- Mendenhall: 'I no longer wish to put my body at risk'
- Report: Vikings re-sign DE Griffen to 5-year contract
- Report: Vikings sign QB Cassel to two-year deal
- Report: Jaguars sign Chad Henne to two-year deal
- Report: Saints releasing WR Moore
- Report: Saints to release Sproles if team unable to trade...
- L.A. judge: Darren Sharper can't be held in jail...
- Colts sign D'Qwell Jackson to reported four-year deal
- Report: NFLPA's $100M concussion grant merely a PR ploy
- Report: Johnny Manziel signs endorsement deal with Nike
- Report: Sharper admitted sex was not consensual
- Sheriff seeks to charge Hernandez in jail fight
March is a time in the NFL when age comes with assumptions based on history. Those assumptions lead to projections, and those projections lead to unemployment at the hands of a cruel salary cap fate. Often a job elsewhere is waiting, but one at a far reduced fee.
That’s the cold reality of football, and it’s why although I have little ability to muster scorn for the one or two annual contract holdouts when training camp opens each August. When...
Quick, close your eyes. Actually don’t do that because then you can’t keep reading, but just somehow simulate the eyes closed sensation (get creative). When I say “draft bust” to you, what’s the first image in your mind? For me it’s always JaMarcus Russell, for he will always and forever be the image of what it is to not try.
Now let’s do the same with “free agent bust”. For me the immediate image there is that of Albert Haynesworth,...
The first, second, and third reasons why the Saints released Lance Moore (or at least they reportedly did or will according to Lance Moore) are all money. That sweet, sweet cash. A cap crunched team that needs to pay Jimmy Graham entered today only slightly above the cutline at an estimated $1.6 million, which is why Thursday afternoon rumors bubbled regarding the Saints shopping not only Moore, but also Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas. Now by axing Moore they save...
The two teams that had a donnybrook in the NFC title game hail from the NFC West, a division where three teams won at least 10 games in 2013, with the Arizona Cardinals cruelly missing out on the playoffs.
It’s also a division that’s home to the champs, and their offseason priority is a guy who’s intent on testing the market. Gulp?
Estimated cap room: $16 million
Draft slot: 32nd
End game: Most years...
It’s the short side of the field where Virginia Tech cornerbacks have made their money. They call it the boundary. When the ball is on either hash, the cornerback will line up in the boundary and cover from there. There’s not much of this in the NFL because the ball is always positioned in the middle of the field, but for the Hokies, it speaks to a cornerback’s quality. In Kyle Fuller’s case, there’s been plenty of speaking prior to...
Winter has arrived, and for two of the four teams in the NFC South it came with salary cap fury.
Estimated cap room: $7.2 million
Draft slot: 28th
End game: Late last week when the league officially jacked the salary cap up by 10 million bones to $133 million, you heard a sound. It was Panthers general manager David Gettleman firing any weapon he could get his hands on before playing “Dust in the...
As we continue our adventure around the league and a look at the various offseason blueprints, we land in a place where two of the top 10 free agent cornerbacks are currently employed. Or at least they are for, oh, about six days.
Green Bay Packers
Estimated cap room: $35.1 million
Draft slot: 21st
End game: When a team is fielding a secondary that ranked 24th against the pass last year (247.2 passing yards allowed per game)...
The offseason is a wild time when dreams are born. They often die shortly thereafter, but it’s the hope and the yearning for better and brighter days that matters most now. Just don’t ask a Miami Dolphins fan how it all ends.
The “offseason” is such a broad term, which by its literal definition I suppose draws a circle around the period between early February and late July when players report to training camp. But we all know there’s only...
It’s second-and-nine, and Kelvin Benjamin is the second receiver from the sideline in a twins set. He’s facing off coverage from the Florida Gators defense and is given a cushion of more than a half dozen yards. The Seminoles need to pick up meaningful yardage on this play, so they’ve called a flood concept that’ll require Benjamin to run a 12-yard corner or sail route toward the sideline.
At the snap, he stems vertically, going the necessary dozen yards before...
There still seems to be some sticker shock whenever discussion of a quarterback contract begins to percolate around the Internet’s various tubes. Vaguely, the cycle often goes something like this: a gasp or chuckle at the reported pay being sought, further disbelief and poking holes in the quarterback’s game when said number is finalized, and then silence when the sparkling golden arm in question returns to the field and does exactly what he always does: be a boss.
The franchise tag is a fickle beast from year to year. Two years ago 19 players were tagged, and then in 2013 that number fell to eight.
This year the total fell even further to six tag uses. Prior to the tags just before today’s deadline (more forthcoming), Brian Orakpo was also tagged, and last week Nick Folk, Greg Hardy, and Jimmy Graham were too, with the latter penciled in for months.
But because the NFL isn’t a place where...
We’re all slowly dying inside with each passing second, because that’s how time works. My deepest apologies for going all Rust Cohle here, but please be aware that time is indeed a flat circle, and the iceberg always has the right of way.
When a wide receiver is in his early 30′s and starts to creep closer to the position death age of 35, we can usually see a decline, and often an abrupt one. I wrote about that...
In a passing league where passing is king and everyone passes because passing is the best, three positions have generally taken on an inflated market value: quarterbacks, defensive ends, and cornerbacks. So the thrower of the passes, the interceptor of the passes, and those who collapse the passer.
For cornerbacks, the truly massive cash only lands in the hands of the few who occupy the very top tier. Think Darrelle Revis, who’s getting paid $16 million annually, or Richard Sherman...
As humans we’re wired to be motivated by deadlines, a concrete time that can cause irrational decisions and a deviation from a plan, or it can make normally intelligent folks forget how to use a fax machine. Technology is a helluva thing.
Over the next week before the fun of the NFL’s free agency and silliest season begins, there will be a series of important dates. The most important is clearly the official opening of the market on March...
Your defending champion.
Usually I hold off with this annual list, the best list of all the lists. But with the recently concluded Scouting Combine fresh in the rearview and Pro Days starting next week, the time felt right.
Each year 254 players are drafted into the NFL, and then many more are signed as undrafted free agents immediately afterwards. Most of them have normal(-ish) names, but so many more don’t. So very many more.
In an exercise that’s featured...
Dennis Pitta has been re-signed by the Baltimore Ravens to a five-year contract reportedly worth $32 million. It’s a crucial signing for a Ravens offense that’s also set to deal with impending free agent Jacoby Jones, and now at $6.4 million annually Pitta enters the always coveted top 10 financial bracket at his position.
But it’s a really, really, vitally important deal for someone who isn’t Dennis Pitta: Joe Flacco.
Flacco is quite fond of Pitta. I can’t confirm what...
Time is always and forever an enemy. I’m not qualified to meander into deep philosophy about that, though if you’d like to discuss how as humans we are in fact dying with each passing minute, I’ll be glad to during my weekly dark poetry readings. We meet on Tuesdays, punch and pie.
The struggles of the football human are far more accelerated than that of the normal human, and nowhere is that more evident than their own fight against time....
Every year we can look back on the Super Bowl winning team and learn so very many things. The Seattle Seahawks bestowed upon us both football lessons (HIT HARD) and life lessons (BE ALL ABOUT THAT ACTION, BOSS), but for team building and maintaining, the two crucial takeaways went as follows:
- If your quarterback gets paid so little his paychecks are just jars of peanut butter, take advantage of it
- Spend your entire existence trying to find late-round jewels (including...
The moderately thick dreads bush out the back of his helmet and lie on his jersey, covering his name’s stitching before reaching the top of the No. 25. His bulging arms are creased at the elbows, while his long legs are bent at his knees more than a dozen yards from the line of scrimmage. From a bird’s-eye view, he looks like Bob Sanders, the former Indianapolis Colts safety. A close-up when the play begins reveals more — that Calvin Pryor...
We all had it, surely. We had a high school class that dealt with social issues, and at one point we were assigned to pick an “ism” and know everything about its history, and its badness or goodness. Or at least I was, and at the time 16-year-old Sean Tomlinson picked racism. Presumably because hey, why not start small.
For pretty obvious reasons, I’ll never forget one of the primary sources I read as part of that project…
If you’re the type to curl up in a dark corner while spilling your half empty glass of water, then there’s a reason to be concerned about the Jason Peters contract. A four-year extension at $41.5 million ($51.3 million including the existing year) is heavy both in dollars and length for a tackle who’s 32 years old, and is only about two years removed from an Achilles tear.
But if you’re the sort to enjoy the brighter and peachier things...
Throughout the Scouting Combine, throughout the draft process, throughout the draft itself, and throughout a player’s entire career if he has one of note, we constantly make comparisons and say that Player X reminds us of Really Old Or Retired Player Y. This is not unique to football, but it’s an even more common practice with pigskin prognostication because of the varying body types that excel at different things while playing the same position. The small, shifty running back is...
The grass was still dark green. The hashes still looked freshly painted. It’d only been five minutes since the Saturday game started, and North Carolina’s offense was taking the field for the first time. Quarterback Marquise Williams stood in a shotgun formation, set to take a quick three-step drop and toss the ball out to the left flat, near where Aaron Donald was crouching across the left guard’s outside shoulder.
Donald, Pittsburgh’s fourth-year senior, was known for disturbing the backfield...
Each year we’re smacked in the face repeatedly by a whole lot of numbers from the annual Scouting Combine. As I’ve reminded you almost daily, some of them matter, and most of them don’t. If you’d like to locate the former, look at the periphery of a position group.
But with still one day remaining as defensive backs take the field today, we already have this year’s number that will jettison your mind from its usual resting place. Thanks for...
As I wrote Friday, the numbers produced at the NFL Scouting Combine largely don’t matter for the vast majority of players who have taken the field in Indianapolis and will take the field, because they’ll look back on average 40-yard dash times and verticals in line with what’s expected at their position.
To them we shrug, and their draft grade doesn’t (or shouldn’t) fluctuate drastically. But even if they’re in that muddled middle, the Combine is useful as a tool...