First, the six remaining games should be used to evaluate younger players moving forward, as well as veterans whose contracts are up or where production is disproportionate to pay level. I don't care if we win another game, because the top OT in the draft is now in play. We need to look at guys like Williams at RB, Washington at WR, the TE on the practice squad, Finley and the younger Offensive linemen. We also need to make final assessments for AJ Green, Geno Atkins, CJ Uzomah, Bobby Hart, and any other aging vets making more than $4 million per.
Coaching Staff: Obviously the fan base has soured on Taylor, but the two most important people tied to his fate don't appear to be among them, that being Mike Brown and Joe Burrow. I'm omitting Tobin because I'm the GM. If Burrow were to question his leadership, then he's absolutely gone. But for this exercise, he's staying, at least for now. As soon as the clock hits zero against the Ravens and for the season, I'm sending Turner and Anarumo packing. Their services are no longer required, even for a few hours until the next day. Clear their offices immediately, but show them class by telling them privately ahead of time, so that they can exit without facing the media if they so choose. As for replacements, both new hires need to be seasoned NFL veteran coaches. No names for you here yet, but no new up and comers at either spot with Taylor still manning the captain's chair.
Free Agent Players to let walk
John Ross... the experiment failed before it ever had a chance.
Leshawn Sims. He started well, but has been bad. Like, really bad
Alex Erickson. He provides little to the offense, and only fair catches on punt returns most of the time. Stanley Morgan can do that, plus fill the gunner role.
Alex Redmond. Forever on speed dial, we can call if injuries strike the OG position at any point in camp of in season.
Randy Bullock. I have said it for three plus years. He makes the no pressure kicks, but fails miserably in high stakes situations. We've been keeping Austin Seibert for a reason
Guys I'd keep but at severely reduced salaries, or let walk
AJ Green. Pay him like a 3rd or fourth WR? Sure, but nothing over $5-6 million. If his speed and explosiveness don't return, he should retire.
Shawn Williams. Keep him as a backup on an appropriate salary? Sure. maybe he has something left and just clashed badly with Lou A
William Jackson ($9-10 mill) His sporadic play at times is still more stable than the DC, and honestly, I want to blow draft resources on other positions
MacKenzie Alexander Not sure his market value, but it didn't rise from the $4 mill we gave him this year
Carl Lawson.($7 mill) He's so hot and cold, and misses a lot of time. Wouldn't break the bank for him, but if they can find middle ground for a contract, I'm all in
Quentin Spain ($3.5 mill) Plug him in at OG for one of the spots and don't look back
Kevin Huber ($2.5 mill)
Brandon Wilson ($2.5 mill) Still a solid returner and spot player at safety
Samarje Perine ($2.5 mill) They just seem to keep him around.
Cethan Carter ($2.0 mill) just a hard-nosed do your job guy as a blocking TE and FB
Mike Daniels ($2.5 mill) His play still declined, but he's fine as a backup
Josh Bynes ($2-3 mill) Either keep him or sign a similar declining vet to back up and guide Wilson, ADG, Bailey and Pratt
Josh Evans ($2 mill) keep LB off of the needs list. He plays well on special teams and is worth keeping for that role
Mike Thomas ($1.5 mill)
Vet Minimum guys- Covington, X Williams, Clark Harris, Bledsoe and Margus Hunt
Most likely Geno Atkins, but I'm not sure that removing Lou A won't help him increase production
Outside Free Agency
OG Joe Thuney. Want to show Joe Burrow you're serious about protecting him? Thuney is looking to be paid, and already has won with NE. Pay the man
WR If Green goes, then find a WR to fill that hole
DE Don't know all the names that will be available, but we should be looking. This will sound strange, but with Lou gone, I'd think about bringing back Dunlap when Seattle dumps his contract in the offseason. They didn't push back that much money just to actually give it to him next year.
Jessie Bates. Will get done in training camp just like they all do.
Assuming we stay at #3 and that the Jets take Lawrence and the Jags go with Fields
1. OT Penei Sewell (Oregon) Top tackle in the class. Move Jonah to RT or put Sewell there. Either way, we're set at OT for quite awhile.
2. DE Carlos Basham (Wake Forest) Seems to be slipping behind other fast risers, but fits the prototypical mold we have for them. This Carlos replaces the last one.
3. OG Ben Cleveland (Georgia) 6'6" 335 lbs and country boy strong. Obvious RG candidate if the Thuney thing inevitably falls through. Even if we get him, develop him to eventually take over for Spain.
4. TE Charlie Kolar (Iowa Stae) All around guy to replace Uzomah
5 DT Jaylen Twyman (Pitt) Both lines need work, and now the rebuilding of the interior defensive line begins
With the 6/7/7 picks, I would expect a WR, another TE and possibly a LB to replace Bynes or Evans if they left.
The 2021 Roster
QB Burrow, Finley
RB Mixon, Bernard, Perine, Williams, Patrick
WR (Green or FA), Higgins, Boyd, Tate, Morgan, Thomas, Washington
TE Sample, Kolar, Carter, Wilcox
OL Sewell-Thuney-Hopkins-Spain-Jonah as starters
Cleveland, Price, Jordan, Adeniji, Johnson
DE Lawson, Hubbard, Basham, Kareem and FA
DT Geno, Daniels, Twyman, Tupou, Covington
LB Wilson, Davis-Gaither, Pratt, Bailey, Evans, Bynes (or similar FA)
CB Jackson, Waynes, Alexander, Phillips, Rose, Brown
S Bates, Bell, Wilson, Henderson/Williams
LS Clark Harris
P Kevin Huber
K Austin Seibert