NFL QBs on the move, and getting rich
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There is no higher profile position in North American sports than the quarterback of a National Football League team. Today we’ll look at three of them — one coming, one going and one who was in limbo but is now in the chips.
In the “coming” category is former Alabama star Bryce Young, chosen first overall in the late-April NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers.
It was a controversial pick because Young, who won the Heisman Trophy in 2022 as the best player in U.S. college football, stands only five-foot-10, and teams usually like their QBs to be tall (six-foot-three or more) so they can easily see over the line of scrimmage.
But Young’s play-making ability, quick reaction, and strong arm have made general managers believe that he could be another Drew Brees or Russell Wilson, height-challenged quarterbacks who starred in the NFL.
The Panthers’ choice apparently came down to Young or the six-foot-three C.J. Stroud, whose Ohio State Buckeyes lost in the college football semi-final last season. Carolina chose the shorter guy and the scrutiny over that choice will be immense among football fans in the next few years.
In the “going” slot, we have 39-year-old Pro Bowl veteran Aaron Rodgers, the longtime Green Bay Packer stalwart still at the top of his game, going to the New York Jets.
Rodgers was not shy in telling the world he no longer wanted to play in Wisconsin and that the Jets would be his preferred new team.
After a month or so of negotiations, stalling and threats, a deal involving a variety of draft picks was finally consummated, and Rodgers will face Big Apple pressure in taking the Jets to the promised land — the playoffs.
The Jets haven’t made the playoffs in 12 years and own the longest North American playoff drought among all major sports. Pressure? After the Rodgers’ deal was announced, the Jets were pegged by the betting industry with the fourth-best odds to win next year’s Super Bowl.
For the longest time, Baltimore Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson was in apparent limbo, given the franchise tag by the Ravens after contract negotiations stalled. Being “tagged” means any team could sign Jackson to a contract, but would have to forfeit two first-round draft picks.
Jackson is a great player (the NFL’s MVP in 2019), but injury-prone, having missed 10 games over the past two years. Jackson believed he should be able to sign a fully guaranteed contract, similar to the US$230-million, five-year pact — 100 per cent guaranteed — that Deshaun Watson signed in Cleveland.
Finally, Jackson got his way, inking a US$250-million, five-year deal with Baltimore, of which US$185 million is reportedly guaranteed.
Jackson is certainly wealthy, but he also remains injury-prone, and that has to be of grave concern to the Ravens, and their financial officers.
OUT OF BOUNDS
• Bob Molinaro of pilotonline.com: “The Oakland A’s relocation in 2027 will give Las Vegas three major pro sports franchises. Finally, something for tourists to do in that town.”
• Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle, on what fans might expect after the Oakland A’s move to Las Vegas: “Dollar slots, Keno runners in every section, ushers dressed up as Elvis!”
• Former Edmonton Sun columnist Terry Jones, on Twitter: “New arena deal for Calgary includes $330 million from province. That’s roughly $330 million more than provided by the province for Rogers Place. Do I have that right? Anybody remember exactly?”
• Molinaro again: “You know who’s also very happy with Lamar Jackson’s contract? Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow, next in line to become the richest quarterback.”
• Winnipeg Sun headline, after the Winnipeg Jets were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Vegas Golden Knights: “End of an error: Jets crap out in Vegas.”
• Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, on Twitter: “If what ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting is accurate — and I’m sure it is — I believe the Packers just traded Aaron Rodgers to the Jets for a bag of balls, a case of beer and a 25 per-cent-off coupon for an oil change at Jiffy Lube!”
• Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg: “This just in: Tucker Carlson to be the new QB at Green Bay.”
• From the parody website the Beaverton: “Calgary tackles housing crisis by spending $867 million on new home for the Flames.”
• Headline at the onion.com: “Roger Goodell excited to see so much talented inexpensive labour”
• From fark.com: “Lions GM Brad Holmes smashed a table in joy after drafting RB Jahmyr Gibbs. Meanwhile, Lions fans smashed a table in disgust after drafting RB Jahmyr Gibbs.”
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