NFL Scouting Combine 2019: What we learned from coaches and GMs

INDIANAPOLIS — Last year, the New York Jets traded for the No. 3 pick in the draft to take quarterback Sam Darnold. This year, the Jets seem ready to move down from the third overall selection.

Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan was open about potentially trading the pick.

“Right now, we feel good at No. 3, but I’d definitely say if there’s an opportunity to trade down, we would absolutely look at it,” Maccagnan said.

Sure, there’s no reason he should say otherwise, but a team could be tempted to move up to draft quarterbacks Dwayne Haskins or Kyler Murray. That even includes the New York Giants. The two New York teams rarely make deals together, but Maccagnan would be willing to take a call from the Giants.

“Yeah, I think I would be open to any team that would (want to trade),” Maccagnan said when asked about trading with the Giants. “As long as the trade made sense to us, there’s nothing that would stop us from doing that.”

As ESPN’s Rich Cimini points out, the two New York teams haven’t made a deal together since 1983. But if the Jets did move down, they’d find value in targeting a pass rusher or offensive lineman, two of the positions Maccagnan touted as being among the best in the draft.

The Jets aren’t the only ones talking trade high in the first round. The Arizona Cardinals seem open to fielding offers for the No. 1 overall pick. That’s despite keeping things a little murky with 2018 first-round pick Josh Rosen.

NFL free agent and trade rumors are heating up

Nick Foles is free to go wherever he wants in free agency. The Philadelphia Eagles announced on Wednesday that they will not put the franchise tag on Foles this offseason. Now Foles can sign with one of the teams in need of a quarterback like Jacksonville, Miami, or Washington.

“We made this decision as an organization and we feel very comfortable about it,” Howie Roseman, Eagles executive vice president of football operations, said. “Again, (it’s a) hard decision. Nick is someone that means a lot to us professionally and personally. But at the end of the day, as an organization we felt like it was the right thing to do.”

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman was resolute in his stance on veteran wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Gettleman began his 15-minute media session with some prepared thoughts and ended it this way: “We didn’t sign Odell to trade him. That’s all I’ll say about that.”

Gettleman is sticking with his veteran star receiver. Kevin Colbert is not. The Pittsburgh Steelers general manager is opening shopping disgruntled receiver Antonio Brown. And he’s seemingly using the media to help drum up trade value. That includes threatening to not trade Brown if he doesn’t get good compensation.

“People can or cannot believe us, but that’s our stance,” Colbert said. “We need significant compensation for this to happen.”

The NFL is watching the AAF

The Alliance of American Football, the experimental spring football league, is getting eyeballs on its product. Some of those belong to NFL teams. Several coaches and front office executives were asked about the AAF, and what it could mean for the NFL.

No one seemed more enthusiastic about it than Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, who said it’s a good place for players to develop after college. He said the Ravens are closely following the league.

“We know all the players already,” Harbaugh said. “Our scouts know all the players in the AAF, they’ll know all the players in the new XFL, and we’ll be all over that stuff, I promise you.”

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim echoed many of the same sentiments, and said his staff will be paying attention to the first-year league.

“To me, again, it’s another great opportunity to watch guys on film and that’s what it’s all about, getting an opportunity,” Keim said. “If a player can succeed there and can do a lot of good things on tape he’ll get an opportunity at our level.”

New Cleveland Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens spoke more on Wednesday about people than he did football. Specifically, it was about how the Browns can help rehabilitate running back Kareem Hunt, who was signed to a contract a couple weeks ago.

Hunt was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in November after video surfaced of him kicking and shoving a woman inside a Cleveland hotel. Browns general manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt in Kansas City, decided to take the risk on signing the 23-year-old running back.

“Now it’s our job to move forward and support him and get him to a place as an individual and as a person to give him the opportunity, a second chance per se,” Kitchens said. “The second chance is not now. He’s got a lot of work to do between now and that time the second chance comes. We’ll see how that goes.

“Right now, we’re day to day and just trying to offer him support where he needs to become a better person to get him eventually on the field.”

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