It goes without saying I talked to plenty of owners at the NFL owners meetings. Here's what they had to say.
Steve Biscotti, Baltimore Ravens: Biscotti pointed out that two years ago the club cut loose a number of good veteran players and still maintained a level of excellence. When I asked him about this offseason he made a few interesting points. He promised once again his team would use all of the available salary cap space. The Ravens now have the most compensatory picks in NFL history with 37, and four of them are in this year's draft. As he said: "We must be doing something right."
When it came to resigning Ed Reed I asked him why Ozzie Newsome didn't send him to Ed's home to recruit him. He said he would "go if Ozzie asked me to, but I leave all the personnel decisions to Ozzie and his staff.' Ozzie said, when it pertained to Reed, that "at the right price he will be back."
There's little doubt the level of trust from Biscotti to Newsome is as high as it possibly could be. The Ravens fan expression "in Ozzie we trust" rang loud and clear from the owner.
Bob McNair, Houston Texans: McNair loves football and feels like he knows the game well enough to talk about it. He really wants his team to learn how to finish, or as he described it, keep pushing the rock up the hill to the top. He pointed out that the Texans have lots of talent, which means other teams come looking for his players. The Texans lost OLB Connor Barwin, but McNair is confident Whitney Mercilus can step up and get the job done. As for the loss of Glover Quinn, the club is still hoping for a replacement in free agency or the draft.
On the proposal to penalize ball carriers who drop their head and lead with the crown of the helmet, he wasn't sure the officials would get it right. In fact, he saw the video clips shown to the owners and wasn't sure anyone could tell the difference between the legal and illegal runs.
Michael Bidwell, Arizona Cardinals: Bidwell regretted that he had to make so many changes at the top of the organization (firing the general manager and head coach), but it was necessary in his mind. Bidwell was clear that the club was not going to throw money at a quarterback like they did with Kevin Kolb. He said he decided to go after a coach who could develop a quarterback, which led him to Bruce Arians. He likes to be involved in the personnel evaluations but leaves the decision making to his football people. He wouldn't say it but I did get the impression the Cardinals are planning to take a QB in the draft.
Clark Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs: Like Bidwell he struggled with the release of his head coach and GM. Of course, Scott Pioli was his first important hire and it was tough to recognize it didn't work out. Hunt was deeply impressed by the energy and leadership of Andy Reid and recognized the Chiefs could not afford to hire a first-time coach. They needed a man with experience.
Hunt said the club has never had the first pick in the NFL Draft, not that it bothered him as much as he wants to get that pick right. There was little doubt in his mind that there is enough talent on the team plus the talent they are bringing in through free agency, trades and the draft to bounce back quickly.
Shad Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars: Khan was much more the business man when discussing his team than the other three. He made it clear he is not going to micromanage the front office or the coaches. When I asked him about playing in London this season he said the Jacksonville home fans were excited about the team going to England and he anticipated a decent number of hometown fans would make the trip across the ocean. He also felt British fans would be coming to Jacksonville to see the team play. Interestingly enough, close to 30,000 British fans bought tickets to both NFL games in London this year and that sounds like an indication that fans in England could be inching closer to be season ticket holders.
Stephen Jones, son of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Jones acknowledged the club is working towards an agreement with Tony Romo, but I didn't get the sense anything was imminent. He was excited about the new defense under Monte Kiffin and it's unlikely Anthony Spencer is going anywhere. Jones serves on the Competition Committee and said there was a growing sentiment among a few to place more calls up to the booth with the replay officials. He didn't show his hand in the discussion but get ready for more decisions made upstairs.