Jags get even stronger by signing Prince Amukamara:

Photo credit: Joe Robbins / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars continue their historic offseason by landing Prince Amukamara from the New York Giants. Amukamara is a cornerback who can come in and immediately contribute to the Jaguars defense. While Amukamara didn’t have the season he would of liked to in 2015. Largely due to the fact that he was battling a partially torn pec muscle and had to miss 5 games of action. He still is an upgrade to the Jaguars secondary and the team gets a step closer to putting a winning product on the field. It’s no secret that Jacksonville is a much more attractive location this offseason because of quarterback Blake Bortles’ progression. That makes players like Amukamara want to take a chance on Jacksonville and see if their contributions can be enough to get this team over the hump. Amukamara has recorded 4 interceptions over the last two seasons but if he can stay healthy he could get back to the player he once was coming out of Nebraska. Sometimes a fresh start with a new team can be great opportunity for a player. We’ve seen players like Sam Bradford go from being a player who was unwanted to a player that is coveted. The Jaguars will offer Amukamara a chance to have a similar turn around but ultimately it will come down to him staying on the football field and playing all 16 games. The Jaguars will also have a fresh new defensive  tackle in Malik Jackson to help pressure opposing quarterbacks. Hopefully that will make Prince Amukamara’s job easier on the backend and will result in big numbers from the newly acquired defensive back. At the end of the day you really have to give credit to the team’s front office for putting the Jaguars in a position to have all this free cap space. That will allow the team to put the most talented roster on the field since the Mark Brunnell days. It should be interesting to watch this team play in 2016.

Charity of the day: Project HOPE

Go donate! www.projecthope.org

Giants make a commitment to turning around their defense by signing 3 key players in FA:

Photo credit: Al Bello / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Giants had an awful defense in 2015. So bad that the team was ranked dead last in the entire league in terms of yards surrendered. In order to prevent that from happening again the Giants spent big money and brought in some good talent. One of the biggest additions the Giants made was landing cornerback Janoris Jenkins. Jenkins was rumored to be heading to Los Angeles to join the Rams in their relocation to southern California. However the Giants offer of 5 years $62.5 million dollars was enough to bring Jenkins to New York. Jenkins will help upgrade the back end of the Giants defense. He finished the last two seasons with 9 interceptions and is excellent in coverage vs big time receivers. The Giants are hoping that he can help keep opposing offenses in check but went a step further to ensure that happens. The G-Men also added Olivier Vernon to their pass rushing efforts to put pressure on other team’s quarterbacks. Vernon was one of the top defensive ends on the free agency market and New York gave him the biggest contract a defensive end has ever received. That deal was worth $85 million over 5 years with $52.5 million dollars of that contract being guaranteed money. Vernon finished the 2015 season with 61 tackles and 7.5 sacks, showing that he can provide a spark to the Giants when it comes to rushing the quarterback. Those efforts will be huge next to Jason Pierre Paul now that the Giants managed to retain the 6th year pass rusher. Getting JPP back puts the Giants in a great position to have success in 2016. Pierre-Paul has been with the team for some time now and it was a good move bringing the long time Giant back. General Manger Jerry Reese is doing everything he can to put Ben McAdoo in a position to succeed in his first season as Head Coach of the New York Football Giants. It should be noted Reese also added Damon Harrison to that defensive front as well. So clearly Reese believes McAdoo who is an offensive minded coach can handle the offense. Therefore it was in the teams best interest to stack the defense. That is exactly what New York did, and they look like a much better team on paper already.

Charity of the day: Population Council

Go donate! www.popcouncil.org

Why the Broncos won’t repeat as Super Bowl champions in 2016:

Photo credit: Timothy A. Clary

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Denver Broncos are quickly regressing from the team they were in 2015. First they lost Peyton Manning and while Manning was aging, he still provided leadership and established a tone for this football team. That wouldn’t have been a big problem if the team was able to replace Manning with standout back up QB Brock Osweiler. Except Osweiler decided to skip town for Houston to start his own legacy and collect on a huge payday. That led Broncos General Manger John Elway to release a statement that was somewhere along the lines of “we want to win with people who want to be here.” Which was clearly a statement made out of frustration due to the Osweiler departure. Losing Osweiler hurt but the Broncos could of landed another QB and survived, the real key was keeping as much of the defense together as they could. That dream came crashing down when Malik Jackon and Danny Trevathan decided to leave the team and start their careers somewhere else. So you have a team that already had significant losses and now there are reports that C.J Anderson has signed an offer sheet with the Miami Dolphins. Losing those two key defensive player sets the Broncos back significantly. Losing C.J Anderson would ultimately spell disaster for Denver. The philosophy all season long and for much of the postseason was let Anderson where you down and then let the defense come through and punch opposing team’s lights out. If the Broncos take a hit in both of the areas this team will 100% not repeat as Super Bowl champions. The Broncos have the option to match the Dolphins offer sheet on Anderson but keep in mind they’ve lost so many players up to this point because they are already strapped for cap space. It’s really not looking good for the Broncos and on top of that they are looking at Colin Kaepernick to potentially be their starting quarterback in 2016. A guy who wasn’t even good enough to start for his team (49ers) last season. It’s safe to say the Broncos will likely be a one and done team when it comes to winning Super Bowls during the Elway era. It’s better than never winning one at all though.

Charity of the day: Population Council

Go donate! www.popcouncil.org

Jets sign Matt Forte to replace departing Chris Ivory:

Photo credit: David Banks

Author: Jon Kuzma

Chris Ivory is official out and Matt Forte is officially in. The Jets signed Forte today and plug in a guy who can help limit the loss that Ivory would of left in his departure to Jacksonville. Forte at 30 years old can still get the job done. He accounted for nearly a 3rd of the Bears total offense in 2015. He can get it done on the ground as a runner where he managed to rush for 898 yards and 4 touchdowns last season. Forte can also be an effective running back out the backfield in the passing game as well. In fact he has been one of the most productive pass catching running backs in the last decade. The Jets have to be extremely excited about that, and they aren’t the only ones. Brandon Marshall expressed his happiness over the Jets signing Forte in Tweet, and the two will be back together on the same offense for the first time since their old Bears days. Forte will certainly give the Jets a big boost on the ground but the team will struggle if they don’t find a quarterback to put next to Forte and to feed Marshall. Ryan Fitzpatrick would be the ideal option but there hasn’t been any word on whether or not he is going to re-sign. Colin Kaepernick has expressed his interest in joining the Jets but he would be a step back from Fitzpatrick at this point in time. You’d have to think if Fitz does indeed come back he would be happy about the team pursuing Forte. Things were going to be rough with no running back to replace Ivory. With Forte in the mix the Jets won’t regress very much at all at the halfback position. Forte gets the fresh start they he very much deserves and don’t be surprised if he pumps out two or three successful seasons in New York.

Charity of the day: Arbor Day Foundation

Go donate! www.arborday.org

Houston Texans make a splash in free agency by landing Osweiler and Miller:

Photo credit: AAron Ontiveroz

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Houston Texans took care of their quarterback woes by luring Brock Osweiler away from the Denver Broncos. The Texans inked Osweiler to a 4 year $72 million dollar deal and will insert the 5th year quarterback in their starting offense. The Texans made the playoffs last year and suffered a huge defeat to the Kanas City Chiefs. In that loss starting quarterback Brian Hoyer was the reason the team couldn’t get the job done. Osweiler will give the Texans the best chance to succeed at the quarterback position in a long time. Osweiler performed alarming well in his limited time as the Broncos starter in 2015. He finished the season with 10 touchdowns passes and 6 interceptions. Showing that he can be an efficient quarterback and he understands you have to take care of the football. The Texans opened up the checkbook to ensure they were covered at the quarterback position and this was a great move for the team. The other marquee pick up for the Texans was the addition of Lemar Miller. Miller is a talented running back who used to play for the Miami Dolphins. Miller rushed for 8 touchdowns and 872 yards in 2015. Like Osweiler, Lemar Miller is a player who is expected to step up for the Texans and be in a star player type of role. Both players have shown that they can have success in the league and now with these new contract in hand. The Texans are hoping they will fulfill their end of the agreement and elevate their game to a new level. Truthfully this is just the beginning for Brock Osweiler and Lemar Miller if they want to be great in this league. Now comes a lot of hard work and preparation which leads up to the success that comes on the field. If both players don’t understand the responsibility that comes with the role they’ve been given they could be in trouble. Yet you have to expect both guys understand the circumstances and will rise to the occasion. There is a reason the Texans bet on these players, it’s because the team believes in them. Expect both players to handle their due diligence and help give Houston a much needed postseason boost.

Charity of the day: Children’s Cancer Fund of America

Go donate! www.ccfoa.org

Raiders are making noise in free agency with hopes of being a major competitor in 2016:

Photo credit: Lachlan Cunningham / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Raiders had cap room to spend entering the offseason and it appears they are ready to spend it. Apparently from sources around the league the Raiders will sign former Seahawks line backer Bruce Irvin and stand out Ravens offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele. Both additions will be finalized tomorrow when free agency officially begins and the team has to be happy about landing both players. Irvin will give the Raiders defense a talented linebacker that the team can pair next to Khalil Mack. Irvin is a talented pass rusher just like Mack is and the Raiders have to be upbeat about unleashing both those players on opposing offensive lineman. If the team can add a few more players defensively through the draft they will be in a great shape. Keep in the mind the Raiders still could sign other players defensively through this free agency period as well since they still have cap space available. On the other side of the ball the team signed Kelechi Osemele. Osemele was one of the best offensive lineman on the Baltimore Ravens last season and it appears the Raiders will make him one of the highest paid guards of all time. His contract is rumored to be around $10 million dollars a season and the rest about that contract will likely come out tomorrow. Osemele was a great addition for the Raiders because he bolsters their offensive line and gives starting quarterback Derek Carr some much needed protection. With Carr being the best quarterback the Raiders have had in a long time. Landing a marquee offensive lineman was a no brainer for this team. That is what the front office set out to do and they achieved their goal by landing Kelechi Osemele in the end. You have to believe that the Raiders are going to land a few other players before the season begins as well. Oakland is a happening place to play with Carr being there. That makes it a much more attractive destination for free agents.

Charity of the day: Action Against Hunger-USA

Go donate! www.actionagainsthunger.org

Jaguars land Malik Jackson and Chris Ivory in free agency:

Photo credit: Bob Levey

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Jacksonville Jaguars had the most cap space out of any team heading into free agency and they are already spending it on marquee players. The Jaguars land Malik Jackson and Chris Ivory and instantly become a contender in the AFC South. Jackson was part of the Super Bowl winning Denver Broncos and was big part in why that defense was so successful. Jackson had 45 hurries and 5 sacks in 2015, showing that he has special skills when it comes to rushing the quarterback. Jackson will also make the Jaguars much better against the run as well and you have to applaud Jacksonville for understanding that the defensive front is key to success. Malik Jackson will reportedly agree to a 6 year $90 million dollar deal and that big payday was enough to lure him away from Denver. Chris Ivory is another big time play that will add to the Jaguars offensive efforts. Ivory was absolutely outstanding for the Jets in 2015. Rushing for 1,070 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns in his final season in New York. Now he will help take the pressure off Blake Bortles by wearing down opposing defenses early and often. Chris Ivory runs extremely hard and is a guy the team can trust with the ball in his hands. When you consider that he will be paired along with Tj Yeldon in that Jacksonville backfield. You begin to realize that the Jaguars have a group of very talented running backs. If you had to grade these acquisitions, you’d have to give the Jaguars an A+ this far. Them and the Raiders have made the most noise in early free agency action. They still have a lot of cap room and could easily land a few more good players before the signing period ends. Things are certainly looking up in Jacksonville Florida.

Charity of the day: Children’s Cancer Fund of America

Go donate! www.ccfoa.org

Mario Williams signs a 2 year deal with the Miami Dolphins:

Photo credit: Michael Adamucci / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Miami Dolphins are once again doing all they can to make noise in free agency. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum decided today that the next big move for the team would be adding defensive end Mario Williams. Williams who had a rough 2015 season in Buffalo was out of sync with the Bills’ defensive scheme all season long. Rex Ryan and Williams clashed at times philosophically because of that, and the Bills decided at the end of the year it was just better to part ways. Williams who has amassed 96 sacks over the course of his career should be a good fit on the Dolphins defensive line next to Ndamukong Suh. Together the tandem will give the Dolphins a pass rush that should be able to cause frustration for opposing AFC East quarterbacks like Tom Brady, and Tyrod Taylor. With defense being the reason that so many teams are having big time success lately. It was clear to Tannebaum that he wanted to stack the Dolphins roster on the defensive side of the ball. He did this by bringing in not only Williams today, but also by bringing in Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell earlier this week as well. The Dolphins have been active the last two free agency periods and those efforts show the front office’s commitment to improving the team. Williams is a good pick up and it also takes away from an in division rival (Bills). Moves like this happen all the time in the NFL and you have to applaud Tannenbaum for pulling the trigger on the deal. Mario Williams is 31 years old and will make 8 million annually in Miami. The deal he signed was a two year deal and Williams who was drafted number 1 over Reggie Bush in the 2006 draft will look to finish his career how he started it, with a bang. This was a good pick up for Miami and it’s also good to see Mario Williams will be employed in 2016.

Charity of the day: Action Against Hunger-USA

Go donate! www.actionagainsthunger.org

Demarco Murray is on his second team in the last two years:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Demarco Murray hasn’t been able to find his rhythm since leaving the Dallas Cowboys. Murray who was the NFL’s leading rusher in 2014 with 1,845 rushing yards. Only rushed for 702 rushing yards with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, the team he decided to sign with after leaving the Cowboys. Now rumors around the league today are Murray was traded to the Tennessee Titans for an undisclosed compensation. The Eagles are undergoing a regime change after Chip Kelly was fired and new head coach Doug Pederson didn’t see Murray as a part of his future vision. Maybe that was because Murray continuously voiced his opinion against Kelly during the 2015 season and Pederson wanted to avoid any insubordination during his first season as head coach. The other reason could be that Pederson wanted to avoid the big hit Murray would cost the Eagles on the books financially. Murray never fit well in Chip Kelly’s scheme and that was a big part of why Murray’s production was way down in 2015. The Titans are hoping that those woes are in Murray’s past and that he can help contribute alongside Marcus Mariota. It looks like a good move for Tennessee because they get better offensively but we still have to see what the Titans gave up to get him. As far as the Eagles go, they lose a guy who could of put up big numbers for the team in 2016. While the experiment didn’t work in year one, sometimes relationships and adjusting to a new team can take time. It’s hard to say if trading away Murray was the right move or not for the Eagles. Ultimately that will come down to whether or not the Eagles get a good return on that trade deal. You’d have to think Murray was traded for a 1st or 2nd rounder. If he was traded away for anything other than that, you’d have to think the Eagles got the short end of the stick. The cap space is nice but you need talent on your roster to win games now in the NFL. Other wise you risk having a terrible season and fading into the bad pro football team abyss. We’ve seen teams like the Raiders disappear for over a decade in that abyss. It’s a place no team wants to go to. If the Eagles aren’t careful that is where they might end up if they keep shipping away talented players.

Charity of the day: American Forests

Go donate! www.americanforests.org

One and done? Will the Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick part ways?

Photo credit: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets had an outstanding season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starting quarterback. The team finished the 2015 season with a 10-6 record and were just shy of making the playoffs. With all of the success that the Jets had with Fitzpatrick, the team wanted to do everything they could to get their starting quarterback to re-sign with them for the 2016 season. Also with Brandon Marshall and Ryan Fitzpatrick talking about their future together in 2016 it seemed like a sure lock that Fitzpatrick would be back. Now however it is not so certain. Apparently Fitzpatrick’s agent must of been in his ear. After throwing for 31 touchdowns and 3,905 passing yards in 2015. Fitzpatrick seems to want to be compensated like a starting quarterback. Truthfully who can blame him? Fitz is no longer an under talented journeyman like he was in his earlier days of his career. Now instead Fitzpatrick is a talented QB who can clearly come in and win football games for some team in the league. That seems to be the reason why Fitzpatrick is now reluctant to sign the cheaper offer that the Jets wanted him to commit too. The Jets wanted to save cap space and land Ryan Fitzpatrick for a bargain. That might be in the best interest for the team, it isn’t in the best interest for Fitzpatrick though. Quarterbacks in today’s league are worth what a team will pay for them. Clearly Fitzpatrick’s agent Jimmy Sexton understands this and with the Eagles paying Sam Bradford handsomely. Sexton most likely thought his client (Fitzpatrick) could do better than Bradford’s contract since Fitz out performed Bradford stats wise. Losing Fitzpatrick will spell disaster for the Jets and it will be hard to fill the shoes left by the former Harvard alum. There will be a number of teams that would be more than willing to have Fitzpatrick take the reps as their starting quarterback. Those teams will also largely compensate him to do so. The Jets really should do everything they can to retain Ryan Fitzpatrick before he hits the open market. Although that doesn’t seem like it will happen. Don’t be surprised if another team lures Fitzpatrick away.

Charity of the day: American Forests

Go donate! www.americanforests.org

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