NFL

NFL mailbag: Cowboys’ plans, Patrick Mahomes and agent’s headaches

In this week’s mailbag, we discuss how agents deal with tough clients, Patrick Mahomes’ visibility and what the Dallas Cowboys might be planning.

The NFL is in one of its rare lulls. Free agency is over for the most part, and the draft is still a few weeks away. That said, we’re going to be putting teams on the clock soon enough, so maybe now is a good time to catch up on your chores, like reading this mailbag.

Onto the questions…

Each agent obviously has their own style, but let’s look at the most recent and public case, Antonio Brown. Brown has thrown everybody save his mother under the bus, and not just one tire either. All the tires. He’s been a walking hot take, screaming about JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger among others. Why? Who knows.

His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, is the biggest in the game. Rosenhaus has put out hundreds of fires in his career. In this case, he’s likely trying to get Brown to tone down the rhetoric, but at the same point, he still got paid an extra $30 million by the Oakland Raiders. The checks are going to clear, so while it’s a bad look, it’s also not hurting the wallet.

Now, a player who is on a rookie deal doing something akin to this? Different story. I would imagine that any agent would be much more adamant about quelling any nonsense in public.

Ultimately, though, the agent works for the player, not the other way around. Always remember that.

In full disclosure, I have no inside information on this. Anything that has been reliably reported about Hill regarding the police reports regarding his family have been reported by the Kansas City Star.

As for the silence, it’s impossible to say. All we know is that the investigation into an alleged incident at Hill’s residence regarding his 3-year-old son remains ongoing. Hill has not been charged with any crime, and that hasn’t changed since the original report came out over a month ago.

Right now, everybody, from media to franchise, is in wait-and-see mode.

It’s always dangerous to forecast the future, but let’s take a look.

The Dallas Cowboys have a whopping $94.579 million in projected cap space for 2020, fifth-most in the league. This includes the massive five-year, $105 million deal handed out to DeMarcus Lawrence earlier this week, so that’s one big worry taken care of.

You’re right about Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper. They are all getting paid significantly over the next two years. Prescott and Cooper’s contracts have only this season remaining on them, while Elliott could play out his rookie deal through 2020 on the fifth-year option.

In short, Dallas has to extend either Prescott or Cooper immediately — bet on Prescott — and then can either do the same with the other, or opt to use the franchise tag. As for Elliott, he can be dealt with at a later date.

The Cowboys have the money to pay those three stars, but what about Byron Jones (as you mentioned), La’El Collins and Jaylon Smith, who are all hitting unrestricted free agency after this year? Considering how terrific Smith has been and how vital corners are, one would believe they are the priorities over Collins.

Still, let’s entertain for a second that Jones would be available for trade. If Dallas let him walk, he’d certainly turn into a third-round compensation pick for the 2021 draft. A team that wants him would have to give up significantly more than that, so we’re probably looking at a second-round choice, and maybe a third-day pick as well. For the Cowboys, giving up an important piece during a contention window would be very tough, so the price would be high.

Patrick Mahomes has really been everywhere since losing the AFC Championship Game, hasn’t he? We’ve seen Mahomes during Super Bowl week in Atlanta, we saw him balling at the Pro Bowl, we’ve gotten a good look at him on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and then, most recently, cheering his face off with Travis Kelce at the Men’s Final Four.

Yes, we’ve seen a ton of Mahomes. No, don’t worry about it.

Kansas City has never had a star like this. George Brett and Bo Jackson are likely the closest examples, but they were well before the 24-7 news cycle. Joe Montana was a rockstar, but he didn’t belong to that city. Mahomes does, and so him becoming a national icon has to be jarring.

That said, Mahomes appears to be in fine shape. There are a litany of social media posts with him getting in work that should help the Chiefs in 2019. For all of his visibility, none of it has been negative.

Mahomes is 23 years old and arguably the biggest star in the NFL. He’s going to enjoy his limelight, and he should.

Next: The inside story on how Dallas locked up DeMarcus Lawrence

This question is going to trigger a rant.

Offensive and defensive pass interference should be easy to spot. If a player is clearly impending another one from catching the football, a flag should be thrown. If it’s a simple bit of hand-fighting or players get tangled up, carry on. Right? NOPE. Not in the replay age.

The NFL is trying to correct a mistake that happened in January, with the New Orleans Saints getting jobbed on one of the worst no-calls in league history. Look, I feel for the Saints and their fans, but allowing replay on judgement calls is going to be a disaster.

If I’m a team facing 3rd and 15, I’m calling a max protect and throwing the ball 50 yards downfield. If it falls imcomplete, I’m asking all of my replay helpers up in the box if there was an ounce of contact past five yards, and especially when the ball was in the air. If the corner literally puts a finger on the receiver, I’m throwing my red flag. By the letter of the law, that’s a penalty.

If we go down this road to that extent, God help us all.

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