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NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

With the Super Bowl now behind us, it's time to slip back into the monthly news and notes format. We'll go back to weekly updates when the preseason games kick off in July. February promises to be a busy month in the old league. The Bengals and Dolphins can now formally announce their new head coaches and finish their staffs. 

 

Waivers can officially start taking place today, so any player on your 90 man offseason roster who you know you don't want, can be tossed aside starting today. On the 19th teams can start tagging their pending free agents. And on the 26th the NFL scouting combine will officially start with the physicals and psych evaluations along with some team interviews.

 

Teams will be busy trying to resign the free agents they want to keep while feeling out players' agents on the possible destinations for other guys they represent who the team may have an interest in. While the official free agent legal tampering period doesn't start until March 11th, most teams will know which free agents are possible signees long before that and have some idea of the pricetag. (Truth be told, most teams already know from meetings with agents at the Senior Bowl.)

 

Momentum will be building for some players heading into the draft. In the few weeks since the end of the college season we've gone from there only being one draftable QB in the first round to some mock drafts now having four quarterbacks taken in the first ten picks. (I think that's a tad optimistic, but who knows.) A few knuckleheads will get themselves arrested, fail a drug test, or do something stupid to knock themselves down in the draft order, or out of the draft completely.

 

Expect a few trades to go down soon as Joe Flacco, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles, maybe Eli Manning, and God only knows who else, get shuffled around the league.

 

I wouldn't be shocked to see Todd Gurley offered up in a trade. I don't know what happened to him and the Rams, but they pretty much benched him through the playoffs despite insisting he was perfectly healthy. You don't just take a top five runningback off the field for no reason. He's gotten himself into Sean McVay's doghouse for some reason and once a coach has issues with a guy, that guy is usually gone. He's the top paid runningback in the league, so he's a really good back, but the Rams just didn't use him much in the playoffs with their season on the line.

 

Either everyone's lying about Gurley being healthy (not smart as the league really likes some truth on injury reports) or he's in the coach's doghouse, but I wouldn't be shocked to see him get offered up in a trade. The Rams are already talking about signing CJ Anderson to a long term deal which means they're already looking past Gurley. You don't keep the highest paid runningback in the league on the bench as a backup to CJ Anderson. They'll move him if they can get anything for him. The question is why? What did he do? Why can't it be fixed? Is he a locker room cancer? Does he have an "issue" of some sort? That whole situation is weird and we're likely to hear more as the weeks go by. He's likely got a lot of value around the league though, so someone will offer something of value for him.

 

We could see an Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Junior and Todd Gurley all available this offseason. It's not a normal offseason when three guys of that caliber could be had in trades. The Raiders with three first round picks could pretty much create a monster offense by getting all three of those guys. They could create a massive headache in the locker room also, but who knows what will happen?

 

The free agent market will be pretty intense come March as teams will be bidding for Le'Veon Bell, who may already know where he's going. One of the hot rumors in the league is that he already knows where he'll go and the outlines of the deal which is why he sat out last season. Expect to see him sign pretty quickly once free agency starts. I'm not so sure the market for defensive linemen will be as hot as many expect. There are a lot of guys available this year already, with more names expected to be added soon. Teams that spent a lot last year on the d-line didn't see their investments pay off that well and with a deep draft of defensive linemen available, teams may invest their free agent dollars elsewhere.

 

Don't be shocked to see Beau Allen and Vinny Curry, both big free agent signees with Tampa last year, get cut and resign with the Eagles. Tampa's changing their base defense and those two guys aren't good fits with where Tampa's going. Both still have strong ties with Philly and the Eagles could use them as good depth players. Chris Long has now managed to raise enough money to force Beau Allen to climb mount Kilimanjaro for charity, so it'll depend on whether he survives that or not, but I wouldn't be shocked to see both guys back in Philly. They left for the money and more playing time, but are learning the grass isn't always greener in another field. 

 

The league will be pretty busy from now through June with free agency, the draft, OTA's, and minicamps.From the end of June until training camps start in later July things will be quiet, but expect lots of chaos in the meantime. This feels like a year where lots of things are going to get wildly shaken up. We could see a third of the league with new starting quarterbacks in 2019 and you don't see that all that often. We could see some unexpected big name guys offered up just to see if there's a market for them. I wouldn't be stunned to see Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, Derek Carr and others have their names tossed around as possible trade bait. Lots of new coaches may want "their guy" as QB and not an older guy on his way out.

 

Some new coaches will be under intense scrutiny. Kliff Kingsbury is the guy who seems like the riskiest hire of the lot. As a rule a guy who took over a college program that had a twenty year winning streak and turned them into a loser despite having three NFL caliber quarterbacks, one of whom he alienated enough to transfer, isn't the ideal resume for an NFl head coach. But, maybe the Cards know something the rest of us don't. We'll have to see.

 

It's going to be a fun ride heading into the 2019 season. You pretty much won't know the players without a scorecard this year though. Expect lots of changes, chaos and unexpected moves. Heck, if just the expected moves take place, it'll be more change than normal.

Fly!!! Eagles!!! Fly!!!
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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

The Colts #1 priority in the offseason will be ramping up the pass rush. They have an improved O-line, but have no outstanding edge rushers. Ballard isn't sure if they will get the rushers through draft or free agency; he's checking all options. 

 

Todd Gurley's usage in the NFCCG and Superbowl is  a mystery. McVay had said that he is healthy, but there is something off. BTW, the Rams didn't look like they deserved Offensive Line of the Year award. The Colts would have been a better choice seeing how they had improved. 

 

Edelman deserved MVP as he was the main playmaker. I didn't realize that the Patriots had such a good defense, or were the Rams that bad at offense? 

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

The Rams were that bad on offense. The Patriots defense is good, but the Rams were putrid. Their offensive line didn't pick up basic end/tackle stunts that they've seen since the first week of training camp. Their right guard just got run over on multiple plays. McVay didn't really make any good adjustments until midway through the third quarter. Goff wasn't sharp. Gurley was largely unused yet again. (Why?) McVay seemed to be playing not to lose rather than playing to win. You have to attack the Patriots (and pretty much every NFL team) but the Rams didn't. They were too passive. The Patriot linebackers weren't picked up on blitzes. It was a dismal job by the Rams. They did nothing right on offense. The Patriots played well on defense, but the Rams also just stunk. Your offensive guards and tackles have to know how to switch and pick up end/tackle stunts, but the Rams linemen just looked lost. They couldn't run block, pass block, or stay out of their own way. It's not film they'll ever want to see again. 

 

It's not like the Patriots offense was a lot better. Both teams just looked out of sorts offensively. At that point in the season you expect players to be mentally sharp and focused. They weren't. I don't know if the two weeks off was the problem, or the bigness of the stage, but neither offense performed at the level one would expect. You just don't expect that caliber of play at this point of the season.

 

For those saying it was a defensive battle, offense should win on most plays.  They know where they're going while the defense has to react and respond. A wide receiver knows his route. The quarterback knows his route. The DB doesn't know it. He has to react. With guys covering almost ten yards in a second, a quick break gets the receiver open by a yard or two and if the ball is delivered on time, there's nothing the defense can do but make the tackle.

 

Defensive battles are more often than not just bad offenses and that was the case yesterday. Take away Julian Edelman's stats and Brady had a horrible game. Edelman deserved MVP as he was pretty much the only offensive player to show up. You saw how open he got by simply running his routes and Brady getting the ball to him on time. It was just a miserable display of offensive football other than Edelman though. It was not a pretty game.

 

 

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

The Dolphins and Bengals now formally have new head coaches. With the Super Bowl now done both teams were able to introduce their new guys. The Dolphins insist they haven't made a decision on Tannehill just yet. (They have, they just aren't saying anything publicly.) They're just waiting to see what happens around the league before they burn the Tannehill bridge. If they can't trade for someone, sign a free agent they like, or draft a kid, they'll insist Tannehill's been their guy the whole time and they never wanted him gone. Let them find someone who could be better, and it's bye-bye Ryan. It's largely the same with Eli Manning in New York. 

 

By this stage of the offseason pretty much every team but the Rams and Patriots have gone over the roster with a fine toothed comb and figured out who's worth keeping, and who's not. Some guys are already getting cut (Connor Barwin of the Giants) while others will be kept in limbo until after free agency, the draft, and June first for cap reasons. Free agency tends to come in three waves these days. You've got the first wave arriving in March. A second wave comes along in June. Then the final wave of free agents hits the shore on the last cutdown day in late August/early September. If you can't find a body in March. Then you target the draft. Miss out there? Check out the June cuts. Still no one? Then you've got the last cuts at the end of training camp.

 

If you're a GM with a known roster hole now, it had better not still be there at the start of the regular season. You have lots of opportunities to fill any voids between now and the start of the regular season. If you can't get that job done, then you're not likely to be a GM next year this time. Now, new roster holes will develop due to injury, age, players not panning out, etc., but this is hole filling season coming up and you'll have plenty of chances to find guys to fill whatever holes your team has.

 

Some GM's get too attached to "their guys" and hang onto them too long, or overpay them, but the smart ones are studying their own roster and the players around the league to see where they can upgrade and improve their roster without blowing their salary cap sky high.

 

Most GM's at this point have a plan A, B, C, and D with E, F, and G in reserve. They'll target a certain free agent, or several free agents. Get them, great. Miss out, move to plan B. That would be the draft. Target a few specific players to fill specific roles in the draft. If you get them, great. If not, move on to plan C. Then you look at the guys still remaining as free agents and check out the June first cuts. Find a guy? Great. If not, study the training camp rosters of teams and scout their players. FInd a guy you like, try to trade for him, or see if the team cuts him. If all else fails start calling teams with depth where you're weak and try to swing a trade. Meanwhile you toss some guys who aren't good enough but have potential onto your practice squad and pray they improve with good coaching.

 

There are lots of moving parts this offseason. Le'Veon Bell will get the headlines, but the quarterback shuffle will be interesting to watch. Blake Bortles, Ryan Tannehill, Nick Foles will all almost certainly be moving. Eli Manning and multiple others could also be moving. The three guys who were said to be the future of the league a few years back in Marcus Mariota, Derek Carr and Jameis Winston could be moving. The Giants and OBJ still aren't in perfect harmony. The Steelers already have the "For Sale" sign up on Antonio Brown. If you're a GM with lots of cap space and a ton of draft picks you don't mind moving, you can do some pretty bold and impressive things this offseason. This is a very GM friendly offseason. It should be fun to watch how it all plays out.

 

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

There is a possiblity that Cam Newton could miss the 2019 season due to a shoulder injury. He might need nother surgery. The Panthers' GM has compared it to Andrew Luck's injury. If the Panthers went with their backup, they would still need another quarterback on the roster, or even a starter if they don't trust the backup enough. 

 

I would be surprised to see Jameis Winston move to another team. Reports have mentioned that Arians is a good coach for Winston; maybe they would move Fitzgerald instead. I doubt that DeSean Jackson will stay with TB. He and Winston aren't on the same page. 

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

Cam Newton was not healthy last year. If he misses all of 2019, they'll need a good replacement. Cam pretty much is the Panther's offense. This will be his second shoulder issue in three years, not a good sign. Shoulders are tricky joints to get right. They may really need to be looking for a more permanent solution.

 

Bruce Arians seems to be falling into the "This guy just needs better coaching" trap with Jameis Winston, at least he was initially. The more time he spends around the organization and the more he interacts with Winston, he might change his mind on that. I don't think Arians wants to give up a DeSean Jackson if he can avoid it. Guys with that kind of speed are hard to find. If he has to choose between Winston and Jackson, he might end up favoring Jackson and moving Winston. DeSean Jackson makes QB's look good. You simply drop back, hang the ball up high and deep to Jackson and let him run under it for a big gain. For whatever reason, Jameis Winston just doesn't do that.

 

This looks like an offseason where there are going to be way more moving parts than in a normal offseason. As many as ten veteran quarterbacks could be starting on new teams. Four kid QB's could be starting on new teams. A whole lot of coaches will be on the hot seat. Lose two games in a row and that seat will get hotter. Tannehill, Foles, Flacco, Carr, Winston, Mariota, Dalton, Manning, Fitzpatrick, and Keenum could all be starting for new teams next year and possibly a few others. You just don't see that in  typical offseason. It's going to be a wild one. It should be fun to watch though. 

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

Yesterday saw the Eagles formally inform Nick Foles that they were exercising their $20 million option on him. He responded an hour later and said he was giving them back $2 million to buy his way out of the option. (He has to pay with a certified check for $2 million within a week from what I understand.) So, now we wait to see what happens when teams can apply the franchise tag on February 19th. Will the Eagles use the tag on him for around $25 million and assume they can trade him? (That seems to be the assumption by the "insiders.")

 

Reportedly multiple teams have contacted the Eagles about Foles and one report has the Buccaneers as being one of those teams. That's kind of interesting. Winston's due $20+ million this year if they keep him, but his dead money is all gone, so they could cut him free and not take a cap hit if they wanted to sign Foles. Do they keep Jameis Winston for $20 million or trade for Nick for $25 million? They're two very different guys. Nick's about as high character as you can get. You don't have to worry about him getting in trouble. Jameis is more of a ticking time bomb whose character has been highly questioned. Nick and DeSean Jackson go way back. Nick's really good at hanging those deep balls up for his receivers to run under.

 

Jacksonville, Miami, Oakland, the Giants and Redskins are other teams you hear mentioned for Nick. The Bengals have been mentioned a time or two also. We have a couple of weeks for the speculation to grow and side deals to be done before the Eagles have to decide whether to tag Nick or not. If the Eagles can get several teams interested in Nick and a bidding war erupts they could get more than the third round pick they're apparently seeking. There are likely going to be some very interesting telephone conversations taking place in the Eagles front office over the next few weeks as things heat up. (Or there could be no interest and nothing happens, but the gossip is that Nick is highly sought after right now.)

 

I still think Denver is the best fit for Nick overall, but I thought that last year too and Elway didn't even look at him. Case Keenum certainly didn't pan out for Denver so they're out looking for a new QB again, but you still don't hear them mentioned a lot in the Foles conversations.

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

Foles paid the Eagles 2 million to buy his way out of the option, so what happens if the team applies the franchise tag on him? Does he get the money back? 

 

Jacksonville seems to be the top team for Foles if he becomes a free agent. They hired John DeFillippo as OC, and Foles has ties to him. It was also mentioned that Foles was thinking about moving to Florida, though not sure how accurate that is. 

 

Gardenman, John Elway isn't listening to you about Foles going to Denver. I guess tha the won't be changing his mind on that. 

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!

[ Edited ]

@gardenman

 

You can knock the Redskins off the Foles list. During Super Bowl week,  Bruce Allen told both WTEM-AM The Team 980 and NBC Washington Sports’s podcast that the team is not planning for life without Smith (they don't want to take the huge cap hit ). Allen also said the Redskins don’t have to draft a quarterback in the first round.  

 

What the plan seems to be---- is boosting the O-line by extending RG Scherff's contract and drafting a solid LG,  this would give Colt better protection and help boost blocking for the running game. RB Guice will be ready to come back, and there have been preliminary talks to try to get AP re-signed..... The Redskins  strategy seems to be win with defense, a strong running game and few turnovers. 

 

They don't seem to have plans to bring in a top knotched QB this season or make a big trade for one. However they could opt for a quarterback with their first round mid-round pick, but it seems unlikely this season. They have been interested in re-signing Josh Johnson since the season ended, OR they could even go with an undrafted QB.  Although one analyst did mention an option of Bridgewater but this also seems unlikely.  Of course, you never know, we're dealing with Bruce Allen, and he could just be blowing a smoke screen and trying to hide is hand..... With Smith's injury and cap implications I doubt that's the case...

 

@teganslaw

 

I heard the Colts were more than likely looking for a pass rusher this offseason...Any candidates in FA or any key draft prospects the team is looking at....I know you said fans are wondering about our FA Preston Smith.    

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Re: NFL News and Notes for February 2019!!!


@teganslaw wrote:

Foles paid the Eagles 2 million to buy his way out of the option, so what happens if the team applies the franchise tag on him? Does he get the money back? 

 

Jacksonville seems to be the top team for Foles if he becomes a free agent. They hired John DeFillippo as OC, and Foles has ties to him. It was also mentioned that Foles was thinking about moving to Florida, though not sure how accurate that is. 

 

Gardenman, John Elway isn't listening to you about Foles going to Denver. I guess tha the won't be changing his mind on that. 


That $2 million now belongs to the Eagles, even if they tag him. He'd get a guaranteed $25+ million on the tag, so it's a win-win for Nick. (Assuming someone wants him and that seems to be the case.)

 

The new football league that starts on Saturday has a creative alternative to onside kicks. The team that just scored gets the ball placed on their own 35 yard line, but it's fourth and ten. They have to get at least ten yards on the first play or the ball goes to the opponent deep in their territory. That's kind of clever.

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