Travis Benjamin will give the Chargers a dynamic playmaker:

Photo credit: Gregory Shamus / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Travis Benjamin had a very solid year of football in 2015. The former Cleveland Browns receiver finished last season with 966 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. Showing that he can effectively contribute in the National Football League and also showing he could do so on the awful Cleveland Browns. That effort was enough for the San Diego Chargers to recognize that acquiring Benjamin would do wonders for their football team. That is exactly what the Chargers did this offseason when they handed Benjamin a 4 year $24 million dollar contract. Benjamin goes from a situation where he had Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel throwing to him. To San Diego where he has the prolific Philip Rivers tossing him passes. The difference between the two situations is like night and day and expect Benjaminā€™s number to significantly improve now that he is playing with Rivers. Having a much better quarterback just means so much for a talented wide receiver and that is why you seen players like Travis Benjamin and Mike Wallace choose to pursue those talented signal callers in free agency. The results of a receiver playing with a high profile quarterback can be so drastic that the receiverā€™s value himself can skyrocket or diminish with how many passes he hauls in. Expect Benjamin to top the 1,000 yard receiving mark for the first time in his career in San Diego and that would mean Benjaminā€™s value would continue to rise giving him new opportunities to make revenue through endorsements and other opportunities. At the end of the day the Chargers get a player who can contribute not only in the passing game but also in the kick return game as well. While Benjamin gets to play in sunny southern California with a much more talented team around him. It was a win-win scenario for both sides.

Charity of the day:Ā Wildlife Conservation Society

Go donate!Ā www.wcs.org

A good draft would go a long way for Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills:

Photo credit: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Buffalo Bills finished the 2015 season with a 8 and 8 record and they found themselves on the outside looking in when it came playoff time. Head coach Rex Ryan did some good things for this team especially when it came to philosophy. Rex brings a ground and pound philosophy on the field which led to LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williamsā€™ talents being optimized. Off the field Rex brings a lot of enthusiasm for the game of football, and that passion naturally draws people to the team. By utilizing Rexā€™s talents the Buffalo Bills have made themselves an attractive destination to play football at. Not an easy thing to do when you consider how mediocre the Bills have truly been after the Jim Kelly and Marv Levy era. Rex Ryan has truly breathed life into this franchise and now with the draft coming up heā€™ll have another chance to build the roster to his vision. Youā€™d have to think that Ryan does that by improving on the defensive side of the ball in the draft. The team lost Mario Williams and will have to replace his pass rushing rushing efforts. On top of that the Bills slightly regressed from 2014 to 2015 defensively under Ryan. You know that doesnā€™t sit well with Rex Ryan and he will look to add a dynamic play to that defensive front this offseason. Doing so would give the Bills a chance to be flat out dominant upfront defensive and that is something that Ryan will certainly pursue. Also look for the Bills to add a few more players to their offense particularly at the wide receiver position. Sammy Watkins has emerged into a legitimate playmaker and Tyrod Taylor is a rising star at the quarterback position. Landing another wide receiver who can really contribute would go a long way in adding to Watkins, and Taylorā€™s efforts. That would give the Bills a big shot of challenging the New England Patriots in the AFC East and getting back to the playoffs. Those are the moves to look out for and donā€™t be surprised when the Bills front office takes that course of action. Still give the Bills credit they are closer to the postseason than theyā€™ve been in a long time.

Charity of the day:Ā National Federation of the Blind

Go donate!Ā www.nfb.org

The Lions are looking into the NFL abyss again:

Photo credit: Michael Thomas / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Detroit Lions find themselves in rough shape after Calvin Johnson decided to retire this offseason. The team goes from having one of the best wide receivers in the league to desperately trying to find their new identity. While the team signed Marvin Jones to try and fill the void left by Johnson. You have to keep in mind that Johnson alone puts up about double the production that Jones does. Losing that threat on the outside could really hurt Matthew Staffordā€™s chances to succeed in 2016. On top of that the Lions havenā€™t nearly made the splash in free agency that they have to in order to be great next season. Bad deals like the Haloti Ngata deal will certainly hurt this team’s chances and you have to wonder if Jim Caldwell was partial on that particular decision. Ngata who is an aging player only recorded 24 tackles, and 2.5 sacks in 2015. Proving that that his best days are clearly behind him. Yet the Lions front office awarded Ngata with a brand new contract that is worth 2 years and 12 million dollars. The fact that Ngata is making 6 million dollars a year when his production is going to clearly keep declining is why this franchise is on the verge of completely imploding. Most football insiders understand that the game is a young manā€™s game and that a teamā€™s best chance for succeeding is by constantly landing youthful players who will contribute and grow within their roles. The Lions went the exact opposite route of that thinking and paid a guy who really is onlyĀ going to provide limited to returns in the next two seasons. The truth is Ngata didnā€™t play good enough when he was dubbed Ndamukong Suhā€™s replacement last offseason. Now the Lions get an older and less productive Ngata for a big price and itā€™s moves like that,Ā that have this team looking into the NFL abyss which can easily consume teams and leave them in disarray for years to come. Certainly something to keep an eye on in 2016.

Charity of the day:Ā Environmental Defense Fund

Go donate!Ā www.edf.org

Jordan Reed has no ceiling entering the 2016 season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Jordan Reed has emerged into an outstanding football player. After being drafted by the Washington Redskins in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. The former Florida Gators tight end successful transitioned into a premier pro football player. Reed only scored 3 touchdowns over his first 2 seasons with the Redskins, but he produced 3 times that production in his 3rd season alone. That season was last year in which Reed hauled in 11 touchdown passes and 952 yards receiving. Ultimately making Reed a huge reason of why the Washington Redskins were able to win the NFC East division and get back to the playoffs. Now entering his fourth season of NFL action Reed will look to build upon the success he had last year. One goal you have to think Reed set for himself is to get over the 1,000 yard receiving mark. Reed came just shy with 952 yards last season and with that being the bar for quality wide receivers you have to think Reed would like to be in that club. Here is the kicker though, Reed is a tight end not a wide receiver. Typically tight ends have less receiving yards than wide receivers do so when you get that kind of production out of your tight end, it shows just how good of player you have at that position. Keep in mind Tony Gonzales has only caught 1,000 yards 4 times in his career, and Antonio Gates has only caught a 1,000 yards in a season twice in his career. So if Reed is able to do that he will be with some great company. Regardless expect this guy to have a great career especially since Kirk Cousins is back in the fold for Washington. The two have developed a great quarterback receiver chemistry and that should yield some great results for the Redskins next season. When it’s all said and done there isnā€™t much Jordan Reed canā€™t do on a football field. That is why he enters next fall with no ceiling on how high he can soar and one of the best tight ends in the game.

Charity of the day:Ā National 4-H Council

Go donate!Ā www.4-H.org

The Cardinals are gearing up for a championship run in 2016:

Photo credit: Gregory Shamus/ Getty images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

Bruce Arians is doing all that he can do to bring a championship back to Arizona. The head coach traded for Chandler Jones the New England Patriots top pass rusher in 2015. Then Arians signed Evan Mathis a veteran guard who played with the Denver Broncos last season. Both moves bring inĀ players that can come in and immediately contribute to the good momentum that the Cardinals have established under Ariansā€™ reign. The Cardinals had a tough exit fromĀ the playoffs when they were rolled by the Carolina Panthers 49-15 last season. In order to gain on the Panthers the Cardinals had to put together a series of moves that would make them more competitive in the later rounds of the playoffs. Adding Mathis might be an upgrade over the recently departed Jonathan Cooper, and adding Chandler Jones is certainly a huge boost to the teams pass rushing efforts. If the Cardinals can get Dwight Freeney back in the mix in 2016, they will have some serious firepower when it comes to rushing the quarterback. You have to think that the Cardinals will look to add offensive lineman in the draft as well. Carolina did a great job of getting to Carson Palmer in the NFC championship game and even though the team added Mathis. They need to add some good young talent to the line to set the tone for the future. The team will also get a boost from getting Tyrann Mathieu back from his injury and having him in the line up once the postseason rolls around. The team lost a playmaker on the backend when he went down and having a healthy honey badger could mean Super Bowl for the Cardinals in 2016. One thing is for certain, with a 34 and 14 record the Cardinals are in good hands under Arians command. Donā€™t be surprised if a Lombardi Trophy heads back to the dessert before his run is over.

Charity of the day:Ā National 4-H Council

Go donate!Ā www.4-H.org

Patriots will have an outstanding two tight end set after trading for Bennett:

Photo credit: Sean M. Haffey/ Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots made another big move. After trading away Chandler Jones just a day ago for Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round pick. The Patriots kept their name in the spotlight by landing Martellus Bennett in exchange for a 4th round draft pick. The move gives the Patriots another two tight end set that is to be feared. Bennet is one of the premier tight ends in the league and when you pair him with Rob Gronkowski in that two tight end offensive set, it really puts pressure on opposing defenders. That is because the linebackers on defense have to focus on two extra blockers being in the box. Then those same linebackers have to worry about both tight ends beating them on quick throw to their hook zones, and up the field. That formation really puts defenses in a bad position because the Patriots have the personnel to attack you successfully in so many different ways. We seen the two tight end set used before in the past with Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. That formation produced great results for the Patriots and the team is now trying to repeat that success with Bennett and Gronkowski. Another point that must be stated is the fact the Patriots only gave up a 4th round pick to acquire Bennett. That is a steal for the Patriots because they add a player who can yield great returns but only lose a mid level draft pick in the exchange. Essentially keeping the Patriots early rounds picks to be used to benefit the team in the draft in April. Bennett has accumulated 23 touchdowns and 3,586 yards over his 8 year career. Heā€™ll be playing with the best quarterback he has ever played with this year, and he is in a system that can truly optimize his talents. Belichick is showing why he is the best in the business this offseason. He is doing everything he can to get another ring before Brady retires.

Charity of the day:Ā National Alliance to End Homelessness

Go donate!Ā www.endhomelessness.org

The rich get richer: the Patriots always manage to make the right move

Photo credit: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New England Patriots were supposed be in trouble. The team had lost their 1st round draft pick in 2016 due to their part in the Deflategate fiasco and they had to address their offensive line to ensure Brady has enough time to operate in the pocket. While most teams would be hand cuffed in this situation the Patriots found a way to make a little magic happen (like they always do). The team sold high on their top pass rusher Chandler Jones who recorded 12.5 sacks in 2015 by trading Jones to the Arizona Cardinals for Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round draft pick. The move is a good move for the Patriots because Jones was scheduled to be a free agent after the 2016 season and the Patriots would of had to pay him a mega-contract. Something the Patriots typically donā€™t like to do and it was better for the Patriots to receive something for Jones instead of letting him walk in free agency for nothing. On top of that there were some character concerns with Jones as well. Jones showed up to the Foxborough police station shirtless and high on synthetic marijuana during the week building up to the AFC championship game. Belichick was clearly reluctant to hand over a lucrative contract to someone who didnā€™t even have the sense to avoid an incident like that in the playoffs. While losing Jones will set the team back in terms of rushing the passer. The team then added Chris Long to the mix to help minimize the lost of Jones. Long is a good player and maybe a fresh start in the prestigious New England system will be enough to resurrect his career. What was so great about the trade and landing Long though, is the fact that New England will still have a productive player to replace Jones, they add a much needed offensive lineman, and the team adds a 2nd round draft pick. Now the Patriots can use both of their second round draft picks to help overcome the loss of their docked first round pick and ultimately itā€™s just another case of New England overcoming the odds and being better at maneuvering to acquire talent than everybody else. Give Belichick a lot credit he is the brains of the operation and he never seizes to amaze us. Imagine where that organization would be without him?

Charity of the day:Ā National Alliance to End Homelessness

Go donate!Ā www.endhomelessness.org

A few significant deals were struck in free agency today:

Photo credit: John Leyba / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

The most notable deal struck today was the Denver Broncos and their decision to match the Dolphins offer and retain CJ Andersonā€™s services. Anderson was instrumental to the Broncos success in the postseason and the stand out running back was also a big reason the Broncos were able to hoist the Vince Lombardi trophy last season. Anderson sets the tone for the Broncos in the running game and losing him would of put a lot of pressure on Mark Sanchez should he emerge as the teamā€™s starter. By keeping Anderson in Denver the Broncos will be able to maintain their ground and pound style of play. This was the right move for the team and you have to give credit to Elway for keeping his top rusher on the roster.

The next deal on the list is the Baltimore Ravens and their acquisition of Mike Wallace. Wallace heads to Baltimore after a season in Minnesota and it appears Wallace is not too happy about the time he spent in Viking land stating that ā€œhe had to play with a proven QBā€. That comment is a subtle slight against Vikings starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and weā€™ll see if Wallaceā€™s insight pays off for him in 2016, now that he is paired with Joe Flacco.

The Patriots traded Chandler Jones to the Arizona Cardinals for Jonathan Cooper and a second round draft pick. The Pats then turned around and signed Chris Long to a 1 year deal too help limit the loss of Jones. Chris long has recorded 54.5 career sacks over his 8 year career. He will definitely come in and help upgrade that Patriots defense. The team also gets stronger on the offensive line and adds another pick to the mix. A good move since the team got docked their first round draft pick this year because of Deflategate. With maneuvering like this itā€™s been another great offseason for New England.

Charity of the day:Ā Mental Health America

Go donate!Ā www.mentalhealthamerica.net

Mark Sanchez is front and center in Denver:

Photo credit: RJ Sangosti / Denver Post

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos landed Mark Sanchez in a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles and itā€™s looking more and more apparent that Sanchez will be the Broncos starter in week 1 of the regular season. The Broncos who were all in last season financially, found themselves strapped for cap space this offseason and they had to make some tough roster moves. Moves that included franchise tagging Von Miller and letting Brock Osweiler leave for the Houston Texans. That left a huge void at the quarterback position for the Broncos especially since Peyton Manning has decided to retire. Now Sanchez who is on his third professional team will step in and try to fill those shoes that are left behind by arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. Sanchez hasnā€™t been very Manning like over the course of his career. In fact his career stats are 15,126 passing yards for 86 touchdowns and 84 interceptions. Showing why for the most part he has been a back up quarterback in the National Football League. Still their is potential for growth there and maybe Sanchez can learn how to win in the league similar to how Ryan Fitzpatrick did in his later years. Sanchez has been around the game long enough to understand what it takes to succeed at the professional level. He has just had problems putting it all together on the football field. If Sanchez can find a way to cut down on turnovers and make the throws when the teams asks him to. Maybe he can have some success like he did in his first few years with the Jets. He will be in a similar situation with Denverā€™s outstanding defense, but keep in mind even the Broncos mighty defense might regress with the losses of Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan. On top of that Sanchez wonā€™t be getting any help on the offensive side of the ball if the team does indeed lose C.J Anderson. Lets be honest the Denver Broncos are no where near the team they were in 2015 and Sanchez will be a second tier band-aid compared to the teamā€™s quarterbacks last season. Elway earned his money with last seasonā€™s run, but he will find himself in a much more criticized position in 2016. The product the Broncos are putting on the field is far inferior and Mark Sanchez very well could cave to the pressure when itā€™s all said and done. The Broncos arenā€™t fooling anyone with this desperate move to put a functional football team together. They are reaching a little bit by asking Sanchez to maintain the level of excellence Manning and Osweiler set in 2015.

Charity of the day:Ā Mental Health America

Go donate!Ā www.mentalhealthamerica.net

B.J Raji is stepping away from the game for all the right reasons:

Photo credit: Ronald Martinez / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

With rumors coming out of Green Bay that B.J Raji is taking a break from NFL football, itā€™s easy to get frustrated with Raji and his early departure. That is until youĀ hear the full story of why Raji is actually taking a hiatus away from pro football. Raji announced that he is taking some personal time away from football due to family reasons. He went on to state that his mother is on dialysis with diabetes and his aunt is battling breast cancer. With two of the most influential women in his life really starting to struggle with their health just after the 2015 season. It was a no brainer for Raji to step away from the game and spend some time with the people who mean the most to him. What is so honorable about Rajiā€™s choice is the fact that he could easily play this season and probably make around $1.5 million dollars (he made $1.75 million in 2015 but is a free agent with no contract at the moment). Instead of hitting the open market and seeing what kind of payday he can net, Raji will instead head back home to spend time with his family and cherish something that money canā€™t buy. The memories and time spent with your loved ones and building back upon those relationships. We live in a world where we get so caught up on chasing the wrong things that we loseĀ perspective on the things that are most important. BJ Raji has shown his growth as human being with this decision and sometimes that is something more important than being a football player. You have to applaud the courageous decision to leave that kind of money on the table and for making the right choice, despite a lot of financial advisorsĀ telling himĀ other wise. At the end of the day BJ Raji walks away from the game of football a Super Bowl champion and more importantly a winner in life.

Charity of the day:Ā American Rivers

Go donate!Ā www.americanrivers.org

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