1) The deadline for franchise tagging is Wednesday, and we’ve already seen some teams announce their intentions.
The Arizona Cardinals have tagged outside linebacker Chandler Jones, and if the two sides can’t come to a long term agreement before the July 15 deadline, he’ll play 2017 for a bit over $14 million.
Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram will get the tag from the San Diego Chargers.
Defensive tackle Kawann Short has been tagged by the Carolina Panthers, meaning if no long term deal is reached, he’ll cost Carolina about $13.6 million.
The New York Giants are using the franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and will pay him about $17 million in ‘17. Last year he played on a 1 year “prove-it” type of deal after his fireworks accident.
The Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to use the exclusive tag on running back Le'Veon Bell, meaning he can’t negotiate with any other team. The Steelers will be on the hook for over $12 million in 2017 if an agreement can’t be reached.
2) Sticking with the Steelers, they are reported to have locked up dynamic wide out Antonio Brown with a 4 year extension worth $68 million, making him the highest paid receiver in the NFL. And if anyone deserves that kind of cash, it’s Antonio Brown.
The last four years, Brown has averaged 120 receptions, 1,579 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns.
If there are other wide outs on the free agent market hoping to get that kind of money, he better have comparable stats or an incredible amount of untapped potential.
3) There may be another quarterback on the market, if we’re to read into the latest quote from Jacksonville Jaguars executive vice president of football operations, Tom Coughlin. When asked about his commitment to QB Blake Bortles, Coughlin said,
"There's plenty of work for everybody to do, Blake included," Coughlin said during a Friday news conference before the NFL scouting combine. "To raise the game to a higher level, it takes all components, though. ... And that's why I mentioned the protection, first of all. [It also entails] people being in the right place at the right time, the timing, taking care of the football, which is paramount to that position.”
Taking care of the football has been an issue for the 24 year old Bortles. In his three years in the NFL, he has 51 interceptions and 29 fumbles. Now Coughlin didn’t exactly put him on the market, but if they don’t think he’s their QB of the future, I would imagine they’d like to get something in return for him rather than cutting ties.
4) I missed this last week, but soon to be 34 year old quarterback Vince Young is trying to make a comeback. The positive thing for his aspirations on playing in the NFL again is his willingness to play in the CFL. I can’t imagine he’d have much to offer after a 5 year layoff, but stranger things have happened.
5) Speaking of the CFL, Marc Trestman is set to return to the league where he won 2 Grey Cup titles and he was once named coach of the year.
The former head coach of the Chicago Bears and offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens will be reunited with GM Jim Popp in Toronto. The two worked previously with the Montreal Alouettes when they picked up the aforementioned hardware.
6) The NFL Preseason is clearly too long at 4 games, but what about the two teams that are picked to play in the annual Hall Of Fame Game? This year the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys were honored with a 5th preseason contest, something future Hall Of Famer Larry Fitzgerald wasn’t happy to hear.
Worst news ever! 5 pre season games & an extra week of training camp. Smh...— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) February 23, 2017
At least we can go to the @WGC_Bridgestone. Lol
I honestly don’t see the 33 year old Fitzgerald playing more than a token snap or 2 for the Canton crowd and I’m sure he’ll have plenty of veteran days off during camp.
7) Besides using the franchise tag on Short, the Carolina Panthers got a jump start to free agency by re-signing defensive end Mario Addison to a three year deal worth $22.5 million. Addison, 29 years old, has racked up 22 sacks the last three years. He entered the NFL as a member of the Chicago Bears in 2011 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent by Jerry Angelo, to play for Lovie Smith.
Any of you Bears’ fans remember the Addison era in Chicago?
8) The latest “buzz” surrounding the number two overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft is good news for the Bears. Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News recently said this about Alabama inside linebacker Reuben Foster.
There's a lot of buzz he could end up going to the San Francisco 49ers with the second overall pick. Multiple draft prognosticators see him as a top-five choice.
Since the Bears have no interest in an inside linebacker at #3 overall, this may get them the top quarterback on their draft board, if Cleveland passes on a QB at #1. Or, if the Browns do take a QB, then the best edge rusher in this draft, Myles Garrett of Texas A&M, will be sitting there for the Bears.
My fingers are crossed for Garrett.
9) For those Bears’ fans holding out hope that Eric Berry will leave the Kansas City Chiefs, to come patrol the back end of Chicago’s secondary, you may want to skip down to number 10
Still here? OK...
The Chiefs and Berry are very close to a long term deal that will make him the highest paid safety in the NFL.
10) With so many of the top free agents either re-signing, or getting slapped with the franchise tag, plus a lot of teams having a boat-load of salary cap space to play with, we’re going to see players get way, way, way more than they should.
We usually see teams overpay a bit to snag their guy, but this year it may get crazy, like, ‘How in the Hell did that guy, get that deal?’ crazy.