Although the Jacksonville Jaguars are right there, the New York Jets should fear the Dallas Cowboys most as it pertains to Trevor Lawrence.
The tank for Trevor race has never been hotter. Don’t tell Joe Douglas that his team is leading the standings by a full game over the Jacksonville Jaguars; he’d have none of it.
The New York Jets general manager, whose culture talk represents the imagination of what’s planned to be a new organizational era, wouldn’t allow for such a discussion.
Losing games purposefully? Don’t be silly. This is the National Football League, the place Jerry Glanville once so eloquently dubbed “Not For Long.” You either win or you’re out of a job. In a league that features men working independent contractor careers, each of the season’s 16 games is precious.
That’s the official story, the public information relayed from 1 Jets Drive. The genuine story is a bit different, one that has Douglas fully understanding just how critical Trevor Lawrence is to one lucky team’s NFL future.
It’s more than enough to manufacture crazy theories and elicited advice. “Ensure that your professional employer is not the Jets,” they say to young Lawrence. “Do anything in your power to avoid the Florham Park, NJ organization” is what a good portion of our sports media has already expressed.
Problems exist in that regard. Who would Lawrence target? The No. 2 team in the tank standings, the Jacksonville Jaguars, don’t exactly showcase a rich tradition of winning. The Cincinnati Bengals in the three-hole already have Joe Burrow, a kid who—despite his devastating injury—remains the future. The kid can’t point to any team and say, “I want to go there.”
For a Lawrence power-play to actually become feasible, there needs to be a team worthy of infatuation near the top of the draft. And now, 12 weeks into the season, one frightening situation is starting to take shape.
The Dallas Cowboys should stoke fear in the hearts and eyes of all-things Jets-Lawrence.
Mike McCarthy’s 3-8 Cowboys have been nothing short of a disaster in 2020. At 3-8, America’s Team is coming off an embarrassing effort against the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving—the Boys’ day.
Several weeks ago, the feeling about Dallas winning a terrible NFL East remained healthy. Not a single team in the division looked the part and the Cowboys’ overall talent could easily be viewed as enough to get over the hump. Suddenly, after a day of turkey, stuffing and horrible football, dem Boys feel like a longshot to do anything positive the rest of the way.
It’ll likely come down to two things when analyzing the possibility of a Lawrence power-play to Big D. First and foremost, who is Lawrence’s agent? When Eli Manning forced his way to the New York Giants in 2004, his agent, Tom Condon, had a lot to with the transaction.
Eli’s dad, Hall of Fame quarterback Archie Manning, a man who wasted away in New Orleans for most of his career, insists that he had nothing to do with his son’s decision.
“It was a decision that Eli and Tom Condon made,” he told the Rich Eisen Show in 2016. “Most people thought I orchestrated it, which I didn’t. I don’t tell my kids what to do, or make decisions for them.”
Then-San Diego Chargers general manager A.J. Smith believes it had to do with himself.
“They wanted no part of San Diego, because of me,” Smith once said, via SB Nation. “I was a scout that was a novice GM and ‘he doesn’t know what he’s doing right now; he just got there.’ Head coach [Marty] Schottenheimer was there and Tom Condon was his agent and my sources told me that he knew [Schottenheimer] wasn’t long for the place.”
Smith added that he thought Schottenheimer’s inability to get the best out of quarterbacks contributed to the Manning decision, but Condon was the greatest factor through his eyes.
“It comes down to Tom Condon, who at that time I called him ‘super agent,’” Smith said. “He’s like Scott Boras of baseball: prolific in their business, and they try to manipulate the system if they can. They’ve got great players, they have connections, and they can do certain things.
“Then there’s Archie Manning, who I really enjoy listening to constantly talk about how he’s out of the fray, not involved, and just lets his kids do their thing. All fathers want to take care of their families — we all do that. And then he portrays an image, that as far as I’m concerned, is as false as can be, but that’s beside the point.
“Once I connected all the dots and realized all the parties involved: One it’s the Giants, two it’s the agent, and three, Archie Manning.”
The second critical factor deals with Dak Prescott. Would Jerry Jones jump ship on the Prescott train if Lawrence become a possibility? It’s hard to say he wouldn’t if presented with such a gift.
Prescott, 27, has been a solid NFL quarterback over four-plus seasons in the NFL. He’s only thrown for 30 touchdowns once, however, which is hardly prolific in today’s pass-happy sport.
Now, dealing with a serious right ankle injury, his future is uncertain. Couple the injury with the money the soon-to-be free agent is expected to garner this coming spring and Jones has a situation on his hands.
Or does he?
Earlier in November, Jones called it “crazy” to think Dallas would draft a quarterback high in the draft. Prescott is Jones’s man.
“Yes, you ask me if it’s crazy to bring the idea up? And I’ve answered it, yes,” Jones said. “It’s not the thing to be talking about at all. Dak is our quarterback. … We’re so fired up about him and leading us into the future. … We’re fired up about our future with Dak.”
Then again, this was a few weeks ago. After beating the Minnesota Vikings, they laid a Thanksgiving egg against Washington and now sit in the cellar of the division. Besides, which professional sports owner is batting 1.000 in the honesty department? I imagine it’d be tough to even dish out a Rod Carew-type average to any one owner in the sport.
General managers in this specific NFL era understand just how advantageous a stud quarterback on a rookie deal is for the overall health of his depth chart and salary cap situation. Why pay a guy $30-plus million a season when a potentially better quarterback who’d earn under $10-million in his first season is ripe for the picking?
Joe Burrow‘s average salary is $9.047 and his 2020 cap hit is just $6.505. Imagine paying a 27-year-old quarterback $30-plus million when the 21-year-old generational rookie is performing better while raking in a fraction of the cost. The ability to mold the rest of the depth chart morphs into a hyperactive form of its norm.
Jones can preach his Prescott loyalty all he wants; the temptations are just too legitimate to fully take him at his word. But more than the Cowboys’ quarterback situation, it’ll likely boil down to Lawrence’s personal feeling about the situation and his agent’s influence.
The Jets are still in the driver’s seat. As of now, the Jags hold the strength of schedule tiebreaker, and unless something drastic changes, will likely hold that tiebreaker until the end of the season. Any combination of a Jets win and Jags loss would flip the two teams in the race, causing the, by far, greatest problem en route to Lawrence.
And while the Cowboys are a back-burner consideration at the moment, that threat has to be treated as genuine. It is one of the few organizations in the NFL (similar to the Giants) that carries a rich tradition. Not even a winless season could tear the mystique down completely—no less a poor 2020 without the starting quarterback in the lineup.
America’s Team appeals to a lot of kids, especially those who grew up in the south. Lawrence, born in Knoxville, TN, and raised in Cartersville, GA, certainly qualifies as a “kid from the south.”
How Jones deals with McCarthy and Prescott will greatly factor into this discussion. How Lawrence approaches the draft, and who he chooses to represent him will be most critical.
Perhaps Lawrence looks at the two situations and opts for Joe Douglas, a new head coach, plenty of draft assets and salary-cap space in New York. Maybe he’s just that sort of kid, one who wants to take on the challenge in the best media market in the world. Or, maybe he becomes mesmerized by the star in Dallas and decides to shake things up.
For now, everything remains speculative. Just don’t think for one moment that the Dallas Cowboys aren’t a threat for Trevor Lawrence’s services. Currently No. 4 in the draft order, they’re not only close enough to the one-hole to possibly engineer a potential draft power-play, but they also carry a rich tradition that’s tough to ignore.
Just ask Jamal Adams.
Trevor Lawrence just might not be a power-play type guy. Most guys in his spot aren’t. In the event he is, the Jags aren’t the destination. The Bengals certainly aren’t either. Who remains? The Los Angeles Chargers? No chance with Justin Herbert throwing darts. The New York Giants remain a slim possibility, but they’re now in the NFC East driver’s seat.
The New York Jets’ great Trevor Lawrence/power-play fear has to be the Dallas Cowboys at this very moment. The good news is that this fear is still a long way from becoming a reality.
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The credibility of the threat becomes real, when you consider somehow the Cowboys got La’el Collins, never understood. Fake negotiations are fascinating, but looks like the Jerry screwed up. Cowboys could be a customer for Sam, second round in 2021 (37, ?) & 2022
I still think Lawrence is a kid who wants to take on a NY challenge and who wouldn’t force things, but hey, Dallas has to be in the back of everybody’s minds, including the Jets’ and Douglas’.
Dallas likes to make a big splash. Dak’s value is questionable, coming off injury and operating behind an Offensive Line that you could knit sweaters behind. The Cowboys with very little CAP need to be creative.Although Douglas has shown that he will take draft capital in 2022 & 2023, the boys will have a hard time ponying up .Moving up from four to one, cost, 1+2 in both 2021& 2022. Best value splash for Dallas is Sam for two second round picks
They won 3 games they lost on the Trevor Sweeps and the Jags are not trading that pick to Dallas and neither are the Jets… Sorry Robby i defended you with the one knucklehead bashing you for telling the truth but in this case i have to say this is a nothing burger with Trevor/Dallas its fanasty and if the Jets ever did something that insane *which they could because they are the Jets and the fan base does not trust they can do the right thing anymore * more fans will turn to new ventures to root for. The younger people think people are just saying that but its true the fans from different states that used to live in NY now live in Florida like myself are turning on the Jets they have stop paying 100’s of dollars on gear and merch they have boycotted all things NYJ. If they ever traded Trevor Lawrence if they got the #1 pick excuse my words but the Jets are DEAD to me. I will repaint my gaming room, I will remove all my 10 year old Jets gear and i’ll go watch the XFL or college football because that will show me ownership just does not give a dam and does not have a clue all in the same time. I believe ownership is stupid and does not give a dam but this would be a cruel disgusting and unforgiveable act if they traded Trevor Lawrence if they were picking one and i know the Jets will land that pick before the season started *Molsey opted out was the final straw*
After this 0-16 season its time to erase the past and that starts with firing Adam Gase and then you let Joe Douglas do his JOB without ownership interference and you let him pick out his coach and after that you load up as many draft picks as you can before draft *if that means trading Sam or 1 year players away for picks do it* and focus on doing this rebuild right… I don’t want big money free agents with no loyalty like Allen Robinson i followed him since his PSU but im disappointed of him liking tweets saying he should sign with another team…. Didn’t Jets fans learn ANYTHING from L.Bell and that drama? I want Joe Douglas guys i want New Jet MADE guys that can be stars, probowls, starters, great role players and most important TEAM PLAYERS… The culture has to change and the right coach in Joe’s words a coach that is a LEADER OF MEN… I was in the idea of a offensive coach to be hired till i listened to his week 11 video he nailed it and changed my mind… This team needs a coach that holds everyone accountable and has leadership that can lead like a floor general its been missing since Bill Parcells and the Jets have not came close to having that with any coach in the last 20 years….. Its time to wake up and start drafting correct or we will be in the same dump in 3-4 years with Trevor and by god idk what anyone would do if that is the case
and Robby… This team is called the NEW YORK JETS………. Can we have a LOGO that has a bad a** looking JET logo like the hockey team in the NHL? Like one of those Jets from Top Gun with different uniforms? Those losers Uniforms will always be the 0-16 New York Jets it has to change
I love your work Robby but this is incredibly unlikely and just. . . No
I agree. It’s unlikely. But if there was that one team that could power-play its way to Lawrence, it’s Dallas.
Yeesh.. i hate rooting for dallas but i guess i should jyst for the next month or so. Valid concern