Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, in the latest End Around Mailbag.
The Bills are wandering through the desert, afflicted with that quarterback thirst. This had to make news of the Jets' move up to No. 3 a grim development up at 1 Bills Drive. You can argue Buffalo was overly transparent in its draft plan, but not aggressive enough. Once the Bills traded up with the Bengals -- setting Buffalo up with the 12th and 22nd* pick in the first round -- it seemed an obvious prelude to another jump, likely into the top five. (*Yes, 22nd, not 21st. Clean it up, Jason.) This hypothesis appeared to be corroborated by two roster moves: the trade of Tyrod Taylor and signing of AJ McCarron, the latter move coming after Buffalo sat out the first wave of QB movement in free agency.
Remember in "Independence Day" when the alien spaceships were camped out above the White House and Empire State Building? Something was about to happen, and it was going to be very big. This was the Bills moving into position for their big draft gambit. To extend the ID4 analogy further: Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan is Jeff Goldblum, the guy who studied the data and figured out the motives of the enemy. So Maccagnan collected his dad -- actually, I don't have a Judd Hirsch comp here -- and beat the Bills at their own game, jumping into the third spot before Buffalo could strike. Checkmate.
The result? The Bills have leapfrogged the Jets as the most desperate team in this high-stakes game of musical chairs. If Buffalo trades with the Browns into the fourth spot, it's very possible three quarterbacks will be off the board by the time Rog steps to the podium to announce the Bills' pick. The smarter move is to target the No. 2 spot, a costly proposition that would put Giants general manager Dave Gettleman in an enviable position. According to the NFL Draft Value Chart, a very unofficial (but fun!) guide that assigns points to every pick, the second overall selection is worth 2,600 points. The Bills' 12th and 22nd picks have a combined point value of 1,980 points. In other words, Buffalo would probably have to sweeten the pot to get the deal done. It could look something like this: The Bills get the No. 2 in exchange for 12 and 22 (first round), 55 (second round) and 65 (the first pick of the third round).
Are they giving up a lot to move up 10 spots? Hell yes, but not one human in Western New York will complain if the Bills end up with a long-term answer at quarterback at the close of business on April 26.
The theory is wicked and delicious: Jon Gruden, still furious at the Raiders' decision to trade him to the Bucs almost two decades prior, signs a $100 million guaranteed contract with Oakland with the specific goal of tearing down the organization from within. A fun thought, but it's probably in Gruden's best interests to try to win a Super Bowl instead. That said, it's hard to say if the Raiders are a better team after the first week of free agency. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin is steady but brittle, safety Marcus Gilchrist and linebacker Tahir Whitehead are complementary players more than impact starters and Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin seem like big swings that could easily result in misses.
Ah, screw it. I'm on board with your "Jon Gruden is a revenge-obsessed agent of chaos and destruction" theory.
Yay, random ranking fun! Here's my order, based on the idea that my roster is otherwise solid and becomes a Super Bowl contender with the right guy behind center:
1) Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers' injury issues can no longer be ignored, but he's still one of the best of all time and should have several prime years remaining. Plus, I'd get to root for Aaron Rodgers. That would be awesome.
3) Andrew Luck: I came very close to sticking Luck at the bottom of this list for the simple reason that he might not be Andrew Luck anymore. So call this a bit of wishful thinking. Before his shoulder issues, Luck was one of the most talented and exciting quarterbacks in the league. We need more of those, not less.
4) Matt Ryan: I like Matt Ryan. But he killed my fantasy team last season and I'm a vengeful fake general manager.
By "you guys," I assume you mean the "Around The NFL Podcast." And yes, we did talk about Kaepernick's place in the free agency landscape. He would certainly provide an upgrade over some of the quarterbacks currently employed by NFL teams, but there's obviously more to this story. Including -- and this is not a minor situation -- Kaepernick's ongoing collusion grievance against the NFL. One thing we do know: Kaepernick's fight for social justice has not taken the place of his wish to play football. Josh Hidalgo, Kaepernick's trainer, posted videos of Kaepernick working out in Houston last week.
Kaepernick, 30, hasn't taken a snap in the NFL since January 1, 2017.
Almost impossibly, there is a precedent here. Back in 1982, Washington kicker Mark Moseley won league MVP honors following a season in which he converted 20 of his 21 field-goal attempts in a strike-shortened campaign. Several of his makes were in pressure situations for a Redskins team that went on to win the Super Bowl, but, I mean, c'mon. This must be why the creators of "Stranger Things" set the show in that time period.
To answer your question, I don't foresee any scenario in which a kicker could win the MVP in the modern era, so it's no use throwing out any hypotheticals. For instance, if Justin Tucker went 50 for 50 next season on a 12-4 Ravens team, he'd still have to settle for first-team All-Pro and perhaps team MVP honors.
If you want to learn more about that Mark Moseley fever-dream season, Bill Barnwell did a nice deep dive a few years ago.
Yes, Kriss, I can definitely see the Ravens making a splash. They are the sleeper team in this musical chairs game at QB. There have been whispers about Joe Flacco's future all offseason and our own Daniel Jeremiah mocked Baker Mayfield to the Ravens with the No. 16 overall pick earlier this month. (Personally, I'd be surprised if Mayfield lasted that long, but DJ knows a lot more than me.) Flacco is due a manageable $12 million in base salary this season; the real question is whether the 33-year-old has shown enough post-ACL tear to get a team excited about his future.
What we do know is that the Ravens could use a jolt to their franchise. Mayfield would certainly provide that.
How old are you? If you are a) over the age of 30 and b) a fan of the team for at least half your life, then you are already in too deep. There is no jumping ship. Pick up the violin and play.
'Til next time.
Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus. Send in your questions for the next mailbag. Use #EndAroundMailbag.