1) I've seen a few sites reporting that possible #1 overall drat pick, Laremy Tunsil of Ole Miss, passed on running his 40 yard dash at his pro day like it's some kind of big deal. A forty yard dash for an offensive lineman, like our lead fantasy football writer Jeff Berckles so eloquently put it, is as relevant as bench reps for a kicker.
Tunsil skipping the 40 is certainly not headline worthy for any publication.
I have yet to see an offensive coordinator design a play where one of his 5 offensive linemen are instructed to get a 40 yard head start before executing a block. What Tunsil does have is an athletically built 6'5", 310 pound frame, he has good lateral quickness, good explosion off the snap, long enough arms, good strength and he's as technically sound as any prospect in the draft.
If the Tennessee Titans don't take him #1 overall, they better have a slew of picks coming back to them in a trade.
2) The Cleveland Browns signed quarterback Robert Griffin III to a 2 year, $15M contract with a $6.75M guarantee, but that shouldn't stop them from drafting a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft. They pick #2 overall and they still should probably grab which ever QB they have rated highest. Whether it's Jared Goff of Cal or Carson Wentz of North Dakota State, the Browns should get a young guy to learn from head coach Hue Jackson. RGIII only got a 2 year deal, with all but $1.75M guaranteed in 2016. If a rookie QB outplays him, that's a good thing for Cleveland because that means they may finally have a long term answer at quarterback.
3) Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay might be an idiot. He compares concussions to taking an aspirin.
From the Indy Star;
"I believe this," Irsay told SportsBusiness Journal. "That the game has always been a risk, you know, and the way certain people are. Look at it. You take an aspirin, I take an aspirin, it might give you extreme side effects of illness and your body ... may reject it, where I would be fine. So there is so much we don't know."
Irsay isn't the only out of touch owner, Dallas' Jerry Jones is no stranger to saying idiotic things either and he claims there's no link between playing football and possible brain damage.
"We don't have that knowledge and background," he told the Washington Post, "and scientifically, so there's no way in the world to say you have a relationship relative to anything here."
Football is dangerous, there's no denying that, but these athletes that play do so because they love the sport. Playing sports isn't the most dangerous thing you can do, but there are risks involved. From playing football at the highest level to playing pee wee soccer as a 6 year old, there's risk involved in sports every time you step onto the field of play.
The Inherent Risk Of Sports
In light of the recent lawsuit brought against the NFL and the concussion awareness and player safety talk that has been so prevalent of late I wanted to give my take on the subject. I was also able to talk with attorney Alicia Jessop to get a legal perspective on the issue.
4) Carolina cornerback Josh Norman, who had the franchise tag slapped on him a couple weeks ago, is looking to become the highest paid corner on the league. The top CB right now is the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis who averages $14,024,212 per year during his 5 year deal that expires after the 2019 season. The biggest guarantee ever handed out to a CB was the $47,368,114 given to Arizona's Patrick Peterson.
Norman is seeking $16 million per season, and even though it's a $2 million jump over the top dog at his position, I think he may have a good chance to receive it. If quarterbacks are the highest paid/most important player on each team, shouldn't the guys tasked with stopping the QB get huge money too?
A quick check of the top 30 average salaries in the NFL shows 1-12 being QBs, 13 being Miami's Ndamukong Suh (a guy paid to destroy QBs) at $19,062,500, 14 through 19 more QBs, 20 and 21 being newly paid defensive ends Malik Jackson and Olivier Vernon, 22 is Chiefs' QB Alex Smith at $17M, 23 is OLB Justin Houston and his 56 sacks in 70 games, 24 is Houston's J.J. Watt, then it alternates QB-DT-QB-DT before the Jets' DE Muhammad Wilkerson is at 29, with number 30 finally being another offensive position besides QB, Cincinnati wide out A.J. Green at $15 million at a year average.
If the Panthers really value Norman as one of the best defenders in the NFL, then he should probably be paid like one of them.
5) Tight end Jared Cook has a career high of 52 receptions that he got with Austin Davis and Shaun Hill throwing him the ball. His career best in receiving yards is 759 that he compiled with a 36 year old Matt Hasselbeck throwing him the ball. His career high 5 receiving touchdowns came with Sam Bradford and Kellen Clemens under center.
He's now going to Green Bay to play with Aaron Rodgers. I wonder if he'll reach that potential that experts keep saying he needs to reach.
6) The L.A. Rams will be the featured team on HBO's Hard Knocks. I wonder if it will be interesting to hear the players talk about the differences in St. Louis and the Midwest, in comparison to Los Angeles and the West Coast.
You gotta love the troll game of that apparel company and their marketing savvy too.
7) Devin Hester is in danger of being a cap casualty of the Atlanta Falcons once he's fully healthy. He signed with the Falcons, in part, to play the occasional wide receiver, and in 2014 he had 38 receptions for 504 yards, while still being the teams primary returner.
The 2014 season was head coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but last year Atlanta's brain trust was head coach Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Hester missed most of last year with a toe injury, and in the 5 games he did play in he didn't catch a ball. Shanahan doesn't seem to value Hester's receiving skills, so they may as well part ways and save about $3 million.
If the Falcons do cut him, could the 33 year old's career be over?
8) The NFL has a "legal tampering" free agency period where teams can chat with agents of their potential new players, but they can not speak with the players. This is a rule that makes no sense and it was elaborated on by Texans head coach Bill O'Brien earlier today at the MMQB.
This seems like one of those rules that makes so much sense to change that the NFL won't change it.
9) There sure are a lot of former Chicago Bears on this list of best pass catching duos in the NFL. Bucky Brooks of NFL.com ran down his top five receiving 1-2 punches and listed five more that were on the bubble. Three ex-Bears made his cut.
Number one is Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker of the New York Jets, number three is Rob Gronkowski and Martellus Bennett of New England Patriots, and his 5th bubble pairing is Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers.
Bears fans, Alshon Jeffery (if healthy) is primed for a big season after averaging an 8th best 89.7 yards per game last year on a gimpy leg. So, if two Bears were to make Brooks' list next offseaosn, which player would you think would pair up with Jeffery?
Does Kevin White make a huge splash as a 2nd year pro? Could Zach Miller build off his career 2015 and become a 70-80 catch guy? Is it possible a healthy Eddie Royal can come close to the 91/980 that he had as a rookie playing with Jay Cutler in Denver?
10) The latest mock draft from SB Nation has the Bears going in a familiar direction and taking a defensive lineman at 11th overall.
A'Shawn Robinson, DT, Alabama
The Bears made a splash in free agency by bringing in linebackers Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman, but they're nullified some if the front line for the Bears doesn't let them roam. Robinson, Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman can occupy blockers and fill gaps letting those linebackers move around.
Some fans are down of this pick because Robinson isn't as flashy as some other prospects in the draft. His strength is in stopping the run and in plugging gaps, not exactly the sexiest of skill sets, but he fits a need on the Bears and would probably be a day one starter.
What are some of your thoughts on the NFL this week?