The QB position is easily the hardest position to project for scouts as it pertains to the NFL Draft. Sometimes scouts miss big, sometimes they strike gold in the form of an elite quarterback who can lead their respective franchises for years to come.
That was the case in the 2012, 2016 and 2017 NFL Drafts, as the Seahawks, Cowboys and Texans all seemed to land their franchise quarterbacks. RW3, Dak, and Deshaun Watson all blossomed into All-Pro quarterbacks. But this off-season has brought a lot of uncomfortable moments for each player and their franchises. When the season rolls around again, one or more of these quarterbacks will be on another team.
Dak got his money, but not after a lengthy contract negotiation that had its share of public feuds and bad blood. And Jerry Jones isn’t shy about saying he feels like he overpaid for Dak.
Everybody had an opinion and it became the polarizing story of the offseason.
Is it a coincidence that all three of these QBs are African-American?
In Seattle, Russell Wilson was drafted to a team that relied heavily on its dominant defense and power running game at that time to win games. But adding a playmaker in the mold of Wilson surely made things that much easier as the Seahawks went to back-to-back Super Bowls, winning and losing one.
Playing on a rookie deal and being a 4th round draft pick helped the Hawks maintain their defensive pieces as the QB position wasn’t taking up a huge chunk of their salary cap. Then came the time to pay Wilson and with his big pay increase came rough decisions in other spots. Seattle traded away a lot of the core pieces, weakening the team.
Wilson, however, got better. In his nine seasons, he’s led the Seahawks to 98 wins, the most in the NFL, and the playoffs in eight of his nine NFL seasons.
But he’s also been the most sacked and hit signal-caller in the NFL during that timeframe.
His wizardry and off-schedule playmaking is the only reason he probably isn’t injured much at all. The three years he has left on a four-year $140 million extension he signed in April of 2019, provides a life of financial protection but the green doesn’t help him from getting blown up on Sundays.
The money and his unrivaled escapability don’t for one minute mean he likes taking all those shots weekly. But when he made it known via his agent that he wanted some changes to ensure his safety, the team pushed back and pretty much shut it down at first.
He’s also married to music star Ciara. I believe she has some say so in this decision to come forth with his complaints about the roster and how they can better the team while keeping him upright more often. The offensive line has never been that good, but his ability to extend plays and make plays has always bailed them out.
Russ Wants Out
As the Russell rumblings heated up, his agent gave the team four places he’d accept a trade to and they were Dallas, Las Vegas, Chicago and New Orleans. Surprisingly, Seattle has been open to trade discussions for their Top 5 NFL quarterback.
The #Seahawks want to trade QB Russell Wilson as much as Wilson wants out of Seattle. It’s much worse than what we’ve been led on to believe. This is out of left field. Just a few weeks ago, no one would have imagined this. pic.twitter.com/t1NFVh5O7e
— Eric Davis (@EricDavisSports) March 11, 2021
In reality, the Seahawks should be open to anything Wilson may want considering they’re a 5-11 team at best without him. In the end, I expect them to get this sorted out and Russ to remain in the Pacific Northwest.
If this were Matt Hasselback it would have been done. If this was any other white quarterback, history tells us that extending Russ or giving him whatever he needs to be comfortable would be a top priority, However, it seems that Black quarterbacks still have to jump through hoops to get the proper pay and respect.
Rumors have Russ going to the Chicago Bears so far.
Dak Gets Paid…Finally
Let’s take a journey to Dallas. In 2016 the Cowboys selected Dak Prescott in the fourth round, with the mindset that he’d be the backup to then starter Tony Romo.
But things changed quickly as Romo was injured in the preseason and Prescott was thrust into the starting role. All he did was lead the Cowboys to a (14-2) record and homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
The belief was Romo would return the following season and Dak would fall back into the backup role, but Romo retired with back injuries that off-season meaning this was now Dak’s team going forward. But for some reason, I don’t believe the Jones family ever looked at him as their franchise quarterback. Despite his All-Pro caliber offensive production, he was more of a stopgap in their opinion.
Even after that (14-2) season, I believe they felt the team’s success was more a product of an excellent offensive line and the emergence of the 2016 fourth overall pick Ezekiel Elliott at running back.
Yes, that played a major role, but let’s not act as if Prescott was chopped liver. He played smart, tough and with poise, you don’t usually see from a quarterback. Especially one who played in a run-first system in college at Mississippi State.
Each year he got better and better, and you could see the light come on as it pertained to his passing ability, and especially his deep-ball accuracy.
Each off-season you’d hear the same echoes concerning whether or not Jerry Jones and the Cowboys would go ahead and lock him up for the long haul. But they kept delaying it, as the market for their franchise quarterback continued to rise with every great performance.
He came backfiring on all cylinders in 2020-21, as he was forced to put up monstrous numbers through five games to try and offset an atrocious defense, before being lost for the season due to injury.
Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending injury in a Week 5 win over the Giants. But from Weeks 2 through 4 of the 2020 season, Prescott threw for 1,424 yards, easily breaking Tom Brady’s #NFL record for a three-game span. (Brady passed for 1,327 yards over three games in 2011.)
— Elias Sports Bureau (@EliasSports) March 9, 2021
The team fell flat on its face, once Dak was lost for the remainder of the COVID season, despite having some of the best talent in the NFL. They finished 6-10 in a division that was downright putrid. All that did was show how valuable Prescott really was to their success, and it made contract negotiations swing his way by a mile.
I truly thought they’d franchise him or trade him as rumors suggested. But in shocking fashion, the Cowboys finally signed Prescott to a 4-year $160M contract, making him the second-highest-paid QB in the league behind Patrick Mahomes.
Is he worth it? Who knows, but when you’re a top-flight QB, the saying goes “QB Who Can Play Own The Pay.” Dak turned down $33.5M a season at 5 plus years to get a shorter deal for more guaranteed money.
Some say the only reason Jerry paid Dak is that the Cowboys are about to ink a billion-dollar TV deal and paying Dak top dollar wouldn’t hurt the overall bottom line that much.
Texans Come Up Small With Deshaun
So Dak stays in the state of Texas, where they say “Everything Is Bigger.”
Well, the way the Texans have done business the last few seasons, that may resonate true if the “bigger” we are talking about refers to the dysfunction, lying and blatant racism spewed by late owner Bob McNair as it pertained to Colin Kaepernick taking a knee in response to social injustice and police brutality against African-Americans.
This franchise drafted Deshaun Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, when the franchise’s ownership was one of the more outspoken oppressors when it came to denouncing NFL players for their protests against systemic racism and heightened police brutality.
The Texans’ ownership put their Black quarterback in a difficult spot. Watson decided to lay low and not be as outspoken as he wanted to be. Watson has persevered and played great in “H-Town” amidst all the controversy within the franchise, hell they even traded their best player (wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins) in what looked like a race-related move IMO, and now Watson wants to be traded.
Rumors swirled that head coach Bill O’Brien had a problem with the star players’ children and their mother being around the team. Would this have been the case if this player were caucasian? I highly doubt it and that’s the sad part. That took away a vital piece for his young Uber talented QB who’s just scratching the surface in Houston.
With DeAndre Hopkins and JJ Watt reunited in Arizona, I'm officially a Cardinals fan on loan until the #HoustonTexans fire Easterby and start repairing the damage done by him, Cal McNair, and Bill OBrien pic.twitter.com/3yRptp3Tbf
— Milton Lawson (@citizenmilton) March 1, 2021
After firing O’Brien the team promised to keep Watson abreast of discussions on hiring a new head coach, but while he was on vacation they hired a new GM and then he subsequently hired a new head coach a couple of weeks later, much to Watson’s chagrin.
I’m not saying players should be able to run the front office, but the franchise QB who just put his faith in the franchise by re-signing for $156M, should be kept in the loop about something so important to him and the team.
And yes they put faith in him by giving him the contract, but he’d shown them much more stability than they’ve shown him by the actions and moves made prior to him re-signing. On top of that, they let the franchise’s greatest defensive player, JJ Watt, walk without even trying to get anything in return for his services — another blow to Watson.
Watson Wanted Bieniemy, Houston Didn’t Care
Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy would’ve been the perfect hire for the Texans if they really cared about maximizing Watson’s potential to the fullest. Bieniemy’s success with Kansas City made him an obvious choice to further develop Watson who even consulted Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes for some intel on Bieniemy. Watson wanted Bieniemy to be the HC.
Texans unfathomably didn’t even interview Bieniemy until after they heard Watson was upset about the direction of the team. Then they still hired who they wanted. As of last week, Watson reiterated to new head coach David Culley a Black HC) that his trade request hadn’t changed and has become even more solid.
This is a guy who could win multiple championships in the NFL and has only gotten better each season of his NFL career. The Texans are playing old-school hardball, adamant they won’t trade him although he vehemently wants out. In the end, I think he gets his wish, even if he has to sit out and miss training camp or even games. Houston’s leverage will dissipate as time goes on and the losses mount up.
In the end, it just shows how NFL front offices operate and when you go against the corporate decision-makers while being Black it becomes a bigger story than it ever would be for your white counterparts.
Guys like Tom Brady and others come to town and the front office makes sure they have everything in tow to compete while gladly doing it. But again these are three African-American QBs who are at the top of their game and things aren’t or haven’t moved nearly as smooth for them.