The Schein Nine  

 

Combine gossip: Colin Kaepernick's future? Browns' next QB?

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It's March 1. Lying season is officially underway.

With the start of NFL free agency right around the corner -- Wednesday, March 9 at 4 p.m. ET, to be exact -- conversation heated up at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, with the league's coaches and execs flapping their gums faster than this year's crop of receiver prospects.

Let's look at some of the biggest headlines that emerged from Indy and separate rumor from reality, Schein Nine style:

1) Trent Baalke 'absolutely' expects Colin Kaepernick to be a 49er in 2016.

This one is dicey, but count me in on Kaepernick staying in San Francisco and having his $11.9 million base salary for 2016 guaranteed on April 1. Kaepernick and Chip Kelly both need each other to revitalize their sagging reputations. Seeking a trade is the wrong career move for Kap. Playing in Kelly's offense will give the 28-year-old QB a chance to show off his athleticism and arm strength. All he has to do is beat out Blaine Gabbert. Kaepernick should become an expert in Chip's attack and the leader of the Niners.

Really, where else would he go?

Cleveland, which owns the No. 2 overall pick, should draft a quarterback in April. Kaepernick doesn't seem to be Bill O'Brien's cup of tea in Houston. The Jets will have a better option under center if (when) they re-sign Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And even if Kaepernick wants a trade, why would Baalke pull the trigger? Sure, the relationship between Kaepernick and 49ers' brass apparently has soured, but Kelly can be the buffer. If you deal Kaepernick, you have to take a chance on the replacement.

Keeping Kaepernick in Frisco is logical. Hope he realizes it's the best thing for him, too.

2) John Elway says Denver will give Peyton Manning all the time he needs.

Elway got feistier as his news conference at Lucas Oil Stadium went along. I don't believe this for a second. I'm not waiting for a Manning decision -- I'm waiting for him to announce his retirement. It's holding up the business of negotiating a deal with Brock Osweiler, who should be entrenched as the Denver starter after beating the Patriots and winning divisional and prime-time games last year. He's a great fit in Gary Kubiak's offense.

Manning needs to retire so the Broncos can sign both Osweiler and the great Von Miller to long-term deals. Or else Elway will be forced to unceremoniously cut an all-time great. Just make the announcement, Peyton.

3) Doug Pederson loves Chase Daniel.

Actually, I think he really does -- in the right role. Daniel, a free agent who spent the last three seasons with the Chiefs as the backup QB in Pederson's offense, makes a ton of sense for Philly as a reserve/1B option, thus replacing Mark Sanchez.

Chase Daniel as the Eagles' unquestioned starter? Not so much.

The Eagles should re-sign Sam Bradford at a reasonable price (he doesn't have much market value) and entice Daniel (with Robert Griffin III as a backup plan) to be an injury away. After all, if you're an injury away from playing and you play behind Bradford ... Yes, you'll see action.

UPDATE: The Eagles and Bradford agreed to a two-year contract on Tuesday.

4) Les Snead downplays QB significance, builds a case for Case Keenum.

I couldn't stop laughing while watching Les on NFL Network.

Here's the truth: The Rams have one of the worst and most unsettled QB situations in the league. Yes, you need a QB to win. The Rams traded for -- and paid -- Nick Foles. Then Foles proceeded to get benched for Keenum. That's not good. And it's quite a waste, considering the defense the Rams have formed.

In a league where you need above-average quarterbacking and coaching, the Rams bring their baggage in both areas from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

5) Kirk Cousins is in the Redskins' long-term plans.

Yes, this must be true. Or, at least, I hope so ... There are two types of NFL teams: those that have a quarterback and those that don't. Redskins president Bruce Allen and GM Scot McCloughan said all the right things last week to the press about Cousins. Now show it.

Cousins added the ability, stability, likeability and availability that was sorely needed for Washington at quarterback. I don't want to hear about the small sample size, that this was only his first full year as a starter. Cousins took advantage of his first real opportunity and completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson coming back, with Jay Gruden having just fielded a top-10 scoring offense, you keep the band together. It's only everything.

UPDATE: The Redskins are placing the franchise tag on Cousins.

6) A Penn State reunion in Houston?

The draft is unpredictable. And Christian Hackenberg and O'Brien both praised each other while talking to the press in Indy.

Look, the Texans desperately need a quarterback. Carson Wentz, Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch could all be gone before Houston has the opportunity to make a pick. Isn't it logical to think O'Brien will target his old Penn State quarterback? I believe so. And it doesn't necessarily have to be with the No. 22 overall pick.

7) Hue Jackson knows what his new team needs.

Hue Jackson and Sashi Brown are going to add quarterbacks. That much is crystal clear, given their commentary at the combine. But by what method and how? Let me give you a thought, considering the upside for North Dakota State's Carson Wentz and Cleveland's absolute need for a franchise quarterback ...

I think Jackson grabs Wentz at No. 2. Hue was the quarterback coach for Baltimore when the Ravens plucked a kid named Joe Flacco out of Delaware in the first round. I think it's time to go the small-school route again, Mr. Jackson.

8) Jared Goff is right about his hands.

Goff having "small hands" means absolutely, positively nothing. He can play in the NFL. He can throw. He can lead. It won't affect his draft status.

If Cleveland goes with Wentz, I know a team that could use Goff ...

9) Jason Garrett says the Cowboys need to find Tony Romo's replacement.

He's right. And I'm a certified Tony Romo apologist.

Romo's great. He's elite. He also isn't healthy. The collarbone is a big problem, and so is his back. It sounds like he might need preventative surgery on the former. Good idea. Get right.

But still, Dallas should help the Cowboys of the future: Add insurance by taking a quarterback high in the draft, either in the first or second round.

Follow Adam Schein on Twitter @AdamSchein.

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