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04-01-2019 08:34 AM - edited 04-01-2019 08:35 AM
Well, March certainly lived up to expectations with players going here, there, and everywhere. Lots of teams got better. Some got worse. Some stayed largely the same. And now things get really crazy.
April has two big events happening. The NFL draft and the end of the AAF season. Both will have more players moving around the league. A fair number of players have shown enough in the AAF to earn a shot at the NFL and will be competed for once they become available. Will many of them make an NFL roster? Probably not, but a few will.
The draft promises to be fun. Nearly everyone agreees that Kyler Murray will be the first overall pick with at least one source confirming that he's already been told he'll be picked first overall by the Cards. The quarterback spidergraph on Murray is kind of impressive looking. He's in the top five to ten percent on every category. I don't think I've ever seen that on any player. The Niners seem locked in on taking the best defensive player, generally presumed to be Nick Bosa, with the second pick. (Though they did get Dee Ford, so maybe that changed their plans?) Then all heck breaks loose. The Jets, Raiders and arguably the Bucs, will all have "For Sale" signs up on their picks and teams needing a QB will be looking to move up to get "their guy."
Oddly enough, it doesn't look like the Giants will be among those teams moving on up to the top tier. They still seem to believe that Eli Manning is still their best option. They're even talking about signing him to an extension to play through 2020 and possibly beyond. Kudos to them for loyalty. So what if he can't hit open receivers and is inaccurate these days. So what if he tends to fade under a rush. He'll be fine. They seem to have talked themselves into keeping him as their QB for some reason. Kudos to Eli. He typically has a hot streak each year of five to six games where he plays well, and he cleverly timed it this year towards the end of the season, so the front office has that more firmly in mind than how poorly he played the rest of the year.
The Cardinals need to put Josh Rosen out of his misery by sending him someplace else. They've reportedly turned down a second round pick for him and are insisting on a first round pick. Quite a few teams are interested in him, including the Patriots. (Which may be fake news intended to drive up his price. "Belichick wants him? We should get him then!") Once the Cards are sure Kyler Murray doesn't get hit by a truck or anything before the draft, they'll move Josh Rosen.
I'm not sure there aren't more mock drafts circulating than there are players in the draft. The Eagles pick 25th and pretty much everyone who's not a quarterback has been mocked to them in one mock draft or another. I've pretty much given up looking at the mock drafts. I think if Josh Jacobs, the Alabama running back is there at 25, the Eagles might just grab him. They could also trade up to get a guy they want, or trade back to get extra picks. Nothing would surprise me. It's a pretty deep first round this year with somewhere around 20 guys with good first round grades on them. Most of the quarterbacks aren't ranked very highly, but it's a sought after position, so some will go meaning that a few higher ranked guys might still be available at 25.
By the end of April every team will have started their official offseason program and have largely filled out their ninety man off season roster. This will be the real start of the 2019 season. Phase one of the offseason program features strength and conditioning and starts today for teams with new head coaches and on the fifteenth for teams with returning staffs. Phase two kicks in on the 29th and features the first on the field work with coaches, but nothing head to head. In May the rookie minicamps and more start up.
This should be a fun month for NFL watchers. Lots of changes are coming to teams this month and most teams will end the month feeling very optimistic about their chances in the 2019 season. Teams not feeling wildly optimsitc would likely be those that may be tanking for Tua or Justin Herbert next year. That would be the Dolphins, Giants, maybe the Redskins, and any team that has quarterback issues early in 2019 and gets off to a bad (0-4) start. Once a team is 0-4 and things aren't looking good, the idea of tanking for Tua or Herbert might start looking pretty good.
I'll be watchng the Cardinals a lot this offseason and through the 2019 season. I'm not wildly optimistic about their chances. I just don't know what they see in Kliff Kingsbury that makes them think he's the right coach for them. I could see them giving the tanking teams a run for their money. Maybe they'll surprise me in a good way, but I have my doubts.
The Chiefs strike me as a team that's going to have issues on defense. They're going to need Patrick Mahomes to be even better this year to compensate for that and I'm not sure he can be much better than he was last year. Steve Spagnuolo was a good DC in his first go round with the Giants, but hasn't impressed much since then.
April promises to be a pretty busy month around the old league. It's the last month of major roster shuffling. There will be a few veterans let loose after the draft when teams get a kid to replace them, but not too many will be cut free. By the end of the month probably 95% of the off season roster will be locked in and the personnel departments can catch their breath a bit. AAF players, draft picks, and undrafted free agents will round out the rosters and most teams will be happy.
Then they get the guys on the field in May and start to worry again. "This receiver ran a 4.4 at the combine and my linebacker who runs a 5.2 is able to cover him man to man down the field? What the heck?" The sure-handed rookie runningback who the team has slated to be the starter fumbles every other play. A few rookies can't remember how to tie their shoes let alone remember the playbook. By the end of May the early optimisim many teams will have felt at the end of April will have melted away and reality will have sunk in. "How can we be looking this bad?"
Coaches will start to glare at the personnel staff and wonder how they could be so stupid as to stuff the roster with idiots who can't play football, while the personnel staff will be wondering why the coaches can't coach up these guys to play better. Meanwhile they all smile to the cameras and talk about how optimistic they are for the 2019 season. "We've got the pieces we need to reach the Super Bowl this year!" Well, two teams do. The rest will come up short.
I don't think this is a good year to be a fan of the Dolphins, Cardinals, Bucs, Giants, or Redskins. (At least not now.) I'm just not wildly optimistic about any of those teams for a multitude of reasons, most centering on the quarterbacks. The Dolphins seem to be intent on going with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their QB. The Bucs are apparently sticking with Jameis Winston. The Giants are sticking with Eli. The Redskins really need McCoy or Keenum to play over their heads. There's a really good chance that next year at this time one of those teams will be holding that first overall pick.
And we get the new league schedule sometime in April! That's always fun. Everyone goes through and guesses which games will be wins and which one's losses. The good news for the Eagles is they play the Giants twice, the Redskins twice, and the Dolphins. That's pretty much as close to five sure wins as you'll ever get in the league. Now the Giants and Redskins could put up more of a fight than it looks, but right now, the Eagles would almost certainly be favored (maybe by a touchdown or more) in those games. They also have games with the Lions, Jets, Bills that are likely wins putting them at eight wins. The rest of the games are against the Cowboys (two games), Bears, Patriots, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, and Falcons. A couple of more wins in that group of games and the Eagles are likely a playoff team again.
April promises to be a busy and fun month for NFL fans.
04-01-2019 08:53 AM
I'm kind of sad that The Gronk retired. He is doing the right thing, and I pray all the injuries he sustained over his career don't catch up with him. But still - gonna miss him.
04-01-2019 11:32 AM
I'm kind of sad that The Gronk retired. He is doing the right thing, and I pray all the injuries he sustained over his career don't catch up with him. But still - gonna miss him.
Gronk was a fun guy, but he may not be as retired as it seems. The preseason stuff is largely a grind for veteran players, so older players will sometimes "retire" only to then unretire as the start of the season gets closer. It's a good way to avoid having to practice all summer, but still get to play the game you love. Don't be shocked to see Gronk back as a Patriot come September.
04-01-2019 11:47 AM
Kyler Murray is having a secret workout with the Raiders. (It can't be so secret if it's in the news.) What is that all about? The Raiders claim that Carr is their QB, so we'll see.
Gronk's agent said that he wouldn't be surprised if Gronk still played. The Patriots would probably be happy if he changed his mind.
Frank Reich wants the Colts to have a top 5 to top 7 running game. Mack is their feature RB, according to Reich, and the team will at times go with a running back committee. No news on where this leaves Jay Ajayi. He's most likely out of Philly since the Eagles signed Jordan Howard.
Also, congrats to Andrew Luck on his recent wedding! The bride is a member of the U.S. Gymnastic Team. They've been together for several years, so it was only matter of time before they got married.
04-01-2019 06:48 PM - edited 04-02-2019 02:06 PM
Nice to know that Cowboy players aren't warmly received in D.C. Even Duke and Michigan State college basketball fans at Capital One Arena could all agree on one thing: Booing Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and WR Amari Cooper. 😆😆😆
Trent Williams had a health scare he had a tumor on his head that had doctors worried it was malignant. Williams had the growth removed and at this point, should be unaffected once he recovers and ready for camp.
Case was playing in a charity golf tournament city where he went to high school---Abilene, TX and wore Redskin gear HTTR
CONGRATS to Andrew!😊
The Redskins concern is they need someone to throw TO...we got a TE that's always hurt, and basically no WR's... Jay Gruden is exolling the virtues of Trey Quinn as his slot receiver, and 2016 first rounder Doctson is a bust....he spent his first year injured, and subsequent years injured and/or not effective ---- so our QB's only job will be to hand the ball off to RB'S AP, Guice and Thompson..... The Redskins could pick up a cheap QB option in the draft ....but JMHO I dont expect them to try to move up...Gruden has alluded to this
I heard Wentz has one year left contract---pending a 5th yr option, but the Eagles are hesistant about extending his contract and prefer to let him play out the 2019 season because he has yet to prove that he can remain healthy for a full season and carry the team into the post season. And the rumors from the locker room concerning Wentz didn't help either... are there morale problems, do players, like some fans, think they should've kept Foles and traded Wentz..?????..
Cowboys still haven't started contract talks with Dak or Cooper
04-01-2019 08:44 PM
What I'm hearing locally is that the Eagles intend to sign Wentz to a long term deal making him the highest paid player in the league. Whether they get it done this offseason or next is up in the air, but there seems to be no hesitancy on the Eagles' side to get a new deal done. The Eagles have scrounged up $20+ million in cap space this year and with Jason Peters likely retiring in 2020 and other big contract guys likely moving on, they'll be paying Wentz somewhere between $35-$40 million a year.
No player has even hinted at dissatisfaction over letting Nick go. They seem genuinely happy that he's getting a chance to be "the guy" in Jacksonville and get his big payday. Eagles players seem very excited about 2019 and beyond. The Eagles' defensive players nicknamed Sudfeld "Studfeld", due to his ability to pressure them in practice. We'll see how he performs in the preseason, but the defensive players love Nate.
The Eagles are stockpiling draft picks to get more youth on the team, and with those younger players comes a lower salary allowing the team to pay Wentz a whole lot of money. Lurie, and everyone else seem to be in agreement that Carson will be the highest paid player in the league by this time next year. Lurie said they've been planning for this since they drafted him.
04-02-2019 07:01 AM
The Chiefs got Ogbah from the Browns to help fill out their d-line. I get the vibe there's some unease in the Browns locker room. Ogbah wanted out, now Duke Johnson their runningback is reportedly asking to be traded. People are saying the Browns will be a Super Bowl contender, and generally speaking, players want to play for such a team, but two really good players (Ogbah and Johnson) want to get away from there. That's something to keep an eye on. The Browns may just have some serious internal friction of some sort going on that could derail them in 2019. Typically, good players will put up with a lot to play for a winning team. Two good Browns players don't want to be Browns any longer. Maybe it's nothing, but it does get your attention a bit.
04-02-2019 06:40 PM - edited 04-02-2019 06:54 PM
Pending any last minute heroics it looks like the AAF has folded...local news teams told to leave before the announcement was officially made to the players....local ticket holders can't get any answers about ticket refunds......Que up Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust"........Sad for players and fans..
And Colin K was asking for $20 mill to play in this league...shows what an idiot and legend in his own mind he is....
In other news....
Oh those Dallas Cowboys...The Cowboys are not sure when Randy Gregory will be able to play again, but according to NFLPA figures they have extended his contract through 2020.
04-03-2019 06:39 AM
The end of the AAF season came a bit quicker than anticipated. Scouts say that each AAF team had about five guys who should make NFL rosters, but I'm not sure if/when they'll be free to sign NFL deals.
There's something weird on the financial side of the AAF. They had a TV deal, low salaries, decent attendance, but still ran out of money. It'll be interesting to hear where the money all went.
The Cowboys and Randy Gregory are an interesting pair. He's obviously one of Jerry's guys, but extending his contract is a high risk, low reward move. He might never get reinstated after this last suspension, but the Cowboys are using up a roster spot for him. JJ is very loyal to "his guys" but there are times when it's smarter to move on.
Just a bit more than three weeks til the draft and Kyler Murray still seems like the sure thing first overall pick by the Cards. After that, God only knows what will happen. You're starting to hear more negatives about Nick Bosa. Some are saying he's not explosive enough. He doesn't jump off the film at you, etc.. I'm not sure I'm buying what they're selling. The Niners had been saying that second overall pick was not for sale at any price, but now you're hearing whispers that may not be true. That could mean they agree about Bosa, or they could just be getting a feel for how desperate teams are to move up.
The Josh Rosen auction is still ongoing. The Cards say they want a first round pick for him and have already turned down a second round pick. You're hearing the Redskins mentioned more lately in the Rosen auction, so something could be cooking there. I'm not sure about that since Rosen wasn't an Alabama player, but maybe the Redskins are looking to branch out a bit more.
Wherever he goes, Josh will be in a tough spot. This will be the second time in two years he'll be expected to be a franchise savior and his third offense in three years. Whoever gets him will need to be patient as he flushes out the old offenses and installs the new one. He really needs two to three years of stability before he should be judged, but he'll likely only get a few weeks/months before people make up their minds about him. Learning an NFL offense takes about three years before it comes naturally and you can just play. Josh likely won't have three years. He's in a tough spot. In college terms, it's like he's in his third year of college, having changed majors each of the previous years, and now finds himself in a classroom where he's expected to take the same final exam as the kids who have had this major all four years. No matter how much he preps, or how hard he studies, you can't make up that time. NFL defenses will be his testers and he won't be ready with all of the answers.
04-03-2019 09:08 AM
That's too bad about the AAF. I enjoyed watching some of their games on TV.
If Randy Gregory were with another team, he'd probably be gone by now. Few teams would put up with Gregory's suspensions for long, much less extending his contract. Cleveland came close with their support of Josh Gordon, but even they got tired of the situation and released him. Players should consider themselves lucky if they get on the right side of Jerry Jones. His loyalty knows no bounds.
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