Mailbag: Odell Beckham the next Keyshawn Johnson?

Print

Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, in his latest mailbag.

If Ryan Tannehill can stay healthy, I think he will. It feels like everything is up for grabs in Miami right now, but a fresh start at quarterback is unlikely. For two big reasons:

1) The Dolphins hold the 11th spot in a draft in which it's conceivable that the four top quarterback prospects in this class -- Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield -- will be off the board in the first 10 picks. Hell, they could all be claimed after the Broncos pick at five. There are other enticing options beyond the Big Four -- Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Oklahoma State's Mason Rudolph come to mind -- but Miami brass will have to see something very special in that second tier to reboot the position.

2) It doesn't make a ton of sense for the Dolphins to give up on Tannehill just yet. Tannehill's season-wrecking knee injury last August has had the effect of wiping away the memory of his very good 2016 season, a career-best campaign that showed he had the goods to play in an Adam Gase offense. Gase bemoaned the absence of his top passer this week in Orlando during an appearance on the "Around The NFL Podcast," pointing out that he's "33 games in and [Tannehill's] played 13." Gase explained that Tannehill's future has not been a conversation piece for the Dolphins.

"I don't think we really had much discussion," he said. "We knew he was going to be our guy. We felt like we had made really big strides [in 2016] where if he stayed healthy, I'm not really sure how much better we would've got. That Arizona game was one of his best games of the year and unfortunately he got hurt. We were looking forward to seeing what would have happened."

Could it be a smokescreen? Of course. But to me, it sounded like Gase believes he has a quarterback and wants to see what's possible with a fully healthy Tannehill. Given that the Dolphins have serious needs on both sides of the ball, the top of their draft will likely be focused elsewhere.

Considering Reid hasn't collected a paycheck from the Eagles in half a decade, I'd say probably "no." But that doesn't mean the Eagles shouldn't be wildly thankful for The Godfather, whose fingerprints are all over this league like no other sideline roamer.

The answer there is an unequivocal "yep." Reid, by the way, is about to enter his 20th season as a head coach. He's done that without ever taking so much as a season off; 14 years in Philadelphia then a jump to Kansas City for the last five seasons and counting. That came after seven years as an offensive assistant under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay. Yeah, he's a lifer.

And while we're on the subject of Super Bowl rings, Reid did get one with the Packers, but he's still looking for that first elusive ring as a head coach. I asked him in Orlando if he'd give up a pinky toe if it meant a guaranteed Super Bowl victory in the next seven years. He did not hesitate in his answer.

"Right now."

Give Manziel credit: It took him a couple years, but he finally seems to be taking the idea of a career in professional football seriously. Better late than never, I suppose. I'm sure it was a bit surreal returning to Texas A&M pro day four years after he did the same thing prior to the Browns selecting him 22nd overall. NFL Network's James Palmer was in attendance at Manziel's 2014 pro day, and he told me it remains one of the craziest events he's ever attended. A DJ was spinning records, President George H.W. Bush made a surprise cameo and Manziel was absolutely lights out -- a ball never touched the turf.

This second go-around was a far more low-key affair, and that's clearly for the best, given the circumstances. And to answer your question: No, I don't think he's on a roster this year, but that doesn't mean it's over for JFF. A more realistic path: go to the CFL, do some damage, stay out of trouble (this is super important!) and then see if the NFL is ready to provide the chance to land a backup job somewhere. Remember, he's still just 25 years old.

A lotta livin' in that quarter century, of course.

Seriously, was this taken at the AFC Championship Game in January? Anyway, I can't imagine this would stop a team from drafting a player. Though it's easy to forget, these prospects are basically kids; most of them didn't have a driver's license five years ago. If anything, Allen might get a little more pop from the Football Cognoscenti, who want PLAYERS WHO LOVE THE GAME and THINK ABOUT FOOTBALL 24/7. Well, there's Josh Allen freezing his ass off in Foxborough. Sign me up!

This reminds me of a couple years ago, when some people in Los Angeles were rankled by the fact that Jared Goff was a fan of the San Francisco Giants, the forever rival of the hometown Dodgers. Different sport, but same general dynamic. As it turns out, Goff being a NorCal kid did not interfere with his ability to thrive as a professional in Los Angeles County. I doubt Allen's affection for Tom Brady would permanently sour Bills fans if he went to Orchard Park and became the next Jim Kelly.

Just an opinion, but I still feel it's very much in play. It has to be! The Eagles are playing this the right way, of course. They are letting it be known that Foles, a freshly minted Super Bowl MVP, represents the ultimate organizational security blanket as Carson Wentz works his way back from reconstructive knee surgery. And that's certainly true. But it doesn't trump the fact that a) Wentz has progressed well in rehab and is expected to be ready for Week 1; and b) Foles' trade value will never be higher than it is right now.

If I were Howie Roseman, I'd try like hell to make a trade. Is there a QB-needy team quietly looking to address the position before the draft? Will a contender get desperate if they lose their starter before Week 1? Who knows better about that scenario than Roseman, who got two picks -- including a first-rounder -- in the Sam Bradford trade that followed Teddy Bridgewater's stunning knee injury in September 2016?

And if we get to Week 1 and nothing materializes for Philly? Well, then you'll just have to live with having the best backup quarterback in the league ... again.

Marcus Peters is a great cornerback, but Odell Beckham is a generational talent at wide receiver. This can be easy to forget with all the extracurricular OBJ stuff that seems to have worn the Giants down, but a healthy Beckham cannot be covered. It remains difficult to imagine the Giants cutting ties with a 25-year-old Hall of Fame talent, but maybe there's more to the story than we know.

By the way, history is instructive here. Back in 2000, another New York team had a mercurial superstar wide receiver who was entering the final year of his rookie deal, wanted to be the highest-paid wideout in football and ended up getting traded right before the draft for two first-round picks.

Is Odell the new Keyshawn? Stay tuned.

'Til next time.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus. Send in your questions for the next mailbag.

Print