Sorting out the truth from the gibberish as draft and free agency chatter explodes

It's that time of year in the NFL when rumor, innuendo and outright BS sometimes merge with the truth. It's silly season, when all the pre-free agency and pre-draft chatter can lead to outlandish proclamations and bizarre reports. It's a time when anything might be possible and when teams and agents have myriad reasons to plant or posit concepts or half-truths, all to accomplish a particular result.

Sorting our truth from gibberish can be difficult, to say the least, and the amount of time that will be spent in an attempt to obscure, conflate or outright smear certain individuals (especially in the run up to the draft next month) cannot be overstated. With that in mind, here are a few items I've been asked about recently with the combine now behind us, and how I'd sort through them. Some of these theories/reports/guesses I would buy, and quite a few, well, consider me a seller (doesn't pass the sniff test):

Josh Rosen is a mix between Jay Cutler and Jeff George

Buying or selling? Selling

Some people in the scouting/agent community have it in for this kid. There's no doubt about that. The UCLA quarterback is the subject of off-the-record character assassination to be sure, but I don't see this the way, say, Connor Cook fell deep into the draft a few years back because of similar assertions (with him not being a team captain and all). Everyone I've ever talked to at his campus raves about Rosen, and while he is certainly smart and somewhat worldly and might have an opinion or two about things outside of football (heaven forbid!) he's not this locker-room pariah some would make him out to be. He'll click with more than enough decision makers and be at worst the second quarterback off the board.

Saquon Barkley will be the first overall pick

Buying or selling? Selling

Everyone loves this kid, and for good reason. He checks almost every box you could ask for (except, well, some scouts think he should have been better in the biggest games against the best competition). But he is still a running back and there is still an abundance of backs who will be taken on the second day of the draft (and probably a few on the third) who can provide immediate returns, as well. And there are too many teams desperate for a quarterback or a generational pass rusher for a running back to go at the top of the draft, even with the Browns holding two of the first four picks. Perhaps Barkley is the first non-quarterback selected. He won't have long to wait to hear his name called, regardless, but I don't see John Dorsey using his first-ever pick in Cleveland in this manner.

Josh Allen will be the first overall pick

Buying or selling? Buying

It has always been under consideration, even before his strong combine both on the field and in meetings with teams. Yes, there are accuracy concerns, but he didn't have much around him at Wyoming. Every week, he went into games having to carry his team, and more times than not, he came up big. He can make all the throws, and that arm talent he displayed in Indy will resonate with execs and scouts for quite some time. The fact that his metrics align with Carson Wentz makes it all the better, and this kid is team-first, no diva, and plays a rough and rugged style (there are cut-ups of some of his more devastating blocks floating around). Small school or not, I believe he will end up leading the quarterback pack.

Teams see Lamar Jackson as a wide receiver

Buying or selling? Selling

Way too much is being made about what a select few evaluators (past or present) might think about this highly-decorated college passer. And for every team that might want to see him work out at receiver drills (because, you know, those teams are not in the market for a QB themselves) there are plenty more QB-needy teams who want to see nothing else but Jackson throwing the ball. He's going to be selected in the first round and will be given every opportunity to play quarterback for a living, and I like his chances of proving his loud detractors quite wrong. It's a waste of breath and column space to opine about what other positions this exceptional athlete can play because he'll be drafted with the expectation of being a franchise quarterback one day.

Six quarterbacks will be among the first 32 picks

Buying or selling? Buying

Count me in on this one. The rush on passers will start at the very top of the draft and will dominate the first day. There's too much need at a time when the cost of doing business even on a potential low-tier starter (Mike Glennon, Brock Osweiler, Blake Bortles) is ridiculous. There are too many teams that need a QB right now, and too many that know they are a year or two away from needing one, for teams to be passing on potential starters. And this group is deep enough to entice them. Allen, Rosen, Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield and Jackson should be seen as first-round locks, and I expect Mason Rudolph to join them as day-one selections. Some team that has an aging starter (New Orleans, New England) could jump into the late first round to complete the flurry via trade.

The Eagles won't take less than a 1st- and a 4th-round pick for Nick Foles

Buying or selling? Selling

Howie Roseman has swung a lot of great trades and his team-building in Philadelphia has been exceptional. And landing those two high picks for always-injured Sam Bradford was a masterstroke … but that was an anomaly. A team with Super Bowl hopes (Minnesota) lost its talented but young and very cheap starter (Teddy Bridgewater) just before the season, coming off a playoff run, and their GM, Rick Spielman, was in a uniquely desperate situation just before the season began. That's not likely replicable in this instance for many reasons, and Foles is not a former first-overall pick who scouts salivated over back in college. Add in the fact six QBs are about to be drafted very high, with another handful on the second day of the draft, and the fact this is the deepest quarterback free-agent class perhaps in history, and that kind of demand won't be there for Foles, Super Bowl MVP or not. All 32 teams have had a shot at Foles several times in the past, and most passed repeatedly. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see that sort of value coming in return, even after a splendid playoff run.

The Vikings will sign Kirk Cousins to a three-year, $91M deal, fully guaranteed

Buying or selling? Selling

Cousins might get $90M guaranteed … but if he does, it would come along with much more term for the team. Anyone putting that kind of commitment up would want to secure the asset for more than three years. And if the Jets put, say, $50M payable in the first 10 months of Cousins' contract -- hardly out of the question given the abundant cap room -- as part of a six-year deal, which is the better play? Carrying Cousins at a $30M cap figure wouldn't be the ideal structure for the Vikings and spreading the hit over more than three years would make more sense. For Cousins ... yeah, this would be a no-brainer, able to play for a very good team for three years and be primed to hit the market again in his early 30s. But that structure for a team? Color me dubious.

The Bills will pay Tyrod Taylor $16M to possibly hold a clipboard in 2018

Buying or selling? Selling

The Bills have been attempting to move on from Taylor in various ways over the past two years in two different coach/GM regimes, and no one in the NFL I've talked to believes they will pick up a $6M option on him later this month and then keep him around to compete with Nathan Peterman and whatever quarterback they draft for a total of $16M. They benched him in the heat of a playoff race, if you recall, and while a trade would be ideal, they aren't dealing from a position of great strength here. It's time to move on for all parties, and there will be a nice market of teams waiting to pounce if/when Taylor is out of Buffalo.

CBS Sports Insider

Before joining CBS Sports, Jason La Canfora was the Washington Redskins beat writer for The Washington Post for six years and served as NFL Network's insider. The Baltimore native can be seen every Sunday... Full Bio

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