All it takes it a Tweet to get the gears turning sometimes -- such is life on Football Twitter, where the exchange of ideas borders on warlike. This one, from fellow TDNer Jordan Reid, is the culprit for this article:
Figuring out where you'd want to grab a GM is hard. You want a soft landing spot in terms of cap situation and pick status, though often teams with strength in those areas aren't looking to get rid of their GMs any time soon. But you also have to be cognizant of ownership, market, and how this team has historically made decisions. Will you really have the power to make the decisions you'd like to make? Or will other's mistakes end up reflecting on you as the room's dynamic remains disorganized and chaotic?
I tried to generate three pairs of teams in similar contexts for one reason or another -- needing a GM, needing a QB, et cetera -- and give my perspective on where I'd GM if I could. I want to hear your answers on Twitter, and if you have any other matchups, I'd love to see those too.
Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals?
This has to be our opening battle because this is the battle of the two quarterbacks -- or rather, the battle of the two spaces where the quarterback should be. Both Miami and Cincinnati have first-year head coaches, have desperate need at the QB position, and have the draft capital to do it.
Now, it's worth noting that the Bengals' front office structure has shifted in recent years. What was once a very owner-led team, owner Mike Brown has semi-modernized by adding a de facto GM in Duke Tobin, while also increasing the collectivism of the decision-making process by increasing the volume on voices such as his daughters, executive vice president Katie Blackburn. This is a direct response to Mike simply getting older: he just turned 84 this summer.
But the Bengals also have traditionally kept a very small scouting staff -- the current website lists eight individuals under the Player Personnel heading, with one titled a "Scouting Technology Consultant" and another listed as "Personnel Assistant." While this has been lauded in the past for streamlining conversation and ensuring scouts are cross-trained in both college and pro evaluations, it also is inadequate for handling the sheer breadth of players in the NFL Draft each year.
All this to say that, while the Bengals are changing the way the team looks, progress always moves at the tortoise's pace, and accordingly, the "GM job" in Cincinnati doesn't come with as much control or influence as the average NFL GM job does. Let alone the one in Miami, with the league's most cap space projected for the 2020 season, with three first round picks this year and another two next year.
And living in Miami? Forget it.
Would Rather: Take The Miami Job
New York Jets or Houston Texans?
I liked this framework because these are likely the two most recent GM hires we'll have, even though the Houston hire hasn't exactly...happened yet. When I think of teams who recently expressed their intention to acquire a new GM (at the very least), Houston and New York are the teams that immediately spring to mind.
Of course, ex-Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas snagged the Jets job -- but what if he hadn't yet? What if he was mulling over Texans v. Jets, now that we know what we know? Because while Douglas seemed the Jets' guy from the jump, the money wasn't what it needed to be until the Houston job opened up -- both Houston's vacancy and Douglas' signing were announced on the same day this summer, June 7th.
Could the Jets have been worried about Houston grabbing Douglas? Sure. Houston has the better quarterback and better roster, and actually has a chance of winning their division title -- nobody in the AFC East has that shot for the foreseeable future. Houston also has a healthy amount of cap space going into 2020 -- $77.4M, about $11M more than the $66.4M the Jets are posting out there. The Texans job also has the advantage of freedom from the onerous veteran contracts Mike Maccagnan signed on his way out the door in Metlife: Trumaine Johnson, C.J. Mosley, and Le'Veon Bell are all top-paid players at their position, and whether due to bust, injury, or position, none has really contributed that much to the team this year.
But the Jets have picks: all of them, in fact, and then an extra third to boot for the Leonard Williams deal. That is the one huge advantage for the Jets over the Texans, who do not have their own first round pick until 2022, only one of their second-rounders across that time, and no third-rounders this year. This after losing firsts and seconds in the 2018 draft as a result of the warranted, deserved, justified, but still painful Deshaun Watson trade.
So do you hop into Houston despite the lack of draft capital, just to immediately position yourself as a winning GM? I truly think yes. You can make do with bad capital initially if you manage the cap well and sign good veteran contracts -- and Lord knows Houston needs your scouting help.
Would Rather: Take The Houston Job
Washington Redskins or New York Giants?
I chose these teams for our final matchup just as a comparison of two NFC East squads currently picking second and third in the 2020 NFL Draft Order; two teams who selected a QB in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft and now desperately need him to pay off; two general managers who, if hired, would likely be responsible for pairing a new head coach and offensive coordinator to that young quarterback.
From the jump: I don't expect either the Washington job or the New York job to open up. Dave Gettleman, for all the jokes made at his expense (heaven knows I've gotten my licks in) is secure in his position at least through another coaching staff's reign, while Bruce Allen -- the Redskins' EVP and GM -- has been in his position for 10 years now, is respected across the league, and will certainly get another coaching staff as well.
But because their contexts are similar, it's an interesting discussion. New York wins in cap space ($63.6M against Washington's $41.3M) but the two teams are essentially equal in future draft firepower. As I said above, both drafted rookie QBs: Washington is seeing what they've working with in Dwayne Haskins for the rest of the season, while New York has been enjoying the thrill ride of Daniel Jones' rookie season for quite a few weeks now.
Coming out, I preferred Haskins to Jones, but I didn't have higher than a third-round grade on either -- I thought they were developmental starters at best. From what I've seen at the NFL level, while Jones is about what I thought he was going to be, he's been more consistent and successful with his strengths than I imagined he would be for a rookie -- so his arrow is pointing slightly up for me. With Haskins, it's too early to tell.
The ownership is worth noting here, as the Redskins are in bad spots from a PR perspective as a result of the naming controversy, as well as the handling of the Trent Williams holdout. While the Giants receive more media scrutiny than perhaps any team in the league, they aren't enduring any of those self-made burdens at the time, and that goes back to who owns the team and how they operate: Redskins' owner Dan Snyder has been heavily criticized in the past, and that doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
So with that said, I think I'll take my talents to New York -- where the roster is worse, yes. But I have more picks and capital to fix it, a somehow stabler environment, and I player I think I know how to build around in Daniel Jones.
Would Rather: Take The New York Job