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AFC Sunday Recap

September 15, 2014 in NFL, NFL Preview

Week 2 still has the Monday night affair between the Colts and Eagles but 15 of the 16 contests have been completed. Ironically, seven teams remain unbeaten while seven teams remain winless. The 12 playoff teams from a season ago are a combined 12-10 (6-5 in each conference). The biggest stat that seemed to be most prevalent heading into the week pertained to teams that were in danger of falling to 0-2 on the short season. History has shown that teams that are victorious in their season openers are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game. But that doesn’t mean an 0-1 start is impossible to overcome as nearly 25 percent of teams that lost the opener went to the playoffs.

Since 1978 when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule (and excluding the abbreviated season of 1982): Of the 523 teams which won opener, 274 went to the playoffs and 164 won division titles. Of the 524 teams which lost the opener, 124 went to the playoffs with 70 winning the division.

At the end of Week 2, no more than 13 teams will be able to claim a perfect 2-0 record, leaving at least 19 clubs at 1-1 or 0-2. Since realignment in 2002, 86 of the 144 playoff teams (59.7 percent) began the year at either 1-1 or 0-2, including five of the eight division champions in 2013 – Carolina (NFC South), Cincinnati (AFC North), Green Bay (NFC North), Indianapolis (AFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East).  A look at how playoff clubs in 2012 and 2013 began their seasons:

Here are some key stats from today’s AFC winners:

Bills (2-0) 29 Dolphins (1-1) 10:

The Dolphins offense had no answer for the Bills defense in the first half. The unit had three sacks and didn't allow the Dolphins to cross the 50-yard line. Miami QB Ryan Tannehill was sacked four times and tossed one INT.  Bills starter, EJ Manuel, who missed both games against Miami last injury due to injury was an efficient 16 for 26 for 202 yards and one touchdown.

Last week Bills RB Fred Jackson made the big play with a 38-yard run in overtime to set up the winner, today it was CJ Spiller. Following a Caleb Sturgis field goal which cut the Bills lead to six points, Spiller returned the ensuing kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown. It was the longest of his career. His only other kickoff return touchdown came in Week 3 of his rookie season in 2010 against the New England Patriots.

Patriots (1-1) 30 Vikings (1-1) 7

The Vikings started strong without their deactivated star running back Adrian Peterson but the Patriots, who had been outscored 30-0 over the last two and a half quarters going back to last week woke up and scored 30 unanswered points to salvage a 1-1 start to the 2014 season. QB Tom Brady was average at best but his defense was outstanding. The Pats registered six sacks, four interceptions of Matt Cassel and a blocked field goal for a touchdown. The win was the 200th for HC Bill Belichick.

Bills sacked Tannehill 4 times on Sunday

Bills sacked Tannehill 4 times on Sunday

RB Matt Asiata had only 36 yards on 13 carries in place of Peterson, who was deactivated after being charged with child abuse Friday in Texas. The Patriots let Miami rush for 191 yards last week in a season-opening loss, but they held the Vikings to 54 yards on 19 attempts without Peterson.

The pass-run ratio last week for the Patriots was 60-20 in a shaky loss at Miami, but they established a much better balance here. Stevan Ridley carried 25 times for 101 yards, and Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes wasn't able to keep up with Julian Edelman, who finished six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots revamped secondary held the speed of the Vikings receivers in check. Matt Cassel was 0-for-8 with three interceptions on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield. Cassel only attempted three throws deeper than 10 yards downfield (1-3, 18 yards) in Week 1. Cassel is the first quarterback in ESPN Stats & Info's data set (since 2006) to start Week 1 and 2 without completing multiple attempts deeper than 10 yards downfield.

Browns (1-1) 26 Saints (0-2) 24:

The Browns (1-2) broke an eight-game losing streak in home openers, while the Saints (0-2) lost their first two game for the first time since the 2012 "bounty" season in which coach Sean Payton was suspended.

Drew Brees must not like playing against the Browns. The Browns upset the Saints 30-17 the last time the two teams met in Week 7 of 2010. In that game, Brees threw 4 interceptions, 2 of which were returned for TD. While he wasn’t that bad today, he wasn’t good enough to outduel Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer, who was very good today, especially at crunch time. The numbers won’t dazzle but he was marvelous in the clutch, moving the Browns from their own 4 to the New Orleans 11, allowing Billy Cundiff to hit the 29-yard game winner with .03 seconds to play. Hoyer completed several big passes on the final drive, including one on fourth down to tight end Gary Barnidge and a 28-yarder to Andrew Hawkins with 13 seconds to go. In all, he was 8 of 11 for 78 yards on the last drive and finished 24 of 40 for 204 yards and a TD. He came out for a few plays as Manziel, the hyped rookie, handed the ball off twice and had one incompletion.

With starting tight end Jordan Cameron and running back Ben Tate both inactive, Cleveland's backups at tight end and running back stepped up on Sunday. Terrence West had 90 yards from scrimmage Sunday, the first running back with at least 90 yards from scrimmage in his first two games since Chris Johnson and Matt Forte in 2008. Hoyer consistently got production from his backs and tight ends in the passing game as well.

Drew Brees finished 10-of-13 for 118 yards, two touchdowns and an interception targeting Jimmy Graham. Five other Saints had three catches in the game, but no one had more than that. Drew Brees' interception was returned 62 yards by Tashaun Gipson for a touchdown. It was his first pick-six since Week 2 of last season against the Buccaneers. Brees has had 10 interceptions returned for TDs in the last five seasons, three of which came in two games against the Browns.

Bengals (2-0) 24 Falcons (1-1) 10:

460xThe Cincinnati Bengals took care of business at home on Sunday, with a dominating presence on both sides of the ball. Cincinnati's 24-10 win over Atlanta marks the third-time (2005, 2006) that the Bengals have started the season 2-0 during the Marvin Lewis era.

A week after shredding the Saints, Matt Ryan, and the Falcons passing game was shut down by the Bengals secondary. Ryan finished 4-of-9 for 79 yards and two interceptions on throws at least 15 yards downfield, his first game with multiple interceptions on deep throws since Week 8 of last season. Ryan was 5-of-12 for 45 yards and an interception against at least five pass rushers Sunday (3.8 yards per attempt). Ryan averaged 7.2 yards per attempt last week against the Saints (7-of-12, 86 yds. TD).

A.J. Green left in the 1st quarter with a toe injury. Sunday marks the 1st time Green's been active and didn't record a catch. However, the Cincy rushing attack picked up the slack. Led by Giovani Bernard, who ran 27 times for 90 yards, including a 4-yard touchdown. He also caught a team-high five passes for a career-high 79 yards, including a 46-yard catch-and-run when Dalton flipped the ball to him as he was getting hit. The Bengals wound up with 472 yards and averaged 6.8 yards per play. Rookie Jeremy Hill ran for 74 yards and a touchdown, and the Bengals rushed for 170 overall. The inability to stop Cincy's running game should be particularly concerning for Atlanta, as its beefed up defensive line looked like the feeble group from 2013.

The Falcons were very excited about beating New Orleans last week at home. The Saints are now 0-2 while Atlanta has to have concerns about its defense. The Falcons have given up 450+ yards of total offense in back-to-back games for the first time since Weeks 6-7 of the 2010 season.

Chargers (1-1) 30 Seahawks (1-1)  21:

Check the calendar, the San Diego Chargers played perhaps their best game today under coach Mike McCoy, who was visibly excited following his teams nine point victory over the defending Super Bowl champs. Normally a performance the Chargers give with their season on the line in December, they were the better team for 60 minutes on Sunday—in September.

Not many offenses have been able to come up with an answer for the Seahawks tough hard hitting secondary known as the Legion of Boom but Chargers QB Philip River and Future Hall of tight end Antonio Gates sure did. The 34-year-old Gates scored TD’s on catches of eight—eight and 21 yards. Rivers, who passed for 284 yards and no INT’s, is the first QB with 3 TD passes against the Seahawks since Week 8 in 2012, when Matthew Stafford did it. Those are the only two players to throw 3 TD passes against Seattle with Richard Sherman on the field. The three touchdown receptions tied Gates' career high.

Seattle’s vaunted defense allowed 377 total yards to the Chargers but it was SD’s defense that played better on the day. They held the Russell Wilson and Seahawks to less than 300 total yards, including just 36 rushing yards to Marshawn Lynch. The six carries today tied for Lynch’s fewest since joining Seattle.

The Chargers (1-1) dominated time of possession and wore out the Seahawks' vaunted defense on a hot day in southern California. San Diego had the ball for 42:15 compared to 17:45 for Seattle, and gained 26 first downs to 14 for the Seahawks. The Seahawks loss was their first by more than 7 points since Week 9 of 2011 against the Cowboys

Texans (2-0) 30 Raiders (0-2) 14

The Texans have now starred 2-0 for five straight seasons. However, they are hoping that starting 2-0 this season yields much different results than when they did so last year. After starting unbeaten through two games in 2013, the Texans dropped 14 straight games to finish the season with the No.1 overall pick in May’s NFL Draft. Houston is the first team to start 2-0 in five straight seasons since 1994-1999 Dolphins.

J.J. Watt

Courtesy of Icon Sportswire

The Texans didn't have to range too far outside to beat the Raiders Sunday… – The Texans rushed 36 times for 151 yards and a touchdown in between the tackles Sunday. Arian Foster gained 123 of his 136 yards on those rushes. – Ryan Fitzpatrick was 11-of-13 for 111 yards and a touchdown when passing between the painted field numbers. He attempted only 6 passes outside the numbers. The march up the middle allowed the Texans to cruise to a 30-14 victory. The Texans last pass attempt came at 4:02 of the third quarter, and was followed by 17 rushes…

The 2012 NFL Defensive Player of the year, JJ Watt, didn’t have his usual day on defense, registering just a lone QB hit but he added to his athletic resume regardless. On second-and-goal at the one, the Texans first scoring drive of the game, Watt lined up at tight end and was wide open in the end zone when two Oakland defenders covered RB Arian Foster. Watt caught his first pass since his days as a tight end at Central Michigan in 2007 to give the Texans a 7-0 lead.

Rookie Derek Carr continued to play like a rookie. Playing against the team that drafted his big brother David first overall in 2002, Derek Carr went 27 for 42 for 263 yards with a late TD pass to James Jones and two interceptions. The Raiders committed four turnovers, all in scoring territory.

Broncos (2-0) 24 Chiefs (0-2) 17:

The Broncos did just enough to eke out a win over division rival Kansas City on Sunday. KC outgained the high octane offense of the Broncos and if you looked at the stats alone, may have figured the Chiefs won the game. The Chiefs (0-2), without All-Pro running back Jamaal Charles for much of the game due to an ankle injury, converted 11 of 16 third-down opportunities overall. They just couldn't capitalize in the biggest moments as the Broncos mustered two goal-line stands for the second straight week.manningnew

The Broncos (2-0) didn't think it would come down to another goal-line stand. But Aqib Talib's pick-6 earlier in the drive was negated by Quanterus Smith's offside penalty. Then, Nate Irving's fumble recovery following DeMarcus Ware's sack and strip was changed to an incomplete pass after a review. The Chiefs ninth life was expunged when Terrance Knighton deflected Alex Smith's fourth-and-goal pass from the two- to Dwayne Bowe with 15 seconds left. He was engaged with center Rodney Hudson when he reached up and felt the football smack into his right arm.

Manning was 21 of 26 for 242 yards and three TDs with no interceptions, but spent most of the game on the sideline. The Broncos had the ball for less than 10 minutes in the second half. Manning was also 6-of-6 for 122 yards and a touchdown on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield. Manning has a league-high 19 touchdowns on throws deeper than 10 yards downfield since the start of last season, but passed even his own standard in Sunday's win. – Manning is the only quarterback to open 2014 with three touchdowns and no interceptions in back-to-back weeks. This is the 47th game of Manning's career with at least three touchdowns and no interceptions. All three touchdowns came against standard pressure.

Emmanuel Sanders led the Broncos with eight catches for 108 yards, the first 100-yard game of his career. Demaryius Thomas had an 80-yard TD catch negated when right tackle Chris Clark was whistled for being downfield. Denver will head to Seattle next week in a rematch of Super Bowl XLXIII. The result may not be much different, as Seattle will be looking to get back on track after losing to the AFC West Chargers today.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

September 12, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

The NFL season finally started and the week one games didn't disappoint. On top of that the week saw a bunch of moves including two contract extensions and one high profile release. These three moves are discussed below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Baltimore Ravens release RB Ray Rice

Due to all the extensive coverage of Rice over the last few days, I won't cover him much here, but it does deserve notice.

Ray Rice

Courtesy of Icon Sportswire

A two-time All-Pro, the Baltimore Ravens decided to release him due his domestic abuse charge that happened this offseason. Originally he was only suspended two games by the NFL for the offense, but a new video of the event surfaced this week which changed everything.

Previously nobody had seen the actual video of the event, only the aftermath. With this new video out, there was a public outcry and the Ravens quickly released him. Soon after the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Without Rice the Ravens running game is going to suffer as nobody on the roster has as much skill as Rice.

However, the Ravens made the right move here to release him. They just couldn't keep him on the roster and it is highly likely that his NFL career is over.

Minnesota Vikings re-sign G Brandon Fusco

One of two contract extensions that happened before the season, the Vikings locked up their 26-year old starting guard to a five-year contract extension.

Worth $24.25 million over the five years, the average value of $4.85 million per season doesn't pay him as one of the best guards in the league. There is only $6 million guaranteed including a $4 million signing bonus and $2 million of his 2015 base salary.

Drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Slippery Rock, he played in only two games as a rookie, but became a starter in 2012.

In his first year as a starter, he was the ninth worst guard in the league according to Pro Football Focus.

Starting 15 games at right guard last year for Minnesota, Pro Football Focus graded him as the eighth best guard in the league. His run blocking grade was the fifth best of all guards in the NFL. In his 920 snaps last year, he gave up only two sacks.

After this outstanding season last year, it is a bit surprising to see him get only $4.85 million per season. This is a very team friendly contract especially with only $6 million guaranteed.

If he had waited for the season to end, he could have been payed much more if he had another season like last year. This makes it very surprising to see Fusco sign a contract like this when he could have earned even more money.

This is a great contract for the Vikings as they keep one of the better guards in the league for a contract that doesn't pay him as one. If for some reason he regresses, there is only $6 million in guaranteed money so they can easily get rid of him.

Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign CB Cortez Allen

Less than 24 hours before the Pittsburgh Steelers kicked off the regular season, they signed cornerback Cortez Allen to a new five-year contract extension.

Entering the final year of his rookie contract, the 25-year old Allen is set to earn $1.431 million this season as he reached a contract escalator. Instead of a four-year contract extension on top of the last year left on his old contract, the Steelers have torn up the old deal and given him a brand new five-year deal. This five-year deal is worth a total of $26 million, an average of $5.2 million.

Earning $6.5 million per season in new money, he is now the 21st highest paid cornerback in the NFL in terms of average value per season.

Drafted by Pittsburgh in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, he has started 11 games over three seasons and has appeared in 44 of a possible 48 games.

Last season he recorded 51 tackles, 13 passes defensed and two interceptions in eight starts. One of these interceptions was returned 40 yards for a touchdown against Green Bay.

Pro Football Focus graded him as the Steelers second best cornerback last season––behind William Gay. As a whole Allen was ranked as the 36th best in the NFL out of 110.

Opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 88.1 when throwing to a receiver covered by Allen last season.

In 2012 Allen only started three games, but recorded 55 tackles, three forced fumbles, 10 passes defensed and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 17th best cornerback in the league. Quarterbacks had a quarterback rating of 68.5 when throwing against him.

In terms of monetary value, Allen isn't the 21st best cornerback in the NFL right now. He has shown the ability to be a good cornerback in the NFL, but he hasn't been on the field enough.

At the moment this contract pays him too much money. However, Pittsburgh is paying him for how they believe he will perform––which is at a high level. This is the third similar contract from the Steelers this offseason. The other two went to center Maurkice Pouncey and right tackle Marcus Gilbert.

Since Allen has only 11 career starts, it may seem strange for the Steelers to reward him with a contract that pays him $5.2 million per season. However, he has been a consistent performer in the secondary for Pittsburgh. Stability is needed at the cornerback position in Pittsburgh and Allen is clearly the best cornerback on the roster.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals release LB Desmond Bishop.
The Arizona Cardinals sign P Drew Butler.
The Arizona Cardinals sign LB Marcus Benard.
The Baltimore Ravens cut CB Derek Cox.
The Baltimore Ravens sign RB Fitzgerald Toussaint.
The Baltimore Ravens claim DT Christo Bilukidi off waivers.
The Baltimore Ravens cut RB Fitzgerald Toussaint.
The Buffalo Bills cut DE Jacquies Smith.
The Chicago Bears sign S Ahmad Dixon.
The Chicago Bears cut CB Demontre Hurst.
The Chicago Bears OL Eben Britton.
The Chicago Bears cut WR Michael Spurlock.
The Cincinnati Bengals waived DT Christo Bilukidi.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign CB Onterio McCalebb.
The Cincinnati Bengals waive CB Onterio McCalebb.
The Cincinnati Bengals sign DT Devon Still.
The Cleveland Browns cut OL Ryan Seymour.
The Cleveland Browns cut CB Aaron Berry.
The Cleveland Browns sign TE Gerell Robinson.
The Denver Broncos sign TE Dominique Jones.
The Denver Broncos waive WR Nathan Palmer.
The Detroit Lions sign G Garrett Reynolds.
Free agent CB Jabari Greer has announced his retirement from the NFL.
The Indianapolis Colts sign RB Dion Lewis.
The Indianapolis Colts sign LB Chris Carter.
The Indianapolis Colts waive RB Zurlon Tipton.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign DT Kevin Vickerson.
The Kansas City Chiefs sign LB Jerry Franklin.
The Kansas City Chiefs cut S Daniel Sorensen.
The Miami Dolphins sign LB Kelvin Sheppard.
The New York Jets waive CB Leon McFadden.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign G Wade Smith.
The San Diego Chargers sign OL Doug Legursky.
The San Francisco 49ers release WR Kassim Osgood.
The San Francisco 49ers cut RB LaMichael James.
The San Francisco 49ers sign WR Kassim Osgood.
The Seattle Seahawks cut WR Phil Bates.
The Seattle Seahawks sign OT Andrew McDonald.
The Seattle Seahawks sign CB Josh Thomas.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release CB Quinton Pointer.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release WR Louis Murphy.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign CB Brandon Dixon.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign WR Solomon Patton.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign DE Larry English.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claim DE Jacquies Smith off waivers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut LB Scott Solomon.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign CB Crezdon Butler.
The Washington Redskins sign S Akeem Davis.

NFL Rewind & MNF Predictions: Manning & Broncos Impressive

September 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

1. Peyton Manning & Broncos as good as we expected:    manningnew

After the Broncos were manhandled by the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, they went out and added some more pieces to make another Super Bowl run. And Manning & the Broncos looked like they forgot all about their Super Bowl nightmare and picked right up from where they left off last season, dominating on offensive. Manning had 3 TD passes to Julius Thomas in the 1st half and he put on a clinic as always. While Andrew Luck & the Colts made it a little interesting at the end, Manning showed they are still the AFC favorite. And Peyton Manning has now defeated all 32 teams in the NFL, joining Brett Favre.

2. Surprising Upsets:

Let's see…Titans over Chiefs, Dolphins over Patriots, Bills over Bears, Falcons over Saints, take your pick, because their were several surprise upsets Week 1. Even the Vikings rolling over the Rams was a bit surprising to see a win by that margin. Does it mean the sky is falling for the losing teams? Of course not, every year favorites get upset early and come back to have a great season, playoff run, etc. But besides the Falcons, no one really saw these wins coming. Maybe its a sign of more parity in the NFL, which is never a bad thing.

3. Close Calls in PA:

Both the Steelers and Eagles pulled out wins at home but without a scare. The Eagles were down 17-0 at halftime to the Jaguars (we thought Gus Bradley would have his team ready to play). They came back to score 34 unanswered points in the 2nd half to then win easily.

The Steelers started the game on fire and were up 27-3 at halftime, only to let the Browns get back in the game and tie it. But they were able to get last drive that set up a last second field goal to win. So both PA teams are 1-0, but easily could have been 0-1 in home loss shockers.

4. MNF Predictions:       espnMNF

Of course opening week we have 2 games this Monday Night. So here are our predictions…

Giants @ Lions – In a shootout the Lions win at home 34-31.

Chargers @ Cardinals – Palmer & co. pick up from last year and win in home opener 24-20.

Who do you think wins tonight and why?

 

 

Picture of pjmoran

by pjmoran

NFL Opening Sunday: Top 5 Games to Watch

September 7, 2014 in NFL Game Preview

Here are the top five games to watch for the opening week of the 2014 NFL season:

 

5. New York Giants at Detroit Lions       calvinjohnson2

These teams might have both finished 7-9 last season, but their journeys could not have been more different. The Giants started 0-6, and then they rattled off seven wins in their last ten games once hope was lost. The Lions, on the other hand, were 7-5 with a legitimate shot at winning the NFC North before they lost their final four games. Both of these teams have good reasons for optimism in 2014 though, because they each have talented rosters from top to bottom. Eli Manning could get back to his Super Bowl MVP ways with new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo calling the plays, and free agent signings like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have the Big Blue defense looking better than ever. The Lions added Golden Tate to their already explosive passing game, and the defense has the skills to be one of the league’s best. Regardless of the outcome, this figures to be an extremely entertaining Monday night showdown.

Edge: Lions 

The Giants looked dreadful on offense all preseason, so they should not be able to hang with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. The Giants defense might be able to contain the Lions on some drives, but they won’t be able to stop them altogether. Soon enough the Giants offense will be solid enough to win games on their own, but don’t expect that to happen in Week 1.

 

4. Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens

This matchup between AFC North rivals might already have playoff implications. Both of these teams project to be playoff contenders, so a win in this game would go a long way. The Bengals are coming off of another disappointing first-round playoff loss, and now Andy Dalton has the pressure of living up to his massive contract. Still, it helps his case that he has Giovani Bernard in the backfield and AJ Green split out wide. The Ravens had a disappointing 8-8 season after winning the Super Bowl in 2012, and now they will kick off this season without Ray Rice. The offense still has some firepower without him, but it might be up to the defense to slow down Cincy if they want to pull out this win.

Edge: Bengals 

The Ravens simply are no longer the team that they used to be. Yes, they might still be pretty good. But now they are nothing close to dominant on defense, and the offense is dependent on big plays. Joe Flacco is remarkably inconsistent, so I think the Bengals defense will give him fits. Mix that in with some big plays from Bernard and Green, and I like the Bengals to win this one on the road.

 

3. San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys

This used to be one of the biggest rivalries in football, but those days are long gone. Still, the outcome of this game could shift the balance of power in the NFC. San Francisco is coming off of another heartbreak in the NFC Championship Game, so they did their best to give Colin Kaepernick enough weapons to get the team to the next level. Michael Crabtree is back and the team traded for Stevie Johnson, so their presences on offense might be enough to compensate for some of the holes on defense. Still, the 49ers’ defensive weaknesses do not even compare to those of the Cowboys. Dallas appears to be in for a historically bad defensive year, especially since their star linebacker Sean Lee is out for the year with an injury. Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, and Dez Bryant will make plays on offense, but it might not be enough to pull past a team like San Francisco.

Edge: 49ers 

Dallas simply can’t match up against teams who can move the ball through the air. The 49ers passing game was terrible in the preseason, but I have no doubt that Jim Harbaugh will have them ready to go for Week 1. I think this year is the time for Colin Kaepernick’s breakout, and there is no better stage for him to do so than in Dallas. The Cowboys will be able to score enough to keep things close for a while, but the 49ers will find a way to pull away for good.

 

2. New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

Last year this matchup would have sounded like an automatic blowout, but I think the Falcons will be back to their old ways this year. Matt Ryan has Julio Jones back at his disposal, and there is no way the offensive line will be as bad for him as it was last year. They did not do too much in the offseason to address a defense that ranked 27th in the league last season, and unfortunately that might be evident when they are trying to slow down Drew Brees and the Saints offense. New Orleans figures to be as good as they always are on offense, but the scary thing is that they should be even better at defense than they were in 2013. The young secondary will get better with experience, and now stud safety Jairus Byrd has been added to that group. One thing is for sure about this game: the ball will be flying in the Georgia Dome.

Edge: Saints 

The Falcons might be good enough on offense this year to make the playoffs, but I don’t think they are ready to slow down the Saints. They just have too many holes on defense, and no one is better at exploiting weak defenses than Drew Brees. I don’t think this game will be a blowout by any means, but I think the Saints should take care of business.

 

  1. Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos     manningnew

There are so many headlines in this game that it has to be considered the best of the week. Peyton faces off against his old team once again. The best quarterback in the league going up against the future best quarterback in the league. It’s going to be high quality entertainment on Sunday night. I think Andrew Luck will take the next step this year and vault himself into the group of elite quarterbacks, but that might not be enough to beat Denver on the road. The Broncos offense might not be as good as it was in 2013, but it should still be the best in the league. They replaced Eric Decker with Emmanuel Sanders, and Montee Ball is ready to have his breakout year. The Broncos also made huge free agent splashes on defense, which is terrifying. DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and TJ Ward came to town, which essentially means that you are going to have to play a perfect game to beat the Broncos this year.

Edge: Broncos

 

I like the Colts a lot this year, but this is way too tough of a task for them to pull off. The Indy defense isn’t all that good, so there is no way that they will be able to slow down Peyton and crew. Andrew Luck will find a way to put some points on the board, but it won’t be as many points as the Broncos will have. Denver rolls in the season opener.

 

 

Could Seahawks Be Perfect in 2014?

September 6, 2014 in NFL, NFL Observations, Seattle Seahawks, Superbowl 48

Week 1 of the NFL season kicked off Thursday night and if what we witnessed is a prelude to the rest of the 2014 season, then all that is to be decided is which AFC team is going to play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. The formula Seattle used last year during the season and in trouncing Peyton Manning and the record setting offense of the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl—- remains very much intact. In fact, it appears to be better.

Before a raucous crowd at Century Link Field, Seattle dominated the Green Bay Packers with a 20 point, 36-16 victory. From the raising of the 12th man flag to Russell Wilson’s final knee, the outcome was never in doubt.legionofboom

The Legion of Boom (Seattle’s Secondary) held the NFL’s most prolific passer during the past five years to under 200 yards passing and sacked him three times. That is impressive when you consider Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has not been held under 200 yards since December of 2012 vs. Detroit and since 2010, has only been held under 200 yards just five times. How dominate was the Seattle defense vs Green Bay? The Seahawks were able to apply pressure without actually applying pressure.

Seattle shut down half the field, as Rodgers didn’t throw one pass to a receiver CB Richard Sherman was covering. Rodgers completed 5-of-7 passes for just 6 yards to the right side, as WR Randall Cobb’s 3-yard touchdown reception was the only completion to a wide receiver on that side of the field. Furthermore, all three of Seattle’s sacks vs. Rodgers came with four or fewer pass rushers. When Seattle sacked Rodgers eight times in their 2012 meeting, seven of those sacks also came with four or fewer pass rushers.

Dating back to last year’s postseason, Seattle has devoured elite franchise quarterbacks. Starting with the Divisional round of the NFC playoffs vs. New Orleans, Seattle’s “D” has faced three guaranteed Hall of Fame signal callers and one that is considered one of the top young guns in the league today.

Versus Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick, Peyton Manning, and Rodgers on Thursday, Seattle’s vaunted defense allowed only four passing TD’s while forcing six interceptions. They also made Manning and Rodgers look like rookies while scoring defensive safeties. The four signal callers, who combined to throw 132 TD passes last season (2.3 per game), could not find and answer for the L.O.B. Including the 35-point win in last February’s Super Bowl, Seattle outscored the four quarterbacks by 50 points, 105-55.

It’s Not All About the “D” in Seattle:

Seattle’s offense was equally as impressive to start the new year. Completing almost 68 percent of his passes, quarterback Russell Wilson played a nearly perfect game. He also threw for less than 200 yards but his 191 passing yards were efficient. Wilson tossed two TD’s with no INT’s and finished with a passer rating of 110.9.

The scariest part for the rest of the NFL is how poised and composed Russell Wilson played. In terms of maturity, Wilson appears to be years ahead of his 38 career starts. Both of Wilson's touchdown passes came when the Packers sent five or more pass rushers. The third year signal caller, whom the Seahawks drafted in the third round (75 overall) from Wisconsin back in 2012, completed 8-of-13 passes for 104 yards against the blitz.

Whatever Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers dialed up, Wilson and the Seahawks offense answered. With such a potent ground game, Seattle offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell turned to the play action pass. Wilson was 6-for-9 for 100 yards, as both TD passes came on play action vs GB. It will be interesting to see if quarterbacks such as RG3 and Collin Kaepernick have matured, as much as Wilson has. The Seahawks QB made smart decisions to throw the ball instead of taking off with it when he had a patch of grass to scamper but also had open receivers down the field. With 29-yards on seven carries, Wilson still galloped for valuable yards.

Seattle’s offensive isn’t pretty, it won’t keep you glued to the TV wondering what play is coming next. In fact, if you have to grab a beverage or take a bathroom break, you’re more apt to do it when the Seahawks have the ball. What makes the offense boring but so effective is their commitment to running the football. The best stat that shows how important running the ball remains in the pass happy NFL is that only Seattle, and division rival San Francisco, ran the ball more than they threw it in 2013. That’s not a coincidence, as both teams finished one and two respectively in most power polls to finish the 13’ season.

At least for Seattle, that trend looks as if it will continue in 2014. On Thursday night, RB Marshawn Lynch was unstoppable vs. the Packers defense and hardly boring I might add. In full “Beastmode”, Lynch rushed for 110 yards on just 20 carries– 5.5 yards per carry. He scored two touchdowns and now has 43 rushing touchdowns since he made his Seattle debut in Week 6 of the 2010 season. That’s tied with Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson for most in the NFL in that time.

Aside from gaining half of a first down every time he touched the ball, 94 of Lynch’s 110 yards were hard fought yards between the tackles. That is the highest total for Lynch since the beginning of last season (including playoffs) and his 995 yards between the tackles in 2013 were third-most in the NFL. His 10 touchdowns on those rushes led the league.

As a team, the Seahawks ran 37 times, nine more times than threw it and rushed for 207 yards as a team, 16 more rushing yards than what Wilson passed for. Lynch’s straightforward, physical, and nasty style of play mirrors the image of a team that’s known for having those very adjectives used to describe its defense.

The Packers looked as though they were onto something very early in the contest. Former Crimson Tide star RB Eddie Lacey had a couple of nice bursts to start the game. He ran with a similar toughness to that of Lynch. But—in winning 18 of their past 20 regular-season home games, the Seahawks, as they have done with brutal consistency during this span, imposed their physical will on Lacey, Rodgers and the rest of the Packers offense. Lacey left in the fourth quarter with a concussion and only 34 rushing yards. Lacy was 4th in the NFL with 531 rushing yards after contact, but was limited to 16 yards after contact against the Seahawks. The Packers were 0-3 last season in games when Lacy was limited to less than 3.0 yards per rush.

Difficult Repeating:

db30ff67935b92f3f6354916551afc947a6610ef76a3b154746498b2f8568f8b_largeCurrent NBC Sunday Night Football studio analyst and former Colts and Buccaneers head Coach Tony Dungy isn’t a believer that the Seahawks will repeat. Dungy was adamant in his prediction that Seattle will not join the elite group of franchises that have had the distinction of hoisting back-to-back Lombardi’s. During the networks pre and post-game shows on Thursday, Dungy pointed out that his Indianapolis Colts, who won the Super Bowl the year before, also looked dominating in winning their opening game 41-10 over Drew Brees and the Saints the following year. Dungy pointed out that Indy started the season 7-0 and finished the year 13-3. However, Manning and Dungy were upset by the upstart San Diego Chargers, 24-21, in the Divisional round of the AFC playoffs.

Seven teams (Green Bay, Miami, Pittsburgh (x2), San Francisco, Dallas, Denver, & New England) have repeated eight times as Super Bowl champion in the NFL. Winning the big game breeds greed and builds net worth in NFL players. Other teams pounce on Super Bowl wining rosters and chip away at teams during the offseason. The Baltimore Ravens lost nine players (seven starters) from their 2012 squad and while other issues factored in, the Ravens missed the playoffs with 8-8 record last season. Aside from losing players, a shorter off-season and the proverbial Super Bowl hangover are additional factors when

In fact, no Super Bowl Champ has won a playoff game the following year since the 2005 Patriots did so. Last year, the Ravens became the seventh defending SB Champ in the past 15 years to miss the playoffs altogether. The Pittsburgh Steelers did it twice recently and in fact, all time, almost one third (15 of 47) of Super Bowl-winning teams failed to make it to the postseason as defending champs.

Could Seattle Be Perfect?

Strictly based off Thursday night’s win, the Seahawks could be headed for yet another special season but how special can it be? First, it will be tough to take down the Seahawks if opposing offense are only throwing to half of the field. If one of the three best field generals in the league is willing to play with half the field because of Richard Sherman, will Derek Carr, Alex Smith, Sean Hill, Carson Palmer or Eli Manning fare any better?the-new-england-patriots-are-the-last-team-to-repeat-as-super-bowl-champions

Can any defense shut down Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks rushing attack? Playing ball control offense with a great defense means less time to beat the most physical, nasty and opposing defense in the league—not likely to happen. The only real problem the Seahawks appeared to have is they don’t have anyone to return punts.

A lot can happen in the NFL—injuries, slumps and bad luck can derail any team’s season in a hurry. Schedule strength isn’t on the side of Seattle in 2014. For starters, playing in the NFC West makes for the toughest divisional slate in the league. Arizona finished 10-6 last season and missed the playoffs but they wouldn’t have in the AFC. They also play their counterparts form the west in the AFC, which had three playoff teams last season. Three road games from Week 13 to Week 16 — at San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Arizona — with a home test against the 49ers might be the toughest stretch any team in the NFL will face all season. Aside from the Packers, which they beat, the season continues with two more playoff teams from 2013, at San Diego and a Super Bowl rematch at home against Denver. According to the experts, Seattle has the sixth toughest schedule as their 2014 opponents had a winning percentage of .561 in 2013.

No worries in Seattle—-this team is veteran enough, deep enough, close enough— as a unit, and well coached to withstand most issues that could arise. The only real trouble would be if they lost Lynch, Wilson, or more than one member of the L.O.B. But with the presumption of health, not only will Seattle likely be the first repeat champs since New England in 2004 & 05, but they might be able to finish what the 2007 Patriots couldn’t—–a perfect season.

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

September 5, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

NFL teams had to get their rosters down to the mandated 53-man rosters this week causing a flurry of moves with teams maneuvering to get what the thought would be the best 53 players on their roster. While the week was all about this, two contract extensions and a retirement stole the show. These three moves are discussed below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Houston Texans re-sign DE J.J. Watt

The biggest news of the week comes from the Texans rewarding Watt with the richest contract ever for a defensive player.

A six-year extension worth exactly $100 million, he averages $16.6 million per season in new money. There is just over $51 million in guaranteed money and a signing bonus of $10 million. Already under contract for the next two seasons off his rookie contract (one of the years is a fifth-year option) he will be in Houston for the next eight years.

J.J. Watt

Courtesy of Icon Sportswire

Drafted by the Texans with the 11th overall pick in the 2011 draft out of Wisconsin, he quickly became the best 3-4 defensive end in the NFL dominating opposing offensive lines and leaving the competition far behind.

As a rookie he recorded 56 tackles and 5.5 sacks while grading as the fifth best 3-4 defensive end according to Pro Football Focus.

The following season (2012) he rewrote the Pro Football Focus grading scale receiving a grade of +94.2 while the next best player had a grade of 37.2. With 81 tackles, 20.5 sacks and 17 pass deflections he easily earned Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Last year he recorded 80 tackles, 10.5 sacks and seven pass deflections with a Pro Football Focus grade of +99.8, besting his seemingly unbeatable grade from 2012.

In both 2012 and 2013 he earned first-team All-Pro honors and a Pro Bowl berth. As a rookie he was a second-team All-Pro.

With his one-of-a-kind pass rushing, run stuffing and pass swatting ability, Watt has redefined the 3-4 defensive end position showing that a truly dominate one can change an entire defense.

Being paid as the best defensive player in the NFL, he is worth every penny as he is the best defensive player in the NFL. Houston was smart to lock him up to a long-term deal. Currently they don't have a quarterback making much money on the roster so they can easily afford to pay Watt quarterback money. Simply put, Watt is worth all the money––and then some.

Kansas City Chiefs re-sign QB Alex Smith

The other contract extension this week is Smith's contract extension that will keep him in Kansas City for another four years.

Set to be a free agent at the end of the season, he will play out the last year of his old contract––which is worth $7.5 million––before this four-year extension kicks in. The extension is worth a total of $68 million with $30 million guaranteed right away and another $15 million becomes guaranteed for injury only in 2015.

When taking into account this year, the contract averages $15.1 million per season which makes him the 13th highest paid quarterback in the league. If just the extension is considered, then he averages $17 million per season which would make him the 10th highest paid quarterback in the league.

Traded to the Chiefs for two second round picks before last season, he helped lead the team to a playoff appearance where they lost in the Wild Card Round. (Not that it was his fault as the defense blew a 38-10 third quarter lead and Smith had his best performance of the season throwing for 378 yards and three touchdowns.)

For the season he threw for 3,313 yards, 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions while completing 60.6 percent of his passes. He is a great fit for head coach Andy Reid's West Coast offense which heavily features shorter passes.

Prior to playing for the Chiefs he was with the San Francisco 49ers for eight seasons, though he missed the entire 2008 season with a shoulder injury.

Drafted by the 49ers with the first overall pick in the 2004 draft, he never lived up to expectations and saw fellow 2004 first round pick Aaron Rodgers become one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

When Jim Harbaugh became the head coach of the 49ers, Smith's career had a revival and he took the team to the NFC Championship Game with Smith at the helm. The following season Smith was the starter again, but lost his job to Colin Kaepernick after suffering a concussion midway through the season. San Francisco ended up losing in the Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens that season. The ensuing offseason saw Smith traded to Kansas City.

This contract seems like a lot of money, but you have to compare it to other quarterbacks who are receiving new contracts now. Quarterbacks cost so much money now and in comparison to some of the other contracts, Smith's doesn't look that bad. He has his limitations, but is a perfect fit for the Chiefs' offense and he is still only 30-years old despite being around for what seems like a very long time.

LB James Harrison retires

After not being able to find a team to play for this season, the 36-year old Harrison has announced his retirement from the NFL.

Earlier this week he visited the Arizona Cardinals, but he wasn't able to come to terms on a contract with the team.

Undrafted in the 2002 NFL Draft, he bounced around the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad and playing in NFL Europe for the Baltimore Ravens, he finally broke through and made the Steelers roster for good in 2004 (he played one game in 2002).

Receiving eight starts from 2004-2006, he became a full-time starter in the 2007 season where he recorded 8.5 sacks. The following season he recorded 16 sacks along with 101 tackles and seven forced fumbles earning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award.

The 2008 season also saw the Steelers make it to Super Bowl XLIII where they defeated the Arizona Cardinals 27-23. In the game he had only four tackles, but he made his mark in a different way. At the end of the first half he intercepted a pass from Kurt Warner and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown as the half ended. This gave the Steelers a 17-7 lead entering halftime instead of potentially being down 14-10 as the Cardinals were on the goal line. This interception return is the longest in Super Bowl history and was a complete game changer.

In Super Bowl XLV the Steelers played the Green Bay Packers and Harrison recorded a sack, but Green Bay won 31-25.

In his prime he was one of the most dominant and feared defensive players in the league. He made five straight Pro Bowls from 2007-2011 and four straight All-Pro teams from 2007-2010 (first-team in 2008 and 2010, second-team in 2007 and 2009).

After playing only for the Steelers in the NFL, he spent last season with the Cincinnati Bengals recording 30 tackles and two sacks. It was clear that he had lost a step last season and that his career was close to an end.

For his career Harrison may only have 66 sacks, but he took a while to develop into a starting caliber player, let alone a star player. In his prime Harrison was one of the best defensive players in the NFL.

Other Moves:

Free agent G Brian Waters has announced his retirement from the NFL.

Arizona Cardinals
Cut: RB Zach Bauman, LB Marcus Benard, OL Philip Blake, LB Jonathan Brown, WR Dan Buckner, OL John Estes, DT Bruce Gaston, WR Brittan Golden, TE Andre Hardy, CB Jimmy Legree, CB Bryan McCann, OL Kelvin Palmer, RB Jalen Parmele, OL Nate Potter, WR Walt Powell, DT Isaac Sopoaga, OL Anthony Steen, S Curtis Taylor, LB Adrian Tracy, DT Christian Tupou, S Anthony Walters and CB Teddy Williams.

Claim: LB Thomas Keiser off waivers.

Atlanta Falcons
Cut: CB Ricardo Allen, LB Pat Angerer, S Sean Baker, WR Geraldo Boldewijn, LB Tim Dobbins, WR Jeremy Ebert, DL Nosa Eguae, G Harland Gunn, RB Maurice Hagens, OT Terren Jones, CB Jordan Mabin, WR Freddie Martino, S Kimario McFadden, OL Pat McQuistan, TE Jacob Pedersen, WR Bernard Reedy, OL Adam Replogle, DT Travian Robertson, DL Donte Rumph, TE Mickey Shuler, LB Yawin Smallwood, LB Jacques Smith and RB Josh Vaughan.

Claim: LB Nate Stupar off waivers.

Baltimore Ravens
Cut: DT Levi Brown, LB Josh Bynes, CB Derek Cox, CB Dominique Franks, OT Parker Graham, CB Tramain Jacobs, OL Ryan Jensen, DT Jamie Meder, DT Derrick Hopkins, TE Nathan Overbay, LB D.J. Roberts, C Reggie Stephens, G A.Q. Shipley,  DT A.J. Pataiali'i, CB Sammy Seamster, LB John Simon, TE Phillip Supernaw, RB Fitzgerald Toussaint and QB Keith Wenning.

Sign: CB Derek Cox.

Buffalo Bills
Cut: LB Xavius Boyd, S Deon Broomfield, DT Landon Cohen, LB Jimmy Gaines, WR T.J. Graham, WR Caleb Holley, DE Ikponmwosa Igbinosun, DE Bryan Johnson, TE Dominique Jones, S Kenny Ladler, G Doug Legursky, G Antoine McClain, CB Kamaal McIlwain, CB Sam Miller, P Brian Moorman, QB Jordan Palmer, FB Evan Rodriguez, WR Naaman Roosevelt, QB Jeff Tuel and C Jared Wheeler.

Sign: QB Kyle Orton and P Colton Schmidt.

Re-sign: LS Garrison Sanborn to a three-year contract extension.

Carolina Panthers
Cut: LB Denicos Allen, CB Carrington Byndom, G Derek Dennis, CB James Dockery, LB Adarius Glanton, OT Kevin Hughes, WR Tavarres King, S Robert Lester, WR Marcus Lucas, OT Andrew McDonald, TE Mike McNeill, S Tom Nelson, DT Drake Nevis, RB Darrin Reaves, DT Micanor Regis, S Anderson Russell and G Chris Scott, LB D.J. Smith, CB Josh Thomas, DT Casey Walker and FB Michael Zordich.

Chicago Bears
Cut: OT Eben Britton, WR Armanti Edwards, WR Josh Bellamy, C Taylor Boggs, DT Brandon Dunn, LB Jerry Franklin, G Ryan Groy, LS Brandon Hartson, CB Kelvin Hayden, S M.D. Jennings, DE Austen Lane, LB DeDe Lattimore, CB Al Louis-Jean, RB Jordan Lynch, TE Jeron Mastrud, WR Dale Moss, DT Lee Pegues, DT Tracy Robertson, OL Dennis Roland, OL Robert Turner, S Marcus Trice, WR Chris Williams and CB C.J. Wilson.

Sign: LS Jeremy Cain and CB Kelvin Hayden.

Cincinnati Bengals
Cut: TE Orson Charles, OT Dan France, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, WR Cobi Hamilton, CB Victor Hampton, LB Brandon Joiner, DT David King, WR Colin Lockett, S Danieal Manning, CB Onterio McCalebb, DE Dontay Moch, DE Sam Montgomery, C Trevor Robinson, DT LaKendrick Ross, DT Devon Still, OT Will Svitek, CB Lavelle Westbrooks, FB Nikita Whitlock, HB James Wilder Jr. and QB Tyler Wilson.

Cleveland Browns
Cut: DB Josh Aubrey, DL Calvin Barnett, G Karim Barton, WR Nate Burleson, LB Zac Diles, OL Reid Fragel, OL Garrett Gilkey, TE MarQueis Gray, QB Rex Grossman, G Caylin Hauptmann, OL Donald Hawkins, WR Charles Johnson, DL Jacobbi McDaniel, CB Leon McFadden, RB Dion Lewis, RB Chris Ogbonnaya, TE Emmanuel Ogbuehi, OL Alex Parsons, OL Abasi Salimu, QB Connor Shaw, WR Willie Snead, DL Justin Staples, OT Martin Wallace and LB Jamaal Westerman.

Claim: OT Ryan Seymour, G Caylin Hauptmann, RB Glenn Winston and WR LaRon Byrd off waivers.

Sign: OT VInston Painter.

Dallas Cowboys
Cut: RB D.J. Adams, OT Josh Aladenoye, DE Kenneth Boatright, WR Dezmon Briscoe, DT Dartwan Bush, WR LaRon Byrd, S Ahmed Dixon, G Stephen Goodin, LB Orie Lemon, DT Zach Minter, CB Terrance Mitchell, WR Jamar Newsome, G Uche Nwaneri, C Ronald Patrick, DE Caesar Rayford, LB Dontavis Sapp, LB Will Smith, S Ryan Smith, LB Keith Smith, RB Phillip Tanner, CB Jemea Thomas, TE Asa Watson, OT John Wetzel and RB Ryan Williams.

Claim: G Donald Hawkins off waivers.

Sign: LB Korey Toomer, S C.J. Spillman and DE Jack Crawford.

Trade: A conditional 2015 seventh round pick to the Tennessee Titans for DE Lavar Edwards.

Denver Broncos
Cut: LB Shaquil Barrett, RB Kapri Bibbs, S John Boyett, QB Zac Dysert, LB L.J. Fort, WR Bennie Fowler, DT Sione Fua, S Duke Ihenacho, TE Jameson Konz, OL Ryan Miller, TE Cameron Morrah, CB Jerome Murphy, OL Vinston Painter, OL Matt Paradis, TE Gerell Robinson, DL Brian Sanford, DT Kevin Vickerson, CB Jordan Sullen and CB Lou Young.

Sign: WR Nathan Palmer.

Detroit Lions
Cut: OL Rodney Austin, LB Shamari Benton, WR Kris Durham, WR Pat Edwards, TE Michael Egnew, DE Andre Fluellen, LB Brandon Hepburn, TE Emil Igwenagu, OL Darren Keyton, RB Mikel Leshoure, CB Chris Greenwood, S Nate Ness, WR Andrew Peacock, DL Xavier Proctor, OL Garrett Reynolds, DL Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, CB Mohammed Seisay, LB Julian Stanford, DL Darryl Tapp, TE Jordan Thompson, OL Michael Williams and RB George Winn.

Sign: DE Darryl Tapp.

Green Bay Packers
Cut: S Chris Banjo, WR Kevin Dorsey, LB Jake Doughty, OL John Fullington, OL Garth Gerhart, WR Alex Gillett, DT Carlos Gray, RB Michael Hill, LB Adrian Hubbard, OL Jordan McCray, S Tanner Miller, TE Justin Perillo, RB LaDarius Perkins, DE Luther Robinson, CB Jumal Rolle, OL Jeremy Vujnovich, WR Myles White and CB Ryan White.

Houston Texans
Cut: WR Lacoltan Bester, K Chris Boswell, DE Keith Browner, LB Max Bullough, S Chris Clemons, TE Anthony Denham, OT Mike Farrell, OT Matt Feiler, C James Ferentz, LB Quentin Groves, CB Brandon Harris, G Bronson Irwin, QB Case Keenum, G Alex Kupper, WR Travis Labhart, NT Ricardo Mathews, LB Chris McAllister, WR Uzoma Nwachukwu, FB Toben Opurum, TE Zach Potter, S Jawanza Starling, WR Mike Thomas, CB Josh Victorian, DE Julius Warmsley, CB Marcus Williams and LB Chris Young.

Claim: OT Jeff Adams, CB Darryl Morris, WR Damaris Johnson and QB Case Keenum off waivers.

Sign: S Danieal Manning.

Trade: A conditional 2016 seventh round pick to the New England Patriots for QB Ryan Mallett.

Indianapolis Colts
Cut: C Thomas Austin, DE Gannon Conway, RB David Fluellen, QB Chandler Harnish, DE Tyler Hoover, OT Matt Hill, S Delano Howell, LB Phillip Hunt, LB Andrew Jackson, WR Ryan Lankford, WR Josh Lenz, C F.N. Lutz, S Dewey McDonald, DT Brandon McKinney, DT Nnamdi Obukwelu, CB Sheldon Price, LB Rob Ruggiero, TE Weslye Saunders, LB Kelvin Sheppard, TE Erik Swoope and G Josh Walker.

Claim: G A.Q. Shipley off waivers.

Sign: G James Meredith.

Trade: CB Marcus Burley to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2015 sixth round pick.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Cut: TE Brandon Barden, OT Cody Booth, C Michael Brewster, WR Chad Bumphis, DL Deandre Coleman, LB Nate Stupar, CB Jamell Fleming, DT Ricky Heimuli, TE Marcel Jensen, FB Eric Kettani, S Craig Loston, S Sherrod Martin, QB Stephen Morris, G Drew Nowak, P Kasey Redfern, DE Gerald Rivers, G Tyler Shatley, QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Kerry Taylor, TE D.J. Tialavea and LB Marcus Whitfield.

Claim: TE Mickey Shuler off waivers.

Sign: G Tyler Shatley

Kansas City Chiefs
Cut: S Jonathon Amaya, S Malcolm Bronson, FB Jordan Campbell, TE Richard Gordon, DL Dominique Hamilton, WR Mark Harrison, G Ricky Henry, LB Alonzo Highsmith, LB Nico Johnson, DT Kyle Love, CB Justin Rogers, DL Kona Schwenke, K Ryan Succop, CB DeMarcus Van Dyke, LB Devan Walker, OT J'Marcus Webb, RB Charcandrick West and WR Fred Williams.

Claim: DE Damion Square off waivers.

Sign: S Kurt Coleman

Miami Dolphins
Cut: DT Isaako Aaitui, G David Arkin, C Sam Brenner, WR Kevin Cone, G Evan Finkenberg, CB Kevin Fogg, WR Matt Hazel, TE Evan Wilson, G Tony Hills, S Don Jones, S Jordan Kovacs, QB Seth Lobato, TE Kyle Miller, DE Tevin Mims, DE D'Aundre Reed, K Jake Rogers, DT Garrison Smith, RB Marcus Thigpen, RB Daniel Thomas, WR Damian Williams and LB Andrew Wilson.

Claim: CB Sammy Seamster, S Brandian Ross and DT Brice Gaston off waivers.

Minnesota Vikings
Cut: OL Jeff Baca, DT Chase Baker, RB Joe Banyard, S Kurt Coleman, WR Kain Colter, S Chris Crocker, LB Larry Dean, DT Fred Evans, DT Isame Faciane, TE Chase Ford, WR Donte Foster, LB Justin Jackson, CB Kendall James, OL Zac Kerin, CB Julian Posey, TE Allen Reisner, OL Mike Remmers, DE Justin Trattou, OT Austin Wentworth, RB Dominique Williams and LB Mike Zimmer.

Claim: TE MarQueis Gray and OT Mike Harris off waivers.

New England Patriots
Cut: LS Danny Aiken, LB Steve Beauharnais, DL Jake Bequette, WR Josh Boyce, OL Braxston Cave, S Kanorris Davis, LB Ja'Gared Davis, RB Roy Finch, S Shamiel Gary, RB Jonas Gray, TE Steve Maneri, DL Eathyn Manumaleuna, OL Chris Martin, DB Dax Swanson, LB Taylor McCuller, DL L.T. Tuipulotu, LB Chris White and DT Jerel Worthy.

Claim: DL Bruce Gaston, DT Kelcy Quarles and S Don Jones off waivers.

Sign: LS Danny Aiken and LB Chris White.

Trade: QB Ryan Mallett to the Houston Texans for a conditional 2016 seventh round pick.

New Orleans Saints
Cut: C Matt Armstrong, CB Champ Bailey, CB Derrius Brooks, WR Brandon Coleman, LB Todd Davis, LB Keyunta Dawson, K Derek Dimke, CB Terrence Frederick, K Shayne Graham, QB Ryan Griffin, WR Charles Hawkins, TE Nic Jacobs, G Marcel Jones, WR Seantavius Jones, FB Greg Jones, OT Tavon Rooks, RB Derrick Strozier, NT Lawrence Virgil, CB Trevin Wade, S Pierre Warren, OL Jason Weaver, WR Robert Meachem and OT Thomas Welch.

Sign: K Shayne Graham, WR Robert Meachem and LB Junior Galette to a four-year contract extension.

New York Giants
Cut: OT Mark Asper, FB John Conner, RB Michael Cox, TE Kellen Davis, DB Chandler Fenner, LB Dan Fox, OT Rogers Gaines, RB Kendall Gaskins, DB Thomas Gordon, OT Adam Gress, DE Israel Idonije, CB Bennett Jackson, G Jamaal Johnson-Webb, LB Terrell Manning, QB Curtis Painter, DT Kelcy Quarles, DE Jordan Stanton and WR Julian Talley.

Sign: G Adam Synder.

New York Jets
Cut: QB Tajh Boyd, G William Campbell, LB Troy Davis, CB Brandon Dixon, LB A.J. Edds, WR Quincy Enunwa, DT Tevita Finau, WR Clyde Gates, LB Jeremiah George, RB Alex Green, WR Stephen Hill, DL Kerry Hyder, CB Ellis Lankster, CB LeQuan Lewis, LB Garrett McIntyre, S Rontez Miles, TE Chris Pantale, CB Johnny Patrick, CB Dimitri Patterson, OL Brent Qvale, CB Jeremy Reeves, RB Daryl Richardson, G Caleb Schlauderaff, QB Matt Simms, DL Zach Thompson and DL Zach Thompson.

Claim: CB Leon McFadden and WR Walter Powell off waivers.

Sign: CB Phillip Adams and LB A.J. Edds

Oakland Raiders
Cut: RB George Atkinson, DE Denico Autry, LB Kaelin Burnett, CB Chance Casey, OL Jack Cornell, DE Jack Crawford, LB Carlos Fields, LB Bojay Filimoeatu, LB Spencer Hadley, OL Danny Kistler, OL Erle Ladson, WR Greg Little, DT Ricky Lumpkin, OL Lamar Mady, TE Jake Murphy, WR Seth Roberts, DE Ryan Robinson, S Brandian Ross, OL Jarrod Shaw, TE Scott Simonson, RB Jeremy Stewart, K Giorgio Tavecchio and FB Karl Williams.

Claim: DL Benson Mayowa off waivers.

Philadelphia Eagles
Cut: LB Emmanuel Acho, OL Josh Andrews, RB Kenjon Barner, CB Roc Carmichael, OL Kevin Graf, K Alex Henery, S Keelan Johnson, WR Damaris Johnson, RB Henry Josey, LB Josh Kaddu, DT Wade Keliikipi, QB G.J. Kinne, CB Curtis Marsh, WR Ifeanyi Momah, WR Will Murphy, WR Quron Pratt, S Ed Reynolds, DT Damion Square and RB Matthew Tucker.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Cut: TE Rob Blanchflower, LB Chris Carter, TE Bryce Davis, DB Isaiah Green, RB Josh Harris, DL Ethan Hemer, RB Stephen Houston, LB Howard Jones, QB Brendon Kay, DL Josh Mauro, LB Dan Molls, WR Derek Moye, DB Dayonne Nunley, TE David Paulson, DL Roy Philon, OL Graham Pocic, CB Shaquille Richardson, WR Lanear Sampson, OL Will Simmons, DB Ross Ventrone, OL Guy Whimper and DL Nick Williams.

Claim: CB B.W. Webb off waivers.

St. Louis Rams
Cut: WR Emory Blake, G Travis Bond, DE Kourtnei Brown, S Christian Bryant, DT Matt Conrath, S Avery Cunningham, WR Austin Franklin, QB Garrett Gilbert, DT Deantre Harlan, LB Aaron Hill, OT Sean Hooey, CB Greg Reid, LB Etienne Sabino, DE Michael Sam, TE Brad Smelley, LB Phillip Steward, OT Mitchell Van Dyk, WR Justin Veltung, OL Brandon Washington, LB Lawrence Wilson and CB Darren Woodard.

San Diego Chargers
Cut: LB Victor Aiyewa, DT Chas Alecxih, WR Torrence Allen, WR Vincent Brown, CB Crezdon Butler, S Alden Darby, CB Greg Ducre, TE Mike Flacco, RB Marion Grice, OT Mike Harris, WR Javontee Herndon, LB Thomas Keiser, DL Joe Kruger, LB Cordarro Law, S Adrian Phillips, WR Tevin Reese, OT Jeremiah Sirles, QB Brad Sorensen, LB Colton Underwood, G Craig Watts, OT Kenny Wiggins, C Khalil Wilkes and DL Doug Worthington.

Sign: DT Ricardo Mathews.

San Francisco 49ers
Cut: OL Carter Bykowski, TE Asante Cleveland, WR Lance Lewis, LS Kevin McDermott, CB Darryl Morris, OL Al Netter, DL Lawrence Okoye, WR Kassim Osgood, OL Michael Philipp, NT Mike Purcell, OL Ryan Seymour, LB Shayne Skov, RB Alfonso Smith, OL Adam Snyder, S C.J. Spillman, LB Chase Thomas, S Raymond Ventrone, WR L'Damian Washington and RB Glenn Winston.

Sign: G Alex Boone to a two-year contract extension and WR Kassim Osgood.

Seattle Seahawks
Cut: CB Phillip Adams, TE Rashaun Allen, CB Akeem Auguste, WR Phil Bates, RB Demitrius Bronson, WR Arceto Clark, QB B.J. Daniels, OL Caylin Hauptmann, OL Nate Isles, OL Patrick Lewis, WR Chris Matthews, DE Benson Mayowa, S Terrance Parks, TE Morrell Presley, QB Terrelle Pryor, DT Andru Pulu, FB Kiero Small, DT Jimmy Staten, S Steven Terrell, LB Korey Toomer, WR Bryan Walters, RB Spencer Ware and OT Eric Winston.

Sign: WR Bryan Walters and WR Phil Bates.

Trade: A 2015 sixth round pick to the Indianapolis Colts for CB Marcus Burley.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cut: OL Josh Allen, CB Marc Anthony, LB Nate Askew, K Connor Barth, TE Cameron Brate, OL Edawn Coughman, RB Jeff Demps, CB Kip Edwards, DE Larry English, DE T.J. Fatinikun, CB Anthony Gaitor, LB Ka'Lial Glaud, QB Mike Kafka, CB Keith Lewis, LB Brandon Magee, DT Matthew Masifilo, OL Jamon Meredith, OL Andrew Miller, WR Solomon Patton, FB Lonnie Pryor, DT Ronald Talley, OL Jeremiah Warren and S Major Wright.

Claim: G Garrett Gilkey off waivers.

Sign: S Major Wright

Tennessee Titans
Cut: OT Jeff Adams, CB Ri'Shard Anderson, RB Antonio Andrews, DL Chigbo Anunoby, LB Patrick Bailey, K Maikon Bonani, CB Tommie Campbell, TE Chase Coffman, K Travis Coons, LB Brandon Copeland, QB Dominique Davis, DE Marcus Dixon, LB Moise Fokou, WR Marc Mariani, G Justin McCray, FB Collin Mooney, OL Eric Olsen, OT William Poehls, WR Michael Preston, WR Rico Richardson, WR Brian Robiskie, TE Jason Schepler, C Steve Vallos, CB Khalid Wooten and CB Winston Wright.

Claim: WR T.J. Graham, WR Kris Durham and CB Brandon Harris off waivers.

Sign: LB Quentin Groves and K Ryan Succop

Trade: DE Lavar Edwards to the Dallas Cowboys for a conditional 2015 seventh round pick.

Washington Redskins
Cut: TE Ted Bolser, LB Everette Brown, CB Richard Crawford, S Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, WR Lee Doss, K Zach Hocker, OL Maurice Hurt, OL Kevin Kowalski, P Robert Malone, CB Chase Minnifield, RB Evan Royster, RB Lache Seastrunk, OL Tevita Stevens, NT Robert Thomas, S Phillip Thomas, RB Chris Thompson and WR Nick Williams.

Claim: S Duke Ihenacho off waivers.

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

August 29, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

The first of two NFL mandated roster cutdown dates occurred this week leading to many moves this week with every team getting down to 75 players. Neither of this week's two major moves come from cuts as one is a trade and another is a contract extension. These two re-signings are discussed below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Tennessee Titans re-sign DT Jurrell Casey

While a certain trade––see below––received more news, Casey is one of the most underrated players in the NFL, but he is also one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

A four-year deal worth $36 million the 24-year old is cashing in with $8 million per season and will still be under 30 when he hits free agency again. This average value of $8 million per season makes him the fifth highest paid defensive tackle in football. There is $20.5 million in guaranteed money which is the third highest at the position.

Jurrell Casey

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Drafted by the Titans in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Souther California, he has been a three-year starter for the team and has had over 50 tackles in each season.

Last season he had his breakout season recording 55 tackles, 10.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fifth best defensive tackle with the third best passing rushing grade for the position.

After playing defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense, the Titans are moving to a 3-4 defense and Casey will now play right defensive end. This new position could lead to him performing at an even higher level as he will now be playing in a similar role as J.J. Watt who has a similar skill set.

A switch to a 3-4 defense could also cause a drop in production for Casey so it is interesting to see the Titans reward him now.

Casey is clearly the best player on the Tennessee team, let along the defense. Now he is the highest paid player on their team.

This deal works well for both the team and Casey. The team gets him under contract for four more years after he was set to become a free agent and he gets a contract that pays him as a top five player at the position, while still having the ability to hit free agency before becoming 30.

New England Patriots trade G Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for TE Tim Wright and a fourth round draft pick

The aforementioned trade comes between the Patriots and the Buccaneers in a surprise move as nobody could have expected the Patriots to get rid of an offensive lineman that has been on the team since 2005.

Mankins has three years left on his deal which will play him a total of $19.75 million which is left over from a six-year contract which payed him $51 million.

Wright has two years left on his deal worth a total of $1.08 million. After the 2015 season he will be a restricted free agent as his rookie contract is only three years long due to him going undrafted in the 2013 draft.

Last season Mankins graded as the 19th best guard (ninth best left guard) in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus. His run blocking grade was the fourth best in the league.

Despite going undrafted in the 2013 draft, Wright was the starting tight end by the season catching 54 passes for 571 yards and five touchdowns. Of his 54 catches, 16 came in the last three games of the season. As the season went on his play improved as this start shows.

For both teams this trade makes sense, though more so for Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers desperately needed interior offensive line help and Mankins has played at a high level for years. New England get s a true joker tight end that perfectly compliments Rob Gronkowski.

In the long term, this move makes sense for the Patriots, but in the short term it doesn't as quarterback Tom Brady is aging and has only a few years left. For Tampa Bay this move helps them in their quest to make it back to the playoffs this season.

Other Moves:

Arizona Cardinals
Cut: K Jay Feely, OT Max Starks, QB Ryan Lindley, LB Keenan Clayton, LB JoJo Dickson, C Tom Draheim, WR Reggie Dunn, LB Derrell Johnson, S Orhian Johnson, WR Kevin Ozier, DT Justin Renfrow, CB Brandon Sermons, DE Ryan McBean and RB Damien Thigpen.

Sign DT Tommy Kelly

Atlanta Falcons
Cut: S Tyrell Johnson, DE Theo Agnew, LB Brendan Daley, LB Darin Drakeford, S Devonta Glover-Wright, WR Julian Jones, QB Jeff Mathews, LB Walker May, RB Jerome Smith, WR Tramaine Thompson and TE Brian Wozniak.

Baltimore Ravens
Cut: S Omar Brown, WR LaQuan Williams, LB Nicholas DiMarco, P Richie Leone, OT David Mims, CB Marrio Norman, CB Deji Olaytoye, LB Austin Spitler, WR Mike Willie, RB Cierre Wood and WR Jace Davis.

Waive-injured: FB Shaun Chapas and OT Brent Van Sloten.

Sign CB Derek Cox

Buffalo Bills
Cut:  S Derek Brim, QB Dennis Dixon, P Jake Dombrowski, WR Tori Gurley, S Jajuan Harley, K Dustin Hopkins, DT Damien Jacobs, C Macky MacPherson, WR Chris Summers, G J.J. Unga, RB Ronnie Wingo, QB Thad Lewis and DT Alan Branch.

Claim P Jordan Gay off waivers.

Sign QB Jordan Palmer

Carolina Panthers
Cut: WR Tiquan Underwood, WR Toney Clemons, WR Kealoha Pilares, WR Marvin McNutt, DE Alex Hall, P Jordan Gay, DL Lindey Gaydosh, LB Anthony Morales and DL Craig Roh.

Chicago Bears
Cut:  S Adrian Wilson, DT Nate Collins, RB Michael Ford, WR Kofi Hughes, CB Derricus Purdy, CB Peyton Thompson, G Dylan Gandy, WR Greg Herd, OT Joe Long, KR Darius Reynaud, LB Jordan Senn, S Craig Steltz, OL James Brown, QB Jordan Palmer and CB Isaiah Frey.

Cincinnati Bengals
Cut:  CB R.J. Stanford, DT Larry Black, S Isaiah Lewis, K Quinn Sharp, WR Ryan Whalen, TE Kevin Brock, WR Jasper Collins, TE Kevin Brock, WR Jasper Collins, LB James Davidson and QB Matt Scott.

Waive-injured:  LB J.K. Schaffer and CB Lavelle Westbrooks.

Cleveland Browns
Cut: WR Anthony Armstrong, RB Edwin Baker, OL Randall Harris, CB T.J. Heath, DL Cam Henderson, WR Jonathan Krause, OL Ryan Lee, LB Caleb McSurdy, OL Keavon Milton, LB Keith Pough, WR Tim Smith, OL Jeremiah Warren, TE Martell Webb and DB Royce Adams.

Claim G Karim Barton and G Donald Hawkins off waivers.

Dallas Cowboys
Cut: DE Martez Wilson, FB J.C. Copeland, WR Chris Boyd, QB Caleb Hanie, P Tom Hornsey, LS Casey Kreiter, DE Adewale Ojomo, G Wayne Tribue, WR Tim Benford, S Johnny Thomas and CB B.W. Webb.

Waive-injured: CB Justin Green, LB DeVonte Holloman, S Matt Johnson, TE Jordan Najvar.

Claim CB Jemea Thomas off waivers

Sign RB Phillip Tanner

Denver Broncos
Cut: LB Jamar Chaney, RB Brennan Clay, WR Greg Hardin, LB Jerrell Harris, OT Winston Justice, DT Will Pericak, QB Bryn Renner, DE Chase Vaughn, RB Jerodis Williams, WR Greg Wilson, DT Cody Larsen and K Mitch Ewald.

Trade a conditional seventh round pick to the New York Giants for K Brandon McManus.

Detroit Lions
Cut: G Alex Bullard, G A.J. Dalton, DT Gregory Hickman, RB Steven Miller, DE Kris Redding, WR Conner Vernon, K Giorgio Tavecchio, P Drew Butler, QB James Franklin, FB Chad Abram, CB Jonte Green, CB Aaron Hester, TE Jacob Maxwell and OL Bryce Quigley.

Claim TE Michael Egnew and TE Emil Igwenagu off waivers.

Green Bay Packers
Cut: WR Chris Harper, S Charles Clay, CB Antonio Dennard, LB Korey Jones, FB Ina Liaina, QB Chase Rettig and WR Gerrard Sheppard.

Houston Texans
Cut: RB William Powell, WR Joe Adams, WR Alec Lemon, NT David Hunter, NT Austin Brown, LB Terrance Lloyd, LB Lawrence Sidbury, CB Junior Mertile, G Sam Longo, LB Paul Hazel, OL Conor Boffeli and WR Anthony McClung.

Indianapolis Colts
Cut: WR Nu’Keese Richardson, LB Jonathon Sharpe, S David Sims, WR Eric Thomas, WR Tony Washington, FB Cameron White, CB Johnny Adams, CB Qua Cox, G Andre Cureton, G Marcus Hall and CB Kameron Jackson.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Cut: LS Charley Hughlett, C Patrick Lewis, C Antoine Caldwell, CB Mike Harris, WR Kenny Shaw, WR Ramses Barden, S Joe Young, FB Harvey Unga, LB Allen Bradford, WR Lamaar Thomas and RB Terrance Cobb.

Kansas City Chiefs
Cut: WR Weston Dressler, DL Jairus Campbell, G Otis Hudson, DT Jermelle Cudjo, DB Vernon Kearney, Jerron McMillian, WR Darryl Surgent, TE Adam Schiltz, WR Deon Anthony, WR Jerrell Jackson, DB Brandon Jones, OT Ryan McKee, CB Kevin Rutland, C Ben Gottschalk and CB Damond Smith.

Sign G Mike McGlynn

Miami Dolphins
Cut: DB Jalil Brown, TE Michael Egnew, DT Micajah Reynolds, K John Potter OT Steven Baker, S Demetrius Wright, QB Brady Quinn, WR Armon Binns, TE Brett Brackett, CB Steven Clarke, DE Rakim Cox, DT Cory Grissom, C Tyler Larsen and WR Ryan Spadola.

Minnesota Vikings
Cut: CB Derek Cox, G Pierce Burton, WR Kamar Jorden, WR Erik Lora, OT Kevin Murphy, WR Ty Walker, TE Kory Sperry, S Brandan Bishop, DT Kheeston Randall, DE Tyler Scott, DE Jake Snyder, CB Robert Steeples and TE Mike Higgins.

Waive-injured: S Mistral Raymond

New England Patriots
Cut: DT Tommy Kelly, DE Will Smith, LB James Anderson, TE Justin Jones, WR Derrick Johnson, WR Wilson Van Hooser, LB Deontae Skinner, DL Ben Bass, DB Travis Hawkins and CB Jemea Thomas.

New Orleans Saints
Cut: RB Tim Flanders, WR Tobais Palmer, TE Je’Ron Hamm, LB Chidera Uzo-Diribe, OT Ty Nsekhe, S Ty Zimmerman, LB Victor Butler, DL Rufus Johnson, DL George Uko, LB Kevin Reddick, CB Rod Sweeting, QB Logan Kilgore and G Manese Foketi.

Waive-injured: WR Andy Tanner

New York Giants
Cut: TE Jerome Cunningham, S C.J. Barnett, DB Charles James, K Brandon McManus, LB Spencer Adkins, S Kyle Sebetic, DB Ross Weaver, DE Emmanuel Dieke, LB Justin Anderson, WR Travis Harvey, DT Everett Dawkins and G John Sullen.

Waive-injured: TE Xavier Grimble

Trade K Brandon McManus to the Denver Broncos for a conditional seventh round pick.

New York Jets
Cut: OT Bruce Campbell, LB Steele Divitto, OL Patrick Ford, K Andrew Furney, P Jacob Schum, RB Michael Smith, OL Markus Zusevics, WR Jacoby Ford, CB Ras-I Dowling, WR Michael Campbell, TE Colin Anderson, FB Chad Young and DE Anthony Grady.

Oakland Raiders
Cut: WR Mike Davis, WR Rahsaan Vaughn, TE Kyle Auffray, OT Emmett Cleary, DT Torell Troup, LB Justin Cole, CB Jansen Watson, QB Trent Edwards, WR Juron Criner and G Lucas Nix.

Waive-injured: S Larry Asante, WR Greg Jenkins, RB Kory Sheets.

Claim K Giorgio Tavecchio off waivers.

Philadelphia Eagles
Cut: TE Blake Annen, OL Michael Bamiro, OL Karim Barton, WR Kadron Boone, WR B.J. Cunningham, OL Donald Hawkins, TE Emil Igwenagu, LB Jake Knott, DE Joe Kruger, S Daytawion Lowe, DE Frances Mays, S Davon Morgan, K Carey Spear, DE Alejandro Villanueva and OL Julian Vandervelde.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Cut: RB Miguel Maysonet, RB Jordan Hall, WR C.J. Goodwin, WR Kashif Moore, TE Eric Waters, S Jordan Dangerfield, CB Devin Smith, CB Lew Toler, LB Vic So’oto, DL Brian Arnfelt, OL Chris Elkins, DL Hebron Fangupo, LS Luke Ingram, OL Emmanuel McCray and RB Tauren Poole.

St. Louis Rams
Cut: CB Jarrid Bryant, P Bobby Cowan, OT R.J. Dill, WR Jordan Harris, LS Jorgen Hus, FB Kadeem Jones, LB Johnny Millard, WR T.J. Moe, OT D.J. Morrell, S Matt Daniels and DE Sammy Brown.

Waive-injured: LB Pat Schiller

San Diego Chargers
Cut: OT Nick Becton, FB Zach Boren, TE Jake Byrne, WR Brelan Chancellor, LB Adrian Hamilton, WR Micah Hatfield, G Darryl Johnson, TE Ryan Otten, DB Lowell Rose, P Chase Tenpenny, RB Kerwynn Williams and CB Brandon Ghee.

Claim DE Joe Kruger off waivers

San Francisco 49ers
Cut:  QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson, P Colton Schmidt, S D.J. Campbell, TE Kevin Greene, RB Jewel Hampton, LB Kion Wilson, WR Devon Wylie and WR David Reed.

Seattle Seahawks
Cut: CB Terrell Thomas, DE Jackson Jeffcoat, G Wade Smith, OT Cory Brandon, RB Demitrius Bronson, S Mike Dobson, WR Kevin Smith, OL Greg Van Roten and CB Thomas Wolfe.

Waive-injured: DT Michael Brooks, WR David Gilreath and LB Horace Miller.

Claim C Patrick Lewis off waivers.

Sign RB Demitrius Bronson

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Cut: LS Jeremy Cain, DT Euclid Cummings, OL Jace Daniels, WR Skye Dawson, OL Jason Foster, DE Ryne Giddins, G R.J. Mattes, WR Eric Page, WR Tommy Streeter, DE Chaz Sutton, QB Alex Tanney, FB Ian Thompson, LB Damaso Munoz, OT J.B. Shugarts and CB Deveron Carr.

Waive-injured: OT Matt Patchan

Claim CB Marc Anthony and G Jeremiah Warren off waivers.

Tennessee Titans
Cut: LB Kendrick Adams, CB Marc Anthony, DL Lanier Coleman, OL Kevin Danser, OL Tyler Horn, WR Julian Horton, RB Waymon James, CB Micah Pellerin, WR Jaz Reynolds, S Hakeem Smith, WR Derel Walker, LB Jonathan Willard, LB David Hinds and WR Isaiah Williams.

Waive-injured: C Gabe Ikard

Washington Redskins
Cut: LB Rob Jackson, WR Cody Hoffman, ILB Jeremy Kimbrough, FB Stephen Campbell, WR Rashad Lawrence, S Ross Madison, DE Jake McDonough, LB Adrian Robinson, DE Jeremy Towns, OL Adam Gettis, CB Bryan Shepherd, WR Rashad Ross, G Mike McGlynn and TE Matt Veldman.

In The NFL Parity Has Many Definitions

August 26, 2014 in NFL, NFL Observations, NFL Personnel, NFL Playoffs, NFL Predictions, NFL Preview, Seattle Seahawks, Super Bowl

While there are many reasons for the success the NFL has experienced during the past 30 years , one reason may stand above the rest and it takes on different definitions to the different factions that support, follow and own the franchises that make up the 32 team league. The reason is parity—plain and simple. Parity is the biggest reason the NFL continues to grow and will continue to grow.  According to the Merriam on-line dictionary, the simple definition of parity is; the quality or state of being equal or equivalent. But the word has different meanings when it comes to the leagues owners and the fan base. Parity was created thanks to the leagues one of a kind revenue sharing policy and it is the reason the NFL soared right by America’s old Pastime in terms of popularity and fan support. goodell-money

To the leagues owners, parity equals dollar signs. The owners of the league’s 32 teams  have watched and benefited, as television contracts, apparel and licensing fees and anything else that has their team’s logo or the company’s shield on it has yielded profits that reach unbelievable heights—every year.

According to Forbes Magazine, The average NFL team is currently worth $1.43 billion, the highest value in the 17 years. The $1.43 billion average is 23% more than a year ago, the biggest year-over-year increase since 1999. The Dallas Cowboys lead the way with a $3.2 billion net worth. According to the report,  25 of the 32 teams are worth at least $1 billion. The league’s lowest valued team following the 2013 season, the St. Louis Rams ($930 million), were still worth more than the average MLB team and worth more than an average NBA and NHL franchise combined. By this time next year, every NFL franchise is likely to be worth at least (cue mini me from Austin Powers) one billion dollars.

The other futbol, considered the world’s most popular sports saw the top 20 soccer teams possess an average value (comprised mainly of clubs from the top English, Spanish, German and Italian leagues) of $1.05 billion, Major League Baseball teams had an average value of $811 million, followed by the NBA, with an average team value of $634 million.

The only sports team worth more is Real Madrid, valued at $3.4 billion, while another Spanish soccer team, Barcelona, is tied with the Cowboys. Despite making only three postseason appearances over past decade, the Cowboys posted the NFL’s highest revenue ($560 million) and operating income ($246 million) in 2013.

For the millions of now worldwide fans of the NFL, parity means something different than just dollar signs, especially this time of the year. For the fans that have literally counted the days since the clock struck zero at Met Life Stadium following the Seahawks Super Bowl triumph in February until training camps began a month ago—parity means a new season of hope and optimism. Parity means that their favorite team can be the next team to surprise, as so many do each and every year in the league.

Unlike MLB or the NBA, nearly every NFL team has a chance to be a playoff team once the season begins and history supports this claim.

PROOF IS IN THE NUMBERS:

Drewlitton.com

Drewlitton.com

Last season, there were five new playoff teams, as Carolina, Kansas City, New Orleans, Philadelphia and San Diego all made the leagues post season tournament after failing the year before. Since the 12-team playoff format was adopted in 1990, at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs in every season that were not in the postseason the year before.

In fact, in 21 of those 23 years five or more teams made the playoffs that failed to qualify the year before and 12 times the number is six or more teams. That number hit an all-time high in 2003 when eight teams made the playoffs that failed in their quest in 2002. Even with half of the leagues teams making their post season tournaments, the NHL or NBA cannot come close to making the same claim. Even finishing in last place one season doesn't mean the rebuild will take years to complete. Last season, Carolina (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East) rebounded to win their respective divisions after finishing in last place or tied for last in 2012, marking the NFL-record 11th consecutive season that at least one team went from “worst-to-first” in its division.

In the 12 seasons since realignment in 2002, 28 different teams have won division titles. Of the 42 teams that have gone from worst to first in league history, 19 of them have done so in the last 11 years; including an NFL record three such teams in 2005 & 2006.

2013 marked the second consecutive year a team that won two games the previous season rebounded to win 11 games. The Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) tied the 2008 Miami Dolphins and 2012 Indianapolis Colts for the most wins by a team that won two or fewer games the previous season.

FIXING ISSUES BEFORE THEY BECOME PROBLEMS:

The league also addresses competitive issues immediately and head on which is another reason why parity will always exist. Before the 2010 season, teams who made the playoffs or didn’t have much to play for would rest many of their starters during the last two weeks of the season. The NFL stepped in and addressed the issue. Last years, 13 of the 16 games scheduled for the final day of the regular season had playoff implications. That excitement was due in part to having 16 divisional games played on the season’s final day, a tradition instituted in 10’ to make the final week more meaningful.

Many lauded the NBA playoffs this past season because of the closeness of the games and the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs offers fans arguably the most intensity of any sport once their playoff series reach an elimination game. But the two leagues each play 82 games and many consider that 20 more than necessary. MLB offers the history of the Fall Classic but have in recent year’s added teams to its playoff mix to make the final month of the season worth watching in many markets. Let’s not even get into how more games baseball plays than are necessary with a 162 game schedule.

The beauty of the NFL and the reason it stands head and shoulder pads over the rest of the major sports is because of its parity and the fact that they play just 16 games. One game won’t make or break a season—-but the possibility exists that it could. You always hear announcers say that players turn it up a notch in the NBA or the NHL once the playoffs arrive and you can certainly see the difference in intensity on the playing surface but for the most part, in the NFL, that intensity is there every week.

It is a big reason why games are as close as they are. In 2013, 68 percent of NFL games were within one score in the fourth quarter and 123 of 256 games (48.0 percent) were decided by seven points or fewer, the fourth-most of any season in NFL history. The fact that this happened when a record 11,985 points were scored, with games averaging 46.8 points (the highest average in NFL history (46.5 in 1948) is amazing. With a league record 1,338 total touchdowns and 11 teams scoring at least 400 points last season its quite astonishing there simply wasn't more disparity.

The Denver Broncos scored a league record 606 points in 2013 with Chicago (445), New England (444), Philadelphia (442), Dallas (439), Cincinnati (430), Kansas City (430), Green Bay (417), Seattle (417), New Orleans (414) and San Francisco (406), all eclipsing the 400 point plateau, which broke the record of nine in 2008 and 12’ –

Those 11 teams combined for a .668 winning percentage and nine qualified for the playoffs—Yet defense reigned supreme, as the Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl with a dominating secondary known as the Legion of Boom. Just for the record, the Seahawks offense finished 17th in the league and 26th in passing. They were just one of two teams that ran the football (49ers) more than they put it in the air in 2013.

While parity is alive and well, the league has its share of staple franchises that use a formula for success. Over the past 10 years, five NFL teams – New England (124-36, .775), Indianapolis (111-49, .694), Pittsburgh (105-55, .656), San Diego (100-60, .625), and Green Bay (96-63-1, .603) – have posted a winning percentage of .600 or better. Those five clubs have combined for 37 playoff berths, nine Super Bowl appearances and five Super Bowl championships during that span.

NO GUARANTEE FOR THE CHAMPS OR RUNNER UPS:

The Baltimore Ravens recently completed a run where they went to five straight post seasons, three AFC title games and won Super Bowl XLVII against the 49ers. But after an 8-8 season in 2014, Baltimore was one of the four teams replaced once January arrived. Unbelievably and in keeping very much with the parity theme in the NFL, the Ravens became the eight straight Super Bowl champ, not to win a single postseason game in the ensuing title defense. In fact, the Ravens became the fourth of those eight teams to miss the playoffs altogether. What about the Super Bowl runner up. The team that loses the big game is likely to be hungrier and ready to come back the next season poised to win—not so fast. 878

Only twice in the history of the Super Bowl has a team lost that game, then rebounded to capture the Lombardi Trophy a season later. The 1971 Dallas Cowboys were the first, losers to the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl V in Miami and then winners a year later over the Miami Dolphins at New Orleans in Super Bowl VI. One season later, the Dolphins shook off that setback in historical fashion. Don Shula’s team went 17-0 en route to their 14-7 win over the Washington Redskins—That’s it. That’s the last time a team lost the Super Bowl, then came back and won it all.

Back to Back and three-peats have become commonplace in the NBA— there have only been five different league champs in the NBA over the past 10 years and in MLB there have been six different World Series winners during that span. The NFL has had eight different teams hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy in the last 10 seasons. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants have won more than one during that span.

In all fairness, the Patriots put together a dynasty during the early and mid-stages of the 2000’s. Bill Belichick and company won three titles in four years and have appeared in five Super Bowls since 2002. Five teams have won back to back Super Bowls, with the Steelers doing it twice. That’s a back to back winner once every eight years. Amazingly, since only 1987 the NBA has watched as eight teams have won back to back championships, while two franchises, the Lakers and Bulls (twice) have threepeated.

The back to back to feat has occurred five times in the NHL since 1980. It’s appears to be equally as tough to win back to back World Series in today’s era. The accomplishment has happened just five times since 1973, and only 10 times in the 110 year history of the Fall Classic. So it’s no wonder that baseball was the sport the NFL seems to have replaced as Americas new favorite past time.

PARITY+NFL=SUCCESS

Any way you define parity in the NFL the definition is a positive one for the teams and their fan bases. Parity has benefited the game and its fans immensely causing it to become the envy of the rest of the sports world. So much so that other owners are waiting for the NFL to fail. Mark Cuban, the outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner, predicts a drastic decline in the NFL's popularity over the next decade due to the league's greed.

"I think the NFL is 10 years away from an implosion," Cuban said in March. "I'm just telling you: Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. And they're getting hoggy".

Cuban finished, “Just watch. Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. When you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I'm just telling you, when you've got a good thing and you get greedy; it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That's rule No. 1 of business."

jerryCuban was specifically referring to the NFL recently expanding its television package. He considers it a poor business decision for the NFL, which consistently dominates TV ratings, to play games on days other than Sunday and Monday.Last February, the league announced a one-year deal with CBS and NFL Network to televise Thursday night games. CBS will air the games during the first eight weeks of the season, simulcasting them with NFL Network. The league's cable network will exclusively show six Thursday night games later in the season with CBS' top announcing tandem of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms in the booth. NFL Network also will have a Saturday doubleheader in Week 16.

The NFL started a limited package of Thursday night games in 2006. NFL Network showed 13 Thursday night games last season.

"They're trying to take over every night of TV," Cuban said. "Initially, it'll be, 'Yeah, they're the biggest-rating thing that there is.' OK, Thursday, that's great, regardless of whether it impacts [the NBA] during that period when we cross over. Then if it gets Saturday, now you're impacting colleges. Now it's on four days a week.

Perhaps what Cuban fails to realize is that the NFL could be played seven nights a week and it likely still wouldn't be enough. That’s what parity has done— its gives fans hope no matter when, where or how often the game is played and its owners and an opportunity to make all the money they want.  Right now, as of August  26 , every fan of every NFL team thinks their team has a shot to make the playoffs and history says that four, five, six and maybe even as many as seven teams that didn’t last year could actually be in the playoffs once the regular season ends in 2014.

Do you think fan bases feel that way in Philadelphia about the 76ers, or in Buffalo about the Sabres or what about next year in Houston—does anyone really consider the Astros an MLB playoff team in 2015. The answer is no but it’s not out of the question that the Houston Texans, who finished with the worst record in the NFL last season at 2-14, returns to the playoffs in 2014 for the third time in four seasons.  The league and the fan base have always been able to agree that on any given Sunday anything can happen. Therein lies the beauty of the NFL,  just when you think you have the answer, somehow the question is changed and you’re forced to come back every week for more.

Monday NFL Rewind – Bradford's Injury the Talk of NFL

August 25, 2014 in NFL Observations

1. Biggest news of the weekend is the season ending ACL tear to Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.           sambradford

Bradford once again will miss the whole season and leaves the Rams in a tough spot.  St. Louis hoped to have Bradford return and take the next step in his career but that won’t happen.

Shaun Hill moves up into the starters spot for the Rams unless a move is made.  Hill has been a solid career backup but this is different especially for a team in the NFC West.  Maybe the Rams get a 2nd coming of Kurt Warner or make a move for Kirk Cousins or Mark Sanchez?  The Rams had to know that Bradford staying healthy was risky. And the Rams have had multiple high picks to grab another quarterback but chose not to.  Which looks like could have been a mistake.

2. Most of those pick stemmed from the blockbuster deal which sent Robert Griffin to the Redskins.  I remember when Jeff Fisher had the choice of RG3 or Bradford at the time.  Well, it looks like neither is working out right now.

Bradford can't stay on the field and Griffin looks lost suddenly for the past 13 months.  I know everyone talks about being patient with Griffin as he moves to being a pocket passer but I am not buying it.

Griffin needs to improve quicker than most talk about.  I would be very concerned if I was Jay Gruden and was dead set on making him a drop back pocket guy.  Gruden could be smart and abandon that and use RG3 like the Skins did his rookie year.  But then he is playing with fire and having to deal with the sensitive Griffin or his outspoken father's wrath.  Hopefully come September we will be saying that it was just preseason and everything is working but I ain't so sure.

3.  Three rookie QB's learned their week one status in the past seven days and it was all the same as they will be second stringers to start.

Bortles, Bridgewater and Manziel each will start the season with the clipboard but could still see action early.  I think of the three Manziel looked farthest from starting week one.  Brian Hoyer hasn't been great but Johnny Football did nothing to win the job and that is probably the best move for the Browns.

Bridgewater was close but the Vikings will go with Matt Cassel.  I could see Teddy getting the chance early on this season though.  Finally the guy who looked the best was Blake Bortles but he was unable to unseat Chad Henne for the Jags starting job.  I am sure unless Henne looks like Manning in September, Bortles will play quickly.  Bortles will bring some optimism to a team that has had none for like 10 years it seems like.  A few shots of his girlfriend in the crowd isn't a bad idea either.

4. I am still unsure of my predictions of who will make the Super Bowl this season but I think I have one for the MVP.     7711542

And it is not Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers although it is a quarterback.  I am thinking Russell Wilson wins it this season.  He already has a Super Bowl ring in his early career but I think he adds a personal trophy to his case.

I know he won't challenge the numbers Manning had last season or even come close but he just goes out and plays big every week.  If he can get a full season of Percy Harvin also his stats should go up.  Add to that the fact that everyone is gunning for the Hawks makes him in the spot light.  I just watch him this preseason and he is in complete control of the field every time he drops back.  I wonder if I can get odds on this somewhere.

 

 

NFL Weekly Transaction Tracker

August 22, 2014 in 2014-free-agency, NFL Personnel

With two major re-signings this week, the NFL is in full swing halfway through the preseason. These two re-signings are discussed below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.

Cincinnati Bengals re-sign LB Vontaze Burfict

In the big news of the week the Bengals re-signed a second core player in three weeks by signing Burfict to a four-year contract extension.

This new four-year contract is worth a total of $20 million over the four years, an average value of $5 million per season. In terms of other 4-3 outside linebackers, he is the seventh highest paid in terms of average value. There is a signing bonus of $7 million and incentives for Pro Bowl appearances.

Vontaze Burfict

Courtesy of ICON SMI

His football career has been full of highs and lows. Entering his junior season at Arizona State he was considered to be a sure-fire first round draft pick and potentially a top 10 pick. However, a poor season where he was benched multiple times and an even worse pre-draft process sent him undrafted. The chief concerns with his attitude and weight. Now as he heads into his third NFL season, he is one of the best linebackers in the NFL.

After his performance last year, it is safe to say that he is the third best 4-3 outside linebacker behind Von Miller––who is more of a pass rusher anyways––and Lavonte David.

As a rookie he led the team with 127 tackles and added one sack and two fumble recoveries in 14 starts (weeks 3-17). Leading the league with 171 tackles last year he was named a Second-Team All-Pro and made a Pro Bowl appearance. Along with his 171 tackles, he recorded three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and one interception. Pro Football Focus graded him as the fourth best 4-3 outside linebacker.

The only bad thing from his outstanding season was penalties. Playing in all 16 of the Bengals regular season games, he was called for a league leading 13 penalties––14 if you count one that was declined. Of these 13, a whopping eight of them were for unnecessary roughness. That is more unnecessary roughness penalties than most players have in total penalties for one season. His penalty yards total 150, which is the second most in the NFL.

These concerns date back to his days at Arizona State, but a rookie he was only called for four penalties––five if you count one that was declined––and two of them came in the playoffs.

Obviously, leading the NFL in penalties and second in penalty yards is not something that is desirable. Seeing as his rookie season was much better in that regard, Cincinnati will be hoping that this was just a one year thing.

Even with the penalties, Burfict is one of the 4-3 outside linebackers in the league. Turning 24-years old in September, his play is trending upward and the scary thing is he could be even better playing middle linebacker instead of weakside linebacker where he currently plays.

A top linebacker in the NFL, the Bengals have a steal with him on the books for only $5 million per season. Burfict is still improving so when he hits free agency again in a few years––where he will still be in his prime––he will be able to command an even bigger contract.

Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign OT Marcus Gilbert

In another AFC North move the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Gilbert to a five-year contract extension.

Set to become a free agent at the end of the season, the 26-year old will be in Pittsburgh through the 2019 season with this new contract which is worth $30 million over the five years. This is an average value of $6 million per season which makes him tied for the fourth highest paid right tackle in the NFL.

Drafted by the Steelers in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of the University of Florida, he has started 34 games at right tackle over the past three seasons and played in 35 games.A week or so ago it had been reported that the team was working on a contract extension with him so this contract doesn't come as a surprise. The two sides had been working on it for a while now.
Most of this missed time comes from the 2012 season where he played in only five games due to an ankle injury that saw him placed on injured reserve.

As a rookie be started 13 games at right tackle and was graded as the 35th best offensive tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus (out of 75). He was the 14th best right tackle according to their grading. With an overall grade of 2.7, his rookie season was his best season in his short career.

Last season he was ranked as the 50th best offensive tackle in the league according to Pro Football Focus and he was the 26th best right tackle.

With this re-signing, the Steelers have shown that keeping their young offensive linemen was one of their priorities this offseason. Earlier they had re-signed center Maurkice Pouncey to a contract that pays him as the best center in the league.

Investing in the offensive line is a good idea for Pittsburgh as theirs haven't been very good over the past few seasons causing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to take too many hits and to be under pressure too much. A weak offensive line is the quickest way to have an offense struggle.

It was a good idea to lock up Gilbert for the long term as he has shown he has the ability to be the right tackle for the years to come. However he has been inconsistent during his time in the black and gold.

This new contract pays him as a top right tackle, but he isn't at that level. He has the ability to be there, but he isn't yet and may not ever reach that level. Like with Pouncey––and many other teams this offseason––Pittsburgh is paying Gilbert this money as they believe he can become a player at this level. The team knows he isn't there right now, but they are banking––no pun intended––on him reaching this level of play.

Other Moves:

The Arizona Cardinals sign DT Isaac Sopoaga.
The Arizona Cardinals sign DL Ryan McBean.
The Arizona Cardinals release DT Anthony McCloud.
The Atlanta Falcons sign OT Pat McQuistan.
The Atlanta Falcons sign WR Eric Weems.
The Atlanta Falcons waive WR Jabin Sambrano.
The Buffalo Bills release OT Edawn Coughman.
The Buffalo Bills waive WR Kevin Elliott.
The Carolina Panthers trade RB Kenjon Barner to the Philadelphia Eagles for a conditional 7th round pick.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Kofi Hughes.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Santonio Holmes.
The Chicago Bears release WR Eric Weems.
The Chicago Bears sign CB Peyton Thompson.
The Chicago Bears waive P Tress Way.
The Chicago Bears release LS Chad Rempel.
The Chicago Bears sign KR Darius Reynaud.
The Cincinnati Bengals cut G Chandler Burden.
The Dallas Cowboys cut TE Dallas Walker.
The Denver Broncos waive-injured DE Greg Latta.
The Detroit Lions sign LB Shamari Benton.
The Detroit Lions cut LB Justin Jackson.
The Detroit Lions cut CB Drayton Florence.
Free agent S Nick Collins has announced his retirement from the NFL.
Free agent C Kyle Cook has announced his retirement from the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers waive-injured TE Colt Lyerla.
The Indianapolis Colts sign RB Deji Karim.
The Indianapolis Colts cut RB David Meggett.
The Indianapolis Colts sign G Andre Cureton.
The Indianapolis Colts trade K Cody Parkey to the Philadelphia Eagles for RB David Fluellen.
The Indianapolis Colts cut RB Phillip Tanner.
The Indianapolis Colts sign LB Robert Ruggiero.
The Indianapolis Colts waive-injured LB Shawn Loiseau.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign FB Harvey Unga.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign OT Cody Booth.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive FB Bradie Ewing.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive WR Chad Hall.
The Jacksonville Jaguars sign FB Eric Kettani.
The Jacksonville Jaguars waive-injured TE Fendi Onobun.
The Kansas City Chiefs trade G Rishaw Johnson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for S Kelcie McCray.
The Miami Dolphins sign K John Potter and waive K Danny Hrapmann.
The Miami Dolphins cut RB Cameron Marshall.
The Miami Dolphins sign DE Rakim Cox.
The Minnesota Vikings claim LB Justin Jackson off waivers.
The Minnesota Vikings waive-injured LB Dom DeCicco.
The New England Patriots sign TE Justin Jones.
The New England Patriots cut LS Tyler Ott.
The New England Patriots release DL Marcus Forston.
The New England Patriots release TE D.J. Williams.
The New Orleans Saints waive RB Tim Flanders.
The New Orleans Saints waive WR Tobais Palmer.
The New Orleans Saints waive TE Je’Ron Hamm.
The New Orleans Saints waive LB Chidera Uzo-Diribe.
The Oakland Raiders sign TE Kyle Auffray.
The Oakland Raiders cut K Kevin Goessling.
The Oakland Raiders re-sign K Kevin Goessling.
The Oakland Raiders waive-injured S Jeremy Deering.
The Philadelphia Eagles cut LB Jason Phillips.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign OT Graham Pocic.
The Pittsburgh Steelers sign CB Dayonee Nunley.
The Pittsburgh Steelers waive-injured G Bryant Browning.
The Pittsburgh Steelers release WR James Shaw.
The Pittsburgh Steelers re-sign DE Brett Keisel to a two-year deal.
The Pittsburgh Steelers waive DT Al Lapuaho.
The St. Louis Rams waive-injured RB Isaiah Pead.
The San Diego Chargers sign DT Doug Worthington.
The San Diego Chargers waive-injured DE Damik Scafe.
The San Francisco 49ers sign DT Glenn Dorsey to a two-year contract extension.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers release WR Lavelle Hawkins.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claim OT Edawn Coughman off waivers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign G R.J. Mattes and waive DE James Ruffin.
The Washington Redskins cut P Blake Clingan.
The Washington Redskins claim P Tress Way off waivers.