“For now, this is our life, and we’ve got to be prepared for it. Some basic stuff in all of our lives is going to be threatened. We’ve all got to exercise a little more social responsibility.” – Sean Payton on testing positive for Coronavirus
“Part of this decision, a big part I believe, is Brady wanting to see football from another point, with another coach, with another team, to see another football life. What’s the world like outside of Foxboro?” – King on Tom Brady signing with the Buccaneers
“Though this is a gamble for Brady, and for the Bucs, those inside the organization are comfortable staking their reputations on it.” – King
“This is a classic bridge quarterback, so look for the Colts to either draft one (now without their first-rounder) or work like the dickens to salvage Jacoby Brissett.” – King on the Colts signing Philip Rivers
ProFootballTalk.com Provides the Latest Free Agency News and Updates
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 23, 2020 – Peter King speaks with New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, who announced last week that he tested positive for coronavirus, in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King discusses major NFL free agency moves, including how Tom Brady ended up in Tampa Bay, the DeAndre Hopkins trade, and the league’s quarterback carousel.
Additionally, ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest free agency news and NFL insider Mike Florio and analyst Chris Simms provide offseason and free agency updates on PFT Live, which returned to NBCSN this morning in its usual daily timeslot of 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET, and the Simms Unbuttoned podcast.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
SEAN PAYTON AND CORONAVIRUS
King on Payton: “He’s the only NFL coach, or top NFL official, to test positive for coronavirus…He knows he’s lucky, because he has no underlying illnesses…and he can afford, at this time of year, to nap and take care of himself and let the virus run its course. He’s been almost exclusively in the house for eight days – leaving only to be tested last Monday – and plans to sequester himself for at least another week.”
King: “Payton feels better, but still weak. Today, he’ll join his NFL Competition Committee peers on a teleconference to discuss potential rules changes. He finds himself empathizing with so many people now that he’s seen and felt what the virus can do.”
Payton: “Look, I feel well. I’ll get better, and we’ll go on, and we’ll have the draft in some way, shape or form. That’s not what’s important right now. What’s important is our health-care workers, our doctors and nurses, on the front lines of this thing. We’ve got to take care of them.”
Payton: “For now, this is our life, and we’ve got to be prepared for it. Some basic stuff in all of our lives is going to be threatened. We’ve all got to exercise a little more social responsibility.”
Payton on his experience being tested: “I called our team doc, described the symptoms…I went over to a hospital, drove up the little ramp there, and they came out to test me. They had all their protective gear on. I rolled down my window. Just like you’ve seen – they did nostril one, then they did nostril two. That was it. On Thursday, he texted me. ‘Tested positive. Call me.’”
King: “Payton, when he feels up to it, plans to figure which cause affected by the virus he can help through his Play It Forward Foundation. Consuming media these days, he’s found himself thinking, How can I help? It’s a good question for all of us these days.”
BRADY TO THE BUCS
King on why the Buccaneers targeted Brady: “The team believes Brady has a couple of Super Bowl-contending seasons left, and GM Jason Licht and (head coach Bruce) Arians believe there are pieces in place in Tampa to help him win his seventh championship. They also think Brady’s never-ending search for perfection…will live on in his teammates at One Buc Place after Brady leaves.”
King on Brady: “Being great at 43 has never been done by an NFL quarterback. But the game has never seen a player this well-preserved at this age…Though this is a gamble for Brady, and for the Bucs, those inside the organization are comfortable staking their reputations on it.”
King on how Jameis Winston’s six turnovers in Week 6 in London pushed the Bucs: “After the London game, scouts got to work in earnest dissecting tape of any quarterbacks who might be available after the season. Teddy Bridgewater. Andy Dalton. Ryan Tannehill. Marcus Mariota. Philip Rivers. And Tom Brady.”
King: “By the end of February, the Bucs had prioritized their top three quarterbacks, in order: Brady. Bridgewater. Winston.”
King on Brady’s first meeting with Buccaneers leadership: “The strongest impression he left with them had a Belichickian tone…Brady wants to help Arians reinforce his standard of excellence in Tampa. At times during the call, it almost felt like Brady was recruiting them, not the other way around.”
King: “Part of this decision, a big part I believe, is Brady wanting to see football from another point, with another coach, with another team, to see another football life. What’s the world like outside of Foxboro?”
King on the signing process: “What I’m told happened Tuesday: The Bucs, by mid-afternoon, had a shell of a deal with (agent Don) Yee for Brady. They hadn’t been told that Brady was theirs, but Bridgewater needed an answer; he had another option in Carolina. The Bucs felt good enough about their shot with Brady that they let Bridgewater go Tuesday afternoon.”
NFL FREE AGENCY NOTES
King on the DeAndre Hopkins trade: “I do know that Hopkins wanting a new contract with three years left would be a real turnoff if I were running the Texans. Now, whatever the side details, it’s ridiculous that Houston got the 40th pick in the draft and a commoner running back for a top three receiver in football.”
King on the Bears: “(Mitch) Trubisky will have his shot this year, and (Nick) Foles, one of the best teammates ever to roam an NFL sideline, will support him. If Trubisky is better, he’ll play and he’ll stave off Foles. I don’t see that happening, Trubisky being better.”
King on the DeForest Buckner trade to the Colts: “He’s one of the three best interior defensive linemen in football, and he just turned 26…In the end, the 13th pick in the draft was too much to pass up for the Niners, who, prior to the pick, had one pick in the first four rounds.”
King on the Colts: “I thought it was telling that (Philip) Rivers wants to play a couple of years more, at least, and the Colts signed him for one year, period. This is a classic bridge quarterback, so look for the Colts to either draft one (now without their first-rounder) or work like the dickens to salvage Jacoby Brissett.”
King on Jameis Winston: “I think Jameis Winston is a great gamble to take as a 2020 backup and a prospective 2021 challenger for a job…I know the Steelers won’t do it, but man, I’d rather have Winston in reserve for Big Ben than Duck Hodges.”
King on Cam Newton’s future: “My guess: Washington with Ron Rivera, but that would make for a weird quarterback room. Newton would want to play, and if he does, that roadblocks Dwayne Haskins.”
King on Andy Dalton: “I keep hearing no one will trade for Andy Dalton and pay him $17 million this year in the last year of his deal. If he’s on the street, Dalton at $7 million for a year in New England makes the most sense to me…I still expect the Patriots, after signing Brian Hoyer on Sunday, to look into signing a veteran.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live: Mike Florio and Chris Simms react to all of the big moves in NFL free agency. PFT Live, which is also joined by Peter King throughout the week, returns to its usual daily timeslot of 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN this week.
- The Simms Unbuttoned podcast is joined by Ahmed Fareed to discuss the NFL offseason.
- The Rotoworld Football Podcast, with Josh Norris, John Daigle, and Ian Hartitz, continues to discuss how free agency moves will impact teams and players in 2020.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 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.