Memphis tackle Obinna Eze has potential

Eze is switching to left tackle in 2020

The Seahawks didn’t invest an early pick on an offensive tackle this year, increasing the likelihood that they’ll need to in 2021. Duane Brown turns 35 in August and even if he plays on beyond this season — the future at left tackle warrants some consideration.

In recent years Seattle has preferred the veteran option. The top offensive tackles always go early and the ones available later on often require significant development. It’s possible, as we saw with the 49ers and Joe Staley/Trent Williams, that the Seahawks will eventually replace Brown with another veteran. That might be the best move, especially with Russell Wilson very much in the peak of his career. Whether it’s via trade or free agency — there’s a fairly good chance the Seahawks won’t leave Wilson’s blindside to an unproven younger player.

The other option of course is to draft and develop. That would require Brown to play for at least two more seasons realistically. It also means trying to identify a tackle likely to be available (assuming the Seahawks aren’t suddenly picking in the top-10).

One player to keep an eye on is Memphis’ Obinna Eze.

He’s switching to left tackle this year and it’ll be really interesting to see how he adjusts. His physical skill set is far more suited to the left side than the right, where he’s played previously. Eze is listed at 6-8 and 303lbs. He’s not a powerful drive blocker though — he’s very much an athlete.

Eze is a former four star recruit and was quite the get for Memphis when he opted to stay in Tennessee. The likes of Alabama, Florida, LSU and Auburn all showed interest. When he trained at a LSU camp in High School — he looked like a tight end playing tackle. He was tall, long and athletic but handled his three-star opponent with ease.

He only moved to the United States from Nigeria in 2015. After just a year of football on the junior varsity squad at Davidson Academy in Nashville, he received a scholarship offer from Lane Kiffin (who was the Alabama offensive coordinator at the time).

His story is very similar to Prince Tega Wanogho’s. He moved to America to play basketball but had the frame and athleticism suited to playing O-line.

The Athletic’s Chris Vannini profiled Eze last August:

Eze hasn’t seen his family in more than four years. It’s a sacrifice he’s had to make.

At 16 years old, he attended an open basketball camp in Nigeria, a year after picking up the sport. He impressed so much that he was invited to a closed camp for 50 players. From there, he made a team that traveled to the United States to play an AAU circuit. American interest in him blew up from that tour, with high schools in Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee offering scholarships.

Eze’s mother has a master’s degree in English, and the opportunity to get an education in the U.S. was something Eze’s family felt he shouldn’t pass up. He opted for Davidson Academy in Nashville and was paired with Maurice and Jennifer Fitzgerald as his guardians. He left Nigeria, uncertain of his future, unsure of when he’d see his family again. It’s too expensive for them to visit him or for him to go back right now.

“Certain sacrifices are necessary,” Eze says. “I’m glad they understand it, even though it’s hard for them and me too. We chose a path.”

The first thing that stands out on tape is his really light feet. In terms of pure agility and mobility — there aren’t many college tackles who can move like this. He drops with ease, there’s no labouring in his movement and his feet are so smooth he wouldn’t wake a baby with his kick-slide.

When he’s asked to defend a speed rush he drops with suddenness to wall off a route to the quarterback. He surprises defensive ends with his ability to mirror and often they’re forced too wide and deep — making it really hard to work back to the quarterback. He’s not troubled or fazed by speed in the slightest and that’s a good start for any prospective left tackle.

That alone makes him a really intriguing prospect with high potential. However, like most college offensive tackles, there are so many things to work on too.

For starters his frame is unrefined and a little sloppy. Duane Brown looks like a Terminator. Eze is going to need time working with a nutritionist and with a proper pro set-up in order to bulk up, get stronger and look like a NFL lineman. It shows in his play. He just can’t drop the anchor at the moment and defend from his core base. On the move he’s fine. When he needs to latch-on and drive defenders off the LOS, you don’t see it.

He’s much more comfortable dropping into space and operating with a one or two-armed shove. He’s playing to his strengths and that’s fine. What you want to see at the next level though is the ability to wall-off against speed and play inside/out but also an ability to connect with proper hand-placement, control a defender and drive him backwards. Eze does an excellent job in college keeping his frame clean but you’re playing a whole different level of opponent in the NFL. He’s going to need to win with power and battle. That means he needs to be stronger and bigger. With his frame — there’s definitely room to add another 10-15lbs. He needs to because against Penn State he was beaten by a one-armed bull rush by a lighter pass rusher.

This is the difference between a top-five pick in Andrew Thomas and more of a project. Thomas had an ideal NFL frame already and combined quick feet and balance with the ability to control.

There are also needed technical improvements. His kick slide, while impressive in terms of athleticism, is choppy and sometimes he gets ahead of himself in the drop and loses balance. He gets into awkward positions sometimes and the blocking angle means he has to contort his body. This is a sign of relying too much on the drop and not enough on being willing to get your hands on a pass rusher and control. He plays a lot of ‘defense’ as a blocker and when he’s bigger and stronger he’ll be able to go after his opponent instead.

He does a reasonable job extending his arms to keep his frame clean but again — he needs to latch-on rather than relying on his feet and shoving opponents off balance.

Shifting over to left tackle should help because his athleticism and ability to win vs speed is more suited to the blind side. If there’s a full college season in 2020 — he’s a player who could make enough of an impression to move up boards quickly. Coaches will salivate at the potential but he’s a player who, in all likelihood, will need time and maybe a redshirt season to develop his body and work on technique. The end result could be a top-level pass blocker. With the league constantly looking for those types — he has a chance to be an early pick.

Mike Norvell coached Eze at Memphis prior to taking the Florida State job. His view on his potential?

“Obinna is going to be successful no matter what he does… He can play this game for a long time. Whenever the last day of football comes, he’ll continue to have success, because of the drive he has in every aspect of his life.”

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  1. Georgia Hawk

    Nice write up Rob, I really enjoy these sort of off the grid kinda guys. Its too bad the Hawks are in a bad position to take him. If he does well enough to get drafted, he shoots up. If he doesn’t, we likely wont take a long shot.

    Side note: It is interesting to me that some of these foreign-never-played-before-freak kind of guys are all moving towards OLine over DLine. Do you think that is due to sponsor/coach influence? I don’t know maybe there are equal number of guys like him being pulled to DLine and we just don’t hear about them.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s just physical fit really. If you’re 6-5ish and 305lbs and aren’t especially quick then you end up on the OL instead of the DL.

      But college teams are looking everywhere for OL talent and the situation is even more desperate in the NFL.

  2. Georgia Hawk

    Im bored at work while everybody is sleeping off the July 4th hangover so here is something to discuss.

    “They are exploring ways to run that up-tempo-style of offense more often during games without changing their identity, which is one of the reasons they created a pass game coordinator, promoting former quarterbacks coach David Canales to that spot and promoting former offensive assistant and former Seahawks and Rams quarterback Austin Davis to the quarterbacks coach spot.”

    I find this particularly interesting because of the reference to doing it without changing their identity, which is run the ball. To me that says more spread plays, running from the gun. I could be way off, but thats the first way I see of upping the tempo while maintaining the identity. The second is more lateral plays. Getting the ball moving towards the sidelines and turn up field rather than straight up the guy twice and throw for the sticks on 3rd.

    I dunno, thoughts? Its a slow day folks, lets get something moving!

    • Rob Staton

      I’m a little bit concerned by this to be honest. Not because I’m not in favour of a more up-tempo style of offense. More because I think if you want to run this kind of offense, you need to go all-in. It can’t be a side salad to the main course. You can’t just dip in and out of it — or try to incorporate certain concepts. How will it work? Are they going to have a more up-tempo ‘drive’ or game plan one week then do something different the next drive/game?

      If they’ve seen the Chiefs, Rams, 49ers etc and want to be that type of team — pay someone to run your offense that way. To me it seems like we’re trying to have our cake and eat it a bit here. We want to retain the existing identity and coaching staff — and just have one member of the staff specialise in adding a twist to the offense. The end product, I fear, will look more like weeks 1 & 2 in 2018 than the Chiefs with Mahomes.

      • Georgia Hawk

        That was honestly the first thought I had too. If it doesnt work the first drive of the first game, are they going to go back to what they know and slow it down? If they are going to do it they have to go all in so they CAN’T back out when the speed bumps hit.

        I also wonder if there is internal pressure from teh players to pick it up a little. Both Wilson and Lockett mentioned the uptempo being better and they know they can score a ton on it. I wonder if the players are getting more and more vocal in meetings about picking it up a little, just to be able to keep pace. absolute and complete conjecture here, but what if Russ dropped a hint or two about not signing again if the offense didnt make strides to use him and play to his strengths. Sort of the “well I know over in NO they will at least appreciate me there” type thing.

        • Rob Staton

          I think Wilson has practically insisted on some changes — and I think the team has responded due to him reaching a high level of performance. But you can’t just dip your toe into this. You make a great point. You can’t just move away from aspects of your offense if a drive or two doesn’t work. You need to know what you are on offense. A gameplan needs to be structured around a firm identity.

          My worry here is the Seahawks are cherry picking additions to the offensive scheme and what we’ll end up seeing is a mash-up of styles that sits awkwardly.

          If you want to be an up-tempo offense, appoint a specialist to run that type of offense. Don’t just ask one of your coaches to go away and add a few wrinkles.

    • Georgia Hawk

      Follow up comments for context. these are from Omar Ruiz for reference:

      “I think the Seahawks have identified that they have someone who they believe is the best quarterback in the NFL, and (are trying) to have him have even more of an impact on the game than he already does,” Ruiz said. “We know how great of command Russell has of the game throughout the entire fourth quarter, but let’s see if they can have let him have even more of an impact and that’s part of the reason why that they’ve created that pass game coordinator position for Dave Canales and they also have a run game coordinator position now too, with Brennan Carroll, Pete’s son, to see if they can make more of an impact there with that up-tempo style of play without changing their identity in that kind of run-first offense that (head coach Pete Carroll) has always been known for and will continue to believe in.”

    • cha

      This strikes me as a “the black box is the only thing that survived the plane crash, why don’t we build the whole plane out of the black box material?!” type of argument. The Seahawks play fast and furious when they’re down or the clock is ticking towards halftime. It’s exciting and really puts the defense on their heels.

      But they can’t play that way for the entire game. For one, it would gas the defense. And nobody wants this defense to be on the field more than they have to be. It would also likely have an adverse effect on the OL. Despite PC’s expressing a verbal desire for OL continuity, they might go into the season with 4 new starters on the OL. Coming out of the gate with a fast and loose offensive plan could spell real trouble.

      If anything I think they should explore ways to get RW more into the game early. Those run-run-pass 3 & outs are brutal when RW tries to force something on 3rd down or the OL gets blown up. Designing some high percentage passes (or calling some already in the book) to get RW some rhythm is definitely in order.

      • TomLPDX

        What if they come out for a series and go uptempo, and do it somewhat randomly…in other words, implement uptempo into their game plan since they are really good at it but not utilize it every series of downs. This keeps the opposing DC from know exactly when they will do this, keeping him from substituting players for the series and putting the offense in attack mode. I like this idea and would like to see it more often than not. The plodding Run-Run-Pass as the only solution is tough on our guys and mixing it up with uptempo on a random cycle could energize the team on both sides of the ball.

        • Rob Staton

          Part of the problem with discussing this topic is it nearly always gets referenced that the Seahawks use a ‘plodding run-run-pass’ as ‘the only solution’.

          Come on. That’s such a simplified analysis of Seattle’s offense.

          The Seahawks had a top five offense per DVOA in 2019, ranked fifth overall for explosive plays, featured two of the most dynamic receivers in the entire league, had a MVP candidate at QB who threw for the sixth most passing yards and produced one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history. They didn’t run a plodding ‘run-run-pass’ offense.

          • TomLPDX

            That was lazy of me, Rob. I know better than that and shouldn’t have put it quite that way. The point is to play to strengths and add an element of uncertainty and surprise for the opposing defense. I know what our offense can do and have for a long time.

            Here’s a question for you (I don’t know the answer). Does Schotty, in his past positions with other teams, rely more on the run or the pass of is it balanced in his scheme?

            • Rob Staton

              I haven’t studied that or sought that information so I can’t answer. But I don’t think any offensive coordinator ‘relies’ on the run. Everyone is looking for an element of balance. If you listen to Andy Reid, Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay — they all speak of the importance of the running game and a certain degree of balance. Just as Pete Carroll does. But there are different schemes, styles, identities and methodologies. The types of passing games, running games, the way they knit together, how often you pass, how often you run — there are varieties.

              Sometimes that’s the vision of a coach and sometimes it’s based on the personnel at your disposal. Pete Carroll hired Schottenheimer to run his offensive vision and repair the running game (which was broken in 2017). Yet in the first two weeks of 2018, Schottenheimer threw the ball a ton and the offense struggled — leading Carroll to say publicly he’d had to take Schotty to one side and have a quiet word. Schottenheimer, when he arrived in Seattle, spoke about how he’d never had the chance to work with a QB like Wilson before and he saw that as an opportunity to do things he hadn’t been able to do before.

              So I don’t think he ‘relies’ on the run. I think the Seahawks make a concerted effort to run the ball well and in a certain style and Carroll believes it’s a way to connect the rest of the team together (complete the circle). So they talk about it a lot and they run the ball more often than some other teams. But they’re also highly explosive, dynamic and exciting in the passing game. That often gets forgotten.

          • Simo

            Agreed, the Hawks are not a plodding offense, although there’s probably a few to many run-run-pass series that end in three and outs. However, they are explosive and feature an exciting downfield passing game, with one of the best deep ball throwers in the game.

            I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more up tempo at times during games though. Understand they can’t do it all the time, its just to exhausting. But they could perhaps have 2-3 drives (outside of two minute drills) during the game where they feature up tempo. This can keep a defense on their heels as well, with little time between plays. And up tempo certainly doesn’t mean only pass plays, as mixing in runs in this situation can be very effective.

            They might be best running up tempo for a drive out of a single RB, two WR and two TE formation, especially with some very good receiving options at WR and TE.

            • TomLPDX

              Right. And the D can’t substitute if the offense doesn’t during uptempo, so it keeps them in a certain personnel formation for the series.

            • Rob Staton

              People often forget… fans and media used to quiz Pete Carroll why they didn’t run the ball more a few years ago. I seem to recall those questions were even asked as early as a couple of years ago. The reason being they’d have three and outs — including when predominantly passing the ball in the sequences — stalled some drives early and Pete gave the answer of needing the snaps in order to get things going. I know it sounds strange now but those questions were asked and I distinctly remember Carroll saying short drives cost them the chance to run in certain games.

              Ultimately any variety of plays can lead to a three and out. I remember watching the Seahawks hammer Chip Kelly’s Eagles in 2014 because they had three super quick pass plays, didn’t use the play-clock, couldn’t extend drives and gifted a huge honking advantage to Seattle.

              Personally I think the offense played winning football last season. Yes there were frustrating factors such as the slow starts and the odd game where things were off. But overall they were highly successful. Every problem is tied to the defense for me. Fix that and you have a contender. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’ve fixed the defense.

              • Simo

                Yep, the offense was good enough last year, at both rushing and passing really. They scored plenty of points as well. But unless you have an historic offense you need a good (maybe not great) defense to go with the top 5 offense.

                I guess as fans we’re just looking for any edge we can get. If going up tempo a bit each game helps the team, I’m all for it. But I agree they didn’t do enough to fix the pass rush especially.

  3. Navyguy

    Nice write up on a future prospect your article makes me wonder if his mother will make him get his degree before he enters the NFL. I listened to an interview with Ugo Amadi he had a 3.6 GPA in high school & was recruited by LSU, Texas AM, Michigan, Ole Miss, & TN. Ugo is an impressive guy being mentored by Bobby Wagner, my impression from the interview is Bobby, Ugo, DK are the only players putting in the extra time to take of their bodies, watch film, and perfect technique. This might explain why Pete & John did not go after a slot. Ugo says everyday since the GB game he has been working on the things that were exploited in the GB game. I wouldn’t dismiss Ugo’s potential impact this year & I wish Everybody was working as hard a DK, Bobby, & Ugo but in particular Blair. Rookies you just never know what your going to get.

  4. UkAlex6674

    What do you all make of the early news about players potentially opting out of 2020 season due to Covid worries?

    • Rob Staton

      Seems a bit unnecessary given the successful return of football in Europe.

      Life has to get back to normal. There won’t be a day when we wake up and Covid 19 has gone and everything is fine. We have to live with the virus. Not having NFL in 2020 will cause misery and unemployment. You can manage a safe return. They should contact the Premier League for advice.

      • Big Mike

        Obviously I’m not as optimistic as you Rob. The UK has managed the problem from both a governmental and citizen aspect imo.

        • Big Mike

          Should have read “the UK has done a better job of managing”

        • Rob Staton

          I’ve not really followed events in America and I suppose it’ll be different state by state. But even in the worst affected areas the Premier League has shown a league can function behind closed doors in order to get through 2020. The NFL should call them and plan similarly to have a behind closed doors season.

          • Group Captain Mandrake

            It’s kind of a shit show in the U.S. Cases are rising in many states and pro players in the NBA, baseball and soccer are opting not to play in the continued/shortened seasons. As much as I like sports, I think that we might be better off not having sports until our country finds a better way to deal with this than refusing to wear masks and congregating at beaches like it’s any other summer.

            • Rob Staton

              Here’s the thing though — we don’t wear masks in England. A few do out of choice but nowhere near the majority. And the Premier League tests their players twice a week and, thanks to careful management, they never have more than the odd positive test. A lot of weeks they have no positive tests. So this can be managed. That’s proven. The football over here is different but it’s working.

              And here’s the thing. No sports doesn’t mean just not playing a game. It means major economical damage, job losses, mental health issues and more. This is no different than saying a business shouldn’t restart just in case. We all need to get back to an adjusted normal. Otherwise there won’t be anything left to go back to. We have to learn to live with this and get on with living and managing the situation.

              • Simo

                Despite the differences that exist between the UK and the US, I couldn’t agree more with your take on this. There would be huge negative impacts on many people if the NFL or Amazon decided not to continue operations until the virus is contained, or until they find a better way to deal with it.

                Everyone needs to do the best they can to protect themselves and their employees, and try to live with it.

                • Rob Staton

                  I don’t think there’s any other choice.

                  We need to get the world back on its feet, while taking every possible precaution. It’s the only solution.

              • Group Captain Mandrake

                Here’s the thing though – we are very obviously doing something wrong. No matter what other countries are doing, our insistence on not dealing with the problem has made it worse. The Dallas team just pulled out of the MLS tournament after 14 people tested positive, and all those players are supposedly living in a bubble and being tested.

                I agree that not having sports is very harmful economically, mentall, etc., but as more and more players/teams are pulling out of competitions, it might not matter much if there aren’t enough players to field teams. And we definitely have to find a way to live with this, but our way of doing that has been to push everything open again as soon as possible. Couple weeks later, everything is shutting down again because cases are skyrocketing.

                • Rob Staton

                  But who knows what has happened with that Dallas soccer team? Maybe their protocols were poorly executed? What if one or more players didn’t do as instructed? There could be reasons why this has happened there.

                  It’s the same virus. The Premier League has shown how to execute a safe return. If the NFL mimics what the Premier League has done — and Bundesliga and La Liga — then it can return.

                  I don’t really want to go down this route of conversation again if I’m honest. Once was enough during lockdown. And it never leads to anyone changing their opinion. But there’s no other alternative but for the world to take all the necessary precautions, use common sense and gradually get back to normal. The disease isn’t going anywhere and we’re going to have to deal with it.

            • DC

              Cases are rising but the death rate keeps dropping.

    • Big Mike

      Oh some will based on what we’re already seeing with MLB. I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t happen.
      Hate to say this, but RW is a prime candidate because of having a new baby on the way. Not saying I even think he will, just saying it wouldn’t shock me.

      • Rob Staton

        Wilson is the last person who will sit out IMO. He’s more likely to buy himself an isolation tent to live in with a Microsoft Surface and a big bottle of nano bubbles.

  5. cha


    Adam Schefter
    Patrick Mahomes had two years remaining on his contract, and he and the Chiefs are adding on 10 more, making it a a new 12-year contract in total.

    Adam Schefter

    Patrick Mahomes’ 10-year — 10-year! — contract extension that ties him to Kansas City through the 2031 season will be the richest contract in NFL history.

    Adam Schefter

    Chiefs and QB Patrick Mahomes have reached agreement on a 10-year — 10-year! — contract extension that ties him to Kansas City through the 2031 season, league sources tell ESPN.

    • Peppapig

      Are we going to be around that long? 😀

    • Simo

      Haven’t heard the total value of the contract yet, possibly could approach $500m for 12 years with an unimaginable amount of guaranteed money as well. Good for him!!

      • Big Mike

        And imo he’s worth every penny.

        • DC

          For KCs sake there better not be guaranteed money after year 5. They’ll be in a world of hurt if he ever gets any serious injury.

  6. James C

    So is that like a $400 million contract? That is crazy. Will be super interested to see how it is structured.

    • Rob Staton

      Presumably he’ll get the ‘percentage of the cap’ Wilson was after.

      • Happy Hawk

        Wonder what that means for Chris Jones if anything? Love the article and thanks again Rob for the new content every few days!

        • Rob Staton

          The Chiefs have $33m in available cap space next year and a fairly easy route to create $15-20m so there’s no pressure there. Mahomes’ $24m for next year is already on the books. So they can easily extend him.

  7. Jeff108

    Just read no percentage of cap in the deal.

    • TomLPDX

      I was kind of surprised by that. I though Pat would be the first one to tie his compensation to the salary cap, especially since it is a 10-12 year deal.

    • Simo

      Looks like a 10 year $450m extension for Mahomes. It will be interesting to see if he makes out like a bandit or leaves a bunch of money on the table by signing such a lengthy extension. Either way he’s set for life, so a good problem to have.

  8. jopa726

    From Adam Schefter

    Final Patrick Mahomes’ deal:

    10-year extension worth up to $503 million.

    It includes $477 in guarantee mechanisms and the ability for Mahomes to have outs if guarantee mechanisms aren’t exercised.

    Mahomes was represented on the deal by
    @chriscabott and @leighsteinberg

  9. charlietheunicorn

    Every future QB says thank you

    RW will be pulling in ~45M by 2023 with a new deal.

    • Robert Las Vegas

      My first thought Mr Watson in Houston is probably interested in that deal wonder what Bill O’Brien thought is. What about Dax. In Dallas .And maybe the most market able guy Lamar Jackson payday going to look like

      • charlietheunicorn

        Dallas was listed as a big loser on I believe. They waited too long and now they have to pay even more for Dak. His price went up from 35M to at least 37M now.. maybe 40M. Yikes

        • Rob Staton

          The Seahawks are fortunate they got Wilson done a year ago.

          Whether they’ll be willing to pay him a fourth contract will be interesting. Especially given all the talk a year ago due to the cost.

          • Trevor

            I think you are bringing up a big question mark going forward Rob. Russ does not seem like the type of guy to take a hometown discount and why should he. I think you will see the Hawks take a hard look at QBs early in the draft starting this off season.

            • Rob Staton

              I think we saw evidence of that when Schneider was looking at the 2018 QB’s. They were looking then, anticipating contract issues ahead. And I think you’re right — they will look at QB’s every year from now on. Not because they’re desperate to move on from Wilson or anything. Ideally they keep finding common ground on contracts and he plays out plenty more years in Seattle. But they have to cover their arse and if the next contract is going to be obscene — which last years nearly was — then they have to look at the alternatives. It’s not a conversation we have to get into in a deep way in 2020 but next year or the year after it will be a talking point.

              • Navyguy

                Yahoooo! College QB is by far my favorite position to evaluate. I hit on Eli Manning & RW as future Super Bowl winners my QB’s must demonstrate they can comeback in big situations.

          • cha

            I think the RW contract extension will continue to become a bigger and bigger win for the Hawks.

  10. pdway

    what staggers me about these top QB NFL deals is the per game average – – at $40M per year, Mahomes is getting $2.5M for every game. that’s just hard to get your head around.

    i know football is a bigger deal than basketball or baseball, but at least their crazy deals get amortized a much larger number of games.

    still – we all knew something like this was coming – – 24 y.o., and already an MVP, and a SB MVP, crazy.

    • BobbyK

      Probably a 2-time Super Bowl winner if Dee Ford knew what offsides is and isn’t.

    • Hoggs41

      It is crazy when you think of it in per game. Anything over $16m a year is $1m a game. Similar with pitchers. Gerret Cole makes $1m a start.

      • icb12

        Gerrit Cole makes $11,000 per pitch..

        Patrick Mahomes will be making ~$57,000 per pass attempt….

        (using his average salary over the next 6 years, divided by 540- avg attempts in last 2-)

  11. BobbyK

    It’ll be interesting to see how Eze does on the left side this year. Hopefully there’s a season!

    That Mahomes contract is crazy! Funny that I was just talking to Leigh Steinberg (for the Easley book – he was his former agent) a couple weeks ago while he was obviously working with the Chiefs, too.

    Jim Kelly and Bertelli – are you two still checking the blog? I have a question for each of you. Thanks.

  12. Hoggs41

    These QB contracts are are getting out of hand. Just wonder if they will soon have there own salary cap to balance out the competitive field. You think Mahones can make $45 per year and a guy picked late in round one makes about $2m.

    • Rob Staton

      I think it’s possible, in the future, that QB’s will separate from the rest of the cap.

      • Trevor

        They did that here in Canada here in the CFL and that improved the game tremendously as the could then bring in guys like Doug Flutie. Not sure how it would work in the NFL though. Teams with a good young QB on a rookie deal have such an advantage now.

      • Trevor

        Maybe each team could designate a franchise player with a max contract that fell outside the salary cap a little similar to what the NBA does with thier max contract player and how the team they play for can offer them a lot more than anyone else.

        • Rob Staton

          I think this would be a smart move and could be a real benefit for all teams and the league in general.

      • Cameron

        Or perhaps something that keeps in check the salaries for non-top 5 QB’s. If you completely separate QB’s from the cap, then any QB that hits the free agent market (e.g. Bridgewater) that is expected to start will likely get ridiculously inflated contracts, as the only limiting factor is how much the owner is willing to shell out, given it wouldn’t hurt the cap.

        Instead, perhaps establishing a cap-impacting limit, such as $35m in 2020 as an example (and perhaps tied to the salary cap in terms of percentage increase each year), such that any amount of a QB’s contract in excess of this amount does not impact the cap. Star QB’s would still get their large sums, but for the average QB’s that should be earning less than this limit, there’d still be incentive for teams to negotiate appropriate level contracts to save against the cap.

        There’d be some details to work out of course, to prevent abuse by shoving compensation to later years to maximize the amount counted over this limit, but just an idea to balance contract control with cap feasibility.

  13. Troy

    Hey Rob, this guy sounds like a very close comp to George Fant (great athletes, very green tho and not very strong). How much similarities do you see with him compared to Fant?

    • Rob Staton

      To be honest I didn’t really ever get much of a feel for Fant the tackle. He played so sparingly there. But he was highly explosive — a world class athlete. Here we’re not talking about a physical freak of nature so much as a tackle with fantastically light feet and thus a lot of potential due to his match of size and agility.

      • Big Mike

        When I watched Iupati play at Idaho that’s the first thing I noticed, how light on his feet he was. They pulled him a lot and he almost looked like he was prancing down the line before he’d turn upfield to block. It literally jumped off the screen to my admittedly non-scout eyes. Injuries have taken a helluva toll though I’m afraid.

  14. Spireite_Seahawk

    Rob, while we are talking oline, you clearly rate the Lewis pick for the Seahawks and I remember you being enamoured with Joel Bitonio shortly before he was picked by the Browns. Now Bitonio has gone on to be an excellent guard and i was fortunate to meet him at an NFL event in London. I wonder what, if any, comparisons you have between the 2 players.

    • Rob Staton

      I think in terms of playing style and physical profile they are different. Bitonio played tackle in college and did it very well, even if his obvious best fit in the NFL was to kick inside. He’s a bit taller and it’s not a surprise that the Browns at least had a look at him at tackle. Lewis, on the other hand, is a pure guard. 100%. He’s shorter and has a more compact frame. He’ll never be an edge protector but he can bully opponents from the interior. I think Bitonio is more of an athlete, possibly a little more explosive and agile. But Lewis looks more powerful and aggressive. I was a huge fan of the Lewis pick and believe they got a top-50 talent in round three.

  15. cha

    Tom Pelissero
    The #Browns and Olivier Vernon agreed to a restructured contract that fully guarantees him $11 million this year — including a $4M signing bonus and $6.75M salary — plus up to $2M in incentives and a no-tag clause that ensures he’s a free agent next March, per source.
    7:01 AM · Jul 7, 2020

    • cha

      Yates has different bonus/salary split

      Field Yates
      The Browns and DE Olivier Vernon have agreed to a renegotiated contract, per source. Vernon, previously due $15.25M non-guaranteed, gets $11M guaranteed through a $7M signing bonus, $3.75M base salary and a $250K workout bonus, plus $2M more available via incentives.
      6:34 AM · Jul 7, 2020

      • Simo

        Hmmm, maybe they are setting the stage for a bigger run at Clowney. Adding him to that line would make their front pretty scary. They just have to convince him they are contenders and not pretenders. They still have approx $37m in available cap space this year, and a similar amount next year. It wouldn’t be difficult to fit Clowney in at around $20m.

        • Navyguy

          Vernon’s gotta love that deal. Clowney Uggg!

        • Logan Lynch

          I think this has the opposite effect actually. It guarantees Vernon $11M this year. The thought was maybe if they could get Clowney they would move on from Vernon. That seems unlikely now.

        • cha

          I guess. But I don’t see how Clowney all of the sudden will want to play for the Browns if he didn’t earlier in the year.

  16. Adog

    It’s starting to look like the NFC west is the buffalo bills 3.0…as in three Superbowl losses in their last three appearances. For the hawks i expect them to buck this trend. The obvious reason is Russel Wilson. Do they keep plowing ahead with their wall ball offense as in run into a wall until you throw the ball against it and hope it falls in the right spot. Or do they go gimmick like the Rams and niners… California dreaming all the way to the Superbowl only to be woken up rudely? For me they need to stay the course with their offense… top ten…and hope that start to find a few play makers…field tilters on defense via the draft.

    • Rob Staton

      I’m sorry but when I read stuff like this:

      “Do they keep plowing ahead with their wall ball offense as in run into a wall until you throw the ball against it and hope it falls in the right spot.”

      I wonder if people actually watch the Seahawks play.

      • Adog

        The last two playoff losses…are pretty much run into eight man fronts and throw it deep to unopen receivers until you fall behind by two touchdowns…wall ball offense.

        • Rob Staton

          No, the last two playoff losses were not running into eight man fronts.

          In Green Bay they flooded coverage and showed total disrespect (rightly so) to Seattle’s running game.

    • cha

      When you’re talking big picture Super Bowl aspirations, the discussion of what tweaks they make on offense is practically irrelevant.

      This defense was bottom 5 last year in many things. And they haven’t replaced a core player in Clowney,

      They don’t need to be the 2013 Hawks defense to win a SB. Just at least middle of the pack.

  17. TomLPDX

    You know, the more I think about the Mahomes contract and what he said about it makes me think he gave the Chiefs the ability to be much more flexible down the road with the types of players they will be able to retain. It is a record-setting contract and well deserved, but as it ages he will be considered to be giving a discount, ala Brady with NE, enabling the Chiefs to get and retain more stars on the team. My hat is off to Pat and I wish him a long, healthy career.

    • BobbyK

      That whole Tom Brady took less thing is mostly a myth.

      • TomLPDX

        Mostly, but not. Either way, Pat has given the Chiefs options that other teams don’t have, which is the point of the comment.

        • BobbyK


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