Shrine Game -- Monday Night Notes

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

The players’ hotel was buzzing as teams filled the lobby to interview Shrine Game participants, and there was also free-agency talk in the air. Here are the notes from Monday at Shrine practice.

Some of the benefits of postseason All-Star games are the interviews which teams are able to complete with the players on hand. Unlike the combine, where there is a limit to the number of players each team can interview and a time limit for each of those interviews, teams can pull as many players as they want aside for in-depth interviews off the clock here at the Shrine Game -- and that will continue next week at the Senior Bowl.

One of the most sought-after players this evening was Penn State receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who had a good day of practice.

Multiple teams pulled Hamilton aside for in-depth discussions and came away impressed. The big-bodied wideout entered the season graded as a free agent despite a solid junior campaign in 2016 but heads towards the 2018 draft with a Day 3 grade.

And while January is dedicated to scouting events such as the Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, there has been a bit of free-agent talk.

One of the big names expected to hit the free-agent market is quarterback Kirk Cousins. As expected as I was told tonight that the Washington Redskins have not given up on re-signing their starting signal caller.

If not the Redskins, look for the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets and/or Arizona Cardinals to bid for the services of Cousins.

Should the Browns sign Cousins, the belief is that they would not use the first pick of the draft on a quarterback, as they’d go a different route and select Penn State running back Saquon Barkley.

The Jets have been a quarterback-hungry franchise for a while but may be locked out of the top three quarterbacks with the sixth selection in the draft. Cousins would be the immediate remedy, and they could still keep one of their young passers around, likely Bryce Petty.

When the name of Christian Hackenberg was brought up in conversation tonight the response was, “Stick a fork in him -- he’s done.”

People inside the organization and even some teammates feel Hackenberg does not have a future with the team and don’t believe he will be with the franchise much longer -- though it may not be the Jets who cut him.

One possibility has the Jets trading Hackenberg for a conditional late-round pick to a team who owes them a favor, rather than going through the embarrassment of releasing their 2016 second-round selection. The team trading for Hackenberg would likely keep him around for a few weeks then cut him, in which case the Jets would get nothing in return.

I was also told that the Arizona Cardinals are likely to make a big run at Cousins, as they will be locked out from any of the top signal callers with the 15th pick.

It could be an expensive offseason for Arizona.

I was also told the franchise will look to lock up running back David Johnson to a long-term deal once the signing period begins, despite the fact that Johnson has one year remaining on his current deal.

If a new contract happens, Johnson could be the highest-paid running back in the league this fall.