It’s been exactly 50 days since the confetti fell from the University of Phoenix Stadium roof during another New England Patriots Super Bowl Celebration. And it’ll be another 170 days or so until the first meaningful game of the 2015 NFL season takes place.
But, c’mon, it’s the NFL. They’re almost never out of the news entirely. True to form, football free agency dominated the sports headlines in early March. The buzz around big ticket free agents like Ndamukong Suh and Darrelle Revis we saw coming from a mile away. Some surprise trades around that same time we couldn’t foresee (Chip Kelly, I’m glaring specifically at you).
But what about all the other comings and goings of the league, its teams and its players over the past month? There are only so many hours in a day. We can’t keep up with everything, especially if we enjoy other sports besides football.
So what I’ve got for you today is my best attempt at digging up some of the less notable, but still impactful news that’s transpired since Tom Brady became the Greatest QB of All-Time less than two months ago (Please feel free to read the following headlines in your best Saturday Night Live ‘Weekend Update’ voice):
The Minnesota Vikings acquired former Packers tight end Brandon Bostick off waivers on February 18th. In the team’s subsequent press release they stated, “Hey, if we’re in position next year for Brandon Bostick to bungle an onsides kick recovery that costs us a HUGE January football game, that’s major progress for our organization. We’ll take it.”
Brandon Marshall and Percy Harvin seem to be having a heated competition, and they forgot to invite the rest of their wide receiver brethren. In the battle for which uber-talented receiver can be traded or released by his team the most often in the shortest amount of time, it’s not even close. Marshall has been traded three times in the past five years (the Jets will be his fourth NFL team since he came into the league in 2006). But Harvin has been traded or released three times in only the past two years (He’ll be working on team #4 with the Bills in 2015)! With Marshall in the quarterback dead zone of New York and having a noted volatile personality, could we see Marshall retake the lead during the 2015 season? All signs point to…who cares?
The Buffalo Bills not only traded for LeSean McCoy, but they also gave him an enormous contract extension. Because that’s definitely what you want to do with a running back coming off a down year who is already under your contractual control. But I get it, Bills. I’m the same way. In the first year of living in Los Angeles, my apartment got broken into, I discovered a bunch of things I didn’t like about my complex, and I realized the neighbors were kind of assholes. So obviously I called up my landlord and asked him to extend my lease for five more years even though I still had eight months remaining on my current agreement. Only two more years and I’m out of this place!
Jake Locker retired after a five-year stint in the NFL, saying that he no longer has the burning desire to play the game. The game of football responded by saying it no longer had the burning desire to be played by Jake Locker. The game of football, seemingly thin-skinned, also added, “Hey Jake, if that’s how you perform when you do have a burning desire, I’d hate to see the aspects of your life where you are just kinda sorta into something.” So harsh, football, so harsh.
Question: Why do seemingly mediocre quarterbacks like Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick, Jay Cutler and Matthew Stafford get locked up with huge deals by their respective teams?
Answer: Because if you don’t have someone at least average playing your team’s most important position, you get into a game of offseason Quarterback Russian Roullette / Sad Musical Chairs like this flurry of transactions from early March:
- Bills acquire Matt Cassel from the Vikings
- Jets acquire Ryan Fitzpatrick from Texans
- Texans signs Brian Hoyer to compete with Ryan Mallett
- Rams acquire Case Keenum from Texans
- Browns sign Thad Lewis
- Bills sign Tyrod Taylor
- Raiders sign Christian Ponder
Or, you could go the route of puzzling mastermind Chip Kelly and stockpile a ton of quarterback assets that no one wants. There’s a chance the Eagles go into training camp with the following QB’s on the roster: Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, Tim Tebow and Terrelle Pryor. I know reports have just come out that Cleveland is the most likely candidate for this year’s HBO Hard Knocks, but wouldn’t the unintentional comedy be through the roof if we got to watch one hour every week of these five quarterbacks competing for a starting NFL job? Everyone loves a “open tryouts for a fan to win a roster spot” gimmick, and this doesn’t sound any different to me.
A Report came out that the Browns offered their 19th overall pick in the upcoming draft for Sam Bradford, which just goes to show you that NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE THE KEYS TO THE CAR IN CLEVELAND! In fact, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Josh Gordon is hands down the best decision maker within the Cleveland Browns organization at this time.
The Colts waived Trent Richardson and five days later, the Raiders picked him up. So the big splashes Oakland made with all its cap room were Richardson and Christian Ponder? Got it. After the trade, Richard said, “The Raiders say if I come in and work, I can be the bell cow.” In the Raiders’ defense, their “bell cow” the last seven years has been a guy who averaged 606 rushing yards per season. If Richardson has a career year, he could totally hit that number.
Jameis Winston decided he will stay home on Draft night. When Roger Goodell finished off the blowjob he had been giving Peter King earlier this week, he told the longtime football reporter that he’s OK with Winston’s decision. Fine, but you just know the main circuit board in Goodell’s chest was overheating upon hearing this news. If Goodell stays consistent with how he handles discipline, Winston will be suspended for the first year of his career for such insubordination.
San Francisco linebacker Chris Borland abruptly retired, and while this stunning move has been attributed to his knowledge and fear of potential head injuries, it might just be that Borland looked around the 49ers’ roster and thought retiring’s what everyone does when your team goes from having Jim Harbaugh as its head coach to the football equivalent of Stan Van Gundy:
Collusion in sports is most often associated with teams conspiring to keep a player off their rosters (for instance, when Barry Bonds couldn’t get a job in 2008). But what are we supposed to think of the fact that literally every free agent or every major player that was traded found their new homes in the AFC East? Perhaps 31 teams are jealous of a certain team’s continued dominance and came up with a brilliant new plan to end that reign (since framing that team for low ball pressure doesn’t seem to have worked)?
The Pouncey brothers, Mike and Maurkice, ripped Mike Wallace’s character after the wide receiver was traded from Miami to Minnesota, calling him a coward…and if anyone is worthwhile to judge character, it’s these two high-character guys:
Yes, those are the Pounceys wearing “Free Hernandez” hats a couple years ago. As in, Aaron Hernandez, the most obviously guilty murderer in American History.
Bernard Pierce of the Baltimore Ravens was released after his DUI arrest last week, becoming the third player on the Ravens to be arrested and released this offseason. But I gotta assume this is just random coincidence and bad luck for the Ravens organization. There’s no way there’s a pattern of them having lots of criminals on their team year in and year out or anything. Wait, what’s that? Here’s a headline from the 2014 offseason: Ravens offseason arrests stick out like sore thumb on NFL’s improved hand. Hmm…Am I the type of person to go back through my Twitter account and find all the Ravens fans from January who were talking trash about the Patriots and how they once employed Aaron Hernandez? Depends on how many episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt I have to get through today.
Philip Rivers doesn’t want to sign an extension until after the 2015 season when his contract expires. Part of the reason is the uncertainty around the Chargers possibly moving. He said it would be tough to move his wife and SEVEN children to a different city. Philip, I totally get it. I organize a reunion vacation with 10 of my college friends every year and it is HELL to find a house that big on VRBO or Airbnb. You’re preaching to the choir here.
NFL Owner Meetings are underway in Phoenix right now, and while there were a whopping 23 new rule proposals from different teams, this is really the only one worth talking about: The Colts are proposing that if a team successfully converts a two-point attempt following a touchdown, that team should be awarded a bonus point attempt in the form of a 50-yard field goal try. This would mean a team can potentially get nine points at the end of a touchdown drive! What this really means, and it’s probably why the Colts are wanting to implement it, is that instead of needing an additional five touchdowns plus a field goal to tie the Patriots in January’s AFC Championship Game, Indianapolis would have only needed four touchdowns plus four successful two-point conversions and four bonus point conversions plus a field goal to BEAT THE PATRIOTS BY ONE POINT IN THAT SAME GAME! If this rule was in place last year, oh man, the Colts would have been thisclose to finally beating New England.
The owners are making it sound like expanded playoffs are still happening, but it’s on the backburner for at least another year. Here’s my idea for expanded playoffs: Expand it to all 32 teams. Have each team play 16 games in the “playoffs” in a round-robin type format where they are broken out into eight separate “divisions.” Whichever teams have the best record after that, move on to the “Final 12” where those 12 teams play one-game playoffs against each other until there’s a lone Super Bowl Champion remaining. I know it’s a risky proposal, and I know it might take some getting used to, but I think it just might work.
The Bucs are stockpiling punters, adding a third one to their roster this weekend, which means they are finally embracing that role as the NFL’s version of your sad sack buddy in fantasy who always has a couple punters and defenses on his bench.
Matt Moore decided to stay with the Dolphins, noting that if any coach is going to randomly pull his starting QB who happens to be playing really well to insert the backup on a whim, it’s definitely Joe Philbin.
Darren Sharper, he of the rape charges in a handful of states, has apparently agreed to a global plea deal. This is the criminal’s equivalent to buying products at a wholesale price. By raping more women in more states, Sharper was able to package it all up into one neat little crime and could serve as few as nine years in prison instead of a life sentence. We should all be so lucky.
Adrian Peterson and his agent continue to try to get the Vikings to release the Pro Bowl running back, but the Vikings aren’t budging. It may come down to Vikings management telling Peterson he can either play for them this year, or he can retire. But it’s not quite checkmate yet because Peterson could respond by viciously beating one of his other children, which would almost definitely get him released. And who would be waiting with open arms to scoop him up?
The Steelers are mum on the status of veteran defensive back Troy Polamalu. Sources close to the team said Mike Tomlin “Harry and The Hendersons”-ed Polamalu last week but they’re concerned he’s going to make his way out of the forest and show up at Steelers training camp. And for those of you who don’t know that classic film reference, this is precisely what Tomlin did:
The NFL sent an investigator to the Jets’ facility earlier this month to investigate the charge that owner Woody Johnson was in violation of anti-tampering rules when he was on record earlier this year saying he’d love to bring Darrelle Revis back to the Jets. But in a shocking twist, the NFL has decided to punish the Patriots for reverse tampering. It’s a little known corollary in the NFL’s rulebook that states the following: “Any team that signs a player with the knowledge that the team’s biggest rival covets that player is in effect baiting that rival into tampering, which goes against the integrity of the game.” There’s another minor addendum to this rule that states, “This reverse tampering rule only pertains to teams located in the six states of New England.”
Quarterback Pat White, a former second round pick by the Dolphins, retired from football after spending one year with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL. In a press release, White said, “I’ll always cherish my time up in Edmonton with those guys. By the end of last season, it truly felt like we were a team of Eskimo Brothers, not just individual players.”
And finally, ESPN.com reported last night that Johnny Manziel is expected to check out of rehab and return to the Browns on April 20th to be part of their offseason workouts. Sounds like a plan to me. The worst thing that could have happened with Manziel’s reintroduction to the real world was for it to fall on a date famous for a dangerous substance, you know, like St. Patrick’s day on 3/17. What a disaster that would have been. But I’m certain there are no built-in temptations on the very innocuous date of 4/20. But just to be sure, let’s take a quick look at the google results when I search “4/20″…
Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Browns organization, when photos surface of Johnny Football hanging out with Josh Gordon, Michael Phelps, Woody Harrelson and myself after his workout on that date.
Thank you, all. You’ve been great. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.