This is just an informative post, in case you wanted to check out any of the NFL Combine.
Thursday, February 27, 4-11pm
TE, QB, WR
Tight ends, quarterbacks and wide receivers take the field for the first day of on-field workouts.
Friday, February 28, 4-11pm
PK, ST, OL, RB
Place kickers, special teams, offensive linemen, and running backs take the field for the second day of on-field workouts.
Saturday, February 29, 4-11pm
Defensive linemen and linebackers will take the field for day three of on-field workouts.
Sunday, March 1, 2-7pm
Watch as defensive backs take center stage.
The entire thing is on NFL Network.
So, this is post is purely hypothetical, and is dependent on the assumption that the XFL not only survives, but is deemed successful enough for Vince McMahon to decide to expand the league to 16, having 8 teams in each conference, instead of four.
You are in charge of expansion, AND any realignments, if you deem it necessary. If you were going to decide which cities to expand the XFL to, where would you go? (Assume you can find a suitable stadium wherever). Would you have two 8-team, divisions, or would you split a 16 team league into 4 groups of 4?
As a reminder, here are the current conferences:
The NFL Players Association board of representatives is no longer planning a vote Friday on the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement voted on by NFL ownership Thursday, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported per a source.
The board and NFLPA executive committee are now hoping to meet next week with the NFL Management Council Executive Committee in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine and vote following that, Pelissero added. The situation is currently fluid, but meeting at the combine is the hope currently, Pelissero said, and comes just a day after NFL owners approved terms on a proposed new CBA between the league and NFLPA.
Earlier on Friday, the NFLPA executive committee voted, 6-5, not to recommend the current CBA proposal. As that was a recommendation, the matter then went to the 32-player board of representatives. Talks continued thereafter through Friday for roughly three hours before the news broke that a vote would no longer take place.
"Today, the NFLPA Board of Player Representatives did not take a vote on the principal terms of a proposed new collective bargaining agreement," NFLPA said in a statement Friday. "Our player leadership looks forward to meeting with NFL management again next week before the board takes a vote shortly after."
Following ownership approval on Thursday, the proposal was brought to the players and their representatives on Friday, needing a two-thirds majority vote to move into the stage of a final vote. Of course, a vote never transpired.
Among the matters at hand in the proposal were the option to expand to a 17-game regular season, an increase in players' share of total revenue to at least 48 percent, expansion of the playoff field to 14 teams beginning in 2020 and improved health care.
As Pelissero pointed out, the executive committee -- led by president Eric Winston -- is negotiating the deal. There have been members, namely vice presidents Richard Sherman and Russell Okung, who have voiced opposition.
Described by Pelissero as a heated and emotional Friday conference call, it began with the executive committee voting not to recommend the proposed CBA. The board continued to discuss it before agreeing not to vote on Friday. The next step is going to be what the NFLPA leadership hopes will be a meeting with the NFL Management Council, which negotiates on the league side, at the combine. After that, the board intends to carry out its vote.
Pelissero also noted the vote of the rank-and-file players in its entirety was prognosticated to be a yes, but there is now a delay as the players union looks to see if there is any wiggle room on the league side.
If an agreement comes to be, the CBA could be thrust into effect in time for the new league year on March 18, which could change free agency and the salary cap.
My thoughts: The NFLPA executive committee just set itself up for failure. The players have no actual power since their players can't afford to be out of work for an extended period of time while the owners can all afford to sit tight until the players give in.
Here is this weekend's XFL Schedule:
Houston Roughnecks (2-0) at Tampa Bay Vipers (0-2) 2pm, ABC
Dallas Renegades (1-1) at Seattle Dragons (1-1) 5pm, FOX
New York Guardians (1-1) at St. Louis Battlehawks (1-1) 3pm, ESPN
DC Defenders (2-0) at Los Angeles Wildcats (0-2) 6pm, FS1
*All times listed are EST
Earlier today, GreatPogo asked me where nhguy, the owner of the Chatters websites, was. I did a little investigating, and noticed that he hadn't left a single comment for about a month. I have nhguy's personal email address, so I emailed him to see what was going on.
According to nhguy, his work has kept him ridiculous busy doing technology related renovations, and he just hasn't had any downtime to devote to the website. But he is doing ok, and once things settle down a little at his job, he will be back.
Rather than make each of these a separate post, I am just gonna combine them into a single, multi-faceted post.
- Under the new CBA proposal that is currently floating around, the idea is to add a 17th regular season game, and dropping one of the preseason games. This really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, we have known the NFL has been coveting a 17 game schedule for years...The additional regular season game would also come with a 2nd bye week for each team. One question would be how the unbalanced schedule would affect the number of home vs. away games each team has. I suspect they would either just rotate each year, or schedule more neutral site/international games, so that every team plays in one, every year. That way, all 32 teams keep 8 home and 8 away scheduling, but with one additional neutral site game. No more Jaguars only getting 7 home games because they are scheduled as the "home team" in London every year.
- The CBA proposal also includes adding a 3rd wildcard team to each conference, making it 7 teams, not 6 qualifying for the playoffs in each. The #2 seed would no longer get wildcard weekend off, they would play the #7 team. 3 Wildcard games on Saturday, and another 3 on Sunday? I could get behind that idea.
- Greg Robinson, LT, who was a Cleveland Brown last season, just got busted transporting 157 lbs. of marijuana. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SEVEN POUNDS. I am gonna go out on a limb here, and say that's not just for uh...personal use. I mean seriously dude. What the hell?
- There are grumblings that Joe Burrow might not want to be drafted by Cincinnati at #1, despite being from Ohio. That he might pull something along the lines of John Elway or Eli Manning. The Bengals draft #1, but Burrow has "leverage". Not sure exactly what that means, but imagine if the Bengals take the threat seriously, and take Tua #1 instead? How many offers would the Redskins then get from teams desperate to trade up to #2 to get Burrow? (That would increase the chances my Lions get Chase Young!!! WOOHOO!!!)
- Multiple Pro Bowl selection former Panthers TE Greg Olsen is now a Seattle Seahawk.
- 4x Pro Bowl pass rusher Everson Griffen has opted out of his contract with the Vikings, and is now a FA.
- Patriots super fan Ben Affleck claims that friend Tom Brady won't even tell him what his offseason intentions really are...Brady likely doesn't realize that Affleck was the bomb in Phantoms, yo!
Drew Brees has announced he is in fact, returning to the Saints for the 2020 NFL season, so the New Orleans Saints are off the QB Carousel board...
My Nearly two weeks after a report emerged that the Raiders will target Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in free agency, a new report puts some monetary meat on the bone.
Larry Fitzgerald Sr., a long-time member of the media in Minnesota and the father of future first-ballot Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, reports that the Raiders are ready to offer Brady $60 million over two years.
Although this one (like the Bernie Smilovitz report of Matthew Stafford trade talks) doesn’t come from someone with an extensive track record of breaking NFL news, my knee-jerk reaction is to believe it, for several reasons. First, I know Fitzgerald Sr. and I’m prepared to say that, if he’s saying it, he’s definitely hearing it from someone who would know. Second, he’s in position to have heard it from someone who knows what’s going on, given the people he knows in the broader NFL structure, thanks both to his own connections and his son’s. Third, although the window for talking to agents about pending free agents doesn’t open until March 16, there are too many teams and too many quarterbacks for the process of preparing and making offers not to have already begun.
The number isn’t surprising, not with the market for quarterbacks at $35 million per year. For Brady, the bigger question will be fit, with team, coaching staff, city, and offense. It’s a new football city in a new football stadium and, for Brady, a new offense with a new coach who has a reputation for being more than a little aggressive with his quarterbacks.
When Simms and I recently addressed the possibility of Brady to the Raiders, Simms explained that Gruden long has been in awe of Brady, explaining once that Brady looks cool simply walking off the field. (Hopefully they won’t go rock climbing.) Gruden seemingly has restrained his profane rants while coaching Derek Carr for fear of having him crumble under the weight of Gruden’s aggressive vocabulary. If Gruden is coaching the greatest quarterback of all time, it would probably be much easier to hold the F bombs.
But will Brady (and his family) want to live in Las Vegas? Will he want to play in the same division as the Chiefs, which means he’d face Patrick Mahomes and be called old by Chris Jones at least twice per year, and the Broncos, especially in light of his repeated struggles in games played at Denver?
So for now it’s an option for Brady, one that he’ll have to consider along with the Patriots and any other team that pulls up to the table and drops $30 million or more per year on top of it. And for Carr, it may be time to start thinking about lining up a new seat in the game of quarterback musical chairs, because it feels like — one way or ther other — he’s never going to be living in that house that he built next door to Jon Gruden’s in Las Vegas.
My view: There is less than a 5% chance that Brady goes to the Raiders. The Raiders have a ton of holes to fill and wouldn't be Super Bowl favorites even if they did add Brady. I think this is about the Raiders trying to either get Carr to come down in number or open up their fan base to having a different starter next year.
Because its the off season we get to talk about fun things like this:
In a world filled with #fakenews and social-media rumor mongering, it’s still a no-no to tell lies about someone in a manner that harms their reputation.
For that reason, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett may end up on the wrong side of the “v” in a lawsuit filed by Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Rudolph’s agents and lawyer, Timothy Younger, has published a statement on Twitter that makes clear the possibility that Rudolph will be suing Garrett for defamation of character, based on the allegation that Rudolph used a racial slur before Garrett attacked Rudolph with his own helmet.
“Mr. Garrett maliciously uses this false allegation to coax sympathy, hoping to be excused for what clearly is inexcusable behavior,” Younger writes. “Despite other players and the referee being in the immediate vicinity, there are zero corroborating witnesses — as confirmed by the NFL. Although Mr. Rudolph had hoped to move forward, it is Mr. Garrett who has decided to utter this defamatory statement — in California. He is now exposed to legal liability.”
The reference to California isn’t gratuitous or accidental. The civil courts in California are regarded as being more favorable to the rights of those who make claims, both as to the juries who resolve the cases, the trial judges who hear them, and the appeals courts that craft the applicable legal principles.
Younger’s statement also mentions that Garrett’s attack on Rudolph constitutes battery. (Not assault.) A lawsuit could, in theory, include a battery claim, which would guarantee that the same jury that hears about the alleged racial slur will see the striking of Rudolph on the head with his own helmet, repeatedly. Which will tend to inflate the eventual verdict.
One thing for Younger to consider will be whether suing Garrett in civil court for battery (or assault) would give Garrett’s lawyers a basis for pulling the case into the broad reach of the NFL/NFLPA labor deal, which possibly prohibits players from suing each other for things that happen on the gridiron, forcing them instead to submit any grievances through a non-judicial process that would involve no judge, no jury, no California.
Garrett will have no such luck when it comes to a statement made in the offseason, far away from any football function or facility. He definitely is exposed to legal liability for what he said about Rudolph, unless Garrett can prove that what he said is true.
Of course, because Rudolph is a public figure, he’ll need to prove that Garrett acted with actual malice. And it will take more than Younger using the term “maliciously” in his statement. Under the law, “actual malice” arises in the defamation context when the person utter a false statement with actual knowledge that the statement is false or with reckless disregard to whether or not the statement is true or false.
The argument would (or at least could) be that Garrett made the public claim that Rudolph uttered a racial slur knowing that Rudolph previously had denied it and knowing that the NFL, which has microphones blanketing the field, had no evidence of it. Even if Garrett subjectively believes he heard it, at some point he needs to consider the broader evidence and ask himself whether he simply believes he heard something that wasn’t said.
Of course, it’s too late for that kind of backtracking now. Both sides are locked in to their stories, and this one ultimately could be decided, two or three years from now, by a group of people who will see the video of the battery (assault), hear the witnesses tell their stories about racial slurs that were or weren’t uttered, and decide whether Garrett violated Rudolph’s rights, as created and developed by the State of California.
Saturday, February 15
New York Guardians @ DC Defenders 2:00pm EST, ABC
Tampa Bay Vipers @ Seattle Dragons 5:00pm EST, FOX
Sunday, February 16
Dallas Renegades @ Los Angeles Wildcats 3:00pm EST, ABC
St. Louis Battlehawks @ Houston Roughnecks 6:00pm EST, FS1