Tagged with "Free Agency"
Sports Friday with Hal: NFL, NFL, and MORE NFL!!!
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Happy Friday!

 

The NFL season is getting geared up as there are just two weeks left in the preseason and much to talk about. Time to get right to the notes (before I import any tables and crash the site again--whoops!).

 

In Philly, the big news last night was running back LeSean McCoy’s thumb on Thursday night. Initially what could have been a break was released as a sprain and should shut him down until opening day. Huge positive news for Philadelphia and fantasy football owners. McCoy is one of the best running backs in the NFL but the fear of injury is always a concern.

 

Their opponents Friday night was Pittsburgh and their pair of “Dopes” in the backfield. Former Bucs and Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount and last year’s top back Le’Veon Bell were arrested on Wednesday after a police officer on a motorcycle noticed the smell of marijuana and both were arrested after a traffic stop. The duo may now face discipline from the league and Pittsburgh may be shorthanded come opening day against Cleveland. Some nice preparation for the game, for sure.

 

Number one overall pick defensive end Jadeveon Clowney left practice Wednesday as he suffered an undisclosed injury but rumors were bouncing around it was a neck injury but not serious. That said, the kid has been fantastic to date. Moving from end in college to outside linebacker in the 3-4 under defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel’s three time Super Bowl ring defense, Clowney has been explosive and disruptive to date. For Houston, they need to protect their investment and not rush him back. Clowney and J.J. Watt look like a dynamic pass rushing duo this season and beyond.

 

In Indianapolis, the Colts have to be wondering when running back Trent Richardson is going to break out. After trading a first round pick to Cleveland for the former #3 overall pick, Richardson did nothing but lose his job last season. With Vick Ballard injured and just a washed-up Ahmad Bradshaw behind Richardson, the Colts have a gaping hole on offense. They traded for Eagles back David Fluellen this week, but the undrafted free agent is likely just a depth option for the practice squad. The Colts are running out players like Zurlon Tipton, Deji Karim, and Daniel Herron at running back. Expect Indy to scour the waiver wire for some backs at cutdowns. Whoever thought Donald Brown would look so good and be missed?

 

The New York Jets lost their third and fourth round draft picks this week as cornerback Dexter McDougle and receiver Shaq Evans landed on injured reserve. The Jets were expected to lean on their rookies this season and losing two already does not bode well. Oft-injured former Dolphins cornerback Dimitri Patterson has been out and the cornerback position has been so thin that safety Antonio Allen was moved to slot cornerback. For a team that had one of the best duos in football at cornerback in Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, they now have flotsam and jetsam at the position. Wide receiver is not much better. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg (sorry Detroit fans to bring up that bad memory!) now has Eric Decker and...well, no one any good at receiver. David Nelson, Jeremy Kerley, Jacoby Ford, Greg Salas, and Stephen Hill look like a cutdown list, not a depth list.

 

In Arizona, the Cardinals lost a key cog in their strong defense when veteran nose tackle Darnell Dockett went down with an ACL injury during a non-contact drill. He is out for the season and backup Frostee Rucker is just not comparable to Dockett in the middle of the defense. The Cards also signed veteran Isaac Sopoaga last seen being beat out by undrafted free agents for playing time in New England. Big loss for Arizona.

 

A 2012 second-round draft pick was released this week as the St. Louis Rams dumped oft-injured running back Isaiah Pead after he tore his ACL last week. Pead has had injuries, suspensions, crappy play, and sixth-round pick Zac Stacy making him obsolete in St. Louis. The question becomes whether anyone wants to take a chance on him and stash him for a year and see if he can bounce back next year. Quite the long-shot, though.

 

Of course, the biggest news (as far as ESPN was concerned) was Johnny Football was told he will ride the pine week one. Of course, a quarterback who played in the shotgun, had no playbook, and was late for practices and looked terrible all preseason really should have had no shot to play at all. Great news for career backup Brian Hoyer as he gets a shot to play at last. For Johnny Manziel, hopefully he gets his head on straight and buckles down and gets himself ready to play in the NFL. Of course, I said all along this guy is just another Tim Tebow...he has time to prove me wrong, but I am not counting on it.

 

Finally, in Cincinnati the Bengals signed linebacker Vontaze Burfict to a four-year $20 million extension paying him $7.6 million this year. Burfict was an undrafted free agent who signed for a $5,000 signing bonus as no other team wanted any part of the troubled and slow linebacker coming out of college. The Bengals got two fantastic seasons from the big run-stuffer at NFL minimum contract level before re-upping him wisely now. If Burfict played again at the minimum contract this year he would likely have been looking for a new address as a free agent this offseason.

 

 

OK all, have a super weekend.


 

Sports Friday with Hal: First Football
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Ahhh, NFL football.  Welcome back!

 

A lot of NFL action at last this week with the Hall of Fame game on Sunday and Thursday night full of action. I know I spent Thursday night glued to the tube watching the Patriots back-ups (No Tom Brady, Darrelle Revis, etc) face-off against the Redskins second squad.

NFL NOTES:

 

The Curious Case of Jon Baldwin:

24 year-old wide receiver Jon Baldwin was a 2011 first-round draft pick in Kansas City and dealt to the 49ers last year during training camp for fellow high-draft pick washout wide receiver A.J. Jenkins. The 49ers cut Baldwin this week and he was claimed on waivers by the Lions. He lasted two days and was waived as he failed a physical (knee issue presumably).  Here is a kid out of football three years after being a first-round pick after a fantastic college career at Pitt where he ripped up the Big East with his size (six-foot-five and 228 pounds) and sub 4.50 speed. He suffered a wrist injury in his first training camp as a rookie in a fight with a teammate and never got on track. Another disappointing year had him traded and now he is on the outside looking in.

 

Baldwin is down to his final chance. When he gets healthy, he may have one chance left. Hard to believe a first-round pick could fall so far so soon. You just do not see teams miss on a pick like this these days.

 

A Couple of Losers:

Former NFL quarterback Scott Mitchell who was once supposed to carry the Detroit Lions to glory, is on the Biggest Loser this fall. No, not just because he lost football games, but rather he has ballooned to 366 pounds and is looking for help to get back to a more suitable weight. He is joined by former Jets, Lions and Patriots offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst Damien Woody who is tipping the scales at a shade under 400 pounds.

 

Two former Lions on the “Biggest Loser”--that’s cruel, NBC.

 

Another First-Round Pick out of the League:

New York Giants running back and 2012 first-round draft pick was forced to retire due to a recurring neck injury. Just 23 years-old, Wilson was an All-American in two sports out of high school, All-American, honor roll and ACC Offensive Player of the Year in college. Doctors advised him to retire from football due to his neck injury and the risk of further damage.  Two years, just 21 games and he is now looking at a career change.

 

It is a tough break for the Giants, but so much better to see he was smart enough to retire rather than end up with a horrible debilitating injury.

 

A Real Pisser:

Ending the Notes on an funny note here. Franklin, OH citizen Paul Serbu was arrested by Baltimore police. Posting on YouTube a video of himself urinating on former Browns owner Art Modell who had moved the team to Baltimore (and fired Bill Belichick--that was his biggest crime!) tipped off the police. Modell broke the heart of many Cleveland fans by moving the Browns to Baltimore. Posting as “BrownsFan4Life” Serbu had a little rant, ripped off a Ravens jersey to reveal a Browns jersey, and using a tube and catheter he proceeds to urinate on Modell’s grave. Could he have got away with it? Sure, just do not post it in a public location where thousands can see it and identify you

 

OK, time to overdose on football. Have a great weekend, all!

 
Sports Friday with Hal: The NFL is back!
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes Rolling Stones

Football is back! Training camps are open! It’s a Fantastic Friday!!!

 

Had a busy football week as I’m getting into “all football all the time” and chomping at the bit for all the news coming out of the training camps. Hard Knocks on HBO features the Atlanta Falcons debuts on August 5th. The NFL Network is on all day long in the background to catch news on injuries, suspensions, etc.

 

NFL NOTES:

 

Dall-ass strikes again:
Curious situation going on in Dallas with the release of backup quarterback Kyle Orton. It seems that there was some friction between him and the team leading to his release. Most (like I did as well) just assumed he was retiring. Now the Cowboys bombastic owner Jerry Jones has indicated that the team had fined Orton for not attending mini-camps and save about $3 million on the cap by releasing the former starter. Of course, that leaves Dallas with (gulp!) Brandon Weeden at quarterback. With that porous offensive line in Dallas, a strong backup to Tony Romo is a must. Not sure I would want Weeden warming up on the sidelines if it was my team.

 

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Running to glory:

Jamaal Charles worked a nifty extension out of the Chiefs this week. He is basically getting two-years and $18 million on his old deal. Whether he was going to hold out or not is up in the air, but there is no doubt he is one of the few running backs in the league with the power to hold out. Kansas City is a running team and they NEED Charles healthy and happy. Charles is not breaking the bank as he is getting a $4 million raise this year and his total deal goes to four-years for $28 million which is not a bad deal for the best offensive player on the team.

 

Just who is “elite” these days?

The next question is what to do with Alex Smith at quarterback. He wants “elite QB” money ($20 million per season) and the team is unlikely to negotiate near those numbers. Is he elite? Is he worth it? Was Joe Flacco worth it? How about Tony Romo? It will be interesting to see how that situation plays out over the next year. (FYI, in my opinion he is decidedly not elite and the Chiefs need to look for a young quarterback to replace Smith if he wants crazy money)

 

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Beast-less mode in Seattle?

Marshawn Lynch is apparently holding out of training camp in Seattle. Two years ago he signed a four-year $30 million contract. Last I checked, the Seahawks front office did not have a gun placed to his head. Upset that Jamaal Charles gets more money now? Fire your agent, Marshawn. The Seahawks gave Lynch money up front and long-term security. I really hope they do not give in and let him rack up the fines for not showing up.

 

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The Good Rice:

Former Seahawks and Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice retired at age 27 this week. He was cut from the ‘Hawks to clear cap space and came back. He missed games due to knee and concussion issues. Rice had a few good years but had many injury issues. It was a surprise since he was expected to provide depth in Seattle this year. Expect that he will be talked back into the league in the next year due to the thinness of the position in large around the league.

 

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The Bad Rice:

Seriously? Two games and one check? That’s the price of beating the shit out of a woman in today’s NFL? This was a brutal assault caught on hotel security tapes with Rice dragging his then fiance (now wife so she does not have to testify against him?) around unconscious...unconscious because he knocked her out. Two games. Will Smith took a banned diuretic in 2011 and got two games. Wow. Terrible call...Rice deserved a season to start with at minimum.

 

* * *


Big happy birthday to our Thursday blogging superstar, Old Harry. He wrote about sharing a birthday with Mick Jagger. Reminded me of a funny story with my kids a few years back. There was a popular song “Moves Like Jagger” and of course my kids (both pre-teens at that time) are asking “Who is Jagger?” as there was another song (I don’t remember) that some teeny-bopper referenced Mick as well (I just remember explaining to my 8-year old daughter what it meant to “rinse with Jack (Daniels)” or some ridiculous partying song lyric…). So the old man decides to show them just how cool Jagger was with “Dancing in the Streets” with David Bowie and then “Start me Up” with the 1981 video and all its “fantastic” fashion choices. Suffice to say the kids’ jaws were hanging open staring at the screen.

 

Now I love the Stones and can pull anything out of their catalog for a listen--even enjoy a lot of the newer albums but Mick had some scary fashion choices back in the day.  Of course, just a few weeks ago my wife and I were talking about a Poison concert we had gone to and I fired up Poison’s “Nothin but a good time” and got that wonderful look I am sure I gave my parents when I was forced to sit and listen to “good music” be it old Hank Williams Sr. singles with my Dad pulling out the 45s or show tunes and classical with my mother playing DJ in my youth.

 

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OK, that’s all for now. Have a great weekend, all!

 
Sports Friday with Hal: Mad Money and Molly Wops
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes

Happy Friday!

 

Reports of the Clippers racist bigot owner David Sterling selling his team for $2 billion after an investment of $12.5 million in 1981.  Not too tough a penalty there for Sterling. The Los Angeles Dodgers went for $2.1 billion a few years back. Jimmy Haslam paid $1 billion for the Browns two years ago. So if the wretched Clippers franchise is worth $2 billion, what is the next NFL franchise for sale (or expansion team) worth?

 

If you look at Clippers and Dodgers both in L.A. and getting over $2 billion, the NFL must be going nuts to get a team in L.A. ASAP. What would the Dallas Cowboys go for today? San Francisco? The NY/NJ Giants? As valuable as an NBA or MLB franchise may be worth, their television contracts are insane compared to the other major sports franchises (see chart in link..graphic too large to post here)

(https://variety.com/2013/tv/news/sports-fans-to-spend-more-money-to-watch-favorite-teams-1200577215/)

 

The NFL is the biggest cash cow in sports right now.  Every week during the season the games are among the most watched by the target demographics for advertisers. One could argue the Fox network was kept afloat by wisely getting their NFL broadcast rights. When every cent seemed wrung out, the NFL started their own network, put player safety in jeopardy and played games each Thursday (three days off is not enough time for players to recover and play again) which they broadcast themselves. The games became valuable enough for CBS to buy in for $275 million to broadcast just eight games in 2014.

 

(Look at that freaking broadcast money in the NFL here: http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2014/02/10/Media/NFL-CBS.aspx)

 

Most important to watch now is the NFL Sunday Ticket money that DirecTV has had a stranglehold on and expires this year. The NFL should make all their games available to all the fans and not just dish users. Yes, you can buy NFL Mobile and the Red Zone channel, but it is not even close to seeing every game on Sunday. Many fans do not even have the option of subscribing to DirecTV in their area.  

 

With that contract coming up, it would be surprising to not see Verizon or Comcast make a run at the Sunday Ticket package. Personally, I believe it is in the league’s best interest to keep those rights as part of NFL.com for mobile platforms and continue to build their own brand and sell the rights to the Sunday Ticket package to all the cable providers as a group so all fans have the right to purchase the package. The league needs to continue to build the value of the package like they did with Thursday Night Football and then sell it for even more.

 

At worst, the league needs to get the Sunday Ticket package on a major cable provider, whether Comcast, Time Warner, or Verizon. A billion per year is the starting price, but that should rise with time.  The Thursday Night deal will be back up for bid, and that price will likely go up as well. For CBS, getting a primetime NFL game is a huge win in competing for eyeballs and advertising dollars.

 

So for the NFL with all that money pouring in from television will have the Buffalo Bills up for sale soon and somehow be getting a team into Los Angeles. Mad money in the NFL. Mad amounts of cash.

 

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One last NFL Note too juicy to pass up: the Molly Wop incident.

 

Apparently, Lions receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson’s girlfriend was involved in a dispute with the mother of his child (all of six months old). She threatened to molly wop the mother-of-his-child.

 

UrbanDictionary.com, to “molly wop” means “[t]o reach waaay back with your pimp hand, damn near knocking oneself off balance to deliver a massive blow with an inside closed fist to the temple of your hoe or foe.”  (There are a few other definitions, but I am not listing them here since I am hoping the female in question is unable to perform a molly wop by some of the alternate definitions!)

 

Johnson’s girlfriend is also a Lions employee, as she is the “Manager of Partner Activation” (whatever the heck that is!--some kind of marketing position, I guess). So the team has top player and team employee in dispute with ex/mother-of-child.  Yet another reason for the league to give players LESS time off in the offseason and make the job a year round at team headquarters type position.

 

Johnson is usually is immune to bad press--and in comparison to Aaron Hernandez he is a saint--but this is almost silly.

 

* * *

 

OK, that’s all I have. Have a great weekend, all!

 
Sports Friday with Hal: Memorial Day Weekend
Category: FEATURED
Tags: NFL Football Free agency draft news notes NBA NBA Draft

Happy Friday!

 

Hope everyone is gearing up for a great holiday weekend. Memorial Day may seem to be a day off, a car dealership sales weekend, or just an excuse to grill meat, but it is a solemn holiday and probably the most poignant holiday on the calendar.  Be sure to take some time to reflect on our freedom and rights that so many sacrificed and continue to sacrifice for each and every day.

 

BIG ROUND BALLS:

The Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Draft Lottery for the third time in four years despite a less than 2% chance of getting the top pick. FIRE UP THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES.

 

My first thought was “Gotta make up for David Stern putting a gun to LeDouche’s head and moving him to Miami” “Gotta give Cleveland another #1 to make up for losing LeBron James”.  

 

So do teams win by being in a location welcoming to free agents (Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc), the best head coach/GM duo maybe ever (San Antonio), or lucking out in the lottery (Oklahoma City and Cleveland with LeBron). Of course, since LeBron checked out of Cleveland, the draft has hardly been kind to Cleveland. Add in teams like Minnesota (ten straight lotteries!) and Sacramento (seven straight lotteries!) and it can be a flawed system without a little luck.

 

This year it was Milwaukee and Philadelphia who engaged in one of the LEAST-engaging battles in NBA history for the most ping-pong balls.  Despite both of them blatantly throwing the season, neither was “rewarded” for “winning” with the most losses and chances for the #1 pick.

 

Of course, this led to much debate (as always happens) about changing the draft pick lottery system. Of course it is flawed, but then how would the league Commissioner be able to shuttle the best players to the team’s he has chosen worthy of succeeding?

 

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NFL NOTES:

 

The Patriots brought in former Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas for a workout this week.  Thomas is easy to root for having had torn his right ACL in both 2011 AND 2012 and came back strong last season. Thomas started slow (predictably) but by the end of the season he had some excellent games playing the slot cornerback position.  Last year (per ProFootballFocus.com) he only allowed two touchdowns in the last nine games after allowing four in his first five games.

 

Although New England has a very good slot cornerback in the much-maligned Kyle Arrington (he can’t play outside but he is fantastic inside), they resigned him at a premium price. If Thomas can provide quality play at ⅛ the price, he is a shoo-in to steal a roster spot. New England has to think about clearing cap space for Darrelle Revis long-term and Arrington could be a victim.

 

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Draft pick signings have gone from high drama to nothing exciting.  With the new CBA there just aren’t any issues anymore and players get slotted and signed quickly. For the league it is a huge win as teams do not suffer through long, drawn-out contentious signings with way too much money tied up in unproven players. For the players, it’s a huge win as they get the playbook and get practicing asap. For the fans, it’s less drama but a better product on the field.

 

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ProFootballFocus.com did their top 101 players (based on 2013) and it was a very interesting list. Not sure if its “premium content, but screw it, here’s the list:

1.  J.J. Watt

2.  Robert Quinn

3.  Peyton Manning

4.  Gerald McCoy

5.  Lavonte David

6.  Richard Sherman

7.  Evan Mathis

8.  Lesean McCoy

9.  Andrew Whitworth

10. Marshawn Lynch

11.  Jamaal Charles

12. Joe Thomas

13. Jimmy Graham

14. Robert Mathis

15. Trent Williams

16. Michael Bennett

17. Ndamukong Suh

18. Darrelle Revis

19. Calais Campbell

20. Earl Thomas

21. Justin Houston

22. Devin McCourty

23. Brent Grimes

24. Patrick Willis

25. Josh Sitton

26. Kyle D. Williams

27. Jurrell Casey

28. Kam Chancellor

29. Marcell Dareus

30. Dontari Poe

31. NaVorro Bowman

32. Brandon Marshall

33. Antonio Brown

34. Jason Peters

35. Calvin Johnson

36. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

37. Eric Berry

38. Adrian L. Peterson

39. Jordy Nelson

40. Cameron Jordan

41. Greg Hardy

42. Jordan Gross

43. Philip Rivers

44. Tyron Smith

45. Louis Vasquez

46. Cameron Wake

47. Anquan Boldin

48. Russell Wilson

49. Keenan Lewis

50. Terrance Knighton

51. Andre Johnson

52. Thomas Davis

53. DeMaryius Thomas

54. Joe Staley

55. Randy Starks

56. Brandon Mebane

57. Tamba Hali

58. Patrick Peterson

59. Karlos Dansby

60. Drew Brees

61. Donte Whitner

62. Stephen Tulloch

63. Keenan Allen

64. Chris Harris Jr.

65. Aldon Smith

66. Jason Hatcher

67. Larry Warford

68. Von Miller

69. Elvis Dumervil

70. Eddie Lacy

71. Nate Solder

72. Derrick O. Johnson

73. Alshon Jeffery

74. Josh Gordon

75. Joe Haden

76. DeMarco Murray

77. Brian Orakpo

78. Jason Kelce

79. Desmond Trufant

80. Luke Kuechly

81. Sheldon Richardson

82. Alex Mack

83. Michael D. Johnson

84. Tyrann Mathieu

85. Vontaze Burfict

86. Will Hill

87. John Sullivan

88. Trent Cole

89. DeSean Jackson

90. Tom Brady

91. Damon Harrison

92. T.Y. Hilton

93. Alterraun Verner

94. Cliff Avril

95. Troy Polamalu

96. Eric Weddle

97. A.J. Green

98. Phil Loadholt

99. Jake Long

100. T.J. Ward

101. Marques Colston

 

Very interesting, and it’s clear that PFF loves the big, fat linemen. J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn over Manning is a definite surprise. How many people have Tampa’s  DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David as top 5 players?  Cincinnati G/T Andrew Whitworth and Philadelphia tackle Evan Mathis as top 10 talents?  Not exactly the NFL.com top 100 players for sure.

 

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Ravens running back Ray Rice has skated and is now avoiding prosecution for knocking his fiancee/now wife unconscious and dragging her through the casino. Today (Friday) they are supposed to have a joint press conference to announce he went through a “diversion program” and the team is bending over backwards to slobber praise all over Rice. Hopefully the NFL manages to suspend the woman-beating scumbag for at least a few game checks.  It sends a bad message to let him get away with it after such a prominent display of aggression off-the-field.

 

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OK, that’s it for today! Have a great long weekend all!


 

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