Jalen Hurts and Nicole Lynn Work Together to Prove Their Worth

We need to talk about that Jalen Hurts contract.

$179.3 million guaranteed. Highest annual salary in NFL history. And a no-trade clause. 

More specifically, we need to talk about his agent, Nicole Lynn

I’ve interviewed Nicole Lynn. I was impressed when she signed Quinnen Williams because *he* saw the vision to affect change and reached out to her. I loved her book, Agent You.

One of the things I enjoy most about Nicole is that in her book, she talks about her path from poverty to Wall Street, and the sacrifices she made to realize her dreams to become a high-level NFL agent, and the honesty she expresses about feeling called into this field, being blessed with opportunity after opportunity along the way, but still having regrets about some of the sacrifices it took to get where she is today.

To have someone that has faced adversity, persevered, but is still grounded enough to understand that the way in which they persevered carries as many lessons as the adversity they faced- it makes you wonder if I’m talking about Nicole Lynn or Jalen Hurts. 

Both are young, talented, black pioneers. Both tuned out the doubters to realize their dreams. And based on the conversation I had with Jalen Hurts’ father, Averion, leading up to last year’s Super Bowl, both are fully aware that they are still a work in progress. 

I’ve talked about Jalen Hurts before, but the fact that he left Alabama with the reputation of “game manager,” then left Oklahoma as a Heisman finalist is wild enough. But when people projected him as NFL receiver, and he fell to the 53rd pick in the draft and a third stringer behind Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld, who would have guessed that he’d be in this position today? 

Nicole Lynn, that’s who. 

I’ve said it before, but truth bears repeating- success isn’t always a straight line, but Nicole Lynn and Jalen Hurts prove that if your internal compass is pointed in the right direction, whether there are oceans, mountains or deep valleys in your way, you’ll find your way there. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever been happier for an agent/player combination. This is like the real life version of Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding Jr. in Jerry Maguire.

I talked with Nicole two years ago about one of her dreams- to be a contributing expert on television when it comes to major athletes signing big contracts. 

I hope she’s enjoying the irony of people all over the sports media landscape discussing the record-setting contract she helped negotiate. The first of many, I’m sure.

Let that sink in.

The Baltimore Ravens Might Have Won This Round of Chicken With Lamar Jackson, But At What Cost?

We need to talk about Lamar Jackson’s value. 

Let’s just get it out of the way- of course the owners are colluding to avoid having to pay Lamar Jackson $200+ million guaranteed. 

But they’re not colluding against Lamar Jackson as much as they ARE colluding against Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, who gave Deshaun Watson almost a quarter of a billion fully guaranteed dollars. 

NFL owners didn’t love that Haslam unnecessarily reset the market for elite passers, which has led to average quarterbacks like Daniel Jones and Geno Smith inking deals that give them a 2023 total salary beyond any single season payday Tom Brady made in his 23-year career. 

You’re worth what you’re worth, and the Cleveland Browns were desperate. You’re not going to hear me blaming Deshaun Watson for agreeing to get paid- though he will need to find a way to restructure if he ever wants his team to be competitive. 

Because the Browns are already 8 digits over the 2023 salary cap, and other teams see that. 

We’ve heard the Bills general manager talk about the advantage that the Bengals have right now with their QB on a rookie deal. If even the Bills are having a little bit of buyer’s remorse in having to pay Josh Allen market value, it stands to reason that the Ravens would be cautious and weigh all their options, even if they have a QB that has won an MVP award in the building.

And it’s no secret that at times, Lamar Jackson, who acts as his own agent, hasn’t seen eye to eye with the Ravens front office. The last two quarterbacks that got big money extensions despite not always getting along with the front office were Aaron Rodgers and Kyler Murray, and money didn’t change a thing. 

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are headed for a divorce, and Kyler Murray not only won the divorce with his Cardinals Head Coach and GM, but got full custody of the team. 

Last year, when the contract that the Jaguars gave Christian Kirk re-set the wide receiver market, so many players asked for a trade or an extension that NFL front offices had no choice but to do whatever they could to salvage the locker room. The players had strength in numbers. 

This time, it’s just Lamar Jackson. The NFL vs. Lamar. 

And don’t let anyone tell you this is a race issue. Most of the NFL’s highest paid quarterbacks are black. 

This is about Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti, who is a billionaire owner of an international talent acquisition and management firm, deciding to play chicken with his star QB on behalf of his colleagues.

And playing chicken is fine if there’s a reward to your risk, but what is the reward here? Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert’s agents just watched Daniel Jones ink a deal for $40 million per year for putting up season long stats that their clients typically reach by week 10. 

Even if the Deshaun Watson contract is an anomaly paid out by an owner who can afford it, because he’s one of the only executives at Flying J that didn’t go to jail for scamming truckers, the Jones and Smith contracts make the Watson deal look reasonable. 

Steve Bisciotti might have won the day by making Lamar Jackson’s franchise tag non-exclusive, to show his quarterback that there isn’t a 2023 market in which a team is willing to commit $200 million and two first round picks… but the day is fading. 

Lamar Jackson is getting paid by someone. And if Steve Bisciotti isn’t careful, he will have proven his point only to have to turn around and pay $200 million to an average quarterback two years down the road, rather than rewarding the MVP in the building.

Let that sink in.

The NFL QB Carousel: Breaking Down What Every Team Will Do At QB

Cam Newton of the New England Patriots

Round and round here we go, where it stops, nobody knows! The NFL QB Carousel is in full swing as free agency starts next week.

Teams need a good quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. Correction, teams need the right quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. For those saying “No shit, Sherlock,” you’d be surprised with how many teams don’t understand this concept!

It’s not hyperbole to say this has been a wild few months at the quarterback position. It almost resembless an NBA offseason with all of the trades. Matt Stafford is now a Ram, Jared Goff is a Lion, and Carson Wentz is a Colt.

Between free agency and the draft, more teams are going to address the quarterback position. Here are my QB projections for every team.

  • Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
  • Tampa Bay Bucs – Tom Brady
  • Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
  • Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
  • Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
  • Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
  • Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield
  • Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
  • Tennessee Titans – Ryan Tannehill
  • Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Muray
  • Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence*

*I’m putting the Jags on this list because there is a 99.9% chance they take Trevor Lawrence.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers – Benjamin Roethlisberger
  • New York Giants – Daniel Jones
  • Las Vegas Raiders – Derek Carr
  • Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford
  • Detroit Lions – Jared Goff
  • New England Patriots – Cam Newton
  • Indianapolis Colts – Carson Wentz
  • Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott

That leaves us with 12 teams who must decide on QB for the upcoming season. Some of these teams will take care of their needs in the draft. Others will try to make a blockbuster trade in hopes of changing their franchise. The biggest wildcard is Deshaun Watson and the Texans. There is no chance he’s the starting QB for the Texans on opening day. If that’s the case, where will he end up?

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is still good enough to start in the NFL. He’s your classic fantasy QB who gets you 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. The Falcons are in salary hell because Ryan and Jones combine for over $63m of their cap. Will they try to move Ryan? I doubt it. As I said, he’s still capable of leading a team to the playoffs. However, they may draft Ryan’s successor with the fourth pick in the draft.

New Orleans Saints – Jameis Winston / Taysom Hill

My wish was finally granted. Jameis Winston upgraded his eyesight!

This all comes down to Drew Brees. After losing to the Bucs, it appeared as if Brees played his last game for the Saints. However, Brees is now working out like a guy who wants to play again. There’s a difference between doing some mobility stretches in the morning and pushing sleds up the street. Does he want to make a comeback? My gut tells me Brees retires, which means the Saints should sign Jameis and keep Taysom Hill as the backup.

Chicago Bears – Alex Smith

The Bears are screwed if they don’t acquire Watson, Russell Wilson, or one of the top QBs out of college. Seriously, what can they do if all else fails? I love Mitch Trubisky (the person) and I actually believe he’s a competent QB. However, he’s not a franchise-changing player. Nick Foles is an expensive backup QB, not a starter. If they can’t trade for Wilson or Watson, I would sign Alex Smith and Trubisky to one-year deals. Then, fire Ryan Pace and (possibly) Matt Nagy and draft a QB next year.

Washington Football Team – Ryan Fitzpatrick

Once again, we’ll see if the WFT can draft a top QB or trade for Watson. However, Riverboat Ron Rivera and Ryan Fitzpatrick were made for each other. Fitzy would love to sling it to Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. This seems like a perfect fit.

Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts

History tends to repeat itself. Will the Eagles draft another quarterback to compete with their starter? It didn’t work well for Wentz, let me tell ya that! The Eagles need to rebuild. Draft weapons, take care of the offensive line, and see if Jalen Hurts is “the guy.”

Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson


Imagine having a top-five QB and trading him away because you couldn’t take care of him? Couldn’t be my team! In all seriousness, the Hawks should jump in the Pacific Ocean and never come back if they trade Russell Wilson.

San Franciso 49ers – Sam Darnold

I’ve never wavered from this prediction. If the Jets trade Sam Darnold, it will be to the San Francisco 49ers. Sorry Jimmy G, but your health is an issue. If you can’t stay on the field, then you can’t be a franchise QB. Those are the rules. Kyle Shanahan is going to unlock Darnold and remind us all why we loved the SoCal QB out of USC.

Carolina Panthers – Teddy Bridgewater/Trey Lance

It’s no surprise that the Panthers want to make a splash with a new owner who is not afraid to spend money. Teddy B is a serviceable QB, but the Panthers will be looking to upgrade. If they don’t get Watson, the draft is where they’ll make their mark and take a guy like Trey Lance.

New York Jets – Zach Wilson

The Mormon Manziel is coming to New York City if and only if Watson gets traded elsewhere. Zach Wilson’s stock is soaring as he continues to garner comparisons to Aaron Rodgers. Pair him with some WRs and another tackle and the Jets will be much improved in 2021.

Miami Dolphins – Deshaun Watson

Miami, this is the move to make. You have the ammo to make the move with the first-round picks. You have the QB to send back to Houston in Tua Tagovailoa. With Flores as the foreseeable coach in the future, Watson would be happy as a member of the Dolphins organization for the next decade.

Houston Texans – Tua Tagovailoa

See above. This is not personal, Tua. It’s just business. I like Tua, but Watson is the superior talent right now.

Denver Broncos – Drew Lock/Justin Fields

Drew Locks has shown flashes of potential, but he’s not the guy. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Denver will most likely trade up in the draft to take a QB like Justin Fields. Let Fields compete with Lock and hopefully (for John Elway’s sake), Fields comes out on top.

What should your team do at QB? Let me know in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Undrafted College Football Players Should Be Allowed to Return to CFB

College football players undrafted Hunter Bryant Washington Hawaii

The 2020 NFL Draft was definitely one to remember. It was completely virtual due to the Coronavirus. Potential draft picks watched at home. They awaited a phone call informing them that they were selected by an NFL team. Elite players, like Joe Burrow and Chase Young, accomplished their goal of being a first-round NFL Draft pick. However, many NFL Draft hopefuls did not realize their dream of being selected in the NFL Draft. Unfortunately, for many of those players, their football career as players may be over. It is true that many of them will attempt to earn a spot on a team as an undrafted free agent. Entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent is not easy and will not happen for all of them. This realization is especially unfortunate for draftees who left college early to enter the NFL Draft.

Every year, some college football players decide to forego their remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. NFL rules require draft entrants to be out of high school for three years and to have used all of their college eligibility before the start of the next college football season. However, college players with remaining eligibility request league approval to enter the NFL Draft early. 99 players were granted special eligibility for the 2020 draft. This means that 99 players who had remaining college eligibility gave up their remaining eligibility for a shot at the NFL. Despite the fact that only 1.5 percent of college football players go pro, 99 players still thought it was best to enter the draft. Why do college football players make the decision to forego their remaining eligibility given the odds of making it to the NFL?

Reasons College Football Players Leave College Early to Enter the NFL Draft

There are many reasons college football players forego their remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. There are two reasons that stick out the most. One reason is due to the unrealistic sense that many college football players have about their prospects of being drafted. Many college football players prematurely forego their remaining college eligibility to enter the NFL Draft, even though they are not ready. Another reason college football players forego the remaining college eligibility because some from disadvantaged backgrounds and need to make money. College sports is a billion-dollar business but the players’ only compensation is a cost-of-attendance scholarship. While a scholarship is valuable that does not mean that players should be limited to only that.

Listen to the Best College Football Podcast

Anchor // Apple Podcasts // Spotify // PocketCasts // Google Play // Stitcher // RadioPublic  

College Football Players who Come From Disadvangeted Backgrounds Would Greatly Benefit from Getting into the NFL as Quickly as Possible

Roughly 86 percent of African-American college athletes come from families that live below the poverty line. Since the Coronavirus pandemic, the inequities that many college athletes face have become even more visible. For example, Sam Williams, a University of Mississippi linebacker, tweeted about the hardships he is facing since being unexpectedly home from school. Specifically, Williams tweeted:

We worked so hard to get out of the hood but forced to go back to the hood…Still gotta pay rent so all of our money gone and I can’t swipe my ID nowhere in Alabama. Then if we get help it’s a ‘violation’. I just don’t understand.”

Williams highlighted a problem that may college athletes are facing. A study conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice prior to the pandemic highlights many of the issues that college athletes face. 452 Division I athletes were surveyed. 24 percent of them suffered from food insecurity in the 30 days prior. Food insecurity is defined by the United States Department of Agriculture as the lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. The survey sheds light on the issue of food scarcity amongst college athletes across all the divisions. Williams’ tweet and the survey’s findings further demonstrate the needs of many college athletes, particularly those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Everybody Gets Rich Except the Players

Furthermore, Williams’s tweet and the survey certainly make it clear why a college football player would leave college football eligibility on the table for a shot at the NFL. Due to the NCAA’s asinine amateurism rules, college football players are precluded from sharing in the billions they generate outside of a cost-of-attendance scholarship. While coaches, athletic directors, and other sports administration personnel make millions, the players are capped to a scholarship.

As Williams tweeted, college athletes cannot receive any assistance that is not first approved by the NCAA. If an athlete does, he will be subject to an NCAA violation, just ask Chase Young. Why would an athlete remain apart of a system that stops them from earning their true worth and risk injury, while everyone else makes millions?

The Good News is that the NCAA Can Fix Both of These Problems and Retain College Football Players

The NCAA can fix these problems and retain college football players if they would simply amend their rules. One way the NCAA can fix this problem is by allowing college athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). After mounting pressure, the NCAA is finally on the track to allow that to happen. If the NCAA does this, it could take the pressure off of players to go pro to make money. Last month, the NCAA announced that they are moving toward allowing college athletes to profit from their NIL. However, only time will tell how much the NCAA will amend their current rules to actually help the athletes.

Currently, college football players cannot return to college football after they enter and go through the NFL Draft even if they have remaining eligibility. Why is this the case? How does this benefit the football players? How does it benefit college football? The truth is that these rules do not benefit the players nor college football. This is another way the NCAA can fix their problems. The NCAA should change its rules to allow players who are not drafted to return to college football. It is time for things in college football to change. Change is more than possible, just look at recent changes in college basketball.

Recent Changes in College Basketball

Sweeping changes have come to college basketball during the last four years. In 2017, a scandal was exposed in college basketball. Soon after, the NCAA amended college basketball rules. The NCAA began to allow NBA Draft entrants with remaining eligibility to return to college. Prior to entering the NBA draft, the player must seek an evaluation from the National Basketball Association’s Undergraduate Advisory Committee. If the player intends to return to college, he must remove his name from the draft list and declare his intent to return to college within 10 days of the conclusion of the NBA Draft combine. These types of rule changes are exactly what the NCAA should adopt in college football.

The NCAA Should Allow College Football NFL Draft Entrants to Return If Undrafted

Two former NFL Players who entered the league as undrafted free agents agree that college football players could benefit if the NCAA made changes to their rules. Patrick Cobbs entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He believes that college football players could benefit from being able to return to college after entering the NFL Draft. Cobbs, a running back, led the nation in rushing in 2003. As a junior, Cobbs was projected to be a second or third-round draft pick. He stated that if he had the option to try his chances at the NFL Draft and return to college if undrafted he would have taken advantage of it.

Greg Camarillo also entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent. He also believes that college football players could benefit from being allowed to return to college football after the NFL Draft. Both Cobbs and Camarillo believe that an advisory committee should be created for potential draft entrants. Camarillo stated that the committee should create a program to give the players a realistic sense of their chances in the draft. Potential draft entrants should be required to consult the committee before entering the draft.

Both Cobbs and Camarillo do not think that agents should be a part of the committee due to potential bias. They suggest that the committee be made up of former NFL scouts, former coaches, and former NFL and college players. Camarillo suggests that the advisory committee’s evaluations take place immediately after the college football post-season.

The NCAA Should Be Proactive in Making These Changes in College Football

If the NCAA adopted these changes it could greatly change the landscape of college football for the betterment of the players. A player should not be forced to forego his remaining college eligibility just because he entered the draft. The idea of college football players being able to return to college if undrafted is gaining traction amongst prominent college coaches. Recently, the University of Michigan coach, Jim Harbaugh, released a proposal in support of this issue. He suggested that undrafted players be allowed to return to college. The NCAA needs to take note and make changes before they are forced to like they were with basketball.

Mike Trout Contract Proves NBA, NFL Owners are Getting Over on Players

Mike Trout contract LeBron james NBA NFL highest paid

Mike Trout’s 12-year $430 million deal with the Los Angeles Angeles proves NFL and NBA owners have been getting over on their players with the salary cap and max contracts, unlike the MLB. The games’ greatest players like LeBron James and Tom Brady are rarely the highest paid.

LeBron is one of the greatest players in NBA history. He is a 14-time all NBA selection, four-time MVP, and three-time Finals MVP. He has only been the highest paid player once. LeBron has only been amongst the top five highest-paid four times. How much would teams had been willing to pay LeBron had there been no wage scale in the NBA? Maybe $50-60 million per season?

Tom Brady is considered by most to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time. He is a six-time champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP, and he holds numerous passing records. But, is he ever the NFL highest paid player? No.

Shop NBA Hats at Fanatics.com

Money Left on the Table For NBA, NFL Highest Paid

LeBron, Brady and other greats are well paid, but don’t get to collect their fair market value because of wage restrictions. MLB players have a truly open market, and players are paid what the market will bear. LeBron and Brady combined have been paid or are owed a total of $614 million in on-field salary. Mike Trout himself will now be at at least $521 million.

The owners created the salary cap, and max salaries to control costs. The leagues are kicking down 100s of millions per year to each franchise. There is no shortage of dollars, but fans believe there is. Teams regularly ask players to take a discount to help build a championship roster. Fans should hold owners responsible for getting the finances right instead of the players. Let the billionaires figure it out. 16 years ago, Arte Moreno bought *the entire Angels franchise* for $182.5 million. They are now worth $1.8 billion. 

Shop for NFL Hats at Fanatics!

2019 NFL Draft Sleepers and Triumphs Update: Athletes to Celebrate

Looking back at the NFL Draft

Day Three of the 2019 NFL Draft is in the books. After seven rounds, we can finally celebrate the UnAfraidShow favorites. Prior to the draft, our writers identified sleepers, hidden gems and adversity-driven athletes to watch for. Here are those players and where they were drafted or if they remain undrafted.

Stories of Triumph (Full stories here and here)

Kaleb McGary, OT

NFL Draft Status: Round 1, Pick 31, No. 31 Overall to Atlanta Falcons

At pick 31, the Falcons traded back into the first round to select McGary. They seem to like him enough to protect quarterback Matt Ryan. McGary landed himself on one of the better teams in the NFL. After living in an RV through high school, McGary can use his first-round paycheck to rent a nice apartment.

Christian Wilkins, DT

NFL Draft Status: Round 1, Pick 13, No. 13 Overall to Miami Dolphins

Wilkins, persevering through his grandfather’s death (accidentally by the hands of a SWAT team), earned a top-15 pick and is headed to Miami to play against the GOAT Tom Brady. Miami is in need of leadership. Scouts, coaches and fans are drawn to Wilkins’ character. Look for him to become the face of the franchise alongside Josh Rosen.

Chandler Brewer, OG

NFL Draft Status: UDFA to L.A. Rams

When it comes to adversity, Brewer knows it well. The Middle Tennessee State University lineman played through cancer in 2018. After undergoing radiation treatment, Chandler has been building back strength to win his NFL playing time. Signed by the Super Bowl-losing Rams, Brewer will add depth to an

Emanuel Hall, WR

NFL Draft Status: UDFA to Chicago Bears

Dubbed by many as a one-trick pony, Emanuel Hall still found his way onto the Chicago Bears roster because he is the best at that trick. Despite injuries and his father’s unexpected death in 2018, Hall displayed tremendous efficiency. His 4.39 (95th-percentile) 40-yard dash, 109.7 (89th-percentile) Speed Score and 144.5 (99th-percentile) Burst Score are good enough to earn a second look.

Will Grier, QB

NFL Draft Status: Round 3, Pick 37, No. 100 Overall to Carolina Panthers

Grier landed himself an offense led by Cam Newton. However, considering Newton’s injury history, Grier could have regular season snaps as early as 2019. With this draft pick, the Panthers believe that Grier is well beyond his PED-suspended past.

Gary Johnson, LB

NFL Draft Status: UDFA to Kansas City Chiefs

Life has never been easy for Johnson. He’s had to scape, claw and earn everything he has. From foster-care to community college football to playing for Texas, Johnson showed grit. Johnson now found his way to a Super Bowl contending team in need of defenders.

Kahzin Daniels, EDGE


NFL Draft Status: UDFA to Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Daniels may be the most interesting rookie in this class. He played without any vision in his right eye. Yes, Kahzin Daniels found success in college despite being completely blind in one eye. With that being said, he was able to total 31.5 sacks. Cross your fingers he can overcome this “disability” in the NFL.

Bonus: Josh Jacobs, RB

NFL Draft Status: Round 1, Pick 24, No. 24 Overall to Oakland Raiders

Coming from poverty, homelessness and even being chased by gunfire, Jacobs has come a long way. Because of his incredibly efficiency and highlight-reel production, Jacobs battled his way to the first round. After Marshawn Lynch retired, the Oakland Raiders were in need of another talented running back. They found a running back that will “run angry“.

Football is a Beautiful Game

In so many ways, football reminds us that anyone, no matter who they are, can make a big splash. Regardless of race, income, or neighborhood. This is what makes the NFL Draft and offseason so captivating.

Bridgewater Made the Right Move to Avoid Dolphins and Backup Brees

Bridgewater Avoids Miami Dolphins NFL

Miami Called and Bridgewater Refused to Answer

In one of the more odd offseason stories, Teddy Bridgewater turned down a starting quarterback job to remain a backup. That’s right. Bridgewater met with the Miami Dolphins, a team that just traded away Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans, and walked away from their offer. The move (or non-move) has left many football fans perplexed. However, Bridgewater’s decision to remain the backup to Drew Brees is one of the most intelligent choices. Here’s why:

Low Injury Risk

The gap between Miami and New Orleans is immense. According to footballoutsiders, Miami’s offensive line ranked 31st in pass protection. They gave up 52 sacks in 2018. On the other hand, New Orleans ranked 3rd in pass protection and only gave up 20 sacks in 2018. Considering that Bridgewater has already had a serious knee-injury in his young career, the decision to avoid Miami’s porous offensive line is safe.

Money Money Money

While Bridgewater turned down a starting job, he didn’t refuse Nick Foles level money.

Per Dianna Russini of ESPN, Bridgewater desired “life-changing money” to sign with Miami. Bridgewater sought 16-million dollars per year plus incentives. He wanted money and guarantees that he the team invested in him as the starter. Miami was not willing to pay-up for Bridgewater, so he decided to punt his contract another year.

Instead of signing with Miami for a middling contract, Bridgewater accepted a premium-contract for a backup quarterback. The one-year deal includes 7.5 million dollars, fully guaranteed, plus incentives. Bridgewater is taking a moderate discount to play for the Saints and still keep his opportunity available for a big contract in 2020.

The Quarterback Market in 2020

In addition to his current situation is the overall market for quarterbacks. There were not a significant amount of NFL teams searching for veteran quarterbacks this offseason. Considering Foles, Keenum, and Flacco already have new homes and the NFL draft is near, there were few suitors left for Bridgewater. Less suitors can easily translate to less money invested. But, in 2020, here are some notable free agents:

  • Russell Wilson
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Eli Manning
  • Phillip Rivers
  • Tom Brady
  • Jameis Winston
  • Marcus Mariota
  • Case Keenum

Roethlisberger, Manning, Rivers and Brady are over 37 years old. There is a significant chance they might retire, due to injury or diminished performance. Winston, Mariota and Keenum also each carry a chance of being traded or cut. They have not stood out enough to earn a franchise-quarterback status. So, by pushing his free agency to 2020, Bridgewater will be entering a potentially rich market for quarterbacks.

Tutelage Under Drew Brees and Sean Payton

Sean Payton, coach of Bridgewater, at training camp

In staying another year with the New Orleans Saints, Bridgewater gets more time with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees Sean Payton. Instead of going to the Miami Dolphins, a franchise that has been in turmoil for years, he gets to surround himself by positive influences and success. New Orleans has consistently been a top NFL offense in both points and yards. Sean Payton has been regarded as one of the most creative offensive minds in the NFL. In backing up Brees another year, Bridgewater will effectively be attending an Elite NFL University.

Drew Brees is 40 Years Old

Drew Brees, quarterback ahead of Bridgewater

Although Drew Brees has continued to perform at an elite level, we cannot ignore his age. He is 40 years old. Each year he risks dips in production, injury and retirement. In remaining the backup for Brees, Bridgewater is giving himself a great chance to play for a successful franchise. Remember that the NFL is incredibly random. On any given Sunday something could happen. If Brees is injured or simply loses his gift, Bridgewater will be there. Waiting for his opportunity. If misfortune falls on Drew Brees this season, if he retires before 2020 or if the Saints choose to not sign a 42-year-old quarterback to another contract in 2021, Bridgewater could be the Saints next franchise quarterback.

Bridgewater is Only 26 Years Old

Teddy Bridgewater is so young. If he is smart, his career could extend another decade. Many quarterbacks are playing well into their 30’s or even 40’s now. After the 2019 season, Bridgewater will still only be 27. Capable starting quarterbacks are difficult to find. Washington found this quite apparent last season. After Alex Smith broke his leg in week 11, Washington started a combination of Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson. Granted Washington could have signed Colin Kaepernick to their team, but we’ve already discussed that. Bottom line is that if Josh Johnson can get a starting job, even a temporary one, after not attempting an NFL pass in seven seasons, Bridgewater should certainly be able to secure a contract in the coming years.

The Nick Foles Hero’s Journey

Nick Foles has paved the way for Bridgewater’s success. Foles initially showed promise in Philadelphia, passing for 27 touchdowns and 2891 yards in 2013. However, he fell into obscurity after suffering a broken collarbone in the 2014 season. The Eagles traded him to the St. Louis Rams, then was benched for Case Keenum. In 2016, the Los Angeles Rams drafted Jared Goff with the first overall draft pick and Foles was released. It appeared that Foles was destined to be a backup quarterback for his career, so obviously he signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs to play behind Alex Smith in 2016.

Then, in 2017, Foles held a lottery-winning ticket. Carson Wentz tore his ACL in week 14 and Foles led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl winning season. After another year of play, and additional games started due to Wentz missing more time, Foles landed a monster contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Even though the Eagles announced they would pick up Foles’ 20-million dollar option for the 2019 season, Foles refused it for a four-year contract worth 88-million dollars.

So why did this work for Nick Foles and could it work for Teddy Bridgewater? It worked because Foles put himself into the best situations. The Philadelphia Eagles had impressive coaching, offensive line play, offensive weapons, and a powerful defense. By random chance, Foles started for a playoff bound team and ended up becoming a Super Bowl MVP. Similarly, the New Orleans Saints are an elite NFL franchise that also has impressive coaching, offensive line play, offensive weapons and an improving defense. If Brees should fall, Bridgewater could see himself following the Foles path to playoffs and a subsequent four-year, 88-million dollar contract.

The Brilliance of Bridgewater

Although many will question and criticize Bridgewater’s stint with the New Orleans Saints, it is nonetheless a very intelligent decision. Bridgewater is young, playing behind a 40-year old quarterback in one of the league’s best offenses. He is surrounded by positive play, coaching and management.

“I was able to be a part of that last year for 18 weeks, and it was nothing but a positive thing,” Bridgewater said. “I told my agent every time that I’ve talked to him that I haven’t stopped smiling since I arrived. There’s so many positives in New Orleans, and I’m looking forward to many days ahead.”

“Teddy Bridewater: Saints a better situation for me” by Kevin Patra

There are so many pros for Bridgewater’s choice to remain a Saint. He is ensuring himself opportunity to take over for the Saints. In 2020, he enters a more lucrative quarterback market. Avoiding Miami also substantially lowers his risk of injury or poor play sparked by a mismanaged and untalented team. All the while, Bridgewater still makes 7.5-million dollars guaranteed with a chance to start for a playoff-caliber team if Drew Brees is injured. This is without a doubt one of the better decisions of the 2019 NFL offseason. Good for Teddy.

NFL Free Agency: Owners, Not Players like Antonio Brown Started Disloyalty

NFL Free Agency Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell disloyal

NFL Free agency is in full swing. Former Pittsburgh Steelers players like Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell get a bad rap from fans. They are called greedy, selfish, and disloyal for trying to maximize their income in a short term job. Working men and women change jobs at the drop of a hat for a better opportunity, working conditions, and money. So why would athletes be any different?

Shop for NFL Gear at Fanatics!

NFL contracts aren’t worth the paper they are printed on for owners. They regularly ask players to take pay cuts while under contract. The players’ family, tenure, or dedicated to the community are rarely. Players now realize their leverage and are exercising it to make more money. The truth is that all the people who demonize players would do the same thing at their job.

Players Are Rich… It’s Different

I have often heard that the situation is different because players are making millions, so there is no sympathy. Why is there sympathy for the billionaire owners money? They are shrewd businessmen who designed the NFL salary cap. If they don’t like the way the salary cap calculations, they can change the them at the owner’s meetings.

Antonio Brown, LeVeon Bell, and every other player who exercises their leverage are just doing the same thing fans would do if they could. The same concept applies whether you are making $60,000 or $6 million. We all want to be paid our fair market value, and be appreciated by our employer.

Fans are either jealous, feel they own the players, or feel that players are privileged. Now it’s time to watch the video. Leave a comment with your thoughts.