The Los Angeles Chargers ink Melvin Ingram to a four year $66 million contract:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Los Angeles Chargers knew they had to retain Melvin Ingram’s services for the long haul and now the Chargers are putting up the money to make that deal happen. The Chargers recently signed Melvin Ingram to a $66 million dollar contract and that’s a great move considering Ingram has recorded 18.5 sacks in the last two seasons. When you combine that production along with Joey Bosa’s it’s easy to see that the future is bright for the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s great news because the Chargers haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 but it’s finally safe to say that this franchise is heading in the right direction. Avoiding a hold out with Ingram is a big part of that good momentum and Los Angeles didn’t want that dark cloud hanging over their organization for two years in a row (Bosa sat out four games in 2016). Now the Chargers will have their top two pass rushers (Bosa and Ingram) until at least 2020 and both guys should go over the 10 sacks mark in 2017. Ingram also recorded four forced fumbles last season, so having this guy on their roster gives Los Angeles the chance to get takeaways along with sacks. Those combined elements are essential to playing winning football and this was really a no brainer for the Spanos family. By signing Melvin Ingram to a long term deal the Chargers head to Los Angeles drama free. There are no worries whether or not Ingram will sit out training camp or be disgruntled throughout the season. That’s great for the team’s overall morale and give credit to this front office. They knew they had to roll out the red carpet for Melvin Ingram and now their top linebacker has to reward the Chargers by playing his best football. If Ingram can play at the level he has done the past two seasons then he will easily live up to expectations.

Charity of the day: Mental Health America

Go donate! www.mentalhealthamerica.net

Dez Bryant made it very clear he would like to see Darrelle Revis in a Cowboys uniform:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

In the era of social media fans can feel much closer to athletes by following their every move online. Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant used social media for a much different purpose though. Bryant took to Twitter to recruit Darrelle Revis recently and that could be a big addition considering the Cowboys lost both their starting cornerbacks in free agency this off-season. Revis struggled in 2016 and played extra soft coverage all year due to his declining speed. However it’s still safe to say that the Cowboys would be better off with Revis on their roster. If Revis can get into shape and get back to a better form he could certainly still contribute to the Cowboys secondary. Not only that but Revis will serve as a great mentor to the younger defensive backs in that locker room. There’s nothing like having one of the best cornerbacks of all time coaching you up and Revis has a lot of knowledge that he can pass down. That role could help Revis get some good momentum going and lets be honest the Cowboys are in much better shape than the Jets are. With the Jets being a catastrophic letdown right now a lot of Revis’ bad plays were brought to the forefront because New York was losing. If Revis has a miscalculation with the Cowboys at least the team will still be winning games. That will help tremendously with Darrelle Revis’ personal confidence and there’s no reason the veteran cornerback can’t get it done at 31 years old. Now from a business point of view, the word around the league is Revis wants at least $8 million dollars to play in 2017. That’s going to be a little steep for the Cowboys but then again it would only be a one year deal. So either Revis is going to have to come down a little on that asking price or the Cowboys are going to have to gamble and risk that big money contract for at least one season. Fortunately for the Cowboys they did free up a decent chunk of cap space when Tony Romo retired so it is possible that Revis to Cowboys could actually happen financially.

Charity of the day: Team Rubicon

Go donate! www.teamrubiconusa.org

Irsay needs to win one Super Bowl with Andrew Luck before he makes multiple Super Bowl victories his expectations:

Photo credit: Steeter Lecka / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Jim Irsay won a Super Bowl back in 2007 when Peyton Manning was wheeling and dealing for the Colts but Irsay is expecting a little bit more from Andrew Luck. Irsay told the media recently that he still expects at least two Super Bowl victories from Luck. Irsay actually used the term “multiple Lombardis” but that mindset puts a whole lot of pressure on his 27 year old quarterback. Andrew Luck has yet to even get to the big game and now his owner is setting lofty goals for the future. You would think the Colts organization would be focused on winning their first Super Bowl with Luck, but apparently a single Super Bowl isn’t even good enough for the Indianapolis signal caller. It just feels like Jim Irsay is being a little delusional with how hard it is to win it all in this league. That’s not to say that Andrew Luck can’t win multiple championships, it’s just that Indianapolis has to give Luck a lot of help in order for that to happen. The Colts have been one of the less talented teams roster wise for the past two seasons. If Irsay really wants Luck to bring it home to Indiana then the front office has to put some talent around Luck to even make the feat of winning a Super Bowl achievable. The Colts haven’t made much noise in free agency in awhile and their draft wasn’t very convincing either. Malik Hooker has the chance to be a good player but how about drafting a wide receiver early on for Andrew Luck? How come the Colts can’t go after a guy like O.J Howard which would have brought a little razzle dazzle to the organization? Even Jonathan Allen or Garrett Boles would have been solid picks and neither of those guys play nine yards off the ball like Malik Hooker does. The point is the game is won in the trenches and by dominating the line of scrimmage. Drafting a safety that high doesn’t help this team enough and truthfully the Colts need to load up on draft picks because it’s hard to recruit to Indiana. All the players today want to play for warm weather teams so you have to build your team up through the draft if you’re the Colts. That’s the best course of action for Andrew Luck and Indianapolis right now, this team should also try to work a few trades to bring in some big name players. Something has to happen roster wise to put Andrew Luck in a position to win it all multiple times and right now he isn’t getting that opportunity from the Colts front office.

Charity of the day: United Cancer Support Foundation

Go donate! www.unitedcsf.org

The Lions lose starting Left Tackle Taylor Decker for four to six months due to a torn labrum:

Photo credit: NurPhoto

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Detroit Lions got some bad news when it was announced that Taylor Decker would be sidelined four to six months due to shoulder surgery. Decker tore his labrum a couple of months ago at Lions OTAs and now Detroit will be without their emerging star left tackle for at least until October. Taylor Decker started all sixteen games last season as a rookie, that’s very impressive and not only was Decker a starter he was flat out impressive. Stafford rarely saw pressure from the left side and that’s because Decker was going toe to toe with some of the best defensive ends in the game. Taylor Decker stood his ground extremely well and the young offensive lineman understands how to get back in his pass protection and keep everything in front of him. By using great angles Decker can keep pass rushers on the outside and not many opposing players get into the pocket when number 68 is on the field. Those outstanding pass blocking skills gave Matthew Stafford a whole lot of time to operate last season and the Lions are definitely going to feel the loss of Taylor Decker when the regular season gets here. Now they have to find a player who can fill the vacancy left behind by Decker but the Lions have to be happy that this isn’t a season ending injury. If Taylor Decker can get a good jump on his rehab that will allow the second year left tackle to come back at the end of the season. That would be just in time for the playoffs which is when Decker is needed the most. Matthew Stafford is entering his prime and he has was it takes to consistently beat NFL defenses, however Stafford can’t do it alone and he needs competent offensive lineman to cut down on the pass rush. That’s where Taylor Decker comes in and Lions fans can’t wait to see the former Ohio State Buckeye healthy doing what he does best. Until then it’s a waiting game for Taylor Decker.

Charity of the day: United Cancer Support Foundation

Go donate! www.unitedcsf.org

Joe Flacco will be the fourth highest paid quarterback in 2017, he needs to play like it:

Photo credit: Rob Carr / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Baltimore Ravens have the league’s fourth highest paid quarterback on their roster in Joe Flacco.
Flacco will make an impressive $22.1 million dollars this upcoming season and now it’s time for Flacco to play like a $22 million dollar man. Flacco threw for only 20 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2016, those stats aren’t good enough for what the 32 year old quarterback is making and now Flacco is feeling the pressure to produce. Baltimore had one of the best defenses in all of football last year and the Ravens were in the thick of an AFC North division race all season long. Everything was there for the Ravens taking but Joe Flacco didn’t give this team enough to get over the hump. Now in Flacco’s defense there isn’t enough talent on Baltimore’s roster to overtake the Pittsburgh Steelers, however the Ravens signal caller has to be better in order to improve this team’s chances. One thing in particular that Joe Flacco has to improve on is his ability to protect the football. There’s no reason a rookie quarterback like Dak Prescott should be throwing significantly less interceptions than Joe Flacco. That lack decision making is holding the Ravens back and Flacco has to find a way to cut down on turning the ball over. There are plenty of other concerns surrounding the Ravens offense as well. Dennis Pitta and Steve Smith are both no longer with the team. Not only that but the Ravens were shorthanded receiver wise before Pitta and Smith exited the situation. Those two players are going to leave a big hole in the Ravens pass catching production and because of that the Ravens could drastically regress. In order to limit the loss of those two guys Joe Flacco is going to have to raise the bar even higher and that’s going to be very hard to do without competent players around him. It’s safe to say Joe Flacco will have his work cut out for him in 2017 and don’t be surprised if the Ravens end up worse than 8-8 their record from a year ago.

Charity of the day: Sunshine Foundation

Go donate! www.sunshinefoundation.org

The New England Patriots signed Julian Edelman to a two year eleven million dollar contract extension:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots believe in Julian Edelman’s abilities on the football field and now the Patriots are giving Edelman a two year eleven million dollar contract extension. Edelman recorded 1,106 receiving yards in 2016 and that proved to New England that they could trust the thirty one year old receiver for at least two more seasons. With Tom Brady entering the twilight of his career, the Patriots wanted to load up on as much talent as possible in order to give Brady a shot at a couple more Super Bowls. Keeping Edelman in the mix means Brady will have a pass catcher that he has a ton of cohesion with. That should pan out big results for the Patriots offense and if you’ve ever watched New England play you know how big of a role Julian Edelman has. Edelman is constantly used on bubble screens and in the quick passing game. Once the ball is in Julian Edelman’s hands he does a great job of making defenders miss and he usually picks up a ton of yardage for Patriots offense. New England is hoping that Edelman can keep those big plays coming for at least the next two seasons and it’s clear the Patriots believed Edelman was more valuable than LaGarrette Blount. Blount had 18 rushing touchdowns last season but New England let the running back walk and then the team signed Edelman to a contract extension. Bill Belichick must believe that the running back position is much more replaceable than a solid wide receiver and that all goes back to the synergy that Brady and Edelman both share. The tandem of Brady and Edelman have delivered two Super Bowl victories to the New England area and the Patriot’s weren’t ready to let that fall apart anytime soon. This was a good move by the Patriots.

Charity of the day: Sunshine Foundation

Go donate! www.sunshinefoundation.org

JuJu Smith-Schuster is showing a lot of promise at Pittsburgh Steelers work outs:

Photo credit: David Madison / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected the youngest player in the entire draft when they picked JuJu Smith- Schuster out the University of Southern California. Smith-Schuster is currently twenty years old and he is already showing maturity beyond his years at the Steelers OTAs. Smith-Schuster has been receiving a lot of positive feedback for his work ethic. The rookie receiver stays after practice everyday and catches two hundred forty passes from the JUGS throwing machine. That machine is supposed to simulate the angles and situations that Smith-Schuster will see on game day and so far everyone in Pittsburgh likes what they’ve seen from the former USC Trojan. With so many players taking for granted what being a pro athlete is all about, it’s nice to see this twenty year old kid who is really committed to developing his craft. The Steelers selected Smith-Schuster in the second round this off-season and now Smith-Schuster is doing everything he can to live up to expectations. Keep in mind that in three years at Southern California JuJu Smith-Schuster was able to record 3,092 receiving yards and 25 career touchdowns. That was big time production and now Pittsburg is hoping the 6 foot 2 inch Smith-Schuster can blend with Antonio Brown and the other Steelers receivers. This could be Ben Roethlisberger’s last season so they definitely need all the pass catchers they can get. With Martavis Bryant reinstated and JuJu Smith-Schuster added to the mix, the Steelers should have a boatload of receivers that can get the job done. That’s great news for Pittsburgh because they were in the AFC championship game last year and this team will be the greatest threat to the defending champion New England Patriots. It will be a lot of fun to watch the Steelers offense operate this upcoming season and it’s because of promising offensive players like the up and coming JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Charity of the day: National Park Trust

Go donate! www.parktrust.org

When healthy Reshad Jones is as good as they come at the strong safety position:

Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Miami Dolphins finally made it back to the playoffs after a eight year hiatus and it’s surprising the Dolphins were able to get that done without Safety Reshad Jones. Jones had a torn rotator cuff that sidelined him for the final ten games of the regular season. That left Miami without their best defensive back and Jones might be the Dolphins best defensive player overall. Reshad Jones ranks at very top of NFL strong safeties and if you really look at the stats he has been better than Kam Chancellor and TJ Ward two players who regarded as the best. Chancellor, Ward, and Jones all came into the NFL back in 2010 and since then Jones has recorded more interceptions and defensive touchdowns than Chancellor or Ward. Jones has sixteen career interceptions and three career defensive touchdowns since becoming a pro and those contributions make him the cream of the crop at the strong safety position. Now after missing the majority of 2016 the Dolphins will get a huge boost from having Jones back on the field. It’s those big plays that make Reshad Jones so valuable and not many guys are able to intercept a pass and turn it into six points for their team. Jones has that ability and he consistently forces turnovers for the Miami Dolphins. That makes Jones worth his weight in gold and that’s why the Dolphins front office rewarded Jones with a five year sixty million dollar contract this off-season. That was despite the fact that Jones only played in six games a year ago and that says a lot about the type of player Reshad Jones is. Injuries deter most teams from re-signing players but Jones was too good to pass up. Ultimately that will keep the twenty nine year old Jones in a Dolphins jersey for most likely the remainder of his career, which is a brilliant move if you’re the Miami Dolphins. This guy was too good to let walk injured or not.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

The New York Jets have decided to part ways with Eric Decker, meltdown continues:

Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Image Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

In a surprising move the New York Jets decided that they were going to move on from veteran receiver Eric Decker. Decker arrived in New York back in 2014 and put together two successful seasons before getting injured all of last year in his third season with the Jets. Decker was sidelined for thirteen games in 2016 because of a torn rotator cuff, the 30 year old receiver had surgery to repair that setback and the Jets were missing Decker’s production for most of the season. In Eric Decker’s absence Quincy Enunwa emerged as a serviceable pass catching weapon for the Jets. With Enunwa entering 2017 with even more confidence, most Jets fans hoped a healed up Erick Decker could pair with Enunwa to establish a formidable passing attack. Instead the Jets decided to release one of their most polished receivers and it’s really hurting the quarterbacks on New York’s roster. Bryce Petty, Josh McCown, or Christian Hackenberg it doesn’t really matter all of those players would be better off throwing passes to Eric Decker. New York’s front office is continuing their firesale of talent in hopes to cut down on cap space. Not only that but the Jets believe their best chance of getting back to winning football is by develop a nucleus of young players. Those are the ideas New York had in mind when they released Brandon Marshall, Nick Mangold, and now Eric Decker. However the Jets may have depleted their roster for years to come and it’s to the point where this team isn’t going to have a chance to compete on game day. There have been rumors around the league that Owner Woody Johnson wants to land the number 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. If that’s the Jets goal then that is an embarrassment for this football team. No professional organization should willingly tank their season and that goes against everything sports stand for. You compete to measure yourself and what you’re capable of. The Jets have made bad move after bad move this off-season and we haven’t even mentioned the release of Marcus Gilchrist and David Harris who were also recently let go. Together all those moves collectively show how bad New York’s leadership is and talent wise the Jets are ranked dead last in the NFL. This franchise is going miss Eric Decker and the rest of those players when game day rolls around, you better believe it. It’s safe to say ticket sales will be down this season in New York.

Charity of the day: Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Go donate! www.drugfree.org

 

Paxton Lynch is dialed in at Broncos OTAs, he has made a significant push for the starting quarterback job:

Photo credit: John Leyba / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

Paxton Lynch struggled to keep his head above water as a rookie but now Lynch is starting to show why he was drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft. Lynch’s talents were on full display at Broncos OTAs and spectators were raving about the twenty three year old quarterbacks command of the offense. Paxton Lynch was connecting on all the shallow and underneath routes early on in practice. Then Lynch finished the day off with two big touchdown passes to Demaryius Thomas. Those passes showcased Thomas and Lynch’s cohesion on both the post route and the fade route. So it’s clear Lynch can excel in the deep passing game and that big arm could be blessing for the Broncos in 2017. Siemian was an efficient quarterback throwing for eighteen touchdowns and only ten interceptions as the starter. However the Broncos receivers expressed their frustration with the lack of plays being made in the passing game. Paxton Lynch has the opportunity come in and be the cure to all those problems and if he keeps throwing like this Lynch will make a significant push for the starting quarterback job. Lynch only threw for two touchdowns and one interception in 2016 however he was a twenty eight touchdown and a four interceptions type of guy in his final year at Memphis. When Lynch is giving the reins he has proved his entire life that he can carry the team and it’s almost time for this second year signal caller to take over at the helm. Trevor Siemian overachieved as the Broncos starter a season ago but Siemian is a seventh round talent. That gap between Siemian and Lynch talent wise is slowly coming to light and that’s why we are seeing all the momentum on Paxton Lynch’s side right now. It will be interesting to see if Lynch can finally take control of the quarterback position and win the starting job from here on out? Right now that seems very possible.

Charity of the day: Rainforest Alliance

Go donate! www.rainforest-alliance.org

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