Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, about non-playoff teams in his latest mailbag. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. You are all offensive-minded young geniuses.
Oh yeah, we'll be rolling at a fairly brisk clip by the end of training camp. Maybe not quite at the velocity we saw during the summer of love in 2017, when the Bucs were "Hard Knocks" darlings and Jameis Winston was portrayed as an impish superstar-in-waiting. Reality television and actual reality proved to be very different, as we now know. Bruce Arians is a respected brand in the NFL, and I expect the Football Cognoscenti -- not to mention, the fantasy industry -- to get behind the idea of a Winston breakthrough campaign in 2019.
If you consider a playoff-or-bust organizational mentality a hot seat, then absolutely. And that's fair! The Vikings just wrapped up one of the most disappointing winning seasons in recent memory, and Zimmer sits in the big chair. One thing to keep in mind as we move forward: Don't confuse contract news this offseason -- Zimmer could get extended to wipe away his "lame-duck" status -- with actual job security. Zimmer and Kirk Cousins will both be under enormous pressure to win in 2019.
Don't bet on it. If the Vikings are looking to trade Cousins this time next year, that will probably mean we're coming off another season where the Vikings fell short. Cousins' value will undoubtedly be hurt by that. And let's not forget: Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million deal, every red cent of which is guaranteed. He'll be due a whopping $29.5 million in the final year of his deal. Cousins makes every team he plays for competitive. Problem is, he gets paid like a player who makes his team great.
That's the big question, isn't it? We all know everyone wants the next Sean McVay. But what does that mean? Well, you have to come from an offensive background. You need to be young. OK, those qualities are easy to find. But can you make players believe in you? Do you have the ability to navigate through internal team issues? Can you assemble a strong supporting staff? Can you co-exist with the front office? Can you manage a game? There's so much we don't know about these new coaches and we won't find out about any of it until their first seasons play out. That's what makes guys like Freddie Kitchens (Browns), Kliff Kingsbury (Cardinals) and Matt LaFleur (Packers) such big swings. Truth is, Sean McVays don't come along often.
I think your last two options are solid gold. I'd vote for Abhorrence for Lawrence just because it has the added benefit of teaching many people a new word. Education is so important. ICYMI: Trevor Lawrence is the true freshman quarterback for Clemson who turned Alabama into fertilizer in the College Football Playoff Championship Game. He has a huge fan in my NFL Media colleague Gil Brandt:
Gil has seen it all. He knows things. Lawrence won't be eligible to apply for early NFL draft entry until 2021. Has a team ever double-tanked?
The Steelers are in a very difficult position thanks to their tremendously gifted but undeniably annoying star wide receiver, Antonio Brown. If they trade Brown this offseason, as has been widely speculated since his Week 17 hissy fit, you send Ben Roethlisberger into his age-37 season without Brown or Le'Veon Bell, who will find a new home in free agency come March. If we can agree Big Ben has one-to-three prime years remaining, what is the logic behind completely rebooting his excellent supporting cast? If Roethlisberger was 27, I'd say shop Brown and build for the future. But the future is now for the Steelers and they'll be an undeniably weaker offense without Brown in 2019 and beyond. That's why it behooves the Steelers to try to break bread and smooth this over. A trade should be seen as a last resort -- but it doesn't sound like that's the case.
One outside-the-box idea: Trade everybody, including Big Ben. Accrue draft capital and cap space. Lose relentlessly for two years. Then -- you know where I'm going with this -- draft Trevor Lawrence in 2021.
No need for concern right now. I put Josh Rosen in the same category I had Jared Goff in for 2016 and Mitch Trubisky in for 2017 -- tremendous prospects who were drafted into bad situations and paid the price for it. In the case of Trubisky and especially Goff, a change at head coach was hugely beneficial. The Cardinals are paying attention. The Rams fired a head coach with a defensive pedigree (Jeff Fisher) and hired a promising young offensive mind (Sean McVay). The Bears fired a head coach with a defensive pedigree (John Fox) and hired a promising young offensive mind (Matt Nagy). And now the Cards have -- you guessed it -- fired their defensive-minded head coach (Steve Wilks) and replaced him with a promising young offensive mind (Kliff Kingsbury). We'll see if it works again.