NFL safety market leaving best available to take’peanuts’ in free agency

Safety in numbers has taken on a whole new meaning in the NFL this offseason. That’s because few zeroes are being dangled to the free agents playing the position. The safety market has proven soft even for a league in which teams are flush with salary-cap space.

New quarterback Tyrod Taylor gives them a better chance to win than any of the quarterbacks who were on the 2017 roster; March additions Jarvis Landry, Chris Hubbard, E.J. Gaines, Terrance Mitchell, T.J. Carrie, Chris Smith andDamarious Randall give them some much-needed talent and experience; and they’ll have the opportunity to add a handful of starting-caliber players with five picks in the first two rounds of the draft.

Still, this is a team that won zero games last year and lost stalwart left tackle Joe Thomas to retirement. Unless all or most of those picks start and excel right away and their three 2017 first-round picks break out, the Browns will remain at least a year away from being considered a real pro football team.

But Bridgewater bombed at Louisville’s pro day—a performance which was probably magnified because he didn’t participate in passing drills at the combine.

Six weeks later, Bortles was the third overall pick of the draft. Bridgewater slipped to the No. 32 spot.

That might not necessarily be the case with Darnold, but it goes to show that pro days can make a hell of a difference. Johnny Manziel might not have been a first-round pick if not for a strong pro day, while Carson Wentz might not have been picked second overall had he not put on a show at his.

Darnold’s pro day might not determine whether he becomes a successful NFL quarterback, but there’s a good chance it has a major impact on where he’s drafted next month.

If quarterback Derek Carr can bounce back in 2018, that six-win Oakland Raiders 2017 campaign will quickly be forgotten, but Carr needs more support on both sides of the ball. New head coach Jon Gruden and Co. didn’t do enough in March to quell those concerns.jets_033