At first we heard the No. 1 pick was not for sale; that the Cincinnati Bengals were holding onto their prized possession to make the selection for themselves.
This made sense, seeing how their biggest need could be addressed with the best player in the draft at the most important position for a rebuilding franchise — Joe Burrow, obviously.
But now there’s some talk that the phrase “every pick has its price” could come into play, and that the Bengals might be entertaining calls and deals more than we originally thought.
Even if Cincinnati has turned their phones off “do not disturb,” not every team in the NFL can realistically offer a haul to entertain the No. 1 pick.
So who can, and what can they offer?
The answer here is: a lot.
The Miami Dolphins famously have three first-round picks this season. No other team can come close to the high capital they can offer the Bengals, if they really wanted to get up the No. 1 for Burrow. They also have two second-round picks and a third-round pick. On top of that, they have two first-round selections and two second-round picks next year.
The question for Miami isn’t whether or not they could find the value to trade. They have it. The question is whether or not the asking price the Bengals could claim would be worth it for one guy.
On one hand, it’s the quarterback position, and that can change everything. But on the other hand, no rookie is a guaranteed thing.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers have the next highest pick in the bunch at No. 6, but their assets are not nearly as numerous. They have their second-, third- and fourth-round selections, but no double ups.
For Los Angeles, its price tag to move up to No. 1 will be a lot more taxing on their future. It will likely take two or three top-100 picks from them to move up, and that’s just a starting price. Who knows how high the Bengals might bring the demands just because it’s Burrow at the top.
Pick wise, the Carolina Panthers are in a similar spot to where the Chargers are. They have the seventh-overall pick, which keeps Cincinnati in the top 10, if they were to trade back. But they do not have much extra capital.
They do, however, have an interesting asset to deal.
The Panthers have their first-, second-, third- and fourth-round picks, but they also have quarterback Cam Newton on the final year of his deal. If the Bengals are dealing their top pick, they likely have their sights set on next year’s quarterback class. If Panthers owner David Tepper gets aggressive (which is very possible), he could do something like trade his first and second round picks this year and his first-round selection next year plus Newton to get up for Burrow.
Las Vegas Raiders
This is where things get interesting.
The Las Vegas Raiders are going to look to upgrade at quarterback. Jon Gruden’s old MO used to be to bring in veteran quarterbacks, and with a lot of veteran options in free agency this year, that could be what Las Vegas ultimately ends up doing.
However, if not, the Raiders better get up ahead of No. 12 where they currently select.
They have picks Nos. 12 and 19 in the first round this year, and though they don’t have a second-round pick, they do have two third round picks. Now, is that enough to get up to No. 1, and if it is, is it worth losing all those picks for them to just pick one player?
Chris Ballard had it all, man. He had the plan right there.
And then Andrew Luck retired.
Now the Indianapolis Colts might be all-in on a quarterback. Jaconby Brissett can hold his own, so perhaps Ballard wants to use his first-round pick and two second round picks to just continue to build the team around him for another year to see how he pans out and if the answer is not well then they make the move for a quarterback next year.
But if they want to go all-in on Burrow. A first this year, a first next year and a couple other picks outside the top 50 might get them in the conversation. But that could all stop if the Bengals just don’t want to pick that far outside the top 10.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Normally I would tell you that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are too far down the draft, picking at No. 14, to get all the way up to No. 1.
But I’m not one to doubt what Bruce Arians is capable of when he puts his mind to something.
If the Buccaneers move on from Jameis Winston and are looking for a quarterback, I could imagine Arians convincing general manager Jason Licht to sell the farm to get Burrow (if they like him that much). The rest of the Bucs are either at playoff talent level or on the path to get there. They just need non-catastrophic play from the quarterback position.
Two firsts, two seconds and O.J. Howard?