The NFL’s Gaga Receiver Market Is the Straw That Moves This Year’s Draft | NFL

What happens when the tragic comedy franchise hands a contract to reset the market to an average recipient? mad. Absolute madness.

The stench of the four-year, $72 million deal that the Jaguar family handed over to Christian Kirk in the agency’s free opening hours last month in Las Vegas during the first round of the NFL draft Thursday. One day soon, we’ll be looking back on Kirk’s signature as the first domino to wreak havoc on the NFL’s carefully calibrated ecosystem — a sliding-doors moment that will sway division races, title games, and the most missed jargon: legacies.

Since Jacksonville signed Kirk, the league’s broad receiver market has turned into a gaga. Do you pay your star receiver? Is not? If you don’t, will he play? Is it better to try to recreate your star’s success in total with a couple of cheap starters or tie it to a long-term deal that sucks up a big percentage of your salary cap?

For the better part of the month, the super recipients have taken the answers into their own hands, looking to the contract first and figuring out which team will hand them over to them later.

The names of players who have moved to the ballot are read as Who’s on the All-Pro ballot. First, there was Green Bay dealing Davante Adams with raiders. This was followed by Trek Hill’s deal to Miami. On draft night, Titans star AJ Brown joined the growing list of Big Name Receivers On The Move – Titans traded Browns to the Eagles for a first-round pick. All signed deals broke records once their moves were completed.

The Ravens jumped into the game as well, sending the Hollywood Browns to the Cardinals for a late pick in the first round, a move that quarterback Lamar Jackson did not endorse.

Meanwhile, the specter of Deebo Samuel’s trade was hanging in the evening: teams fought against the clock as they tried to dump a package in the Niners that would tempt them to snag a unique talent away. Samuel may still be traded before the end of the draft. And if it’s not him, it might be DK Metcalf or Terry McLaurin. any trade feel reasonable.

It’s not just the veteran market that has marred Kirk’s deal, either. The rush for gold among the league’s star recipients prompted a reassessment of the position’s value in the draft. Over the past half-decade, the idea of ​​taking a receiver early in the draft seemed like overkill. There are so many talented passers shooting through the college system that the value was in throwing as many darts into the dart board in the middle rounds as possible – the packers have still A first-round receiver hasn’t been taken for 20 years, despite Aaron Rodgers’ constant groan.

On Thursday evening, the university set out to turn that logic on its head. Which A junior deal represents a value of more than $20 million a year to a seasoned veteran. So why not offer a choice or two to scroll up to get to the receiver of your choice? The Giants used the choice they received from the A.J. Brown trade to pick a Treylon Burks receiver in Arkansas, a comparative talent that would cost a fraction of the salary Brown would make at Philly.

The league has split into two worlds: either you’re trading away from a star’s future or looking to get one, whether that’s researching the veteran market or trying to raise the buy order. The Lions and Saints both pushed their way into the first round arrangement despite having pressing needs elsewhere on their rosters – most notably in the middle. The Lions handed future picks to move up to grab Alabama speedster Jameson Williams, landing a big receiver before they thought about finding someone who could throw the ball to him.

Jameson Williams’ longest receptions per game: 94, 18, 29, 81, 26, 32, 75, 65, 58, 50, 79, 34, 67, 20, 40. You read that right. It’s 8 games with a reception over 50 yards; 6 games with reception more than 70 yards. And these are the ones who caught them. https://t.co/OA7hgWbfA2

OllieConnolly April 29, 2022

This is the new way of doing things. The state and style of the college game give way to a growing number of receivers entering the draft. The specific mechanisms of college and pro road trees are beginning to blend, making it easier for the novice receiver to make an immediate impact. As NFL teams have shifted away from tempo and timing offenses to systems based on speed and space, the goal has been to find receivers who can damage the ball in their hand after catching it, or who have the speed that makes the life of a quarterback easy.

It was a night when quarterbacks were overlooked in favor of the protectors who could buy extra rhythm to push the ball down the court, or the athletes who could turn simple completion into big yards; Only the Steelers took a shot at the quarterback in the first round, awaiting the 20th selection to pick Kenny Beckett.

In all, six receivers were selected within the first 18 selections. This means that nine first-round picks this year were used on receivers, either picked by a team or traded for one of the spoiled stars.

Across the league, decision makers continue to make giant swings in the name of scoring points. moderation out. Excess is popular. And it’s not just the recipient. Teams are getting more and more free with their choices that were once very precious. Nine deals were staged on draft night. Twenty-seven first-round picks were eventually traded. Two options have been traded three separate times, With teams racing to make sure they pulled the maximum value out of the draft slot.

We have the rams to thank for their changing mindset. The NFL, as the cliché says, is a copycat league. The post-process era of draft pick fetish generated market inefficiency. Draft choices are overrated (draft choices can be anything!). Rams boss Les Snead built a champion with a dose of humility: He knew he couldn’t pinpoint the best college chances at a clip above his peers. He embraced what he did not know – and chased after certainty.

Snead decided it was better to deploy his most valuable assets to secure well-known goods than to speculate on expectations, and swung the big deals of Jalen Ramsey, Matthew Stafford and Von Miller, three of the Rams’ most important shareholders during the run of the Super Bowl.

The same mentality filtered throughout the league. Some routed a chase-proven quarterback. Others forked out a bunch of shots to get receivers they could place over the top. Some have flipped Snead’s mindset, pouring draft picks into packets in order to move higher in the draft to focus on the Guy™, regardless of the perceived positional value or starting point when the opening round of the draft first kicks in.

Teams used to store draft picks like a squirrel preparing for winter. Now, the league is full on Oprah. You get to choose a draft! And you get a draft pick!

As the teams’ schedules — executives, coaches, and fans — swing by, the idea of ​​accurate, long-term construction goes the way of the dodo. Mindless abandonment exists. If you don’t win in two years, you’re in trouble; It is best to try to make some success in the microwave. Who knows, get your best young quarterback and hand him his receiving buddy and he might ride that magic all the way to the unlikely Super Bowl race.

When a draft class lacks top-level quarterback prospects, the opening night of the draft tends to be idle, which is reserved for rating professionals. But who knew that all that was needed to start a fire in this year’s shadow was a general manager under fire handing a desperate contract to a recipient.

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