“By week’s end, there was rising informed speculation the Raiders, Chargers, Colts and Titans could be in play for Brady.” – King on Tom Brady’s free agency
“The problem is, there’s way more quarterbacks than chairs.” – A player agent to King on offseason quarterback movement
“If the players want to fight for keeping the season at 16 games, it’s likely they’d have to do it with the understanding that a work stoppage likely would be needed to stay at 16.” – King on NFL CBA negotiations with a 17-game schedule
“This year just seems harder to forecast because of the free-agent dominoes, none of which will fall for at least 17 days.” – King on difficulties creating the 2020 NFL schedule
STAMFORD, Conn. – Mar. 2, 2020 – Peter King shares insights – in the form of “30 Indy Items” – from last week’s NFL Combine in Indianapolis, headlining this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King discusses the most impressive prospects from the Combine, shares updates on CBA negotiations, Tom Brady’s free agency and the looming quarterback carousel. King also speaks with top prospect and former Oregon QB Justin Herbert and Hall of Fame football executive Gil Brandt.
Additionally, across NBC Sports, NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms, who were on-site in Indianapolis last week, react to the Combine and discuss offseason player movement rumors. Click here to view PFT Live’s Combine interviews, as Florio and Simms interviewed 38 coaches, general managers, and prospects last week.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
DRAFT INSIGHTS FROM THE 2020 NFL COMBINE
King on the most impressive player from the Combine: “Clemson safety/linebacker/slot corner Isaiah Simmons, who ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at 238 pounds, and already was a slam-dunk top-10 pick in the draft…If he goes three overall – to Detroit or anyone trading up for him – it will be totally justified.”
King on Joe Burrow: “Though he said he would play for the team that drafts him, I still get the feeling he wants to see more devotion to winning than the Bengals have shown…Burrow made it clear here he wants the team to sign free-agent wide receiver A.J. Green.”
Hall of Famer Gil Brandt to King on Auburn DT Derrick Brown: “He got asked why he played in the Auburn bowl game when so many top prospects sit ‘em out. ‘I was elected captain. I wasn’t gonna desert my guys.’ He’s got the physical ability and character to go a long way.”
Brandt on Rhode Island WR Isaiah Coulter: “I like these guys who come from a school like Rhode Island with something to prove. Don’t want to put too much pressure on him, but he could be [D.K.] Metcalf of this draft.”
Brandt on Wisconsin RB Jonathan Taylor: “Teams say he might have carried it too much in college. I don’t know about that. I see a guy who can be a dominant player. Frank Gore’s carried it a lot too. He’s still playing. Taylor’s a great player.”
QB Justin Herbert to King on the most impressive person he met with at the Combine: “Coach [Josh] McDaniels with the Patriots. That’s a guy I’ve always watched, always looked up to. I love their offense.”
Herbert on the Combine: “It was really busy, but I had a lot of fun. Great life experience. Not a lot of people get to go through something like that, and I just tried to enjoy the experience as much I could.”
FREE AGENCY INSIGHTS FROM THE 2020 NFL COMBINE
King on Tom Brady: “Before this past week, I’d say most people in the league thought Brady might flirt with other teams but eventually finish where he started and where he belongs. But by week’s end, there was rising informed speculation the Raiders, Chargers, Colts and Titans (though that cause would be hurt if Derrick Henry leaves in free agency) could be in play for Brady.”
King on the Patriots: “I’ll tell you how I see a New England-minus-Brady scenario playing out: New England goes through the draft, and maybe picks a quarterback (I doubt in the first round) and maybe does not. But after the draft, there will be four or five vets looking for a landing spot.”
King on offseason quarterback movement: “From an agent with vet quarterbacks in the mix, when I said I had no idea how this QB game of musical chairs will end up: ‘The problem is, there’s way more quarterbacks than chairs.’ I can see that.”
King: “One of my favorite X factors is (Nick) Foles, assuming, as many in combine hallways believe, that the Jaguars go with Gardner Minshew…The more I think of Foles, and the more I think of a landing spot if he’s not a Jag, I think I might be able to talk myself into the Colts.”
King on Jameis Winston: “I kept asking people here about the fate of Jameis Winston, and I couldn’t find a landing spot for him. I doubt sincerely he’d be a starter on opening day 2020 if he leaves Tampa (which is likely).”
King on the Lions: “Heard two smart football people say they’d take Tua Tagovailoa at three if they were Detroit, let him get fully healthy in 2020, then figure out the QB situation after next season, when, presumably, there’d be a robust market for either Tua or Matthew Stafford.”
King on Joe Thuney: “Highest-paid interior lineman in free agency? I hear New England’s Joe Thuney could be a $15-million-a-year player.”
CBA NEGOTIATIONS & OFFSEASON NOTES
King on if players vote no in CBA negotiations: “It is dubious to think the owners will pick up where they left off if new negotiations would have to start sometime this spring or summer…The owners have basically decided they’re going forward only with a 17-game regular-season, and two additional wild-card games.”
King on if players vote no in CBA negotiations: “At least now, the league’s not going to give away 1.5 percent points of value to the players without the 17th regular-season game and the two added wild-card games…If the players want to fight for keeping the season at 16 games, it’s likely they’d have to do it with the understanding that a work stoppage likely would be needed to stay at 16.”
King on Tony Romo’s reported deal with CBS: “Tony Romo will stay at CBS for about $17 million a year for at least three years…Now ESPN, to boost the profile of “Monday Night Football” in the new deal or get a different package, may have to convince Peyton Manning to do something he apparently doesn’t really want to do – color comment on a national TV game every week.”
King on the difficulty of creating this year’s NFL schedule: “This year just seems harder to forecast because of the free-agent dominoes, none of which will fall for at least 17 days. As an exec for one of those teams I’ve just mentioned told me here: ‘How do you create a prime-time schedule not knowing who half the quarterbacks will be?’”
King on Week 1 schedule possibilities: “This year, there’s a bit of an issue with the Chiefs opening the season at home at 7:20 p.m. CT on Thursday, Sept. 10: The cross-parking-lot Royals are slated to play that afternoon at 12:35…the Chiefs could host the opener against, say, the Raiders or Texans.”
King on Week 1 schedule possibilities: “That would leave Sunday night for the opening of the new jewel of the league: SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. I’d expect the Rams to open at home in Week 1 and the co-tenant Chargers opening at home in Week 2 or 3.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ Super Bowl LIV coverage:
- The Peter King Podcast: King chats with new Panthers head coach Matt Rhule on Wednesday’s podcast.
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms react to news coming out of the NFL Combine and share interviews from Indianapolis. Click here to view PFT Live’s interviews with head coaches, general managers, and prospects.
- Rotoworld Football Podcast: Rotoworld’s Josh Norris and Hayden Winks share interviews with Bills head coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane from the Combine in Indianapolis.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.