The NFL has been crazy busy with free agent signings early in the new season. Several teams changed up their receiving core for the 2018 season:
Colts beef up their receiving corps, sign Ryan Grant & Eric Ebron
The Indianapolis Colts are headed for some change with their receivers. After a very poor year from the wide receiver spot aside from TY Hilton, and the tight end spot aside from Jack Doyle, Indy decided it was time for some change. They were fortunate that Ryan Grant’s deal with Baltimore fell through as they were able to scoop up the 27-year old wide out on a 1-year deal.
He posted career highs with 45 receptions, 573 yards, and 4 touchdowns a year ago in Washington. He will likely be tasked with replacing the production of Donte Moncrief, who is off to Jacksonville.
They’re also signing former Lions tight end Eric Ebron. Though he has a reputation for dropping a lot of passes, he has been a consistent red zone threat over the duration of his NFL career.
He caught 53 passes for 574 yards and 4 TD’s a year ago. They had a void next to Jack Doyle last year after Dwayne Allen left for New England, so in adding a guy like Ebron, they take some attention away from Doyle, and can run a lot of 2 tight end sets.
Patriots bolster special teams, offense by adding former Raider Cordarelle Patterson
This isn’t a move that is getting a lot of attention, but it will have a big impact on the 2-time reigning AFC champs. Swiss army knife Cordarelle Patterson is headed to the Patriots after Oakland dealt him and 7th round pick to bring a 6th round pick back. Patterson caught 31 passes for 309 yards, rushed 13 times for 121 yards and 2 TD’s, and averaged 28 yards per kick return a season ago.
He hasn’t gotten as many offensive touches since his very first year in Minnesota, but with Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis leaving New England, watch for Patterson to have a number of responsibilities in the offensive, and be an explosive weapon for Tom Brady.
Jaguars cut long longtime TE Marcedes Lewis, WR Allen Hurns
The Jacksonville Jaguars are cleaning house a bit this free agency period. After spending 11 seasons with the team and catching 375 passes for 5,402 yards and 33 TD’s, former Pro Bowler Marcedes Lewis is being cut, and replaced by the rejuvenated ex-Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, along with former Redskins tight end Niles Paul. Lewis was seen as one of the better blockers in the NFL a season ago.
They are also letting go of former 1,000-yard receiver, Allen Hurns. After going un-drafted out of the University of Miami, Hurns made an instant impression in leading the team with 110 yards receiving in his first career game. He finishes his Jacksonville career with 189 receptions, 2,669 yards, and 21 TD’s.
He is going to be replaced by Donte Moncrief, who is coming off of his second consecutive disappointing season in which he caught 26 passes for 391 yards and 2 TD’s in 8 games for the Colts.
Ravens make a splash, add ex-Raider Michael Crabtree
After announcing Ryan Grant had failed his physical, the Ravens used their newfound cap space, and went out to secure Michael Crabtree for a visit. The ex-Raider & 49er came in, and left with a contract.
He was fantastic in 3 years with the Raiders, catching 232 passes for 2,543 yards and 25 TD’s. He brings playoff experience and a winning mindset to a WR corps that lacked consistency and playmaking a year ago. He’ll also be joined by former Cardinal John Brown, who replaces the speed Mike Wallace gave them over the last two years.
There is a look at some of the latest NFL free agency additions. We are looking forward to the start of the 2018 season on the field!
While officially the National Football League new year does not start until Wednesday at 3pm – early this week we have seen a great rush at guys agreeing to new deals with new teams. Here is a look at a few of the latest NFL free agency signings in the past few days.
Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
TEASE. We teased you with new guys going to new teams. Except for Drew Brees. The signal caller could have got paid a ton in the open market, he chose to go back to New Orleans. The future Hall of Fame quarterback likes his team coming back, and has enjoyed playing for his head coach Sean Payton. The deal is worth $50 over the next two seasons.
Albert Wilson – Miami Dolphins
The former Kansas City Chiefs receiver was snagged by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins are in need of receiving help, and they elected to go with Wilson. The team with the Dolphins is worth $24M over the next three seasons.
Star Lotulelei – Buffalo Bills
One of the biggest free agency signings so far is the 14th overall draft pick back in the 2013 draft. Lotulelei was overlooked much of his career in Carolina by his talented teammate Kawann Short. Now, the Buffalo Bills will get his talents, and shore up a weakness they had coming into the off-season.
Sammy Watkins – Kansas City Chiefs
Just think about the talent in that offense now. The Kansas City Chiefs have a new quarterback, they have Tyreke Hill and now they have Sammy Watkins. Mostly known for his time in Buffalo, Watkins went to the postseason a season ago with the Los Angeles Rams. Watkins gets $30M guaranteed from the Chiefs.
Case Keenum – Denver Broncos
Case Keenum is not waiting on the Minnesota Vikings anymore, and the Denver Broncos are not waiting on Kirk Cousins anymore. Keenum took his Minnesota Vikings to the NFC title game a season ago. The 30 year old should be the starting quarterback for John Elway’s team.
Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
Great signing for the Chicago Bears. Mitchell Trubisky has a legitimate weapon to throw to. The Jaguars will miss Robinson, despite his injuries. The deal for Robinson over the next 3 seasons is worth $42M. The Bears look different, but will they be ready to contend in 2018?
Richard Sherman – San Francisco 49ers
We heard about this over the weekend, and it’s true. Richard Sherman, known for helping bring a Super Bowl title to the Seattle Seahawks is now a member of the San Francisco 49ers. He went to a rival, which is interesting. Sherman was hit own agent, and will take down nearly $39.2M. The defensive stud is coming off a torn Achilles tendon in one leg and a bone spur in another.
There is a look at some of the top free agency signings so far in the National Football League. Stay tuned for more as the official league opens the 2018 season mid week.
The 2018 Draft Combine has come and gone in Indianapolis, with several surprises. Now, the league turns it’s attention to the upcoming NFL Draft. The Draft will take place at the end of April. We have put together a look at some of our picks for who will be selected when and by who in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft:
The quarterback out of USC, Sam Darnold appears to be the guy that the Browns are going to go with. Darnold was known for throwing numerous interceptions in his final season with the Trojans. There is no doubt that Cleveland needs help at the quarterback position. Darnold likely best served in a better environment, but being the top pick is a big deal.
New York Giants:
Whether it is this year or in the future – Eli Manning is going to be done as the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. Therefore, the 2018 draft may be the time to grab the next starting quarterback. Josh Allen from Wyoming appears to be that guy. Look for him to go to New York, and likely sit while Manning wraps up his career with the Giants.
The Indianapolis Colts need a lot of help. They are still buying in on Andrew Luck coming back and healthy for next season. The big time problem for the Colts has been their defense. It’s been brutal for a couple seasons now. They look to help that out with drafting the best defensive lineman in the draft and that’s Bradley Chubb out of North Carolina State.
Hello, my old friend. The Cleveland Browns have been terrible, but they are set up for this season. The Browns get the top pick, and they also get the 4th pick. Boy, the Browns offense would get a great upgrade with both Darnold at the quarterback and grabbing Saquon Barkley as their running back. Barkley is a stud, and the best running back on the board. Cleveland may have a future?
Would John Elway take a chance on Baker Mayfield? The chance would be on the character of Mayfield, because it appears the talent is there. Mayfield was impressive at the combine, and many are talking about him moving his way into the Top 5. Not sure if Mayfield can pass Allen as the second quarterback off the board, but his stock certainly went up over the week.
There is a look at the Top 5 in our Mock NFL Draft. Let’s look at a few more to round out the teams that did NOT make the postseason in the National Football League.
New York Jets – Josh Rosen
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Courtland Sutton
Chicago Bears – Denzel Ward
San Francisco 49ers – Derwin James
Oakland Raiders – Roquan Smith
Miami Dolphins – Quenton Nelson
Cincinnati Bengals – Roquan Smith
Washington Redskins – Calvin Ridley
Green Bay Packers – Josh Jackson
Arizona Cardinals – Connor Williams
Baltimore Ravens – Mike McGinchey
Los Angeles Chargers – Orlando Brown
Seattle Seahawks – James Washington
Dallas Cowboys – Christian Kirk
Detroit Lions – Derrius Grice
In a time where a franchise quarterback is a necessity in the NFL, the cost to secure one with a reliable history is even more of a necessity and can be an expensive one. In the last 12 months, we have seen quarterbacks in the NFL lock up monster contracts with enormous guaranteed money. Even quarterbacks that aren’t exactly what we would normally call elite, are getting contracts that are setting records!
Earlier this month, we saw Jimmy Garoppolo, who was traded from the New England Patriots to the San Francisco 49’ers last year, sign a $137.5 million dollar contract that averages $27.5 million dollars per year with $48.7 million dollars guaranteed, which locks him up until 2023! That is a big contract for the best QB’s in the league but for one that went 5-0 in the NFL last year and who has been a backup QB for the majority of his career, is astronomical.
That being said, the Niner’s felt Garoppolo can lead the Kyle Shanahan offense. With winning the final 5 games of the year, the Niner’s feel they finally have a franchise QB that can lead this team back to the playoffs and potentially much more! There are some high profile players available this year on the QB scene.
Brees in New Orleans
Drew Brees is a free agent but chances are he will resign with the New Orleans Saints. Brees has been the face of the organization for many years now and they have built an offense around Brees without having a plan B in place.
It wouldn’t make any sense for the Saints to allow him to walk away and it is just a matter of time before the lock him up.
Cousins on the Move
That leaves the question of what team will win the battle for the 2nd best option on the free agency list, Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins. The Redskins agreed to a tenure with former Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith and that leaves Cousins one of the most sought after players in recent years.
There are several teams that are eagerly awaiting the March 14 date to open up the trade period in the NFL but what some haven’t considered is the fact that the Redskins could legitimately hit Cousins with the franchise tag for the third straight year. The Redskins don’t have the best options at backup and there is no telling what they may do in this situation. The designation period opens up today, February 20, and ends on March 6 at 4pm.
During this period, the Redskins will need to make a decision on placing the franchise tag on Cousins or moving on in a different direction. If they Skins place the franchise tag on Cousins, he would make $34,478,784, which would make him the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Cousins would make on average $13 million more than Garoppolo, who is currently the highest paid in the league at $27.5 million per year. Would the Redskins be willing to pay that much money for one year, for a backup quarterback?
If that happens, the NFLPA is certain to be standing by waiting to file a grievance on behalf of Cousins to allow him to play football as a starting quarterback. Most likely, Cousins would win the battle if it came down to it but for $34.5 million dollars, Cousins very well may take the money and see how it plays it out again next year.
It remains to be seen but there are plenty of hawks flying around in the air waiting on the decision. The New York Jets recently stated that they are willing to pay whatever it takes to sign Cousins but are the key pieces in place for Cousins to be successful in New York?
The Cleveland Browns are always in the market and they have two of the first 4 draft picks in this year’s NFL draft. The Browns have gone 1-31 and are coming off a winless season. They are desperate for a franchise QB and with the ability to put some players around him in this year’s draft, the Browns have to be considered one of the favorites to land Cousins, but does he want to play in Cleveland?
John Elway has said that he absolutely will not go another year without a franchise quarterback. Elway and the Denver Broncos struggled last year at the quarterback position having Brock Osweiler, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch all start at various times in the year at the QB position. There is much talk that the Broncos will pick up a QB in the draft but the expectations are high that they will look for a quarterback for an immediate impact. Denver is another team that is in the top 3 for landing Cousins and with the pieces already in place for immediate success, Cousins could take less money to play in the Mile High.
The Arizona Cardinals are an outside chance to to land the high profile QB. They will be losing Carson Palmer and are the only team in the NFL currently without a QB on their active current roster. The issue with the Cardinals is they may not have the funds to afford the hefty price tag that would come along with Cousins.
Some other experts have targeted the Minnesota Vikings for a potential landing spot for Cousins but that wouldn’t make any sense beings they already have three quarterbacks that are all free agents. It would make no sense for Minnesota to sign a new QB when they can just resign one of the QB’s that already know this offense.
NFL fans around the country have not seen Johnny Manziel in a NFL uniform since 2015, when he played for the Cleveland Browns. Manziel was one of the most exciting football players in the league and had a huge following among the younger crowd. Manziel departed the NFL and entered the world of partying, crime and depression, and many felt that his NFL career was over.
Each year since his departure, it seems that there is a “Johnny Manziel to the….” rumor spread around prior to the start of the preseason but nothing has ever come to fruition but that could change this year if Manziel has anything to do with it. Manziel has been in the press lately but not for bad things, most of the media that Manziel is receiving is all positive.
Manziel appeared on Good Morning America on Monday and talked about his past issues with alcohol usage and depression and spoke of how he self-medicated to treat his personal issues. Manziel stated that he has major issues with depression and sort of used the alcohol to treat his depression. He attributed his release from the NFL on the alcohol induced intoxication and his self medicating.
Manziel was the first freshman to ever win the Heisman Trophy and the Johnny Manziel hype began very early in his college years. The hype led to Manziel overthinking things and gave him a sense of entitlement, which he felt led to a downward spiral. Manziel stated that he only cared about “What Johnny Manziel wanted” and what made him happy. He stated that he thought he was happy while drinking alcohol but the reality was his was miserable inside.
Manziel stated that he has since completely stopped drinking alcohol and the only type of medication he is currently taking is prescribed by a doctor and is for treating his recently diagnosed Bipolar Disorder.
So what does that mean for the future of Johnny Manziel? The Canadian Football League Hamilton Tiger-Cats have reached out and offered a contract to play in the CFL but the two sides have not been able to come to an agreement. That won’t stop Manziel’s dream of making a return and playing in the NFL. The former 1st round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns is hopeful that a NFL team will invite him to preseason camp and give him one more chance that he can make the most of.
Manziel was also seen on “Pardon My Take” and explained that the CFL is on the table but he would not rush into anything. He stated that he wanted to make sure “Everything is a fit, I feel like that’s the biggest thing right now.”
There was some Instagram rumors circulating that Manziel could be heading to the Baltimore Ravens, as a potential backup to Joe Flacco. The rumors were most likely fueled earlier this week when Baltimore Ravens Defensive Backs Tony Jefferson and Marlon Humphrey started a Instagram conversation about the subject. Jefferson posted a image of him wearing a Johnny Manziel Texas A&M jersey and holding up the Johnny Manziel trademark money sign with his hands.
Jefferson posted “Comeback$zn #watch S/O @jmanziel2” which created a response from Humphrey, who said “Tell him to come to the Ravens”. There are numerous responses, some good and some bad, but there is no question that the post spiked some excitement among Baltimore fans.
With that being said, the likelihood of Manziel playing for the Baltimore Ravens are far fetched. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in January 2017 that he would no longer take anyone accused of domestic violence on the team. Bisciotti was a big part in the Ray Rice domestic assault incident and stated “Domestic Abuse?? Not taking them”.
If Bisciotti sticks by his own policy, it would eliminate Manziel from playing on the Ravens due to the fact that he was indicted on misdemeanor assault charges, due to his ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley issued a sworn statement that he attacked her in January 2016. He agreed to complete anger management courses and completed the classes as part of a dismissal agreement to have the charges dropped.
Manziel to the Ravens would make a bit of sense due to the fact that Ryan Mallett, Ravens backup qb, will be a free agent this year after backing up Joe Flacco the past two years. Flacco has also taken a ton of criticism over the past few years for his unreliability. If Bisciotti was to reconsider his stance on domestic violence topic, which is highly unlikely, Manziel could find his way back in a NFL uniform but it remains to be seen if that will happen. One thing to keep in mind, Manziel was never technically found guilty of domestic violence so the loophole is set for a Johnny Manziel return to the NFL.