Making this rather generic, because it's not just NFL I was thinking about...
- Ok, first up, the NFL draft is over. As a Lions fan, I am ELATED at how the Lions did, I thought they had a damn good draft, and likely chose at least 3-4 starters out of it. Overall, I think they nailed it. How comfortable are you with how your own team did though?
- The USFL isn't getting better. If it survives to see a 2nd season, something I am not very confident of at all, I would very much like to see a competition formed between the USFL and XFL 3.0. While the schedules don't align perfectly, with the XFL 3.0 scheduled to begin in February, and the USFL doesn't start until April, it would be interesting to be able to see the two leagues compete against each other for a few weekends head to head, just to give viewers the chance to compare the products. I've made no secret about the fact that I thought the XFL 2.0, cut short because of COVID lockdowns, was worlds above the quality of play from the AAF...
- The CFL has made a few rule changes before the start of the 2022 season. Among them is moving the hash marks in by 4 yards on each side, so they are only 9 feet apart. That opens up more space on both sides for plays to happen, should help generate more offense after a lackluster 2021 season that saw lows in scoring totals. I like the idea.
- The Chicago Bears have released QB Nick Foles.
- The New Orleans Saints are doing everything they can to bring the Honey Badger back home to Louisiana. Tyrann Mathieu hasn't signed yet, but it's not for the Saints lack of trying...
- Shame on Ed Marinaro, who instead of just announcing the Vikings 2nd round pick on Friday, decided to make the entire thing all about him...He talked so much about himself, that the NFL had to send someone out to tell him his time was up, and he needed to just read the pick...
Or, as we call it in Michigan, our Super Bowl week...
Here is the current draft order, as of 11:41am EST, on Tuesday, April 26, 2022 (because let's be honest, anything can happen between now and the beginning of the draft)
I understand that the weather played a major part in the USFL's debut weekend, so I am trying to keep that in mind as I write this...especially since one of the games that was supposed to happen yesterday, got postponed due to rain until today.
I wasn't impressed overall by the QB play, except for Luis Perez. Perez, who had previously played in both the AAF (Birmingham Iron) and XFL 2.0 (New York Guardians) looked decent as the QB for the New Jersey Generals, and could find himself back on an NFL roster as a backup this fall. Nobody else really stood out for me as being one of those "that guy has a good chance at being signed somewhere..."
However, the lack of quality play wasn't the biggest issue with the USFL's debut weekend though...and this is something my astute wife pointed out as we watched the Panthers and Gamblers play to an almost empty football stadium...
They got the scheduling wrong. What kind of moron schedules a triple header on EASTER SUNDAY? They should have had the triple header on Saturday, and then saved the lone sunday game for Prime Time, after everyone has gone to church, after they've had their Easter dinners and spent time with their families, etc. You gotta check your calendars, and know your audience, man.
By having three games on Easter Sunday, in Alabama no less, they pretty much guaranteed that almost nobody would attend. That made for a bad look/impression overall about what the popularity of this league could be. Hopefully next weekend's attendance figures cancel out my concerns about this weekend.
- Bruce Arians called it a career so that Todd Bowles could take over a team that is likely to succeed. Arians seems like a standup guy overall.
- Browns sold their soul for Deshaun Watson. The optics revolving around the pending legal issues put additional pressure on Watson to succeed as the Browns need this to work. Like most non-AB type deals, this will come down to winning. People will overlook pretty much everything as long as you are winning, but if the Brown's don't then this is the type of issue that causes owners to sell the team.
- Pittsburgh QB Dwayne Haskins died when he was struck by a vehicle. Haskins was "walking on a limited access facility (highway/expressway) for unknown reasons" attempting to cross the westbound lanes of Interstate 595 when he was struck by a dump truck, according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. Haskins was pronounced dead on the scene, per the report. I hate to speak bad of the dead, but what the hell was he thinking crossing that road during darkness?
- Gronk will come back for the last week of the preseason.
- USFL will use chips in the balls instead of down markers.
- Buffalo Bills have been given $600 million from the state of New York for their stadium. This is great for the Bills because there was no way that Buffalo was going to be able to make that kind of deal to keep the team in Buffalo. The state of NY likes to throw away money, might as well throw it the Bills way.
- Bills. With all the quarterback moves occurring this offseason, it's easy to forget what the Bills accomplished. They made a huge splash move in free agency by signing Von Miller. They already had the No. 1 pressure rate last year, and now they're even going to have more success generating heat on the quarterback. The Bills made other acquisitions to bolster the trenches. They signed Rodger Saffold, who figures to help Josh Allen's protection. They also obtained some interior bodies to improve the run defense
- Dolphins. It's all up to Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins have given their young quarterback so much talent. The big move was trading for Tyreek Hill. Miami gave up lots of draft capital to pay Hill tons of money, but the result this year is that Miami will have the best receiving duo we've seen in a very long time in Hill and Jaylen Waddle. And yet, it goes far beyond that. Miami also signed Cedrick Wilson, who should be a solid third option. The Dolphins also retained Mike Gesicki and added Chase Edmonds as a receiving threat out of the backfield. It would've been a huge mistake had the Dolphins added all these receiving threats without improving their dreadful offensive line. They managed to bolster their blocking with Terron Armstead and Connor Williams. Armstead is always a risk to get hurt, but he's one of the top left tackles in the NFL when healthy. Williams will be a big upgrade at guard.
- Broncos. The Broncos had an outstanding offseason, worthy of an A+ grade. Of course, much of this has to do with the Russell Wilson trade. Denver had been starved for a Super Bowl-caliber quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired seven years ago. The Broncos, at long last, found their man. Trading for Wilson was expensive, but it was well worth it because he gives Denver a good chance at another Lombardi Trophy. Denver obviously couldn't only trade for Wilson; it had to find some valuable pieces to put around him. The front office accomplished this feat by adding a couple of capable offensive linemen in Billy Turner and Tom Compton. Meanwhile, the defense received a huge lift via Randy Gregory and K'Waun Williams. Gregory is a devastating edge rusher who will fill Von Miller's shoes, while Williams will be the talented slot cornerback Bryce Callahan couldn't be because of constant injuries.
- Cowboys. The Cowboys entered free agency in a poor cap situation, so it's not a surprise that they had to say goodbye to some key players. They began by trading Amari Cooper for late-round draft capital. Dak Prescott had better chemistry with CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz, so if one of the top three weapons had to go, it was Cooper. The offensive line, meanwhile, took a much greater hit. The blocking unit lost two starters, La'el Collins and Connor Williams. Both will sorely be missed. Prescott hasn't played nearly as well when his offensive line has missed personnel, so it's safe to expect him to decline in 2022.
-Washington. The Redskins always seem to make the wrong moves when a quarterback is involved, and this offseason was no different. They traded for Carson Wentz, surrendering too much draft capital for having to pay his entire salary. Wentz has been a shell of his former self since suffering a concussion from Jadeveon Clowney. If he couldn't succeed with his former coach, Frank Reich, why would he thrive in Washington? This offseason has to be deemed a failure. The Redskins seemed to have a chance to land Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or even Deshaun Watson, yet they came away with a horrible alternative. Meanwhile, they did nothing to improve their miserable secondary and thin receiving corps.
- Packers. They had a choice entering this offseason: Would they retain Aaron Rodgers and attempt to win a Super Bowl or two over the next three years, or would they trade their legendary quarterback to begin anew with No Cookie Jordan Love? Both options seemed viable despite how No Cookie Love looked against the Chiefs last year. The Packers opted to keep Rodgers, meaning they had to do everything in their power to win now. Except, they did the opposite. The Packers traded Davante Adams and then allowed Marquez Valdes-Scantling to walk. Rodgers lost his top two receivers, so his top option at the position right now is Allen Lazard. Rodgers can't be thrilled with this horrible strategy, which must be graded extremely poorly.
Is there any interest in a NFL Draft breakdown?
Ok, in a nutshell, if you don't feel like clicking on the article, Congress is investigating Dan Snyder and the Washington Commanders as to whether or not they were short-changing the collective visiting-team pool for revenue sharing.
Basically, 40% of the gate from every game goes into a "visiting-team pool", that gets disbursed at the end of the season among the 32 teams. It's not paid out after every game. So, the accusations are, that Snyder and the Commanders have been depositing LESS than the 40% required.
This is simple. If these allegations can be proven, the NFL will strip ownership of the Commanders from Dan Snyder. They have to. No way in hell he survives cheating all 31 other owners out of money that is legally theirs.
And then? Maybe the NFL will stop protecting Snyder, and make the results of their investigation into misconduct public...
I am actually looking forward this, because of one thing: It means the rest of the country will have a chance to get to know Head Coach Dan Campbell like those of us in Michigan kind of have had a glimpse of already. There is a reason why despite going 3-13-1, most Detroit Lions fans absolutely love the coach, and now everyone else will get a chance to find out why.
Ok, as the free agent period keeps going, and we march closer to the NFL draft, we have more news:
- First, we gotta start with Deshaun Watson. He's now a Cleveland Brown, and has himself a $230 million dollar contract. But, what you might not have known, is that his first year in that contract, he will only be paid $1 million...IE, the Cleveland Browns expect he is going to be suspended all year during the 2022 season, and deliberately designed his contract to minimize the amount of money the NFL can collect.
Personally, I think this is an absolutely despicable tactic on the part of the Browns. They should absolutely be ashamed of themselves for this move, and Browns fans should seriously look to backing a new team. The Browns are totally trying to game the system here. Basically, what we have is a 1 year contract for $1 million dollars, and then a 4 year contract for $229 million after...What the NFL should do? Slow down their investigation...find a way to hold off suspending Watson until the 2023 season, when instead of losing $1 million, Watson would lose about $57.25 million...This isn't even really about whether Deshaun Watson is guilty or not (personally, I highly doubt 22 women sharing the same story are all lying), but rather how the Browns, as an organization, deliberately tried to screw with the league by setting up Watson's contract that way...
Plus, let's be honest...what has DeShaun Watson done to justify that contract? Is ANY player worth the cash the Browns are forking over? The NFL Salary Cap is 208 million...for 53 players. The Browns are basically paying 1 of those players 1/4 of their entire Salary Cap. Ridiculous.
Now, I used to be a fan of DeShaun Watson. When he came out of Clemson, I was rooting for the guy...but damn...What he is accused of doing to multiple masseuses is just not okay...and for it be a pattern of behavior, rather than isolated incidents? This guy has some major issues.
- It was one and done for Von Miller and the Los Angeles Rams, as he leaves California for a 6 year deal with the Buffalo Bills. This will have him under contract until he is 38, so Buffalo may very well be the last home town of Von Miller's career.
- I kinda feel bad for Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan. The Falcons have pretty much made it known that if Houston agrees to send them Deshaun Watson, Ryan is gone...except, they don't HAVE Watson yet. So, they have a veteran QB, who had a pretty decent season last year, who already knows they are doing their best to get rid of him. Hey...if the Falcons let Matt Ryan go, I'd take him in Detroit, he's a clear upgrade over Goff...
- As you all probably know already, Russell Wilson is now a Denver Bronco...which begs the question...how long before Pete Carroll is out in Seattle? The Seahawks without Wilson, aren't a good football team. Is Carroll planning on retiring soon?
- The Lions have been resigning pretty much every key FA they had, and signed FA WR DJ Chark from Jacksonville. which tells me one thing: The fact these players are willing to resign with Detroit, is probably because of Dan Campbell. They want to play for him. Seeing players wanting to come to Detroit to play is a new experience for us Lions fans...AND, former Bears WR Allen Robinson has indicated that the Lions are his preferred team to sign with...if that happens, with the growth of Amon-Ra St. Brown, the Lions WR corps could be a major strength next season.
- Tom Brady says he unretired because he had unfinished business...UMMM...HUH? What hell could Tom Brady still feel he had left unaccomplished in his NFL career? If he had just said "I really just felt like I wanted to keep playing", fine...understandable. But, Tom...dude...there is literally nothing left for you to do in the NFL, that you haven't already done...
- If you blink, you might miss Carson Wentz being traded again, lol.
- JD McKissic is now a Bill...oh wait, no he isn't. After agreeing to terms with the Bills, for some reason I will never understand, he decided to re-up with the Commanders instead...
- And Randy Gregory just did the exact opposite thing to the Cowboys...agreeing to terms to be resigned, only to change his mind and decide to go to Denver instead.
- Colin Kaepernick is still trying to pitch NFL teams to sign him...after being out of the NFL for 5 years, and suing the league, and every team...I am sure they will be chomping at the bit to get him.
- ESPN pretty much gave everyone a reason to watch the Manning Brothers version of Monday Night Football over the main broadcast, by signing the two WORST football commentators Fox had, Troy Aikman and Joe Buck...IN other news, the Fox football broadcasting team just got better, via addition by subtraction.
- So...the Steelers are replacing Big Ben Roethlisberger with...Mitch Trubisky. Sure, why not? What's the worst that can happen? /s
- Somehow, I can't help but think that Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are in an abusive relationship with each other, but neither of them really want to break it off.
The NFL has suspended Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for the at least the 2022 season for betting on NFL games during the 2021 season.
The league said Ridley's betting took place during a five-day period in November 2021 when he was not with the team while on the non-football illness list.
The NFL said its investigation uncovered no evidence that Ridley used inside information or "that any game was compromised in any way." There also was no evidence that any of the Falcons coaches, staff or Ridley's teammates were aware of his betting activity.
"There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL's success -- and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league -- than upholding the integrity of the game," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension. "This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.
"For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions."
The earliest Ridley can apply for reinstatement is Feb. 15, 2023, the NFL said.
He also can appeal the suspension by filing notice within three days, per the collective bargaining agreement. It is not known if he has appealed the punishment.
"We were first made aware of the league's investigation on Feb. 9. We have cooperated fully with the investigation since receiving notice and support the league's findings and actions," the Falcons said in a statement. "We are moving forward in the 2022 season with the decision that was made. With the decision that was made by the NFL, any further questions on the investigation should be directed to the league office."
Realistically, this lawsuit has little chance of succeeding. Brian Woods, who was formerly the CEO of the Spring League, and is the one spearheading the revival of the USFL, is listed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office as the owner of every USFL trademark. Legally, The new USFL has every legal right to call itself the USFL, and use USFL team names. Brian Woods owns the USFL, as an intellectual property, not whatever this "Real USFL" is, so I fully expect this case to get thrown out of court. I get it, the OG USFL execs and a few of the players want to try to protect the legacy of the original USFL...It was their baby, and they don't want to see its reputation get diminished...but, they sold their rights to the league and to the team names...they cannot win this.