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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

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Check out my latest Thoughts on the National Football League.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

1) The franchise tag deadline is on Friday and if history tells us anything, it's that these deals will get done as close to the deadline as possible. There are seven players who were tagged this offseason, but of the seven, the New York Jets' Muhammad Wilkerson is probably the one that will hold out when teams report to training camp later this month.

The two sides haven't really spoken and reports have them really far apart on a contract. The $60 million guaranteed that the Philadelphia Eagles just gave Fletcher Cox is a big wrench in the works.

2) Last week we talked about Pittsburgh Steelers' running back Le'Veon Bell rapping about wanting $15 million a season when he hits free agency after the 2016 season. Maybe his line, "Ima need 15 a year and they know this," just had a good lyrical flow, because he's now backing off his number.

From ESPN;

"I'm not a real greedy guy. I don't play football just for money or things like that," Bell said. "I just want to be valued. Wherever it is -- whether its $15 million or lower or higher, whatever it is - I think we will get to an agreement eventually."

The only way he achieves that type of payday is if he has a historic season, but even if he hit's two thousand yards rushing, some general managers will claim the 'wear and tear' from 2016 makes him damaged goods.

3) Without googling; Do you know which running back led the league in yards per carry last year?

Adrian Peterson led the league in rushing, but it wasn't his 4.5 ypc that was tops...

Doug Martin had a good bounce back season to finish 2nd in rushing yards, but it wasn't his 4.9 ypc...

Rookie Todd Gurley had some flashy plays last season but his 4.8 ypc was actually 6th best among RBs...

Here's a hint; He played for the Seattle Seahawks...

...

Nope, not the recently retired Marshawn Lynch...

It was rookie undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls with a 5.6 yards per carry on his 147 attempts. He's recovering form a broken ankle that he suffered in December, but he vows to be ready to go for training camp.

Any of you fantasy football players planning on taking him early?

Also all you fantasy football players be sure to follow our very own fantasy expert, Jeff Berckes on Twitter, so you never miss anything.

4) Speaking of fantasy football, Atlanta's Devonta Freeman was a stud last year in the early part of the season, but he seemed to tire as the season wore on. The Falcons are planning on reducing his workload this year, which may be good news for 2nd year pro Tevin Coleman.

Coleman, for as much promise that he showed running the ball (4.5 ypc), he didn't do much as a receiver out of the backfield (2 catches). If Coleman wants to be a bigger part of their offense, I hope he spent some ofseason time with the Jugs Machine.

5) One more fantasy nugget, The Rams' Todd Gurley believes that he should be the #1 draft pick in your fantasy draft.

"Oh, No. 1 overall, for sure," Gurley said on NFL Network's NFL Total Access on Friday. "I mean you maybe could choose AB. You maybe could choose Antonio Brown over me, but that's about it. No body else.... Maybe Cam (Newton), that's it. Cam and AB."

I like how he started out cocky, but then checked himself and named a couple other fantasy studs.

If you get the top pick in your draft, who are you taking?

6) If you aren't a fantasy footballer, odds are you are a Madden player. Did you realize that the 80 year old John Madden is still involved with the EA Sports game that bears his name? I think it's neat that Madden is still dialed in to the sport he loves.

If by some chance you haven't seen the trailer yet, here you go.

7) On Saturday, Brock Lesnar won his UFC 200 fight against Mark Hunt via unanimous decision. This August, Lesnar will be on WWE's SummerSlam card taking on Randy Orton, but did you know that Lesnar had a short NFL football career?

After his first stint with the WWE, Lesnar wanted to give pro football a try and his hometown Minnesota Vikings gave him a shot in 2004. He never made the Vikes regular season roster (you can check out his preseason "highlights" here), but his brief stint in Minnesota's camp left a lasting impression on some of his teammates back then, including wide out Nate Burleson.

"Somebody cheap-shotted Daunte Culpepper late," Burleson said on NFL Network, recalling a joint practice with the Kansas City Chiefs. "And Brock was like, 'Who did it?' The next play, he went and suplexed the guy. He picked up a grown man after the play. It was a Royal Rumble: Minnesota versus Kansas City. ... That was a nasty suplex on the football field."

Some of you may already know that I'm a big pro wrestling fan, so I'm curious if there any other wrestling fans that frequent WCG?

What about fans of MMA, any of you guys out there?

8) Presented without comment...

9) All four of ESPN's NFC North beat writers are predicting a Chicago Bears player as the best newcomer in the division for the 2016 season. The Bears' reporter went with wide receiver Kevin White and the other three went with inside linebacker Danny Trevathan.

Rob Demovsky, the Green Bay Packers reporter, called Trevathan an "immediate upgrade in the middle of their defense." Michael Rothstein, who covers the Detroit Lions, said that Trevathan is an "instant impact player on a defense," and that "he brings the attitude of a winner."

Ben Goessling, the Vikings beat reporter, said that "with Trevathan and (the other FA ILB pick up) Jerrell Freeman, the Bears addressed one of their biggest problems, and a defense that allowed 4.5 yards per carry last season should be tougher to run on in 2016." And finally Bears' beat guy, Jeff Dickerson said that White "has the potential to catch 70-plus passes. That would arguably give Chicago the best receiver tandem in the NFC North."

10) Last week a "report" came out that the Chicago Bears and franchised tagged wide out Alshon Jeffery were far apart in contract negotiations. Most Bears sites/publications ran with the story, because in the slow offseason, any news is worth passing along.

You may have noticed that I didn't write a front page article on the "news" and that was a conscious decision on my part. The report was nothing more than one writers hunch, "I sense that both sides really don't feel strongly about this one," said NFL.com's Mike Garafolo, "That's because Alshon Jeffery's got a $14.6 million tag. The Bears wanted to come in a couple of million below that."

Since when does a sense equal breaking news? Garafolo may end up being correct, and the two sides could never agree to a deal, but he cites no insider knowledge. He names no source for his scoop. So I didn't want to write an article based on a hunch. If our loyal readers wanted to discuss Jeffery, Ken had it linked up in the Bears' Den, I just didn't feel like parroting the other sites out there by treating this like an actual story.

If the Bears want Jeffery to prove he's worth elite WR cash, then all he has to do is go out in 2016 and play like an elite wide out. If Jeffery struggles through injury again, the Bears could tag him next offseason and make him ride out the 2017 season before deciding on a long term deal.

My hunch is that the Bears want Jeffery to prove his contract with his play on the field in 2016.