NFL Wild Card 2013: Bengals vs Texans

Las mejores fotos la victoria en duelo de Comodines que se llevó Houston por marcador de 19-13 sobre Cincinnati, rumbo al Super Bowl XLVII.
Tras el triunfo en Wild Card, los Texans se medirán ante los New England Patriots, en la Final de la Conferencia America, el 13 de enero.

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 05: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs the ball against Nate Clements #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Reliant Stadium on January 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 05: Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs the ball against Nate Clements #22 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the AFC Wild Card Playoff Game at Reliant Stadium on January 5, 2013 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
This Oct. 18, 2009 file photo shows Cincinnati Bengals guard Evan Mathis (66) in action against the Houston Texans in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati. After retiring from the NFL a little more than a year ago, Mathis decided to move closer to where he grew up in Alabama. And to get the kind of house he and his wife wanted to buy, Mathis needed to free up some money, and that meant the avid sports card collector would have to part with his prized possession: a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card. It has been estimated by Heritage Auctions to be valued at $3.5 million. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
Ex-NFL lineman Evan Mathis selling prized Mickey Mantle card
This Oct. 18, 2009 file photo shows Cincinnati Bengals guard Evan Mathis (66) in action against the Houston Texans in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati. After retiring from the NFL a little more than a year ago, Mathis decided to move closer to where he grew up in Alabama. And to get the kind of house he and his wife wanted to buy, Mathis needed to free up some money, and that meant the avid sports card collector would have to part with his prized possession: a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card. It has been estimated by Heritage Auctions to be valued at $3.5 million. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
This Oct. 18, 2009 file photo shows Cincinnati Bengals guard Evan Mathis (66) in action against the Houston Texans in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati. After retiring from the NFL a little more than a year ago, Mathis decided to move closer to where he grew up in Alabama. And to get the kind of house he and his wife wanted to buy, Mathis needed to free up some money, and that meant the avid sports card collector would have to part with his prized possession: a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card. It has been estimated by Heritage Auctions to be valued at $3.5 million. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
This Oct. 18, 2009 file photo shows Cincinnati Bengals guard Evan Mathis (66) in action against the Houston Texans in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati. After retiring from the NFL a little more than a year ago, Mathis decided to move closer to where he grew up in Alabama. And to get the kind of house he and his wife wanted to buy, Mathis needed to free up some money, and that meant the avid sports card collector would have to part with his prized possession: a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card. It has been estimated by Heritage Auctions to be valued at $3.5 million. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
This Oct. 18, 2009 file photo shows Cincinnati Bengals guard Evan Mathis (66) in action against the Houston Texans in the first half of an NFL football game in Cincinnati. After retiring from the NFL a little more than a year ago, Mathis decided to move closer to where he grew up in Alabama. And to get the kind of house he and his wife wanted to buy, Mathis needed to free up some money, and that meant the avid sports card collector would have to part with his prized possession: a 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card. It has been estimated by Heritage Auctions to be valued at $3.5 million. (AP Photo/David Kohl)
The Cardinals announced they have claimed wide receiver Cobi Hamilton off waivers from the Texans. Hamilton, 27, entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2013 out of Arkansas. He spent time with the Bengals, Eagles, Dolphins and Panthers before hooking on with Pittsburgh in 2016. With the Steelers, Hamilton played [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/22/cardinals-claim-cobi-hamilton-off-waivers/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Cardinals claim Cobi Hamilton off waivers
The Cardinals announced they have claimed wide receiver Cobi Hamilton off waivers from the Texans. Hamilton, 27, entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2013 out of Arkansas. He spent time with the Bengals, Eagles, Dolphins and Panthers before hooking on with Pittsburgh in 2016. With the Steelers, Hamilton played [more]
The Cardinals announced they have claimed wide receiver Cobi Hamilton off waivers from the Texans. Hamilton, 27, entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2013 out of Arkansas. He spent time with the Bengals, Eagles, Dolphins and Panthers before hooking on with Pittsburgh in 2016. With the Steelers, Hamilton played [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/22/cardinals-claim-cobi-hamilton-off-waivers/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Cardinals claim Cobi Hamilton off waivers
The Cardinals announced they have claimed wide receiver Cobi Hamilton off waivers from the Texans. Hamilton, 27, entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick of the Bengals in 2013 out of Arkansas. He spent time with the Bengals, Eagles, Dolphins and Panthers before hooking on with Pittsburgh in 2016. With the Steelers, Hamilton played [more]
The Houston Texans announced on Wednesday the team had waived wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and nose tackle Chunky Clements. Hamilton appeared in three games for Houston last season, catching one pass for eight yards. A sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, Hamilton has spent time with six different teams over the past five [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/21/texans-waive-cobi-hamilton-chunky-clements/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Texans waive Cobi Hamilton, Chunky Clements
The Houston Texans announced on Wednesday the team had waived wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and nose tackle Chunky Clements. Hamilton appeared in three games for Houston last season, catching one pass for eight yards. A sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, Hamilton has spent time with six different teams over the past five [more]
The Houston Texans announced on Wednesday the team had waived wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and nose tackle Chunky Clements. Hamilton appeared in three games for Houston last season, catching one pass for eight yards. A sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, Hamilton has spent time with six different teams over the past five [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/21/texans-waive-cobi-hamilton-chunky-clements/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Texans waive Cobi Hamilton, Chunky Clements
The Houston Texans announced on Wednesday the team had waived wide receiver Cobi Hamilton and nose tackle Chunky Clements. Hamilton appeared in three games for Houston last season, catching one pass for eight yards. A sixth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013, Hamilton has spent time with six different teams over the past five [more]
The Bills traded tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals and saw another tackle leave the team when Seantrel Henderson signed with the Texans as a free agent, leaving them short on experienced depth behind starters Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills. They are looking into a potential remedy for that situation on Monday. Ian Rapoport of [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/19/marshall-newhouse-visiting-bills/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Marshall Newhouse visiting Bills
The Bills traded tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals and saw another tackle leave the team when Seantrel Henderson signed with the Texans as a free agent, leaving them short on experienced depth behind starters Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills. They are looking into a potential remedy for that situation on Monday. Ian Rapoport of [more]
The Bills traded tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals and saw another tackle leave the team when Seantrel Henderson signed with the Texans as a free agent, leaving them short on experienced depth behind starters Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills. They are looking into a potential remedy for that situation on Monday. Ian Rapoport of [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/19/marshall-newhouse-visiting-bills/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Marshall Newhouse visiting Bills
The Bills traded tackle Cordy Glenn to the Bengals and saw another tackle leave the team when Seantrel Henderson signed with the Texans as a free agent, leaving them short on experienced depth behind starters Dion Dawkins and Jordan Mills. They are looking into a potential remedy for that situation on Monday. Ian Rapoport of [more]
<p>On Saturday, the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one in 2019) to Indianapolis in order to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this year&#39;s draft. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/17/new-york-jets-trade-indianapolis-colts-third-pick-sam-darnold-josh-rosen-baker-mayfield-josh-allen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The move" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The move</a> raises two questions:</p><p><strong>1) Why trade up to No. 3 in particular?</strong></p><p>We&#39;ve seen three teams move into the top two over the last two drafts, but the Jets are the first team in recent years to trade for the third slot. The obvious explanation is that trading higher was prohibitively costly. The Browns are expected to spend No. 1 on their favorite QB. As for the Giants at No. 2? The fact that the Jets didn&#39;t do business with their MetLife roommates tells me the Giants: A) Want to be in position to take <em>their </em>next franchise QB, (B) Think one of the other top prospects—most likely running back <strong>Saquon Barkley</strong>, guard <strong>Quenton Nelson</strong>, or defensive end <strong>Bradley Chubb</strong>—is a generational talent, or (C) Believe they can get an even better deal closer to the April 26 proceedings, which brings me to big question deux...</p><p><strong>2) </strong><strong>Why trade up now?</strong></p><p>Those three aforementioned trade-ups all took place within two weeks of draft day, but Jets GM <strong>Mike Maccagnan </strong>clearly had a sense of urgency this time around. With four marquee prospects available, demand simply outpaces supply, as the Browns, Giants, Jets, Bills, Broncos, and Cardinals all could have interest in a top passer. At the combine, a narrative developed that this year&#39;s crop might not actually live up to the expectations we had a year ago. But New York&#39;s move shows it thinks this draft has at least three worthy QBs—and that the team is not picky about which of those gambles <strong>Todd Bowles </strong>inherits. The next franchise looking to get in on the action could be forced to pay an even higher price.</p><p>*I have a hunch—just a hunch—that this is the most likely of the three possibilities, which would further raise the stakes for teams on the outside of the top four hoping to nab <strong>Sam Darnold</strong>, <strong>Josh Allen</strong>, <strong>Josh Rosen</strong>, or <strong>Baker Mayfield</strong>. We shall soon see.</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/19/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-free-agency-guaranteed-contract-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:focuses" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">focuses</a> on <strong>Kirk Cousins</strong> in his Monday column ... Andy Benoit&#39;s <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:free agency tracker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">free agency tracker</a> survives and advances (Benoit and Gary Gramling also broke down the big free agent moves on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mmqb-10-things/id916244917?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:their podcast" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">their podcast</a>) ... <strong>Sean Payton</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/sean-payton-tom-benson-new-orleans-saints" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remembers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remembers</a> <strong>Tom Benson</strong> ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/odell-beckham-jr-video-giants-trade?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:demanded" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">demanded</a> a smarter conversation around <strong>Odell Beckham Jr.</strong> and the Giants? ... Jenny Vrentas <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-free-agent-contract?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoke with" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoke with</a> new Viking <strong>Kirk Cousins</strong> about the wonders of two-day shipping ... Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/15/tom-benson-dies-new-orleans-saints?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:described" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">described</a> <strong>Tom Benson</strong>&#39;s impact in New Orleans ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Tyrann Mathieu </strong>has <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000921889/article/texans-sign-safety-tyrann-mathieu-to-1year-7m-deal" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:signed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">signed</a> with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million deal. The Cardinals <a href="https://twitter.com/kentsomers/status/974872261218848768" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly</a> were willing to give him slightly more.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> <strong>Vontaze Burfict </strong>could be suspended Week 1 for the third time in three years. Adam Schefter <a href="http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22794589/cincinnati-bengals-linebacker-vontaze-burfict-facing-four-game-suspension-violating-nfl-performance-enhancing-drug-policy-according-league-sources" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that the Bengals linebacker will appeal a four-game PED suspension by arguing that he was on prescribed medication. He was previously suspended twice for on-field misconduct. </p><p><b>3</b>. Shortly after signing a big contract with the Cardinals, offensive lineman <strong>Justin Pugh</strong> made fans in Arizona. &quot;Just tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes in my front yard, and I’m good,” he <a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nfl/cardinals/2018/03/16/report-arizona-cardinals-reach-agreement-ol-justin-pugh/434464002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> at his introductory press conference. “I don’t mess with snakes. The no-humidity thing is amazing. I’m a big guy and we sweat. That’s definitely a plus.&quot;</p><p><b>4.</b> Go inside Washington&#39;s facility as Kimberley A. Martin <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/dont-answer-your-phone-inside-the-trade-that-brought-alex-smith-to-the-redskins/2018/03/16/0340c74a-2951-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html?utm_term=.f357728311f7" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> how the <strong>Alex Smith</strong> deal went down.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>5. </strong>&quot;God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!&quot;</p><p>—<strong>Danny Woodhead</strong>, former undrafted running back, upon <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bs-sp-woodhead-retirement-20180317-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announcing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announcing</a> his retirement after nine years in the NFL</p><p><strong>6. </strong>After wideout <strong>Ryan Grant</strong> failed his physical, the Ravens <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bs-sp-ravens-crabtree-0317-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:snagged" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">snagged</a> ex-Raider <strong>Michael Crabtree</strong> on a three-year, $21 million contract. He&#39;ll join former Cardinal <strong>John Brown</strong> as new weapons for <strong>Joe </strong><strong>Flacco</strong>.</p><p><b>7. </b>Another receiver leaving Oakland, <strong>Cordarrelle Patterson</strong> is <a href="http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/other/2018/03/cordarrelle_patterson_nice_grab_for_patriots_special_teams" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed to" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed to</a> New England after the Patriots moved down from the fifth round to the sixth in order to add Patterson, a first-rounder in 2013 who could fill a big special teams role for<strong> Bill Belichick</strong>.</p><p><b>8</b>. Here&#39;s a look at the flip side of today&#39;s lead item: <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2018/03/17/colts-trade-no-3-overall-pick-jets-no-6-3-second-rounders/434855002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:what the trade means" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">what the trade means</a> for the Colts&#39; rebuild.</p><p><b>9.</b> <strong>Sheldon Richardson </strong>has the potential to make a dominant defense even more formidable after signing in Minnesota. &quot;The three biggest boxes we wanted to get checked were the offensive coordinator, quarterback and an under tackle,&quot; GM <strong>Rick Spielman </strong><a href="http://www.startribune.com/vikings-go-big-signing-sheldon-richardson-to-fill-defensive-tackle-hole/477124963/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a>. &quot;We were able to accomplish those three.&quot; Now, to the draft.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>The Bears <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-kyle-fuller-packers-offer-sheet-20180316-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:quickly matched" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">quickly matched</a> the Packers&#39; offer for corner <strong>Kyle Fuller</strong> to keep him in Chicago.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <i><span>Let us know here.</span></i></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p><em>&quot;When You Wish Upon a Star&quot; begins playing</em></p><p>UMBC, you just shocked the world! What are you going to do now?</p><p>Go to the <a href="http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22821788/umbc-retrievers-file-trademarks-historic-upset" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trademark office" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trademark office</a>, evidently.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
The Jets Think This QB Class Is Loaded

On Saturday, the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one in 2019) to Indianapolis in order to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this year's draft. The move raises two questions:

1) Why trade up to No. 3 in particular?

We've seen three teams move into the top two over the last two drafts, but the Jets are the first team in recent years to trade for the third slot. The obvious explanation is that trading higher was prohibitively costly. The Browns are expected to spend No. 1 on their favorite QB. As for the Giants at No. 2? The fact that the Jets didn't do business with their MetLife roommates tells me the Giants: A) Want to be in position to take their next franchise QB, (B) Think one of the other top prospects—most likely running back Saquon Barkley, guard Quenton Nelson, or defensive end Bradley Chubb—is a generational talent, or (C) Believe they can get an even better deal closer to the April 26 proceedings, which brings me to big question deux...

2) Why trade up now?

Those three aforementioned trade-ups all took place within two weeks of draft day, but Jets GM Mike Maccagnan clearly had a sense of urgency this time around. With four marquee prospects available, demand simply outpaces supply, as the Browns, Giants, Jets, Bills, Broncos, and Cardinals all could have interest in a top passer. At the combine, a narrative developed that this year's crop might not actually live up to the expectations we had a year ago. But New York's move shows it thinks this draft has at least three worthy QBs—and that the team is not picky about which of those gambles Todd Bowles inherits. The next franchise looking to get in on the action could be forced to pay an even higher price.

*I have a hunch—just a hunch—that this is the most likely of the three possibilities, which would further raise the stakes for teams on the outside of the top four hoping to nab Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or Baker Mayfield. We shall soon see.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King focuses on Kirk Cousins in his Monday column ... Andy Benoit's free agency tracker survives and advances (Benoit and Gary Gramling also broke down the big free agent moves on their podcast) ... Sean Payton remembers Tom Benson ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Conor Orr demanded a smarter conversation around Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants? ... Jenny Vrentas spoke with new Viking Kirk Cousins about the wonders of two-day shipping ... Peter King described Tom Benson's impact in New Orleans ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Tyrann Mathieu has signed with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million deal. The Cardinals reportedly were willing to give him slightly more.

2. Vontaze Burfict could be suspended Week 1 for the third time in three years. Adam Schefter reported that the Bengals linebacker will appeal a four-game PED suspension by arguing that he was on prescribed medication. He was previously suspended twice for on-field misconduct.

3. Shortly after signing a big contract with the Cardinals, offensive lineman Justin Pugh made fans in Arizona. "Just tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes in my front yard, and I’m good,” he said at his introductory press conference. “I don’t mess with snakes. The no-humidity thing is amazing. I’m a big guy and we sweat. That’s definitely a plus."

4. Go inside Washington's facility as Kimberley A. Martin explains how the Alex Smith deal went down.

?

5. "God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!"

Danny Woodhead, former undrafted running back, upon announcing his retirement after nine years in the NFL

6. After wideout Ryan Grant failed his physical, the Ravens snagged ex-Raider Michael Crabtree on a three-year, $21 million contract. He'll join former Cardinal John Brown as new weapons for Joe Flacco.

7. Another receiver leaving Oakland, Cordarrelle Patterson is headed to New England after the Patriots moved down from the fifth round to the sixth in order to add Patterson, a first-rounder in 2013 who could fill a big special teams role for Bill Belichick.

8. Here's a look at the flip side of today's lead item: what the trade means for the Colts' rebuild.

9. Sheldon Richardson has the potential to make a dominant defense even more formidable after signing in Minnesota. "The three biggest boxes we wanted to get checked were the offensive coordinator, quarterback and an under tackle," GM Rick Spielman said. "We were able to accomplish those three." Now, to the draft.

10. The Bears quickly matched the Packers' offer for corner Kyle Fuller to keep him in Chicago.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

"When You Wish Upon a Star" begins playing

UMBC, you just shocked the world! What are you going to do now?

Go to the trademark office, evidently.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>On Saturday, the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one in 2019) to Indianapolis in order to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this year&#39;s draft. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/17/new-york-jets-trade-indianapolis-colts-third-pick-sam-darnold-josh-rosen-baker-mayfield-josh-allen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The move" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The move</a> raises two questions:</p><p><strong>1) Why trade up to No. 3 in particular?</strong></p><p>We&#39;ve seen three teams move into the top two over the last two drafts, but the Jets are the first team in recent years to trade for the third slot. The obvious explanation is that trading higher was prohibitively costly. The Browns are expected to spend No. 1 on their favorite QB. As for the Giants at No. 2? The fact that the Jets didn&#39;t do business with their MetLife roommates tells me the Giants: A) Want to be in position to take <em>their </em>next franchise QB, (B) Think one of the other top prospects—most likely running back <strong>Saquon Barkley</strong>, guard <strong>Quenton Nelson</strong>, or defensive end <strong>Bradley Chubb</strong>—is a generational talent, or (C) Believe they can get an even better deal closer to the April 26 proceedings, which brings me to big question deux...</p><p><strong>2) </strong><strong>Why trade up now?</strong></p><p>Those three aforementioned trade-ups all took place within two weeks of draft day, but Jets GM <strong>Mike Maccagnan </strong>clearly had a sense of urgency this time around. With four marquee prospects available, demand simply outpaces supply, as the Browns, Giants, Jets, Bills, Broncos, and Cardinals all could have interest in a top passer. At the combine, a narrative developed that this year&#39;s crop might not actually live up to the expectations we had a year ago. But New York&#39;s move shows it thinks this draft has at least three worthy QBs—and that the team is not picky about which of those gambles <strong>Todd Bowles </strong>inherits. The next franchise looking to get in on the action could be forced to pay an even higher price.</p><p>*I have a hunch—just a hunch—that this is the most likely of the three possibilities, which would further raise the stakes for teams on the outside of the top four hoping to nab <strong>Sam Darnold</strong>, <strong>Josh Allen</strong>, <strong>Josh Rosen</strong>, or <strong>Baker Mayfield</strong>. We shall soon see.</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/19/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-free-agency-guaranteed-contract-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:focuses" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">focuses</a> on <strong>Kirk Cousins</strong> in his Monday column ... Andy Benoit&#39;s <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:free agency tracker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">free agency tracker</a> survives and advances (Benoit and Gary Gramling also broke down the big free agent moves on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mmqb-10-things/id916244917?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:their podcast" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">their podcast</a>) ... <strong>Sean Payton</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/sean-payton-tom-benson-new-orleans-saints" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remembers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remembers</a> <strong>Tom Benson</strong> ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/odell-beckham-jr-video-giants-trade?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:demanded" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">demanded</a> a smarter conversation around <strong>Odell Beckham Jr.</strong> and the Giants? ... Jenny Vrentas <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-free-agent-contract?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoke with" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoke with</a> new Viking <strong>Kirk Cousins</strong> about the wonders of two-day shipping ... Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/15/tom-benson-dies-new-orleans-saints?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:described" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">described</a> <strong>Tom Benson</strong>&#39;s impact in New Orleans ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Tyrann Mathieu </strong>has <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000921889/article/texans-sign-safety-tyrann-mathieu-to-1year-7m-deal" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:signed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">signed</a> with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million deal. The Cardinals <a href="https://twitter.com/kentsomers/status/974872261218848768" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly</a> were willing to give him slightly more.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> <strong>Vontaze Burfict </strong>could be suspended Week 1 for the third time in three years. Adam Schefter <a href="http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22794589/cincinnati-bengals-linebacker-vontaze-burfict-facing-four-game-suspension-violating-nfl-performance-enhancing-drug-policy-according-league-sources" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that the Bengals linebacker will appeal a four-game PED suspension by arguing that he was on prescribed medication. He was previously suspended twice for on-field misconduct. </p><p><b>3</b>. Shortly after signing a big contract with the Cardinals, offensive lineman <strong>Justin Pugh</strong> made fans in Arizona. &quot;Just tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes in my front yard, and I’m good,” he <a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nfl/cardinals/2018/03/16/report-arizona-cardinals-reach-agreement-ol-justin-pugh/434464002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> at his introductory press conference. “I don’t mess with snakes. The no-humidity thing is amazing. I’m a big guy and we sweat. That’s definitely a plus.&quot;</p><p><b>4.</b> Go inside Washington&#39;s facility as Kimberley A. Martin <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/dont-answer-your-phone-inside-the-trade-that-brought-alex-smith-to-the-redskins/2018/03/16/0340c74a-2951-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html?utm_term=.f357728311f7" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> how the <strong>Alex Smith</strong> deal went down.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>5. </strong>&quot;God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!&quot;</p><p>—<strong>Danny Woodhead</strong>, former undrafted running back, upon <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bs-sp-woodhead-retirement-20180317-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announcing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announcing</a> his retirement after nine years in the NFL</p><p><strong>6. </strong>After wideout <strong>Ryan Grant</strong> failed his physical, the Ravens <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bs-sp-ravens-crabtree-0317-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:snagged" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">snagged</a> ex-Raider <strong>Michael Crabtree</strong> on a three-year, $21 million contract. He&#39;ll join former Cardinal <strong>John Brown</strong> as new weapons for <strong>Joe </strong><strong>Flacco</strong>.</p><p><b>7. </b>Another receiver leaving Oakland, <strong>Cordarrelle Patterson</strong> is <a href="http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/other/2018/03/cordarrelle_patterson_nice_grab_for_patriots_special_teams" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed to" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed to</a> New England after the Patriots moved down from the fifth round to the sixth in order to add Patterson, a first-rounder in 2013 who could fill a big special teams role for<strong> Bill Belichick</strong>.</p><p><b>8</b>. Here&#39;s a look at the flip side of today&#39;s lead item: <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2018/03/17/colts-trade-no-3-overall-pick-jets-no-6-3-second-rounders/434855002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:what the trade means" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">what the trade means</a> for the Colts&#39; rebuild.</p><p><b>9.</b> <strong>Sheldon Richardson </strong>has the potential to make a dominant defense even more formidable after signing in Minnesota. &quot;The three biggest boxes we wanted to get checked were the offensive coordinator, quarterback and an under tackle,&quot; GM <strong>Rick Spielman </strong><a href="http://www.startribune.com/vikings-go-big-signing-sheldon-richardson-to-fill-defensive-tackle-hole/477124963/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a>. &quot;We were able to accomplish those three.&quot; Now, to the draft.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>The Bears <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-kyle-fuller-packers-offer-sheet-20180316-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:quickly matched" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">quickly matched</a> the Packers&#39; offer for corner <strong>Kyle Fuller</strong> to keep him in Chicago.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <i><span>Let us know here.</span></i></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p><em>&quot;When You Wish Upon a Star&quot; begins playing</em></p><p>UMBC, you just shocked the world! What are you going to do now?</p><p>Go to the <a href="http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22821788/umbc-retrievers-file-trademarks-historic-upset" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trademark office" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trademark office</a>, evidently.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
The Jets Think This QB Class Is Loaded

On Saturday, the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one in 2019) to Indianapolis in order to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this year's draft. The move raises two questions:

1) Why trade up to No. 3 in particular?

We've seen three teams move into the top two over the last two drafts, but the Jets are the first team in recent years to trade for the third slot. The obvious explanation is that trading higher was prohibitively costly. The Browns are expected to spend No. 1 on their favorite QB. As for the Giants at No. 2? The fact that the Jets didn't do business with their MetLife roommates tells me the Giants: A) Want to be in position to take their next franchise QB, (B) Think one of the other top prospects—most likely running back Saquon Barkley, guard Quenton Nelson, or defensive end Bradley Chubb—is a generational talent, or (C) Believe they can get an even better deal closer to the April 26 proceedings, which brings me to big question deux...

2) Why trade up now?

Those three aforementioned trade-ups all took place within two weeks of draft day, but Jets GM Mike Maccagnan clearly had a sense of urgency this time around. With four marquee prospects available, demand simply outpaces supply, as the Browns, Giants, Jets, Bills, Broncos, and Cardinals all could have interest in a top passer. At the combine, a narrative developed that this year's crop might not actually live up to the expectations we had a year ago. But New York's move shows it thinks this draft has at least three worthy QBs—and that the team is not picky about which of those gambles Todd Bowles inherits. The next franchise looking to get in on the action could be forced to pay an even higher price.

*I have a hunch—just a hunch—that this is the most likely of the three possibilities, which would further raise the stakes for teams on the outside of the top four hoping to nab Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or Baker Mayfield. We shall soon see.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King focuses on Kirk Cousins in his Monday column ... Andy Benoit's free agency tracker survives and advances (Benoit and Gary Gramling also broke down the big free agent moves on their podcast) ... Sean Payton remembers Tom Benson ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Conor Orr demanded a smarter conversation around Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants? ... Jenny Vrentas spoke with new Viking Kirk Cousins about the wonders of two-day shipping ... Peter King described Tom Benson's impact in New Orleans ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Tyrann Mathieu has signed with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million deal. The Cardinals reportedly were willing to give him slightly more.

2. Vontaze Burfict could be suspended Week 1 for the third time in three years. Adam Schefter reported that the Bengals linebacker will appeal a four-game PED suspension by arguing that he was on prescribed medication. He was previously suspended twice for on-field misconduct.

3. Shortly after signing a big contract with the Cardinals, offensive lineman Justin Pugh made fans in Arizona. "Just tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes in my front yard, and I’m good,” he said at his introductory press conference. “I don’t mess with snakes. The no-humidity thing is amazing. I’m a big guy and we sweat. That’s definitely a plus."

4. Go inside Washington's facility as Kimberley A. Martin explains how the Alex Smith deal went down.

?

5. "God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!"

Danny Woodhead, former undrafted running back, upon announcing his retirement after nine years in the NFL

6. After wideout Ryan Grant failed his physical, the Ravens snagged ex-Raider Michael Crabtree on a three-year, $21 million contract. He'll join former Cardinal John Brown as new weapons for Joe Flacco.

7. Another receiver leaving Oakland, Cordarrelle Patterson is headed to New England after the Patriots moved down from the fifth round to the sixth in order to add Patterson, a first-rounder in 2013 who could fill a big special teams role for Bill Belichick.

8. Here's a look at the flip side of today's lead item: what the trade means for the Colts' rebuild.

9. Sheldon Richardson has the potential to make a dominant defense even more formidable after signing in Minnesota. "The three biggest boxes we wanted to get checked were the offensive coordinator, quarterback and an under tackle," GM Rick Spielman said. "We were able to accomplish those three." Now, to the draft.

10. The Bears quickly matched the Packers' offer for corner Kyle Fuller to keep him in Chicago.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

"When You Wish Upon a Star" begins playing

UMBC, you just shocked the world! What are you going to do now?

Go to the trademark office, evidently.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>On Saturday, the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one in 2019) to Indianapolis in order to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this year&#39;s draft. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/17/new-york-jets-trade-indianapolis-colts-third-pick-sam-darnold-josh-rosen-baker-mayfield-josh-allen" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The move" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The move</a> raises two questions:</p><p><strong>1) Why trade up to No. 3 in particular?</strong></p><p>We&#39;ve seen three teams move into the top two over the last two drafts, but the Jets are the first team in recent years to trade for the third slot. The obvious explanation is that trading higher was prohibitively costly. The Browns are expected to spend No. 1 on their favorite QB. As for the Giants at No. 2? The fact that the Jets didn&#39;t do business with their MetLife roommates tells me the Giants: A) Want to be in position to take <em>their </em>next franchise QB, (B) Think one of the other top prospects—most likely running back <strong>Saquon Barkley</strong>, guard <strong>Quenton Nelson</strong>, or defensive end <strong>Bradley Chubb</strong>—is a generational talent, or (C) Believe they can get an even better deal closer to the April 26 proceedings, which brings me to big question deux...</p><p><strong>2) </strong><strong>Why trade up now?</strong></p><p>Those three aforementioned trade-ups all took place within two weeks of draft day, but Jets GM <strong>Mike Maccagnan </strong>clearly had a sense of urgency this time around. With four marquee prospects available, demand simply outpaces supply, as the Browns, Giants, Jets, Bills, Broncos, and Cardinals all could have interest in a top passer. At the combine, a narrative developed that this year&#39;s crop might not actually live up to the expectations we had a year ago. But New York&#39;s move shows it thinks this draft has at least three worthy QBs—and that the team is not picky about which of those gambles <strong>Todd Bowles </strong>inherits. The next franchise looking to get in on the action could be forced to pay an even higher price.</p><p>*I have a hunch—just a hunch—that this is the most likely of the three possibilities, which would further raise the stakes for teams on the outside of the top four hoping to nab <strong>Sam Darnold</strong>, <strong>Josh Allen</strong>, <strong>Josh Rosen</strong>, or <strong>Baker Mayfield</strong>. We shall soon see.</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/19/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-free-agency-guaranteed-contract-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:focuses" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">focuses</a> on <strong>Kirk Cousins</strong> in his Monday column ... Andy Benoit&#39;s <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:free agency tracker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">free agency tracker</a> survives and advances (Benoit and Gary Gramling also broke down the big free agent moves on <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mmqb-10-things/id916244917?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:their podcast" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">their podcast</a>) ... <strong>Sean Payton</strong> <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/sean-payton-tom-benson-new-orleans-saints" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remembers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remembers</a> <strong>Tom Benson</strong> ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/odell-beckham-jr-video-giants-trade?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:demanded" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">demanded</a> a smarter conversation around <strong>Odell Beckham Jr.</strong> and the Giants? ... Jenny Vrentas <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/16/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-free-agent-contract?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoke with" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoke with</a> new Viking <strong>Kirk Cousins</strong> about the wonders of two-day shipping ... Peter King <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/15/tom-benson-dies-new-orleans-saints?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:described" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">described</a> <strong>Tom Benson</strong>&#39;s impact in New Orleans ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Tyrann Mathieu </strong>has <a href="http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000921889/article/texans-sign-safety-tyrann-mathieu-to-1year-7m-deal" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:signed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">signed</a> with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million deal. The Cardinals <a href="https://twitter.com/kentsomers/status/974872261218848768" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly</a> were willing to give him slightly more.</p><p><strong>2.</strong> <strong>Vontaze Burfict </strong>could be suspended Week 1 for the third time in three years. Adam Schefter <a href="http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/22794589/cincinnati-bengals-linebacker-vontaze-burfict-facing-four-game-suspension-violating-nfl-performance-enhancing-drug-policy-according-league-sources" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reported" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reported</a> that the Bengals linebacker will appeal a four-game PED suspension by arguing that he was on prescribed medication. He was previously suspended twice for on-field misconduct. </p><p><b>3</b>. Shortly after signing a big contract with the Cardinals, offensive lineman <strong>Justin Pugh</strong> made fans in Arizona. &quot;Just tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes in my front yard, and I’m good,” he <a href="https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nfl/cardinals/2018/03/16/report-arizona-cardinals-reach-agreement-ol-justin-pugh/434464002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a> at his introductory press conference. “I don’t mess with snakes. The no-humidity thing is amazing. I’m a big guy and we sweat. That’s definitely a plus.&quot;</p><p><b>4.</b> Go inside Washington&#39;s facility as Kimberley A. Martin <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/dont-answer-your-phone-inside-the-trade-that-brought-alex-smith-to-the-redskins/2018/03/16/0340c74a-2951-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html?utm_term=.f357728311f7" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explains</a> how the <strong>Alex Smith</strong> deal went down.</p><p>?</p><p><strong>5. </strong>&quot;God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!&quot;</p><p>—<strong>Danny Woodhead</strong>, former undrafted running back, upon <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bs-sp-woodhead-retirement-20180317-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announcing" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announcing</a> his retirement after nine years in the NFL</p><p><strong>6. </strong>After wideout <strong>Ryan Grant</strong> failed his physical, the Ravens <a href="http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/ravens-insider/bs-sp-ravens-crabtree-0317-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:snagged" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">snagged</a> ex-Raider <strong>Michael Crabtree</strong> on a three-year, $21 million contract. He&#39;ll join former Cardinal <strong>John Brown</strong> as new weapons for <strong>Joe </strong><strong>Flacco</strong>.</p><p><b>7. </b>Another receiver leaving Oakland, <strong>Cordarrelle Patterson</strong> is <a href="http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/other/2018/03/cordarrelle_patterson_nice_grab_for_patriots_special_teams" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed to" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed to</a> New England after the Patriots moved down from the fifth round to the sixth in order to add Patterson, a first-rounder in 2013 who could fill a big special teams role for<strong> Bill Belichick</strong>.</p><p><b>8</b>. Here&#39;s a look at the flip side of today&#39;s lead item: <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2018/03/17/colts-trade-no-3-overall-pick-jets-no-6-3-second-rounders/434855002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:what the trade means" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">what the trade means</a> for the Colts&#39; rebuild.</p><p><b>9.</b> <strong>Sheldon Richardson </strong>has the potential to make a dominant defense even more formidable after signing in Minnesota. &quot;The three biggest boxes we wanted to get checked were the offensive coordinator, quarterback and an under tackle,&quot; GM <strong>Rick Spielman </strong><a href="http://www.startribune.com/vikings-go-big-signing-sheldon-richardson-to-fill-defensive-tackle-hole/477124963/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:said" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">said</a>. &quot;We were able to accomplish those three.&quot; Now, to the draft.</p><p><strong>10. </strong>The Bears <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/ct-spt-bears-kyle-fuller-packers-offer-sheet-20180316-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:quickly matched" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">quickly matched</a> the Packers&#39; offer for corner <strong>Kyle Fuller</strong> to keep him in Chicago.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <i><span>Let us know here.</span></i></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p><em>&quot;When You Wish Upon a Star&quot; begins playing</em></p><p>UMBC, you just shocked the world! What are you going to do now?</p><p>Go to the <a href="http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22821788/umbc-retrievers-file-trademarks-historic-upset" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trademark office" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trademark office</a>, evidently.</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
The Jets Think This QB Class Is Loaded

On Saturday, the Jets traded three second-round picks (two this year, one in 2019) to Indianapolis in order to move up from No. 6 to No. 3 in this year's draft. The move raises two questions:

1) Why trade up to No. 3 in particular?

We've seen three teams move into the top two over the last two drafts, but the Jets are the first team in recent years to trade for the third slot. The obvious explanation is that trading higher was prohibitively costly. The Browns are expected to spend No. 1 on their favorite QB. As for the Giants at No. 2? The fact that the Jets didn't do business with their MetLife roommates tells me the Giants: A) Want to be in position to take their next franchise QB, (B) Think one of the other top prospects—most likely running back Saquon Barkley, guard Quenton Nelson, or defensive end Bradley Chubb—is a generational talent, or (C) Believe they can get an even better deal closer to the April 26 proceedings, which brings me to big question deux...

2) Why trade up now?

Those three aforementioned trade-ups all took place within two weeks of draft day, but Jets GM Mike Maccagnan clearly had a sense of urgency this time around. With four marquee prospects available, demand simply outpaces supply, as the Browns, Giants, Jets, Bills, Broncos, and Cardinals all could have interest in a top passer. At the combine, a narrative developed that this year's crop might not actually live up to the expectations we had a year ago. But New York's move shows it thinks this draft has at least three worthy QBs—and that the team is not picky about which of those gambles Todd Bowles inherits. The next franchise looking to get in on the action could be forced to pay an even higher price.

*I have a hunch—just a hunch—that this is the most likely of the three possibilities, which would further raise the stakes for teams on the outside of the top four hoping to nab Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, or Baker Mayfield. We shall soon see.

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HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King focuses on Kirk Cousins in his Monday column ... Andy Benoit's free agency tracker survives and advances (Benoit and Gary Gramling also broke down the big free agent moves on their podcast) ... Sean Payton remembers Tom Benson ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Conor Orr demanded a smarter conversation around Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants? ... Jenny Vrentas spoke with new Viking Kirk Cousins about the wonders of two-day shipping ... Peter King described Tom Benson's impact in New Orleans ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Tyrann Mathieu has signed with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million deal. The Cardinals reportedly were willing to give him slightly more.

2. Vontaze Burfict could be suspended Week 1 for the third time in three years. Adam Schefter reported that the Bengals linebacker will appeal a four-game PED suspension by arguing that he was on prescribed medication. He was previously suspended twice for on-field misconduct.

3. Shortly after signing a big contract with the Cardinals, offensive lineman Justin Pugh made fans in Arizona. "Just tell me I’m not going to have rattlesnakes in my front yard, and I’m good,” he said at his introductory press conference. “I don’t mess with snakes. The no-humidity thing is amazing. I’m a big guy and we sweat. That’s definitely a plus."

4. Go inside Washington's facility as Kimberley A. Martin explains how the Alex Smith deal went down.

?

5. "God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!"

Danny Woodhead, former undrafted running back, upon announcing his retirement after nine years in the NFL

6. After wideout Ryan Grant failed his physical, the Ravens snagged ex-Raider Michael Crabtree on a three-year, $21 million contract. He'll join former Cardinal John Brown as new weapons for Joe Flacco.

7. Another receiver leaving Oakland, Cordarrelle Patterson is headed to New England after the Patriots moved down from the fifth round to the sixth in order to add Patterson, a first-rounder in 2013 who could fill a big special teams role for Bill Belichick.

8. Here's a look at the flip side of today's lead item: what the trade means for the Colts' rebuild.

9. Sheldon Richardson has the potential to make a dominant defense even more formidable after signing in Minnesota. "The three biggest boxes we wanted to get checked were the offensive coordinator, quarterback and an under tackle," GM Rick Spielman said. "We were able to accomplish those three." Now, to the draft.

10. The Bears quickly matched the Packers' offer for corner Kyle Fuller to keep him in Chicago.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

"When You Wish Upon a Star" begins playing

UMBC, you just shocked the world! What are you going to do now?

Go to the trademark office, evidently.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

The Texans added a piece to their secondary on Wednesday when they signed Aaron Colvin and he&#8217;ll share the secondary with a longtime member of the team. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has re-signed Johnathan Joseph. It&#8217;s a two-year deal for the 2006 first-round pick. The Bengals made that pick and [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/15/texans-re-sign-johnathan-joseph/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Texans re-sign Johnathan Joseph
The Texans added a piece to their secondary on Wednesday when they signed Aaron Colvin and he’ll share the secondary with a longtime member of the team. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has re-signed Johnathan Joseph. It’s a two-year deal for the 2006 first-round pick. The Bengals made that pick and [more]
The Texans added a piece to their secondary on Wednesday when they signed Aaron Colvin and he&#8217;ll share the secondary with a longtime member of the team. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has re-signed Johnathan Joseph. It&#8217;s a two-year deal for the 2006 first-round pick. The Bengals made that pick and [<a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/15/texans-re-sign-johnathan-joseph/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more</a>]
Texans re-sign Johnathan Joseph
The Texans added a piece to their secondary on Wednesday when they signed Aaron Colvin and he’ll share the secondary with a longtime member of the team. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has re-signed Johnathan Joseph. It’s a two-year deal for the 2006 first-round pick. The Bengals made that pick and [more]
<p>While NFL free agency doesn&#39;t officially begin until the league&#39;s new year starts today at 4 p.m. rumors and news are beginning to flow regarding some big names.</p><p>Tuesday saw the quarterback dominos fall in a big way. Kirk Cousins is headed to Minnesota, Case Keenum to Denver and Sam Bradford to Arizona. The free-agent market&#39;s best running back, Dion Lewis, is also off the board, as he&#39;ll sign a four-year deal with the Titans.</p><p>The Packers released three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and an Aaron Rodgers favorite, Jordy Nelson, after he spent ten seasons with the team.</p><p>It&#39;s a reminder that anything can happen in the NFL, and that virtually any player can be moved at any time.</p><p>Here is all the latest news, buzz and rumors as clubs start building for next season.</p><p>• The Broncos and Vikings are finalizing a trade for quarterback Trevor Siemian. The Broncos will send Siemian and a 2018 late-round pick to the Vikings for a 2019 draft pick (<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/974039940492296192" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN.com</a>)</p><p>• The Browns are expected to sign former San Francisco 49ers running Carlos Hyde to a three-year deal worth more than $15 million. Hyde led the 49ers in rushing in each of the last three seasons. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973886706809233408" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• The New York Giants are expected to sign former Patriots tackle Nate Solder. Solder signs a four-year deal worth $62 million, with $35 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973932199685783552" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• Michael Bennett will restructure his contract after being traded to the Eagles. Bennett will receive a $1.725 million signing bonus, and can earn up to $4 million in incentives. (<a href="https://twitter.com/FieldYates/status/973891067526475777" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN.com</a>)</p><p>• Running back Jerrick McKinnon to sign a four-year deal worth $30 million with the 49ers. (<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/973904828375224320" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN.com</a>)</p><p>• The Eagles are re–signing linebacker Nigel Bradham to a five-year, $40 million deal. Bradham led the Eagles in tackles last season. (<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/973910929137197056" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN.com</a>)</p><p>• Backup quarterback Chase Daniel is expected to sign a 2-year deal worth $10 million with the Bears. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973894399968075777" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• Tight end Darren Fells will sign with the Browns for $12 million over three years. Fells played last season with the Arizona Cardinals. (<a href="https://twitter.com/MikeGarafolo/status/973901120060960768" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• Free agent cornerback DJ Hayden expected to sign with the Jaguars for $19 million over three years. (<a href="https://twitter.com/caplannfl/status/973895244445036545" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SiriusXM Radio" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SiriusXM Radio</a>)</p><p>• The Dolphins restructure the contract of safety Reshad Jones. Jones will earn $970,000 in 2018, and will get a $4.05 million signing bonus. The moves creates more than $6 million in salary cap space. (<a href="https://twitter.com/FieldYates/status/973892087878946816" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN.com</a>)</p><p>• The Titans will sign former Patriots running back Dion Lewis to a four-year deal. (<span>ESPN.com</span>)</p><p>• The New York Jets are expected to sign former Titans linebacker Avery Williamson. Williamson will receive $22.5 million ver three years, including $16 million in guarantees. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973731691729694722" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• The Ravens are releasing Jeremy Maclin. (<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/973971446102970368" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN</a>)</p><p>• Tyrann Mathieu is being released by the Cardinals. (<a href="https://twitter.com/JayGlazer/status/973971947016011776" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Fox Sports" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Fox Sports</a>)</p><p>• Jordy Nelson has visits scheduled with the Raiders, Seahawks and Saints. (<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/973957660956676099" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN</a>)</p><p>• The Falcons want to sign Matt Ryan to a six-year extension worth between $180 million and $190 million. (<a href="https://www.myajc.com/sports/football/falcons-are-not-enamored-with-free-agent-class-will-focus-few-needs-draft/WhfUu8byJL7BpuhwueeUvK/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Atlanta Journal-Constitution" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><em>Atlanta Journal-Constitution</em></a>)</p><p>• DeMarco Murray is visiting the Seahawks. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973954409481867264" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• Former Texans quarterback Tom Savage is signing with the Saints. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/974040513904041985" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill restructured his contract so instead of a base salary of $17.475 million, his base salary will be the veteran minimum and he will get a $16.75 million signing bonus. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/974020135462850561" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• The Patriots and running back Rex Burkhead agreed to a three-year deal. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/974023654357991425" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• The Falcons signed offensive lineman Brandon Fusco to a three-year, $12.75 million deal. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/974034022333648896" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• Wide receiver De&#39;Anthony Thomas turned down an additional $1.5 million from another team to stay with the Chiefs. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/974044707444621312" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• The Titans signed defensive end DaQuan Jones to a three-year, $21 million deal with $14 million guaranteed. (<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/974048066704637952" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:NFL.com" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">NFL.com</a>)</p><p>• The Broncos agreed to terms on a three-year deal with linebacker Todd Davis. (<a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/974071361219031040" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ESPN" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ESPN</a>)</p><p>• The Bills have agreed to a two-year deal with former Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron. (<a href="https://twitter.com/buffalobills/status/974063356729528322" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Official" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Official</a>)</p>
NFL Rumors: Giants to Sign Nate Solder to 4-Year, $62 Million Deal; Tyrann Mathieu Released

While NFL free agency doesn't officially begin until the league's new year starts today at 4 p.m. rumors and news are beginning to flow regarding some big names.

Tuesday saw the quarterback dominos fall in a big way. Kirk Cousins is headed to Minnesota, Case Keenum to Denver and Sam Bradford to Arizona. The free-agent market's best running back, Dion Lewis, is also off the board, as he'll sign a four-year deal with the Titans.

The Packers released three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver and an Aaron Rodgers favorite, Jordy Nelson, after he spent ten seasons with the team.

It's a reminder that anything can happen in the NFL, and that virtually any player can be moved at any time.

Here is all the latest news, buzz and rumors as clubs start building for next season.

• The Broncos and Vikings are finalizing a trade for quarterback Trevor Siemian. The Broncos will send Siemian and a 2018 late-round pick to the Vikings for a 2019 draft pick (ESPN.com)

• The Browns are expected to sign former San Francisco 49ers running Carlos Hyde to a three-year deal worth more than $15 million. Hyde led the 49ers in rushing in each of the last three seasons. (NFL.com)

• The New York Giants are expected to sign former Patriots tackle Nate Solder. Solder signs a four-year deal worth $62 million, with $35 million guaranteed, making him the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL. (NFL.com)

• Michael Bennett will restructure his contract after being traded to the Eagles. Bennett will receive a $1.725 million signing bonus, and can earn up to $4 million in incentives. (ESPN.com)

• Running back Jerrick McKinnon to sign a four-year deal worth $30 million with the 49ers. (ESPN.com)

• The Eagles are re–signing linebacker Nigel Bradham to a five-year, $40 million deal. Bradham led the Eagles in tackles last season. (ESPN.com)

• Backup quarterback Chase Daniel is expected to sign a 2-year deal worth $10 million with the Bears. (NFL.com)

• Tight end Darren Fells will sign with the Browns for $12 million over three years. Fells played last season with the Arizona Cardinals. (NFL.com)

• Free agent cornerback DJ Hayden expected to sign with the Jaguars for $19 million over three years. (SiriusXM Radio)

• The Dolphins restructure the contract of safety Reshad Jones. Jones will earn $970,000 in 2018, and will get a $4.05 million signing bonus. The moves creates more than $6 million in salary cap space. (ESPN.com)

• The Titans will sign former Patriots running back Dion Lewis to a four-year deal. (ESPN.com)

• The New York Jets are expected to sign former Titans linebacker Avery Williamson. Williamson will receive $22.5 million ver three years, including $16 million in guarantees. (NFL.com)

• The Ravens are releasing Jeremy Maclin. (ESPN)

• Tyrann Mathieu is being released by the Cardinals. (Fox Sports)

• Jordy Nelson has visits scheduled with the Raiders, Seahawks and Saints. (ESPN)

• The Falcons want to sign Matt Ryan to a six-year extension worth between $180 million and $190 million. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

• DeMarco Murray is visiting the Seahawks. (NFL.com)

• Former Texans quarterback Tom Savage is signing with the Saints. (NFL.com)

• Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill restructured his contract so instead of a base salary of $17.475 million, his base salary will be the veteran minimum and he will get a $16.75 million signing bonus. (NFL.com)

• The Patriots and running back Rex Burkhead agreed to a three-year deal. (NFL.com)

• The Falcons signed offensive lineman Brandon Fusco to a three-year, $12.75 million deal. (NFL.com)

• Wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas turned down an additional $1.5 million from another team to stay with the Chiefs. (NFL.com)

• The Titans signed defensive end DaQuan Jones to a three-year, $21 million deal with $14 million guaranteed. (NFL.com)

• The Broncos agreed to terms on a three-year deal with linebacker Todd Davis. (ESPN)

• The Bills have agreed to a two-year deal with former Bengals quarterback A.J. McCarron. (Official)

<p>The storylines rolled out as fast as the tweeted reports Tuesday: The Vikings landing the top free agent, the rest of the major quarterback dominoes falling, the Bears building around their young QB, the Jaguars reloading for another run, the new Packers regime showing its aggressive philosophy, receivers in general making big bucks, and so on. Free agency may technically start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but many of this offseason&#39;s biggest questions have already been answered. To keep you informed, we&#39;ve got lists of moves sorted <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agency-2018-team-signings-news-rumors" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by team</a> and <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by position" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by position</a> as well as <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grades" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grades</a> on the big deals.</p><p>We&#39;ll have plenty of time to dissect what all the moves mean going forward, so in the midst of the ongoing frenzy, let&#39;s take this time to look at who is still out there. Here are 10 of the most notable players still available (for now):</p><p>QB <strong>A.J. McCarron </strong>— The last notable QB out there (unless you believe he was never actually notable to begin with). The Bills seem like his last hope to land somewhere as a potential Week 1 starter.</p><p>RB <strong>Carlos Hyde</strong> — The running back market has been one of the slowest to get going. Hyde, having surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage each of the last two seasons, should end up being one of the top paid in the class (along with <strong>Dion Lewis</strong> and <strong>Isaiah Crowell</strong>, who agreed to deals with the Titans and Jets, respectively, Tuesday). <em>(UPDATE: Carlos Hyde will reportedly sign a three-year, $15-million contrat with the Browns)</em></p><p>WR <strong>Terrelle Pryor </strong>— Pryor took a one-year prove-it deal with Washington last season ... and did not prove himself.</p><p>TE <strong>Tyler Eifert</strong> — Injuries (Eifert has only started 31 games in five years) will limit the former first-rounder&#39;s value. </p><p>OL <strong>Nate Solder</strong> — With guard <strong>Andrew Norwell </strong><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/andrew-norwell-jaguars-nfl-free-agency-2018-grades?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed</a> to Jacksonville, Solder becomes the best lineman available, a talented left tackle who could choose to stay with the Patriots if he&#39;s not sold on joining the Giants or Texans, among other suitors. <em>(UPDATE: Nate Solder will reportedly sign a four-year contract with the Giants)</em></p><p>DL <strong>Ndamukong Suh</strong> — Given the defensive lineman just got cut by Miami this week, it makes sense that his free agency could take a little longer. Still, Suh should end up with a large contract somewhere. </p><p>DL <strong>Sheldon Richardson</strong> — After a stint in Seattle, Richardson remains on the market, outlasting former Jet defensive linemate <strong>Muhammad Wilkerson</strong>, who is heading to Green Bay.</p><p>LB <strong>Zach Brown</strong> — Brown, 28, has logged 276 combined tackles over his last two seasons (split between the Bills and Washington), setting himself up to be sought after as a run-stopping interior linebacker.</p><p>LB <strong>Nigel Bradham</strong> — As many as 10 teams have <a href="http://www.nj.com/eagles/index.ssf/2018/03/source_8-10_teams_interested_in_eagles_nigel_bradham.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly</a> shown interest in Bradham, who served as a leader of the Eagles&#39; championship defense after fellow linebacker <strong>Jordan Hicks</strong> tore his achilles tendon. <em>(UPDATE: Bradham will reportedly re-sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $40-million contract)</em></p><p>S <strong>Eric Reid </strong>— It remains to be seen which team will get the 26-year-old playmaker who has become one of the faces of the anthem protest movement.</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Peter King surveys <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/14/nfl-free-agency-kirk-cousins-case-keenum-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the free agent landscape" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the free agent landscape</a> ... Andy Benoit&#39;s free agency tracker <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remains</a> up-to-date and invaluable ... Benoit also <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-nfl-free-agency?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:analyzed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">analyzed</a> <strong>Kirk Cousin</strong>&#39;s fit in Minnesota ... Conor Orr is <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grading</a> every big move ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/case-keenum-broncos-2018-nfl-free-agency-contract?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:complimented" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">complimented</a> the Broncos for signing <strong>Case Keenum</strong> ... Jenny Vrentas <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/free-agency-backup-quarterbacks-qbs-eagles-wentz-foles-bradford-daniel?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explained" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explained</a> the increased value of having a backup plan at QB ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. </strong>While players were getting snapped up, a few other notable names hit the market as teams moved on. Most notably, the Packers <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/packers-release-jordy-nelson-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> <strong>Jordy Nelson</strong>. Meanwhile, the Eagles <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/brent-celek-eagles-released-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> their longest-tenured player, tight end <strong>Brent Celek</strong>, and the Chiefs <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:let go" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">let go</a> of 34-year-old linebacker <strong>Tamba Hali</strong>.</p><p><b>2</b>. After days of rumors, it now seems like the Cardinals may be able to <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:retain" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">retain</a> <strong>Tyrann Mathieu</strong> on a restructured deal. That comes after Arizona <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cut" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cut</a> <strong>Adrian Peterson</strong>.</p><p><b>3.</b> While we look forward, Pro Football Focus took another glance at the 2017 season to <a href="https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-ranking-all-32-offensive-lines-from-the-2017-nfl-season" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:rank" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">rank</a> all 32 offensive lines, handing the Eagles another title belt.</p><p><strong>4. </strong>The Charlotte Observer has <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article204895569.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more details</a> on the newest potential Panthers owner, <strong>Michael Rubin</strong>, and a coalescing? ownership group that could include Diddy.</p><p><b>5. Paul Posluszny </b>clearly didn&#39;t crave the spotlight on his way out of the NFL, <a href="http://www.jacksonville.com/sports/20180313/jaguars-linebacker-paul-posluszny-announces-retirement" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announcing his retirement" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announcing his retirement</a> on the eve of free agency. He leaves as the Jaguars&#39; second leading tackler all-time and a major factor in the development of a dominant defense.</p><p><strong>6. </strong>Cincinnati didn&#39;t wait for free agency to sure up its offensive line, <a href="https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/nfl/bengals/2018/03/12/cincinnati-bengals-acquire-buffalo-bills-left-tackle-cordy-glenn/418071002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trading</a> draft capital for Bills left tackle <strong>Cordy Glenn</strong>. From Buffalo&#39;s side, the move gave them another draft pick to assist in a potential trade-up for a quarterback, which seems even more likely after the team passed on the top free agent QBs. </p><p><b>7</b>. Former Cowboys linebacker <strong>Anthony Hitchens</strong> is now a Chief. So what is Dallas&#39; <a href="https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2018/03/01/will-cowboys-linebacker-cant-re-signfree-agent-anthony-hitchens?f=r" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:plan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">plan</a> going forward at that position?</p><p><b>8.</b> Two years after signing with the Raiders for $40 million, safety <strong>Sean Smith</strong> <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-raiders-sean-smith-guilty-20180313-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:pleaded guilty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">pleaded guilty</a> to assault in exchange for a one-year jail sentence. Oakland cut him earlier this week.</p><p><strong>9. </strong>Though it feels like months ago that we learned <strong>Alex Smith</strong> would be heading to Washington, he <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/alex-smith-chiefs-redskins-thank-you/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:thanked" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">thanked</a> the city of Kansas City Tuesday.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p><strong>Tom Brady </strong>reviews a strawberry: &quot;<a href="http://people.com/food/tom-brady-eats-first-strawberry-chugs-beer-stephen-colbert/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Not that bad." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Not that bad.</a>&quot;</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Free Agency Starts Today, But There Are Hardly Any Marquee Free Agents Left

The storylines rolled out as fast as the tweeted reports Tuesday: The Vikings landing the top free agent, the rest of the major quarterback dominoes falling, the Bears building around their young QB, the Jaguars reloading for another run, the new Packers regime showing its aggressive philosophy, receivers in general making big bucks, and so on. Free agency may technically start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but many of this offseason's biggest questions have already been answered. To keep you informed, we've got lists of moves sorted by team and by position as well as grades on the big deals.

We'll have plenty of time to dissect what all the moves mean going forward, so in the midst of the ongoing frenzy, let's take this time to look at who is still out there. Here are 10 of the most notable players still available (for now):

QB A.J. McCarron — The last notable QB out there (unless you believe he was never actually notable to begin with). The Bills seem like his last hope to land somewhere as a potential Week 1 starter.

RB Carlos Hyde — The running back market has been one of the slowest to get going. Hyde, having surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage each of the last two seasons, should end up being one of the top paid in the class (along with Dion Lewis and Isaiah Crowell, who agreed to deals with the Titans and Jets, respectively, Tuesday). (UPDATE: Carlos Hyde will reportedly sign a three-year, $15-million contrat with the Browns)

WR Terrelle Pryor — Pryor took a one-year prove-it deal with Washington last season ... and did not prove himself.

TE Tyler Eifert — Injuries (Eifert has only started 31 games in five years) will limit the former first-rounder's value.

OL Nate Solder — With guard Andrew Norwell headed to Jacksonville, Solder becomes the best lineman available, a talented left tackle who could choose to stay with the Patriots if he's not sold on joining the Giants or Texans, among other suitors. (UPDATE: Nate Solder will reportedly sign a four-year contract with the Giants)

DL Ndamukong Suh — Given the defensive lineman just got cut by Miami this week, it makes sense that his free agency could take a little longer. Still, Suh should end up with a large contract somewhere.

DL Sheldon Richardson — After a stint in Seattle, Richardson remains on the market, outlasting former Jet defensive linemate Muhammad Wilkerson, who is heading to Green Bay.

LB Zach Brown — Brown, 28, has logged 276 combined tackles over his last two seasons (split between the Bills and Washington), setting himself up to be sought after as a run-stopping interior linebacker.

LB Nigel Bradham — As many as 10 teams have reportedly shown interest in Bradham, who served as a leader of the Eagles' championship defense after fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks tore his achilles tendon. (UPDATE: Bradham will reportedly re-sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $40-million contract)

S Eric Reid — It remains to be seen which team will get the 26-year-old playmaker who has become one of the faces of the anthem protest movement.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King surveys the free agent landscape ... Andy Benoit's free agency tracker remains up-to-date and invaluable ... Benoit also analyzed Kirk Cousin's fit in Minnesota ... Conor Orr is grading every big move ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Conor Orr complimented the Broncos for signing Case Keenum ... Jenny Vrentas explained the increased value of having a backup plan at QB ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. While players were getting snapped up, a few other notable names hit the market as teams moved on. Most notably, the Packers released Jordy Nelson. Meanwhile, the Eagles released their longest-tenured player, tight end Brent Celek, and the Chiefs let go of 34-year-old linebacker Tamba Hali.

2. After days of rumors, it now seems like the Cardinals may be able to retain Tyrann Mathieu on a restructured deal. That comes after Arizona cut Adrian Peterson.

3. While we look forward, Pro Football Focus took another glance at the 2017 season to rank all 32 offensive lines, handing the Eagles another title belt.

4. The Charlotte Observer has more details on the newest potential Panthers owner, Michael Rubin, and a coalescing? ownership group that could include Diddy.

5. Paul Posluszny clearly didn't crave the spotlight on his way out of the NFL, announcing his retirement on the eve of free agency. He leaves as the Jaguars' second leading tackler all-time and a major factor in the development of a dominant defense.

6. Cincinnati didn't wait for free agency to sure up its offensive line, trading draft capital for Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. From Buffalo's side, the move gave them another draft pick to assist in a potential trade-up for a quarterback, which seems even more likely after the team passed on the top free agent QBs.

7. Former Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens is now a Chief. So what is Dallas' plan going forward at that position?

8. Two years after signing with the Raiders for $40 million, safety Sean Smith pleaded guilty to assault in exchange for a one-year jail sentence. Oakland cut him earlier this week.

9. Though it feels like months ago that we learned Alex Smith would be heading to Washington, he thanked the city of Kansas City Tuesday.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Tom Brady reviews a strawberry: "Not that bad."

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>The storylines rolled out as fast as the tweeted reports Tuesday: The Vikings landing the top free agent, the rest of the major quarterback dominoes falling, the Bears building around their young QB, the Jaguars reloading for another run, the new Packers regime showing its aggressive philosophy, receivers in general making big bucks, and so on. Free agency may technically start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but many of this offseason&#39;s biggest questions have already been answered. To keep you informed, we&#39;ve got lists of moves sorted <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agency-2018-team-signings-news-rumors" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by team</a> and <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by position" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by position</a> as well as <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grades" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grades</a> on the big deals.</p><p>We&#39;ll have plenty of time to dissect what all the moves mean going forward, so in the midst of the ongoing frenzy, let&#39;s take this time to look at who is still out there. Here are 10 of the most notable players still available (for now):</p><p>QB <strong>A.J. McCarron </strong>— The last notable QB out there (unless you believe he was never actually notable to begin with). The Bills seem like his last hope to land somewhere as a potential Week 1 starter.</p><p>RB <strong>Carlos Hyde</strong> — The running back market has been one of the slowest to get going. Hyde, having surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage each of the last two seasons, should end up being one of the top paid in the class (along with <strong>Dion Lewis</strong> and <strong>Isaiah Crowell</strong>, who agreed to deals with the Titans and Jets, respectively, Tuesday). <em>(UPDATE: Carlos Hyde will reportedly sign a three-year, $15-million contrat with the Browns)</em></p><p>WR <strong>Terrelle Pryor </strong>— Pryor took a one-year prove-it deal with Washington last season ... and did not prove himself.</p><p>TE <strong>Tyler Eifert</strong> — Injuries (Eifert has only started 31 games in five years) will limit the former first-rounder&#39;s value. </p><p>OL <strong>Nate Solder</strong> — With guard <strong>Andrew Norwell </strong><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/andrew-norwell-jaguars-nfl-free-agency-2018-grades?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed</a> to Jacksonville, Solder becomes the best lineman available, a talented left tackle who could choose to stay with the Patriots if he&#39;s not sold on joining the Giants or Texans, among other suitors. <em>(UPDATE: Nate Solder will reportedly sign a four-year contract with the Giants)</em></p><p>DL <strong>Ndamukong Suh</strong> — Given the defensive lineman just got cut by Miami this week, it makes sense that his free agency could take a little longer. Still, Suh should end up with a large contract somewhere. </p><p>DL <strong>Sheldon Richardson</strong> — After a stint in Seattle, Richardson remains on the market, outlasting former Jet defensive linemate <strong>Muhammad Wilkerson</strong>, who is heading to Green Bay.</p><p>LB <strong>Zach Brown</strong> — Brown, 28, has logged 276 combined tackles over his last two seasons (split between the Bills and Washington), setting himself up to be sought after as a run-stopping interior linebacker.</p><p>LB <strong>Nigel Bradham</strong> — As many as 10 teams have <a href="http://www.nj.com/eagles/index.ssf/2018/03/source_8-10_teams_interested_in_eagles_nigel_bradham.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly</a> shown interest in Bradham, who served as a leader of the Eagles&#39; championship defense after fellow linebacker <strong>Jordan Hicks</strong> tore his achilles tendon. <em>(UPDATE: Bradham will reportedly re-sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $40-million contract)</em></p><p>S <strong>Eric Reid </strong>— It remains to be seen which team will get the 26-year-old playmaker who has become one of the faces of the anthem protest movement.</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Peter King surveys <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/14/nfl-free-agency-kirk-cousins-case-keenum-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the free agent landscape" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the free agent landscape</a> ... Andy Benoit&#39;s free agency tracker <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remains</a> up-to-date and invaluable ... Benoit also <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-nfl-free-agency?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:analyzed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">analyzed</a> <strong>Kirk Cousin</strong>&#39;s fit in Minnesota ... Conor Orr is <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grading</a> every big move ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/case-keenum-broncos-2018-nfl-free-agency-contract?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:complimented" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">complimented</a> the Broncos for signing <strong>Case Keenum</strong> ... Jenny Vrentas <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/free-agency-backup-quarterbacks-qbs-eagles-wentz-foles-bradford-daniel?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explained" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explained</a> the increased value of having a backup plan at QB ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. </strong>While players were getting snapped up, a few other notable names hit the market as teams moved on. Most notably, the Packers <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/packers-release-jordy-nelson-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> <strong>Jordy Nelson</strong>. Meanwhile, the Eagles <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/brent-celek-eagles-released-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> their longest-tenured player, tight end <strong>Brent Celek</strong>, and the Chiefs <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:let go" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">let go</a> of 34-year-old linebacker <strong>Tamba Hali</strong>.</p><p><b>2</b>. After days of rumors, it now seems like the Cardinals may be able to <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:retain" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">retain</a> <strong>Tyrann Mathieu</strong> on a restructured deal. That comes after Arizona <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cut" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cut</a> <strong>Adrian Peterson</strong>.</p><p><b>3.</b> While we look forward, Pro Football Focus took another glance at the 2017 season to <a href="https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-ranking-all-32-offensive-lines-from-the-2017-nfl-season" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:rank" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">rank</a> all 32 offensive lines, handing the Eagles another title belt.</p><p><strong>4. </strong>The Charlotte Observer has <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article204895569.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more details</a> on the newest potential Panthers owner, <strong>Michael Rubin</strong>, and a coalescing? ownership group that could include Diddy.</p><p><b>5. Paul Posluszny </b>clearly didn&#39;t crave the spotlight on his way out of the NFL, <a href="http://www.jacksonville.com/sports/20180313/jaguars-linebacker-paul-posluszny-announces-retirement" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announcing his retirement" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announcing his retirement</a> on the eve of free agency. He leaves as the Jaguars&#39; second leading tackler all-time and a major factor in the development of a dominant defense.</p><p><strong>6. </strong>Cincinnati didn&#39;t wait for free agency to sure up its offensive line, <a href="https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/nfl/bengals/2018/03/12/cincinnati-bengals-acquire-buffalo-bills-left-tackle-cordy-glenn/418071002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trading</a> draft capital for Bills left tackle <strong>Cordy Glenn</strong>. From Buffalo&#39;s side, the move gave them another draft pick to assist in a potential trade-up for a quarterback, which seems even more likely after the team passed on the top free agent QBs. </p><p><b>7</b>. Former Cowboys linebacker <strong>Anthony Hitchens</strong> is now a Chief. So what is Dallas&#39; <a href="https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2018/03/01/will-cowboys-linebacker-cant-re-signfree-agent-anthony-hitchens?f=r" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:plan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">plan</a> going forward at that position?</p><p><b>8.</b> Two years after signing with the Raiders for $40 million, safety <strong>Sean Smith</strong> <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-raiders-sean-smith-guilty-20180313-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:pleaded guilty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">pleaded guilty</a> to assault in exchange for a one-year jail sentence. Oakland cut him earlier this week.</p><p><strong>9. </strong>Though it feels like months ago that we learned <strong>Alex Smith</strong> would be heading to Washington, he <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/alex-smith-chiefs-redskins-thank-you/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:thanked" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">thanked</a> the city of Kansas City Tuesday.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p><strong>Tom Brady </strong>reviews a strawberry: &quot;<a href="http://people.com/food/tom-brady-eats-first-strawberry-chugs-beer-stephen-colbert/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Not that bad." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Not that bad.</a>&quot;</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Free Agency Starts Today, But There Are Hardly Any Marquee Free Agents Left

The storylines rolled out as fast as the tweeted reports Tuesday: The Vikings landing the top free agent, the rest of the major quarterback dominoes falling, the Bears building around their young QB, the Jaguars reloading for another run, the new Packers regime showing its aggressive philosophy, receivers in general making big bucks, and so on. Free agency may technically start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but many of this offseason's biggest questions have already been answered. To keep you informed, we've got lists of moves sorted by team and by position as well as grades on the big deals.

We'll have plenty of time to dissect what all the moves mean going forward, so in the midst of the ongoing frenzy, let's take this time to look at who is still out there. Here are 10 of the most notable players still available (for now):

QB A.J. McCarron — The last notable QB out there (unless you believe he was never actually notable to begin with). The Bills seem like his last hope to land somewhere as a potential Week 1 starter.

RB Carlos Hyde — The running back market has been one of the slowest to get going. Hyde, having surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage each of the last two seasons, should end up being one of the top paid in the class (along with Dion Lewis and Isaiah Crowell, who agreed to deals with the Titans and Jets, respectively, Tuesday). (UPDATE: Carlos Hyde will reportedly sign a three-year, $15-million contrat with the Browns)

WR Terrelle Pryor — Pryor took a one-year prove-it deal with Washington last season ... and did not prove himself.

TE Tyler Eifert — Injuries (Eifert has only started 31 games in five years) will limit the former first-rounder's value.

OL Nate Solder — With guard Andrew Norwell headed to Jacksonville, Solder becomes the best lineman available, a talented left tackle who could choose to stay with the Patriots if he's not sold on joining the Giants or Texans, among other suitors. (UPDATE: Nate Solder will reportedly sign a four-year contract with the Giants)

DL Ndamukong Suh — Given the defensive lineman just got cut by Miami this week, it makes sense that his free agency could take a little longer. Still, Suh should end up with a large contract somewhere.

DL Sheldon Richardson — After a stint in Seattle, Richardson remains on the market, outlasting former Jet defensive linemate Muhammad Wilkerson, who is heading to Green Bay.

LB Zach Brown — Brown, 28, has logged 276 combined tackles over his last two seasons (split between the Bills and Washington), setting himself up to be sought after as a run-stopping interior linebacker.

LB Nigel Bradham — As many as 10 teams have reportedly shown interest in Bradham, who served as a leader of the Eagles' championship defense after fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks tore his achilles tendon. (UPDATE: Bradham will reportedly re-sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $40-million contract)

S Eric Reid — It remains to be seen which team will get the 26-year-old playmaker who has become one of the faces of the anthem protest movement.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King surveys the free agent landscape ... Andy Benoit's free agency tracker remains up-to-date and invaluable ... Benoit also analyzed Kirk Cousin's fit in Minnesota ... Conor Orr is grading every big move ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Conor Orr complimented the Broncos for signing Case Keenum ... Jenny Vrentas explained the increased value of having a backup plan at QB ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. While players were getting snapped up, a few other notable names hit the market as teams moved on. Most notably, the Packers released Jordy Nelson. Meanwhile, the Eagles released their longest-tenured player, tight end Brent Celek, and the Chiefs let go of 34-year-old linebacker Tamba Hali.

2. After days of rumors, it now seems like the Cardinals may be able to retain Tyrann Mathieu on a restructured deal. That comes after Arizona cut Adrian Peterson.

3. While we look forward, Pro Football Focus took another glance at the 2017 season to rank all 32 offensive lines, handing the Eagles another title belt.

4. The Charlotte Observer has more details on the newest potential Panthers owner, Michael Rubin, and a coalescing? ownership group that could include Diddy.

5. Paul Posluszny clearly didn't crave the spotlight on his way out of the NFL, announcing his retirement on the eve of free agency. He leaves as the Jaguars' second leading tackler all-time and a major factor in the development of a dominant defense.

6. Cincinnati didn't wait for free agency to sure up its offensive line, trading draft capital for Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. From Buffalo's side, the move gave them another draft pick to assist in a potential trade-up for a quarterback, which seems even more likely after the team passed on the top free agent QBs.

7. Former Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens is now a Chief. So what is Dallas' plan going forward at that position?

8. Two years after signing with the Raiders for $40 million, safety Sean Smith pleaded guilty to assault in exchange for a one-year jail sentence. Oakland cut him earlier this week.

9. Though it feels like months ago that we learned Alex Smith would be heading to Washington, he thanked the city of Kansas City Tuesday.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Tom Brady reviews a strawberry: "Not that bad."

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>The storylines rolled out as fast as the tweeted reports Tuesday: The Vikings landing the top free agent, the rest of the major quarterback dominoes falling, the Bears building around their young QB, the Jaguars reloading for another run, the new Packers regime showing its aggressive philosophy, receivers in general making big bucks, and so on. Free agency may technically start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but many of this offseason&#39;s biggest questions have already been answered. To keep you informed, we&#39;ve got lists of moves sorted <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agency-2018-team-signings-news-rumors" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by team" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by team</a> and <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:by position" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">by position</a> as well as <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grades" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grades</a> on the big deals.</p><p>We&#39;ll have plenty of time to dissect what all the moves mean going forward, so in the midst of the ongoing frenzy, let&#39;s take this time to look at who is still out there. Here are 10 of the most notable players still available (for now):</p><p>QB <strong>A.J. McCarron </strong>— The last notable QB out there (unless you believe he was never actually notable to begin with). The Bills seem like his last hope to land somewhere as a potential Week 1 starter.</p><p>RB <strong>Carlos Hyde</strong> — The running back market has been one of the slowest to get going. Hyde, having surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage each of the last two seasons, should end up being one of the top paid in the class (along with <strong>Dion Lewis</strong> and <strong>Isaiah Crowell</strong>, who agreed to deals with the Titans and Jets, respectively, Tuesday). <em>(UPDATE: Carlos Hyde will reportedly sign a three-year, $15-million contrat with the Browns)</em></p><p>WR <strong>Terrelle Pryor </strong>— Pryor took a one-year prove-it deal with Washington last season ... and did not prove himself.</p><p>TE <strong>Tyler Eifert</strong> — Injuries (Eifert has only started 31 games in five years) will limit the former first-rounder&#39;s value. </p><p>OL <strong>Nate Solder</strong> — With guard <strong>Andrew Norwell </strong><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/andrew-norwell-jaguars-nfl-free-agency-2018-grades?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:headed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">headed</a> to Jacksonville, Solder becomes the best lineman available, a talented left tackle who could choose to stay with the Patriots if he&#39;s not sold on joining the Giants or Texans, among other suitors. <em>(UPDATE: Nate Solder will reportedly sign a four-year contract with the Giants)</em></p><p>DL <strong>Ndamukong Suh</strong> — Given the defensive lineman just got cut by Miami this week, it makes sense that his free agency could take a little longer. Still, Suh should end up with a large contract somewhere. </p><p>DL <strong>Sheldon Richardson</strong> — After a stint in Seattle, Richardson remains on the market, outlasting former Jet defensive linemate <strong>Muhammad Wilkerson</strong>, who is heading to Green Bay.</p><p>LB <strong>Zach Brown</strong> — Brown, 28, has logged 276 combined tackles over his last two seasons (split between the Bills and Washington), setting himself up to be sought after as a run-stopping interior linebacker.</p><p>LB <strong>Nigel Bradham</strong> — As many as 10 teams have <a href="http://www.nj.com/eagles/index.ssf/2018/03/source_8-10_teams_interested_in_eagles_nigel_bradham.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly</a> shown interest in Bradham, who served as a leader of the Eagles&#39; championship defense after fellow linebacker <strong>Jordan Hicks</strong> tore his achilles tendon. <em>(UPDATE: Bradham will reportedly re-sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $40-million contract)</em></p><p>S <strong>Eric Reid </strong>— It remains to be seen which team will get the 26-year-old playmaker who has become one of the faces of the anthem protest movement.</p><p><b><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i></b> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Peter King surveys <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/14/nfl-free-agency-kirk-cousins-case-keenum-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the free agent landscape" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the free agent landscape</a> ... Andy Benoit&#39;s free agency tracker <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remains" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remains</a> up-to-date and invaluable ... Benoit also <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/kirk-cousins-minnesota-vikings-nfl-free-agency?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:analyzed" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">analyzed</a> <strong>Kirk Cousin</strong>&#39;s fit in Minnesota ... Conor Orr is <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:grading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">grading</a> every big move ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Conor Orr <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/case-keenum-broncos-2018-nfl-free-agency-contract?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:complimented" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">complimented</a> the Broncos for signing <strong>Case Keenum</strong> ... Jenny Vrentas <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/free-agency-backup-quarterbacks-qbs-eagles-wentz-foles-bradford-daniel?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:explained" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">explained</a> the increased value of having a backup plan at QB ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. </strong>While players were getting snapped up, a few other notable names hit the market as teams moved on. Most notably, the Packers <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/packers-release-jordy-nelson-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> <strong>Jordy Nelson</strong>. Meanwhile, the Eagles <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/brent-celek-eagles-released-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:released" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">released</a> their longest-tenured player, tight end <strong>Brent Celek</strong>, and the Chiefs <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:let go" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">let go</a> of 34-year-old linebacker <strong>Tamba Hali</strong>.</p><p><b>2</b>. After days of rumors, it now seems like the Cardinals may be able to <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:retain" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">retain</a> <strong>Tyrann Mathieu</strong> on a restructured deal. That comes after Arizona <a href="http://www.chiefs.com/news/article-2/Chiefs-Release-Linebacker-Tamba-Hali/597f383e-87d8-4a5f-853d-11b4712fca1c" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:cut" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">cut</a> <strong>Adrian Peterson</strong>.</p><p><b>3.</b> While we look forward, Pro Football Focus took another glance at the 2017 season to <a href="https://www.profootballfocus.com/news/pro-ranking-all-32-offensive-lines-from-the-2017-nfl-season" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:rank" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">rank</a> all 32 offensive lines, handing the Eagles another title belt.</p><p><strong>4. </strong>The Charlotte Observer has <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article204895569.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:more details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">more details</a> on the newest potential Panthers owner, <strong>Michael Rubin</strong>, and a coalescing? ownership group that could include Diddy.</p><p><b>5. Paul Posluszny </b>clearly didn&#39;t crave the spotlight on his way out of the NFL, <a href="http://www.jacksonville.com/sports/20180313/jaguars-linebacker-paul-posluszny-announces-retirement" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:announcing his retirement" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">announcing his retirement</a> on the eve of free agency. He leaves as the Jaguars&#39; second leading tackler all-time and a major factor in the development of a dominant defense.</p><p><strong>6. </strong>Cincinnati didn&#39;t wait for free agency to sure up its offensive line, <a href="https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/nfl/bengals/2018/03/12/cincinnati-bengals-acquire-buffalo-bills-left-tackle-cordy-glenn/418071002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trading</a> draft capital for Bills left tackle <strong>Cordy Glenn</strong>. From Buffalo&#39;s side, the move gave them another draft pick to assist in a potential trade-up for a quarterback, which seems even more likely after the team passed on the top free agent QBs. </p><p><b>7</b>. Former Cowboys linebacker <strong>Anthony Hitchens</strong> is now a Chief. So what is Dallas&#39; <a href="https://sportsday.dallasnews.com/dallas-cowboys/cowboys/2018/03/01/will-cowboys-linebacker-cant-re-signfree-agent-anthony-hitchens?f=r" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:plan" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">plan</a> going forward at that position?</p><p><b>8.</b> Two years after signing with the Raiders for $40 million, safety <strong>Sean Smith</strong> <a href="http://www.latimes.com/sports/nfl/la-sp-raiders-sean-smith-guilty-20180313-story.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:pleaded guilty" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">pleaded guilty</a> to assault in exchange for a one-year jail sentence. Oakland cut him earlier this week.</p><p><strong>9. </strong>Though it feels like months ago that we learned <strong>Alex Smith</strong> would be heading to Washington, he <a href="https://www.theplayerstribune.com/alex-smith-chiefs-redskins-thank-you/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:thanked" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">thanked</a> the city of Kansas City Tuesday.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p><strong>Tom Brady </strong>reviews a strawberry: &quot;<a href="http://people.com/food/tom-brady-eats-first-strawberry-chugs-beer-stephen-colbert/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Not that bad." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Not that bad.</a>&quot;</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Free Agency Starts Today, But There Are Hardly Any Marquee Free Agents Left

The storylines rolled out as fast as the tweeted reports Tuesday: The Vikings landing the top free agent, the rest of the major quarterback dominoes falling, the Bears building around their young QB, the Jaguars reloading for another run, the new Packers regime showing its aggressive philosophy, receivers in general making big bucks, and so on. Free agency may technically start at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but many of this offseason's biggest questions have already been answered. To keep you informed, we've got lists of moves sorted by team and by position as well as grades on the big deals.

We'll have plenty of time to dissect what all the moves mean going forward, so in the midst of the ongoing frenzy, let's take this time to look at who is still out there. Here are 10 of the most notable players still available (for now):

QB A.J. McCarron — The last notable QB out there (unless you believe he was never actually notable to begin with). The Bills seem like his last hope to land somewhere as a potential Week 1 starter.

RB Carlos Hyde — The running back market has been one of the slowest to get going. Hyde, having surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage each of the last two seasons, should end up being one of the top paid in the class (along with Dion Lewis and Isaiah Crowell, who agreed to deals with the Titans and Jets, respectively, Tuesday). (UPDATE: Carlos Hyde will reportedly sign a three-year, $15-million contrat with the Browns)

WR Terrelle Pryor — Pryor took a one-year prove-it deal with Washington last season ... and did not prove himself.

TE Tyler Eifert — Injuries (Eifert has only started 31 games in five years) will limit the former first-rounder's value.

OL Nate Solder — With guard Andrew Norwell headed to Jacksonville, Solder becomes the best lineman available, a talented left tackle who could choose to stay with the Patriots if he's not sold on joining the Giants or Texans, among other suitors. (UPDATE: Nate Solder will reportedly sign a four-year contract with the Giants)

DL Ndamukong Suh — Given the defensive lineman just got cut by Miami this week, it makes sense that his free agency could take a little longer. Still, Suh should end up with a large contract somewhere.

DL Sheldon Richardson — After a stint in Seattle, Richardson remains on the market, outlasting former Jet defensive linemate Muhammad Wilkerson, who is heading to Green Bay.

LB Zach Brown — Brown, 28, has logged 276 combined tackles over his last two seasons (split between the Bills and Washington), setting himself up to be sought after as a run-stopping interior linebacker.

LB Nigel Bradham — As many as 10 teams have reportedly shown interest in Bradham, who served as a leader of the Eagles' championship defense after fellow linebacker Jordan Hicks tore his achilles tendon. (UPDATE: Bradham will reportedly re-sign with the Eagles on a five-year, $40-million contract)

S Eric Reid — It remains to be seen which team will get the 26-year-old playmaker who has become one of the faces of the anthem protest movement.

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Peter King surveys the free agent landscape ... Andy Benoit's free agency tracker remains up-to-date and invaluable ... Benoit also analyzed Kirk Cousin's fit in Minnesota ... Conor Orr is grading every big move ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Conor Orr complimented the Broncos for signing Case Keenum ... Jenny Vrentas explained the increased value of having a backup plan at QB ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. While players were getting snapped up, a few other notable names hit the market as teams moved on. Most notably, the Packers released Jordy Nelson. Meanwhile, the Eagles released their longest-tenured player, tight end Brent Celek, and the Chiefs let go of 34-year-old linebacker Tamba Hali.

2. After days of rumors, it now seems like the Cardinals may be able to retain Tyrann Mathieu on a restructured deal. That comes after Arizona cut Adrian Peterson.

3. While we look forward, Pro Football Focus took another glance at the 2017 season to rank all 32 offensive lines, handing the Eagles another title belt.

4. The Charlotte Observer has more details on the newest potential Panthers owner, Michael Rubin, and a coalescing? ownership group that could include Diddy.

5. Paul Posluszny clearly didn't crave the spotlight on his way out of the NFL, announcing his retirement on the eve of free agency. He leaves as the Jaguars' second leading tackler all-time and a major factor in the development of a dominant defense.

6. Cincinnati didn't wait for free agency to sure up its offensive line, trading draft capital for Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn. From Buffalo's side, the move gave them another draft pick to assist in a potential trade-up for a quarterback, which seems even more likely after the team passed on the top free agent QBs.

7. Former Cowboys linebacker Anthony Hitchens is now a Chief. So what is Dallas' plan going forward at that position?

8. Two years after signing with the Raiders for $40 million, safety Sean Smith pleaded guilty to assault in exchange for a one-year jail sentence. Oakland cut him earlier this week.

9. Though it feels like months ago that we learned Alex Smith would be heading to Washington, he thanked the city of Kansas City Tuesday.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Tom Brady reviews a strawberry: "Not that bad."

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>Below we’re keeping track of every team’s free-agency moves.</p><p>• <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/nfl-free-agency-2018-grades" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ORR: NFL Free Agency Grades: The Best and Worst Moves So Far" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>ORR: NFL Free Agency Grades: The Best and Worst Moves So Far</strong></a></p><h3>Buffalo Bills</h3><p>RB Chris Ivory: Two-year, $5.5 million contract</p><p>CB Vontae Davis: One-year contract <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/02/26/vontae-davis-contract-bills-free-agency" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:reportedly worth $5 million" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">reportedly worth $5 million</a></p><p>DT Star Lotulelei: Five-year contract</p><p>S Rafael Bush: Two-year contract</p><p>DT Kyle Williams: One-year contract</p><h3>Miami Dolphins</h3><p>WR Albert Wilson: Three-year contract for $24 million</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/danny-amendola-dolphins-contract-free-agency" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:WR Danny Amendola: Two-year, $12-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">WR Danny Amendola: Two-year, $12-million contract</a></p><h3>New England Patriots</h3><p>Specal Teams standout Nate Ebner: Re-signs on a two-year deal</p><p>RB Rex Burkhead: Re-signs on a three-year contract</p><h3>New York Jets</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/jets-sign-josh-mccown-free-agent-quarterback-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:QB Josh McCown: Re-signs on a one-year, $10-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">QB Josh McCown: Re-signs on a one-year, $10-million contract</a></p><p>Isaiah Crowell: Three-year contract</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/jets-signing-trumaine-johnson-rams" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CB Trumaine Johnson: $15 million/year" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">CB Trumaine Johnson: $15 million/year</a></p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/teddy-bridgewater-vikings-jets-deal" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:QB Teddy Bridgewater: One-year, $15-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">QB Teddy Bridgewater: One-year, $15-million contract</a></p><p>LB Avery Williamson: Three-year, $22.5-million contract with $16 million guaranteed</p><p>C Spencer Long: Terms not reported</p><p>S Terrence Brooks: Re-signing on a two-year contract</p><p>DE Trent Murphy: Three-year, $21-million contract</p><p><strong>• </strong><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-mmqb-10-things/id916244917?mt=2" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:FREE AGENCY, PODCAST-STYLE: Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling break down all the biggest offseason moves and the impact they&#39;ll have on 2018. Subscribe!" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><strong>FREE AGENCY, PODCAST-STYLE: Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling break down all the biggest offseason moves and the impact they&#39;ll have on 2018. Subscribe!</strong></a></p><h3>Baltimore Ravens</h3><p>WR Ryan Grant: Four-year, $29-million contract </p><p>WR John Brown: One-year, $5-million contract</p><h3>Cincinnati Bengals</h3><p>DT Chris Baker: One-year contract</p><h3>Cleveland Browns</h3><p>WR Jarvis Landry: Franchise-tagged by the Dolphins, <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/cleveland-browns-trade-jarvis-landry-dolphins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:then traded to Browns" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">then traded to Browns</a></p><p>OT Chris Hubbard: Five-year, $37-million contract</p><p>RB Carlos Hyde: Three-year contract worth more than $15 million</p><p>TE Darren Fells: Three-year, $12 million contract</p><p>CB Terrance Mitchell: Three-year, $12-million contract</p><h3>Pittsburgh Steelers</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/06/nfl-franchise-tag-leveon-bell-demarcus-lawrence-sammy-watkins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:RB Le&#39;Veon Bell receives franchise tag" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">RB Le&#39;Veon Bell receives franchise tag</a></p><p>• <strong><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Adam-Schefter/dp/B0779HG98D/ref=sr_1_1?s=instant-video&#38;ie=UTF8&#38;qid=1521054287&#38;sr=1-1&#38;keywords=24+hours+with+adam+schefter" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:What’s a day during NFL free agency like for Adam Schefter? We spent 24 hours with him in 2017. Watch only on SI TV." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">What’s a day during NFL free agency like for Adam Schefter? We spent 24 hours with him in 2017. Watch only on SI TV.</a></strong></p><h3>Houston Texans</h3><p>G Zach Fulton: $7.5 million/year contract</p><p>P Shane Lechler: One-year contract extension</p><p>OT Seantrel Henderson: One-year, $4 million contract</p><p>CB Aaron Colvin: Four-year contract</p><p>OL Senio Kelemete: Three-year, $12-million contract</p><h3>Indianapolis Colts</h3><p>DE Denico Autry: Three-year, $17.8 million contract</p><h3>Jacksonville Jaguars</h3><p>G Andrew Norwell: <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973508676995764224" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Five-year, $66.5-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Five-year, $66.5-million contract</a></p><p>WR Marqise Lee: Re-sign on four-year contract</p><p>WR Donte Moncrief: One-year, $10-million contract</p><p>CB DJ Hayden: Three-year, $19-million contract</p><h3>Tennessee Titans</h3><p>CB Malcolm Butler: Five-year, $61 million contract</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/titans-sign-dion-lewis-patriots-running-back" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:RB Dion Lewis: Four-year deal" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">RB Dion Lewis: Four-year deal</a></p><p>G Josh Kline: Four-year, $26-million contract</p><h3>Denver Broncos</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/case-keenum-broncos-2018-nfl-free-agency-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:QB Case Keenum: Two-year, $36-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">QB Case Keenum: Two-year, $36-million contract</a></p><p>LB Todd Davis: Three-year contract</p><p>CB Tramaine Brock: One-year, $4-million contract</p><h3>Kansas City Chiefs</h3><p>WR Sammy Watkins: <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/973518901308018689" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Three-year contract worth ~$16 million" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Three-year contract worth ~$16 million</a></p><p>LB Anthony Hitchens: Five-year, $45-million contract</p><h3>Los Angeles Chargers</h3><p>CB Casey Hayward: Three-year extension <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/972960061810266113" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:worth $36 million" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">worth $36 million</a></p><p>TE Virgil Green: Three-year contract</p><h3>Oakland Raiders</h3><p>DT Justin Ellis: Three-year contract</p><p>TE Derek Carrier: Three-year contract</p><h3>Dallas Cowboys</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/06/nfl-franchise-tag-leveon-bell-demarcus-lawrence-sammy-watkins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DE DeMarcus Lawrence receives franchise tag" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DE DeMarcus Lawrence receives franchise tag</a></p><h3>New York Giants</h3><p>RB Jonathan Stewart: Two-year, $6.95 million contract</p><p>OLB Kareem Martin: Terms not reported</p><p>LT Nate Solder: Four-year, $60 million contract</p><h3>Philadelphia Eagles</h3><p>DT Haloti Ngata: One-year contract</p><p>LB Nigel Bradham: Five-year, $40 million contract</p><p>LB Corey Nelson: One-year, $2.25 million</p><h3>Washington Redskins</h3><p>K Dustin Hopkins will re-sign</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/paul-richardson-seattle-washington" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:WR Paul Richardson: Five-year, $40-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">WR Paul Richardson: Five-year, $40-million contract</a></p><h3>Chicago Bears</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/allen-robinson-bears-nfl-free-agency-2018-grades" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:WR Allen Robinson: Three-year, $26-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">WR Allen Robinson: Three-year, $26-million contract</a></p><p>WR Taylor Gabriel: Four-year, $26-million contract</p><p>TE Trey Burton: Four-year, $32-million contract</p><p>K Cody Parkey: Four-year, $15-million contract</p><p>CB Prince Amukamara: Re-signs on three-year, $27-million contract</p><p>QB Chase Daniel: Two-year, $10-million contract with $7 million guaranteed</p><h3>Detroit Lions</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/06/nfl-franchise-tag-leveon-bell-demarcus-lawrence-sammy-watkins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DE Ziggy Ansah: Franchise tag" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DE Ziggy Ansah: Franchise tag</a></p><p>LB Christian Jones: Two-year contract</p><h3>Green Bay Packers</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/jimmy-graham-contract-packers-free-agent" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:TE Jimmy Graham: Three-year contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">TE Jimmy Graham: Three-year contract</a></p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/packers-sign-muhammad-wilkerson-contract-free-agent-jets" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:DE Muhammad Wilkerson: One-year contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">DE Muhammad Wilkerson: One-year contract</a></p><h3>Minnesota Vikings</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/kirk-cousins-vikings-nfl-free-agency-2018-grade" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:QB Kirk Cousins: Three-year, $84-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">QB Kirk Cousins: Three-year, $84-million contract</a></p><h3>Atlanta Falcons</h3><p>G Brandon Fusco: Three-year contract</p><h3>Carolina Panthers</h3><p>CB Bashaud Breeland: Three-year, $24-million contract</p><p>DE Julius Peppers: One-year, $5-million contract</p><h3>New Orleans Saints</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/new-orleans-saints-drew-brees-new-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:QB Drew Brees: Re-sign on two-year, $50-million contract" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">QB Drew Brees: Re-sign on two-year, $50-million contract</a></p><p>LB Demario Davis: Three-year, $24-million contract</p><p>QB Tom Savage: Contract terms not reported</p><h3>Tampa Bay Buccaneers</h3><p>QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Re-sign on one-year deal</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/buccaneers-mike-evans-contract-extension" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:WR Mike Evans: Three-year, $82.5 million contract extension" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">WR Mike Evans: Three-year, $82.5 million contract extension</a></p><p>CB Brent Grimes: Re-sign on one-year, $10 million contract</p><p>TE Cameron Brate: Re-sign on six-year, $41 million contract</p><p>DT Beau Allen: Three-year contract</p><h3>Arizona Cardinals</h3><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/13/sam-bradford-signs-arizona-cardinals-contract" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:QB Sam Bradford: One-year contract worth $20 million" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">QB Sam Bradford: One-year contract worth $20 million</a></p><p>OT Andre Smith: Two-year, $8-million contract</p><h3>Los Angeles Rams</h3><p>CB Sam Shields: One-year contract</p><p><a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/06/nfl-franchise-tag-leveon-bell-demarcus-lawrence-sammy-watkins" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:S Lamarcus Joyner receives franchise tag" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">S Lamarcus Joyner receives franchise tag</a></p><h3>San Francisco 49ers</h3><p>CB ?Richard Sherman: Three-year deal. <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/12/richard-sherman-san-francisco-49ers-john-lynch-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SI’s Peter King has additional contract details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SI’s Peter King has additional contract details</a></p><p>C-G Weston Richburg: Five-year contract</p><p>RB Jerick McKinnon: Four-year, $30-million contract</p><h3>Seattle Seahawks</h3><p>S Bradley McDougald: Three-year, $13.95-million contract</p>
NFL Free Agency 2018: Tracking Every Team’s Signings and Moves

Below we’re keeping track of every team’s free-agency moves.

ORR: NFL Free Agency Grades: The Best and Worst Moves So Far

Buffalo Bills

RB Chris Ivory: Two-year, $5.5 million contract

CB Vontae Davis: One-year contract reportedly worth $5 million

DT Star Lotulelei: Five-year contract

S Rafael Bush: Two-year contract

DT Kyle Williams: One-year contract

Miami Dolphins

WR Albert Wilson: Three-year contract for $24 million

WR Danny Amendola: Two-year, $12-million contract

New England Patriots

Specal Teams standout Nate Ebner: Re-signs on a two-year deal

RB Rex Burkhead: Re-signs on a three-year contract

New York Jets

QB Josh McCown: Re-signs on a one-year, $10-million contract

Isaiah Crowell: Three-year contract

CB Trumaine Johnson: $15 million/year

QB Teddy Bridgewater: One-year, $15-million contract

LB Avery Williamson: Three-year, $22.5-million contract with $16 million guaranteed

C Spencer Long: Terms not reported

S Terrence Brooks: Re-signing on a two-year contract

DE Trent Murphy: Three-year, $21-million contract

FREE AGENCY, PODCAST-STYLE: Andy Benoit and Gary Gramling break down all the biggest offseason moves and the impact they'll have on 2018. Subscribe!

Baltimore Ravens

WR Ryan Grant: Four-year, $29-million contract

WR John Brown: One-year, $5-million contract

Cincinnati Bengals

DT Chris Baker: One-year contract

Cleveland Browns

WR Jarvis Landry: Franchise-tagged by the Dolphins, then traded to Browns

OT Chris Hubbard: Five-year, $37-million contract

RB Carlos Hyde: Three-year contract worth more than $15 million

TE Darren Fells: Three-year, $12 million contract

CB Terrance Mitchell: Three-year, $12-million contract

Pittsburgh Steelers

RB Le'Veon Bell receives franchise tag

What’s a day during NFL free agency like for Adam Schefter? We spent 24 hours with him in 2017. Watch only on SI TV.

Houston Texans

G Zach Fulton: $7.5 million/year contract

P Shane Lechler: One-year contract extension

OT Seantrel Henderson: One-year, $4 million contract

CB Aaron Colvin: Four-year contract

OL Senio Kelemete: Three-year, $12-million contract

Indianapolis Colts

DE Denico Autry: Three-year, $17.8 million contract

Jacksonville Jaguars

G Andrew Norwell: Five-year, $66.5-million contract

WR Marqise Lee: Re-sign on four-year contract

WR Donte Moncrief: One-year, $10-million contract

CB DJ Hayden: Three-year, $19-million contract

Tennessee Titans

CB Malcolm Butler: Five-year, $61 million contract

RB Dion Lewis: Four-year deal

G Josh Kline: Four-year, $26-million contract

Denver Broncos

QB Case Keenum: Two-year, $36-million contract

LB Todd Davis: Three-year contract

CB Tramaine Brock: One-year, $4-million contract

Kansas City Chiefs

WR Sammy Watkins: Three-year contract worth ~$16 million

LB Anthony Hitchens: Five-year, $45-million contract

Los Angeles Chargers

CB Casey Hayward: Three-year extension worth $36 million

TE Virgil Green: Three-year contract

Oakland Raiders

DT Justin Ellis: Three-year contract

TE Derek Carrier: Three-year contract

Dallas Cowboys

DE DeMarcus Lawrence receives franchise tag

New York Giants

RB Jonathan Stewart: Two-year, $6.95 million contract

OLB Kareem Martin: Terms not reported

LT Nate Solder: Four-year, $60 million contract

Philadelphia Eagles

DT Haloti Ngata: One-year contract

LB Nigel Bradham: Five-year, $40 million contract

LB Corey Nelson: One-year, $2.25 million

Washington Redskins

K Dustin Hopkins will re-sign

WR Paul Richardson: Five-year, $40-million contract

Chicago Bears

WR Allen Robinson: Three-year, $26-million contract

WR Taylor Gabriel: Four-year, $26-million contract

TE Trey Burton: Four-year, $32-million contract

K Cody Parkey: Four-year, $15-million contract

CB Prince Amukamara: Re-signs on three-year, $27-million contract

QB Chase Daniel: Two-year, $10-million contract with $7 million guaranteed

Detroit Lions

DE Ziggy Ansah: Franchise tag

LB Christian Jones: Two-year contract

Green Bay Packers

TE Jimmy Graham: Three-year contract

DE Muhammad Wilkerson: One-year contract

Minnesota Vikings

QB Kirk Cousins: Three-year, $84-million contract

Atlanta Falcons

G Brandon Fusco: Three-year contract

Carolina Panthers

CB Bashaud Breeland: Three-year, $24-million contract

DE Julius Peppers: One-year, $5-million contract

New Orleans Saints

QB Drew Brees: Re-sign on two-year, $50-million contract

LB Demario Davis: Three-year, $24-million contract

QB Tom Savage: Contract terms not reported

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Re-sign on one-year deal

WR Mike Evans: Three-year, $82.5 million contract extension

CB Brent Grimes: Re-sign on one-year, $10 million contract

TE Cameron Brate: Re-sign on six-year, $41 million contract

DT Beau Allen: Three-year contract

Arizona Cardinals

QB Sam Bradford: One-year contract worth $20 million

OT Andre Smith: Two-year, $8-million contract

Los Angeles Rams

CB Sam Shields: One-year contract

S Lamarcus Joyner receives franchise tag

San Francisco 49ers

CB ?Richard Sherman: Three-year deal. SI’s Peter King has additional contract details

C-G Weston Richburg: Five-year contract

RB Jerick McKinnon: Four-year, $30-million contract

Seattle Seahawks

S Bradley McDougald: Three-year, $13.95-million contract

<p>Over a matter of hours, the Browns traded for a pair of Pro Bowlers at two of the most important offensive positions, bringing in <strong>Tyrod Taylor</strong> from the Bills and <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong> from the Dolphins in exchange for third and fourth-round picks this year and a seventh in 2019. Suddenly, the expectations for Cleveland&#39;s offseason have radically changed. Will free agents look at the team differently now as GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> continues building a roster that fits his philosophy? Does having Taylor in the fold give the front office the flexibility to take <strong>Saquon Barkley </strong>No. 1 overall and go back to QB at No. 4 in the draft? As Landry <a href="https://twitter.com/God_Son80/status/972222993790271488" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tweeted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tweeted</a>, &quot;S--- about to get SERIOUS?.&quot; But as important as the combo of moves could turn out to be, for now they accentuate an addition Cleveland made weeks ago—with significantly less profanity laden fanfare.</p><p>See, Taylor and Landry are talented in idiosyncratic ways. Taylor is elite at limiting interceptions (throwing them at the lowest rate in the league last year), but he will also overlook open receivers, and he is at his best in a system that utilizes his running ability. Landry, meanwhile, was third-to-last among qualifying receivers in yards at catch; on average, he got the ball 4.4 yards away from the line of scrimmage. And they join a collection of unique assets already on the Browns roster, like 5&#39;11&quot; wideout <strong>Corey Coleman</strong> or running back <strong>Duke Johnson</strong>, who had more receiving targets than rushes in 2017.</p><p>When <strong>Todd Haley </strong>took to the podium for the first time as Cleveland&#39;s offensive coordinator on Valentine&#39;s Day, he said, &quot;What I believe in is playing to every player’s strength that you have as best you can—putting players into position to succeed, playing to their skillset.&quot; It&#39;s a bit of coach speak, but it&#39;s going to have to become his most important mantra. Haley figured out how to develop and deploy distinctive talents in Pittsburgh while building an explosive offense, but he&#39;s going to have to do it completely differently this time around. At the same time, <strong>Hue Jackson</strong>, who has surrendered offensive control and play-calling duties for the first time since coming to Cleveland, will have to figure out how he factors into all of this. The front office seems intent on bringing in pieces, but can the staff get them to fit?</p><p><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Just keep Andy Benoit&#39;s <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:free agency tracker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">free agency tracker</a> open in a tab this week ... Robert Klemko <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/aqib-talib-trade-broncos-rams-crabtree-chain-marcus-peters?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remembers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remembers</a> <strong>Aqib </strong><strong>Talib</strong>&#39;s time in Denver ... Michael McCann <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/nfl-combine-inapprorpriate-questions-lawsuit-legal-options" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:considers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">considers</a> what players and the league can do about inappropriate questioning at the combine ... Peter King has another <a href="http://si.com/nfl/2018/03/12/richard-sherman-san-francisco-49ers-john-lynch-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:packed column" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">packed column</a> ahead of free agency ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Ben Baskin <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/2018-nfl-draft-jaire-alexander-cornerback-louisville?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoke" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoke</a> with rising cornerback <strong>Jaire Alexander </strong>... Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/08/nfl-scouting-combine-2018-mmqb-behind-the-scenes-24-hours?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:chronicled" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">chronicled</a> an eventful 24 hours at the NFL Combine ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Richard Sherman </strong>is now a San Francisco 49er, and Eric Branch has <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/49ers/article/Report-Ex-Seahawks-CB-Richard-Sherman-visiting-12743216.php" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the details</a> on what could end up being a nearly $40 million deal (Mike Florio has <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/11/the-real-richard-sherman-numbers/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a financial breakdown" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a financial breakdown</a>, if you are into that type of thing). The 49ers desperately needed help at corner, and Sherman now joins linebacker <strong>Malcolm Smith </strong>as former Seahawks working to build a new San Francisco juggernaut after battling with the last one. Peter King spoke to both Sherman and 49ers GM <strong>John Lynch</strong> in <a href="http://si.com/nfl/2018/03/12/richard-sherman-san-francisco-49ers-john-lynch-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:his column" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">his column</a>.</p><p><b>2</b>. Somewhat lost in the Browns-focused swirl, Panthers GM <strong>Marty Hurney</strong> continued his aggressive offseason, <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article204345969.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trading</a> third-year corner <strong>Daryl Worley</strong> to Philadelphia for <strong>Torrey Smith</strong> in the hopes of providing <strong>Cam Newton</strong> with a big play receiver.</p><p><b>3.</b> Three more veteran defenders could be hitting the free agency heap, as the Giants <a href="https://www.chron.com/sports/texans/article/Giants-release-CB-Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie-12744764.php" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:moved on" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">moved on</a> from <strong>Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie</strong>, the Bengals <a href="https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/nfl/bengals/2018/03/09/bengals-decline-option-adam-jones/411561002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:parted ways" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">parted ways</a> with <strong>Adam Jones</strong>, and the Steelers reportedly <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/03/09/mike-mitchell-release-steelers-salary-cap/stories/201803090161" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:planned to cut" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">planned to cut</a> <strong>Mike Mitchell</strong>. </p><p><strong>4. </strong>The next big name to keep an eye on: <strong><a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2763392-tyrann-mathieu-reportedly-expected-to-be-cut-after-cardinals-ask-s-for-pay-cut?utm_source=twitter.com&#38;utm_medium=referral&#38;utm_campaign=programming-national" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tyrann Mathieu" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tyrann Mathieu</a>.</strong></p><p><b>5. </b>Enough about the Browns, what do their deals <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/270783" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:mean for the rest" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">mean for the rest</a> of the QB market?</p><p><b>6. Sean McDonough </b><a href="https://twitter.com/richarddeitsch/status/972264953313816576" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:won&#39;t" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">won&#39;t</a> be calling Monday Night Football this season, leaving ESPN with two chairs to fill.</p><p><strong>7. </strong>Stoneman Douglas High School&#39;s quarterback was meeting with college recruiters when <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/03/09/stoneman-douglas-qb-hid-with-recruiters-as-shots-flew-then-committed-to-their-school/?utm_term=.778975345c48" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:gunshots rang out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">gunshots rang out</a>. He committed that evening.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Is <strong>Reggie Wayne</strong> <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2018/03/09/browns-deshone-kizer-trade-reported-former-colts-wr-reggie-wayne/412630002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:edging into" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">edging into</a> <strong>Adam </strong><strong>Schefter</strong>&#39;s turf?</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Cleveland Browns Trade Flurry Makes a Previous Addition Even More Critical

Over a matter of hours, the Browns traded for a pair of Pro Bowlers at two of the most important offensive positions, bringing in Tyrod Taylor from the Bills and Jarvis Landry from the Dolphins in exchange for third and fourth-round picks this year and a seventh in 2019. Suddenly, the expectations for Cleveland's offseason have radically changed. Will free agents look at the team differently now as GM John Dorsey continues building a roster that fits his philosophy? Does having Taylor in the fold give the front office the flexibility to take Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall and go back to QB at No. 4 in the draft? As Landry tweeted, "S--- about to get SERIOUS?." But as important as the combo of moves could turn out to be, for now they accentuate an addition Cleveland made weeks ago—with significantly less profanity laden fanfare.

See, Taylor and Landry are talented in idiosyncratic ways. Taylor is elite at limiting interceptions (throwing them at the lowest rate in the league last year), but he will also overlook open receivers, and he is at his best in a system that utilizes his running ability. Landry, meanwhile, was third-to-last among qualifying receivers in yards at catch; on average, he got the ball 4.4 yards away from the line of scrimmage. And they join a collection of unique assets already on the Browns roster, like 5'11" wideout Corey Coleman or running back Duke Johnson, who had more receiving targets than rushes in 2017.

When Todd Haley took to the podium for the first time as Cleveland's offensive coordinator on Valentine's Day, he said, "What I believe in is playing to every player’s strength that you have as best you can—putting players into position to succeed, playing to their skillset." It's a bit of coach speak, but it's going to have to become his most important mantra. Haley figured out how to develop and deploy distinctive talents in Pittsburgh while building an explosive offense, but he's going to have to do it completely differently this time around. At the same time, Hue Jackson, who has surrendered offensive control and play-calling duties for the first time since coming to Cleveland, will have to figure out how he factors into all of this. The front office seems intent on bringing in pieces, but can the staff get them to fit?

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Just keep Andy Benoit's free agency tracker open in a tab this week ... Robert Klemko remembers Aqib Talib's time in Denver ... Michael McCann considers what players and the league can do about inappropriate questioning at the combine ... Peter King has another packed column ahead of free agency ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Ben Baskin spoke with rising cornerback Jaire Alexander ... Jonathan Jones chronicled an eventful 24 hours at the NFL Combine ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Richard Sherman is now a San Francisco 49er, and Eric Branch has the details on what could end up being a nearly $40 million deal (Mike Florio has a financial breakdown, if you are into that type of thing). The 49ers desperately needed help at corner, and Sherman now joins linebacker Malcolm Smith as former Seahawks working to build a new San Francisco juggernaut after battling with the last one. Peter King spoke to both Sherman and 49ers GM John Lynch in his column.

2. Somewhat lost in the Browns-focused swirl, Panthers GM Marty Hurney continued his aggressive offseason, trading third-year corner Daryl Worley to Philadelphia for Torrey Smith in the hopes of providing Cam Newton with a big play receiver.

3. Three more veteran defenders could be hitting the free agency heap, as the Giants moved on from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Bengals parted ways with Adam Jones, and the Steelers reportedly planned to cut Mike Mitchell.

4. The next big name to keep an eye on: Tyrann Mathieu.

5. Enough about the Browns, what do their deals mean for the rest of the QB market?

6. Sean McDonough won't be calling Monday Night Football this season, leaving ESPN with two chairs to fill.

7. Stoneman Douglas High School's quarterback was meeting with college recruiters when gunshots rang out. He committed that evening.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Is Reggie Wayne edging into Adam Schefter's turf?

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>Over a matter of hours, the Browns traded for a pair of Pro Bowlers at two of the most important offensive positions, bringing in <strong>Tyrod Taylor</strong> from the Bills and <strong>Jarvis Landry</strong> from the Dolphins in exchange for third and fourth-round picks this year and a seventh in 2019. Suddenly, the expectations for Cleveland&#39;s offseason have radically changed. Will free agents look at the team differently now as GM <strong>John Dorsey</strong> continues building a roster that fits his philosophy? Does having Taylor in the fold give the front office the flexibility to take <strong>Saquon Barkley </strong>No. 1 overall and go back to QB at No. 4 in the draft? As Landry <a href="https://twitter.com/God_Son80/status/972222993790271488" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:tweeted" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">tweeted</a>, &quot;S--- about to get SERIOUS?.&quot; But as important as the combo of moves could turn out to be, for now they accentuate an addition Cleveland made weeks ago—with significantly less profanity laden fanfare.</p><p>See, Taylor and Landry are talented in idiosyncratic ways. Taylor is elite at limiting interceptions (throwing them at the lowest rate in the league last year), but he will also overlook open receivers, and he is at his best in a system that utilizes his running ability. Landry, meanwhile, was third-to-last among qualifying receivers in yards at catch; on average, he got the ball 4.4 yards away from the line of scrimmage. And they join a collection of unique assets already on the Browns roster, like 5&#39;11&quot; wideout <strong>Corey Coleman</strong> or running back <strong>Duke Johnson</strong>, who had more receiving targets than rushes in 2017.</p><p>When <strong>Todd Haley </strong>took to the podium for the first time as Cleveland&#39;s offensive coordinator on Valentine&#39;s Day, he said, &quot;What I believe in is playing to every player’s strength that you have as best you can—putting players into position to succeed, playing to their skillset.&quot; It&#39;s a bit of coach speak, but it&#39;s going to have to become his most important mantra. Haley figured out how to develop and deploy distinctive talents in Pittsburgh while building an explosive offense, but he&#39;s going to have to do it completely differently this time around. At the same time, <strong>Hue Jackson</strong>, who has surrendered offensive control and play-calling duties for the first time since coming to Cleveland, will have to figure out how he factors into all of this. The front office seems intent on bringing in pieces, but can the staff get them to fit?</p><p><i>Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet?</i> <a href="https://www.si.com/static/newsletter/signup" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle" class="link rapid-noclick-resp"><i>Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle</i></a><i>.</i></p><h3><strong>HOT READS</strong></h3><p><b>NOW ON THE MMQB: </b>Just keep Andy Benoit&#39;s <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl-free-agents-rankings-by-position-2018?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:free agency tracker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">free agency tracker</a> open in a tab this week ... Robert Klemko <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/aqib-talib-trade-broncos-rams-crabtree-chain-marcus-peters?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:remembers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">remembers</a> <strong>Aqib </strong><strong>Talib</strong>&#39;s time in Denver ... Michael McCann <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/nfl-combine-inapprorpriate-questions-lawsuit-legal-options" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:considers" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">considers</a> what players and the league can do about inappropriate questioning at the combine ... Peter King has another <a href="http://si.com/nfl/2018/03/12/richard-sherman-san-francisco-49ers-john-lynch-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:packed column" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">packed column</a> ahead of free agency ... <a href="http://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more." class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more.</a></p><p><b>WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED:</b> Ben Baskin <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/09/2018-nfl-draft-jaire-alexander-cornerback-louisville?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:spoke" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">spoke</a> with rising cornerback <strong>Jaire Alexander </strong>... Jonathan Jones <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl/2018/03/08/nfl-scouting-combine-2018-mmqb-behind-the-scenes-24-hours?utm_campaign=mmqb&#38;utm_source=si.com&#38;utm_medium=email" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:chronicled" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">chronicled</a> an eventful 24 hours at the NFL Combine ... <a href="https://www.si.com/nfl" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:and more" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">and more</a>.</p><h3><b>PRESS COVERAGE</b></h3><p><strong>1. Richard Sherman </strong>is now a San Francisco 49er, and Eric Branch has <a href="https://www.sfchronicle.com/49ers/article/Report-Ex-Seahawks-CB-Richard-Sherman-visiting-12743216.php" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:the details" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">the details</a> on what could end up being a nearly $40 million deal (Mike Florio has <a href="http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/03/11/the-real-richard-sherman-numbers/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:a financial breakdown" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">a financial breakdown</a>, if you are into that type of thing). The 49ers desperately needed help at corner, and Sherman now joins linebacker <strong>Malcolm Smith </strong>as former Seahawks working to build a new San Francisco juggernaut after battling with the last one. Peter King spoke to both Sherman and 49ers GM <strong>John Lynch</strong> in <a href="http://si.com/nfl/2018/03/12/richard-sherman-san-francisco-49ers-john-lynch-mmqb-peter-king" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:his column" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">his column</a>.</p><p><b>2</b>. Somewhat lost in the Browns-focused swirl, Panthers GM <strong>Marty Hurney</strong> continued his aggressive offseason, <a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article204345969.html" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:trading" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">trading</a> third-year corner <strong>Daryl Worley</strong> to Philadelphia for <strong>Torrey Smith</strong> in the hopes of providing <strong>Cam Newton</strong> with a big play receiver.</p><p><b>3.</b> Three more veteran defenders could be hitting the free agency heap, as the Giants <a href="https://www.chron.com/sports/texans/article/Giants-release-CB-Dominique-Rodgers-Cromartie-12744764.php" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:moved on" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">moved on</a> from <strong>Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie</strong>, the Bengals <a href="https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/nfl/bengals/2018/03/09/bengals-decline-option-adam-jones/411561002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:parted ways" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">parted ways</a> with <strong>Adam Jones</strong>, and the Steelers reportedly <a href="http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2018/03/09/mike-mitchell-release-steelers-salary-cap/stories/201803090161" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:planned to cut" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">planned to cut</a> <strong>Mike Mitchell</strong>. </p><p><strong>4. </strong>The next big name to keep an eye on: <strong><a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2763392-tyrann-mathieu-reportedly-expected-to-be-cut-after-cardinals-ask-s-for-pay-cut?utm_source=twitter.com&#38;utm_medium=referral&#38;utm_campaign=programming-national" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Tyrann Mathieu" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Tyrann Mathieu</a>.</strong></p><p><b>5. </b>Enough about the Browns, what do their deals <a href="http://www.espn.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/270783" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:mean for the rest" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">mean for the rest</a> of the QB market?</p><p><b>6. Sean McDonough </b><a href="https://twitter.com/richarddeitsch/status/972264953313816576" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:won&#39;t" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">won&#39;t</a> be calling Monday Night Football this season, leaving ESPN with two chairs to fill.</p><p><strong>7. </strong>Stoneman Douglas High School&#39;s quarterback was meeting with college recruiters when <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2018/03/09/stoneman-douglas-qb-hid-with-recruiters-as-shots-flew-then-committed-to-their-school/?utm_term=.778975345c48" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:gunshots rang out" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">gunshots rang out</a>. He committed that evening.</p><p><b><i>Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage?</i></b> <span><i>Let us know here.</i></span></p><h3><b>THE KICKER</b></h3><p>Is <strong>Reggie Wayne</strong> <a href="https://www.indystar.com/story/sports/nfl/colts/2018/03/09/browns-deshone-kizer-trade-reported-former-colts-wr-reggie-wayne/412630002/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:edging into" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">edging into</a> <strong>Adam </strong><strong>Schefter</strong>&#39;s turf?</p><p><i>Question? Comment? Story idea?</i><i> Let the team know at </i><i><span>talkback@themmqb.com</span></i></p>
Cleveland Browns Trade Flurry Makes a Previous Addition Even More Critical

Over a matter of hours, the Browns traded for a pair of Pro Bowlers at two of the most important offensive positions, bringing in Tyrod Taylor from the Bills and Jarvis Landry from the Dolphins in exchange for third and fourth-round picks this year and a seventh in 2019. Suddenly, the expectations for Cleveland's offseason have radically changed. Will free agents look at the team differently now as GM John Dorsey continues building a roster that fits his philosophy? Does having Taylor in the fold give the front office the flexibility to take Saquon Barkley No. 1 overall and go back to QB at No. 4 in the draft? As Landry tweeted, "S--- about to get SERIOUS?." But as important as the combo of moves could turn out to be, for now they accentuate an addition Cleveland made weeks ago—with significantly less profanity laden fanfare.

See, Taylor and Landry are talented in idiosyncratic ways. Taylor is elite at limiting interceptions (throwing them at the lowest rate in the league last year), but he will also overlook open receivers, and he is at his best in a system that utilizes his running ability. Landry, meanwhile, was third-to-last among qualifying receivers in yards at catch; on average, he got the ball 4.4 yards away from the line of scrimmage. And they join a collection of unique assets already on the Browns roster, like 5'11" wideout Corey Coleman or running back Duke Johnson, who had more receiving targets than rushes in 2017.

When Todd Haley took to the podium for the first time as Cleveland's offensive coordinator on Valentine's Day, he said, "What I believe in is playing to every player’s strength that you have as best you can—putting players into position to succeed, playing to their skillset." It's a bit of coach speak, but it's going to have to become his most important mantra. Haley figured out how to develop and deploy distinctive talents in Pittsburgh while building an explosive offense, but he's going to have to do it completely differently this time around. At the same time, Hue Jackson, who has surrendered offensive control and play-calling duties for the first time since coming to Cleveland, will have to figure out how he factors into all of this. The front office seems intent on bringing in pieces, but can the staff get them to fit?

Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Join The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.

HOT READS

NOW ON THE MMQB: Just keep Andy Benoit's free agency tracker open in a tab this week ... Robert Klemko remembers Aqib Talib's time in Denver ... Michael McCann considers what players and the league can do about inappropriate questioning at the combine ... Peter King has another packed column ahead of free agency ... and more.

WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Ben Baskin spoke with rising cornerback Jaire Alexander ... Jonathan Jones chronicled an eventful 24 hours at the NFL Combine ... and more.

PRESS COVERAGE

1. Richard Sherman is now a San Francisco 49er, and Eric Branch has the details on what could end up being a nearly $40 million deal (Mike Florio has a financial breakdown, if you are into that type of thing). The 49ers desperately needed help at corner, and Sherman now joins linebacker Malcolm Smith as former Seahawks working to build a new San Francisco juggernaut after battling with the last one. Peter King spoke to both Sherman and 49ers GM John Lynch in his column.

2. Somewhat lost in the Browns-focused swirl, Panthers GM Marty Hurney continued his aggressive offseason, trading third-year corner Daryl Worley to Philadelphia for Torrey Smith in the hopes of providing Cam Newton with a big play receiver.

3. Three more veteran defenders could be hitting the free agency heap, as the Giants moved on from Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Bengals parted ways with Adam Jones, and the Steelers reportedly planned to cut Mike Mitchell.

4. The next big name to keep an eye on: Tyrann Mathieu.

5. Enough about the Browns, what do their deals mean for the rest of the QB market?

6. Sean McDonough won't be calling Monday Night Football this season, leaving ESPN with two chairs to fill.

7. Stoneman Douglas High School's quarterback was meeting with college recruiters when gunshots rang out. He committed that evening.

Have a story you think we should include in tomorrow’s Press Coverage? Let us know here.

THE KICKER

Is Reggie Wayne edging into Adam Schefter's turf?

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let the team know at talkback@themmqb.com

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

<p>INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.</p><p>“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.</p><p>The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.</p><p>“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”</p><p>This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.</p><p>“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”</p><p>Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.</p><h3><strong>The Team Suites</strong></h3><p>Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.</p><p>“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, <em>How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair?</em> Because of course they were at the tail end.”</p><p>This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.</p><p>Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.</p><p>Position doesn’t <em>really</em> matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.</p><p>“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).</p><p>But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.</p><p><strong><em>UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out <span>Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV</span>.</em></strong></p><h3><strong>Finish Line of the 40</strong></h3><p>When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.</p><p>When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.</p><p>Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.</p><p>“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).</p><p>Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.</p><p>The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.</p><p>“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”</p><h3><strong>Around the Stadium</strong></h3><p>One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).</p><p>“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, <em>Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet</em>. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”</p><p>Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.</p><p>“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”</p><p>John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”</p><p>Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.</p><p><strong><em>Question or comment? </em></strong><em>Email us at <span>talkback@themmqb.com</span>.</em></p>
True Secrets of the Combine Seating Chart

INDIANAPOLIS — Last Wednesday morning at 5 a.m., two sets of scouting interns were in the bowels of Lucas Oil Stadium, jockeying for position. Weigh-ins for the first group of prospects at the combine would take place later that morning, and the Browns and Chiefs were seeking to lay claim to the seats closest to the stage where over the next four days some 300 players would walk across shirtless and get their measurements taken.

“It was a battle between us and John to get our front row,” said Chiefs GM Brett Veach.

The front-row weigh-in tradition was started in Kansas City by former GM John Dorsey, who was fired by the Chiefs last year and hired in December by the Browns. So it’s no surprise those were the two staffs battling it out. It’s a rite of passage for the interns to wake up before dawn and head to the stadium to secure the coveted spots. “John had a couple tricks up his sleeve,” Veach said in good humor, but both teams ended up with seats in the front row.

“It’s kind of a representation of your staff,” Veach said. “We’re going to be here, we’re going to start early, we’re going to finish late. It’s more pride for what you do, a tone-setter.”

This is the combine in a nutshell: Every detail is carefully considered, right down to where people sit, on the off chance that it may matter in the slightest bit. The same is true for the on-field workouts, where team suites and positions at the finish line of the 40-yard dash are assigned via random drawing to ensure a level playing field, while many evaluators have specific seats around the stadium that they’ve claimed for years, determined by ritual as much as purpose.

“Habits,” said Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who has been attending the combine since 1986. “Just think about it this way: When I was teaching, kids would come in the first day, they’d sit in their spots, and I would never have to do a seating chart. They would be in the same seats every time. We are no different.”

Ask around the league, and there’s a method to the madness of who sits where and why. Here’s our scouting report on the rare part of the combine that you may not have heard much about—the seating chart.

The Team Suites

Three levels above the field, rectangular signs printed in the *NFL font* (you’d know the one we’re talking about) mark the suites that belong to each team for the four days of on-field workouts. The Colts, as the home team, always set up in the same suite, at midfield, next to the booth where NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Mike Mayock broadcast the event. Everyone else gets entered into a random drawing, about a month before the combine, for the order in which they’ll select their suite location. Measures have been taken in the past to make sure teams know that the drawing is, indeed, random.

“The first couple years we did it, we kind of laughed because we thought well, [the teams] are going to think we played favorites, so we actually videoed the drawing in our office,” says Jeff Foster, president of National Football Scouting Inc., which organizes the combine each year. “More for fun, but sure enough, one of the teams was like, How did you guys do this? Are you sure that this was fair? Because of course they were at the tail end.”

This year, Pete Carroll, whose Seahawks got the 31st pick of suites, half-jokingly grumbled about their position. “So I think I’m sitting close to the JW Marriott,” Carroll said, referring to the downtown hotel that’s more than a half-mile away. The first three picks belonged to Denver, Kansas City and Washington, and each club chose spots along the path of the 40-yard dash, which is run along one sideline from the goal line to the 40-yard line. The Seahawks, picking last, ended up on the opposite sideline and on the opposite 20-yard line.

Once Foster and his staff do the drawing, they call each team in order and ask them to pick their suite from those remaining, like in the old days when you’d call the box office to buy tickets for a show. Teams ask a lot of questions—namely, who’ in the suites right next to the one they’re interested in. Usually, Foster says, it’s because they want to be close to a certain team, rather than not wanting to sit next to someone. But for what it’s worth, only two sets of divisional rivals were seated next door to each other this year (Broncos/Chiefs and Bills/Jets). On the other side of the Bills was Carolina, where Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott and GM Brandon Beane both previously worked.

Position doesn’t really matter, because team staffers can venture down wherever they want to go in the stands to get a better look. But many head coaches and GMs stay up in the box, where they can watch close-ups and replays on TV, tap notes on computers and communicate with their staff. “Last year I needed to be in the suite, because I was still getting to know everyone,” said Anthony Lynn, now in his second year as Chargers head coach. “This year, too, because I just haven’t been around the scouts enough. I want to get to know them and relate to them. But eventually I want to get down, just for position drills. I could care less about [being close for] the 40.” Lynn took a seat at the high-top counter in the suite, between GM Tom Telesco and college scouting coordinator Kevin Kelly.

“There used to be a time, before the suites were allocated, when I would go down to the eighth row and sit and watch the floor exercises there,” said Dorsey, who has the the No. 1 and No. 4 draft picks this year. “But I can sit in the suites and still effectively do my job. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age.” (He was clearly joking).

But the skyboxes aren’t just about the action on the field. It’s common, too, for business to be conducted at the suite level, where executives can easily visit with other teams away from the peering binocular lenses. In 2016, the Rams and Titans took advantage of being in adjacent suites as they negotiated a trade for the No. 1 pick of the draft. “You go to the bathroom sometimes, and you see two guys talking, and you think, ‘I wonder what the hell they’re up to,’ ” said Vikings GM Rick Spielman.

UCF LB Shaquem Griffin lit up the combine. Want to learn more? Check out Andy Staples’s profile of the inspirational UCF linebacker on SI TV.

Finish Line of the 40

When a player crosses the finish line of the 40-yard dash at the combine, hundreds of eyes inside the stadium—not to mention the viewers at home—are fixated on him. Concentrated at the finish line are rows of area scouts, stopwatch in hand, many with one eye squinted as if they’re looking through a telescope lens to focus clearly on an object. The finish is electronically timed, but each team collects its own hand times, too. The closer you are to the finish line, the conventional scouting wisdom goes, the more accurate the time. So, yes, seat assignments at the finish line are also randomly assigned.

When teams arrive in Indianapolis on the Tuesday of combine week, there’s a personnel directors’ meeting at the National Football Scouting office on S. Capitol Avenue. As the team reps walk in, each picks up a blank envelope with a number from 1 through 32 inside. That’s their row assignment.

Each row at the stadium is marked with a laminated placard printed with the team’s helmet logo and name. The first three rows—this year, the Chargers, Washington and Cincinnati—are positioned on risers on field level, with four folding chairs apiece in each row. From there the teams go back row by row in the stands, filling up Section 141. Oakland pulled No. 32 this year.

“We have had teams that will trade numbers, and they will actually trade back,” Foster said. “I have never asked them what, actually, they are trading. Maybe they are trading a drink at the bar later at night.” (No one we talked to copped to such an exchange).

Each team places its scouts—as few as two to as many as five scouts—at the finish line. But others prefer to watch the combine’s marquee event from a different vantage point. Gettleman sits at the starting line with a notebook and mechanical pencil. “I like to just watch [the players] get ready,” he said. “I like that vantage point.” Sometimes he’s joined by his scouts; on Sunday morning, the day the defensive linemen and linebackers worked out, Giants scout Chris Pettit sat one seat over holding a Starbucks coffee cup. “Anybody who wants to be around a fat old man,” Gettleman said.

The best-known combine perch in the NFL is that of Tom Coughlin, man of consistency, who annually claims his seat at the 10-yard line of the 40-yard dash, eight rows up from the field. Chris Driggers, the Jaguars’ director of pro personnel, who has been with the team since 1994, held that seat for Coughlin during his first stint in Jacksonville, then through Coughlin’s 12 seasons with the Giants, one year at the NFL office, and now with Coughlin back in Jacksonville as the executive vice president of football operations. During the defensive line sprints, Jags coach Doug Marrone joined Coughlin at his spot.

“I can see the players line up,” Coughlin said. “I know the tension that goes along with performing well in that, and it puts me real close to seeing the athlete. And the 10s [the first 10-yard splits] are important to me, too. For most positions—you take the bigger positions—the 10s are really what’s most important. Some of the guys that are there now, like Doug Marrone, they’re interested in the 10s as well.”

Around the Stadium

One GM said he likes to go to the end zone to watch the offensive line drills. Another team’s PR director said its GM, who was spotted near midfield in the stands, would prefer not to divulge the reason behind where he sits. It could give away a competitive advantage, he reasoned. (“Paranoia in the NFL for $1,000, Alex.”) Rams GM Les Snead stays in the suite for the 40-yard dash, then sometimes ventures down to Row 4 or 5 in the stands during position drills. There’s something to be gained, he says, from watching how players perform and react live, or even how they’re interacting with other players while waiting in line for the vertical jump (Ex: Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, by our own observation, stood with his arms crossed and mentally taking notes as the first group of quarterbacks completed their throwing drills).

“That way you get as close to guys as possible,” Snead said. “There’s a few guys starred that you really want to see. You are always gathering intel, data, to put in the file to help you make a decision. I don’t know how much that piece of data weighs, but you are always making notes about something, and sometimes it’s not about just how they look working out. If you’re watching receivers, it’s how athletically the receivers are getting in and out of breaks, how far are they behind in college, because they’ve still got development to do. But also, let’s say a receiver dropped the ball; you might see some kind of language, Uh oh, he hasn’t forgotten it yet. Everyone is going to drop a ball, so the key is, it can’t bother you for the next time. It’s little things like that.”

Ozzie Newsome, Ravens GM since 2002, has a routine all his own. His perch is at the top of the stadium, in the visitors’ coaching booth in the press box, with a crew he’s sat with for decades: assistant GM Eric DeCosta; Bengals coach Marvin Lewis; former NFL head coach Ray Rhodes, in past years; and, until this combine, Rick Smith, who took a leave of absence in January from his job as Texans GM.

“I don’t want to give up our secret, but we have for years sat in the visitors’ press box, a group of about five or six, based on retirements and some guys getting fired or so forth,” Newsome said. “We’re down to just three right now. It’s right on the 40, and we get a bird’s eye view, and we also get the chance to have great conversations.”

John Lynch, second-year GM of the 49ers, is still honing his scouting routine. Last year’s suite placement was less than ideal, he recalled, but the 49ers got the eighth pick this year, and nabbed a spot right across from the finish of the 40-yard dash. “But I did find myself going, OK, Coughlin has been around a little while, and he sits there,” Lynch said. “I’m kind of a newbie here, so I was plotting.”

Most NFL evaluators likely didn’t put this much thought into a seating chart at their own weddings. But in the world of NFL scouting, every little detail is treated like it might make a difference—including where you sit.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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