On The Clock NFL Mock Draft from Fanspeak.com

Current Vegas Season Odds I'm Liking

June 7, 2014 in NFL Observations, NFL Predictions

1-Indianapolis Colts    colts.patriots

Super Bowl Win  25-1

AFC Championship 14-1

I selected the Colts last years a as kind of a longshot who would pay off well.  Their odds are not as good in 2014 but still worth throwing down some bones on.  There are many factors that make me think the Colts could get there.  First of all, they have the Golden Boy who can do no wrong in Andrew Luck.  Its season three for Luck and now the expectations are really coming into play for him.  His is too good of a talent to think he won’t at some point get a Super Bowl.  Why not this year?  It is going to happen sooner than later.  They added Hakeem Nicks and Trent Richardson starts his first full season with Indy.  Both had very disappointing 2013 seasons so it can only get better for them.

Once again the AFC South could challenge for worst division in football.  The other three teams could be considering rebuilds as two have new coaches and one a new quarterback. Actually all three could end up with new QBs under center for most of the season.  Maybe Houston has a major comeback and can challenge Indy or Tennessee gets a huge lift from Ken Whisenhunt but it should be another division crown for the Colts.  After that they will need to most likely beat a Denver or New England but they are due.

 

2- Arizona Cardinals

Super Bowl Win 50-1

NFC Championship 30-1

Arizona has two major factors against them going into the season, unlike Indy they have to play in the NFL’s toughest division with the two teams who were in the NFC title game last year.  But to everyone’s surprise the Cards were able to challenge both the Seahawks and Niners all season and almost made the playoffs.  The other thing that worries many is at the quarterback position with Carson Palmer.  Palmer wasn’t great last season but he could be enough at the position to make the Niners and Hawks be nervous of a three team race.

What I like is everything else with Arizona.  They have done a great job in the past couple seasons rebuilding the offensive line and they still have Larry Fitzgerald to go along with Michael Floyd.  But what I really think could propel them is their defense.  They lost Dansby and most likely Washington but I loved the signing of Antonio Cromartie to play with Patrick Peterson.  Peterson could emerge as the defensive MVP this season, and it wouldn't shock me at all.  Now I am not saying the Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl but I think the odds are too good to take a chance on this club.  Big payouts for minimal throwdowns.

 

3- Cincinnati Bengals

Super Bowl Win 32-1

AFC Championship 15-1

Cincy was the outsiders choice to make the Super Bowl once the playoffs started last season but the Bengals crumbled and didn’t come close.  Like the Cardinals I probably won’t be making the Bengals my choice to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl but it wouldn’t be crazy if they did.  So that is why I think throwing some cash down at these odds wouldn’t be a bad idea.  The Bengals bring back a ton of talent on offense and you could say have only one place that is questioned.  Andy Dalton has been a solid starter in his first three seasons but now it is time to take it to a new level under new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.  Cincy has backs, pass catchers and a solid line so its on Dalton to make the difference.

The Steelers and Ravens have owned this division the past 10-15 years but last season both failed to make the playoffs giving the Bengals the opening.  Both teams hope to be better but are still most likely looking up at Cincinnati.  I think you could argue when it comes to roster talent 1-53 the Bengals may be right behind the Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers so it is gonna come down to a guy like Dalton to do what Peyton, Wilson and Kaepernick have been able to do in the playoffs.

 

4- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Super Bowl Win 75-1

NFC Championship Win 38-1

Let’s throw a longshot out there.  How about the Bucs?  They have a coach who has been to the Super Bowl already in Lovie.  The Bucs also have a solid mix of young talent and veteran free agent pickups over the past couple seasons.  The first question is who is going to be under center?  McCown or Glennon?  It looks like McCown but I think could change. So could McCown or Glennon take a team to the Super Bowl this fall?  Probably not but it’s a long shot as I said.  The Bucs QB should be an immediate impact from Mike Evans to go along with Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin.  On defense, they dropped Revis but still have a solid defensive front that added Michael Johnson and grabbed Verner to replace Revis.

The NFC South usually looks solid on paper but could be easier than expected.  The Saints found ways to most likely improve in the offseason but that is not a lock.  Carolina won the division but somehow lost many key components like Jordan Gross and Steve Smith.  And everyone expects a bounce back from the Falcons but I am not buying it.  So the Bucs could slip through as that long shot it may be worth throwin $10 on.

 

5- Oakland Raiders

Overpaid NFL Player Darren McFadden

Super Bowl Win 150-1

AFC Championship 75-1

I may never be allowed to write anything after this crazy one.  The Raiders are more likely to go 0-16 than win a Super Bowl but hear me out.  They now have a veteran QB who has won and wants to show he can still play in Matt Schaub.  Sounds a little like Rich Gannon.  The Raiders went out and added a bunch of veterans who everyone trashed them as being too old like Woodley and Tuck.  But they did this in the early 2000s and were successful.  Added a solid performance back in MJD and will try to get one last run out of Darren McFadden.  Then got potentially the AFC defensive rookie of the year in Khalil Mack.  Could they shock the world?  Probably not but its 75-1 to get to the Super Bowl so maybe throw $5 down and at least you can keep the stub as a joke.

 

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

June 6, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

Earlier this week, teams could start to sign free agents without the signing being factored into compensatory picks in next year's draft. This caused in influx of moves this week and probably will span over the coming weeks. Despite this, the biggest move this week was a massive contract extension for a quarterback. This move 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 Francisco 49ers re-sign QB Colin Kaepernick

The aforementioned contract extension belongs to Kaepernick, who signed the new deal Wednesday after an intense negotiating period with the 49ers that had been occurring over the prior two days.

A six-year contract extension, he is now under contract for the next seven seasons and will become a free agent after the 2020 season, when he will be 33-years old (he is currently 26-years old). The maximum value of this contract is $126 million and the maximum amount of guaranteed money is $61 million. This guaranteed money is the most ever in NFL history.

Colin Kaepernick

Courtesy of ICON SMI

However, not all of it is guaranteed from the start, only $13 million––the signing bonus––is guaranteed for skill. All of the $61 million is guaranteed for injury though. With this structure, the base salaries of year are guaranteed, but only after April 1 each year. If the 49ers believe that his play is no longer worth the money, they can cut him and save money on the salary cap starting next year.

By setting up this structure, the 49ers are safe if his play drops. In return the 49ers likely gave him a bit more money than what they were initially willing to give.

Drafted with the 36th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft out of Nevada, the dual-threat quarterback has become one of the league's best quarterbacks since earning the starting job halfway through the 2012 season when Alex Smith went down with an injury.

That year Kaepernick helped lead the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII where they lost to the Baltimore Ravens. This past season he helped lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game where they lost to the Seattle Seahawks.

Completing 58.4 percent of his passes last year, he threw for 3,197 yards, 21 touchdown and eight interceptions. He ran the ball 92 times for 524 yards and four touchdowns. He is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league, possessing a strong arm and great speed as a runner. These attributes can give defensive coordinators headaches trying to scheme against him.

Handing him such a massive contract, San Francisco will be hoping that he continues to improve his play. With only 23 regular season starts, he doesn't even have two years of experience as a starter. This means that there are multiple things that he can improve both as a thrower and a runner. The quarterback position is the most complex in the game and the nuances can take a while to learn and master.

Averaging $21 million per year in new money, this contract will set the tone for the future contract extension of Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson when they become eligible next year. With Kaepernick receiving this kind of money, it is likely that Luck and Wilson receive contracts in the range of $23-25 million.

Just looking at the total money of the contract, it looks like the 49ers may have made a mistake paying this much money to Kaepernick. However, with the structure of this contract, San Francisco is in a perfect position as they can move on from him at any time––which is unlikely though. Kaepernick also comes out well here as he gets a long-term contract with San Francisco that averages $21 million per year in new money at the maximum value of the contract. Both sides are happy with this deal.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals sign LB Ernie Sims.
The Baltimore Ravens sign LB D.J. Roberts.
The Baltimore Ravens cut QB Nick Stephens.
The Buffalo Bills sign C Macky MacPherson.
The Chicago Bears sign CB Al Louis-Jean.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Armanti Edwards.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Michael Spurlock.
The Chicago Bears waive LB Tana Patrick.
The Chicago Bears terminate the contract of WR Domenik Hixon with an injury settlement.
The Chicago Bears sign QB Jimmy Clausen.
The Chicago Bears cut LB Lawrence Wilson.
The Cincinnati Bengals release DT Ogemdi Nwagbuo.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign OT Chandler Burden.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim WR Jasper Collins off waivers.
The Cleveland Browns waive CB Julian Posey.
The Cleveland Browns sign CB Aaron Berry.
The Cleveland Browns cut LB Larry Grant.
The Cleveland Browns cut LB Quentin Groves.
The Detroit Lions cut DE Kourtnei Brown.
The Detroit Lions cut DT Vaughn Martin.
The Detroit Lions sign LB Kalonji Kashama.
The Detroit Lions sign WR Cody Wilson.
The Indianapolis Colts waive QB Seth Lobato.
The Indianapolis Colts waive CB Keon Lyn.
The Indianapolis Colts sign CB Johnny Adams.
The Indianapolis Colts sign C FN Lutz.
The Jacksonville Jaguars claim WR Kevin Smith off waivers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut LS Travis Gillette.
The Kansas City Chiefs waive OT Colin Kelly.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign QB Deon Anthony.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign CB Justin Rogers.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut DT Risean Broussard.
The Minnesota Vikings claim CB Julian Posey off waivers.
The Minnesota Vikings waive CB Kip Edwards.
The New England Patriots sign LB James Anderson.
The New England Patriots cut WR Mark Harrison.
The New Orleans Saints sign C Jonathan Goodwin.
The New Orleans Saints cut G Mike Golic.
The New Orleans Saints cut LB Spencer Hadley.
The New Orleans Saints sign DT Brandon Deaderick.
The New York Giants release QB Josh Freeman.
The New York Giants claim OT Rogers Gaines off waivers.
The New York Giants sign S Kyle Sebetic.
The New York Giants cut S Will Hill.
The Oakland Raiders sign WR David Gilreath.
The Oakland Raiders sign WR Rahsaan Vaughn.
The Oakland Raiders sign K Michael Palardy.
The Oakland Raiders cut WR Jared Green.
The Oakland Raiders cut WR Noel Grigsby.
The Oakland Raiders cut P Daniel Zychlinski.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign OL Allen Barbre to a three-year contact extension.
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut WR Jasper Collins.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign WR C.J. Goodwin.
The San Francisco 49ers sign LB Blake Costanzo.
The San Francisco 49ers waive G Al Netter.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign CB Quinton Pointer.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut CB Marc Anthony.
The Tennessee Titans sign CB Marc Anthony.
The Washington Redskins release DT Kentwan Balmer from the reserve/left squad list .

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

May 30, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

Most transactions this week involved undrafted rookies switching teams and other players who are long shots to make a roster. However, there was one move worthy of discussion. 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.

Seattle Seahawks re-sign WR Doug Baldwin

This one move comes from the defending Super Bowl champions who re-signed a starting receiver in Baldwin.

A two-year contract extension, this will add onto his restricted free agent tender that he is currently under. Therefore, the 25-year old has three more years with the Seahawks. This three-year contract is expected be worth around $13 million, giving him an average of $4.3 million per season.

Doug Baldwin

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Last year he caught 50 passes for 778 yards and five touchdowns, starting nine games and playing in all 16 regular season games. In the postseason, he caught 13 passes for 202 yards and one touchdown.

In Seattle's 43-8 victory over Denver in the Super Bowl, he led the Seahawks in catches (five) and yards (66). He was tied for the team lead in targets (five) and receiving touchdowns (one). His touchdown came with just under 12 minutes left in the game and was the last points of the game, catching a 10-yard pass from Russell Wilson for the touchdown.

Signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft by the Seahawks, he is yet another example of Seattle finding quality players and starters in the late rounds of the draft and in undrafted free agency.

It took him all of one game to prove his worth in the NFL catching four passes for 83 yards and one touchdown in his NFL debut in week one of the 2011 season against the San Francisco 49ers––Seattle's biggest rival.

This is even more significant as his head coach in college at Stanford was Jim Harbaugh, who was coaching his first game with the 49ers as their head coach. In the end, Harbaugh got the last laugh as the 49ers won 33-17.

As a rookie, Baldwin led the team in catches (51) and receiving yards (788), becoming the first undrafted rookie free agent to lead their team in both categories since the AFL-NFL merger. (Interestingly, these stats are very similar to last season, just one catch and 10 yards off.)

This season, he is expected to be a starting receiver across from the dynamic Percy Harvin. Baldwin is a dependable receiver who still has time to develop his game seeing as he is only 25-years old. Re-signing him is a smart move for Seattle as the cost wasn't too much and they keep another key, young player around for three more years.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals sign WR Kevin Ozier.
The Arizona Cardinals sign RB Jalen Parmele.
The Arizona Cardinals sign OT Cory Brandon.
The Arizona Cardinals sign CB Jimmy Legree.
The Arizona Cardinals cut CB LeQuan Lewis.
The Arizona Cardinals cut RB Tim Cornett.
The Arizona Cardinals cut G Kadeem Williams.
The Arizona Cardinals cut WR Corey Washington.
The Baltimore Ravens sign Fitz Toussaint.
The Baltimore Ravens waive-injured LB Ryan Jones.
The Chicago Bears claim OT Michael Ola off waivers.
The Chicago Bears cut S Derrick Martin.
The Chicago Bears cut OT Roger Gaines.
The Dallas Cowboys sign G Tyronne Green.
The Dallas Cowboys sign G Darius Morris.
The Dallas Cowboys waive-injured OT Jarrod Pughsley.
The Dallas Cowboys waive-injured TE Evan Wilson.
The Denver Broncos cut OL Ramon Harewood.
The Green Bay Packers Packers cut LB Victor Aiyewa.
The Houston Texans claim WR Kofi Hughes off waivers.
The Houston Texans cut C Kevin Forsch.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign OT Ryan McKee.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut G Chandler Burden.
The Miami Dolphins waive CB Deion Belue.
The Miami Dolphins waive OT David Hurd.
The Miami Dolphins waive OT Michael Ola.
The Miami Dolphins sign OT Michael Philipp.
The Miami Dolphins sign CB Anthony Gaitor.
The Miami Dolphins cut RB Cameron Marshall.
The New England Patriots sign WR Wilson Van Hooser.
The New England Patriots sign WR Reese Wiggins.
The New Orleans Saints sign OT Jason Weaver.
The New Orleans Saints cut WR Chris Givens.
The New York Giants waive-injured G Stephen Goodin.
The New York Giants claim WR Corey Washington off waivers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers claim CB Deion Belue off waivers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers cut OT Kaycee Ike.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign OT Emmanuel McCray.
The Pittsburgh Steelers release G Nik Embernate.
The St. Louis Rams sign G Davin Joseph.
The St. Louis Rams sign WR Diontae Spencer.
The San Francisco 49ers waive-injured OT Luke Marquardt.
The San Francisco 49ers waive-injured LB Morgan Breslin.
The San Francisco 49ers sign LB Chase Thomas.
The San Francisco 49ers sign TE Kevin Greene.
The Seattle Seahawks waive OL Garrett Scott.
The Seattle Seahawks sign LB Horace Miller.
The Washington Redskins sign WR Rashad Ross.
The Washington Redskins cut WR Kofi Hughes.

What NFC West Team Will Win the Division This Year?

May 25, 2014 in NFL

The NFC West has produced at least one member of the NFC Championship game each of the last three years and last year had both participants as the Seahawks beat the 49ers on their way to the Super Bowl. Though Seattle and San Francisco are two of the best teams in the NFL could another team from the West unseat them? The Cardinals won 10 games last year and were one of the toughest teams down the stretch last season, while the Rams went 7-9, despite missing their starting quarterback for the last half of the season. Who will win the West this year?

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

May 23, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

Rookie minicamps occurred this week with teams getting their first looks at the players they recently drafted. With tryouts going along with these minicamps, there were plenty of transactions this week. One move 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.

Chicago Bears re-sign WR Brandon Marshall

While the focus was on rookies this week, the Bears signed their number one receiver to a three-year contract extension.

Entering his contract year, the 30-year old Marshall signed a three-year extension worth $30 million. The one year that is left on his previous contract is worth $9.1 million. So, he is under contract for the next four seasons in Chicago and will be making $39.1 million. Of the $30 million that is new money, $23 million is guaranteed.

Brandon Marshall

Courtesy of ICON SMI

He appeared on ABC's "The View" to sign his contract on Monday. Later on he tweeted that he will be donating $1 million of this new money to benefit mental health care. In 2011, he announced that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Previously, he has worn green cleats in game––which led to a fine––in honor of Mental Health Awareness week.

Last year he caught 100 passes for 1,295 yards and 12 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus graded him as the best wide receiver in the league––though his grade his helped out by being the best run-blocking receiver in the league by a substantial margin.

In 2012, he recorded career-highes in catches (118) and yards (1,508) with the Bears. He also had 11 touchdowns which was a career-high, but he bested that this past season with 12.

Chicago is his third team in eight seasons. The Denver Broncos drafted him in the fourth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. After four seasons––three as a starter and all three of these over 1,000 receiving yards––they became fed up due to off-the-field issues and traded him to Miami for two second round draft picks.

Miami signed him to a four-year contract worth $47.5 million, but he only lasted two season with the Dolphins––both with over 80 catches and 1,000 yards. Like Denver, Miami became frustrated with him and traded him. This time to Chicago for two third round draft picks. This trade to Chicago reunited him with his quarterback from Denver, Jay Cutler. Cutler had played with Marshall from 2006-2008 and was traded to Chicago before the 2009 season.

Adding Marshall to the Bears offense gave them a spark that they never had before and led to great years from both Cutler and Marshall as they two picked up where they left off in Denver.

Marshall's two best seasons as a pro have come in Chicago the last two years and he seems to have turned his life around as there has been little talk of off-the-field incidents.

Locking him up for another three years allows Chicago to keep one of the better receivers in the league right now. Combined with third-year pro Alshon Jeffery, the Bears have one of the best starting receiving corps in the league.

The money is in the right range for a receiver of Marshall's caliber. The only real question is how he will be performing at the end of the contract when he is older. Considering he just had his two best years, this may not be an issue though.

Other Moves:

*Note: not listed here are the numerous undrafted free agent signings that occurred after tryouts this week.

The Arizona Cardinals claim DT Christian Tupou off waivers.
The Baltimore Ravens sign FB Shaun Chapas.
The Baltimore Ravens sign TE Phillip Supernaw.
The Baltimore Ravens sign G Will Rackley.
The Baltimore Ravens cut TE Matt Furstenburg.
The Baltimore Ravens cut G Cody Larsen.
The Baltimore Ravens cut LB D.J. Bryant.
The Buffalo Bills cut WR Brandon Kaufman.
The Carolina Panthers cut G Travis Bond.
The Carolina Panthers cut G Michael Jasper.
The Carolina Panthers cut G Phillipkeith Manley.
The Carolina Panthers sign P Jordan Gay.
The Chicago Bears release P Drew Butler.
The Chicago Bears cut FB Willie Carter.
The Cincinnati Bengals claim QB Matt Scott off waivers.
The Cleveland Browns release WR Greg Little.
The Cleveland Browns sign WR Anthony Armstrong.
The Cleveland Browns cut RB Jamaine Cook.
The Cleveland Browns cut WR Josh Cooper.
The Cleveland Browns cut OT Anthony Dima.
The Cleveland Browns cut WR Tori Gurley.
The Cleveland Browns cut DL Elhadji Ndiaye.
The Cleveland Browns cut G Michael Philipp.
The Cleveland Browns cut FB Chris Pressley.
The Cleveland Browns cut TE Andre Smith.
The Cleveland Browns sign LB Larry Grant.
The Dallas Cowboys sign DT Amobi Okoye.
The Dallas Cowboys sign RB Ryan Williams.
The Dallas Cowboys cut RB Glasco Martin.
The Dallas Cowboys waive-injured S Marvin Robinson.
The Denver Broncos waive-injured DE John Youboty.
The Denver Broncos waive Mister Cobble.
The Denver Broncos waive P Steven Clark.
The Detroit Lions release DT Corvey Irvin.
The Houston Texans waive-injured OL Chris Martin.
The Houston Texans cut WR Nathan Slaughter.
The Houston Texans cut DT Tyrone Ezell.
The Houston Texans cut WR Andy Cruse.
The Houston Texans claim G Conor Boffeli off waivers.
The Houston Texans claim OT Anthony Dima off waivers.
The Indianapolis Colts cut WR Greg Moore.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive P Chad Zinchini.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive K Jeff Budzien.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign OT J'Marcus Webb.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign DT Kyle Love.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign DT Jermelle Cudjo.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut DT Cory Grissom.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut LB Ridge Wilson.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut OT R.J Dill.
The Miami Dolphins cut DE Gannon Conway.
The Minnesota Vikings cut G Conor Boffeil.
The Minnesota Vikings cut QB Travis Partridge.
The Minnesota Vikings sign LB Dom DeCicco.
The Minnesota Vikings sign LB Mike Zimmer.
The New England Patriots cut LB James Morris.
The New England Patriots sign DB Daxton Swanson.
The New England Patriots cut Jeremy Deering.
The New England Patriots cut WR Greg Orton.
The New Orleans Saints sign DE Cheta Ozougwu.
The New Orleans Saints waive DE Brandon McCray.
The New Orleans Saints waive OL Micajah Reynolds.
The New York Jets cut OT Tevon Conrad.
The New York Jets claim RB Daryl Richardson off waivers.
The New York Jets waive RB Alex Green.
The New York Jets release WR Dwight Jones.
The New York Jets cut OT Jacolby Ashworth.
The New York Jets sign LB A.J. Edds.
The New York Jets sign OT Markus Zusevics.
The Oakland Raiders claim WR Greg Little off waivers.
The Oakland Raiders cut LB Frank Beltre.
The Oakland Raiders cut WR D.J. Coles.
The Oakland Raiders cut CB Johnny Adams.
The Oakland Raiders cut DE David Carter.
The Philadelphia Eagles release WR Arrelious Benn.
The Philadelphia Eagles re-sign WR Arrelious Benn.
The St. Louis Rams claim G Travis Bond off waivers.
The San Diego Chargers waive-injured WR Tobais Palmer.
The San Diego Chargers cut OT Ian White.
The Seattle Seahawks cut TE Travis Beckum.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release TE Tom Crabtree.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign QB Alex Tanney.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive QB Brett Smith.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive P Jacob Schum.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive DT David Hunter.
The Tennessee Titans cut FB Quinn Johnson.
The Tennessee Titans cut CB George Baker.
The Tennessee Titans cut LB Jamal Merrell.
The Tennessee Titans waive-injured WR Eric Ward.
The Washington Redskins cut DT Chris Davenport.
The Washington Redskins cut S Jose Gumbs.
The Washington Redskins cut TE Kevin Perry.
The Washington Redskins cut QB Tommy Rees.

Daily Discussion: Should the NFL Expand the Playoffs?

May 20, 2014 in NFL

There is a lot of talk about the NFL expanding the playoff field by 2015, should the NFL expand this fast?

Daily Discussion: Which last place team could go worst to first this year?

May 19, 2014 in NFL

It happens pretty much every season as some last place team the year before has a major turnaround and wins the division the next year. Who will it be in 2014?

The Bills, Browns, Texans, Raiders, Redskins, Vikings, Buccaneers and Rams are the teams that finished last year(the Falcons finished 4-12 as well, but held the tie breaker over Tampa). Will any of them continue the trend?

The Rams are clearly the best team of the bunch, but they are in the toughest division. The Texans could have the easiest road playing in a weak division, but they look to be in it for a longer rebuild. The Vikings could be a team that surprises. Mike Zimmer has the makings of a strong defense and they have Adrian Peterson behind one of the better offensive lines in football. Who do you think it will be?

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

May 16, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

A shorter week this time around due to Transaction Tracker being pushed back to Sunday due to the NFL Draft last week, Transaction Tracker returns at its normal spot this week. Two moves, from the same team, 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.

Cleveland Browns re-sign CB Joe Haden

The first move is the Browns signing Haden to a massive contract extension that will keep him in Cleveland through the 2019 season.

It is a five-year deal worth a total of $68 million with $45 million in guaranteed money. Of this guaranteed money, $14 million is a signing bonus and $22 million is fully guaranteed (this includes the signing bonus). The other $23 million is guaranteed only for injury.

This gives him an average of $13.6 million per year which makes him the third highest paid cornerback behind Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman––who only recently signed his contract extension.

Joe Haden

Courtesy of ICON SMI

While Haden isn’t the highest paid in terms of per year average, this contract does give him the highest guarantee for any cornerback in the league.

Still only 25-years old, he is considered to be one of the better cornerbacks in the league. He isn’t on the elite level where Revis and Sherman stand, but Haden is in the second tier of cornerbacks.

This contract comes less than a week after the Seattle Seahawks re-signed Sherman is to four-year extension worth $57.4 million with $40 million guaranteed. It is likely Haden and the Browns were waiting for this deal to be completed before working on a deal themselves so they could see what the market value was.

Earlier there was news that the Arizona Cardinals were working on a contract extension with cornerback Patrick Peterson and he said he was worth more than Sherman. No news was leaked that the Browns and Haden were working on a deal.

Last year he 54 tackles, four interceptions and 20 passes defended while shadowing the opposing team’s best wide receiver. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 18th best cornerback in the league. Opposing quarterbacks had a quarterback rating of 75.2 when passing against Haden.

Since being drafted with the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Florida, there never has been a doubt about his coverage skills. Inconsistency has marred him though and stopped him from reaching the next level of cornerbacks.

This contract extension comes just three days after the completion of the 2014 NFL Draft. Entering the draft, Cleveland was known to be looking for a number two cornerback to play opposite of Haden.

In the first round they selected Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State University. He was generally considered to be the number one cornerback in this draft class and should help ease some coverage responsibilities from Haden.

On day three of the draft the Browns added another cornerback, Pierre Desir out of Lindenwood University, in the fourth round.

Haden, Gilbert and Desir all fit the mold of physical, press-man coverage cornerbacks. New head coach Mike Pettine was the defensive coordinator of the New York Jets from 2009-2012 where he was able to coach Revis.

Pettine knowns the importance of cornerbacks to his defense and now he has his star in the form of Haden and two complimentary cornerbacks in Gilbert and Desir, who he hopes will be able to develop into formidable coverage men.

Extending Haden allows Cleveland to keep the face of their defense around through 2019. With Pettine as the head coach Haden will have added responsibilities and should thrive in his role.

The average of $13.6 million per year seems to be a bit too high to him despite his coverage abilities. Cornerback is becoming more and more of an important position in the NFL, so pay will be increasing over the next few years at this position.

Overall, Cleveland needed to make this move. General manager Ray Farmer knew that keeping Haden was essential to the rebuild. The contract seems like a bit too much, but to a team with so much cap room, that isn’t much of a problem.

Cleveland Browns sign WR Miles Austin

After not addressing the wide receiver position at all during the draft last week, the Cleveland Browns signed Austin less than a week later.

As of right now the terms of the contract are unknown, but it is likely that is just a one-year deal that is cheap considering the 29-year old has struggled with inures over the last few years.

Earlier this offseason the Dallas Cowboys––the only team he has played for after they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2006––released him with a post-June 1 designation. This means that he would be released right away and become a free agent and the dead money triggered from his release would be evenly split over the salary cap the next two seasons instead of just the upcoming year.

Last year he caught 24 passes for 244 yards and zero touchdowns in 11 games while dealing with a hamstring injury. The yards are the second-lowest of his career and the catches are the third-lowest in the eight seasons that he has played. (As a rookie he didn't record a catch, but played mainly on special teams so I didn't count that year.)

His best season came in 2009 where he caught 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. All three of these are career-highs. This was his breakout season as he entered the year that the Cowboys number three receiver and led to a six-year contract extension that was signed at the beginning of the 2010 season. The 2009 season was the first of consecutive Pro Bowl trips. These are his only two Pro Bowl appearances in his career.

During the NFL Draft last week, it was announced that Josh Gordon––the Browns' star receiver––would be suspended one year for testing positive for marijuana again. It was also announced that Nate Burleson had broken his arm. It wasn't a good week to be a receiver for Cleveland.

Despite this news, the Browns didn't draft a wide receiver during the draft. General manager Ray Farmer said that the team followed their board the entire draft and didn't want to reach on a player. While this makes sense, the team also had a glaring need at receiver after Gordon's suspension.

Adding Austin will give Cleveland a veteran receiver for whoever lines up under center week one, whether it be Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel.

Assuming this contract has little money attached to it––which is all but guaranteed to be this way––then this is a smart move for Cleveland. If he stays healthy then they have a reliable receiver. If not, then nothing is hurt.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals cut RB Ryan Williams.
The Arizona Cardinals cut C John Estes.
The Arizona Cardinals cut LB Kenny Rowe.
The Arizona Cardinals cut TE Brett Brackett.
The Arizona Cardinals sign LB Keenan Clayton.
The Arizona Cardinals sign S Anthony Walters.
The Buffalo Bills cut OT Jamaal Johnson-Webb.
The Buffalo Bills cut RB Anthony Allen.
The Carolina Panthers claim DT Drake Nevis off waivers.
The Cincinnati Bengals release QB Josh Johnson.
The Cleveland Browns release QB Vince Young.
The Cleveland Browns cut CB Brandon Hughes.
The Cleveland Browns cut DE Brian Sanford.
The Cleveland Browns cut QB Alex Tanner.
The Cleveland Browns cut RB Fozzy Whitaker.
The Cleveland Browns sign WR Earl Bennett.
The Dallas Cowboys cut LB Jabara Williams.
The Dallas Cowboys cut WR Lance Lewis.
The Dallas Cowboys cut DT Frank Kearse.
The Dallas Cowboys cut G Chris DeGeare.
The Dallas Cowboys cut DE Tristan Okpalaugo.
The Dallas Cowboys cut LB Quinton Spears.
The Denver Broncos cut DB Charles Mitchell.
The Detroit Lions cut WR Carlin Isles.
The Detroit Lions cut TE Matt Veldman.
The Detroit Lions cut CB Nate Ness.
The Detroit Lions cut S Akwasi Owusu-Ansah.
The Detroit Lions cut K John Potter.
The Detroit Lions cut LB Jon Morgan.
The Detroit Lions cut C Sherman Carter.
The Detroit Lions cut WR Cody Wilson.
The Green Bay Packers cut LB Chase Thomas.
The Houston Texans cut TE Phillip Supernaw.
The Houston Texans cut RB Ray Graham.
The Houston Texans cut WR Rico Richardson.
The Houston Texans cut CB Loyce Means.
The Houston Texans cut FB Chad Spann.
The Houston Texans cut S Steven Terrell.
The Indianapolis Colts release K Carson Wiggs.
The Indianapolis Colts release TE Martell Webb.
The Indianapolis Colts release LB Alan Baxter.
The Indianapolis Colts release FB Stephen Campbell.
The Indianapolis Colts cut OT Eric Pike.
The Indianapolis Colts cut CB Darius Polk.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release G Will Rackley.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release FB Shaun Chapas.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release WR Jeremy Ebert.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release RB Delone Carter.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release DT Drake Nevis.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release WR Stephen Williams.
The Jacksonville Jaguars claim LB Allen Bradford off waivers.
The Jacksonville Jaguars cut QB Matt Scott.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut RB Eric Kettani.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut WR Rashad Ross.
The Miami Dolphins release QB Jordan Rodgers.
The Miami Dolphins release WR Michael Rios.
The Miami Dolphins cut P Matt Syzmanski.
The Minnesota Vikings waive LB Terrell Manning.
The Minnesota Vikings waive RB Bradley Randle.
The Minnesota Vikings waive G Josh Samuda.
The Minnesota Vikings waive LB Simoni Lawrence.
The New Orleans Saints sign G Manase Foketi.
The New York Giants cut LB Allen Bradford.
The New York Giants cut CB Junior Mertile.
The New York Giants cut P Jordan Gay.
The New York Giants release QB Rusty Smith.
The New York Giants claim OT Jamaal Johnson-Webb off waivers.
The New York Jets cut CB Nick Taylor.
The Oakland Raiders waive S Tony Dye.
The Oakland Raiders waive LB Eric Harper.
The Oakland Raiders waive DE Chris McCoy.
The St. Louis Rams claim LS Jorgen Hus off waivers.
The St. Louis Rams release OL Graham Pocic.
The San Francisco 49ers release LB Darius Fleming.
The San Francisco 49ers release WR DeMarco Sampson.
The San Francisco 49ers release CB Dax Swanson.
The Seattle Seahawks waive LS Jorgen Hus.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut FB Josh Baker.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut CB Bobby Felder.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut TE Steve Maneri.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waive RB Michael Smith.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut CB Anthony Gaitor.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign LS Anthony DePaola.
The Washington Redskins cut K Jake Rogers.
The Washington Redskins cut WR David Gettis.

4 Quarters of Post NFL Draft

May 14, 2014 in NFL Draft

Quarter 1:    sammywatkins

The Buffalo Bills made the first big move of the draft by trading up to get Sammy Watkins.  This will be a great scenario to watch because the Bills are putting a lot on both Watkins and EJ Manuel this season to prevent the Bills from surrendering a top 10 pick to the Browns.  I was a huge fan of Watkins for three years but all you had to do was watch the Orange Bowl to see his talents last January.  I think he will be a star but you truly never know.  There have been plenty of receivers who have looked as can’t miss and have.  And it would a huge loss if the Bills surrendered their 2015 1st rounder for an average wideout.

As for the Browns maybe they should have passed on Johnny Football on Thursday given that they now have the potential of at least one and possibly two high first round picks in 2015.  They could have taken their chances for a year with Brian Hoyer or a 2nd or 3rd round QB and then waited on Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariotta.  Now they could be in the same dilemma they had by taken Brandon Weeded in the first and then quickly having to decide if he was the future.  At 22 for the Browns also there were plenty of receivers left.

 

Quarter 2

Speaking of teams taking receivers high in the draft I have to look at the New York Giants.  Most have Odell Beckham Jr. being drafting right around where the Giants took him. But once again I think that receivers are a huge risk unless they are can’t miss guys like Megatron or Larry Fitzgerald.  I think the Giants should have made a move to go to a better pass catching option though.  Though the Giants past is hard to question.

I think if I was the Giants I would have done what I could have to move up in front of the Lions to get Eric Ebron instead of settling of Beckham.  Maybe Jerry Reece did try to and couldn’t find the right deal but I think that Ebron would have had a huge impact where the Giants have been lacking for a few years now.  Even though his sense of style via Zubaz pants while proposing can be questioned, his talent is hard to question.  As a Redskins fan I am much happier the Giants have Beckham and not Ebron.

 

Quarter 3:

I said last week I wouldn’t have been surprised if the 49ers made some major moves in the first round of the draft but that didn’t happen.  What did happen was the 49ers stood pat and went out and had what looks to be another solid draft.  Once again they started by addressing the back end of the defense to add to Eric Reid with Jimmie Ward who looks to be a solid addition for the late first round.  Then they added Carlos Hyde who in the end could end up being the best back in the draft and added him to potential 4 headed RB monster in San Fran which fantasy owners may not like but Jim Harbaugh has to.

San Fran also added potential early contributors like USC center Marcus Martin and Wisconsin LB Chris Borland.  Borland could be asked to be an early contributor with the injury to Pro Bowler Navarro Bowman and the unknown of his return.  I also like that they grabbed Bruce Ellington at receiver a day after adding Stevie Johnson from the Bills. The Niners seem to be in the Ravens mode of building and continuing keeping a roster solid by taking the right guys who seem to fall to them like an Ellington or Borland. Once again it should be a great battle this season between the Niners and Seahawks.

 

Quarter 4 – Quick hits:    johnnyfootball

-I was surprised the Cowboys did not take grab Johnny Manziel with their first round pick.  Usually when chatter comes out about the Cowboys or Redskins it ends up happening. Maybe the Jones got cold feet from the chatter?

-Each year I give the Steelers and Ravens credit for what they do on draft day and this year was no different.  Both teams did a good job especially in the first round grabbing solid linebackers in Shazier and Mosley that could be factors for the next 7-10 years in the AFC North.

-No shock Houston took Clowney at number one but then they grabbed a guard at the top of the second.  With Bridgewater gone the pick before the focus may have changed for Bill O’Brien.  He did take Savage later but should he have given up the 33rd pick for Kirk Cousins?  I don’t think it would have been a bad call for the Texans.

-Hell froze over this weekend after multiple draft nerds gave the Raiders a solid draft grade.  Everyone liked Mack even though he played at Buffalo after being a low high school recruit.  I hope he isn’t part of the Raiders curse of the past 10 years and has a great career and help bring Oakland back to life.  As for Derek Carr, I was never a fan, but want do I know how he turns out in the NFL.

 

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

May 11, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

While the NFL Draft may have just finished––which is why this has been posted on Sunday instead of Friday––that wasn't the only thing going on this week in the NFL. Throughout the week, teams were making changes to their rosters. Two moves 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.

Seattle Seahawks re-sign CB Richard Sherman

Last week the Seahawks locked up free safety Earl Thomas with a four-year contract extension making him the highest paid cornerback in the league. This week, it was Sherman's turn.

A four-year contract extension, it is worth a total of $56 million. It will kick in next season as he will finish this season out on his rookie contract which has one year left on it worth $1.431 million. This means the total value of the contract is $57.431 million over five years. Of this approximately $57 million, $40 million is guaranteed with $11 million of it coming in the form of a signing bonus. If you just take the value of the extension, he is the highest paid cornerback in the league as he averages $14 million per year. However, Seattle can say that it is only $11.4862 million per year due to the rookie contract year.

Richard Sherman

Courtesy of ICON SMI

This contract had been expected for a while now. When the Seahawks re-signed Thomas, it was reported that they were hoping to finish Sherman's contract before the draft––which they did. Early in the offseason this had been reported as well, but this was confirmation of the new. Throughout the process it was expected that Sherman would become the highest paid cornerback in the league with this contract.

Depending on who you ask, the best cornerback in the league is either Darrelle Revis of the New England Patriots or Sherman. The two are very close together in terms of coverage ability––there really is no wrong answer.

One thing that differs between them is that Revis will shadow the best receiver of the opposing team while Sherman will always line up at left cornerback. Due to this, Sherman has received criticism.

Perhaps the reason that Sherman doesn't leave his left cornerback spot is because his supporting cast is much better. A member of the "Legion of Boom" secondary, Seattle has the best secondary in the league. Thomas is the best free safety, Sherman is arguably the best cornerback and Kam Chancellor is one of the best strong safeties. The fourth starting member has varied a little, but good performance has always come from the spot.

Last season as the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, Sherman intercepted eight passes in the regular season along with 48 tackles and 16 passes defended. In the postseason he recorded 10 tackles and two passes defended. In the Super Bowl he had three tackles and one pass defended. He had to leave the game early due to an ankle injury.

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Stanford, he has easily outplayed his draft position. Now, he is the highest paid cornerback in the league.

For the Seahawks, this move had to be made as they need to keep the core of their team together as the attempt to repeat and win another Super Bowl. At 26-years old, Sherman has plenty of elite-level years left in him so the length of this contract is no worry.

San Francisco 49ers trade for WR Stevie Johnson

Entering the draft, the 49ers had a substantial need at wide receiver, but they didn't draft one on day one or day two. However, before the second round of the draft started, they traded with the Buffalo Bills for Johnson.

In return for him, the Bills will receiver a 2015 fourth round draft pick that can become a 3rd round draft pick based on production.

Drafted by the Bills in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the 27-year old was deemed expendable after they traded up to select wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the first round of the draft. The Johnson trade will allow Buffalo to gain back a future pick as they traded their 2015 first and fourth round picks to trade up.

One of the other reasons he was traded was due to is his cap hit. This year he has a base salary of $3.65 million and that will work its way up to over $5 million in 2015 and 2016.

Last year he caught 52 passes for 597 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. The year prior he had 79 receptions for 1,046 yards and six touchdowns.

While he may not be the best receiver in the league, he has found success facing the best cornerbacks in the league––Revis and Sherman. This had to be on the mind of the 49ers as they face Sherman two times each year.

Overall this is a good trade for the 49ers and a decent one of the Bills. The 49ers get a weapon to help improve their offense and a relatively low price. The Bills move a player they thought was expendable after they drafted Watkins. It is only a decent move for Buffalo as it comes as a result of the Watkins trade where I thought they gave up too much to move up.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals sign LB Larry Foote.
The Buffalo Bills trade a conditional future draft pick and a 7th round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for RB Bryce Brown and a 7th round draft pick.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive QB Zac Robinson.
The Denver Broncos sign DT Marvin Austin.
The Detroit Lions waive LB Jon Morgan.
The Jacksonville Jaguars release TE Danny Noble.
The Jacksonville Jaguars G Stephane Milhim.
The Miami Dolphins release OT Jason Weaver.
The New England Patriots sign DE Will Smith.
The New Orleans Saints sign OL Mike Golic Jr.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign DE Alejandro Villanueva.
The St. Louis Rams sign WR T.J. Moe.
The Seattle Seahawks re-sign LB O’Brien Schofield.
The Seattle Seahawks sign CB A.J. Jefferson.
The Tennessee Titans sign WR Brian Robiskie.
The Washington Redskins release S Tanard Jackson.
The Washington Redskins re-sign S Tanard Jackson.