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Ten Thoughts on the NFL

NFL: New York Jets-OTA Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

1) The Pittsburgh Steelers don’t only have to worry about the contract demands from soon to be free agent running back Le'Veon Bell, they’re now forced to start thinking about wide out Antonio Brown who said this after practice on Sunday, "You have to take care of your guys. If a guy underperforms, you get rid of him. If a guy overperforms, you take care of him."

He’s right. With contracts not fully guaranteed in the NFL, teams can part ways with a player as soon as it’s convenient for them to do so.

Brown signed an extension in 2012, after a good, but not great season. But from 2013 to 2015, he’s been the best receiver in the game, putting up ridiculous numbers (239 receptions, 3,197 yards, and 21 TDs).

He just turned 28 years old and his deal runs through the 2017 season.

2) Houston Texans’ wide out DeAndre Hopkins is also looking for a new deal, but he staged a little 1 day hold out to get his point across. The Texans knew Hopkins would never stay away long, after all he’s due a roster bonus of $445,005 this week, so Hopkins displayed his unhappiness with his contract by playing hooky for a day and Texans’ owner Bob McNair made his point after Sunday’s practice. “I’m happy that he's back, I think it's in his best interest for him to be here.”

Hopkins is a stud receiver that will help their new $70 million quarterback Brock Osweiler live up to his deal.

"We'll deal with his contract at the proper time,” said McNair, “We take care of our players and we'll take care of him."

The Texans are going to pay him eventually, but with two more years remaining on his rookie contract, there’s really no rush.

3) When I read that the Kansas City Chiefs signed offensive tackle Eric Fisher to a $48 million extension, which keeps him in K.C. through the 2021 season, I had to head over to our sister site Arrowhead Pride, to see what they had to say about the deal.

Fisher is being paid like one of the best tackles in the NFL, but he hasn’t played like that during his first three years. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride reminds us that “the Chiefs are paying for what they believe Fisher will do, not what he has done.”

I get it. He’s a player that has steadily gotten better each year, but I agree with Joel when he wonders why they give Fisher this deal now with two years still on his rookie contract. Fisher hasn’t been a good player, he was even benched last year for a couple games, so why not wait to see how he progresses in 2016?

If Fisher can cash in like this, I wonder what the Chicago Bears’ Kyle Long, the only member of that 2013 draft class to make the Pro Bowl every year, is going to expect when he looks for his extension.

4) NFL Rookies holding out in this day and age of the slotted salary structure is just silly. Sure there are little things that can still snag up a negotiation, but is it really worth the time away from training camp to haggle over?

Three players remain unsigned and all three are 1st round picks. The San Diego Chargers' Joey Bosa (3rd overall), the New York Jets' Darron Lee (20th overall), and the San Francisco 49ers' Joshua Garnett (28th overall) are all staying away and losing valuable reps.

5) This picture caused a bit of an uproar this weekend.

The Cowboys ensure us that the picture was just snapped at a bad angle and Romo is basically the same weight he’s always been.

From ESPN;

"He's in great shape," Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said Monday. "He's in some of the best shape he's been in, so I don't know. You know everybody can take a picture of you that makes it look different than it is. But Tony's in great shape."

6) Millions of people around the world have been caught up in the Pokemon Go craze, but if you’re like Detroit Lions’ offensive guard Larry Warford, you probably stopped playing because you thought it was controlling your mind. “This is some mind-control stuff. I don’t like it.” Warford told the Detroit Free Press.

The app has been downloaded over 75 million times, so if this is some giant conspiracy, we’ll all be mind controlled zombies in no time. (Insert eye roll here) But not Warford, he’s smarter than most because he figured out, “something’s not right.”

Yeah I agree, something’s not right, but it might not have anything to do with the Nintendo game.

7) There aren’t many actual quarterback controversies playing out in training camps, but there is one brewing for the San Francisco 49ers. Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert will both split time in Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense, and I think either could thrive.

Gabbert has some sneaky athleticism that, coupled with his better accuracy, may be enough to remain as the starter, but I’m looking forward to seeing this battle shake out. Kaepernick, when he had things going good, had a real flair for the big play.

8) Teams that are running out of numbers to retire, like the Chicago Bears, need to find an other way to honor past greats. The New England Patriots have a team Hall Of Fame, and their recent inductee was running back Kevin Faulk. I’m not a big follower of the Pats, but I was surprised that Faulk was “Hall” worthy, so I googled his numbers.

He played 12 years in New England and he was a part of three Super Bowl winning teams. He was an all purpose player that did whatever the Pats needed him to do. He’s 5th in team history in rushing yards and in receptions. He leads the Patriots in kick return yardage and he’s top 10 in punt return yardage. He’s also tops in team history in all purpose yards.

I had no idea he was such a valuable part of those teams.

I think an actual team Hall Of Fame is a great idea to honor those that have given so much to a franchise.

9) Now that he’s off in New York, I’m guessing some Chicago Bears’ fans aren’t paying as close attention to ex-Bear Matt Forte, but did you realize that he’s yet to practice through the Jets’ first four days of training camp?

Forte pulled a hamstring before camp even opened and the Jets are calling him day to day.

From ESPN;

Forte called it a "minor" injury, saying it doesn't compare to the torn hamstring that felled him in 2009.

"This is a 1, compared to a 10, like a tear," Forte said Sunday after another practice on the sideline.

“We’re just taking it slow so I don’t reinjure it,” Forte said. “Hamstrings are tricky. If you reinjure it, then you could be set back longer. Every day I feel a lot better."

No player works harder to stay in shape than does Forte, so I would expect him back relatively soon, but muscle pulls are usually the first thing that happens to “aging” players.

10) Chicago Bears top draft pick Leonard Floyd has missed some time from training camp with illness and injury, and this morning on WSCR Bears reporter Zach Zaidman brought up some other Bears that missed time early in camp as rookies.

He mentioned Marc Columbo, David Terrell, Cedric Benson, Chris Williams, Cabe Carimi and a few others that had early issues in their careers. While his point was that missed time could lead to rookie struggles, his list only made me think of past busts in Bears draft history.

I know it’s really early, but are you guys getting worried about Floyd?