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Jumbo Package: Gump Day!

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Alabama running backs look to dominate the NFL Free Agent market, NCAA talks for free transfers begins

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

So, who will end up drafting him? Per ESPN, Caesars Sportsbook thinks the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins are the 2 favorites to land him:

Miami Dolphins: -110

Detroit Lions: -110

Los Angeles Chargers: 5/2

Cincinnati Bengals: 7/1

Carolina Panthers: 7/1

Jacksonville Jaguars: 9/1

The Dolphins have been salivating over Tua since the start of the 2019 season, and then they messed around a won a few games to give the #1 overall spot to the dismal Cincinnati Bengals. But the meteoric rise of Joe Burrow and Tagovailoa’s hip injury have combined to put Miami right in the driver’s seat for being able to pick him up.

The betting folks think the same thing.

Personally, I still think the Raiders could be a dark horse candidate to use some of their extra draft capital and make the massive trade up for Tua.

But how much could the Cardinals pay Drake with so much of their running-back money committed to Johnson?

At an appearance during Super Bowl week, Drake said he hoped to attract a free-agent contract that “will change the trajectory of my family.”

Keim said he’d already talked to Drake about staying with Arizona.

“I don’t want to get into details,” Keim said, “but we have had talks with Kenyan, and I made it clear that we would like to have him back.”

There is a very, very real chance that the top two free agent running back contracts in the NFL this year are both Alabama running backs... From the same draft class, no less.

Derrick Henry was the best running back in the world over the last season and a half, and Drake really showed out in the second half of 2019 once he got away from Miami.

They’ll have competition from Melvin Gordon and Kareem Hunt for getting the top contracts, but Gordon had a down year due to his holdout, and Hunt has a bit of a track record of off-field stuff.

The main difference with Alabama and some of those other schools is the amount of players it pays to insure. Alabama had permanent disability policies in place for 16 players prior to Tagovailoa’s injury. It then added four more policies leading up to the Citrus Bowl.

“(Twenty players) is double, if not triple, what any other school in the country does because of Alabama being uniquely situated with the number of qualifiers on the roster,” said former Kansas basketball player and current insurance specialist Eric Chenowith, who handles insurance policies for Alabama. “I work with over 60 schools. And on average, each school only has 2-10 each year.”

If you’re still a little confused on the workings of the “loss of value” insurance vs the career ending insurance policies in the politics of college football, this article does a good job of summing it up for you— and also providing an argument against those that tried to drag Alabama through the mud for not having that LOV policy on Tua Tagovailoa before the his injury.

“The current system is unsustainable. Working group members believe it’s time to bring our transfer rules more in line with today’s college landscape,” said working group chair Jon Steinbrecher, commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. “This concept provides a uniform approach that is understandable, predictable and objective. Most importantly, it benefits students.”

Student-athletes in all sports would no longer need an NCAA waiver for immediate eligibility, provided they:

• Receive a transfer release from their previous school;

• Leave their previous school academically eligible;

• Maintain their academic progress at the new school; and

• Leave under no disciplinary suspension.

The Division I Council will consider the new legislation at its April meeting. The current waiver process would remain in place for student-athletes who have already transferred, or those who don’t meet the above criteria.

Members of the working group noted that the transfer waiver process “should be limited to truly extenuating and unique circumstances that threaten a student-athlete’s health and safety.” However, numerous transfers have applied for waivers for other reasons, bogging down the system, Steinbrecher said.

Oh boy. Here we go.

I’m not necessarily against this idea, but I don’t love what it could become, either. Mostly, it will be really interesting to see how the NCAA handles the first time someone transfers from School A to School B due to being buried on the depth chart, and then runs into some bullying or health or family circumstances or whatever that would warrant a waiver in the old system at School B and is unable to transfer to School C because he already used his free pass.

Discuss away in the comments. What do you think is the best solution that is both fair for the players and fair for the fans/colleges?

“I said, ‘Does anyone happen to know what Auburn’s record was after 12 games?’” Oats said. “Somebody in there was smart enough to know that they were 6-6, and I said, ‘Well, let’s get to 6-6 and then see what we can’t do in the last third of conference play.’”

The Crimson Tide men’s basketball team sits with a 14-11 (6-6 SEC) record with six games left before the conference tournament in Nashville, Tenn. Coming off a huge win over LSU this past weekend, Alabama’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament are still very much alive.

But how many wins does Oats think the Tide needs to win over the next six contests?

“We’re at 14 right now with six to go,” Oats said with a small smile. “If we get to 20, we’re in.”

Finally, Alabama will be taking on Texas A&M tonight in what should be a winnable game, despite the Aggies having a superior post offense. The Tide is ranked highly by most advanced metrics and has one of the toughest strength of schedules in the NCAA, but the actual win-loss record isn’t good enough to guarantee a tournament spot. If the Tide wins out, that combined with the other stellar aspects of their resume would vault Alabama up the eyes of the selectors. But pretty much every game from here on out is a must-win.

They might have the leeway to lose one or even two games, but it’s nowhere near guaranteed.

But, like Coach Oats said, this is exactly where Auburn was last year before they went on their February-March hot streak that got them all the way to the Final Four.

I’m not sure I’ll allow myself even half of that hope just yet, but for now, we can be cautiously optimistic.

Roll Tide!