Fitz Magic will be back for act 2 with the Jets:

Photo credit: Tom Szczerbowski / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

After months and months of back and forward speculation the New York Jets have finally signed Ryan Fitzpatrick. Apparently the Jets told Fitzpatrick he has a 7P.M deadline to accept their contract offer and Fitzpatrick rolled into the team facility and accepted the deal. Fitzpatrick’s deal will be for 1 year and worth $12 million dollars. Fitzpatrick will also have the chance to make an additional $3 million in bonus incentives as well. So the Jets finally get their guy and Fitzpatrick gets a significant raise from his $3.25 million dollar salary he received a season ago. Now that Fitzpatrick is making 4 times as much as he was last year he will have to live up to expectations and deliver at least a playoff appearance for the Jets. With all of the good momentum the team has had lately this should be possible and truthfully it all starts with Fitzpatrick and how high he can set the bar. Quarterback is the most important position in football and Fitzpatrick has to be Fitz Magic every game week in and week out in 2016. He held out all season so people would appreciate his worth now it’s time for him to show why he was confident in doing so. Clearly Fitzpatrick feels he is more polished than ever when it comes to playing football but at the end of the day you can’t get complacent. He will have to work his ass off to be the guy the Jets need and truthfully this is just the beginning for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Now he has to go out there and deliver. Ultimately with his contract being a 1 year deal, he is playing for another huge payday at the end of the season and that should motivate Fitzpatrick to be his best. At the end of the day this was a smart move for the Jets. You didn’t want to see their offense get broken up.

Charity of the day: Prostate Cancer Foundation

Go donate! www.pcf.org

The Rams and Nick Foles era is over:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Los Angeles Rams and Nick Foles have been in a weird situation where he has been avoiding team events and now we know why. The Rams have decided to move on from Foles and now Foles is a free agent. That means Foles can sign with any team he wants and you’d have to think someone will pick up the former Pro Bowl quarterback. Even if it’s off that past Pro Bowl alone, Foles really struggled last year and he was eventually benched by the Rams. At the end of the day though his 6’6 frame is the ideal size for a professional quarterback and his past success will land him that next gig. Sometimes players don’t work out in a situation for whatever reason, a new home will be another opportunity for Foles to showcase his talent and hopefully get back to playing exciting football. We know now St. Louis/Los Angeles wasn’t an optimal destination for him, now it’s about finding somewhere he really does fit in. One destination that stands out as a good fit would be the Miami Dolphins. He could go to the Dolphins and serve as a back up to Tannehill and when his number is called step up and do his job. Football is game where injuries happen often as well, so Foles could be one play away from starting with the Dolphins. Maybe an even better destination for Foles would be the Chiefs. Where Foles could sit behind Alex Smith and have Andy Reid to guide him. Reid gets a lot out of his players and this would be the ideal situation for Nick Foles. Truthfully though we are just going to have to wait and see where he ends up. However before that happens one thing Nick Foles has to do it get himself in the best shape of his life. Things didn’t work out with the Rams mostly because he didn’t live up to expectations and now he has to bounce back from that letdown. Only time will tell how Nick Foles faces that challenge.

Charity of the day: Prostate Cancer Foundation

Go donate! www.pcf.org

 

 

The Packers will get a huge boost from a healthy Jordy Nelson:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Last year the Green Bay Packers were without one of their most dynamic players and that is wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson missed all of the 2015 season with an ACL tear in his right knee and now Nelson actually tweaked his left knee. While the left knee injury is minor, Nelson has stated that he still plans on being ready for the regular season opener. That is good news for the Packers who were a man down in the receiver rotation last year and Nelson has been one of their top guys ever since he got there in 2008. With Nelson out it put a lot of pressure on Randall Cobb to produce and now his load will be lightened with 80 or 90 throws going back to Nelson. That should really improve this offense and it will also make life on Aaron Rodgers much easier. After a lack of depth at the receiver position in 2015 getting Nelson back should be a big relief for this passing game. This is a player who has went over 1,000 yards receiving 3 different times in his career. He has also went over the 10 touchdown mark in a season twice as well, so clearly he is a player that can have a big impact for this team and now the Packers are a true contender with Nelson back in the mix. When you factor in the team was able to go to the NFC divisional round without Jordy Nelson it just goes to show how much better they could be with him in the line up. Nelson could be enough to get the Packers over the hump and to the Super Bowl but first it will be about getting healthy and producing when the season does roll around. So truthfully Nelson has to keep working hard and put himself in a position to succeed. If he does that Rodgers will get him the ball early and often come game day, the pair mesh extremely well.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

Go donate! www.endhomelessness.org

The Detroit Lions win the Anquan Boldin sweepstakes:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

After many teams expressing interest in Anquan Boldin the Detroit Lions eventually emerged as the best fit for Boldin. Boldin will enter a lions receiving corps that also has Golden Tate and Marvin Jones. The addition of Boldin will help give this team another reliable receiver and despite Boldin’s age he still has a little gas left in the tank. Anquan Boldin recorded 789 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns just a season ago. That was with a quarterback that is far inferior than Matthew Stafford. So Boldin could definitely see a spike in production if he clicks well with Stafford. Obviously the main argument against Anquan Boldin is that he is 35 years old and certainly in the twilight of his career. So we will see if this deal ends up panning out for the Lions in the end but right now as long as Boldin isn’t overpaid, this is a good move for the Lions. They needed some depth honestly and they needed some help replacing Calvin Johnson and maybe doing that is by placing 3 talented wide outs on the field at the same time. You know the Lions love to work out of shotgun because Stafford is their qb, so that could mean a whole lot of opportunity for Anquan Boldin. If all 3 of Detroit’s receivers are playing at a high level this offense could be very potent. They will just have to continue to improve that offensive line so that Stafford has time to operate back there. Regardless life will be easier on Stafford with another talented receiver in the mix and we will see if old man Boldin can produce or not in Detroit. It would be a great story to see him have success and you have to be happy that he found a job and will be on the field again in 2016.

Charity of the day: National Alliance to End Homelessness

Go donate! www.endhomelessness.org

Greg Jennings has decided to walk away from football:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Greg Jennings is done with professional football after 10 seasons and the receiver seems ecstatic about moving on to the next part of life. Jennings who played collegiate football for Western Michigan University played for 3 pro teams over the course of his career. Perhaps Jennings most noteworthy playing days were with the Green Bay Packers however when Jennings made a number of big plays. Jennings was in Green Bay during the end of the Favre era and also welcomed Aaron Rodgers into the fold as well. During his time with Green Bay Jennings was able to make 2 Pro Bowls and 3 consecutive seasons of over 1,000 yards receiving. Those stats highlight what Jennings was able to accomplish on the football, and for a period of time this guy was flat out outstanding. Once Jennings moved on from Green Bay he was still a decent player but never really got back to what he was with the Packers . In Minnesota Jennings went over 700 yards receiving in both seasons he was there. All of that slowed down when he got to Miami though. Jennings only recorded 19 receptions and 208 yards receiving while with the dolphins last season. He also only had 1 touchdown so really the production wasn’t there anymore and now after giving so much of his life to football. Greg Jennings can walk away happy knowing he left everything he had on the field. He is 32 years old and has the rest of his life to live out and sometimes it’s exciting to see what the next chapter holds. Greg Jennings is the father of 4 children so he will likely put his focus on raising his family as he moves forward after having to be away from them so much during his time playing football. When it’s all said and done this was a very productive player and at one point one of the best in the business. The league will miss Greg Jennings and his contributions.

Charity of the day: Guttmacher Institute

Go donate! www.guttmacher.org

Josh Gordon finally gets another crack at the NFL:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Josh Gordon has officially been reinstated by the league and now the Browns receiver will be eyeing a come back. Gordon who has been suspended numerous times for violations of the substance abuse policy will be allowed to participate in the Browns training camp, preseason games, and 12 regular season games, Gordon will still have to serve the rest of his suspension which will include missing 4 games in 2016 but this move is still progress for the troubled receiver. In 2013 Gordon was the most productive receiver in the league recording 1,646 receiving yards. If Gordon can become even a shade of the player he was in 2013 this will be a huge recovery for the Browns. Things are looking a lot better with Hue Jackson in the mix, and Gordon will have an offensive minded coach who will know how to put him in a position to succeed. As long as Gordon takes care of his body and puts in the training, he will certainly be a big addition to this football team this upcoming season and talent wise at the receiver position the Browns are looking much better. You have Corey Coleman the first round draft pick there, and now with Gordon coming back the Browns will be looking much better at that position. When you factor in the Browns also have Gary Barnidge in the passing game you can begin to see why there is optimism for Browns fans. The goal for Gordon heading into this season should be to produce 1/3 of what he produced in 2013. If he could haul in 548 receiving yards and at least 3 touchdowns that would be a huge success for Gordon. Keep in mind Gordon is only playing in 12 games that is why a 1/3 of his best year would be a great goal for Josh Gordon. With that said the biggest challenge for Josh Gordon is not the football side of things, but more his own personal struggles. If he can make the right choices and stay within compliance of the substance abuse policy. Football should come easy for Josh Gordon.

Charity of the day: Guttmacher Institute

Go donate! www.guttmacher.org

Expect the Bills to use a heavy dose of Shady McCoy this season:

Photo credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Everyone knows Rex Ryan loves to run the football. Ryan is notorious for handing the ball off and last year the Bills finished with 509 rushing attempts. That was the second most in the league and now with news that Karlos Williams is out for four games. All of those factors fall in running back LeSean McCoy’s favor. McCoy had a down year for his own standards last year finishing the season with under a 1,000 yards rushing. However McCoy was adjusting to a new team and learning a new offensive system. Not to mention he missed out on 4 games last year and only played in 12 games total. So having McCoy around and healthy will be great for this team and he fits right in with what Ryan wants to do offensively. McCoy is so fluent while running the football that he will undoubtedly give a huge boost to this team this upcoming season. He can make defenders miss as good as anyone in this league and there is a reason Shady McCoy has rushed for 1,000 yards 4 out of the 7 years he has been in the National Football League. When you factor in that the Bills will have Tyrod Taylor who can run the read option with McCoy, you can see why this offensive running game could be very potent in 2016. It all starts with Buffalo’s number 1 running back and there is a reason why Ryan was adamant about trading for McCoy. Now it’s time for McCoy to carry the load for the entire year in 2016 and live up to the expectations. With his outstanding record in the past you have to think he will do so. McCoy is that truly gifted on the football field and there is nothing that he can’t do.

Charity of the day: ChildFund International

Go donate! www.childfund.org

Staying healthy is the biggest factor for the Baltimore Ravens:

Photo Credit: Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Baltimore Ravens are heading into training camp and almost all of their top players are on the physically unable to perform list. The first two notable names on that list are stand out linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. Suggs has been known over his career to be one of the fiercest pass rushers in the league and the Ravens really missed having Suggs around last season. Suggs tore his achilles early during the 2015 season and that caused him to miss every single game. When Suggs is healthy he can easily produce 10 sacks a year and not having that edge rusher really set the Ravens back last season. Getting Suggs back is the first step of improving the Ravens defense which finished 17th in league last year when it came to sacking the quarterback. The other key player to the Ravens defense is Elvis Dumervil who is recovering from a foot procedure. Dumervil only recorded 6 sacks in 2015 but in 2014 he recorded an impressive 17 sacks. If the Ravens can get both Suggs and Dumervil back on the field and playing at a high level then you can clearly see how much of an impact these two players alone could have. The other concern for the Ravens is their wide receivers. Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman are both on the physically unable to perform list and that has to make Head Coach John Harbaugh nervous. Steve Smith has been the Ravens best receiver ever since he got to Baltimore and a healthy Smith could produce huge results for the Ravens. Smith is also battling back from an achilles injury so it will be about strengthening his lower leg until he is ready to compete at a high level again. Once that happens there is no doubt the aging Smith will be as fiery as he has been his entire career. Breshad Perriman on the other hand has had durability issues. After being drafted in the first round by the Ravens, he missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury. Then Perriman partially tore his ACL in off-season workouts, so the Ravens are waiting for this guy to get on the field for the first time and live up to Baltimore’s investment. The good news for football fans in Maryland is the fact that Joe Flacco does appear to be completely healed from his ACL and MCL injuries. Which means their best player will be ready to go once the season rolls around. Now it will be up to the other players to heal up and get back on the field. If they can do that Baltimore will have a chance to compete this upcoming season.

Charity of the day: Mental Health America

Go donate! www.mentalhealthamerica.net

The Saints are showing reluctance when it comes to re-signing Drew Brees:

Photo credit: Getty Images Sport / Scott Cunningham

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Saints and Drew Brees have been trying to negotiation a Brees contract extension all off-season and now Brees has told the press that the two sides haven’t spoken in about 3 months. There seems to be reluctance on the Saints behalf and that might be because they don’t want to over commit to a long term Brees deal. Brees has been a very prolific passer over the duration of his career and this will be his last year under contract with the Saints. With all Brees’s past success he will have to be largely compensated when it comes time to sign his next deal. It feels like New Orleans might want to go a different direction instead. Brees has already delivered a Super Bowl to the Big Easy once and maybe the Saints front office feel like his time is in the past. The Saints have some good young wide receivers and maybe loading up on talent at other positions and letting a young guy play quarterback is the future of this team. Brees is certainly going to be productive for a couple more seasons but sometimes teams want to get younger because football is ultimately a young man’s sport. Eventually the team has to turn the page on the Brees era and it feels like New Orleans sees that happening sooner rather than later. Truthfully it would make sense to ink Brees to a two year contract but you’d have to think he wants a long term deal. If he does get it, it will likely be his last big NFL contract and if he doesn’t get it. We will see if he ends up playing with another team after the New Orleans Saints. There are plenty of teams out there that would offer a contract to Brees and really this situation is just a wait and see approach. The Saints might cave in and give Brees the long contract he wants. You just never know when it comes to the business side of things.

Charity of the day: Mental Health America

Go donate! www.mentalhealthamerica.net

The rundown: updates from around the league

Photo credit: Ronald C. Modra / Sports Imagery

Author: Jon Kuzma

Andrew Luck is happy the Colts kept Pagano

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck recently expressed praise for Colts owner Jim Irsay for keeping Head Coach Chuck Pagano with the team. After a bad 2015 campaign there were reports that Pagano was going to be dismissed from the team. In a shocking twist however Irsay decided to keep Pagano and while many didn’t see the move coming, Andrew Luck seems to be happy with the Colts owner’s decision. The consistency of keeping Pagano at the helm will help this football team and that should yield positive results in 2016.

Le’Veon Bell is suspended for four games

Talented Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has been suspended again by the National Football league for missing several drug test. Bell who was suspended exactly a year ago for a DUI and marijuana is now facing another suspension and suddenly Pittsburgh finds themselves questioning Bell’s reliability. The team will be in good hands again with DeAngelo Williams but eventually Bell has to stay on the field and live up to the hype. Expect Williams to play well in Bell’s absence and the team could start to favor Williams if Bell doesn’t get his act together.

The NFL continues it’s HGH witch hunt

The league office is looking to interview Clay Matthews, James Harrison, Julius Peppers, and Mike Neal after an Al Jazeera report claimed that the four players had been using performance enhancing drugs. Each player submitted an affidavit to the league hoping to avoid being interviewed but the league denied those request stating they had to uphold the integrity of the league. It’s a sad day when anyone can make a claim about a professional athlete and then the athlete has to face serious repercussions for those claims. While using performance enhancing drugs is very serious, it feels like this report is bogus and there is a reason not many people in America find Al Jazeera as a credible source. Truthfully these allegations seem like a way for the publication and the accuser Charlie Sly to stay relevant. You’d hate to see a player wrongfully accused for something and hopefully nothing comes from these allegations. That is if they are indeed untrue.

Charity of the day: Coalition for the Homeless

Go donate! www.coalitionforthehomeless.org

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