2020 NFL combine: Pencil in Chase Young to Washington, plus insider notes on Dak Prescott, Joe Burrow and more


INDIANAPOLIS — Washington is fully prepared to take Chase Young as the No. 2 overall pick in April’s draft.

The team is just making sure he’ll be there if and when it makes the pick.

According to sources, Young is atop Washington’s draft board. If Joe Burrow is scooped with the first pick and no team offers a bevy of picks for the second selection, Young will be Washington’s first-round pick.

Washington head coach Ron Rivera made some news earlier in the week when he told reporters the team would have Burrow and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in for predraft visits. The news led some to speculate whether Washington could pull a 2019 Cardinals and draft a quarterback one year after selecting one in the first round.

The fact is, Washington is preparing for the few, but massive, possibilities it could face at the No. 2 spot. Washington’s new coaching staff is pleased with the commitment to improvement Dwayne Haskins has already shown. I believe there will be no quarterback controversy in Washington so long as Burrow is off the board at No. 2 when Washington picks.

The team is enamored with Young, but Washington doesn’t plan to be ignorant to a draft-day trade that could set the course of the next few years. If a team loaded with draft capital like the Dolphins offers a Ricky Williams-like trade to go up to No. 2 and get their guy (presumably Tagovailoa), Washington will (and should) listen.

What Titans do with Tannehill

The Titans are in no rush to slap the franchise tag on Ryan Tannehill.

While Tennessee is (finally) beginning to be viewed by other national media as a destination for Tom Brady, the Titans still have two weeks to make a decision on guy who quarterbacked them to the AFC title game.

Tannehill is going to be paid by some franchise this offseason, and the frontrunner for now is the Titans. The belief is the Titans want to lock Tannehill into a multi-year deal and save their two potential tags for Derrick Henry and Jack Conklin.

But a long-term deal won’t be easy for the sides to reach, according to a source. Tannehill will want security, but the Titans will be cautious. First, he has an injury history. Secondly, he only played in 10 regular-season games and not the full 16, which will be used in negotiations. And finally, the Derrick Henry factor will be considered.

How much did Tannehill benefit from the most productive rusher in the league? The Titans understand what the quarterback market is, but they’ll be careful locking themselves into anything that they can’t eventually get out from under.

Whether it’s the tag or a contract for Tannehill in Tennessee, this won’t materialize until we get closer to the March 12 deadline.

Bengals, Burrow a match made in reality

Cincinnati brass was all smiles after meeting with Joe Burrow this week at the combine. Team owner Mike Brown sat in on an 18-minute meeting with the top quarterback in this year’s draft, and Cincinnati has sent every signal it wants Burrow to be the face of the franchise for years to come.

Burrow quelled any speculation that he’d force his way out of Cincinnati before the draft with his press conference Tuesday. He noted the next two months are a vetting process for both sides and he didn’t want to be presumptive, but the 2020 draft drama that could be took a cold shower this week.

As for Andy Dalton, the Bengals would be best suited to trade him before or at the start of the league year. At most they could get a third-round pick for the quarterback, and that compensation will decline the later this drags out. The Bengals did a poor job during the accidentally bad 2019 season of accumulating draft capital to maximize a season that produced the equivalent of a tank.

Also, trading Dalton in March — and thus not pulling a 2019 Arizona Cardinals and waiting until draft day — would send the strongest message of all to players, ticket-holders and the league that Burrow is coming to Cincinnati.

Why tag is more likely than deal for Prescott

The Cowboys met with Dak Prescott’s representation in the middle of combine week. NFL Media reported the Cowboys could extend the $33 million exclusive franchise tag to Prescott, which would ensure he couldn’t negotiate with any other teams.

I believe Prescott is destined to play under some sort of tag in 2020 based upon how far apart these sides are in negotiating. Prescott’s representation has been holding their cards close to the vest, while the Dallas brass has tried to play contract negotiations through the media, and the truth is they were never that close to a deal.

That reported $33 million per year deal offered last September? I’m told Dallas informed Prescott’s agent there was little to no “wiggle room” in the offer presented, and that’s also without knowing the structure of the proposed deal.

The current floor for any long-term deal with Prescott would start above Jared Goff’s $35 million per year deal signed last September.

Don’t expect clarity on Newton in the near future

It would be stunning if anything happens with Carolina and Cam Newton any time soon. As I wrote earlier this week, it’s unlikely he would be able to pass a physical by the start of the league year considering the December foot surgery and February procedure to increase blood flow.

He’s been in Charlotte and around the team facilities this offseason far more than previous offseasons. In the past he’s usually gone back to his home in Atlanta and done the bulk of his training there while checking in with the team on his progress. This winter he’s been in Charlotte more as he shows head coach Matt Rhule and team owner David Tepper that he’s committed to getting back to MVP form.

Newton absolutely believes he will be a Carolina Panther in 2020, according to sources. But like all of this, it takes two. That Tepper and Rhule can’t talk about Newton’s future with the team without offering a caveat or two in each sentence speaks volumes, though.

I believe the direction of this 2020 season for Carolina will become clearer after the draft. The Panthers may still have one of the worst rosters in the league and that, coupled with Newton’s health update, will lead to the decision the team will make on the most important position on the field. 





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