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Division Links: BGN & BtB both discuss Jamal Adams trade rumors; BBV explains why “running backs don’t matter”

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NFL Pro Bowl Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images
Blogging the Boys

Jamal Adams asks for trade, Cowboys reportedly among his preferred destinations without an extension

If you thought the Jamal Adams to Dallas dream had died, think again.

The ‘Jamal Adams to Dallas’ trade seemed to be dead, but Adams himself has performed CPR and brought it roaring back to life. Okay, so it’s not like anything has really happened except for Adams asking the New York Jets for a trade.

Adams has asked the Jets for a trade and wants the team to give him permission to shop himself around to other teams, according to multiple reports.

The sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, Adams is heading into the fourth year of his rookie contract, and he has made no secret of the fact that he thinks he’s due a major pay raise. The Jets, however, appear content to make him play out his rookie deal, which would keep him for a cap hit of $7.1 million this year and then $9.9 million on his fifth-year option next year.

Adams has been chosen to the Pro Bowl each of the last two years and is, at age 24, one of the top young defensive players in football. He would certainly return a lot in a trade, but it remains to be seen whether the Jets will go along with Adams’ request.

So we’re not too much further down the road than previously. Just because Adams asks for a trade doesn’t mean one is forthcoming. As was noted the previous times this was discussed, the Cowboys reportedly offered up a first-rounder plus a player, said to be Anthony Brown, but the Jets asked for a lot more. They asked about players like Zack Martin or Tyron Smith in addition to picks; the Cowboys politely declined.

Bleeding Green Nation

Report: Eagles among teams that Jamal Adams is willing to be traded to

Adams’ trade demands seemingly stem from him and the Jets being unable to agree to a long-term contract. Adams is currently under team control through the 2021 season with the Jets picking up his fifth-year option.

The Eagles can realistically afford Adams’ contract as is. They currently have $24.7 million in cap space — fourth most in the league — and they’d only be on the hook for his $3.5 million guaranteed salary in 2020. Adams’ $9.86 million cap number in 2021 is only guaranteed for injury prior of the start of the new league year.

But with Adams demanding a new deal that pays him like one of the top safeties in the league, his current deal might not last much longer. Can the Eagles really afford to give up premium assets in addition to handing out another big money contract? Probably not. The Eagles are currently $50 million OVER the cap in 2021 and they’re counting on rolling over most of their 2020 cap space to help lower that deficit. Being able to use their 2021 first-round pick on an inexpensive rookie deal is also an important part of that equation.

Big Blue View

Summer School 2020: What does “running backs don’t matter” really mean?

On the field, in the moment, a running play seems simple. The ball is snapped, the quarterback hands it off, the running back finds a hole, and gains yardage. Or he doesn’t find a hole and he doesn’t gain yardage. But either way, as the guy carrying the ball, the running back is obviously the most important part of the play, right?

Over the course of studying thousands of running plays, the analytics community has come to view the results of any given running play not as the efforts of a running back. Instead, the view is that other factors at play are permissive to the running back’s success.

On any given running play there is a lot of context that doesn’t show up in the box score. Studies have shown that things like field position, offensive personnel package, and box count (how many defenders are in the tackle box) all play vital roles in determining the success — or failure — of a running play.

Starting in 2019, the NFL held a contest for the analytics community to drive the study forward. Entrants are given a data set generated by NFL NextGenStats and challenged to come up with the most accurate model they can given the available data.

In October of 2019 they announced the subject and the data points. Teams were challenged to predict the outcome of running plays over the last few weeks of the 2019 season.

The 2020 Big Data Bowl was ultimately won by Dmitry Gordeev and Philipp Singer, a pair of data scientists who work for an insurance company in Vienna — about as far from traditional “Football Guys” as you can get.

[T]hey completely disregarded the players’ identity and instead focused on the data coming from NextGenStats, namely position and velocity at the time of handoff.

Basically, Gordeev and Singer used the GPS data from NextGenStats to turn the players into 21 (the quarterback was excluded) individual vectors* and use a neural network to compute the probable outcomes of the play. They turned a football play into a (very complicated) physics problem, and had a program tell them the probable results.

*Note: In physics, a vector is an entity with both magnitude and direction.

As you can guess from the fact that they won the competition (and the $50,000 grand prize), Gordeev and Singer’s solution worked and was predictive. Well, it wasn’t just successful, it was wildly successful....

Big Blue View

NFC East Notebook: Social injustice, COVID-19 ... and some football news

What’s going on with Giants NFC East rivals?

Washington Redskins

In the wake of the protests sweeping the nation in response to the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, the Redskins in particular have faced backlash in their attempt to raise support for the Black Lives Matter movement. When the Redskins Twitter account tweeted a black square on Blackout Tuesday, it was met with instant criticism.

In the meantime, head coach Ron Rivera has listened to and learned from his players and staff in recent weeks. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had the following to say about his head coach:

“Coach Rivera called a couple meetings just to get our perspective on what’s going on and how we wanted to address it as a team and as an organization. I really applaud him for that and his confidence being able to stand with us. He definitely wants to make a change as well, he wants to continue to work on being a united team and trying to be a difference in our community having played for the Washington Redskins and being in D.C. So, he definitely took that as something that was very important to address and we’re working on trying to be a difference in the community.”

Stars on the Redskins have also spoken out personally. Adrian Peterson told the Houston Chronicle that he will “without a doubt” kneel during the national anthem next season. Haskins himself protested in D.C. and defensive end Chase Young participated in a player-coordinated call to action video.