Adam Schefter’s entire empire is built on football people telling him things they want other people to hear, but it matters only insofar as the things they tell him are worthy of not only hearing but, more dangerously, repeating where other people can judge them.
Thus, he runs a risk when he tweets, as he did today, that the Detroit Lions are fielding trade offers for eterno-backup quarterback Chase Daniel because of his exemplary work mentoring Carson Wentz and Mitchell Trubisky. The risk is that people will be caught without enough trusses after splitting their sides with laughter, and that those newly ventilated readers will revolt and turn toward Jason La Canfora or Ian Rapoport or some other itinerant in the football infoblob diaspora.
It is difficult to imagine that any football teams would surrender a draft choice for what would amount to an assistant quarterback coach. I mean, the Houston Texans might do daft things in pursuit of the first overtly morality-based football team, but surely general manager Nick Caserio wouldn’t be allowed to decide something involving the football team without first checking with Antipope Easterby I.
Standing in the way of Daniel-as-ubermentor is Daniel’s resume, which is as understudy to Drew Brees and straight-legged Alex Smith as well as pre-damaged rookie-year Wentz and standard-issue Trubisky. Brees and Smith needed Daniel mostly to play catch with because they were mentors rather than mentees, so we can pretty much ignore that period of his career.
(None of this is meant to slight Daniel; he did as requested faithfully and consistently and did it well enough to carve a 12-year, $38-million career of Standing Around Looking Collaborative. Every team has at least one of those guys every year, and even if they don’t give that role a fancy acronym, it’s still a job that presumably needs to be done.)
Perhaps Daniel might be intriguing if he induced anyone to look up his contract history on Spotrac, which tells us that he has been paid $144,863 per pass attempt, or six times as much per attempt as Tom Brady. Clearly the sign of a valuable quarterback. Hell, the man’s a steal at twice the price.
But on the off-chance that no team is daft enough to trade for Daniel when he could be signed without giving up anything once the Lions inevitably cut him rather than pay him $4.5 million for more quality SALC, Schefter will have a moment where he asks himself the existential question, “What did I gain by tweeting this? Chase Daniel? Really?”
This isn’t to slag off Schefter, either; this is his gig, and he’s made Chase Daniel–level money doing it.
But the old general manager and borderline Hall of Fame candidate Al Rosen once explained (and this is a paraphrase), “I try to tell the truth as often as I can because you only have so many lies you can get away with in this job before people think of you as a liar and every time you use one, that’s one you don’t have later,” and the same is true of insider tweets. Not that Schefter hasn’t been told what the Lions are hoping for w/r/t Daniel, or that he hasn’t represented that telling accurately; he indubitably has. But it seems like such a preposterous notion that the blowback on everyone involved for advancing the Daniel-has-trade-value theory could be at least measurable.
If on the other hand the Lions actually find a taker and get something draftable from Daniel’s brief time SALC-ing for Matthew Stafford, then Schefter can emit a discernibly satisfied, “heh heh heh, never question me again,” and then pour two fingers of Old Overcoat into a tumbler and salute himself. Because that, other than the money, is how wins are measured.