1) Marc Trestman must be atop Josh McCown's Christmas Card list because the shine is still on McCown a full 2 years removed from his stellar statistical performance for the Chicago Bears in 2013. Last off season McCown signed a 2 year, $10 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only to find himself cut after throwing 14 interceptions, having 10 fumbles (he only lost one) and a 70.5 passer rating in 11 games.
His unemployment only lasted a few weeks as the Cleveland Browns handed him a 3 year deal, worth $14 million.
The immediate speculation is that he was signed, in part, to be a good role model for Johnny Manziel and to show him how to be a good pro. McCown will do that, as he is a consummate professional and a good teammate, but Manziel has to want to be mentored.
2) The Detroit Lions announced that they will not use the franchise tag on Ndamukong Suh, which means it's in his best interest to test the market when free agency opens on March 10th. My guess, he'll be the highest paid defensive player in the history of the NFL.
Suh has a unique blend of strength and quickness that will allow him to fit into any defensive scheme. He may even look for a team that will move him around the defensive line rather than one that plugs him into the 3-Tech DT spot.
3) Speaking of the franchise tag, the Kansas City Chiefs will use theirs on OLB Justin Houston, who is the top edge rusher on the market. Houston can't be happy with the tag, as he'll be grossly underpaid at right around $13 million.
4) One more franchise tag nugget, the Denver Broncos are using their tag on wide out Demaryius Thomas, meaning free agent tight end Julius Thomas will likely leave the Broncos.
I think in this day and age, it's easier to find a great wide out than it is to find a great tight end, but I also think there's still a lot to be determined with Julius Thomas before he's considered one of the best at his position. In his 4 year career, Julius has totaled 109 receptions with 1,282 yards. Two players had more than 109 receptions in 2014 alone and 11 players had more than 1,282 yards in 2014. One of which was Demaryius Thomas, who had 111 catches for 1,619 yards.
I think the Broncos made the right decision between the two.
5) Fans of the NFL Combine may have some new "events" to think about next off season. The NFL is thinking about tinkering with their annual meat-market. Nothing drastic, we won't see any Oklahoma drills or hamburger drills from the prospects, but we may see wide outs running more than a 40 yard dash, the o-line may not even run a 40, and players could wear helmets and shoulder pads during the workout.
"They play very, very hard - they are very physical," Trestman said. "There's a toughness to the group."
The Ravens offense embraced a hard-nosed, balanced approach under Gary Kubiak last season.
I wonder how balanced the offense will be in 2015?
I know, I know, two Trestman mentions in my Thoughts is probably too much, but I just found this one too good to pass up.
7) If you are planning on attending the NFL Draft in Chicago this year, but are fearful you won't be able to get tickets for the Auditorium Theatre, then fear not, because there will be a "Draft-Town" set up at Grant Park. Each of the 32 NFL teams will have a chalet set up and there will be events taking place to give fans a brand new draft day experience.
To help create a synergy between what is occurring inside and outside, Grant Park's famous Buckingham Fountain will be lit up in the colors of the team that is on the clock during the draft's first two nights, April 30 and May 1.
If any of you guys are going you have to fill us in with a Fanpost after the event.
8) As if the actual NFL Power Rankings aren't silly enough, Brad Gagnon of CBSSports is already predicting the 2017 NFL Power Rankings. Chicago Bears' fans may not like his vision of the future. He has the 2016 Super Bowl winning Green Bay Packers sitting on top with the beloved down at 31.
The Bears gambled two years ago that they could find a better quarterback than Jay Cutler in free agency or the draft and learned their lesson the hard way. While Cutler experienced a minor redemption elsewhere, the Bears toiled with Josh McCown in 2015 and couldn't get much out of youngsters in 2016. The jury's still out there, but this is a rebuild for a franchise that struggled in its first year without Matt Forte last year. They paid a king's ransom to keep Alshon Jeffery around last offseason and now might have to do the same with impending free agents Kyle Long and Martellus Bennett. Throw in that 2014 first-round pick Kyle Fuller has officially become a bust and that Brandon Marshall's best days are behind him and it's easy to see why this franchise is in shambles.
First off, his fictional account of the future was penned last week before McCown signed in Cleveland and secondly, is any one else predicting Bustville for Kyle Fuller?
9) The NFL Salary Cap has increased yet again; after jumping about $10 million last off season, it's jumping about $10 million more this season. The cap number is now $143,280,000, but with the carryover from last year the Chicago Bears 2015 cap is set at $145,168,434 which means, according to 670 The Score's Dan Durkin, they'll have about $23 million to play with.
10) OK, I lied, I'll sneak one more franchise tag nugget in today: the New England Patriots have elected to tag kicker Stephen Gostkowski instead of safety Devin McCourty. I know McCourty is at the top of most free agent safety lists, so if we're looking for a ballpark figure that McCourty will be looking for, a good starting point is the 6 year, $56 million, with $28 million guaranteed that Jairus Byrd signed last off season with the Saints.
Chicago Bears fans, do you think McCourty will end up wearing Navy and Orange?