On The Clock NFL Mock Draft from Fanspeak.com

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

July 25, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

As many NFL teams open up training camp, they made many of changes to their roster including a few big contract extensions.  Two of these are discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Kansas City Chiefs re-sign RB Jamaal Charles

The biggest of these contract extensions goes to Charles who didn't report to the first day of Chiefs' training camp as he was holding out for a new contract.

A two-year extension with $18 million in new money, he is now signed with Kansas City through the 2017 season, the next four seasons. For these four seasons he will earn a total of $28 million. Over the next two seasons, $5 million is added to the first two seasons. The entire contract makes him the second-highest paid running back in the NFL.

Jamaal Charles

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Drafted by the Chiefs in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the 27-year old has played his entire career in Kansas City and will be 31-years old when he hits free agency again. Running backs tend to start breaking down when they hit 30-years old, so adding these extra two years to his contract was very important to him.

Last season he ran the ball 259 times for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. This average of five yards per carry is very good, but is his lowest in his career, where he averages 5.6 yards per carry.

A duel threat, he also caught 70 passes for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. With these stats he led the team in carries, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The only major category here he didn't lead was targets where he had 104, just one away from Dwayne Bowe who led the team with 105.

Pro Football Focus graded him as the second best running back in the league behind LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles who led the league in rushing yards by far. (Charles was third in the league.)

As these stats show, Charles was the Chiefs entire offense during most of the season. Without him the team would be lost on offense. In Kansas City's 56-31 victory over the Oakland Raiders, he scored five touchdowns (one rushing and four receiving), single-handedly beating the Raiders.

Charles knew that the Chiefs' offense wouldn't be the same without him, so he knew he had leverage to get a new contract. The Chiefs also knew this so they made it a priority to lock him up on a new deal once he made it known that he was going to hold out for a new contract.

This is a good deal for both sides. Charles wanted a new contract and the Chiefs need him happy and with the team for them to have a chance at making the playoffs this season. The contract doesn't run too long so the team has some protection from decline from Charles due to age.

Atlanta Falcons re-sign WR Roddy White

While the extension for Charles was the biggest news of the week, White's extension would be the biggest news during most weeks.

Set to enter the last year of his current contract, there had been talk of a contract extension for him the entire offseason. A three-year extension on top of the one year remaining, the entire contract will be worth a maximum of $30 million with $18 million in the first two years of the deal.

At 32-years old (33 in early November) this contract will take him through the 2017 season and he will be 36-years old. This means that this is likely the last contract he will have as a professional football player and will keep him as a Falcon for the rest of his career.

Drafted by the Falcons with the 27th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, he has spent his entire career in Atlanta so far and this contract is sure to keep him there through the end of his career.

Last season he caught 63 passes for 711 yards and three touchdowns on 99 targets. These were his worst stats since his second year in the NFL. He did miss three games due to injury this past season and dealt with injuries while playing.

His best season came in 2010 where he caught 115 passes for 1,389 yards and 10 touchdowns. The catches and yards are both career-highs while the touchdowns are the second best in a season for him.

Combined with Julio Jones, the Falcons have one of the best one-two punches at wide receiver in the NFL. This provides quarterback Matt Ryan with much help in the passing game.

For the Falcons this signing needed to be done as White has great chemistry with Ryan and the team needs to bounce back from a subpar season that saw them go 4-12.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals waive WR Kelsey Pope.
The Atlanta Falcons sign WR Jeremy Ebert.
The Atlanta Falcons sign LB Pat Angerer.
The Buffalo Bills waive WR Cordell Roberson.
The Buffalo Bills waive DB Darius Robinson.
The Buffalo Bills sign WR Tori Gurley.
The Buffalo Bills sign CB Kamaal McIlwain.
The Buffalo Bills sign LB Xavius Boyd.
The Buffalo Bills waive LB Darrin Kitchens.
The Buffalo Bills claim C Jared Wheeler off waivers.
The Buffalo Bills waive CB Brandon Smith.
The Carolina Panthers waive LB Billy Boyko.
The Carolina Panthers sign C Fernando Velasco.
The Carolina Panthers cut OT Jared Wheeler.
The Carolina Panthers sign C Kevin Matthews.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign DT LaKendrick Ross.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign WR Alex Neutz.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim WR Connor Vernon off waivers.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive P T.J. Conley.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign WR Jeremy Johnson.
The Cleveland Browns claim C Nick McDonald off waivers.
The Cleveland Browns claim OT Abasi Salimu off waivers.
The Cleveland Browns waive WR Conner Vernon.
The Cleveland Browns waive LB Brandon Magee.
The Cleveland Browns waive DB Royce Adams.
The Cleveland Browns waive WR Kenny Shaw.
The Cleveland Browns waive RB Jourdan Brooks.
The Cleveland Browns sign LB Jamaal Westerman.
The Cleveland Browns sign LB Edgar Jones.
The Dallas Cowboys sign WR Dezmon Briscoe.
Denver Broncos S Eric Hagg has announced his retirement from the NFL.
The Denver Broncos release TE Joel Dreessen.
The Detroit Lions cut WR Naaman Roosevelt.
The Detroit Lions claim WR Reese Wiggins off waivers.
The Green Bay Packers sign LB Korey Jones.
The Green Bay Packers cut LB Shaun Lewis.
The Houston Texans waive OT Brennan Williams.
The Houston Texans waive FB Brad Smelley.
The Houston Texans waive DL Tim Jackson.
The Houston Texans sign TE Chris Coyle.
The Houston Texans sign OT Tyson Clabo.
The Houston Texans sign NT David Hunter.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign CB Deion Belue.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive RB Beau Blankenship.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign LB Josh Mauga.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign OT Ryan Harris.
The Minnesota Vikings sign TE Mike Higgins.
The Minnesota Vikings release DE Spencer Nealy.
The New England Patriots re-sign WR Derrick Johnson.
The New England Patriots sign WR Tyler McDonald.
The New England Patriots sign TE Nate Byham.
The New England Patriots sign DT Eathyn Manumaleuna.
The New England Patriots release DT Seali'i Epenesa.
The New England Patriots sign WR Greg Orton.
The New England Patriots release WR Tyler McDonald.
The New Orleans Saints waive DT Moses McCray.
The New Orleans Saints sign DT Tyrone Ezell.
The New Orleans Saints sign LB Marcus Thompson.
The New Orleans Saints waive LB Cheta Ozougwu.
New York Giants G Chris Snee has announced his retirement from the NFL.
The New York Giants sign G John Sullen.
The New York Giants waive WR Kris Adams.
The New York Jets sign DE Jason Babin.
The New York Jets release CB Lowell Rose.
The Oakland Raiders release LB Kevin Burnett.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign DB Lew Toler.
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut LB Kion Wilson.
The St. Louis Rams sign LB Pat Schiller.
The St. Louis Rams Rams cut LB Caleb McSurdy.
The St. Louis Rams Rams cut OT Abasi Salimu.
The St. Louis Rams Rams cut WR Diontae Spencer.
The St. Louis Rams Rams cut LB Tavarius Wilson.
The St. Louis Rams sign OT R.J. Dill.
The St. Louis Rams sign G D.J. Morrell.
The St. Louis Rams sign LB Lawrence Wilson.
The San Diego Chargers cut C Nick McDonald.
The San Diego Chargers sign C Khalil Wilkes.
The San Diego Chargers release LB Larry English.
The San Diego Chargers sign C Khalil Wilkes.
The San Diego Chargers sign LB Adrian Hamilton.
The San Diego Chargers sign RB Danny Woodhead to a two-year contract extension.
The San Diego Chargers waive LB Jonas Mouton.
Seattle Seahawks WR Sidney Rice has announced his retirement from the NFL.
The Seattle Seahawks sign WR Morrell Presley.
The Seattle Seahawks cut TE Chase Dixon.
The Seattle Seahawks waive Jared Smith.
The Seattle Seahawks sign C C.J. Davis.
The Seattle Seahawks sign WR David Gilreath.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release CB D.J. Moore.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign LB Jeremy Grable.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign OT J.B. Shugarts.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claim LB Brandon Magee off waivers.
The Washington Redskins sign TE Mike Caussin.
The Washington Redskins waive LS Kyle Nelson

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

July 18, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

After a one week hiatus due to no roster moves, Transaction Tracker is back this week with many moves including one major contract extension that created a new highest-paid player at a position. This transaction––along with another contract extension––is discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

New Orleans Saints re-sign TE Jimmy Graham

Concluding a very long news cycle about Graham, the Saints signed the tight end––we can officially call him that now––to a long-term contract this week.

A four-year contract worth $40 million, he becomes the highest-paid tight end in the NFL with an average of $10 million per season, beating out Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots who averages $9 million per season. Graham receives a signing bonus of $12 million with $20.9 million guaranteed. This guaranteed money comes from the signing bonus, a $1 million base salary in 2014, a $2.9 million base salary in 2015 and a $5 million roster bonus in 2015. These two 2015 numbers are not initially guaranteed. They will become guaranteed on the third league day in 2015. The cap hit this season is a very reasonable $4 million.

Jimmy Graham

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Given the franchise tag this offseason, he challenged the tag saying that he is a wide receiver, not a tight end like the franchise tag said. The difference between the two franchise tag numbers is approximately $5 million with the tight end tag coming in at around $7 million and the wide receiver one at $12 million.

Graham's argument was that he spent so much time lined up in the slot and not like a traditional tight end, making him a wide receiver. However, he was ruled a tight end, as he should have been. The tight end position is changing so much that lining up like a wide receiver is something that tight ends are doing all the time now.

At 6-foot-7, 265 pounds, he is a matchup nightmare for defenses. He is too fast and too tall for linebackers and defensive backs to cover. Add in one of the best quarterbacks in Drew Brees, and you have an elite receiving threat.

Catching 86 passes for 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns, he ranked 13th in the league in catches, 15th in yards and first in touchdowns. The next best tight end was 18th in catches (83), 30th in yards (917) and third in touchdowns (13).

It has been this way since 2011 where he broke onto the season in his second year after being drafted in the third round in 2010. Teams are still trying to figure out how to stop him, using cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers all to varying degrees of success. The plans that have worked have involved being physical with Graham and using multiple defenders to cover him.

In an offense with Brees at quarterback and Sean Payton's offensive mind at head coach, Graham will continue to put up stats that have never been seen from tight ends before. It was essential for the Saints to re-sign their two-time All-Pro tight end and it was obvious the only way that was going to happen was to make him the highest-paid in the league. Graham is well worth the money as he is the clear-cut best tight end in the game and is still only 27-years old.

San Francisco 49ers re-sign OT Joe Staley

In the other big move of the week, the 49ers signed Staley to a two-year contract extension to keep the 29-year old (he turns 30 in late August) in San Francisco through the 2019 season.

At this point, the monetary terms of the contract are not known. Considering that he is one of the better left tackles in the league, it is likely that the contract pays him substantial money.

Before these two years where added to his contract, there were four years left on his deal worth about $21.65 million.

Seeing that he will be 35-years old when his contract ends, there is a good change that this contract will be the last one that he has as a professional football player. The goal of the contract definitely is to keep him as a 49er for the rest of his career, allowing him to stay with the franchise for his entire career.

Drafted by the 49ers with the 28th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, he has started every game he has played in (98 regular season games) and missed only 14 games in seven seasons. As a rookie he played right tackle, but switched over to the blindside for his second season.

This past season, Pro Football Focus graded him as the fifth best offensive tackle in the league with high grades in both pass protection and run blocking.

His best season came in 2012 where Pro Football Focus graded him as the number one offensive tackle in the NFL thanks to a run blocking grade that was the best at his position by a wide margin.

Two other 49ers players––tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone––are looking for new contracts, but neither have showed up for minicamp and offseason workouts while Staley was there. It appears the 49ers are sending a message to Davis and Boone with Staley's contract.

While it is a bit surprising to see Staley get a new contract instead of Davis or Boone, Staley is one of the best left tackles in the game and was severely underpaid. (Before this extension, he was the 13th highest-paid left tackle in the NFL.) The only unknown here is how his play will drop off as he gets older, but offensive lineman age well for the most part so Staley and the 49ers should be fine.

Other Moves:

The Buffalo Bills sign LB Stevenson Sylvester.
The Buffalo Bills cut TE Mike Caussin.
The Dallas Cowboys release QB Kyle Orton.
The Dallas Cowboys sign TE Dallas Walker.
The Detroit Lions sign RB George Winn.
The Detroit Lions cut G D.J. Morrell.
The Detroit Lions sign G Garrett Reynolds.
The Indianapolis Colts sign WR Aaron Burks.
The Indianapolis Colts waive WR LaVon Brazill.
The Indianapolis Colts sign G Chad Anderson.
The Indianapolis Colts waive DE Gannon Conway.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut DT Risean Broussard from injured reserve.
New England Patriots DT Armond Armstead has announced his retirement from the NFL.
The New England Patriots cut WR Reese Wiggins.
The New England Patriots cut WR Jeremy Johnson.
The Washington Redskins sign FB Stephen Campbell.

On the Clock FANTASY is HERE!

July 16, 2014 in NFL

Guess what's finally here in time for Fantasy Football season?! On the Clock FANTASY!

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NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

July 4, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

A quiet week in the NFL entering the 4th of July weekend, very few transactions took place. The most important of this week's moves is discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Dallas Cowboys trade for LB Rolando McClain

The biggest move in this slow week comes from the Dallas Cowboys who traded with the Baltimore Ravens for McClain.

There are man different scenarios for compensation in this trade. If he is not on the Cowboys' 53-man roster for five games or 46-man game-day roster for three games in 2014 then the Ravens will receive nothing in return for him. If he does meet one of these two requirements, then Dallas would swap 2016 seventh-round picks with Baltimore if Dallas' pick is higher in the round. If Baltimore has a higher draft pick, then no swap will occur. Lastly, if he plays in 50 percent of the Cowboys' defensive snaps this season, Baltimore will receive Dallas' 2015 sixth-round pick and Dallas will get Baltimore's seventh-round pick in 2015.

Rolando McClain

Courtesy of ICON SMI

All of these scenarios exist as nobody really knows what McClain will do this season. Despite not having played a snap in the NFL since week 12 of the 2012 season, he has been constantly talked about since then with off-the-field issues and and his back and forth with retirement.

Drafted by the Oakland Raiders with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, he is now on his third team, though he never played with the Ravens.

His best statistical season came in 2011 where he recorded 99 tackles and five sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, his best season came in 2012––where he only played 11 games––and he graded as the 11th best inside linebacker in the league.

In all three of his seasons, he has been an above-average run defender, but struggled in pass coverage, though he showed improvement in 2012, when he last played.

After the 2012 season, Oakland released him due to conflicts with the coaching staff and a high salary. Baltimore picked him up on a cheap deal to try and see if he could help replace the retired Ray Lewis. Soon after signing with the Ravens, McClain was arrested again. With this, he decided to sit out he 2013 season to try and get his life in order.

Still only 24-years old, he is back and will try football again. Dallas has a serious need at middle linebacker in their 4-3 defense as Sean Lee––the best player on their defense––suffered a torn ACL during OTAs and will miss the entire season. The depth chart at linebacker now shows many question marks with unproven players, so the Cowboys are looking for anyone who can help at the moment.

This trade makes sense for both teams. It had become obvious that McClain wasn't going to be playing this season for the Ravens. Therefore, being able to get anything for him is a win. Dallas needs all the help they can get at linebacker right now. If McClain works out, then they found a cheap replacement for Lee. If not, then they likely won't be giving anything up to Baltimore.

Other Moves:

The Atlanta Falcons sign WR Courtney Roby.
The Miami Dolphins sign G Daryn Colledge.
The Miami Dolphins cut LB Marcus Thompson.
The San Francisco 49ers re-sign G Al Netter.

Four NFL Thoughts Pre-July 4th

July 3, 2014 in NFL Observations

1-      Jimmy Graham ruled as a tight end.

Jimmy Graham

Courtesy of ICON SMI

I think Graham gets screwed on this deal.  Usually my response would be that the players and their leader Demaurice Smith are to blame because they agreed to a deal that includes the franchise designation.  But this time I think Graham is getting a raw deal.  I have no problem that he got franchised because that is no surprise but I do think he had a real argument where his position lies.

Graham deserves to be paid with the top of wide receiver class and should not be penalized because of his size.  He faces his opponent’s top corner a lot unlike some of the highly paid wide receivers in the league.  This ruling is huge for the Saints if Graham does not hold out and accepts it.  Which I wonder if he does?

The Saints are not in a great cap situation even though they spent big money on Jairus Byrd.  Graham’s 2015 franchise number if he was listed as a wide receiver would have been huge if they weren’t able to come to a deal.  Which could have forced the Saints to make drastic moves including possibly letting Graham hit the market.  I doubt this is over and will be interesting come next off season.

 

2-      If you team has a solid linebacker you cannot afford to lose do not let them workout in the offseason anymore.

Now that both Sean Lee and Kiko Alonso are done for 2014 and we haven’t even hit training camp should teams be concerned with the linebacker ACL curse?  Lee did his while with the team and Alonso while working out at his former college so we do have separate instances but these are crushing blows to teams that depend on these two as leaders of their defenses.

I know one player does not make a team but Dallas could not afford to lose Lee after seeing what their defense did without him the past couple seasons.  Alonso may not be as big of a loss since Buffalo seemed to have an up and coming unit.  Jim Schwartz is there now and he should help in his first season as coordinator.  For these teams to get nothing from these guys this season is devastating.

 

3-      Next to Johnny Manziel and his daily updates on his social life, there is no easier thing to discuss than the Eagles offseason.

Just when we thought it was going to be quiet until training camp the Eagles learned that starting right tackle Lane Johnson is suspended for the first 4 games of this season for PEDs.  A huge blow for the Eagles who looked to have formed a solid line to support Nick Foles.  Chip Kelly was obviously a success in just year one but since their playoff loss it has been interesting.  No need to discuss dropping DeSean yet resigning Riley Cooper, other than its unfortunate that plenty of gang members are going to be left without seeing their gang signs at the Linc.  Maybe Cooper can come up with his own signs, then again that is not smart.

Back to Johnson who skyrocketed up the draft last season to find himself with Kelly at number four.  He looked to be a cornerstone piece of the Kelly Eagles but this cannot be good.  Then again a failed PED test hasn’t hurt Richard Sherman.  But then again you can’t say the same for Shawne Merriman.  There is a possibility it was a Robert Mathis “gotta get the wife knocked up kinda deal” but now Johnson is one hit away from a major suspension only one season into his career.

 

4-      Since its July 4th I wondering is there a true America’s Team?  Is it still Dallas?      cowboys

I would say no because I think you have to have a recent track record of winning to be it.  And what if the Cowboys represented the US in a World Cup of Football, would Romo throw like 3 picks to some dude from Ecuador and get us eliminated.  If you go by the best you have to look at Seattle but too many people hate the Seahawks to make them America’s team.  I think the Niners and Ravens fit that bill also.

The Packers and Steelers have possibly the best road following so they would have to be considered.  The Patriots may have been 10 years ago but I think they have slipped a bit and having a murderer didn’t help.  Cheating also hurt.

I don’t think there is truly an America’s Team due to the size that the league has become and the parody involved.  Maybe if they eliminated the salary cap and there were a Yankees of the NFL it could happen or Manning, Megatron and AP could form a Big 3 and take their talents to the Dolphins we could see it.

But for now I would say there is no true America’s Team.  As for a Native America’s Team?  I won’t start that discussion and leave it to Costas, Olbermann and Harry Reid.

 

 

Way Too Early NFL Award Predictions – AFC Edition

June 30, 2014 in NFL Predictions

AFC Offensive MVP - Peyton Manning- Denver Broncos

I tried hard to pick someone other than Manning but couldn’t.  He lost Decker but added Sanders so it could be a wash.  His neck has held up so you think it should be good to go. And you have to think Manning is determined to rebound from an embarrassing Super Bowl effort by his team.  Also he gets back Ryan Clady to help keep him protecting and give Thomas, Thomas, and Sanders en extra second to get open.  It is just too hard to go against Manning.

Other Candidates:

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Andrew Luck- The golden boy who can do no wrong as I like to say.  Luck is very good and if he ups his numbers even more he will be in the mix.  He is going to win a MVP at some point.

Rob Gronkowski - I think Gronk stays healthy finally and puts up a monster year which will put him in the discussion if he can go 16 games.

AJ Green- I already threw one pass catcher out and they rarely win an award like this but I have a feeling Green is in the mix when the season ends

Ryan Tannehill - Brady should be listed but going to throw a longshot at Tannehill evolving to a top QB in the league

 

AFC Defensive MVP - Darrelle Revis- New England Patriots

Revis is going to bounce back quickly after his one season in Tampa.  How could Tampa just let him walk after one season?  Now he is happy with the Patriots and is still one of the best in the league.  He will be looking to open up Revis Island once again and show that he is right there with Sherman and Peterson in the discussion.  Plus, the media focus will be on him all season.

Other Candidates:

JJ Watt- always a contender and it will be interesting to see how much he benefits with Clowney in the same huddle

Muhammad Wilkerson- should be right there with Watt as the most dominant defensive lineman in the league.  Now everyone is starting to hear about him

Joe Haden- Haden is becoming one of the best corners in the league and everyone will be watching the Browns with Johnny Manziel in the QB mix

Eric Berry- former high pick may not be a long shot but have been waiting for Berry to be dominant in KC’s defense

 

AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year - Sammy Watkins- Buffalo    sammywatkins

He better be after what they gave up to get him.  Even with a young QB like EJ Manuel, Watkins will get the ball and make things happen.  If you have any questions about Watkins just watch his last college game in the Orange Bowl.  I have said this 1000 times, he could make a career out of wide receiver screens, once he has the ball he is off so quick the defense can’t react.

Other Candidates:

Blake Bortles- going real risky with another top 5 pick but I think Bortles plays and plays well enough to have a solid season as a rookie even in Jacksonville

Bishop Sankey- CJ2K is gone and with McCluster there now Sankey will get his chance to play.  Whisenhunt would love to run the ball so he should get his chances

Terrance West- just like Sankey, West should have a chance because we know Ben Tate is going down at some point

Zach Mettenberger - wildcard, but not really.  Could get his chance early if Locker doesn’t impress Whisenhunt

 

AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year - Ryan Shazier- Pittsburgh Steelers

Jarvis Jones was my pick last season and he made me look bad but I am still going once again with a Steelers backer.  I think he will be ready to start day one and make a huge difference as the Steelers defense continues to change over from the top crews of the past 10 years.

Other Candidates:

Jadeveon Clowney- I had him first but changed it.  Kinda a new position for Clowney so let’s see how he transitions in year one

Khalil Mack- not a shock to be mentioned but he should upgrade the whole Oakland defense and team and be right there with Clowney

Darqueze Dennard- will fight his way into playing time in Cincy and will be a solid contributor

CJ Mosley- no real longshot since the AFC drafted strong early on for defense but Mosley should step in and help the Ravens

 

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

June 27, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

The NFL offseason continues to move on with minicamps finishing up and starting the countdown until training camp. While the players may have some time off now, the front offices continue to make moves to improve their team's roster. This week saw one major move––a continuation from last week––and a few other transactions. Compared to other weeks, this was a relatively calm week. This one transaction is discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

San Diego Chargers sign CB Brandon Flowers

Last week, the Kansas City Chiefs released Flowers and now he has found a new team––a division rival of the Chiefs––after just over one week as a free agent.

A one-year deal, he can earn a maximum of $5 million this season with San Diego. There is a signing bonus of $1.5 million and a base salary of $1.5 million. On top of that, there is $2 million available in incentives. These incentives can be reached if he played 92.5 percent of the Chargers' defensive snaps and if San Diego makes it to the AFC Championship Game.

Brandon Flowers

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Assuming that he doesn't suffer an injury, it is likely that he will reach the threshold for snaps to earn some of the incentive money. However, the AFC Championship Game incentive will be harder to reach.

As many players have done in free agency recently, the 28-year old decided to bet on himself and take only a one-year deal. This allows him to become a free agent again next year and hopefully receive a bigger contract. The market for him was limited this offseason as the Chiefs released him in mid-June and many teams with needs at cornerback at the beginning of the offseason had already addressed their need. As a free agent, he took visits to the Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers. A better market will be available next year assuming he plays well.

Cutting him saved the Chiefs $7.25 million in cap room, but the timing of his release by Kansas City is strange as it limited their options to replace him. San Diego won't be questioning the move though as they have a new number one cornerback.

Drafted with the 35th overall pick in he 2008 NFL Draft he had been a Chief his entire career.

Last year he had 68 tackles, one interception, one sack and eight passes defended in 13 games. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 87th best cornerback in the league (out of 110).

In 2012, he intercepted three passes and was the seventh best cornerback in the NFL according to PFF. He graded as the ninth best in pass coverage.

His best season came in 2010 where PFF graded him as the second best cornerback in the league, including second best in coverage. His best statistical season came in 2009 when he intercepted a career-high five passes and had 23 passes defended, also a career-high.

Looking at the stats, it is clear that his performance dropped last season. San Diego will be hoping it was just a down year and he is able to rebound.

Entering the offseason, San Diego made upgrading the cornerback position a priority. With this signing, the upgrade it complete. In the first round of the draft they selected Jason Verrett out of TCU.

San Diego made an excellent move by adding Flowers. This move helps upgrade a key position where the team was lacking not just depth, but quality players. Just a one-year, there is now long term financial commitment. This move will help the Chargers in their attempt to make another playoff run this year.

Other Moves:

The Atlanta Falcons release WR Dominique Croom.
The Chicago Bears sign S Adrian Wilson.
The Chicago Bears sign TE Jeron Mastrud.
The Dallas Cowboys sign G Uche Nwaneri.
The Green Bay Packers waive RB Jonathan Franklin.
The New England Patriots sign OT Chris Martin.
The New Orleans Saints sign LB Todd Davis.
The New Orleans Saints waive-injured CB A.J. Davis.
The San Diego Chargers claim DT Chas Alecxih off waivers.
The San Diego Chargers waive CB Brandon Jones.
The Seattle Seahawks cut DT Andru Pulu.
The Seattle Seahawks sign WR Kevin Smith.

Way Too Early NFL Award Predictions – NFC Edition

June 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

drewbrees

NFC Offensive Player of the Year - Drew Brees- New Orleans

I have a feeling Brees has another crazy year and why not?  He has done every season he has been with the Saints.  A lot will depend if the Saints get the Jimmy Graham situation resolved before the season or this could change.  Losing Darren Sproles hurts but the Saints moved to get Brandin Cooks and he should have an immediate impact on the Saints offense.  Guys like Brees and Rodgers are always going to put up the numbers to be the best in the NFC so it makes him an obvious candidate.  Plus, the Saints are always in the playoff mix as well.

Other candidates:

Adrian Peterson- doesn’t he have to slow down at some point?

Aaron Rodgers- The 1A to Brees is 1 when it comes down to it.

LeSean McCoy- Sproles addition could hurt him stat wise but I doubt it.  Expecting another big year.

Matthew Stafford - Wild card choice due to what he has around him now and what he has done at times with mainly just Megatron who is a candidate also.

 

NFC Defensive Player of the Year - Patrick Peterson- Arizona

I wavered between him and his number one rival Richard Sherman.  Both should have a solid battle on and off the field in 2014.  I just think like Sherman did last season, Peterson will erupt to new level this season.  I see the Cardinals as a dark horse who could topple the Seahawks the Niners in the NFC West and that could be the difference that Peterson needs to take home the award.

Other candidates:    download (5)

Richard Sherman- Obvious candidate, love him or hate him he makes a difference.

Luke Kuechly/ Lavonte David- the two NFC South backers who I think will have a solid battle the next few seasons for who is the best in the division.

Aldon Smith- when he plays he is in the mix.  Can he stay on the field?  Huge question no one knows the answer to.

Jared Allen-  longshot candidate who may have lost it, but maybe a new home in Chicago with a better team and Allen puts up huge sack numbers.

 

NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year - Eric Ebron- Detroit

Wide receiver will be the popular choice but I am going with Ebron who should put up numbers right away in Detroit.  Rookie tight ends seem to be able to get into the offensive flow quicker than wide receivers and everyone has Ebron as a can’t miss guy.

Other candidates:

Mike Evans- highest offensive rookie picked and should be a factor quickly in Tampa.

Brandin Cooks- talked about him earlier but may not see enough balls in NOLA.

Teddy Bridgewater- will have to win job from Matt Cassel but I expect that to be quick which could give him a chance.

Tre Mason- longer shot candidate that I think will have early impact with the Rams even though I still expect them to ride with Zac Stacy.

 

NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year - Ha Ha Clinton-Dix- Green Bay

He should get a chance to play quickly and I think he will have an impact like Eric Reid last season.  I don’t see a lot of guys from the top of the draft that stands out in NFC so Ha Ha could take this award.

Other candidates:

Aaron Donald- a high pick who will make a difference on what could be an impressive Rams line.  Just don’t see many interior lineman win awards.  No Outland in the NFL.

Kony Ealy- away from the Michael Sam hype now, if he can get the chances he should make a difference with the Panthers.

Kyle Van Noy- could the Lions sweep the rookie awards?  Could Van Noy be this seasons Kiko Alonso?

Trent Murphy- Long shot because he plays behind two set starters but I think he gets a chance and maybe runs with it.

 

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

June 20, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

The World Cup may be receiving a lot of the attention right now, but the NFL always goes on. Many moves happened this week and one is discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Kansas City Chiefs release CB Brandon Flowers

The biggest and most surprising move of the week came when the Kansas City Chiefs released Flowers, who had been their best cornerback for the past few seasons.

Spurned by the salary cap and slightly declining play, the Chiefs save $7.25 million in cap room by releasing him.

Brandon Flowers

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Drafted with the 35th overall pick in he 2008 NFL Draft he has been a Chief his entire career.

Last year he had 68 tackles, one interception, one sack and eight passes defended in 13 games. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 87th best cornerback in the league (out of 110).

In 2012, he intercepted three passes and was the seventh best cornerback in the NFL according to PFF. He graded as the ninth best in pass coverage.

His best season came in 2010 where PFF graded him as the second best cornerback in the league, including second best in coverage. His best statistical season came in 2009 when he intercepted a career-high five passes and had 23 passes defended, also a career-high.

Earlier this week he visited with the San Diego Chargers, but the visit ended with no contract. He has had contact with many other teams, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up.

This move has questionable timing for the Chiefs as it is late in the free agency period and no viable replacements can be found. Also the draft is over so no replacement can be found there.

Flowers' release/trade had been rumored since prior to the draft and now it juts happened. However, the timing of the move leaves the Chiefs without a good plan to replace him in their secondary.

Other Moves:

Free agent QB Vince Young has announced his retirement.
Free agent TE Dallas Clark has announced his retirement.
The Atlanta Falcons trade LB Akeem Dent to the Houston Texans for QB T.J. Yates.
The Atlanta Falcons waive QB Dominique Davis.
The Baltimore Ravens waive WR Aaron Mellette.
The Baltimore Ravens waive LB Adrian Hamilton.
The Baltimore Ravens sign LB Austin Spitler.
The Baltimore Ravens sign LB Nick DiMarco.
The Baltimore Ravens sign CB Aaron Ross.
The Baltimore Ravens sign CB Dominique Franks.
The Baltimore Ravens sign WR Mike Willie.
The Baltimore Ravens cut S Dexter Moody
The Baltimore Ravens cut S Avery Patterson.
The Baltimore Ravens cut LB Xavius Boyd.
The Carolina Panthers sign OT Nate Chandler to a four-year contract extension.
The Carolina Panthers sign DE Mario Addison to a two-year contract extension.
The Carolina Panthers sign S Colin Jones to a two-year contract extension.
The Chicago Bears cut S Sean Cattouse.
The Chicago Bears release TE Fendi Onobun.
The Chicago Bears cut DE Israel Idonije.
The Chicago Bears cut QB Jerrod Johnson.
The Chicago Bears sign DE Jamil Merrell.
The Chicago Bears sign LB Conor O'Neill.
Chicago Bears LS Patrick Mannelly has announced his retirement.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive RB Jeff Scott.
The Cleveland Browns release WR Earl Bennett.
The Detroit Lions cut CB Chris Houston.
The Detroit Lions Lions sign OT Bryce Quigley.
The Houston Texans sign OT Will Yeatman.
The Houston Texans Texans cut TE Chris Coyle.
The Houston Texans waive-injured DT Sullivan Grosz.
The Houston Texans sign DT Tim Jackson.
The Indianapolis Colts sign S Mike Adams.
The Indianapolis Colts cut LB Justin Hickman.
The Indianapolis Colts sign NT Brandon McKinney.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut DE Jason Babin.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign WR Mark Harrison.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign CB Kip Edwards.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign CB Quinton Byrd.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign WR Cole Stanford.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut DT Chas Alecxih.
The Miami Dolphins sign CB Kevin Fogg.
The Miami Dolphins waive CB Anthony Gaitor.
The Minnesota Vikings sign WR Josh Cooper.
The Minnesota Vikings waive-injured WR Lestar Jean.
The New England Patriots cut TE Kyle Auffray.
The New England Patriots sign DT Seali'i Epenesa.
The New England Patriots cut WR Reggie Dunn.
The New York Giants sign LB Terrell Manning.
The New York Giants sign DT Everett Dawkins.
The New York Giants cut OT Steven Baker.
The New York Giants cut DT Eathyn Manumaleuna.
The New York Giants sign OT DeMarcus Love.
The New York Jets cut RB Mike Goodson.
The New York Jets sign K Andrew Furney.
The New York Jets sign P Jacob Schum.
The New York Jets cut TE Terrence Miller.
The Oakland Raiders cut WR David Gilreath.
The Oakland Raiders claim OT Emmett Clearyu off waivers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign RB Jordan Hall.
The Pittsburgh Steelers release CB Deion Belue.
The San Diego Chargers sign S Adrian Phillips.
The San Diego Chargers cut RB D.J. Adams.
The San Diego Chargers waive S Brandon Taylor.
San Francisco 49ers CB Eric Wright has announced his retirement.
The Seattle Seahawks sign RB Demitrius Bronson.
The Seattle Seahawks cut QB Keith Price.
The Seattle Seahawks cut DE Kenneth Boatright.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign DL Robert Talley.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive WR Aaron Burks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive DT Everett Dawkins.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut OT Emmett Cleary.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut LB Steven Jenkins.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR David Gettis.
The Tennessee Titans sign WR Rico Richardson.
The Tennessee Titans waive LB James Gayle.
The Tennessee Titans sign WR Derek Hagan.
The Tennessee Titans waive WR Lamont Bryant.
The Tennessee Titans sign TE Dorin Dickerson.
The Tennessee Titans release TE David Wright.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

June 13, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

As the NFL offseason continues to slow down and lead into the next season, fewer and fewer important moves are being made by teams. This week saw one such move. This is discussed in depth below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign C Maurkice Pouncey

In the biggest news of the week, the Steelers sign their starting center, Pouncey, to a record-breaking deal that will keep him in Pittsburgh for years to come.

A five-year contract extension, this deal is worth a total of $44 million with a signing bonus of $13 millii. This new deal makes him the highest paid center in the NFL. Previously this title belonged to Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack who signed a five-year deal worth $42 million this offseason. Pouncey will make $8.8 million per year while Mack will earn $8.4 million per year.

Maurkice Pouncey

Courtesy of ICON SMI

This five-year contract extension will be added onto the 24-year old Pouncey's rookie contract which has one year left worth around $3 million. With this in mind, the total value of his contract right now is $47 million over six years.

All of this comes after a season where he played just eight snaps. In week one against the Tennessee Titans, teammate David DeCastro misjudged a cut block and took out Pouncey, tearing his ACL.

Drafted with the 18th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, he was a starter from day one. With instability on the Steelers' offensive line over the past few years, he has been a rare constant on their line.

In all three seasons that he has played more than eight snaps in, he has been selected to the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team every time. (2011 and 2012 were First-Team All-Pro selections with 2010 being a Second-Team All-Pro selection.)

Despite all this, Pro Football Focus has never graded him higher than 12th in their center rankings. In fact, the only season where he graded positively was in 2012 where he was the 12th best. With this information in hand, it seems as if he is overrated by many people in the football world––and I agree.

While he has improved each season as a pro, he still has work to do. He has all of the tools to become one of the best center's in the league, but he isn't there yet in my mind––despite the three All-Pro selections.

Obviously he a skilled center, and the front office in Pittsburgh agrees. With contract seems to fit the mold of paying for expected future performance and improvement more than paying a player who is entrenched as a top-tier person at their position.

This deal has the potential to be very good or very bad for Pittsburgh. If he is able to recover from his torn ACL––which is another reason why this deal seems strange, but torn ACL's aren't as bad as they used to be so this isn't as big of a deal as his performance––and continue to improve his play, then this can become a good deal for the Steelers. If he doesn't bounce back from the ACL injury as Pittsburgh is expecting, then this deal could end up hurting a team that is already suffering some problems with the salary cap.

Other Moves:

Free agent TE Tony Scheffler has announced his retirement.
The Arizona Cardinals cut G Christian Johnson.
The Arizona Cardinals re-sign C John Estes.
The Atlanta Falcons waive TE Andrew Szczerba.
The Atlanta Falcons waive P Matt Yoklic.
The Atlanta Falcons sign K Sergio Castillo.
The Buffalo Bills cut S Mana Silva.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign TE Alex Smith.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign CB Victor Hampton.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign OT Will Svitek.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive CB Brandon Burton.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive LB Bruce Taylor.
The Cleveland Browns waive S Jamoris Slaughter.
The Cleveland Browns sign OL Alex Parsons.
The Cleveland Browns sign K Jake Rogers.
The Cleveland Browns claim TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi off waivers.
The Dallas Cowboys sign DT Dartwan Bush.
The Dallas Cowboys waive-injured CB Jocquel Skinner.
The Green Bay Packers sign LB Shaun Lewis.
The Indianapolis Colts sign WR Greg Moore.
The Indianapolis Colts waive C Thomas Austin.
The Indianapolis Colts sign DE Gannon Conway.
The Indianapolis Colts cut G Marcus Hall.
The Indianapolis Colts claim CB Brandon Burton off waivers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign WR Brandon Wimberly.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive OT DeMarcus Love.
The Miami Dolphins sign WR Gerald Ford.
The Miami Dolphins cut TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi.
The New England Patriots sign TE Kyle Auffray.
The New England Patriots cut WR Derrick Johnson.
The New England Patriots release OL R.J. Mattes.
The New England Patriots sign WR Jeremy Johnson.
The Seattle Seahawks sign DT Kevin Williams.