I caught former Bills, Panthers and Colts GM Bill Polian on NFL Radio this morning. The initial subject was what the Bengals should do with Joe Mixon; pay him or sign someone else such as Elliott. Polian talked about the value of a RB that could pass block for Burrow, saying Mixon was poor at it while Elliot was still a good to excellent pass blocker. Polian thought Mixon is the better runner.
Polian went on to say that he has always been somewhat of a contrarian and he doesn’t totally buy into “the RB marker is devalued”. He said he would absolutely draft a RB early in the second round or even trade up to the end of the first round for a special back to get the 5th year option.
A key point was the risk of signing a RB to a long term deal second contract because they will fall off a cliff (see below) during that contract and the team is often stuck with a lot of dead money if they have to move on.
He then talked about how RBs often have a cliff that their capabilities fall off. He said it’s around 26 to 27 for most RBs. Right at the end of their first contract, particularly if they’re on a 5th option.
He talked a little bit about McCaffery. Said he was one of the special backs, but pointed out he is more of a receiving threat now, that he is in a rotation and that he missed significant time due to injury over two seasons, implying he has less wear on him due to time missed.
Polian finally got around to Barkley. He implied the Giants have a tough decision to make. While he didn’t bring up his earlier points about 5th years options and the RB cliff specifically, I got the impression Polian would think signing Barkley to a long term deal would be a mistake.
I was a big fan of drafting Barkley in 2018 and really like him as a player and a person. But based on Polian’s comments, letting Barkley play on a tag this year and next seems to be the best “business decision”.
I expect Mara’s thumb will be placed on the scale and the Giants will sign Barkley to a 3 year deal close to the original offer.