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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

Check out my latest gaggle of thoughts on the National Football League, and be sure to drop some of your own thoughts in the comment section.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1) The proposed trade between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos for 'Niner QB Colin Kaepernick appears to be dead. The sticking point, Kaepernick's refusal to take a pay cut from his $11.9 million guaranteed salary in 2016. His 2016 cap hit would rank 17th among all quarterbacks, yet the Broncos thinks that's too much to pay a guy that would be their starting QB.

If you were a player in the middle of a trade situation, would you leave money on the table? Whether you agree with it or not, Kaepernick earned that salary he has now, so there's no point in him giving money back. This season is the last of his big guarantee, so it makes sense for him to stick to his guns and bet on himself. Where ever he ends up, if he has a good 2016, then he'll probably be around for his $14.5 million base salary in 2017, but if he plays poorly, he's getting cut anyway.

Denver GM John Elway is hoping the 49ers will kick in and pay a portion of Kaepernick's salary, but so far they aren't budging on that. To Kaepernick's credit, he reported to the 'Niners offseason workout program yesterday without incident.

2) When it comes to the numerous mock drafts floating around every year about this time, you either love them or you hate them. Me, I really enjoy them. I like speculating on which players will be around when my favorite team drafts. I like the fact that so many of the mocks go in various directions, that way I have a chance to learn about different prospects.

When I do my own mock drafts, I do them for the same reason, to learn about different potential prospects. That's why I try and take each mock in a different direction using a different philosophy so I'm forced to draft a plethora of players each time out.

Charlie Casserly, former general manager of the Washington Redskins and the Houston Texansrecently talked about the importance of mock drafts to GMs. If you'd rather read his thoughts instead of watch a video, broke down the three ways he used mock drafts.

3) It has been common knowledge that over the years defenses have been spending more and more time in nickle than they spend in their 3-4 or 4-3 base package, but seeing the numbers are still surprising. I just assumed teams were in sub packages about 50% of the time, but the stats dug up by Pro Football Focus and shared on the MMQB show an even larger disparity.

2008: 43.4%
2009: 45.1%
2010: 48.8%
2011: 52.5%
2012: 54.4%
2013: 58.3%
2014: 60.3%
2015: 63.4%

These are the percentage of plays in NFL games that have five or more defensive backs on the field. That 3rd DB is playing like a starter these days.

4) In the last four years Percy Harvin has played for 4 different teams. He's has injury issues and personnel problems at each stop, but he claims he's going to play in 2016. If he's healthy and his mind is right, there's no denying his talent, but is the 27 year old worth the risk?

I think he would be on an incentive laden contract.

5) Saying Greg Hardy is delusional is disrespectful to people that are actually delusional.

ESPN's Adam Schefter interviewed the free agent for an exclusive one on one that will air in its entirety on Tuesday's NFL Live at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.


Hardy: "I've never put my hand on ANY women ... In my whole entire life, No Sir. That's just not how we're raised. As you can tell, like I said again, it's the Bible belt. It's just something that's, I wouldn't even say frowned upon, just something that's nonexistent in most southern homes."

Schefter: "You say you did nothing wrong, you're innocent and yet the pictures of her that surfaced would seem to suggest a woman who had some type of physical contact. How do you explain that?"

Hardy was found guilty and convicted by a North Carolina judge for assault, but state law gave him the chance to appeal with a trial by jury, and since his accuser didn't cooperate with the 2nd trial his conviction was thrown out. Deadspin revealed pictures from the assault, but it didn't end up making a difference when the accuser didn't participate in the jury trial.

Hardy: "I will stop you there and say that I didn't say that I didn't do anything wrong. That situation occurred and that situation was handled but ... saying that I did nothing wrong is a stretch but saying I am innocent is correct. Yes sir."

So he admits he did something wrong, yet he claims he's innocent, which technically he is.

Maybe he's not delusional after-all.

Schefter: "Did you ever put your hands on her?"

Hardy: "No Sir ... No Sir."

Delusional no, liar yes.

I wonder if a team will ever want to deal with this potential headache again.

6) Twitter has won the digital streaming rights for the NFL's Thursday night games.

They won't have the entire package, but they will stream the 10 TNF games that air on the CBS/NBC package.

"Twitter is where live events unfold and is the right partner for the NFL as we take the latest step in serving fans around the world live NFL football", said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "There is a massive amount of NFL-related conversation happening on Twitter during our games and tapping into that audience, in addition to our viewers on broadcast and cable, will ensure Thursday Night Football is seen on an unprecedented number of platforms this season. This agreement also provides additional reach for those brands advertising with our broadcast partners."

"This is about transforming the fan experience with football. People watch NFL games with Twitter today," said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO. "Now they'll be able to watch right on Twitter Thursday nights."

Last season Yahoo had the first ever game that was streamed online and "fans streamed over 480 million minutes of the game, with 33% of streams coming in internationally, across 185 countries worldwide," so online streaming may be the future.

7) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is also still in favor of playoff expansion. "(It) likely will happen at some point," Goodell said via a town-hall meeting with Jacksonville Jaguars' season ticket holders, "but we want to be really cautious because we really like the balance we have with the importance of the regular season and the postseason and you don't want to mess with that balance. You have to be really careful and cautious."

I just don't see any issues with the 12 teams that make it now. Eight division champs and 2 wildcards per conference is plenty.

8) Some of the national media guys seem so out of touch with what some teams are doing, so when I came across the top 5 needs for all 32 teams from Lance Zierlein of, I wanted to share. Mostly because he has a pretty good feel of what the Chicago Bears need to address.

Top 5 needs: Pass rusher, DE, QB, OL, CB
Analysis: Finding a true pass-rushing presence should be the Bears' top priority. The Bears have upgraded their front seven through the free-agency additions of Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman and Akiem Hicks, but finding a pass rusher should be an early option. The addition of Bobby Massie helps by bumping Kyle Long back down inside, but the Bears could still use competition for Charles Leno at left tackle. They'll likely add help at cornerback.

I might swap out safety for offensive line, but other than that, I think he hits on what the Bears are looking for. I think the Bears really need an element of speed off the edge. Between Pernell McPhee, Willie Young and Lamarr Houston, the Bears top three edge rushers, there isn't one guy that can win on speed alone. Young probably has the best burst around the edge, but he's not going to consistently give offensive tackles the jitters on his speed alone.

9) Adam Stites, the guy behind those neat SB Nation Mock Draft pie charts, is stepping in for draft guru Dan Kadar on this week's SB Nation mock, and here's who he has the Chicago Bears taking in their latest.

Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson

Bringing on inside linebackers was a priority in free agency for the Bears, but adding pass rushers on the outside is still a project yet to be completed. Most project Lawson to be a 4-3 defensive end, but as a standing pass rusher in Chicago he could add to a group that didn't have any player finish with double-digit sacks in 2015. His ability to play with his hand on the ground gives Vic Fangio some room for creativity, as well.

I'm not sure I like Lawson as a 3-4 OLB as much as I like him as a 4-3 DE, but he does have the athleticism to line up at either. I think he has the strength to eventually grow into a 3-4 5 tech defensive end, but that's about 20 pounds down the road.

10) Sites also has an interesting twist on a mock draft right here. In this mock he "mocks" each team a player that is currently on an NFL roster. Check out his pick at 11 for the Bears.

Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Cardinals

Inside linebacker went from a giant weakness to a strength for the Bears in free agency, and the team kept its starting cornerbacks together by re-signing Tracy Porter. But in a defense that more often than not has three cornerbacks on the field, Mathieu is a defensive back who can do a little bit of everything for the Bears and help the defense improve in just about every area.

Mathieu was originally a 3rd round draft pick in the 2013 draft, so plenty of teams passed on his back then. These days he's one of the most dynamic play makers in the NFL and he could play anywhere in a defensive secondary.

FYI, no Chicago Bears made the list of players drafted...

What are some of your NFL thoughts this week?