1) Rob Gronkowski lives life to the absolute fullest. He's young, he's rich, he's single and he's all about having fun in the offseason. He takes the work hard, play hard mantra to a whole new level.
His latest endeavor is a 3 day cruise called Gronk's Party Ship. You really have to see it to believe it.
2) Last year, one of the top pass rushers available in the draft was Nebraska's Randy Gregory, but testing positive for marijuana at the NFL Combine caused him to slip all the way to the 2nd round and 60th overall where the Dallas Cowboys snatched him up. Before the draft, Gregory claimed, "The franchise that drafts me won't have to worry about me off the field, but the teams that didn't select me will have to worry about me on the field."
That didn't last very long, because he's suspended for the first 4 games of the 2016 season after failing more drug tests. The next failed test results in a 10 game ban, then after that he'll have to sit out 12 months.
3) In other dumbass Cowboy news, "alleged" woman beater Greg Hardy may be unemployed again with reports circulating that Dallas has no plans to re-sign him. I'm sure someone will take a flier on him, but I don't think he's getting anywhere close to the $11 million that he got last year. Some have speculated that with Gregory's suspension, the team may entertain bringing Hardy back, but that doesn't seem to be true.
4) NFL teams have until March 1st to apply the franchise tag to free agents, and so far no team has done so. Most teams will want to get a long term deal worked out, but it may make sense for the Washington Redskins to tag quarterback Kirk Cousins. The two sides are reportedly far off a figure in negotiations, so making Cousins prove last year wasn't a fluke could be the smart business decision.
Before his breakout 2015 season, he was an interception machine, with an interception percentage of 4.7 through his first three seasons (407 passing attempts). Last year he got that figure way down to 2.0%, but a 1 year prove it deal, even at $19.6 million, could be what ends up happening. If Cousins improves on his 2015 numbers, the Redskins may have to pay him among the best QBs in the game today, but he he regresses, they'll have more options from a contract/guaranteed money standpoint.
5) Sticking with the Redskins, backup QB Robert Griffin III is on the way out, and rumored landing spots for his services are Kansas City, Philadelphia and Denver. Of those three, I think K.C. would do his career the best. He could learn from Andy Reid, sit behind Alex Smith and rebuild his confidence in a system that works for his skill set.
6) The San Francisco 49ers plan on having Colin Kaepernick on their roster this year, and maybe the new coaching staff (Chip Kelly's) will be what is needed to get his career back on track. When Kaepernick was on, he was one of the most exciting players in the NFL, but he couldn't break out of his funk last year.
7) Would you like to see coaches have the ability to challenge any play?
Right now only certain plays and reviewable, but there's a possibility that the replay challenge is tweaked by the competition committee.
8) I'm sure by now most of you have seen this, but in case you didn't, Jared Allen retired in the most epic way possible.
Riding off into the sunset pic.twitter.com/wZXovseGKS— Jared Allen (@JaredAllen69) February 18, 2016
Our sister site, the Daily Norseman, has a very good (and long) read that you can find right here, Jared Allen Was Great and Possibly Better Than You Remember. It's full of stats, charts, videos and GIFs, and definitely worth your time if you were a fan of his play.
Besides being real good between the lines, he's one of the more giving athletes when it comes to charity work.
9) I really wonder if national writers bother to research when they sit down to type up an article. Over at NFL.com, Around The NFL Writer Conor Orr, recently wrote about which teams have the most cap space. The Bears are still sitting in 3rd, and here's what he said, pay close attention to the last sentence.
3. Chicago Bears
Cap Space: $59,199,330
Outlook: This will be a big spring for the Bears. Some of this money should be earmarked for Alshon Jeffery, and the team could place the franchise tag on him before the first comment is filed below. But in addition, Chicago needs some help up front, in the defensive secondary and all over their front seven. Pernell McPhee was a brilliant addition last year, but the team jetted high draft picks like Jon Bostic and established stars like Jared Allen who did not fit the system. Shea McClellin was forced inside. They started the process a year ago, bringing in the likes of Antrel Rolle, Mason Foster and Jarvis Jenkins, but still have a mountain to climb.
Mason Foster didn't even make Chicago's opening day 53 man roster. He then sat unemployed until the Redskins signed him 24 days later.
Did anyone get the idea that Rolle is part of GM Ryan Pace's "process" to find fits for the system, more so that just being a veteran stopgap? The 33 year old only played in 7 games last year, and his place on the 2016 roster could be in jeopardy.
At least Jenkins played most of the season (15 games) and had the occasional impact on the field, but he signed a small one year prove-it type of deal and the Bears may not even re-sign him.
9a) Speaking of the salary cap, the NFL got caught hiding over $100 million from the players, so the 2016 cap will end up being closer to $156 million.
10) I knew the Bears played a lot of rookies last year, but I didn't realize they started a league high 9 1st year players. Some of those 9 were forced to start action due to injury, but the experience will pay dividends as they prep for year two.
Physical improvements from year one to year two are obviously going to be huge, but the mental side of the game is often more important for a young player. A full year in the system and a full offseason to prepare to be a pro has me excited to see what Chicago's 2nd year players will do.
What are some of your thoughts this week?