The number of NFL black starting quarterbacks is down one as the upcoming season hopefully nears.
What’s crazy is that Cam Newton, former Carolina quarterback and NFL MVP, is unemployed as summer quickly approaches. He was released by the Panthers in April and has yet to find a team that wants him.
A fellow black quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, said goodbye to backing up Drew Brees in New Orleans and signed with the Panthers. In this game of musical chairs, Newton is the odd man out.
Teams are understandably wary of Newton’s injury history after he missed 14 games last year with a foot ailment. The season before, his shoulder was severely banged up. An NFL mandate on procedures during the COVI-19 crisis forbids him from taking a physical with individual teams. He’ll get signed, most likely, before the season starts if teams can check him out.
Jameis Winston threw 30 touchdowns last season for the Tampa Bay Bucs and his team posted the most yardage per game in the NFL. But he also threw 30 interceptions, several of which led directly to losses.
He was released and landed a $1.1 million contract with the Saints. The Saints also have a poor man’s version of Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson in crafty Taysom Hill. Good luck with finding some playing time, Jameis.
Philip Rivers turned in arguably his worst season during his 17 years at the helm of the L. A. Chargers offense last season. He was rewarded for his below-average 23 touchdown/20 interception campaign by signing a lucrative free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts.
Jacoby Brissett, the black starter who stepped up when Andrew Luck up-and-quit on his team in late August 2019, suddenly finds himself as a backup. Rivers was the problem for the Chargers and black head coach Anthony Lynn last year. He is now being hailed as a savior in Indianapolis.
Rivers’ departure made black QB Tyrod Taylor the presumptive starter for the Chargers. But the selection of Justin Herbert immediately put him on thin ice. If Taylor doesn’t set the world ablaze early, fans will be shrieking for Herbert to take over. Also, Lynn better reach the playoffs (or get close) to save his job. He won’t have a lot of patience with Taylor either.
The current starting black quarterbacks in the NFL are Bridgewater, Dwayne Haskins of the Washington Redskins, 2019 MVP Jackson, 2018 MVP and reigning Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, 2019 Offensive Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals, Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys, Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.
I mentioned that Taylor could be sent to the bench soon after the season starts (if not before) and the same is true for Haskins.
Former Panthers coach Ron Rivera was quickly hired by the Redskins after he was fired, which led many pundits to believe that Newton would reunite with his former coach.
Instead, Rivera signed former Panthers backup Kyle Allen. There will be a battle for the starting position, which Haskins should win. But I’ll take a wait-and-see attitude as to whether he can hold the job.
Watson was forced to watch his seemingly overmatched head coach Bill O’Brien make what is being called the worst trade in NFL history. All-Pro wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was sent to the Cardinals for underproductive running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and 2021 fourth-round pick.
While Murray is ecstatic in Arizona, Hopkins has to be wondering if he should sign a long-term contract with the Texans.
ESPN’s Mike Clay predicts that Murray will soon be in the NFL MVP Club – and he means very soon.
“Murray will follow the lead of Mahomes in 2018 and Jackson in 2019 by taking over the league in his second professional season,” Clay said.
It might sound like crazy talk, but Murray, the 2019 first overall pick in the 2019 draft, accounted for 24 touchdowns and ranked ninth among quarterbacks in total offensive yards as a rookie.
Meanwhile in Dallas, the soap opera continues.
Prescott and the Cowboys have until July 15 to reach an agreement on a long-term deal or he must play under the franchise tag designation – which will earn him about $23 million.
Prescott has reportedly been offered a deal that averages $35 million annually with $105 million guaranteed. But the length of that proposed pact is in question.
The Cowboys created a stir this week when former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was signed to a one-year, $7 million contract. Should Prescott refuse to report to training camp, Dalton is more than ready to fill in until he decides to play. Heavy handed? Nope, not in the NFL.
The Seahawks’ Wilson is currently the highest paid player in the NFL after signing a four-year $140 million deal last spring. It averages $35 million a season and $107 million is guaranteed. Prescott wants to top that mark and be No. 1 in NFL paydays. Even if he gets that done tomorrow, it won’t be long until he would be No. 2.
This brings us to the new face of the NFL. The game’s most-watched and most exciting player. They guy with an MVP Award and Super Bowl MVP at the youngest age of any quarterback in NFL history.
Take a bow, Mr. Mahomes.
He actually wants to take a huge check to the bank following a contract extension that will make him the highest paid player in NFL history. He’s worth it – and he’s also quite patient.
“I want to be a Chief for a long time. I want to have a contract that says that and then I can go out there and know I have that security and everything like that,” Mahomes told reporters last week in Kansas City.
“I understand and trust the Chiefs organization…I trust my representation…Whenever it happens, it happens.”
It’ll happen. My guess is that he becomes the lone $40-million a year man shortly before training camp begins – which hopefully will be in July or August of 2020, not 2021.
No MLS pandemic panic
The St. Louis MLS expansion team’s first opponent is a world power – COVID-19.
Construction of its new stadium continues in west St. Louis, but how the pandemic will impact the future of the franchise is unanswerable right now, according to ownership group lead Carolyn Kindle Betz.
“We are making progress but obviously, given world events, it is too early to say if and how any of this will affect our schedules and timeline,” she told MLSsoccer.com in an email.
Fans starved for any type of sporting excitement at this time in American history won’t soon get a jolt by learning the name of the team, its colors or marketing identity.
“…We don’t feel it’s appropriate to make any major announcements or updates until our city and region has started to recover,” wrote Kindle Betz.
“While it’s been amazing to see the continued excitement around St. Louis’ new MLS team, we want people to be able to focus on things that are truly important – the health and well-being of their families, friends and the community.”
The ownership group is also facing the challenge of hiring the front office staff that will select the players and coaches and drive the franchise forward without in-person interviews.
In a separate interview with MLSsoccer.com, minority owner Jim Kavanaugh said “a number of people have been interviewed” but that things “are being pushed back.”
“To a certain degree, things are getting slowed down on the hiring front, because we're also trying to see where are the other teams in the league, what’s going to end up happening throughout the balance of the year here,” he said.
“So, some of that is being pushed back just based on everything going on.”
The Reid Roundup
I went off on the L.A. Lakers for having the audacity to request an SBA loan because of the COVID-19 induced national financial crisis. Ray Hartmann reported in the Riverfront Times this week that the St. Louis Cardinals qualified to receive tax credits “through a reduction of its employer-match share of social security (FICA) payments.” A company gets forgiven up to $5,000 per employee in taxes it would normally have owed, in exchange for maintaining a certain level of its workforce. He estimates in a follow-up column that this could come to about $1 million for the Cardinals… Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz says he’s OK with his team drafting QB Jalen Hurts. “With Jalen, I’m excited to add him to the team,” Wentz said… In an ESPN poll of more than 1,000 sports fans, 65 percent said sporting events without fans is fine… Washington Redskins quarterback Alex Smith told ESPN Radio that it’s “absurd” that Colin Kaepernick is not playing in the NFL.
Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1.