Emmanuel Sanders lands a new 3 year $33 million dollar contract extension:

Photo credit: John Leyba / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos have had a busy off-season but they put the final touches on those efforts today when they signed Emmanuel Sanders to a 3 year $33 million dollar deal. Sanders who has recorded back to back 1,000 yard receiving seasons the last two years has been fundamental in the Broncos offensive attack. Sanders has bailed out this offense so many times over the last 2 years and General Manager John Elway knew he had to keep Sanders around. The new contract will keep Sanders in Denver until at least 2019 and will also ensure the Broncos retain their 2 premier pass catchers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders for the long haul. That will give new starting quarterback Trevor Siemian the best chance to succeed and any time you have a player who has recorded 21 touchdowns over the last 3 years like Emmanuel Sanders did, it’s smart to hold on to that player’s services. This is a huge win for the Denver Broncos offense and even though Cj Anderson will get a lot of touches expect Thomas and Sanders to have another big year for Denver. They are too talented to come up short and as long as Siemian can get the ball in their area the dynamic wide receiver duo should be able to haul it in. Sanders in particular runs a 4.4 40 yard dash so this is player who can take the top off the defense. Having a deep ball threat like Sanders gives the Broncos a chance to put up quick points and he is just a very dynamic football player. The Broncos have to overcome several key losses personnel wise and it will be up to players like Emmanuel Sanders to elevate their level of play and minimize those departures. So it was certainly a big day for Sanders and keep an eye on whether or not he performs better or worse after signing this new contract. Hopefully he keeps working hard and continues to produce when Sunday rolls around.

Charity of the day: AdoptAPlatoon Soldier Support Effort

Go donate! www.adoptaplatoon.org

Drew Brees finally signed a contract extension with the New Orleans Saints:

Photo credit: Jonathan Bachman / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

All off-season the story surrounding the New Orleans Saints has been whether or not starting quarterback Drew Brees was going to sign another contract with the team. After contract negotiations came to a stalemate it almost seemed the Saints were going to move on from the future Hall of Fame quarterback. Now we know now that isn’t the case. Drew Brees signed a contract today that will net him $44.25 million dollars fully guaranteed over the next 2 seasons. Not only that but the contract is actually a 5 year contract that can be voided to 2 years if Brees significantly decreases production wise on the field. The new deal will sure up the New Orleans Saints quarterback position for the immediate future and now the team can address other positions on the roster moving forward. Brees has been stellar since joining the Saints. Brees has passed for an amazing 4 seasons of at least 5,000 passing yards since joining New Orleans via free agency from the Chargers. So this is a player who brings a potent passing game with him and New Orleans was smart to hold onto those talents for at least 2 more years. Now the Saints can address finding a successor to Drew Brees and hopefully develop that player while Brees finishes up his playing days. That means the Saints will likely draft a quarterback or trade for a player who they feel can fulfill the role Drew Brees has when he walks away from pro football. The last thing that makes this a good move for the Saints is the fact that Brees’ leadership will be on display for at least 2 more years with this team. Brees guides his teammates in the right direction and sets a great precedent for the younger players in the locker room. You can’t put a value on those character traits and there aren’t many players that deserve this payday more than Drew Brees does. He has always been one of the more stand up players in the league.

Charity of the day: AdoptAPlatoon Soldier Support Effort

Go donate! www.adoptaplatoon.org

Von Miller has taken his focus to another level:

Photo credit: Justin Edmonds / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

After winning the Super Bowl M.V.P award last season Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is preparing his body for an epic performance in 2016. Miller has told the Broncos that he wants to elevate his play from a year ago. After being completely dominant on the field last season that would be pretty awesome to see from a fan’s viewpoint. Miller is a top 3 defensive player in the league and now he has sights on the Defensive Player of the Year award. An honor that is currently held by JJ Watt right now so Von Miller will have to be at his very best to dethrone Watt. Miller is giving everything he has training wise to make sure his body is in top shape when it comes to achieving his goals. Miller has been practicing with the Broncos and then taking part in brutal training regimens in hopes of being at his very best. Even this week (which is game week) Miller has been hitting the weight room extremely hard and usually doesn’t end his work outs until he is covered head to toe in sweat. By going the distance and pushing his body to new limits Von Miller could indeed come out and play his best football ever this upcoming season. The Denver Broncos coaching staff are all raving about the fact that Miller is in much better shape right now than he was just a year ago at this time. Meaning Miller should be ahead of his own pace stat wise this season and you have to give the young linebacker credit for taking on a leadership role. When a player goes above and beyond he sets a precedent for his teammates. It seems like the other Broncos are already buying into what Miller is selling and they all understand they have to overcome the loss of Peyton Manning and those other players. Expect Von Miller to lead that charge all season long for the Denver Broncos.

Charity of the day: Homes for Our Troops

Go donate! www.hfotusa.org

Bill Belichick isn’t ready to roll out the red carpet for David Johnson just yet:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick thinks comparing Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson to Marshall Faulk is a reach on the Cardinals behalf. Belichick who faced Faulk in Super Bowl XXXVI said the Hall of Fame running back was much more versatile than David Johnson is. Specifically highlighting the fact that the Rams would line Faulk out wide as an extra receiver. The Cardinals don’t do that as much with David Johnson but that isn’t to say the Cardinals running back couldn’t do it. Johnson is one of the better receiving running backs in the NFL, he hauled in 4 receiving touchdowns a year ago as a rookie and should only get better in his second year. However Belichick feels that Faulk was a very rare talent and it’s not right to mention Johnson and Faulk’s name in the same sentence. We will see if the Cardinals try to unleash a heavy dose of David Johnson on the Patriots in week 1. That would be a great way to try to make Belichick and the Patriots a believer. It will also be a game that the Cardinals should be the favorites in considering Tom Brady won’t be in the line up. Still though it’s always hard to bet against Bill Belichick and his coaching brilliance. As good as Marshall Faulk was in that Super Bowl Belichick still walked away from that game a winner. The Patriots could do the same thing to David Johnson that they did to Marshall Faulk 15 years ago. So keep an eye on David Johnson and how the Patriots scheme to keep him in check. Truthfully You know Belichick would much rather have a win, but it seems like New England’s head coach might take a little pride in shutting down the Cardinals second year running back as well.

Charity of the day: National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund

Go donate! www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org

Arian Foster earns the starting running back job for the Miami Dolphins:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Arian Foster took awhile to sign with a team this off-season and when he did he ended up with the Miami Dolphins. After competing for the starting running back job for several months throughout training camp Head Coach Adam Gase finally named Foster the starter. Foster who was known for his smooth running style in Houston ran for 1,000 yards 4 different times while he was with the Texans. Now it seems like Foster is gliding past defenses again with the Dolphins down in Southern Florida. Foster had some strong competition from promising Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi but Gase felt like Foster’s understanding of the offense and consistency really propelled him ahead of Ajayi. The Dolphins are running an uptempo offensive system this year and Foster fits in well with the Dolphins new zone running scheme. The Houston Texans also ran a zone running scheme while Foster was with them, so he certainly understands where his blockers are going to be in that scheme and how to run to daylight. If Foster can stay healthy he should be an outstanding player for this football team and maybe playing for a new team will lead to a rebirth of Foster’s career. At one point Arian Foster was one of the deadliest running backs in the National Football League and if he can rush for a 1,000 yards with the Miami Dolphins he will be right back at that level. It won’t be easy for Foster but being named the starter means a lot of touches are about to come his way and now it’s up to Foster to go out there and make the most out of those opportunities. Foster should also lighten the load for quarterback Ryan Tannehill so you can see that this was a big acquisition for this team this off-season and Foster did his job by coming in and earning the starting gig in Miami.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

Go donate! www.endhomelessness.org

Ravens drop Justin Forsett and add Devin Hester:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Baltimore Ravens continue to tweak their roster with the release of Justin Forsett and the signing of Devin Hester. Forsett was a 1,000 yard rusher for the Ravens back in 2014 but the Ravens decided to go a different direction at the running back position this off-season. There have been rumors around the National Football League that Forsett might actually return to the Ravens. So maybe Baltimore chose to cut and re-sign the running back for contract reasons. Keep an eye on whether or not Forsett does return to the Ravens or if another team can lure him over. Running backs will be needed when the season starts and injuries take place. Justin Forsett could certainly come in and help a team out. The Ravens haven’t even withdrew Forsett’s name from the first string position on their depth chart, so this is a guy who many wouldn’t have expected to be cut. Devin Hester on the other hand signed with the Ravens and will head to Baltimore after some time with the Atlanta Falcons. At one time Hester was the most dangerous kick returner and punter returner in pro football. The Ravens are hoping Hester can be even a shade of that player and if he is then the Ravens will get a huge boost to their special teams. Hester could see some reps as a wide receiver as well so we will see how that situation goes with Baltimore. After a rough season last year this team has made several small acquisitions that could eventually yield big results. Add in that this team should be healthier than a season ago and you begin to see how the Baltimore Ravens are starting to trend upward. Now they have to go out on the field and execute, which is always easier said than done.

Charity of the day: Human Rights Watch

Go donate! www.hrw.org

Carson Wentz will start for the Eagles when he returns from his injury:

Photo credit: Mitchell Leff / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles traded away Sam Bradford in exchange for a 1st round pick this year and a 4th round pick next year. Those picks come over from the Vikings and will definitely help shape the Eagles roster in the future. With Bradford out of the picture for Philadelphia the team has also announced that rookie Carson Wentz will start for this football team. Many football insiders initially thought that Chase Daniels would take over the starting gig until Wentz was ready. However Eagles brass decided that the best way for Wentz to learn is by being thrown into the lead role and facing the fire. Wentz had some positive moments in the preseason showing glimpses of the player he could be someday. He also struggled at times and looked like an inexperienced rookie. Now the 2nd pick in the 2016 draft will have to learn on the fly and adjust to life as a starting quarterback in the National Football League. Philadelphia will be counting on this guy to put his team in a position to succeed, that means not committing foolish rookies mistakes and not turning the ball over. If Wentz can do that, Head Coach Doug Pederson should try to keep his offense balanced enough to alleviate the stress on his young signal caller. That means you should expect the Eagles to run the football frequently and you should also expect Wentz in a game manager role rather than an “air it out” type of role. Give the Eagles credit they finally got rid of Sam Bradford and they added a 1st round draft pick to benefit this team in the future. Maybe that pick can turn into an offensive lineman, running back, or wide receiver to help Wentz next season. The young quarterback will need talented pieces around him to help get the most out of his own abilities. Regardless though he will be the starter when he is healthy and the Eagles are certainly putting all their hopes and dreams in Carson Wentz.

Charity of the day: American Red Cross

Go donate! www.redcross.org



Minnesota is a Super Bowl contender again after trading for Sam Bradford:

Photo credit: George Gojkovich / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Minnesota Vikings knew they had to make an acquisition at the quarterback position in order to be a true Super Bowl contender in 2016. After losing Teddy Bridgewater recently to a knee injury the Vikings were considering starting Shaun Hill in the regular season. That was before the Vikings decided to ship a 1st round pick (2017) and a 4th round pick (2018) to the Eagles in exchange for Sam Bradford. Bradford was the full time starter last year for Philadelphia and with his 5 seasons of NFL experience under his belt, Bradford should be a good band aid for the Vikings situation. Minnesota entered the season with the goal of winning a Super Bowl after making the playoffs and winning the division last season. All those hopes and dreams were nearly lost with Bridgewater but Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman decided to be aggressive and try to salvage the year. Bradford will actually be in a much better situation now than he was in Philadelphia. Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs, Laquon Tredwell, and Charles Johnson are much more talented than the guys Bradford had in City of Brotherly Love. So it will be up to the former Eagles and Rams quarterback to understand that the pressure to win in Minnesota is much higher because the expectations are higher. Adrian Peterson and the other Vikings running backs will help take the load off of Sam Bradford as well. So you have all of those elements working in Sam Braford’s favor and Mike Zimmer is in a great position to succeed once again. The Vikings now find themselves as the favorite again in the NFC North division and the Packers have to hate this move more than anyone. They would of definitely won the division if the Vikings wouldn’t have pulled the trigger on this deal. Give the Vikings organization credit they were committed to putting the best product on the field that they could.

Charity of the day: American Red Cross

Go donate! www.redcross.org

Jared Goff goes from the number 1 draft pick to the 3rd quarterback on the Rams depth chart:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Los Angeles Rams traded away 6 draft picks to draft Jared Goff number 1 overall in the 2016 Draft. Now it looks like Jared Goff will enter the regular season as the 3rd quarterback on the Rams roster. Goff was highly praised during draft time as being the most pro ready quarterback on the draft board. So far that award seems more suited for Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys who was actually drafted in the 4th round. Goff just seems to struggle with the execution side of things. The former Cal quarterback isn’t that great at taking snaps, he was notorious for botching the quarterback/center exchange during training camp. Goff also was very inaccurate in the passing game and turned the ball over too frequently. To Jeff Fisher all that indicated was Jared Goff has a long way to go and he isn’t quite ready to lead the Rams in their Los Angeles resurrection. Instead the Rams will give Case Keenum the nod, a move that will give the Rams a player who understands the responsibilities that come with a starting quarterback job in this league. Most people thought Goff would be a lock to back up Keenum but Sean Mannion was also further along than Goff was. That means Jared Goff won’t dress on game day and that is certainly a disappointment for a guy who was the top player coming out of college football last year. Many other players who went below Goff will be on the field for their rookie campaign so Goff kind of fell behind a little bit. Now the rookie signal caller will have to work twice as hard to do everything he can to move up the depth chart. Not an easy task but Goff will get better with each rep, and the Rams are hoping someday he will lead this football team to new heights. The first step is doing everything he can to winning the starting job though. You can’t lead in this sport when you’re on the bench.

rity of the day: Arbor Day Foundation

Go donate!   www.arborday.org

Football Predictions: Picks for every AFC division

Photo credit: Bob Levey / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

AFC East               AFC South

1. Patriots              1. Texans
2.  Jets                    2. Colts
3. Bills                    3. Jaguars
4. Dolphins           4. Titans

AFC North            AFC West

1. Bengals              1. Chiefs
2. Steelers             2. Broncos
3. Ravens              3. Raiders
4. Browns             4. Chargers

AFC East: New England is still sitting out front even though Brady is suspended for 4 games. The Patriots are the best ran organization in pro football and will overcome the adversity to clinch their 19th division title. The Jets defense will be good enough to take the runner up spot in the division. While Buffalo will likely top the Dolphins for 3rd place. Rex could get fired after the season and Adam Gase will realize he has a tough mountain to climb to ever be relevant in the division.

AFC North: The Bengals are the most complete team in the division and will outlast the Steelers potent offense. Marvin Lewis claims his 5th division title and will have his best shot ever at winning a Super Bowl. The Steelers will be good offensively but still need to improve defensively to take the next step, despite drafting two defensive players with their first 2 picks in the 2016 draft. The Ravens will likely take 3rd place and Harbaugh will begin to solidify a foundation that allows the Ravens to compete in this division. Hue Jackson will realize that Cleveland is one of the toughest places to win and the dog pound will suffer in Jackson’s first season but things will get better in time.

AFC South: The Texans acquired a whole lot of speed particularly at the wide receiver position and that will payoff for Houston. Brock Osweiler will end up getting the job done for the Texans, while Houston’s defense will be a top 5 defense in the league. The Colts will somehow overcome the young and talented Jaguars to clinch the second spot in the division. The Jaguars defense will end up letting them down in the regular season, on the other hand Andrew Luck will outperform expectations and elevate his football team. The Titans will close the gap on the other teams in the division but will still finish 4th when it’s all said and done.

AFC West: The Chiefs will take the next step under outstanding Head Coach Andy Reid. The Chiefs should be able to edge out the Broncos and win the division mainly because the Broncos are choosing to sit Paxton Lynch for development reasons. The Broncos defense will still be outstanding but they will miss having a true signal caller more than they realize. The Raiders off-season momentum won’t translate to immediate success on the football field similar to how the Jaguars aren’t going to pan out either. It takes time and consistency to be good in the NFL and the Raiders and Jaguars will both have to pay their dues for a few more years. Finally the Chargers will finish 4th in this division. The Charges will leave for Los Angeles at the end of the season and start a new era as a neighbor to the Rams. Lakers, Clippers, Rams, Chargers…

Charity of the day: Arbor Day Foundation

Go donate!   www.arborday.org

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