The Arizona Cardinals are fortunate to get Larry Fitzgerald back. Now they have to put the other pieces in place:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Arizona Cardinals Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald will return for his 15th NFL season and he’ll approach some outstanding milestones next fall. Fitzgerald (15,545) will likely pass Terrell Owens (15,934) for second place on the all time receiving yardage board. If the 34 year old Cardinals receiver achieves that feat only Jerry Rice (22,895) will have more yards. It’s just such a huge boost for this offense to get back one of the most prolific receivers ever. Expect Fitzgerald to continue to produce but there are some questions about who is going to be the quarterback in the desert? A.J McCarron just won a grievance over the Bengals and will available through free agency. Sam Bradford is another option that could end up suiting Arizona well. Bradford could probably be signed somewhere in the $8-10 million dollars range. It would be ideal if the birds could sign Kirk Cousins or McCarron but it’s a long shot that ends up happening. Going with Bradford would give this team a competent player at QB the question is whether or not he can stay healthy? The only other option out there is Jay Cutler, who might not be bad choice considering he was at least healthy all of 2017. Regardless of who Arizona chooses to sign and play under center there’s still a need for a couple of wide receivers. This team has been struggling at the wide out position since Michael Floyd left town. To make matters even worse Jaron Brown and John Brown are both free agents as well. Arizona has $22 million dollars in cap space available and you have to figure a QB will be at least $10 million. Then this team needs a pair of pass catchers out of that remaining $12 million. Danny Amendola and Donte Moncrief might be enough to keep this team competitive. The Cardinals should then select Orlando Brown in the draft who they can instantly start on the offensive line. That should cut down on the 52 sacks this franchise gave up last season. You can see from these moves that the offense needs to be completely revamped. One thing is for certain Larry Fitzgerald will be huge for production and morale when this organization gears up in August.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

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A.J McCarron just got a step closer to becoming the Cleveland Browns starting quarterback. McCarron won a grievance against the Bengals today effectively making him a free agent:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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A.J McCarron just won a grievance against the Bengals which results in McCarron becoming a free agent next month. The grievance was over McCarron’s first year in Cincinnati in which the former Alabama QB was on the non-football injury list for a banged up shoulder. Tightness in his throwing arm prevented McCarron from participating in most of his team work outs that year (2014) and we know now the league is indeed counting that season as a year of service. It’s somewhat of interesting ruling considering McCarron was only active for the last three games of 2014 however an arbitrator ruled that was enough to knock one year off the former Bengal’s contract. Ultimately that meant McCarron fulfilled his contractual obligations to Cincinnati and now he can sign with any team he would like. The Browns already tried to trade for A.J McCarron during the regular season before forgetting to submit the proper paper work for that trade to the league. Hue Jackson used to be the offensive coordinator for the Bengals and that past rapport with McCarron makes Cleveland a likely destination for the soon to be starter. It’s possible the 27 year old could sign with Denver, Arizona, or Buffalo. Really it’s going to come down to the highest bidder or whether or not a past relationship with Jackson can swing a deal? McCarron is holding all of the cards on this one but don’t be surprised if he stays in the state of Ohio. There’s nothing like a great support system in the NFL and this guy knows what he is getting if he goes to play for the Browns. Even though Jackson and company have struggled tremendously over the past two seasons. A new competent quarterback will give them a much better shot at competing. If Cleveland does land A.J McCarron they will at least win a game in 2018. That’s a good start for that organization.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

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Marcus Peters is the best corner in all of football and don’t let anyone else tell you differently:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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There’s always a debate about who is the best cover guy in all of football and that causes a lot of familiar names to be brought up. Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson are always in the discussion, so are newcomers like AJ Bouye. The bottom line however is Marcus Peters is the best corner in all of football and truthfully we’ve never seen a cornerback as dynamic as Peters is in the Chiefs’ secondary. In three pro seasons Marcus Peters has amassed 19 interceptions and has never recorded under 5 INTS in a season. During that same time Sherman has recorded 8 interceptions, Peterson had 6 picks, and Bouye had 9 interceptions. The ability to cause takeaways is the measuring stick of the defensive back position and cornerback’s value are determined by how many times they can intercept passes. Peters doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves for all the success he has had and it’s a shame because this guy has been better out of the gate than Deion Sanders, Charles Woodson, and Mel Blount. From a production stand point the gap between Peterson and everyone else is huge, so to imply another DB is better is flat out irresponsible. That leads one to ask what makes Marcus Peters so much better than his competition? When you plug in the tape it becomes obvious the Chiefs stand out has great field awareness. Peters always understands where the wide receiver is and he can close space quickly. The confidence the former University of Washington alum shows is outstanding and he is a good enough athlete where he can win most jump ball situations. By combining all that fluidity with a skill set that is almost on par with a receiver’s. It becomes clear why Marcus Peters has had so many interceptions and that’s because he is physically and mentally superior. It’s hard to understand how Peters has flown under the radar with the highlight reel career he has put together? Honestly it doesn’t make any sense.

Charity of the day: Center for Community Change

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The Seattle Seahawks should make a run at Isaiah Crowell. Pete Carroll can’t settle for a lackluster running game again:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Last off-season the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy for $4.2 million dollars per year and that move didn’t pan out at all considering Lacy rushed for less than 200 yards for the entire season. Not only that but Lacy didn’t record a single rushing touchdown in all of 2017 either. Pete Carroll can’t afford to have such a sluggish running game again and that’s why he should use that $4 million dollars to sign Isaiah Crowell. Crowell could probably be signed for $3.5 million dollars and will easily put up better stats than Lacy did. When you take into account that Mike Davis, Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson, and J.D McKissic all failed to rush for over 300 yards for the year too it becomes evident that Crowell could be the lead back out in Seattle. We’re talking about a player (Crowell) who was consistent on an abysmal Cleveland team. The Browns only had one win in their last two seasons but Crowell was still able to rush for 1,805 rushing yards during that time. The Seahawks have a much better team than they do in Northeast Ohio and that should result in even great production if Crowell does sign with Carroll’s team. This addition alone could be enough to take Seattle from the 23 ranked rushing offense to somewhere around the 15th ranked ball club. It’s small improvements like that which can pay big results for a team and it will also be huge for Russell Wilson. Wilson led the Seahawks with 586 rushing yards last season and that’s not exactly ideal. It would be much better if a running back was this franchise’s leading rusher and Carroll will aim for that goal next fall. There’s so many other facets of this offense that will start to click once Seattle can establish a presence on the ground and control the time of possession. We call that fundamental football and it’s the way every organization should strive to play.

Charity of the day: YMCA

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Green Bay will have to decide between cutting Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb this off-season. There’s even rumors that both of them could be let go:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Aaron Rodgers could find himself in an unusual situation if the Packers decided to part ways with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Rodgers was already frustrated with Mike McCarthy for firing Quarterback Coach Alex Van Pelt. If McCarthy and the front office follow that up with releasing Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb that could spell disaster in Wisconsin. Even though Cobb is younger and more athletic it feels like the Pack should stick with Jordy Nelson if they do to keep one of those two players. Nelson has produced more yards (3,258) and touchdowns (33) over the last three seasons. So despite Cobb’s youth it’s a smarter move to go with the more productive player in Nelson. Randall Cobb has actually lost a step of recent he recorded (2,092) and 14 touchdowns over the past three years so it’s clear who should be let go. It’s hard to fathom that General Manager Brian Gutekunst would choose to release both of Rodgers’ targets. However we’ve seen crazier things happen before. Gutekunst is in his first season at the helm and he is going to want to reshape the roster according to his vision. By parting ways with Nelson and Cobb the Packers could save around $20 million dollars in cap space. Which believe it or not could go a long way if the team were to sign skilled players who are little bit more affordable. The question will ultimately comedown to can Green Bay get some players that can replace Nelson and Cobb performance wise? Those incoming players won’t necessarily have to be as good as those two veteran wide receivers but they have to in the same ball park of production. It will be tough to find those type of talents in free agency but Paul Richardson and Jaron Brown could be a couple of options. Richardson played well for Seattle recording 703 yards and 6 touchdowns. The former Seahawk only made $1 million dollars last season too so he could probably be signed for around $3 million per year. Jaron Brown is another vertical threat who amassed 477 yards and 4 touchdowns for Arizona. He made $1.9 million in the dessert during the 2017 season and would most likely accept an offer of $2.5 million. That’s $5.5 million dollars on two players who aren’t too much of a drop off from Nelson and Cobb’s 2017 stats. The remaining $14.5 million dollars saved from those cuts then could then be used to address the defense. Look out, things could change very quickly in cheesehead territory.

Charity of the day: YMCA

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Yannick Ngakoue led the NFL in forced fumbles with 6 and he also added 12 sacks for the Jaguars defense:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Jacksonville had a great season going all the way to the AFC Championship game and Defensive End Yannick Ngakoue was a big part of that success. Ngakoue was a force off the edge for the Jaguars defense recording 12 sacks. Not only that but the 22 year old out of the University of Maryland also led the entire NFL with 6 forced fumbles. By putting together so many huge plays Ngakoue consistently tipped the odds in Jacksonville’s favor. It all starts with the defensive front and getting pressure. Fortunately for the Jaguars they do better than most teams in the NFL when it comes to rushing the passer. In fact only the Pittsburgh Steelers (56) had more sacks than the Jags (55) so that tells you how much of an impact those defensive lineman are having down in Northeast Florida. Yannick Ngakoue only has two full seasons under his belt too so expect him to get better as he gains more experience. 12 sacks is already a premier stat line in the National Football League which means he’ll be frightening when becomes even more confidant. The sad thing about Ngakoue’s whole situation is he hasn’t gotten nearly the recognition he deserves. There was no Pro Bowl nomination for the former Terrapin and he rarely gets any headlines. You’d think with 20 sacks in two seasons people would be more optimistic about supporting such a talented player. The good news is if Yannick Ngakoue continues to put up these outstanding numbers the press can’t ignore him forever. Therefore it’s only a matter of time before we see some commercials and endorsements come Ngakoue’s way which is long overdue. A big pay day should also be in the 2016 3rd round draft picks future and when you consider he has played for less than a million dollars for every single season that’s well deserved.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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Derrick Johnson will become a free agent next month and some team should pick him up considering he has five seasons of 100 tackles under his belt:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Kansas City Chiefs are parting ways with Linebacker Derrick Johnson after 13 seasons together. Johnson will become a free agent next month and any team can sign him. With that being said the Redskins, Chargers, Bengals, Bills, Giants, Rams, and Colts could all come into play for the veteran linebacker’s services. Each of those teams finished near the bottom rankings of run stopping defense and why not sign Derrick Johnson at the middle linebacker position to solidify your defensive talent? Johnson has been a force in the National Football League and could probably be signed for $3.5 million dollars. While you might only get one or two seasons out of the 35 year old if you put the right pieces around him those could be a good two years. Now the dilemma is a lot of these teams would like to give those reps to a younger defender. However if there isn’t a player like that on the roster it would be wise to go with the best defender available and that might mean riding it out with an older guy like Johnson. It feels like the Charger should go after D.J because not only will they get a little better against the run. LA could also steal tough LB from their division rival. The good news is if you sign Johnson on a one year contact and he flops then his deal will be off the books at the end of the season anyway. Expect Johnson to sign a prove it contract like that if he wants to keep playing because teams want to see how much gas he has left in the tank? If the former Chief shows up to camp in top form though he could easily be one of the better middle linebackers in the entire league. It’s all about physically preparing your body when you get older and that will be the key for Derrick Johnson if he does get signed for a 14th pro season.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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Jimmy Graham would be a great addition for the Patriots. New England has had a lot of past success running a two tight end set:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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With rumors swirling around the NFL world that Jimmy Graham could end up signing with the New England Patriots it’s easy to see why Bill Belichick would be interested in such a move. Belichick has had a lot of success in the past with Aaron Hernenadez and Rob Gronkowski, then with Martellus Bennett and Gronkowski. There was also a short period of time when Scott Chandler had some success within New England’s system operating out of the two tight end offense. So the Patriots know exactly what they’re signing up for if they do go after Graham. Dwayne Allen failed to make an impact this past year and Graham would be a huge upgrade for Tom Brady. After recording 10 touchdowns in 2017 there’s no denying that the former Saint / Seahawk has some gas left in the tank. Obviously Seattle wants to keep their top red zone target around but anything over $8 million dollars is going to be a steep price to pay. Belichick on the other hand has been going with the analytics route so much lately and it’s almost time the Patriot cough up a little dough to sign another weapon who could have his best year ever in Foxborough. Brady is running out of time and that’s why it’s important to optimize the talent around him in order to make a few more runs. The rest of the upgrades then have to be made on the defensive side of the ball because this team struggled to compete all season long and that was their achilles heel in the Super Bowl. Sure things up on D and then let Jimmy Graham put up a ton of extra points that this team didn’t have last year. This addition should motivate Gronk to come back too because who doesn’t want to play with another great player at their position? Everyone in the Patriots organization is about winning and Jimmy Graham will certainly be a step in that direction. It would set a good precedent to the other players in the locker room by signing Graham because it shows New England is still willing to take risks if it equates to more wins.

Charity of the day: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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Detroit, New England, and Kansas City each had two receivers go over the 1,000 yard receiving mark. Here’s a list of those three dynamic duos:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Marvin Jones and Golden Tate- Matthew Stafford had a terrific 2017 season leading the entire NFC in passing yards and Marvin Jones / Golden Tate benefited greatly from that. Jones put up 1,101 yards and 9 touchdowns arriving as an elite receiver in the National Football League. While Golden Tate recorded 1,003 yards and 5 touchdown receptions. These two players should continue to excel for the Lions and just imagine if this franchise found a way to actually protect Stafford? When that happens Jones and Tate’s numbers could explode to new heights. Regardless though keep an out for Marvin Jones because what he did this past year was truly special.

Rob Gronkowski and Brandin Cooks- Rob Gronkowski bounced back from a lackluster 2016 season and led the Patriots with 1,084 receiving yards in 2017. Gronkowski is contemplating retirement because of all the injuries he has endured throughout his career but the tight end is still a match up nightmare. Tom Brady knows Gronk is too big and too fast for the linebackers and safeties teams try to line up against him. It’s been a lot of fun to watch this guy handle himself on the field because he has consistently dominated. Brandin Cooks was also prolific during his first season in Foxborough. Cooks hauled in 1,082 yards and 7 touchdowns giving the Patriots offense a significant boost. The former Saint was especially missed in the Super Bowl after leaving the game with a head injury. Still though Cooks will be a big part of the Patriots puzzle moving forward and both guys will be the focal point as long as Gronkowski doesn’t retire.

Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce- Tyreek Hill had a break out year registering 1,183 yards in only his second pro season. Hill is one of the league’s premier vertical threats and defenders simply struggle to go step for step with the Chiefs star. Then there’s Travis Kelce who had 1,038 yards and 8 touchdown so it’s easy to see these two Kansas City pass catchers are as good as any tandem in the league. It will also be interesting to find out if Patrick Mahomes can inflate their stats? A big armed quarterback certainly has the ability to do so and the bottom line is Kelce has been one of the best tight ends in the league the last couple of years. While Hill is an emerging playmaker who should get better with time.

Charity of the day: National Military Family Association

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O.J Howard showed a lot of promise in his rookie season hauling in 6 touchdowns for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Former Alabama Crimson Tide Tight End O.J Howard showed so much promise during his collegiate days and apparently the pro level isn’t going to slow him down either. Howard hauled in 6 receiving touchdowns and 432 yards in his first year of NFL action, that was pretty productive considering there are seven year vets who didn’t bring down 6 touchdowns. If Jameis Winston can get back on track Tampa Bay should have a promising future on the offensive side of the ball because there is playmakers everywhere in West Florida right now. Howard in particular gets the job done with his exceptional speed. Playing inside at tight end he is matched up against linebackers most of the time and those slower defenders don’t stand a chance. That’s because O.J Howard is very light on his feet and can get in or out of breaks quickly. When you also take into consideration that Howard is 6 foot 6 inches and 250 pounds it’s clear that he is a natural miss match because of his big frame. Then there’s the skill set, Howard has great hands and that allows him to bring in those tougher grabs. We’ve seen other tight ends around the league struggle with their consistency but not Howard he’s a sure lock to catch the football if it comes in his direction. Maybe the thing most scary about the young Buccaneer pass catcher is the fact that he will significantly improve in his second year of action. The confidence players get from experience is so huge for their development and Howard should make tremendous strides. We’re talking about a player who can easily be over the 10 touchdown mark in a season or two and expect to see some fireworks next fall. The Buccaneers definitely made a smart move by selecting O.J Howard because he’s already bolstered their offense and he’ll only get better with time.

Charity of the day: National Military Family Association

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