Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Check out some of my thoughts on the NFL from the last seven days, and be sure to leave a few of your own in the comment section.

1) Richie Incognito is a horrible human being, but he's not the only one in that Miami Dolphins locker room. The lackeys that Incognito had are just as bad, and the cowards that refused to step up are disgraceful in their own right.

2) How has Miami head coach Joe Philbin not been fired? There's no chance that Philbin was oblivious to what was going on around his team.

For more on the Richie Incognito situation;

  • Here's a summary of the Ted Wells report from NFL.com.
  • Here's a look at how Incognito was attacked via Twitter and how he didn't like to be harassed.
  • And here's a look at the locker room culture from the standpoint of the offensive line.

3) On my way to work this morning I heard former NFL tight end and current NFL analyst Shannon Sharpe put the perfect spin on how teams decide whether or not to sign a troubled player. He says it all comes down to a tolerance vs production ratio. The more production you expect from a player the more tolerant you'll be of his off field or locker room antics.

That's why we'll commonly see good players receive 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chances, while a misstep from a fringe player is a one and done proposition.

It seems simple and obvious enough, but I never heard it expressed like that before.

4) When it comes to free agency, be sure to keep an eye on the Oakland Raiders. They will be in the $64 million range in available cap space and they need a lot of help. If they overpay for a few players, it could possibly get the market out of whack.

5) I like the confidence from draft prospect Johnny Manziel, telling the Houston Texans they better take him number one overall or risk his wrath if he falls to the AFC South's Jacksonville Jaguars at number three.

"It would be the worst decision they've (the Texans) ever made," he told The Houston Chronicle of the possibility. "I'd be in the same division playing against them twice a year. Sorry, but you just turned that chip on my shoulder from a Frito into a Dorito."

He also wants to be the first rookie to win the Super Bowl and he says that if he does slip to the Cleveland Browns at #4, that he'll lead them to the Super Bowl.

Manziel is a Texas kid at heart, and he wants to remain in his home state.

6) Roger Goodell made over Forty Four Million Dollars in 2012.

That's a lot of money, but the NFL is the most popular sport, they draw the highest TV ratings, and you factor in the popularity of fantasy football and the legal and illegal gambling, and I can see why there's so much money for the Commish.

But $44 million... Wow...

7) Mike Ditka has some advice for Detroit Lions QB Matt Stafford.

"If you're the leader of the football team, I think you've got to stand up and be that leader, assume that role," said Ditka, now an analyst for ESPN, via the Detroit Free Press. "A lot of it is what you do on the field, certainly. But I think a little of it has to do with appearance, too. You know, respect the game, respect your team. That's all.

"I'm not knocking him. I'm just saying that's the first thing I would tell him if I inherited him. When you're going to go do an interview, put [your hat] on like it's supposed to be on, not backwards, sidewards, whatever way they put them on anymore."

Da Coach everybody...

8) Today is the first day that the Franchise Tag can be used, but don't expect the Chicago Bears to use it again this year.

Bears fans may be interested in the following players potentially being tagged. Safeties T.J. Ward and Jairus Byrd, cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Vontae Davis, and defensive ends Greg Hardy and Michael Bennett.

9) Last week we mentioned that the New Orleans Saints were probably going to tag tight end Jimmy Graham as a tight end, but Graham wanted to be tagged under the wide receiver tag, since he lines up as a WR so often.

Now it looks like the Baltimore Ravens could have a similar issue with tight end Dennis Pitta. The WR/TE difference is around $4.5 million, so it's an issue that deserves some attention for these wide out skilled tight ends.

10) We've already dropped a Mocking the Mocks today, but the latest mock draft from SB Nation has the Bears going with someone completely different. They have the Bears taking cornerback Jason Verrett from TCU.

If Jason Verrett were a few inches taller and a bit stronger, he would be the first cornerback taken and a likely top-10 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. He's smooth in his back pedal, has great feet and is aggressive with the ball in the air. If they are willing to overlook his size, the Bears might find Verrett to be just the type of player they need in the secondary.

If you're like me you read that first sentence as short and weak, so I dug a bit deeper into Verrett. He'll be weighed and measured at the combine later this week, but for now he's listed at 5'10" and 176 pounds. "Ball-hawk" and "nose for the ball" are two terms that most scouts throw around when talking about Verrett.

In 2012 his 22 passed defended led the NCAA and he added 6 interceptions. Last year teams didn't throw his way as much.

What are your NFL Thoughts this week?

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