Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It may be the slow time in the NFL, but nothing can slow down my Thoughts! Be sure to chime in on mine, and add a few of your own...

1) Tight end Vernon Davis is planning to hold out unless the San Francisco 49ers rework his deal, a deal that when signed in 2010 made him the top paid TE in the league. It's now 2013 and Davis' annual hit places him as the 3rd highest paid TE in the league. He's set to make about $14.3 million over the next two years.

While I understand why he feels he should be compensated as the top TE in the league, I really don't see his leverage with the team.

2) Another NFC West player that is planning to hold out is running back Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks, and I really don't see any leverage in his case either.

The 28 year old Lynch is due $14 million the next two years and his average yards per carry dipped from 5.0 in 2012 to 4.2 last season. He's at an age where most backs start slowing down, and he plays in an era where the importance of the tailback is less than ever before.

3) Sticking with the NFC West, I think this will be the best division in the NFL in 2014. If either the Niners or the Seahawks falter, the Arizona Cardinals are primed to jump into contention, and I really like what the St. Louis Rams have brewing in their trenches. They have the best d-line in football and their o-line will receive a huge boost from rookie Greg Robinson who will start his career at guard.

4) Recently released Pro Bowl corner Brandon Flowers will sign with a team very soon, and he will be a difference maker for his new squad. SB Nation has the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions as a couple of possibilities.

If the Chicago Bears hadn't just drafted a corner at 14 overall, I'd think they'd be interested as well.

5) Johnny Manziel just keeps doing things to enhance his sketchy reputation.

Start the Instagram video at your own risk, as Johnny Football drops the F-Bomb. For those of you that are really curious to exactly what he's saying, but you can't click at this time, I'll clean it up for you.

"I can't hear you. There's too much money in my (EDIT) hand."

6) Staying with the Browns for one more, I wonder when Manziel's act will start to rub the veterans the wrong way? Linebacker Paul Kruger is throwing his support behind vet QB Brian Hoyer, calling him "the guy", and I'm sure he's not alone in supporting his 2013 teammate. Hoyer was playing some good football last year before going down with a knee injury, so watching how the coaches split reps will be interesting. We do know that Browns head coach Mike Pettine has tabbed Hoyer as the starter entering camp.

7) The NFL lost a legend a few days ago when former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll passed away. If you became a fan of the NFL in the 1970s like I did, then you were very familiar with the iconic Steel Curtain teams of Chuck Noll.

For more on his legacy, be sure to check out the coverage of Behind The Steel Curtain.

8) Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu recently talked about having suicidal thoughts when at a very low time in his life. Regardless of your views on suicide, him opening up about it could very well help someone that is struggling with similar thoughts.

The oft-troubled Mathieu seems to have turned his life around, and he plans on doing something positive in the future.

"People go through a lot of things. They can be every-day personal things, not just suicide," he said. "I just want to reach out and use this platform for something positive and be an inspiration to people who want to see me as an inspiration."

For more info you can visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

9) Are teams really still trying to sign all their draft picks? Cliff Stein should teach a seminar or something, he had Chicago's entire draft class locked up by May 15th.

10) Matt Forte revealed over the weekend that he, his teammates and his coaches have been talking about a parade in Grant Park.

"What Coach Trestman has been talking about, what the entire team has been talking about is Grant Park," he said at his own football camp in Park Ridge for grade schoolers. "After the Super Bowl we'll have everybody meet up in Grant Park. That's the goal is to get in the playoffs, go through that, a Super Bowl win and have the parade back here in Chicago and be Super Bowl champions."

This isn't the first time that Forte has talked about big expectations this off season, so I'll paraphrase an old saying; 'In order to achieve it, you first must believe it.'

The Chicago Bears definitely believe they have something special cooking for the 2014 season.

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