The Schein Nine  

 

Drew Brees, Philip Rivers head NFL Annual Meeting's hot topics

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The 2015 NFL Draft's just a month away and, not surprisingly, rumors are flying out of the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

Oh, how I love the silly season.

Let's separate fact from fiction in a sizzling edition of the Schein Nine ...

1) 'Anybody who thinks we're trading Drew Brees, that's just not true.'

That's what New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis told USA TODAY Sports' Jim Corbett on Monday, essentially blowing this chatter off as a media creation. Of course, Loomis and Co. have given the media plenty to speculate on with their bold actions this offseason, most notably the stunning trade of Jimmy Graham as the new league year officially opened. The MMQB's Peter King provided compelling intel on how that blockbuster deal evolved:

Over the weekend, this simple conversation between Seattle GM John Schneider and New Orleans GM Mickey Loomis took place:
Schneider: "Anything off limits?"
Loomis: "No."

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Nothing's off limits? Yeah, that's catnip for the 24-hour news cycle.

Here's what I believe:

I don't think New Orleans will trade Brees -- at least, not right now. The Saints still think they can win with him under center. That said, I do think it's possible New Orleans could look to snag a quarterback of the future at some point in the draft. And if the team misses the playoffs for a second consecutive season, then yes, I think Brees and his lofty price tag will be very much available.

Though I did have to chuckle at Brees telling NFL Network's Alex Flanagan he was "as shocked as everyone else" in the wake of the Graham trade -- as if he didn't know taking every penny would hurt the Saints.

If only someone saw this day coming a few years ago ...

2) While we're talking QB trades ... Is Philip Rivers on the block?

Rivers raised eyebrows last week when he declared that he'd rather play out his contract in 2015 than proactively work on an extension with the Chargers this offseason. This immediately stoked trade talk in media circles, but GM Tom Telesco poured cold water on that line of thinking Monday.

"It's not even on our radar," Telesco said, via ESPN.com's Eric Williams. "He's a Charger."

I believe Telesco -- I don't think San Diego sells now. While I believe that somehow snatching up Marcus Mariota would, in theory, make sense for the Bolts, dealing Rivers would be equivalent to waving the white flag on 2015. For professional and political reasons, that doesn't translate. I think, as Telesco said, Rivers is a Charger in 2015.

But in 2016? All bets are off.

3) The Adrian Peterson saga rolls on.

There is no end in sight to this offseason stalemate. Late last week, Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, rejected a dinner request by the Minnesota Vikings. Then on Monday, Dogra said it is not in Peterson's best interest to play for the Vikes.

To be honest, I think it's absurd that a player who remains on the Commissioner's Exempt List after pleading no contest to child endangerment charges is driving the bus here. Head coach Mike Zimmer has repeatedly expressed his desire that Peterson stay in Minnesota.

Right now, I see Peterson playing for one of two teams in 2015: the Vikings or, if that situation is truly beyond repair, the Cardinals.

4) Ryan Tannehill, a 100 Million Dollar Man?

According to reports by the South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Dolphins have engaged in internal discussions about a six-year Tannehill contract worth more than $100 million. I'm sorry, but this cannot happen. As the quarterback's rookie contract winds down, the Dolphins have to Flacco it. (I can use "Flacco" as a verb, right?)

Tannehill is still a question mark, not a guy you can comfortably toss nine figures at. Flacco, of course, famously led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl title in his contract year, consequently earning a monster deal.

Now, I'm not saying Tannehill has to bring home the Lombardi Trophy in 2015, but he has to show significant improvement, week in and week out. If he plays lights out, Miami will be thrilled to hand him the big bucks. But doing so right now, before this pivotal season for the former first-round pick, would be an error, an unnecessary rush to judgment.

5) The Buccaneers are considering non-quarterbacks with the No. 1 pick.

Lovie Smith made the rounds on Monday, insisting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren't absolutely locked into taking a quarterback with the first overall pick on April 30.

"I just know I can see why people would assume that we are going to take a quarterback," Smith told NFL Media's Steve Wyche. "There are two excellent quarterbacks that are available at the top. And when you get a chance to draft someone like that, most of the time, people do. But there are other good players in the draft also. I think it's a deep draft."

Mock drafters across America have the Bucs taking Jameis Winston on draft night. I wrote a column last month explaining why I thought Tampa Bay should pass on the Florida State product. Personally, I'd take a long look at USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams, who could combine with Gerald McCoy to make a devastating duo on the defensive front. I'm continually mystified by Tampa's apparent refusal to give Mike Glennon a real shot at holding down the quarterback position. But it just doesn't seem like that is going to happen. As I said in that column, if the Bucs are dead set on taking a QB, Mariota would be my choice.

But I think they've locked into Winston, which is a mistake, in my estimation. Remember, this is a franchise that spent a first-round pick on Josh Freeman, then grew tired of his immature act and moved on. Does Tampa really want another questionable character? Is Winston ready to receive the keys to a franchise? For the sake of the great Bucs fans, I hope the mock drafts are wrong.

6) 'Geno's probably way ahead of (Mariota) at this point, believe it or not.'

Those were the words of New York Jets owner Woody Johnson on Monday afternoon.

I mean, Geno Smith has two NFL seasons under his belt -- he had better be ahead of Mariota.

But in those two seasons, Smith hasn't played well and has demonstrated many examples of immaturity, from missing team meetings to yelling expletives at fans.

Look, solely blaming Geno for the Jets' recent woes is wrong. He certainly hasn't had the best supporting cast around him. Brandon Marshall will help.

Having said that, you don't pass on Marcus Mariota because you have Geno Smith. That's just illogical.

7) The Giants are comfortable letting Eli Manning play out his contract.

That news comes via a report from ESPN.com's Dan Graziano. And you know what? This is a smart play by Big Blue. It's the only play.

No quarterback has turned the ball over more in the last five years than Eli. Sure, it's not all on him. But he hasn't played a consistent brand of football in years.

Nobody will ever ask Manning to give back the two Super Bowl rings he's earned. But that doesn't mean the Giants should overpay for past accomplishments.

Plus, do we know -- concretely -- that Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese will be back in 2016? Will the same offense be in place? There's a lot that needs to play out here. The Giants are smart to let it happen.

8) Rex Ryan on Bills' QB competition: 'It's going to be open.'

Yes, that's what Buffalo's new coach said last week. I'm just not buying it, Rex.

EJ Manuel cannot play. And Tyrod Taylor is Tyrod Taylor.

In his first year on the job, Ryan is building this team to win now. Whether or not Matt Cassel proves to be the long-term answer, you can bet he will be the starter in Week 1.

9) What constitutes a catch? Who knows ...

On Monday, NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said there wouldn't be an overhaul of the catch rule. He did outline some changes in the language that he hoped would provide more clarity. Unfortunately, I'm still completely lost here. And according to Blandino, the infamous Dez Bryant play is still not a catch.

My head hurts.

Dez Bryant caught the ball. No matter the wording, he caught the ball.

How about common sense from the officials? Or, at least, less ambiguous descriptions.

Basically, nothing was resolved. Oh, good!

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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