The NFL personnel man I refer to as [REDACTED] has been a friend of mine for more than a decade. He’s not a cultivated source. He’s a guy in a high-profile NFL gig and his family lives in my neighborhood. He’s also one of my most valuable resources in the league. So I asked him three questions.
DBB: I won’t ask you to weigh-in on the Houston situation, or any other front office, but give me your general response to the Deshaun Watson availability.
[REDACTED]: Unthinkable. But based on what is happening down there, totally predictable. I will weigh-in on Houston. Nick (Caserio) aside, those are not good people running the program. Deshaun is above all a truly good person. He sees the caliber of individual leaving the organization and the caliber of individual staying and he knows which groups he belongs in.
As for the trade itself, I don’t envy Nick’s position. Three first round picks are nice but they’re not Deshaun, you know what I mean? You can hit on all three and not equal the value of a player of his status and ability. And none of the quarterbacks rumored to be in the packages back to Houston are half the player he is. Nick almost has to take this further along so he can convince his fans he had no other choice but to trade him. He has to exhaust his options.
DBB: Many Bears fans believe Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are in a “lame duck” season. I’m not one of those people, but it seems to be the general perception. You’ve been in a front office, in that spot. Can you describe the experience?
[REDACTED]: Yeah, it sucks.
First thing, and I have told you this previously, nobody I spoke with believed Ryan or Matt was getting fired. And if they were, both would have been hired again within 12 hours if they wanted. I would have pushed hard for us to bring Ryan in but he’d more than likely go back to Sean.
Usually in the lame duck scenario, you haven’t had success. And that’s where I was. And then your only goal is to somehow put together a winning season and prove your program works. Get that season after. Keep your job. It sucks to be that short-sighted about the franchise but you have no choice but to go into survival mode.
DBB: I’m running this on President’s Day. Pick your favorite and try and tie it to football.
[REDACTED]: I wanted to pick Ronald Reagan just to send you off on your AIDS rant.
DBB: It’s not MY rant. The man is singularly responsible for the deaths of…
[REDACTED]: I just read Ron Chernow’s Grant biography and I realized how little I knew about him and probably about most of them. One thing that stood out to me was his view of war as a necessary evil and nothing more. He did not see any romance in it. It was a means to an end. And it’s something I think our players can learn from. The violence of the game is unavoidable. But there’s nothing romantic about the violence. There’s nothing to be celebrated about injuring an opponent with a big hit. It is all in service of the larger cause. The team. The fans. Winning. That doesn’t mean you don’t leave everything on the field but you should have a greater understanding of why.