants to say the Bears, even though I know it’s not even close to being true in terms of the talent on the roster. But any team where John Fox is the QB developer and where Mark Sanchez getting hurt means Mitch Trubisky must now get practice snaps, well, I do weep for their future.
I’ll have to go with the 49ers’ Frankensteinian creation of Brian Hoyer/Matt Barkley/C.J. Beathard. If you believe any one of these gentlemen represents the future, you’re just drinking the John Lynch Happy Juice. Look, I think Kyle Shahanan knows what he’s doing. Even a former colleague of him who wasn’t friends with him personally admitted to me in the Redskins days that the guy is a quality offensive coach. But there’s little inspiring this season about this trio, even with Beathard, who has the look of the career backup you want your sister to marry, will be a coach one day and blah blah, but you hold your darned breath he never has to take live reps in close games.
Question 2: With news that the Jets are cutting everyone this side of Joe Namath, what in the world do this team’s fans have to look forward to? How do you market this garbage team to Gang Green Nation?
Being a longtime Atlanta sports fan, I feel highly qualified to speak on ways that terrible teams can promote themselves. Sure, you can go the minor-league baseball route, but there are only so many ways you can go to the “Star Wars Night” well. No, you gotta promote your opponents, as in, “Yes, we suck, but look who’s coming to town!” A scan of the Jets’ roster shows Ndamukong Suh stomping his way into town Sept. 24, Tom Brady stopping by on Oct. 15, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones two weeks after that, and Cam Newton on Nov. 26. Beyond that? I dunno. Chili-dog-eating contests?
Woody Johnson’s new motto: “Comin’ clean in ’18!” I do think on the one hand that people might be slightly overreacting to the release of two declining, overpriced veterans because of the timing. I mean, if Eric Decker and David Harris are released on March 6 and not June 6 — a decidedly slower news cycle — I don’t know that this conversation has as much drama to it. I mean, how many games are those two guys, a two-down linebacker and a No. 2 receiver, winning by themselves? Still, it’s hard to get excited about a youth movement for a team that has coughed away the draft on an annual basis outside of a new beacons of light, such as Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams. I feel badly for head coach Todd Bowles and hope he has a nice contract to pay him handsomely when he’s shown the door for some “offensive guru” next season or whatever.
How should the Jets market themselves? Man, I really don’t know, and I admit I’ve given up coming up with puns or rhymes involving “Forte” pretty quickly.
Well … the stadium is nice. Kind of. And, the Patriots come into town for a game. That’s it. That’s all I got. Tune back in for the first pick of the 2018 draft, Jets fans.
Previous War Rooms:
• Was the Bears’ Trubisky debacle the worst draft flub ever?
• Five ways to make the NFL on TV a better broadcast
• Which out-of-work quarterback would you pick to run a new team?
• What’s the greatest NFL touchdown celebration of all time?
• Which NFL player is the next to become an international superstar?
There you have it. Weigh in with your own thoughts below. Got ideas for future questions? Email us and you might just find your name in lights.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.