There's No Tanking in the NFL

by Wayne Root

In the NFL, there’s is no tanking to improve for draft positions. Many have thought so but it’s doubtful it’s gone from average Joes setting up a scenario for their team to justify whatever they wanted to fit their own agenda. “Please lose so we get the Number One selection”.
Let me explain what is real and is very much defined by the teams actions. It’s call an “organization reset of assets”. That’s a fancy term for dumping players; not games. That’s a slick and smart way to dump salaries and clear cap space. This is management’s and the owners way of moving forward.
When the Miami Dolphins were dumping and trading their best players for their own organization reset, they not only lost games but we’re getting blown out. One couldn’t have a discussion without hearing how Miami was setting themselves up to draft Alabama’s quarterback, Tua. It was a sure bet as the losses piled up. Then what happened? They began to win. They actually finished the season with five (5) wins. What happened? They reset and properly allocated their organization’s assets. They dumped huge contracts.
2019 to 2020 RESULTS
They NEVER lost a game on purpose. They reset for this year. If you look at the success of what they managed to do in a year; few would have believed they’d go from 0-10 last year to winning five games to eliminating New England from the playoffs last week to themselves at even money to make it into the wild card arena of the NFL playoffs. Cincinnati ended up choosing Joe Burrow as the first selection. 
This brings me to 2020 with the race of becoming this year's worst team. The word was that the Jets had a firm hold on first place. But the head coach wouldn’t sign off on continuous losing. And why would he? He’s 99% for sure fired in two weeks. Why leave what he needed as a franchise quarterback for the new head coach to walk into? Why would Sam Darnold want to lose so that he would lose his job as the Jets' starting quarterback? He may not get another chance after this job.

 If someone was to tank and trade up, the Cowboys could not renew Dak Prescott at $35M and lose the past two weeks. But they didn’t. In fact, they went winner, winner and still could make the playoffs.
Keep in mind the there are many talented players in the top six draft spots coming out of college. And none are guaranteed to be the next superstar. Who knows where the next Patrick Mahomes will come from? Or the next sixth-round pick as in Tom Brady. What about the next Dick Butkus? There’s always that next one. Or play, reset and get into the first six picks. 
This is why players won’t go 0-16. No matter what.  And it’s not proven that the coach or management have asked for that. Did you see the celebration for the Jets after Sunday’s defeat on the road against the Rams as a 17-point dog?  They did not want to be in the same all-time losers category as only two other teams are presently in. Did you see the clips of how much it meant for Cincinnati to defeat the Steelers as a 13.5-point underdog? Maybe the Jacksonville Jags will win a game in their last two weeks? But they won’t try to lose!

Only two games remain, but the Jaguars’ horrendous season can’t end soon enough. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took to Twitter Sunday, writing that the New York Jets delivered an early Christmas present to Jacksonville. Indeed, the Jaguars are now in the driver’s seat to land Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft because of the Jets' upset of the Los Angeles Rams, 23-20, on Sunday to notch their first win of the season.

Now all they need to do is lose the final two games against Chicago Bears this upcoming Sunday at TIAA Bank Field, and the Indianapolis Colts in the season finale. Although the Jaguars and Jets now have identical 1-13 records, the Jaguars own the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker for the No. 1 overall pick. Will they tank or are they just bad enough to lose while playing and giving 100%?  I say there’s no tanking at all. But in the upcoming months, the Jags will get Trevor Lawrence on a cheap five-year contract and use cap space to protect their investment with some offensive lineman picks a big backfield blockers. Now that’s an organizational reset of assets. If they can only hold on and gain two more losses. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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