INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The NFL Combine kicked off on Tuesday with executives, coaches, scouts, agents and media coming together at the Indiana Convention Center.
While on-field workouts are on TV, what happens behind the scenes is equally fascinating. There is endless chatting and plenty of buzz on what might happen during the offseason. You’ll see general managers having face-to-face meetings to discuss potential trade scenarios, team executives having meetings with agents, and of all your favorite media people walking around trying to find out the latest.
Here are some takeaways so far from the combine – with a full roundup coming early next week.
Top NFL Combine Takeaways
Seahawks Want Geno Smith Back
The Seattle Seahawks are working on a long-term deal for quarterback Geno Smith and hope to get something done before free agency opens on March 15. Smith likely will return to Seattle, but the buzz is the Seahawks would not use the franchise tag on Smith. The quarterback franchise tag would cost $32 million.
Smith ranks as The 33rd Team’s 15th-best free agent in the 2023 class, although the Seahawks hope he never reaches the open market.
Jones, Giants Working on New Contract
New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen has had several meetings about a long-term deal with Daniel Jones’ new representation. Some progress has been made, but there’s more work to do with the tag deadline on March 7.
“You’re starting to feel the time crunch a little bit,” Schoen said Thursday on NFL Network. “I wish we were a little bit closer on a deal than what we are right now. But again, there’s still time.”
Schoen clarified the Giants don’t want to use the franchise tag at his news conference on Tuesday. Schoen believes tagging Jones would complicate things from team-building and cap perspectives.
Plenty of Focus on Ravens’ Jackson
The Lamar Jackson situation has dominated the conversation. There seem to be more opinions and speculation than facts. Baltimore is one of the best organizations at keeping quiet negotiations quiet, and Jackson doesn’t have an agent to speak for him. General Manager Eric DeCosta and Jackson agreed not to negotiate publicly two years ago, DeCosta said at his news conference.
The first sign we’ll get on where things stand is whether Baltimore uses the exclusive or non-exclusive tag on Jackson.
>> READ: Ravens Never Considered Jackson Trade
Carr Sweepstakes Rev Up
Derek Carr is in Indianapolis and has met with the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and Carolina Panthers. The Jets have serious interest but are waiting for Aaron Rodgers’ decision. It’s uncertain if Carr is willing to press the Jets on a decision and leave them in limbo.
>> READ: Is Carr Answer for QB Needy Teams
Packers Want Rodgers Decision Before Free Agency
Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said he wants an answer from Rodgers about his plans before free agency, a change of tone from the last two years. The Packers were fine waiting it out in previous years.
The Packers seem like they’re ready to move on to Jordan Love, all they’re waiting for is Rodgers to reveal whether he wants to play for them again, if he’s open to a trade — and where, or if he plans to retire.
Dre’Mont Jones’ Market Will Be Hot
The Denver Broncos likely won’t use the franchise tag on defensive lineman Dre’Mont Jones, general manager George Paton said during his news conference. Jones, who led the Broncos with 6.5 sacks in 2022, will become an unrestricted free agent, and there will be plenty of teams interested in the 26-year-old.
Titans Sticking With Tannehill
The Tennessee Titans are moving forward with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. However, general manager Ran Carthon left some wiggle room when he was asked about Tannehill’s future.
“Ryan is under contract,” Carthon said. “I just want to speak freely for a moment. I know everybody wants to make a big deal out of the quarterback position and whether he will or won’t be here. But you guys just have to accept the fact that Ryan is under contract for us, and right now, he is a Titan, and he will be a Titan.”
Rams Courting Ramsey Suitors
The Los Angeles Rams are looking to trade cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they dealt some other veterans as well.
If a trade is designated before June 1, the Rams will have to eat $19.6 million in dead money. Ramsey carries base salaries of $17 million (2023), $14.5 million (2024), and $15.5 million (2025) over the next three years.
Tush Push Is on Team’s Minds
The future of the “tush push” on quarterback sneaks has been a topic of conversation. The Philadelphia Eagles, who dominated on quarterback sneaks this season, would ultimately “do whatever the rules say to do,” coach Nick Sirianni said during his news conference. Sirianni believes there’s more than just pushing involved for the play to be successful.
>> READ: Tush Push Could be Banned
Top Right Tackle Likely to Hit Market
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch admitted they’re unlikely to retain right tackle Mike McGlinchey at the price tag he’ll command on the open market. The 33rd Team ranks McGlinchey at No. 9 among its Top 150 available players.
The 49ers have had internal discussions about other right tackles in free agency, and there are a few decent options available this year, including Kaleb McGary of the Atlanta Falcons and Jawaan Taylor of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 33rd Team ranks McGary 30th and Taylor 34th in its Top 150 free agents.
>> The 33rd Team’s Top 150 Free Agent Rankings
Garoppolo Will Be Sought After
The 49ers already made it clear that Jimmy Garoppolo‘s time in San Francisco is over. One person said the market for Garoppolo — ranked No. 10 among The 33rd Team’s Top 150 free agents — could be competitive because of his connections around the league.
There’s Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas, Robert Saleh with the Jets, DeMeco Ryans with the Texans, and Carthon with the Titans. Familiarity goes a long way in the NFL.