This has been an extraordinarily busy news week in the NFL. Here are some of topics we’ve been monitoring closely:
When the Colts traded for Carson Wentz, they wanted the conditional 2022 second-round pick in the trade package to serve as protection in case Wentz got injured or played poorly enough to merit being benched. This conditional pick, in turn, will become a first-round pick if either of the following occur: Wentz plays 75% of the Colts’ offensive snaps this season, or Wentz plays 70% and the Colts make the playoffs.
So far this season, Wentz has played 596 of 601 offensive snaps for the Colts (99.17%). Based on the Colts projected snaps for the rest of the season, Wentz will need to play at least 60.4% of the remaining snaps to reach the 75% threshold.
After their 45-30 win over the Jets on Thursday, the Colts are now 4-5. They sit 2.5 games back of Tennessee, but the Titans hold the tiebreaker after sweeping the regular season series.
Wentz has played far better than in 2020, though his two costly interceptions in Week 8 were the difference in the game. Even so, the Colts have played better than their record suggests. They have the highest point differential (+32) of any team with a losing record.
Further, given the AFC playoff race and the Titans losing their best and most important player, the Colts still have an opportunity. Until Indy is eliminated, they can’t contemplate benching Wentz. He gives them the best chance to win games.
In the scenario where they are eliminated, however, one potential avenue available to the Colts would be to go back to the Eagles and renegotiate the terms of the trade. I would discuss with Philly the possibility of renegotiating the trade and explore an alternative to the current structure. Indy would need to demonstrate that Wentz may not reach the 75% threshold needed for the conditional second-round pick to become a first.
Aaron Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19 this week. Because he is not vaccinated, Rodgers must spend a mandatory 10 days away from the team, meaning he will miss the Packers’ Week 9 game in Kansas City. The earliest Rodgers can rejoin the team is November 13th, which is the day before their Week 10 matchup against Seattle.
If I were in Brian Gutekunst’s position, I would have very candid conversations with Rodgers. Vaccination status is a personal choice, but the research is clear that the vaccine is safe and effective; getting the vaccine not only protects him but everyone in the building. His actions impact everybody in the organization, and I would like to see him reconsider his position on the vaccine.
Odell Beckham Jr.
Sometimes it’s good for everyone to get a fresh start, and it certainly seems like the situation with Odell is heading that direction. Cleveland will try to cut their losses to the extent that they can, but their best window to save money was before 4 pm on Tuesday.
His Cap Number of $15,750,000, which includes his P5 Base Salary, Roster Bonus, and Workout Bonus, is fully guaranteed; however, there won’t be any dead money if the Browns release him, as his 2022 and 2023 salary and bonuses are not guaranteed.
At this point, Cleveland could release Beckham, but he would be subject to waivers since the trade deadline has passed. It is unlikely any team would claim him now. Perhaps a contender in need of a WR will become desperate later on and be willing to take on the remainder of his contract then. The Browns could also look to trade him in the offseason.
This morning, the the date of Beckham's 29th birthday, it was reported that the Browns will indeed release Beckham today and are "working on converting Odell Beckham Jr.’s Signing Bonus into Base Salary, making it easier for another team to claim him on waivers."
Regardless of how it plays out this season, the Browns will look to revamp their WR room through a strong Draft class and potentially loaded Free Agent group.
2022 WR Draft Class:
Chris Olave (OSU), Garrett Wilson (OSU), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), John Metchie (Alabama), Jameson Williams (Alabama), David Bell (Purdue), Jahan Dotson (PSU), Drake London (USC), George Pickens (Georgia)
Potential WR Free Agents include:
Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, Courtland Sutton, Mike Williams, Emmanuel Sanders, Jamison Crowder, Juju Smith-Schuster, Tim Patrick, Antonio Brown, Christian Kirk