Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, in the latest End Around Mailbag.
Eli Manning seems to have fans in new head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman, but is it really possible that high hopes for the 37-year-old quarterback could lead Big Blue to pass on the golden opportunity of long-term continuity at the game's most important position? Here's your gift horse, sir. Please refrain from peering into its mouth.
Of course, the Giants have to actually be sold on the top passing prospects in this draft class. Maybe Darnold/Rosen/Allen/Mayfield/Jackson are all viewed as flawed options at No. 2. But if New York goes in another direction -- say, taking N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb -- and Sam Darnold (to use one example) turns into a superstar for another team (maybe even, gasp, the Jets!) Giants fans would never get over it.
The Fouts-Romo scale ... I like that.
Cutler is such a huge wild card, and I'd be really surprised if ESPN handed the keys to one of their most important enterprises to a guy with zero experience. Romo turned out to be something of a prodigy on television, and it's unfair to think that Cutler -- or anybody else -- could take to the job as easily or effectively as the former Cowboys passer did. My guess is that ESPN ends up going with a safer choice. Matt Hasselbeck makes sense; Randy Moss is a bit spicier. It won't be Rex Ryan, who flopped his Week 1 audition last September. The Worldwide Leader reportedly was hot for Peyton Manning, but that's not happening.
While we're here, let's pour one out for Sean McDonough, who's out after two years as the play-by-play guy for MNF. McDonough is an accomplished broadcaster who should find better prospects in his return to the college ranks for ESPN. McDonough was never a comfortable fit with Jon Gruden, who had far better chemistry with Mike Tirico, McDonough's predecessor. I wondered if McDonough would get a fresh start with Gruden back on the sideline, but ESPN made the understandable decision to go with a complete reboot. Unfortunately for McDonough, his MNF tenure will likely be most remembered for one regrettable call (see below). Tough business.
Given the history of both the current general manager and the organization as a whole, Kirk Cousins is the path to take. He represents a rarity in the sport -- an instant shortcut to long-term quarterback stability via free agency. The Jets haven't hit on a quarterback in the draft since Chad Pennington in 2000 (pipe down, Mark Sanchez truthers). Mike Maccagnan, meanwhile, still has that Christian Hackenberg stink -- an embarrassing misfire that should give both fans and upper management pause as to whether Big Mac has the right instincts behind center.
This is such a delicate and important time in Jets history. They are a "finalist" for Cousins, they hold the sixth pick in a draft that has a handful of fine quarterback prospects, and this is happening as Tom Brady muses on retirement and Jimmy Garoppolo cashes fat paychecks 3,000 miles away. This is the moment where the eternally star-crossed Jets can change their fortunes. Will they get it right?
Um, how about this: In about six weeks, you should have a top-15 roster with a short- and long-term answer at quarterback and one of the most exciting running back prospects to come into the league in the past 25 years. Oh, and your defense is way better than people realize, and the Ravens and Bengals seem closer to rebuilding than contending. I don't want to jinx this, but the Browns could jump their win total 800 to 900 percent next season.
I just jinxed them, didn't I? Sorry, Cleveland.
I'm still trying to figure out why the Jaguars didn't use the franchise tag on Robinson, a proven playmaker just entering his prime. Perhaps there's more to the story? Maybe Robinson's knee injury was more serious than we know. Perhaps Robinson and Blake Bortles are mortal enemies? Whatever the case, there could be double-digit teams bidding for Robinson's services this week.
By the way, don't get too down on Robinson based off the poor 2016 season that preceded his early-season knee injury in 2017:
On a lower profile, I'll go with Eric Decker, who never looked himself with the Titans last season following an offseason in which he was rehabbing surgeries on both his shoulder and hip. Turning 31 this week, I could see Decker enjoying a nice comeback season if he lands with the right team. Put him in the right offense with the right quarterback and Decker could look a lot more like the guy who went for 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns with the Jets in 2015.
Steve Wilks doesn't want or need my sympathy, but I was struck by the same realization as I watched Wilks address one roster question mark after another during his 15-minute press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine. Per Over The Cap, the Cardinals have $19 million in cap space, which puts them in the bottom third of the league. That doesn't help, but it shouldn't be completely prohibitive. It makes all the sense in the world for Arizona to make a big push for Robinson or Sammy Watkins, the top wideouts on the open market. If the Cards don't make a splash in free agency, wide receiver has to be a priority in the draft. While we're here, I think John Brown could be a low-cost/high-ceiling addition for some team, but one can understand why Arizona is ready for a clean break there.
'Til next time.