Ten Thoughts on the NFL: Chicago Bears and beyond

Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Spor

We're back to our regular NFL Thoughts this week, be sure to leave any of your thoughts in the comment thread.

1) The San Francisco 49ers closed out Candlestick Park on Saturday night with a Legends of Candlestick flag football game. The game pitted Joe Montana's Niner squad of San Fran legends against a group of NFL All Stars led by one of the co-stars of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Dan Marino.

It was fitting that Montana led his team to a 4th quarter comeback, even if the game winning touchdown to former owner Eddie DeBartolo seemed a little too easy.

Former Chicago Bears safety Tony Parish -- Bears (1998-2001), 49ers (2002-2006) -- had three interceptions for the 49er Legends, returning one for a TD.

The best part of the event was that the approximately 25,000 in attendance were there supporting San Francisco Police Foundation and the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation.

2) The Green Bay Packers will not retire legendary quarterback Brett Favre's jersey #4 this year. They are afraid the fans will boo their all time leading passer.

3) Speaking of the Packers, since they are a publicly owned company, their books are wide open to the masses. By their revenue report being available it gives us a peek at the NFL's revenue sharing. Each of the 32 NFL teams were able to share in $6 billion, meaning each team received $187.7 million.

That's a lot of moolah.

4) I don't care what the New Orleans Saints, the NFL or Jimmy Graham calls himself, he's one of the best offensive pass catchers in the league and he should be paid like one.

5) For all you fantasy footballers; Peyton Manning was the number one scorer last year in just about every scoring format known to the game, yet running backs still hold the most value for fantasy drafts.  The NFL is a passing league, the running game isn't as prevalent as years past, but how many quarterbacks will be drafted in the first round?  Where would you draft Peyton Manning in your league?

6) A couple of months ago we brought you the story of a group of former NFL players that was suing the NFL, claiming the league was illegally supplying the players with narcotics and painkillers. Now the lawsuit has piqued the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA launched an investigation to find out who was supplying and distributing these drugs. The former players were "pleased" to learn of the investigation.

I have a feeling this is going to get very ugly.

7) The Cleveland Browns are back in the news, but this time it has nothing to do with Johnny Football.

Starting this season the Browns will be led onto the field by an actual live dog. Their new mascot named "Swagger", is only the fourth live animal mascot used in the NFL, joining the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens.

I could have sworn the Miami Dolphins had a live Dolphin named Snowflake.

8) NFL.com's Bucky Brooks has ranked the top 10 hands in the NFL and he put the Chicago Bears' Alshon Jeffery at #3.

It's hard for some observers to pencil Jeffery in as Chicago's No. 1 receiver with perennial Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall on the opposite side of the field, but there's no doubt the Bears increasingly relied on the sophomore sensation to deliver big plays as last season wore on. Jeffery's uncanny ability to come down with acrobatic catches in the back corner of the end zone has made him one of the NFL's most dangerous red-zone weapons. Fresh off a 1,421-yard season, Jeffery has thrust himself into discussions about the top pass catchers in the game.

Absent from his list is the best wide out in the game today, Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions. There was another NFC North receiver on his list however, the Green Bay Packers' Jordy Nelson checked in at number six.

9) Over the Cap is taking an in depth look at each team's payroll and selecting one player on each team with the best contract and one player with the worst. For the Chicago Bears they picked guard Matt Slauson as the top deal on the team. The Bears re-signed him this offseason to a team friendly deal.

The Bears acted quickly to re-sign Slauson, who seemed to really enjoy playing in Chicago, but did not offer him an over the top contract to avoid free agency. Instead it was a very moderate deal that offered him the peace of mind of knowing where he would be playing in the future and by no means tied Chicago to the player for anything longer than a year.

We like to joke about the importance of Cliff Stein, chief contract negotiator for the Bears, but the fact is that he is very well respected league wide. (The bold is mine)

I had a hard time coming up with the worst contract on Chicago. They are a team that I do feel overpays on a number of contracts, but uses contract structures that make the contracts more flexible.

They did pick a worst contract for the Bears, and it's not who you think.

I selected Tim Jennings for two reasons. One is that I felt that this was a "jump the gun" signing that indicated a incorrect reading of the market. Secondly this contract seemed to not follow the same pattern that the Bears used for most of their signings. In 2013 the cornerback market took a major step backwards. While there was a rebound of sorts in 2013, Jennings was the first contract signed at the position.

One thing the Bears have been know for through the years is taking care of their own. They may have jumped the gun on Jennings, but letting the market settle itself out wasn't something the Bears wanted to do. They targeted a guy that they wanted to bring back, and they offered him a deal they were comfortable with.

10) It's a good thing that Ashton Kutcher has replaced Jim Belushi as the highest profile celebrity Bears fan. Isn't it?

What has caught your attention around the NFL the last few days?

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