The Seahawks Hired Mike Macdonald To Be The New Head Coach

Did the Seahawks just hire the best head coaching candidate available?

It’s interesting to go through the list of current NFL head coaches – in order of year hired – and see the different head coaching classes. When the Commanders finally get their asses in gear, 19 of the 32 head coaches will have been hired in 2022 or later. WELL over half of all head coaches have been in their current jobs for 2 seasons or less.

There are currently only three from the 2021 class: Dan Campbell (whose stock is as high as can be, in spite of some questionable decisions in the NFC Championship Game), Robert Saleh (who feels like he needs a HUGE 2024 with a healthy Aaron Rodgers and probably a deep playoff run if he still wants to be with the Jets in 2025), and Nick Sirianni (who took the Eagles to the Super Bowl in year two, only to almost get fired in year three).

The 2020 class has just two members: Mike McCarthy (in desperate need of a deep playoff run to save his job) and Kevin Stefanski (who probably earned Coach of the Year with the job he did with the Browns in 2023). There’s two left from 2019: Zac Taylor & Matt LaFleur (not going anywhere). No one from 2018. Pretty big three from 2017: Sean McDermott, Sean McVay, and Kyle Shanahan. Then, you have to go back to the Old Guard: 2013 – Andy Reid, 2008 – John Harbaugh, 2007 – Mike Tomlin.

So, what does that tell us? Unless there’s a VERY big surprise looming, there are currently seven members of the 2024 class of new head coaches: Raheem Morris (Atlanta), Dave Canales (Carolina), Jim Harbaugh (Chargers), Jerod Mayo (New England), Brian Callahan (Tennessee), Mike Macdonald (Seahawks), and whoever the Commanders hire. What the above tells us is that in three years, over half of these guys aren’t going to hit.

How to predict where it’s going to work and where it isn’t is kind of a fool’s errand. Canales seems like a longshot to be good. He’s going to the least stable franchise of the bunch (with a crazy owner, a legitimately bad team, and no first round draft pick this year), he’s coming off of only a year as a coordinator, and he just has the feel of a guy who took a job nobody else wanted (I wonder if the same will be said for whoever Washington hires). I’m always leery of the Head Coach In Waiting, ever since it went so poorly with Jim Mora Jr. in Seattle. Seems like Mayo has a huge job ahead of him to right the ship in New England. And I’ll be honest, I had no idea the Titans hired Callahan – or even who Callahan was – until I looked him up and realized he was the OC for Cincinnati. Oh, you mean the offense with the best quarterback we’ve seen since Patrick Mahomes, with one of the most talented and elite wide receivers in the game? Seems hard to NOT have success in that job.

After Raheem Morris’ initial stint as one of the worst active head coaches in the NFL from 2009-2011, I’ll admit he wasn’t on my short list of favorite candidates. Didn’t Bill Simmons coin the phrase WARM (Wins Above Raheem Morris) as a play on baseball’s WAR stat? I’m sure he’s come a long way in the intervening years, but he joins a Falcons team with no quarterback, and no real great shot at drafting one of the top three. If we’re just going by which team – who hired a new coach this offseason – is set up the best from a personnel perspective, then I would say Jim Harbaugh has the best chance to succeed. If the Chargers can’t find a way to win with Justin Herbert and a competent head coach, then they’re more cursed than I realized.

So, unless one of these guys really surprises me, I think Mike Macdonald has a real chance to be great. He’s joining a really solid franchise in the Seahawks, with a lot of good, young, talented players. He’s got a strong GM who should continue to draft well and sign the right guys, now that he’s the head man in charge. And, just based on what I’ve heard about him, it really seems like he has a special aura about him. Very intelligent, very gifted (at least at running a defense), players love him, and he becomes the youngest head coach in the NFL at the moment (if you’re that young and rising through the ranks this fast, you must be doing something right).

Obviously, there are two ways to go with hiring an NFL head coach: bring in a retread, or find someone new from among the college or coordinator ranks. By my calculations, there are currently eight head coaches with previous head coaching experience. Admittedly, that’s sort of an educated guess; I didn’t go through every single bio. Best-case scenario of those guys? Andy Reid, and he obviously gets to enjoy the talents of Mahomes after a successful run in Philly. While there are occasional hits (Pete Carroll obviously being one of them), the retreads never seem to work out too well. For every Bill Belichick, there’s dozens of Mike McCarthys and Dennis Allens. Oddly enough, Bill Belichick was one of the guys available in this go-around, but clearly John Schneider wasn’t ready to hand over the keys to personnel after he just got them handed to himself.

If I had to go with a retread, I would’ve been happy with Mike Vrabel, but I’ll admit I’m pretty thrilled we’re going with someone new and young. I know there’s lots of new, young guys hired every year, but if you find that dynamic someone, it can really be a boost for your franchise for years to come. I find it incredibly heartening that Mike Macdonald is being described as the defensive version of Sean McVay. And not just as a play caller or a schemer, but as someone who can transition into the head coaching job, find the right coaches to put around him, and has the vision to make it all work. On top of which, you know he’s hungry and you know he’s going to give it everything he’s got. Can you say the same thing about Sean Payton or Doug Pederson?

In 2022, in his first year as the Ravens’ DC, they were 3rd in fewest points scored and rushing yards allowed (10th in total yards allowed), as well as tied for fifth in sacks. In 2023, the defense improved to 1st in points allowed, 1st in sacks, and 1st in lowest passer rating allowed, all the while improving to 6th in total yards allowed. And that’s with blitzing less than all but seven teams, according to this article. The more I read about him and hear about him, the more impressed I am!

But, you know, as with any head coach, there are so many variables at play. So many other decisions left to make. Who will be his assistant coaches? What are we doing with Geno Smith? What are we doing in the draft? How long until the team is sold? How solid is John Schneider’s job in the organization?

I’ll tell you what, though, this hire gives me a lot of hope! It’ll ultimately be decided on the football field, likely over the next 2-3 seasons. But, I think we’ve set ourselves up very well to succeed the greatest head coach in franchise history and a legitimate hall of fame candidate. I can’t wait to see what these new Seahawks look like. If nothing else, I’m expecting a rapid turnaround of the defense. And, as we all know, that’s when the Seahawks are always at their best.

Would Mike Vrabel Be The Right Guy For The Seahawks?

I don’t particularly love doing these speculative posts on free agents, be they coaches or players. I mean, there’s any number of potential acquisitions out there the Seahawks could bring in to coach this team, and it’s not like I’m going to write a post on all of them!

But, Mike Vrabel is an interesting topic for me. He’s one of the more known head coaching candidates, but also one that’s actually a viable option (unlike Belichick or Harbaugh, who seem destined to land elsewhere). If I had to guess, I’d say it’ll come down to Vrabel and Dan Quinn, with Quinn having a slight betting edge thanks to his history here (and the fact that we know he’s actually interviewed here).

If I had to choose from all available head coaching prospects, I would choose Vrabel. But, does that make him the best option? I’ll admit, this post just SCREAMS “overthinking”. Of course he’s the best option! I was a reasonably big fan of what the Titans were able to accomplish over the last few years, and I believe that had everything to do with Vrabel and his coaching staff getting the most out of a lackluster personnel group (outside of Derrick Henry and three years of A.J. Brown).

In his first year with the Titans, they managed to go 9-7 with a combination of Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert at the helm. Starting in 2019, with a rejuvenated Ryan Tannehill, the Titans made the playoffs three straight years, winning two division titles, with a #1 seed overall in 2021. These were teams built on toughness, a stout defense and strong running game, with just enough flash and sizzle in the passing attack to keep things interesting (that is, until they traded away A.J. Brown and failed to adequately replace him).

That 2019 team was really something, taking a wild card berth and making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game, before losing to Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs.

Unfortunately, that’s kind of where the good vibes end. The Titans were One & Done in the 2020 and 2021 playoffs. And it’s been a lean couple of seasons after that, going a combined 13-21. They’ve still played hard the last two years – gotta commend them for that – but lack of talent really sapped this coaching staff’s effectiveness.

It’s at this point where things start to get murky. Clearly, the Titans held onto Ryan Tannehill too long. And, in spite of using some relatively high draft picks on quarterbacks in recent years (third rounder for Malik Willis, high second rounder for Will Levis; both guys who dropped in the draft relative to projections), you can’t really say they took the process seriously. Neither quarterback has developed into much of anything, and it’s fair to question – if the Seahawks do what I’d like them to do, and that’s draft a potential QB of the future this year – whether or not Vrabel and his staff are capable of developing a young guy. They had their biggest success with a mostly-veteran team and a retread quarterback. Geno Smith often gets compared to Ryan Tannehill, and it sort of feels like Geno is at the point where Tannehill was in 2019 or 2020. If that’s the case, there likely isn’t a long shelf life left for Geno (with a clear ceiling), and if we don’t get started trying to find his replacement soon, it’s going to start looking really ugly around here.

Was Vrabel pushing to keep the status quo too long? He seems to get the most out of older guys, but can he get the most out of a young core? Or, on the flipside, was it the GM and front office of the Titans who were mostly responsible for that team going to pot? Honestly, that seems more likely, but if both Vrabel and the GM were in lockstep, then a lot of these bad personnel decisions of the last couple years falls on both of them.

I’ll be the first to admit, I thought the Titans were savvy to trade Brown away, get a first rounder for him, and try to rebuild their receiver room through the draft. I’ll also be the first to admit, I was dead wrong about Brown (I pegged him to be increasingly injury-prone over the life of his second contract), and the Titans miserably failed with Treylon Burks and others. One would hope, with John Schneider at the helm, we could get Vrabel more talented guys to play around with.

In the end, I’m not going to overthink this. Mike Vrabel is the best option for the Seahawks. I hope we can get a deal done.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Blitzed In The Finals

My Splinter League team – The Annexation Of Puerto Rico – lost to 50 Shades Of Gritty in the finals, 188.56 to 168.37. She had CeeDee Lamb and D.J. Moore going, which is really all you need to know. My team was good, but it was outclassed in this one. Really, she deserved to win; her team showed up and blew the doors off in both playoff games.

Last week was also disappointing because in my third league, I lost in the Consolation Bracket Finals, which may or may not have determined who gets the #1 pick next year. It was another instance where my team was good, but as fate would have it, I was going up against the team who’d have the very best game. 164.14 for Me So Zorny to 142.98 for RUM HAM! Considering my team averaged 95 points per game, I’d say I really did a number on those Consolation Bracket playoffs, but alas, it wasn’t enough.

So, that’s another fantasy season in the books. Regarding my main Dynasty League team, Sloane N Steady is our champion. He beat me in the first round of the playoffs – thanks to my stupid tinkering – so the two dudes who lost to him have me to thank. In following along, if I had NOT tinkered and actually won my first playoff game, I still would have lost the following week. But, there’s a very good chance I would’ve ended up in 3rd place overall, which would’ve been my best finish in this league in the Trophy Era, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t know how to receive this information. My team is good, but I’m also an idiot, I guess is the main takeaway.

Now, we head into the long offseason. At some point, we’ll have a post-season meeting to exchange the trophy and various monies, set a draft date, a keeper date, and have a pre-season meeting to discuss new rules/business. Assuming everything stays relatively the same, I’ve got a dynasty team to plan for.

The way we have it set up, you keep a starting roster, and re-draft your bench. Here’s who I’ve got to choose from:

Quarterbacks

  • Jordan Love
  • Justin Fields

I’m locked into these two, after dragging Bryce Young’s carcass across the entire season. Love ended up as the 6th-highest scoring QB in our league, ahead of Patrick Mahomes no less! By a good margin! Justin Fields ended up 18th, but he also missed all or parts of 5 games with injury. I’m happy with these two guys, but I’m also going to draft another young QB relatively early next year, likely with my 5th overall pick.

Love looks like he’ll be the guy in Green Bay for a good, long while. I’ll be interested in what the Bears end up doing with Fields. They have the #1 pick, and if it were me, I’d be on them to draft Caleb Williams. That being said, you can’t deny Fields has looked light years better as a passer this season, to go along with his elite running abilities. My guess is they keep Fields, trade down, compile a ton of picks, and see if they can make it work. Either way, I’m going to need Fields to stay healthy if I want my team to go anywhere next year.

Running Backs

  • Tony Pollard
  • Kyren Williams
  • Kenneth Walker
  • Zach Charbonnet
  • Ty Chandler

At this point, I’m leaning towards keeping Pollard, Williams, and Walker. But, obviously, a lot can change between now and the time I have to formally declare my keepers. Williams finished as the 5th highest scoring RB, and that’s after missing FOUR games! He’s a lock, for sure. Walker is just special, and feels like another lock for me (I’ll try to re-draft Charbonnet to have that handcuff again next year). My goal is to keep three RBs, since they’re usually so injury-prone. So, that would likely mean Pollard is back (he finished a disappointing 15th among RBs), but I can’t force it. I’ve got some REALLY interesting wide receivers to pick from, and even though they generally are easier to pick up in the draft, I might be better served keeping my FLEX from that pile.

We’ll see how the offseason goes. Ty Chandler is only a possibility if he gets a MASSIVE vote of confidence this offseason, works his tail off, and looks special in pre-season. Otherwise, I don’t know if I can trust the Vikings’ run game. I’ll also be curious to see what the Cowboys do in the draft; it wouldn’t shock me if they took a RB relatively high to compete against Pollard. Either way, this feels like the last time I keep Pollard; hopefully it isn’t the last time I keep a Cowboys RB.

Wide Receivers

  • CeeDee Lamb
  • Rashee Rice
  • Tank Dell
  • Jordan Addison
  • Drake London

Right off the bat, Lamb is a lock. He finished comfortably as the #1 scoring WR in the league. The only other guy on my team to finish in the Top 25 is Rice, who was 21st. I will say, for what it’s worth, that D.K. Metcalf only finished 19th, so it’s not like it was super-dumb of me to not keep him from last year. That being said, Christian Watson … let’s move on.

At the moment, it comes down to Rice and Dell. Assuming Dell comes back with no reported issues, it’s actually an interesting argument. Rice has been coming on in that Chiefs offense, but it’s still unclear whether or not they fully trust him to be the #1 guy behind Kelce. My concern is that his fate is being a solid possession receiver, but he never makes the leap to a true top dog. Either way, he’s got the best QB situation of all my guys. But, Dell is no slouch. He seems special, he got off to a fast start, but clearly there’s an injury concern I have to deal with. Dell is also undersized, but he seems to have incorporated himself into that offense a lot more. I’ll have to monitor both closely.

As for Addison and London, it all depends on who their respective teams bring in at QB. If they have bums throwing to them, then they’re going back on the scrap heap. Addison is at a further disadvantage since Justin Jefferson is also on his team and commanding lots of targets. London is someone I’m rooting for to find a competent thrower, as he really seems like he has an elite skillset. He could be another Mike Evans, if he just had the right guy getting him the ball.

Tight Ends

  • T.J. Hockenson
  • Trey McBride

One of the best moves I made late in the year was to pick up McBride as a free agent. It looks even smarter now that Hockenson has gotten hurt, and may not make it back in time to start the regular season. I have the 3rd and 8th highest scoring tight ends (and Hockenson might’ve been 2nd or 1st if he didn’t get hurt). McBride’s standing is even more impressive when you consider he was playing behind Zach Ertz and was hardly utilized for half the season. I’m leaning towards McBride given his youth and health, but it’s been a wonderful experience having Hockenson around.

Kicker

  • Dustin Hopkins

He finished 5th among kickers. That being said, I’ll almost certainly be looking for a replacement next year. For what it’s worth, Evan McPherson finished 14th, so that just goes to show you what you can do in kicker free agency. It’s always kind of a crapshoot.

Defense

  • N.Y. Jets

Sadly, we finished 10th. I blame injuries, I blame bad luck, and I mostly blame a stinker of an offense that kept giving opponents short fields. Regardless, not quite the juggernaut I was hoping for. We’ll see what shakes out next year, but … yeah I dunno.

It’s too early, but if I had to choose now, my keepers would be: Love, Fields, Williams, Walker, Pollard, Lamb, Rice, McBride, Hopkins, Jets. Thankfully, I have a lot of time left to make my decisions.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: If A Tree Falls In The Woods …

My season ended with a 147.85 to 143.05 victory over You Dropped Your Dildo in the 5 vs. 6 game of the fantasy playoffs. Sounds exciting, right? It’s less thrilling when you realize my opponent couldn’t have given two shits about this game. My hunch is, with the holidays and general fantasy apathy following a first round playoff exit, he didn’t check his team at all. As such, Ja’Marr Chase was left in his starting lineup, even though he was ruled out pretty early in the week. He could’ve easily subbed in Jonathan Taylor from his bench (moving his flex WR into the starting WR spot) for an additional 10.3 points.

So, I was essentially gifted this victory. Feels pretty hollow, but I’ll take it. As my prize, I get to draft 5th instead of 6th next year.

I’m kind of having a tough time grappling with my 147.85 points. Seems low when you consider I actually got good games out of both of my QBs (30.15 for Love, 26.2 for Fields). If I got that every week from those two guys next year, I’d take it in a heartbeat! I even got good games out of my two consistently-great skill guys in Lamb and Kyren Williams (25.2 and 16.4, respectively). But, the Jets only got me 12, Rashee Rice only got me 11.7, and everyone else – including my bench – got under 10. On the one hand, it’s nice to know my decision-making didn’t kill me once again; on the other hand, it sucks knowing that my team totally shit the bed, and if it weren’t for a guy taking the rest of the season off early, I would be drafting one spot worse.

I’ll also take solace in the fact that I would’ve lost this week anyway (had I won last week and advanced in the playoffs), as three of the top four remaining teams outscored me (and the fourth team wouldn’t have played me this week anyway, since he was another wild card team like me). So, blowing it last week was actually a good thing! I wouldn’t have advanced to the finals anyway, so this bought me a couple of extra spots in the draft.

Look, I’m just trying to cling to whatever silver lining I can find.

I should point out, for reference, that I dropped Bryce Young late last week. I was resolute in my decision to not keep him for next year, and as such, I decided holding onto Ty Chandler – in case the Vikings make him their everyday starter next year – was a little slice of upside, giving me yet another option for a potential dynasty RB. Who knows? Maybe this offseason he tears it up in the weight room and dominates the pre-season? It’s always good to have options.

So, of course, what happened this weekend? Bryce Young had the very best game of his professional career! He’ll be a stud in 2024, mark my words.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. In one of my other leagues, I advanced to the Consolation Bracket Finals, and I hear this league is giving the winner of the Consolation Bracket the first overall draft pick next year. We’ll see, it’s my brother’s friend’s league, so I’m only half-conscious about the actual rules and regulations.

The real good news comes with my Splinter League. Last year, my team Puppy Monkey Baby defeated Vinegar Strokes for the league championship. This year? My team The Annexation Of Puerto Rico is going up against his wife, 50 Shades Of Gritty for the league championship.

I’ve had pretty great teams in this league the last two years. A LOT of luck goes into that, but for whatever reason, I’ve just been locked in during the draft. Neither season has seen me making too many roster changes. Why can’t I transfer this way of fantasy football ownership to my main league?

Anyway, here is my lineup for the championship:

  • Josh Allen (QB) vs. NE
  • Dak Prescott (QB) vs. Det
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) @ Dal
  • Puka Nacua (WR) @ NYG
  • Rachaad White (RB) vs. NO
  • Bijan Robinson (RB) @ Chi
  • Brandon Aiyuk (FLEX) @ Was
  • Jake Ferguson (FLEX) vs. Det
  • Kansas City (DEF) vs. Cin

It’s really the perfect league: no mandatory tight ends, no kickers, two flex spots, and five bench spots. On my bench, I have Tyler Allgeier (I’ve had both ATL running backs from the jump, which has been a nice little bit of peace of mind, as I so rarely get to enjoy such a pure handcuff situation), Ty Chandler (who didn’t look great last week, and may be looking at more of a timeshare situation with Mattison this weekend), Tee Higgins (who I am reluctant to start against my defense, especially since what are the odds he has three great weeks in a row after such an up-and-down season), Philly’s defense, and Matthew Stafford (who is playing some elite ball of late, but I’m not allowed to play three quarterbacks, and there’s no way I’m benching Josh Allen or Dak Prescott in the fantasy finals).

When I say I’ve been lucky this year, I’m mostly looking at the quarterbacks. I had the #2 overall draft pick in this league; Patrick Mahomes went #1, affording me the “consolation prize” of Allen (in this league, QB points are so high, it generally means that most top tier quarterbacks are gone by the first or second rounds). It’s a big shift from my drafting strategy LAST year, when I was picking near the bottom of the round, and waited until later in the draft to address my QB spots. I banked hard on a couple of bounce-back guys in Dak and Stafford, and both have come through like gangbusters.

I’ve also pretty much only rostered the three running backs I have all year (there was a spell where I had Kareem Hunt, when Atlanta was on BYE). White has been a revelation for me, but he wasn’t so great early in the season. For a few weeks there, I opted to roll with both Falcons RBs and just hoped they’d combine for something close to 20 points.

In this league, you live and die by your WR production. With two flex spots, if you’re not loading up on RBs, then you potentially need up to 4 WRs doing the most damage. I lucked into grabbing Nacua after week 1, but that was counter-balanced by Tee Higgins being largely hurt or underachieving. St. Brown and Aiyuk have been my rocks, but I’ll tell ya, I would be WAY more confident if I still had Tank Dell. Losing him has thrown my second flex spot into flux. I like Ferguson as a steady 10-point threat, and honestly I’m hoping that’s enough. High floor, low ceiling, can’t lose!

50 Shades of Gritty has lingered near the top of the league all year. This is a 4-team playoff, and all four of us were 10-5. I scored the most points, which gave me the 1-seed, and the easy 200.17 to 126.65 victory over my brother, Beer Thirty. I would’ve outscored both teams in the other playoff game, but it would’ve been much closer. Here is Gritty’s team:

  • Geno Smith (QB) vs. Pit
  • Derek Carr (QB) @ NO
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. Det
  • D.J. Moore (WR) vs. Atl
  • Jahmyr Gibbs (RB) @ Dal
  • D’Andre Swift (RB) vs. Ari
  • James Conner (FLEX) @ Phi
  • Michael Pittman Jr. (FLEX) vs. LV
  • Baltimore (DEF) vs. Mia

She’s got Godwin, JSN, and Addison on her bench, as well as Brian Robinson (up against the 49ers defense) and Tennessee’s defense (@ Hou). I don’t see how anyone could bench the Ravens’ defense given the way they’re playing, but Miami is always formidable.

Lamb scares me, of course. He’s been a true #1 receiver all year, and I have Dak as my quarterback, so they’re likely to match in points. I always refer to this as the wide receiver “taking” my quarterback’s points, since QBs are supposed to outscore all position players. My only hope is Ferguson getting all of Dak’s TD passes.

I don’t love her quarterbacks, but all of her running backs look amazing, and Pittman is an under-the-radar stud. I am very much going to have my hands full in this one.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: And Just Like That, He’s Gone

There’s the Glass Half Full reason why I lost in the first round of the playoffs, or the Glass Half Empty That Makes Me Want To Put The Barrel Of A Fucking Gun In My Mouth reason why I lost in the first round of the playoffs. The first reason allows me to pass the buck and curse the football gods; the second reason is all on my own fucking stupidity.

Glass Half Full: the Cowboys fucking stunk up the joint against the Bills on Sunday. They managed all of one offensive TD, and luckily it did go to CeeDee Lamb. But, regardless, this was not the scoring festival we were all expecting. Lamb and Pollard combined for 26.3 points, both underperforming expectations. One extra reception for 12 yards by either of them – or, really, anyone on my roster – would’ve bridged the gap (which ended up being 142.45 to 140.30).

There’s also a Mickey Mouse addendum to the Glass Half Full rationale. I got a very timely TD reception by Rashee Rice this week, who predictably has come on over the last month. The only problem? It was a shovel pass initiated by my opponent’s running back – who took a direct shotgun snap from the center, even though Patrick Mahomes was RIGHT THERE next to him – Jerick McKinnon, who got credit for the TD pass. Unfuckingbelievable; you can’t make this up.

The Glass Half Empty Reason Why I Want to Die is because, as always, I tinkered when I didn’t need to. I had Ty Chandler locked and loaded into my flex. It was a savvy move to pick him up in the first place, and indeed he crushed it to the tune of 24.7 points this week. The only problem is: I had not-enough confidence in his abilities or the Vikings’ offense’s abilities. When I heard the Commanders were down to one healthy running back – Antonio Gibson – and projected them to be in a shootout of sorts with the Rams, I figured – at the very least – Gibson would be in line for a ton of checkdown receptions, and maybe even scamper one of them into the endzone. Instead, he finished with 8.5 points. The fact that McKinnon was available at all – and I could’ve picked HIM up instead – only adds to my frustration, as he finished with 18.2. Shit man, I could’ve gone with any of my bench guys and won! Addison had 29.1, Walker had 20.2, and McBride also had 20.2; but who saw THAT coming?!

What can you do? Justin Fields finished with 9.3 points. That game ended with an intercepted Hail Mary that was very nearly caught for a miracle touchdown. If the ball falls harmlessly incomplete, I win. If the ball is caught by the Bear who bobbled it, I win walking away. Instead, mine is a fantasy life made for suffering.

Also the Jets’ defense – a unit I’ve touted all season – got me a whopping 3 points. Get a single pick. Limit the Dolphins to a field goal instead of a TD one time, and I win. Conversely, he had the Ravens’ defense. If the Jags could’ve scored seven more fucking points, I would’ve won.

When a game is that close, there are any number of things you can point to. But, in the end, my team stunk up the joint.

So, here I am, saddled with the 5 vs. 6 game. It’s outside of the Consolation Bracket – so I don’t even get the reward of a top overall draft pick – and then my season is over, a week before everyone else. The best I can hope for is winning this one, and “earning” the 5th draft pick next year; worse case scenario is I get the 6th pick.

This leaves me with nothing else but to consider my keepers for next year. One cool thing is that I have the #1 waiver priority. I haven’t made an approved waiver claim all year, when I started with the #2 priority. The only claim I tried to make was for Will Levis, but the #1 priority guy got him.

If I’m going to use it, I have to use it this week. We’re not allowed to make any claims after our season ends, and since this upcoming week is my final week, it’s now or never. And since I was the one who waived Ty Chandler, I can’t pick him up until he passes through and becomes a free agent. That’s too bad, because he could be an interesting one for next season, especially if the Vikings are looking to move on from Mattison.

The only other guy even remotely interesting from a dynasty perspective is Drake London. So, I made my first approved waiver claim on him, dropping Gibson. I’ll tell ya, the odds of me keeping London are incredibly low. I’m fairly committed to keeping three running backs, as long as they’re good, because it’s always so much more difficult to find great RBs. That means I can only keep two receivers, and one of them is already locked into being CeeDee Lamb (barring a devastating offseason injury). Among my options for the other WR spot are Tank Dell, Jordan Addison, Rashee Rice, and now Drake London.

Of the four, only London is a true #1 type of receiver, but unfortunately he might be in the very worst offensive set-up. He’s only keeper-worthy if the Falcons fire their coaching staff and go out and get an amazing quarterback a la Kirk Cousins or something. If they go out and sign Cousins, I’d keep London in a heartbeat! Otherwise, I’ll be looking elsewhere.

Addison might be the most talented of the remaining three, but the Vikings are a huge question mark at the QB position, so it probably won’t be him. Tank Dell is coming off of an injury, but it shouldn’t prevent him from returning by the start of the regular season; he’s in a great offensive scheme, with a terrific QB. Rice is likely to finish the season as the best formal wide receiver on the team with the best living quarterback. He also has a smaller sample size of being great, and seems like more of a possession receiver than a true #1. I think it’ll depend on the moves the Chiefs make this offseason; I’ll be curious to see where they end up going in the draft.

It’s good to have lots of options, though. I’ve got multiple players at every position except defense and kicker that I’d be happy to keep for next year. So, I can sit back, see how things shake out, and still end up with a playoff-calibre team next year. Whether or not it’s a championship team will depend on a number of factors, chief among them LUCK.

And not repeatedly making stupid decisions in the most important moments of the season.

In my final game of the season, I face You Dropped Your Dildo, who had a heartbreaking loss of his own last week, losing by 0.15, with Dak and Ekeler having truly abysmal games. Here’s my lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) @ Car
  • Justin Fields (QB) vs. Ari
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Mia
  • Rashee Rice (WR) vs. LV
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Mia
  • Kyren Williams (RB) vs. NO
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. Det
  • Trey McBride (TE) @ Chi
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) @ Hou
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. Was

Walker on the road against a tough Tennessee run defense is a no go for me. Addison having back-to-back great weeks with a third string quarterback seems iffy. London, as I mentioned, is unplayable on this particular Falcons team. I don’t love throwing a second tight end in my lineup, nor do I love him going up against a Bears defense that’s coming on. But, McBride is a baller, to the point that I’m seriously considering keeping him over Hockenson next year.

My opponent has these guys going:

  • Dak Prescott (QB) @ Mia
  • Lamar Jackson (QB) @ SF
  • Mike Evans (WR) vs. Jax
  • Jaylen Waddle (WR) vs. Dal
  • Austin Ekeler (RB) vs. Buf
  • Joe Mixon (RB) @ Pit
  • David Njoku (TE) @ Hou
  • Garrett Wilson (WR) vs. Was
  • Jake Elliott (K) vs. NYG
  • Pittsburgh (DEF) vs. Cin

This is a great team, weakened by Ja’Marr Chase likely being sidelined this weekend. Nevertheless, this team is better than mine, so I fully expect to have the 6th draft pick when all is said and done next year.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Back In The Saddle Again!

It’s been a minute since I’ve been in the playoffs in this league. Considering it’s a 10-team league and 60% of the teams actually make the playoffs? That’s pretty terrible. Last year I finished in 9th place in the regular season, and dead last in the Consolation Bracket. In 2021, I finished in 10th place in the regular season and second-to-last in the Consolation Bracket. In 2020, I snuck into the playoffs as a 6-seed, lost in the first round, and lost again in the 5th place game. In 2019, I was 8th. 2018 was the last time I cracked the top four, and ended up in 4th place.

The last time I was a legitimate contender for this league? You have to go all the way back to 2010, when I came in second. In 2009, I won it all, but 2010 was the first year of the Trophy Era. I do not have my name on that trophy; it’s a sore spot for me. I’ve won other leagues, but not this one. We’ve morphed from just being a league for fun, to being a league for fun and money, to being a keeper league with a trophy, to being a dynasty league. And ever since we introduced keepers, and slowly increased the number of keepers until now – where we’re keeping a full starting lineup, including 1 flex, a kicker, and a defense – I’ve been in Quarterback Hell. It’s been so bad that I’ve essentially been in rebuilding mode since 2019, desperately trying to figure out my two QB spots.

High first round picks galore have been used on the Next Big Thing. It started with Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz. It evolved into Daniel Jones and Tom Brady’s last year in New England (when it looked like he was cooked), in an ill-fated trade that saw me give away Tyreek Hill. Then, there was my big Tua campaign as a rookie, when he looked like he was going to be a noodle-armed nobody. There was Mac Jones and Justin Fields, just PRAYING that one of them would pan out. That’s been the last two seasons, in fact, while I also took a flier on Jordan Love as a late-2022 pick-up.

I kept Love and Fields heading into 2023, and it honestly looked like more of the same ol’ bullshit. Fields was erratic early, got hurt, and it looked like his team once again was letting him fail. Love seemed to get off to a hot start, but was VERY turnover-prone for a while there. I picked up Cousins in the draft to have some competent depth, but we all know how that ended. And, of course, I made Bryce Young my first pick (over C.J. Stroud), who has been languishing on my bench all season.

But, you know what else I did? Through it all, I made some pretty shrewd moves over the last couple years of dynasty play. I locked down CeeDee Lamb and targeted him as a guy worth keeping as a rookie. I handcuffed Ezekiel Elliott with Tony Pollard and haven’t missed a beat with owning the Dallas backfield all this time. I got T.J. Hockenson off waivers, I’ve had the Jets defense the last two years, I’ve managed to keep a quality kicker (Cincy’s guy the last two years, Cleveland’s guy this year). I drafted Kenneth Walker as a rookie (and handcuffed him midseason with Charbonnet). And this year, I set up my bench pretty effectively outside of the QB spot. I grabbed Kyren Williams as a free agent. I drafted Jordan Addison (who was great when Cousins was healthy), I picked up Tank Dell, Trey McBride, and Rashee Rice (all of which look like stars going forward). Frankly, I have so many players I like, it’s a shame I can’t keep some of these bench guys! At the very least, I can prevent other people from keeping them, and therefore afford myself a chance at drafting them next year.

For the last two years, I’ve felt like my team is as complete as can be, outside of the QB spots. Last year, the situation was so dire, I once again found myself near the bottom of the league, with a real stark situation on my hands heading into 2023. But, Fields is healthy again, and is looking MUCH improved as a passer. And Love has taken a significant step forward (this past Monday notwithstanding), after looking like a guy I might have to cut at some point. Hell, I almost traded him away, but the guy who wanted him (a Packers fan) thought I was asking too much in return (a Packer tax, as it were).

I don’t know if I’m a legitimate playoff contender or not. I mean, I’m in the playoffs – and I just leapfrogged my first round opponent for the 4-seed after beating him pretty handily (153.25 to 125.40) in Week 14 – but can I win it all? I do have the third-most points scored in the league, and that’s with three separate 2-game losing streaks, and a significant mid-season lull where I was averaging under 130 points in five out of six weeks (my overall weekly average for the season is over 150, for frame of reference). And, for the first time in I don’t know how many years, I feel like I’ve at least got a handle on this quarterback situation (barring injury) for at least the next month. If not maybe the next year(s) to come.

I’ve long said I don’t need the best of the best. I don’t need Mahomes and Allen. I just need competent guys who can score in the 20’s, and once in a while get me in the 30’s. Who aren’t a regular threat to get me less than 10. I feel like there’s a pretty solid floor with Fields and his rushing ability (again, when healthy), and I feel like the sky might be the limit with Love, as he’s able to develop with a pretty nice set of young receivers.

It’ll be great having the luxury of going out and drafting just a competent veteran backup (a la Cousins or Stafford) next year, instead of trying to scramble to predict who the next rookie stud is going to be. Considering I’m definitely not drafting in the Top 4, and very well might not draft until the Bottom 4, it’s a good thing I’m able to have this level of confidence. Now, it’s just a matter of going out and winning the games that need to be won.

The playoffs start this week. Once again, I’m playing Sloane N Steady in the 4 vs. 5 matchup. Here is my lineup:

  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. TB
  • Justin Fields (QB) @ Cle
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Buf
  • Rashee Rice (WR) @ NE
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Buf
  • Kyren Williams (RB) vs. Was
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Cin
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Phi
  • Dustin Hopkins (K) vs. Chi
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) @ Mia

I don’t have a lot of great options on my bench. Walker is going up against Philly’s defense, which is notoriously stingy against the run. But, Trey McBride is going up against the 49ers (stingy against TEs, and will probably dominate Arizona from start to finish); Addison is dealing with a new starting QB in Nick Mullens; and I can’t be sure if Christian Watson is healthy enough to be worth playing. Walker feels like a safe bet; he looked solid against the 49ers, and seemed to come out of that game without any aggravation to his oblique. Plus, Philly’s defense has looked shaky has hell recently, and this is a Kitchen Sink game for the Seahawks; as much of a must-win as it gets, in their minds, anyway.

I’m VERY intrigued by Addison, especially if Justin Jefferson is out this week, and Nick Mullens is under center. Mullens is at least somewhat competent. What’s giving me pause there is the fact that I don’t know if I want to rely THAT much on Mullens, when I’ve already got his TE in play.

As for Watson, he’s looking like he’ll be a week or two away from full strength, so I dropped him for Ty Chandler, the Vikings’ backup RB. Mattison is looking doubtful to go this week, and my opponent might have a need for an emergency RB in his lineup, so I thought I’d play the waiver game a bit. Besides, I’ve been saying all year that the Vikings have been looking for every excuse to bench Mattison, why couldn’t Chandler be an improvement?

Here is Sloane N Steady’s lineup:

  • Derek Carr (QB) vs. NYG
  • Will Levis (QB) vs. Hou
  • Brandon Aiyuk (WR) @ Ari
  • Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR) vs. Den
  • Isiah Pacheco (RB) @ NE
  • Travis Etienne (RB) vs. Bal
  • Kyle Pitts (TE) @ Car
  • Michael Pittman (WR) vs. Pit
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. Min
  • Baltimore (DEF) @ Jax

He scored an inordinately low amount of points last week. Pacheco was out early in the week with an injury; Gus Edwards in his place stunk up the joint. Carr returned from injury, but couldn’t put up more than 14 points. Amon-Ra St. Brown had an anomaly of a bad game with 5.10 points. The Ravens’ defense gave up a ton of points to the Rams. And no one individual player scored over 20 points. Can’t win that way!

I expect bounce-backs galore this week. I think Levis can have a monster game against Houston. I think St. Brown will be force-fed at will. I think Aiyuk will have a Deebo-like game. Pacheco will likely be back and making lives miserable. And I could see the Ravens really smashing the Jags.

It’s going to be tough. I don’t LOVE my matchups. But, my guys are going to have to figure out a way to get the job done. Otherwise, it’s going to be a HUGE failure of a season. It all comes down to this week. What I dread the most. All the marbles riding on one single game. Good grief.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: An Unlucky Start To The Season

I am 1-2 to start the season, thanks to losing 205.70 to 175.72 to Turd Sandwich. He, of course, scored the most points in the league, thanks to the Buffalo defense (53), Davante Adams (42.2), and Mahomes (34.4). I mean, what can you do?

I had a pretty good week, all things considered. I made the right choices at quarterback; Cousins and Love had 33.35 and 26.85 respectively. Alexander Mattison was on my bench and would’ve been my second-leading RB at 17.5, but even my ideal lineup would’ve lost.

With my 1-2 record, I still have the second-most points scored in our league, which is super frustrating. But, you just gotta keep plugging away and hope to catch some breaks. If I can keep scoring points like this, I’ll definitely make the playoffs (fast forward to me continuing to score points like this, languishing in 7th place).

Who am I kidding; there’s no way I’m going to continue scoring like this.

This week, I go up against Toot Cannons. I’m projected to lose by a fair amount, but I also don’t feel like Yahoo has figured out how to project a lot of these players (Kenneth Walker is projected to only get 11.82 points, yet he’s 3rd among all RBs through three weeks). My lineup is going to look the same as last week:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) @ Car
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. Det
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) vs. NE
  • Jordan Addison (WR) @ Car
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) @ NYG
  • Tony Pollard (RB) vs. NE
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) @ Car
  • Kyren Williams (RB) @ Ind
  • Evan McPherson (K) @ Ten
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. KC

Justin Fields had another shit game, this time against the Chiefs. It’s tempting to throw him in there against Denver’s crappy team, but I loved what I saw out of Love in the second half against the Saints last Sunday. He was on point and looks like he could be a great QB. I’m going to continue sitting Mattison for now, because I don’t know what that run game is going to look like once Cam Akers gets into the mix. I feel like they’re looking for any excuse to make a change – you don’t make a mid-season trade like that, for a guy who has proven he’s very capable, if you’re not looking to give him an extended opportunity – and I still believe in Kyren Williams’ usage rate in that Rams offense. It’ll be tough sledding for the Cowboys against the Patriots, but I just gotta hope Lamb and/or Pollard finds a way to break out at some point.

Christian Watson is looking close to returning, but I still want to see him play in a game before I throw him in. It was great of the Panthers to sit Young against the Seahawks; keep taking it slow with him and let’s ramp him up for the second half of the season. I’m looking for any excuse to ditch Joshua Kelley (who has been worthless as the Chargers’ #1 back, in Ekeler’s absence), but I also have the #2 waiver priority, so I have to save it for something important (and not just throw it away on Miami’s De’Von Achane – who had 50+ points against the Broncos, but otherwise has done nothing in a serious time-share that’s only going to get more muddled once Jeff Wilson returns from IR).

Toot Cannons, of course, has a lot of great players. Here are many of them:

  • Tua Tagovailoa (QB) @ Buf
  • Daniel Jones (QB) vs. Sea
  • Justin Jefferson (WR) @ Car
  • Chris Olave (WR) vs. TB
  • Najee Harris (RB) @ Hou
  • Jerome Ford (RB) vs. Bal
  • Dallas Goedert (TE) vs. Was
  • Tee Higgins (WR) @ Ten
  • Harrison Butker (K) @ NYJ
  • San Francisco (DEF) vs. Ari

He’s also got Saquon Barkley, if he’s ready to return from his injury. I would have to imagine – if it looks good for Barkley – we’ll see Harris on the bench.

It’s bittersweet to see both Tua and Danny Dimes doing so well (at least fantasy-wise), since I’m almost positive I had both of them as rookies and promptly gave up on them when they looked like disasters. Jefferson is sure to gobble a ton of points from Cousins, which will (at best) cancel each other out. Higgins seems to be on an Every Other Week schedule of being good, so this figures to be a good week. And, can ANYONE score against the 49ers? I’m guessing NOT the Cardinals (even though they’ve looked relatively impressive through three weeks).

I can’t say I’m very confident. It would be nice if Buffalo came to play defense, but for some reason I doubt it. They only kick fucking ass when they’re going up against MY fantasy team.

Nobody Wants To Hear About My Fantasy Team 2023: Play Your Studs!

Couldn’t quite get to 2-0. Had every opportunity, but my needless tinkering did me in.

Fight The Mattriarchy lost to Beasts 163.75 to 155.85. If you do the math, there’s an argument to be made that I lost thanks to Russell Wilson’s hail mary touchdown pass at the end of the game. KNOCK THE FREAKIN’ BALL DOWN!!! 50 yards (2.5 points) plus a TD (6 points). That’s 8.5 points; I lost by 7.9.

But, really, I shouldn’t have been in that position in the first place. I sat Kenneth Walker (18.4) and played Joshua Kelley (3.9); that was my true blunder. I also needed to realize that Justin Fields (14.85) is simply worse than Jordan Love (27.85), but I was a week too late.

I did end up making Kirk Cousins a last-minute addition (40.2), which gave me a nice little Thursday Night boost that was quite unexpected. So, I wasn’t a TOTAL ass.

I also made a shrewd Sunday morning pickup of Kyren Williams, running back for the Rams, when it was announced that Cam Akers is on the trade block again. I don’t know how he was out there as a free agent for so long, but I’m happy to add him to the team! Zay Jones was an early morning pickup for an open spot thanks to Christian Watson being on the IR for a second week; he wasn’t long for my team (thankfully).

I am going up against Turd Sandwich this week (I’m actually playing this guy in two leagues, which is going to add an extra bit of anguish to my bachelor party this weekend, when he beats me twice). I went ahead and set my lineup early – taking advantage of Watson remaining in my IR slot, even though he will probably end up playing – so I can’t make any moves lest I want to drop someone from my bench.

Bryce Young Watch: I got to see my top draft pick play on Monday night. He … didn’t look great. But, there’s definitely potential there (much more potential than with Justin Fields, if I do say so myself), but it’s still WAY too early in the season to start him, even in a 2 QB league. Did I consider it? With him coming to Seattle and playing against that wet paper bag of a defense? I certainly did! But, I’m going to need to see him do it, across multiple weeks, before I can trust him.

Here’s my Week 3 lineup:

  • Kirk Cousins (QB) vs. LAC
  • Jordan Love (QB) vs. NO
  • CeeDee Lamb (WR) @ Ari
  • Jordan Addison (WR) vs. LAC
  • Kenneth Walker (RB) vs. Car
  • Tony Pollard (RB) @ Ari
  • T.J. Hockenson (TE) vs. LAC
  • Kyren Williams (RB) @ Cin
  • Evan McPherson (K) vs. LAR
  • N.Y. Jets (DEF) vs. NE

Give me every single Viking. Well, give me every single Viking in the passing game. I’m far from sold on Mattison at this point; he’s looked exceedingly underwhelming thus far. I’m expecting that game to be a passing bonanza for both teams, so watch the Vikings continuously fall down at the 1-yard line and have to plunge it in with their running back three times. That being said, I don’t think we’re very far from whoever Mattison’s backup is being given an equal amount of touches/snaps. You can’t have too many running backs on your fantasy roster, which is why I’m going to try to hang onto Kelley for a while. They just had a rough matchup against the Titans’ stout run defense. I guess I expected him to be as involved in the passing game as Ekeler was. Wrong on my part.

I don’t love the matchup with Love against the Saints. Odds are, I will have chosen wrong once again, and it’ll be Fields running all over the place. But, I also don’t love the matchup Fields has with that Chiefs defense. They’ve been GREAT this year, especially last week holding Jacksonville down on the road the way they did. Love has been making a lot out of a little; he’s not throwing for a ton of yards, but he’s getting a ton of TDs. Hopefully, his playmakers can continue making plays!

Here’s what Turd Sandwich is throwing at me:

  • Patrick Mahomes (QB) vs. Chi
  • Brock Purdy (QB) vs. NYG
  • Davante Adams (WR) vs. Pit
  • Chris Godwin (WR) vs. Phi
  • Rhamondre Stevenson (RB) @ NYJ
  • James Cook (RB) @ Was
  • Hayden Hurst (TE) @ Sea
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR) @ NYJ
  • Riley Patterson (K) vs. Atl
  • Buffalo (DEF) @ Was

Mahomes will light it up, no doubt. Adams will destroy Pittsburgh. Hurst will probably score a bunch against the Seahawks. And Purdy will probably look good against a not-great Giants team. Other than that, I’m not totally quaking in my boots. Which probably means I’ll lose by 50.

He also has Dameon Pierce on his bench; I have to imagine he’ll be playing in place of JuJu. Why would you start a receiver against the Jets if you didn’t have to? That game should be a low-scoring slug-fest. But, I worry that Stevenson will catch 15 balls in the process, which is my nightmare.

The projected scoring has this one razor-thin. I’m nervous! I’m always nervous. But, I also lose to this guy all the time, so I’m sort of resigned to my fate.

Is Geno Smith A Top 10 Quarterback In 2023?

There’s a lot of Top 10 lists being thrown around nowadays when it comes to the NFL. You know, it’s still pre pre-season, most of the important free agents have signed with teams, and there just isn’t much going on. The calm before the storm, if you will.

So, to get everyone all riled up, media outlets create fake outrage (in the absence of legitimate outrage, which will surely be coming, if it isn’t already here – NFL running backs being underpaid and whatnot) to get everyone talking about football. It’s how we keep the NFL on the front of everyone’s mind 24/7/365.

They’ve been doing this series of Top 10 lists by position group, and save D.K. Metcalf (I think), the Seahawks can’t seem to buy any representation. Hell, even Pete Carroll can’t get a Top 10 nod, being ranked behind the likes of Brian Daboll, Kyle Shanahan, among other coaches who don’t have the resume Pete has. Other than PFF being responsible for that head coach list, I don’t really know where these are coming from. Is it ESPN? NFL.com? Other? I don’t really care.

Other than the head coaching thing, I kind of understand why the Seahawks aren’t among the Top 10 in anything. Outside of D.K., who is our biggest star? I would argue our very best players are so young, they haven’t had a chance to really prove themselves. There’s a variety of rookies from the last couple drafts (including 2023) who I believe will turn into studs, if they aren’t there already. So, you know what? Disrespect them now! Put another chip on their shoulders! I read on Twitter that the Seahawks were iced out of the top 32 in NFL offensive tackles; great! Stupendous! Charles Cross and Abe Lucas see that, and they’re coming for you!

But, if anyone might have a gripe, I think it’s Geno Smith. I think he might be a Top 10 quarterback, and he’s being summarily dismissed once again in the eyes of the know-it-all pundits.

Not all of them. There are always contrarians out there willing to go to bat for Geno. But, it’s weird just the same.

We’re not making a case for All Time Top 10. We’re just talking about the Top 10 quarterbacks heading into 2023. It’s a prediction, based on last year’s production, and what you think is possible for this year.

The usual suspects round out the very top of this list: Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Josh Allen, Jalen Hurts, Justin Herbert. On the next tier down, I think you can make an argument for Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa, Trevor Lawrence, Jared Goff, Dak Prescott, Matthew Stafford, and even Aaron Rodgers; they all have flaws, but I think they have to be in the conversation just the same.

And I would put Geno Smith squarely in that group in the second tier.

So, we’re locking in the Top 5, in some order: Mahomes, Burrow, Allen, Hurts, Herbert. What about the next five?

Well, I think you have to consider the very real injury risks coming with the likes of Tua, Dak, Lamar, and Stafford. Stafford’s arm is about to fall off, plus the talent around him is depleted. Even if he plays in 2023, I don’t think he’ll be better than Geno. When you take away the Dak injury, he was still wildly inconsistent, and good for at least a mistake a game that might cost ’em. At this point, the bloom is off the rose and I don’t think I would rank him over Geno. Lamar, as a running quarterback, is taking a massive amount of hits over the average pocket passer or scrambler. He isn’t the smartest about avoiding contact, and frankly he’s not the passer that Geno is. Other than Mark Andrews, who is he throwing to? Now that he’s been given the massive contract he was looking for, will he be as motivated? I have a lot of doubts about Lamar, most of all: is he a winner? In the regular season, sure, but I think I’d rather have Geno in a playoff game, all things considered. And, we all know what’s going on with Tua. He’s legit elite in that offense, and could be a Top 5 QB when healthy. But, one more big hit to the head might end his career. No thanks.

Aaron Rodgers is an interesting case here. He definitely wasn’t a Top 10 quarterback in 2022; he was legitimately bad! A lot of that, I’m sure, had to do with the loss of Davante Adams, though it’s concerning because great QBs are supposed to elevate the talent around them. I just think A-Rod was done with Green Bay prior to last season, but they couldn’t move him for a variety of reasons, so they had to eat a sub-par year out of him before sending him on his way. Rodgers has elite receivers in New York. Presumably, the O-Line will be fine, though they might also be terrible (which would worry me). More than anything, I wonder if his heart is in it anymore. He’s getting up there. He’s got a world of interests outside of football. He spent a significant portion of this offseason contemplating whether or not he would play again. And, everyone is already crowning the Jets as the next Super Team, which is always cause for concern. BUT, on the flipside, everyone is already counting Rodgers out. There’s a significant portion of the talking heads out there who are dismissing the Jets for all the reasons I just mentioned. And people are taking every opportunity to clown on Rodgers for his … everything (personality, beliefs, political leanings, etc.). In that respect, part of me wonders if he goes Scorched Earth on the NFL for one more year. I mean, he was just the MVP back-to-back years in 2021 and 2022, so you can’t entirely rule him out.

As for Cousins and Goff, I think there’s enough of a sample for both of them to see where they’re lacking. They play up against the bad teams, but don’t always show up against the good ones. There’s enough mistakes in their game to make them total wild cards on any given week. And, with Trevor Lawrence, last year was really his first with any sort of coaching competence around him. And, in spite of that, Geno still out-performed him in most every major category.

This isn’t to say I think Geno Smith is perfect, or even the best option of all of these Tier 2 guys. He has his own mistake issues. He’ll throw a back-breaking interception, drop a killer fumble, or allow defensive pressure to get the best of him. And he also only has the one season of quality play.

But, Geno was Top 10 in total yards (8th, with 4,282), was 4th in passer rating among quarterbacks who played in at least 13 games, he led the league in completion percentage among qualified passers, he averaged 7.5 yards per attempt (7th in football among QBs who played in at least 13 games), and was one of only 8 quarterbacks who played in all 17 games. He also had the 4th most touchdown passes with 30.

I think in aggregate – based on all of the above – you have to put Geno in the Top 10. That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to be there at season’s end. But, knowing what we know now, about him and the rest of the league, when you factor in his ability, the talent and coaching around him, I would put him in the Top 10, and I’m as much of a doubter as anyone.

Making Sense Of The Geno Smith Contract With The Seahawks

Last week, it was announced that Geno Smith signed a 3-year extension for $105 million. But, we all knew that was the phony number that’s never likely to be administered. We then discovered it was something closer to 3 years, $75 million, with $30 million in incentives. But, that still didn’t paint the full picture. For reasons that boggle the mind, it took a while to finally get that full picture, but here we now are.

We’re looking at a $26.1 million signing bonus (spread out over three seasons, that’s $8.7 million per year, for cap purposes) and a $1.2 million base salary and a $200,000 workout bonus. So, in total, Geno Smith is set to earn $27.5 million in 2023, which is a fantastic chunk of change. For cap purposes, though, it’s only a $10.1 million hit, which should help us greatly when it comes to signing our draft picks, and maybe dipping our toes into free agency.

There are also incentives, which we’ll get into later. But, what needs to be understood is the fact that this is effectively a 1-year deal. If Geno Smith bottoms out, or if we draft someone who looks to be the second-coming of Patrick Mahomes, we can cut him after this season (as long as it’s before the 5th league day of the 2024 season) with a $17.4 million cap hit (that is assuming, of course, that he doesn’t suffer a severe season-ending injury in 2023, as his base salary next year becomes fully guaranteed for injury).

Here’s how the rest of the contract shakes out. While there are certainly protections for the team against Geno being a one-hit wonder, it’s truly a deal constructed to allow Geno to bet on himself.

For starters, his base salary in 2024 jumps to $12.7 million; however, he will also earn $9.6 million in a roster bonus, along with his $200,000 in a workout bonus. That brings his cap hit for next year to $31.2 million (very much in line with a top quarterback, which is how he played in 2022, and presumably how he will need to play in 2023 to see a 2024), and that doesn’t even get into the incentives (again, we’re getting into that later).

In 2025, his base salary will be $14.8 million, but he would also get a roster bonus of $10 million, along with $200,000 for working out, to make his cap hit $33.7 million. So, if he maintains his 2022 level of play through 2023 and 2024, he’ll again be paid like a top quarterback. Not THE top quarterback, but one of them.

The extremely interesting part of this deal is the incentives I’ve been teasing. He’s got a number of escalators – based on his ability to surpass his 2022 numbers in five categories – that could REALLY make him a wealthy man. They are:

  • Total Passing Yards (4,282)
  • Total Passing Touchdowns (30)
  • Completion Percentage (69.8%)
  • Passer Rating (100.9)
  • Team Wins (9)

He gets $2 million per item on this list that he exceeds. My understanding of how it works with wins is he needs to play 80% of the time and lead the Seahawks to either 10+ wins or the playoffs again. If we make the playoffs as a 9-8 team or an 8-9 team, I’m assuming the Seahawks won’t be sticklers here. And, if he exceeds all five, there’s an additional bonus of $5 million earned. Meaning, he could add $15 million to those previously-outlined numbers above. So, if he does that in 2023 – and he’s still on the roster 5 days into the 2024 league year – he’ll be worth a cap hit of $46.2 million.

And then, if he does it agin in 2024, he’ll be worth a cap hit of $48.7 million. THIS puts him in that top tier of quarterback. This’ll be pretty close to what the very best quarterbacks are earning.

Which, at first blush, leads me to wonder: are his numbers in 2022 really so elite? I’ll buy the completion percentage and passer rating; that’s really great. But, we see guys throw 4,300+ yards all the time. 30 touchdowns isn’t anything all that impressive. And 10 wins is fine, but 14 wins are better. I could see Geno Smith potentially surpassing all of those numbers again in 2023. But, what I can’t see is him blowing those numbers away. I think he’ll be BARELY eking past some (or all) of them. Which makes him just an okay quarterback making top-of-the-market dollars.

I don’t want to piss and moan too much, because there’s a cynical part of me that expects all of this to be moot. I think the odds of him beating all five of those incentives are remote. He might get to three or four. But, even less likely is him returning to the Seahawks on a $37+ or $39+ million cap hit. Especially if one of those incentives he fails at is wins/making the playoffs. Of course, it’ll require us to have a viable younger option, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

That all being said, I like this contract. I like having a short-term out. We properly compensated the man for a job well done in 2022, but we didn’t negotiate against ourselves and overly-inflate the guaranteed dollars. I might have other opinions this time next year, if we opt to keep him around. But, for now, it really seems like we have just one more year of this bridge quarterback before we move onto our next franchise guy.

The best part seems to be the fact that we’ll be drafting a guy. Maybe not at the #5 pick. With the Panthers trading up from 9 to 1 with the Bears, that all but assures three of the top four picks will be quarterbacks (Carolina, Houston, and Indy), and it’s sounding very likely that the Cardinals also trade down with a team looking to draft a thrower. I would think the Seahawks likely take one in the second round.

Longshot prediction: the Seahawks draft TWO quarterbacks this year, one in the second round, one somewhere on the third day of the draft.