NFL

NFL AM: Titans Could Trade Top Pick In NFL Draft

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Tennessee Titans have had discussions about trading the top pick in the NFL Draft:

A season after selecting Marcus Mariota with the second-overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Tennessee Titans are sitting atop the 2016 draft. New Titans’ general manager Jon Robinson knows the importance of having the top pick, especially with his new team being so short on talent.

Robinson knows he needs to get the best value with the number one pick whether he makes the selection or trades it, as he’s already getting advice from Titans’ fans.

“Some guy told me the other day, ‘We need to take player X.’ I kind of laughed and said, ‘They’re all under consideration at this point,’ Robinson said via the Titans’ website. “I think they kind of understand the poker game that goes with it.”

Whether or not it’s just about a game of poker, Robinson says Tennessee has already had a couple of conversations about his willingness to trade the No.1 pick.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations here and there,” Robinson said. “I think it is really more kind of exploratory at this point,’’ he said. “As we get a little bit closer, a little bit more through the process with the combine and interviews and pro days, I expect there will be a few more exploratory calls, and there may not be. We’ll see.”

This is generally the conversation just about every year (although nobody believed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would trade their opportunity to draft Jameis Winston a year ago) but it’s very rare that teams trade the draft’s top pick because the price is too lofty.

For Tennessee, they have to ask themselves if they would be the first team to take less in exchange for the top pick, because it’s very unlikely that teams would part with the kind of package the Washington Redskins ponied up for Robert Griffin III, especially because of how that situation worked out. For Robinson, he has to figure out which action is best for his team’s “game plan.”

“I look at it much like a game plan,’’ Robinson said. “Coach (Mike) Mularkey and his staff, they put a game plan together and whatever they think is best for us as a team to win a football game … and they follow that plan. That is kind of where I’m at – taking everything into account and we’re going to put a game plan together based on the options that we have that we think are best for the team.”

Would they trade the pick?

Absolutely; while Tennessee won’t actually tell anyone what they’d prefer to do with the top-overall pick, everyone already knows. The Titans got their quarterback last season, but even with Mariota in the fold, the team had a league worst 3-13 record because the team is still very short on talent and depth.

The Titans don’t need a player; they need a lot of players. There’s no way to know if Robinson would like to be the young GM that throws the draft trade chart on its head, but he’d have to be willing to accept a less aggressive package for the top pick if he wanted to move it. If the new Titans’ GM could add additional picks in this draft, and possibly even an extra first rounder for 2017, there’s almost no question that he’d jump all over it. He’d be foolish not to.

Would a team trade up to the pick?

Nope. It’s really that simple. The Titans would be sitting on a pot of gold if there were another Winston or Mariota in this draft, because quarterback desperate teams would be lining up to talk to Robinson because they know quarterback won’t be the pick in Tennessee.

Are teams going to trade up to the top pick in the draft for Carson Wentz?  A couple weeks before the scouting combine, it doesn’t seem likely. There just isn’t the kind of player in this draft that a team is going to give up a ton of assets to move up and select. If Robinson really wants to move the pick, he’ll have to consider making a history-making trade by accepting a package far below that of other first picks. Is that a risk the young GM can afford to take? Only he can answer that.

Stephen Ross with high praise for Adam Gase:

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is tired of losing, and he felt this offseason he needed to do something different. He didn’t want another retread head coach who had been there and done that, but never really did it well enough. His solution? Find himself a young coach ready to take over the world, and he believes he’s done just that.

“Instead of getting a retread that really hasn’t had a great track record as head coach, I was looking for somebody that really could be the next, if you will, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells,” Ross said Monday, via the Palm Beach Post. “You know, really great head coach, and I think we got one.”

The idea of having a Belichick or Parcells type of head coach in Miami is like music to the ears of Dolphins fans who long for the days when Don Shula and his team was the gold standard.

Gase has been a hot name the last two years when the coaching carousel has begun until he finally signed with Miami, but Ross’s comparisons to a pair of guys who will have a bust in Canton for the rest of eternity set lofty expectations for the youngest head coach in franchise history before he’s ever coached a game in the NFL.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about those comments for Dolphins fans would be the assumption that Ross was prepared to show patience with his new head coach and the process if he expects Gase to become and all-time level head coach.

The idea that Ross and the Dolphins would give a guy the opportunity to build an institution like Belichick has in New England would be a really refreshing thought for fans in Miami.

However, Fins fans won’t have the luxury of knowing their owner will be patient with his new coach, because as soon as Ross said, “I think we got one,” in regards to trying to find a great head coach, the Dolphins’ owner also made it clear he won’t be patient with Gase.

“After three years, if we haven’t made the playoffs, we’re looking for a new coach,” Ross said. “That’s just the way it is. The fans want it.”

That’s the way the fans want it? That’s your reasoning for running a coach out of town every couple of years?

Congratulations Dolphins fans, you’ve got an owner who will call Adam Gase the next great thing in head coaching before he’s coached a single snap for you, and then threaten to fire him if things don’t work out immediately. In short, you’re screwed.

NFL expected to raise salary cap by at least 12 million:

NFL reporter Rand Getlin reported Monday that the league is expected to raise the 2016 salary cap to at least $155 million, which is $12 million more than teams had to work with in 2015.

For free agents, this is great news as they’ll be able to use the higher cap numbers to negotiate for more money. For teams, this is great news as they’ll have more money to play with when attempting to improve their roster. For some, the bump just helps them get out of the red.

Tuesday is the first day the franchise tag can be applied, and players like Von Miller, Josh Norman and Eric Berry can expect to be among the players tagged if their teams can’t come to terms with them on a new deal. The expanded cap won’t help these players if they’re tagged, but it could help teams find a way to come to terms on a long term deal.

It will be interesting to see where the final number lands as the report says the league will raise the cap by “at least” $12 million. While it seems the more the merrier when it comes to a bump in the cap, the shift could hurt teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Oakland Raiders who are sitting on tons of cap room.

While Oakland and Jacksonville still have the funds to outbid anyone, the added cap room for teams that were more cash strapped will allow them to become players with free agents that they may not have been able to afford without the added room. If the money is close, players may not choose to play with the Jaguars or Raiders.

While it could make things a little more competitive for teams with a lot of cap space, the reality is the more money teams have to work with, the better. In a perfect world, teams wouldn’t have to cut players for salary reasons, but with the way contracts are written that will never be a reality.

The cap is a complex and frustrating animal, and it’s a big part of what makes a team a winner or loser. Hopefully a little extra cash will make everyone’s job just a little easier.


About Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan

Pat Donovan has covered the NFL for almost a decade and is a host and producer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers radio flagship 620WDAE/95.3FM. Pat covers the NFC South and NFC East for Football Insiders. Follow him on Twitter, @PatDonovanNFL.