The Debrief  

 

Combine Debrief, Day 2: Winners and losers

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Finding a starting offensive tackle or quarterback will be difficult this offseason. Finding a talented wide receiver gets easier by the day.

The tastiest nugget to emerge Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine was the availability of Saints receiver Brandin Cooks in a possible trade. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Cooks is already receiving interest from the Titans and Eagles.

The names involved don't come as a huge shock. Despite two 1,100-yard seasons, Cooks and the Saints have struggled to figure out his role in the offense. The Titans and Eagles have been mentioned as likely suitors for big-name free-agent wideouts, with the loser in this derby likely being among the favorites to land Alshon Jeffery when he hits free agency.

It's become clear here at the combine that big-name wide receivers DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Britt and Kenny Stills are all unlikely to re-sign with their current teams before free agency. That makes any team with a wide receiver need an early winner from this week in Indianapolis.

After nearly 50 press conferences from general managers and coaches over the last two days, let's take a look at some other winners (and losers) below:

Winners

Mike Glennon: With so many potential quarterback trade candidates coming with high price tags or looking likely to stay put, Glennon's status as an unequivocal free-agent-to-be sets him apart. Rapoport reported this week that the Bears and Jets are both expected to go after Glennon. These are two teams in desperate need of a starting quarterback going after the same guy, which will only raise Glennon's price tag. Don't be surprised if he gets money in the same annual ballpark as what Ryan Fitzpatrick received last season, around $12 million. That appears to be the going rate for a starter who hasn't proven he's a starter.

Mitch Trubisky: Football is a game of inches, even during the scouting process. For North Carolina prospect Mitch Trubisky, one inch could be worth millions of dollars.

New 49ers general manager John Lynch said Trubisky "made himself some money today, I promise you," by measuring about an inch taller than some had speculated Thursday. It sounds silly in this era of Drew Brees (6-foot) and Russell Wilson (5-11) that one inch could make such a difference, but Lynch isn't the only one who thinks this way.

When Browns coach Hue Jackson learned Trubisky measured over 6-2, his face lit up.

"I think that's great! It's good that he's over 6-2. We all have a profile for what we like a quarterback to be ... I like a guy that is a little taller, and he is over 6-2, so that's great for him," Jackson said.

This came on the same day The Plain Dealer reported Trubisky is in the mix for possibly being made the No. 1 overall pick by the Browns. NFL Network's Mike Silver reported the Browns are likely to draft Texas A&M defensive tackle Myles Garrett No. 1 overall but are looking to add a veteran quarterback and a rookie.

"The [quarterback] he likes the most right now, Hue [Jackson] does not believe will be there at [No.] 12," Silver reported, referencing the second of Cleveland's first-round draft picks.

Connecting the dots, it seems Trubisky could be the apple of Jackson's eye.

Whoever prepped DeShone Kizer for the combine: Lynch said Thursday the Notre Dame prospect "blew the doors off" in his 15-minute interview with the 49ers. Lynch showed an enthusiasm and honesty on the podium that I hope he doesn't lose after a few times around the league with surly reporters.

Lynch said it was "somewhat liberating" to have no quarterbacks on the roster, so that the team could start from scratch. That's putting a positive spin on a dire situation. He indicated the team will look to add a rookie and a veteran, which almost goes without saying. Lynch also spoke very positively about Colin Kaepernick, saying the door is open for a possible return for Kaepernick -- who is opting out of his contract -- in a very "real way." Kaepernick could land back in San Francisco with a backup's contract if he strikes out elsewhere.

Aaron Donald's agent: A mega extension should be coming for the Rams defensive tackle. Rams general manager Les Snead said he was excited about how Donald would be used in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' system.

"Let's be honest here, Aaron's sitting pretty," Snead told reporters off to the side after his podium session Thursday. An extension, he said, is "definitely coming. The guy deserves a raise, no doubt."

Veterans staying put: The news this week is often about which players are changing teams, but we learned about many veterans who won't be going anywhere. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn confirmed that Antonio Gates remains a big part of the team's plans. GM Tom Telesco also wants to bring Danny Woodhead back before he hits free agency and sounded optimistic about getting a deal done. Kyle Williams is staying with the Bills despite speculation to the contrary. The Lions indicated linebacker DeAndre Levy will be retained at his current salary.

DeAndre Hopkins, who is entering the final year of his contract, is in line for an extension, according to GM Rick Smith. Coach Bill O'Brien was downright defensive when a reporter noted Hopkins' diminished production, essentially absolving Hopkins from any blame for his relative struggles.

Losers

Washington Redskins: The Washington front office didn't see where the quarterback market was headed, as Chris Wesseling noted on Thursday's Around the NFL Podcast. If they did, they could have completed a long-term extension for Kirk Cousins a year ago. Instead, they will likely pay him nearly $24 million for the 2017 season on the franchise tag with no guarantee he'll be on the team in 2018.

GM Scot McCloughan is not in Indianapolis after a death in the family, amid various reports about dysfunction in the team's front office.

The defensive line is as thin as any group in football, and the defense as a whole needs talent badly. Two former Redskins coordinators have earned head coaching jobs elsewhere (Sean McVay with the Rams and Kyle Shanahan with the 49ers), giving the team more competition for impending free agents like DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. The Redskins are having high-class problems without the playoff success that usually leads to them.

Free agent running backs: Guys like Eddie Lacy and Latavius Murray have watched the market get flooded with other big names, such as Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, this week. Meanwhile, coaches and general managers have uniformly sung the praises of this deep rookie running back class, with Eagles GM Howie Roseman calling it potentially "historic." All this supply is going to depress prices for running backs.

Adam Gase's blood pressure: The second-year Dolphins coach leads the league in facial expression variety behind the podium. It's a treat to listen to how blunt he is about his players.

On receiver DeVante Parker's need for maturity: "It's one of those things that some of us that have been around some really good players take for granted. ... It's a trust level with everybody in the building. If you tell somebody you're going to be there at 11 o'clock to lift, be there. Don't call in and 'Hey, I'm not going to show up today.' "

On free agent receiver Kenny Stills' chances for returning to the team: "One day I feel good about it, one day I feel like crap about it."

On free agency: "I hate free agency."

Rams who no longer fit: Receiver Kenny Britt seemingly had a lifetime contract while Jeff Fisher was in the building. Now that Fisher is gone, Rams GM Les Snead didn't sound too enthused about retaining Britt when asked Thursday. Safety T.J. McDonald, meanwhile, may be the third Rams starter in the secondary to leave in two years, given that McDonald is not a fit in new coordinator Wade Phillips' system. It wouldn't be a surprise to see old buddy Gregg Williams snap up McDonald in Cleveland.

Current Seahawks starting offensive linemen: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said they were going to attack addressing the offensive line in free agency "very aggressively and very actively," which sounds like a Seahawks slogan waiting to happen.

Terrelle Pryor's chances of returning to the Browns: Browns VP Sashi Brown's words that the team wouldn't "panic" if Pryor leaves via free agency caught my attention. It's the type of quote you hear when two sides are far apart in negotiations. It would be a shame if the Browns let Pryor go after turning former quarterback into a star receiver.

"Hopefully he'll make the right [decision] and stay here with us," coach Hue Jackson said Thursday with a nervous laugh.

After two days of playing chicken with the media here, teams will reveal their true intentions soon enough.

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