NFL News & Notes > Nnamdi, Ochocinco, & The Quarterback Carousel … A Wild Week in NFL

Asomugha to the Eagles, Ochocinco & Haynesworth to New England, and The Quarterback Carousel Going Around & Around.

 

~ If the 2011-2012 NFL season ends up being as exciting as the aftermath of the league’s 132-day lockout has been so far, then fans are in store for a very wild road to the Super Bowl. The abbreviated off-season that has resulted from the lockout has led to a whirlwind of free-agent transactions which has seen teams scramble to sign as much talent as possible. It has made for must-see television for football fans across the nation. Read more of this post

NFL > St.Louis Adds Mike Sims-Walkers To The Mix

 

~  The St. Louis Rams have reportedly added Mike Sims-Walker to their team as another target for franchise quarterback Sam Bradford to throw to. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the deal is for one-year. Walker is coming off a couple of productive seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and could prove to be a big pick up for the Rams.

 Bradford had a very impressive rookie season for a team that didn’t have a breakout wide receiver on their team. Walker could help stretch the field for St.Louis.

 What is confusing in this is why the Jaguars didn’t attempt to bring Walker back after he emerged to be quarterback David Garrard‘s go-to receiver. Walker does have a track record of injuries and that will be something to pay attention to in St.Louis.

NFL > Nnamdi Asomugha Ends Speculation & Signs w/ Eagles

~ The Philadelphia Eagles were already an early favorite to win their division and now they have pulled off the stunner of the free- agency signing season. In a move that no one appeared to really see coming, the Eagles have signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to a reported 5-year deal for $60 million with $25 million guranteed. Asomugha was the top free agent on the market and it’s the Eagles who land him.

 The Asomugha situation has been compelling to watch play out on ESPN and throughout other sports outlets. No one could seem to figure out where the former Oakland Raiders cornerback was headed. Slowly yet surely, the dominoes began to fall.

 Houston dropped out of the race, and then the New York Jets became the favorites with Dallas getting into the mix. The thought of pairing a lockdown cornerback like Ashomugha with fellow all-pro cornerback Darrelle Revis was a scary image for everyone in the league and could have been the missing piece for the Jets. The Jets went as far as to restructure the contracts of some of their biggest names on the roster in order to help grab Asomugha. The Eagles apparently knew better and were doing their homework.

 Philadelphia now adds on to an already impressive team. They went into the off-season knowing they had to make some moves with their defense. They recently traded quarterback Kevin Kolb away to Arizona and were able to get back great value in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback.

 Logically no one would expect the Eagles to be in the hunt for Asomugha and the Jets appeared to be a lock to get him until it became obvious there was a holdup in the deal. It’s easy to speculate on what was behind Asomugha’s reasoning for picking the Eagles. What is clear right now is that with Rodgers-Cromartie on one side of the field and Asomugha on the other, the Eagles will be a headache for NFC east teams like Eli Manning and the Giants to gameplan for.

 ESPN’s Adam Schefter has done a great job of covering every move throughout the Asomugha chase and did say that he had a feeling a mystery team perhaps could be making a power move to land Asomugha. It turns out that the Eagles were that mystery team flying under the radar.

NFL News & Notes: Free Agent Moves, Trades & Head Scratchers

~ The NFL is not only in full swing now that the lockout has come to an end it is on full tilt and it’s the fast and furious. Moves, moves, and more moves have dominated the headlines as teams are scrambling to fit all of their needs into the new salary cap that is one of the results of the lockout.

 It’s an exciting time right now to be a free agent in the league and it’s an even more exciting time for the fans to see what moves their respective teams are willing to make to get the best possible chance to win.  It’s impossible to breakdown every move that has been made recently and there are still more moves to be made. However here are some notable moves that have been the talk of the town so far with the league where they pay to play … Read more of this post

The Lockout Is Over … Football Talk Can Now REALLY Begin

~ The NFL will have football and that is music to the ears of myself and many fans around the nation. The lockout has reportedly been lifted and football will be played in the fall of 2011.

 Football is back, well it never really left. No regular season games are going to be missed and only 1 pre-season game had to be cancelled. (The Hall of Fame game between Chicago and Houston)

 The lockout offically being lifted gives the teams, players, and the fans back the spotlight on the actual game that’s played on the field.

 What Comes Along With The Lifting of The Lockout? 

 The deal is a 10-year deal with no opt-out which means no talk of a lockout anytime soon. 

 The salary cap will now be at $120 million. The teams can now focus on how this will impact their rosters going into the regular season. Over 400 NFL players are currently free agents and more than quite a few high profile players may have to find new teams to play for because of the possibilities of them being cut because of the cap.

 Money, Money, and if All Else Fails … More Money

 The threat of games actually being cancelled because of the lockout proved to be the game-changer in the negotiations. This is logical because the bottom line is and will always be that this is a league where they pay to play.

 Both sides (Owners & Players) needed to figure out the best way to split all of the money that was coming in from annual league revenue. $9 billion is a lot of pie to divide and both sides held firm in their gameplans. That’s where reality came in and started bnging on the door.

 The closer the NFL began to get to the start of the regular season, the more realistic the threat of games being cancelled became. No games being played means no money being made.

 It’s great that both sides came to this agreement and even better that the fans don’t lose out on the start of the regular season. However, this league simply was not going to risk regular season games being cancelled and losing even more money than they have already. Money is always what leads you to the bargaining table and it normally is what gets you away from it.

 It’s now time to get ready for the craziest free-agency peroid in recent memory. If this is going to be chaos, at least it’s going to be organized chaos. Time for some football!

The Detroit Pistons Need A Coach & Lawrence Frank Is The Right Choice

~ The word at the rumor mill is that the Detroit Pistons are very close to naming Lawrence Frank as their next head coach. If this is indeed the case, the Pistons can then close the revolving door that has become their head coaching position. Frank would bring the one thing that has been missing from Detroit since their playoff-team days and that is stability.

Frank is coming off a successful one year stop in Boston as Doc Rivers lead assistant coach. I’ve followed Frank’s progression since his time in New Jersey as Byron Scott’s assistant and eventual successor as head coach when Scott was fired. Frank isn’t a high profile name, that isn’t what has secured him the respect of his coaching peers. What Frank brings to the table is a work ethic that would fit right in with the blue collar mentality of the city of Detroit. He is a defense-first coach who pays very close attention to detail.

 When the Pistons won the 2004 NBA Championship, they were a scrappy team that played as a unit. They worked hard for everything they accomplished on the court. The Pistons were about defense, work ethic, and team chemistry. Joe Dumars has struggled since then as general manager to maintain the formula that helped Detroit be a dominate team in the Eastern Conference.

 The Pistons went from Larry Brown to Flip Sanders and then from Michael Curry to John Kuester in hopes of keeping their team in the winning direction. However the idenity of the team was lost and now that the team is in a rebuilding phase, it strongly needs a coach who can provide stability on the court and in the locker room. Frank can be that guy.

 The New Jersey Nets didn’t win big with Frank as their head coach. His consistent work ethic was well respected by his players and the fans. Frank didn’t inherit the Jason Kidd who led the Nets to back to back Finals appearances under Scott. Kidd was banged up and had one foot out the door by the time Frank took over the job.

 Frank pulled the most he could out of a Nets team that much like the Pistons after their championship season in 04′, struggled to maintain a consistent roster.

 Yes, the Nets did go 0-16 in Frank’s final stretch with the Nets. The Nets by then though were not really any good and were barely watchable on television. Frank was the fall guy for that record and it should actually be viewed as a favor by the team for letting him get away from that mess.

How many coaches would go from being fired from a team that opened a season with 16 straight losses to eventually a lead assistant coach spot on a big time team like the Celtics?  It only goes to show the respect that Frank has gained throughout the league. He deserves another coaching spot to prove himself.

 The Pistons are in need of a coach that help them take the next step back to respectability. They tried the new face route with Curry and then tried to give a chance to Kuester that almost imploded their team. Lawrence Frank is not going to lose the locker room.

 Detroit also will have a revamped roster heading into their next season. They have 5 free agents and it’s safe to assume that 4 of them most likely will be elsewhere. Dumars will have to decide what to do with the 5th free agent, Tayshawn Prince. Rip Hamilton is still a prime canidate to be moved. Hamilton and Prince are the last remaining pieces from that 04′ championship team along with Ben Wallace who is on the backend of his career.

 It’s a great deal of decisions that need to be made and the Pistons have to start with the head coach. They must avoid a repeat of what happened with Kuester. Hiring Lawrence Frank would be a step in the right direction.

NFL Lockout > Owners APPROVE Proposed Labor Agreement, Now Up To The Players

~ The NFL has taken another big step towards ending the lockout which is now at 128 days. Mark down July 21st, 2011 as the day that the wheels offically were put in motion to end the work stoppage.The owners have approved the proposed 10-year CBA (collective bargaining agreement) and now the spotlight will shift to the players as they will now have to vote.

 This is clearly big news and from the way things are shaping up, the NFL may only end up losing one game off of their schedule. Training camps would most likely open by August 1st. The commissioner has announced that the Hall of Fame game (Chicago vs St.Louis) scheduled for August 7th will have to be cancelled.

 Communication can go a long way when the threat of games and additional money being lost. The players are going to carefully review the agreement before voting. However, they still must reform the union they decertified months ago.

 According to ESPN, Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith have been in constant contact with each other to come to an agreement where if the players are prepared to vote to approve the proposed deal, they would work to recertify the union in time for the start of training camps.

 More news is expected to come fast and furiously on what the players are going to do. Any projected schedules that are being put in place can’t become official until they do their part. Football fans at least can feel comfortable knowing that football is as close to returning as it’s been throughout these 128 days.

NBA 2K12 To Feature Three Legends On Their Cover

 ~ The NBA is coming off one of their more exciting seasons in recent history. Derrick Rose had a sensational year for the Chicago Bulls that ended up being an MVP year for him. Dirk Nowitzki erased any doubt that he is a big time NBA star when he led the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA championship. The season mainly featured the year-long storyline in Miami with Lebron James and Chris Bosh teaming up with Dywane Wade. Those are all valid choices to put on the cover of the upcoming NBA 2K12 video game. Well, the makers of the game decided to take the Hall of Fame route for the 2nd year in a row.

 Michael Jordan will return for the 2nd consecutive year to the cover of NBA 2K12 and this time he will not be alone. Fellow all-time greats Ervin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird will also get their own covers on the video game.

 The three stars will each have his own cover with the Bird and Magic covers being made available in limited quantity at launch. Jordan will once again be the primary cover star.

 NBA2K12 is expected to be released on October 4th and just like last year it won’t have any competition from EA Sports, their next basketball game will not be out until 2012.

The Potential Impact Of The New NFL Salary Cap

~ As the NFL gets closer and closer to the end of the lockout, teams are getting closer to the madness that will come once free agency starts. How the teams pick and choose through their list of free agents will be largely impacted by how much flexibility they’ll have with the 2011 salary cap of $120 million. There are quite a few teams who are presently over the cap or not too far under it. This means only one thing, there is going to be quite a few big name cap casualties.

According to John Clayton of ESPN, quite a few high profile names are going to be up for discussion when it’s time for teams to decide who stays and who leaves.

The New Orleans Saints are actually $11.7 million under the cap. They also have a high profile running back on their team named Reggie Bush who is scheduled to make $11.8 million this year. Bush might be saying all the right things lately to help assure himself of staying in New Orleans however he could very well be on his way out the door.

A change of scenery might actually do Bush some good. The Saints drafted him with high expectations after his electrifying college career at USC. That was six years ago though and the old saying goes that the real definition of the NFL is NOT FOR LONG.

 Bush has shown flashes of what he can do and he’s also been injury prone. The Saints went out and drafted running back Mark Ingram and that was an early sign that they maybe ready to withdraw from their investment in Bush.

 Bush is only 26 years old and quite a few teams could be in a position to add him and for the money that he may no longer be able to get in New Orleans.

 Bush should strongly consider moving on to another team. In this league with the way the salary cap is now going to be structured, players like Bush are going to have to maximize the best out of their long term contracts. He may only have one more left to get and it’s looking like it wont be in New Orleans.

 Where quarterback Vince Young ends up could depend on if he has matured any during his time away from the field. He couldn’t get on the same page with his former coach Jeff Fisher and that led to the  his placement on the potential cap casulaty list.

 If Young’s tenure with the Tennessee Titans is over (and all signs point to that being the case), it could clear up close to $12.8 million in cap room for the team. The Titans are currently $10.3 million under the cap.

 Young is in the same boat as Bush, he’s still young and came into the league with a lot of hype based off a succesful college career. He just has not been able to turn that hype into professional success yet. Young has shown flashes, now it’s time for him to show consistency.

 Just like in the case of Bush, there might not be room for another long term contract with the only pro team he’s played for. He’ll most likely have to do this with another team.

 

 There are some other interesting storylines to watch for that will result from teams who are already over the cap.

 The New York Jets have made the AFC championship game two seasons in a row. They’ve done well to surround their young quarterback Mark Sanchez with the right amount of pieces on offense. Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, and Brad Smith played large roles in their passing attack and on special teams and all three of them are up for new contracts. That’s a problem for a team that is $1.2 million over the cap and also have other roster signings to make.

 Most likely one of those three are going to be making big plays for another team. Edwards and Holmes are going to want to test the market to see if they can land a big money offer from another team. Smith’s stock is rising because of his versatile skills set.

 With the season just around the corner from starting, the Jets will have to move quickly and move smart. Randy Moss and Plaxico Burress are looming as potential free agent targets who could replace either Edwards or Holmes at an affordable price.

 The team that shares the same stadium with the Jets are also going to be in a race to get under the cap. The New York Giants are $11.3 million over the cap and still have to decide what to do with their running back free agent to be Ahmad Bradshaw.

 Bradshaw is reportedly getting interest from the Miami Dolphins which also happens to be where his agent is based and where he’s been training. How quickly the Giants can execute their plans to get under the cap could impact what happens with Bradshaw.

 I couldn’t help notice the Tampa Bay Bucs when looking at the list of teams that are under the salary cap. Being under the cap by a good amount could lead to an exciting time for a team’s fanbase. The Bucs are $59.2 million UNDER the cap. The Bucs should be big time players in free agency once the lockout concludes.

USC Suspends Marc Tyler For Comments

~ USC recently announced that they have suspended their senior running back Marc Tyler for their season opener and also from all team activities for comments he made that found it’s way to TMZ.

 The NCAA football season is quickly approaching and I’m sure that all the teams are eagerly anticipating it to begin. However, the anticipation may not have anything to do with the excitement of chasing the national championship or making a bowl game. The NCAA has had one of it’s more memorable off-seasons in recent history and it’s mostly been for the wrong reasons.

 The latest headline involves the one team that would love nothing more than to stay out of the trouble discussion, the USC Trojans. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: