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Ten Thoughts On The NFL

Check out my Thoughts on the NFL this week, and like always, be sure to leave a few of your own in our comment section.

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1) Of all the professional athletes you would never expect to see linked with a controversial story, the squeaky clean, media and Madison Avenue darling, 14 time Pro Bowler and aw-shucks Peyton Manning has his 2nd controversy since December.

Just when it seems the HGH story was starting to die down, this weekend we learned about a sexual assault that may have happened while Manning was a student/athlete at Tennessee. There was a cover up that was brought to light by the New York Daily News' Shaun King, and it involved Peyton, his father Archie, the University of Tennessee and Florida Southern College.

Celebrities are often judged through the media before they get their day in court, but I wonder how much the carefully cultivated image of Peyton will sway the court of public opinion in this case. Sexual assault is a serious accusation and there are always two sides to every story.

Sports Illustrated has all the latest details.

2) In on field Peyton Manning news, there's still no word from him on retirement. The Denver Broncos are even waiting to talk contract with free agent QB Brock Osweiler, the man who started 7 games for an injured Manning and helped them to a 5-2 record, until a retirement decision is made official.

Free agency doesn't start until March 9th, so the Broncos have some time, but I'm sure Osweiler would like to get things locked up asap.

3) With Osweiler on hold, that means most of Denver's focus will be on re-signing defensive end Malik Jackson. The Broncos recently gave fellow d-end Derek Wolfe a 4 year, $36.7 million deal, including $17.5 million guaranteed, and Jackson will command a larger contract than that one.

Teams in need of an inside linebacker (like the Bears!) are hoping the Wolfe, Jackson and possibly Osweiler deals make it hard for them to re-up with Danny Trevathan.

4) Did you realize that the last team to lose the Super Bowl, but come back to win it all the next season was the 1972 Miami Dolphins? The Carolina Panthers may be a really talented team that is led by the reigning league MVP, but history suggests that they won't be playing in SBLI.

5) During Super Bowl weekend the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 were announced, headlined by one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, Brett Favre. But it was a snub of one the greatest wide receivers to every play the game that has many wondering if it's time to change the election process.

Making players "wait their turn" is idiotic. If you're a Hall Of Famer, you're a Hall Of Famer.

Terrell Owens wasn't the most popular player with the media, but his 1,078 receptions, 15,934 receiving yards and 153 receiving touchdowns should have been plenty to get him elected in his first year of eligibility. But since Marvin Harrison, who was elected this year, didn't get in on his first year of eligibility, Owens had to wait his turn.

Making Harrison wait a couple years was just as dumb as making Owens wait, but the wide receiver position has a "backlog" of greats that had to be spread out for some stupid reason. Harrison was an 8 time Pro Bowler and a 3 time First Team All Pro. He is 3rd all time in receptions, 7th all time in receiving yards and 5th all time in receiving TDs.

Owens was a 6 time Pro Bowler, with 5 First Team All Pro teams to his credit. He is 6th all time in receptions, 2nd all time in receiving yards and 3rd all time in TD catches. Yes he played in an era of great receivers, but he was one of the greatest and he should be in the Hall Of Fame right now.

6) The water crisis in Flint is an American tragedy. The Michigan city willingly poisoned their own residents as a way to save money, but now that the media is shining a spotlight on the community, people are jumping in to help. Among those coming to Flint's aid are a couple of NFL players. Running back Justin Forsett of the Baltimore Ravens and former Raven, and current San Francisco 49ers' wide out Torrey Smith are both on hand donating time as well as money by distributing "some 34,560 bottles of water, $30,000 worth of adult cleaning wipes and $5,000 worth of baby wipes."

For more on the crisis in Flint, you can check out this article from our parent company VOX Media.

7) The Miami Dolphins hired ex-Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase as their new head coach and Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has already made some interesting comments about the 37 year old Gase.

Out of one side of his mouth, Ross compared Gase to a couple all time greats, saying he "could be the next, if you will, Bill Belichick, Bill Parcells," but out of the other side of his mouth he's already preparing for life after Gase. "After three years, if we haven't made the playoffs, we're looking for a new coach," Ross bluntly put it, "That's just the way it is. The fans want it."

I guess he just wants to prepare his fan base for both ends of the spectrum.

8) NFL teams can start using the franchise tag today, and most experts agree that the best of the free agent crop will likely be tagged. The tag numbers won't be finalized until the 2016 salary cap is set, but here are the early projections based off a $154 million salary cap.

Cornerback - $14.8M
Defensive End - $15.5M
Defensive Tackle - $13.4M
Linebacker - $14.1M
Offensive Line - $13.7M
Punter/Kicker - $4.5M
Quarterback - $19.8M
Running Back - $11.8M
Safety - $10.7M
Tight End - $9.1M
Wide Receiver - $14.5M

9) This is some good news for the NFL players.

In case you missed it, the Chicago Bears should have the 3rd most cap space available this offseason.

10) Bears fans, we've long complained about the crappy sod at Soldier Field, but I don't think we've ever seen anything as crazy as this.

In case you missed it, this clip was from the Super Bowl. Check out the left tackle.

How can the billion dollar NFL allow the players to play on such ridiculous field conditions?

What are some of your thoughts this week?