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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

Check out my latest crop of Thoughts on the National Football League...

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1) New England quarterback Tom Brady turns 39 before the 2016 season kicks off, but he just signed a 2 year extension to stay with the Patriots through 2019. Last year he claimed he wants to play for 10 more years, and so far there hasn't been any decrease in his ability. Maybe we're just looking at one of the more freakish athletes to ever play the game. His 2015 stat line in his 16th season (4770 yds/36 TDs/7 Ints ) is ridiculous and when you watch him play he's the same guy he'a always been.

2) But the other QB in his late 30s, 39 year old Peyton Manning, still hasn't decided if he plans on retiring after suffering through the worst statistical season (2249 yds/9 TDs/17 Ints) of his career. His fastball is clearly gone and when pressure arises he's looking to take a dive as quick as possible.

Reports circulated last week that he was ready to hang 'em up, but the latest has Manning unsure. The Denver Broncos have to want him and his $19 million off the books, but when dealing with one of the all time greats, you have to play it as delicate as possible.

There's really nothing left for the two time Super Bowl champ to accomplish, check out this list of records, but athletes often tend to stay too long rather than bow out gracefully.

The absolute latest on Manning has him leaning towards sticking around another year.

3) This one hurts a little bit.

If you watched the Oscars on Sunday night, you may have noticed actress Olivia Munn with her boyfriend Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.

The Chicago Bears noticed they were wearing Navy and Orange, so they sent out the following tweet.

This is where it gets a little painful. Tom Crabtree, who was a teammate of Rodgers' from 2010-2012, shot out the following tweet to the Bears.

Well played Tom...

4) Rodgers had a blast at the Oscars photobombing actors, but one actor made sure to get in a shot at the Packer.

Well played Kevin...

5) The NFL Competition committee is considering a rule to eliminate the chop block. As a former offensive lineman and someone who taught the chop block when I coached, I understand the danger that come with it, but there are safe ways to execute a chop block. I see both sides of this argument, but player safety trumps all, so I think this block eventually goes away.

If the chop block is outlawed, it will hurt the running game in the NFL. Which will lead to teams becoming even more pass happy, which could lead to more QBs taking extra shots, which could lead to more injured QBs, which could lead to the competition committee to look for a way to bring the running game back into the forefront of the NFL.

It's a vicious cycle.

6) Last offseason the Miami Dolphins used the transition tag on tight end Charles Clay, then watched as the Buffalo Bills gave him a big contract that they decided not to match. Clay went to the Bills and the Dolphins received nothing in return. Earlier today the Dolphins decided to go the transition tag route again with defensive end Olivier Vernon. The 'Fins are saving about $3 million by not using the franchise tag, but they may lose a 2nd player in as many years.

I honestly don't see the point to the transition tag.

7) If you're looking for a diamond in the rough NFL prospect, you may want to check out Baylor's 6'8"(ish), 275 pound power forward Rico Gathers. Yes, I said power forward. Gathers hasn't played football since he was 14, but with so many ex-basketball players making the transition to football, you have to like the chances of someone with his size and athleticism.

He already has some private workouts lined up with NFL teams, but it may do him best if he returned to Baylor to play 1 year of college football.

8) The Cincinnati Bengals' Vontaze Burfict is arguably the dirtiest player in the NFL. He's been hit with 16 personal fouls in his 5 year career and fined close to a quarter million dollars. But now he vows to clean up his act.

"I play hard. Sometimes it gets me in trouble," Burfict said in an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson. "My style of play is aggressive, and [the game has] changed, and I have to change with it."

I'm sure the Bengals hope their Pro Bowl linebacker can stay away from the flags, because when he's on the field he is a difference maker. We'll just have to wait and see if this Bengal can change his stripes.

9) Last week I was guest in the Press Row section of The Frank, where they asked me this question about the NFL CombineWhat aspect of the scouting combine is the most important for front offices? The test taking and meetings or stop watches and reps?

Here was my response.

If an NFL scout doesn't know where he's going to grade a prospect's ability off his game film, then he's not a very good scout. For that reason the one on one meetings are most important to teams. Also important are the physicals that the players go through. A medical red flag can hurt a player's draft stock more than a 4.8 forty yard dash.

The biggest medical red flag to come out of the combine was the possible nerve damage that Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith has in his surgically repaired knee. If healthy, Smith could have been a top 10 pick, but now it's believed he may fall out of the first round entirely. It would actually benefit a team if they took him in the 1st round, because those contracts are all 4 year deals with a team option for a 5th year. Players not drafted in the first round can become unrestricted free agents after 4 years.

But is the risk of him not regaining his form and playing at a high level worth it for an extra year of control?

10) Many Chicago Bears fans are hoping as many offensive players sneak into the top 10 as possible, pushing the top defensive talent closer to 11 where the Bears pick. There are a couple offensive tackles mocked in most top 10s, either 2 or 3 quarterbacks going early, but now a player at a surprising position is creeping up the mock boards.

ESPN's Louis Riddick says he would be shocked if Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott isn't a top 4 pick. Elliott was always going to be a 1st rounder, but top 4 would be a shock. Since 2007 only 2 RBs have gone top 4, Trent Richardson in 2012 and Darren McFadden in 2008. Hindsight tells us neither of those two should have gone that high, but Riddick is sure of his prediction.

"Have not heard the kind of praise for an RB like I have heard for Ezekiel Elliott as far as his football intelligence," Riddick said. "I get the whole 'value' argument surrounding RBs. But many view Elliott as being a special combination of skills and character." Riddick appears to believe Dallas at No. 4 overall is Elliott's likely destination.

If he does make it past Dallas at 4, the next logical place he may fall that would help the Bears is at 10 to the New York Giants.

What are some of your thoughts this week?