Tyrann Mathieu signs a one year $7 million dollar deal with the Houston Texans. The Honey Badger will try to recapture his Pro Bowl form in Texas:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Tyrann Mathieu didn’t have to wait too long to find work. The former Arizona Cardinals safety has signed a one year contract with the Houston Texans and will be a nice upgrade in Romeo Crennel’s secondary. Mathieu is only 25 years old and should have plenty of good football left in his future. Houston is hoping that the Honey Badger can force some turnovers and lock down on opposing receivers. Next season Mathieu should be even more explosive too because he’ll be two years removed from a major knee injury. That really limited this guy’s explosiveness last season but Houston made a smart move by taking a risk on the former LSU superstar. It’s not everyday you can add a top tier defensive back to your roster and Mathieu will bring energy to the Texans’ locker room. Most players and football fans respect the former Pro Bowler (2015) due to the fact that he was one of the biggest names in college football back in 2010-2012. With the Texans getting Deshaun Watson back from injury it makes sense to get a player who can keep points off the board. Houston knows Watson is going to take care of the offensive side of the ball, now Tyrann Mathieu will be tasked with reeling in the defense. Maybe the thing most impressive about the newest Houston Texan (Mathieu) is the fact that he is so versatile on the football field. Whether it’s safety, cornerback, or nickel the New Orleans native is going to make an impact. At $7 million dollars a year it’s not like the Texans are going to go broke paying their new safety either. If Mathieu doesn’t pan out Houston can also chose not to re-sign him next off-season. That means the Honey Badger will have to prove his worth in 2018. If he doesn’t his contract will be much smaller next season.

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The Denver Broncos took a big risk by signing Case Keenum for $36 million dollars. If this move doesn’t pan out John Elway will find himself on the hot seat:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway took a big risk by signing free agent Quarterback Case Keenum. While Keenum had a great season last year with the Vikings throwing for 22 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions. The Broncos are paying Case Keenum $18 million dollars annually to be their main guy and there just doesn’t seem to be a huge gap between him and the other QBs on this roster. Certainly not enough justify paying Keenum $18 million dollars a year and Elway is starting to appear at little bit desperate. Ever since winning the Super Bowl back in 2016 Denver has really been a second tier football team. With Kirk Cousins deciding to sign with Minnesota Elway needed to make a splash after missing out on the top QB available. That came in the form of Case Keenum but there’s no way you can sell this acquisition as a superstar upgrade. Keenum is a good player and nobody can take that away from him. Not only that but the former University of Houston signal call (Keenum) has overachieved every step of the way. From a physical stand point though Keenum doesn’t have the ideal frame for the NFL. At 6’1 he’s a little bit on the short side and doesn’t have that Cam Newton or young Ben Roethlisberger build that made those players such a success in pro football. Lets be honest the Broncos reached on this one and it’s going to end up putting John Elway on the hot seat. There just haven’t been enough positive moves to get behind what this front office has been doing. Ultimately that’s going to cause the Bowlen family to reevaluate the direction this team is heading and it’s unfortunate things are going down this path. Everyone wants to talk about how this team needs to find a quarterback but they also need to improve several other parts of the roster as well. It feels like John Elway is starting to run out of time and now his fate will ride on Case Keenum’s shoulders.

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Minnesota has all the tools to win a Super Bowl. They’re easily one of the favorites to win it all heading into next season:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Vikings know they are close to winning the Super Bowl and General Manager Rick Spielman definitely had that goal in sight when he signed Kirk Cousins to a three year $84 million dollar contract. That acquisition is supposed to be enough to get this team over the hump and now expectations are very high for this franchise. Cousins is being thrust into the savior role and there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that. When you make $28 million dollars a year you’re going to have to lead from the front. What that essentially means is Cousins has zero room for under-performing and even though everything is all laughs and smiles right now. At the end of the year is when Cousins will be truly measured. Still though this was the right move for Minnesota because it sets the bar high and lets everyone in the locker room know that the front office is serious about winning. Now Mike Zimmer is going to have to get it done from a leadership stand point and reel all these players in. Zimmer’s done a great job of that over his first four seasons and with all the talent on this roster he should be able to take this team to new heights. At the end of the day though it will all come down to how well this organization can handle the pressure of being a Super Bowl favorite? When the stakes are this high a team will either rise to the occasion or completely unravel. A lot of that will likely come down to how healthy the Vikings can stay in 2018? Injuries are the biggest threat to Skol Nation’s lofty dreams. Dalvin Cook has to stay healthy and then the other starters have to avoid getting banged up too.

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Here are the teams that made the biggest splash this off-season. It shouldn’t come as a surprise Chicago, Cleveland, and Jacksonville headline the list:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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Winners:

Chicago- The Bears signed Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Trey Burton which is going to significantly bolster their ability to score touchdowns. Last year the Bears were terrible from a receiver stand point but now this team has players that can bring out the best in Mitchell Trubisky. General Manage Ryan Pace deserves a ton of credit for making smart decisions and taking risks. Things are heading in the right direction in the Windy City. Cleveland-

The Browns traded for Jarvis Landry which was a big time acquisition because Landry is a world class competitor. The former Dolphin will bring a spark plug to this offense and blend nicely with Josh Gordon and Corey Coleman. New quarterback Tyrod Taylor finds himself in a much better situation as well. Buffalo was very limited talent wise during Taylor’s time as the starting QB but the Browns will be in complete contrast. Cleveland is finally putting all the piece tougher and Carlos Hyde was the cherry on top of all those moves. Hyde is an explosive ball carrier who thrives as the number 1 offensive option. These upgrades will allow the Browns to go any route they want to in the draft.

Jacksonville- The Jaguars didn’t need to do much but they still managed to get it right. First they added Andrew Norwell who is coming off an all pro season and then they signed Austin Seferian Jenkins. Both picks up are going to be immediately plugged into the starting offense and give Jacksonville a little bit more fire power than they had a season ago. Don’t surprised when this franchise puts together another deep playoff run, they’re tough as nails right now.

Losers: Arizona-

The Cardinals made a mistake by handing Sam Bradford $20 million dollars and then they signed Mike Glennon to follow that up. It’s hard to believe G.M Steve Keim will be around much longer because Arizona hasn’t been able to put anything together lately. On top of that this team failed to get a significant wide receiver opposite of Larry Fitzgerald which is going to be the reason this organization finishes in the bottom half of the rankings.

Detroit- The Lions didn’t make enough moves to keep up with the evolving NFC North. The Bears and Vikings both added weapons that will add a lot to the their teams. While Detroit settled with mostly 2nd and 3rd tier linebackers (Christian Jones, Devon Kennard). Bob Quinn had money to spend but couldn’t bring in players of any real significance. That’s going to hurt this team on game day next season. New England-

The Patriots lost Dion Lewis and Malcolm Butler to the Tennessee Titans. Those were two key players who would have helped New England out a lot if they could have been retained. Bill Belichick did re-sign Rex Burkhead but it’s becoming obvious that the Patriots are starting to regress a little bit. Danny Amendola also signed with the Miami Dolphins so Belichick is going to have to find a way to pull some strings and reshape his roster.

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The Jaguars have been one of the big winners in free agency. The recent signings of Austin Seferian Jenkins and Andrew Norwell will be huge for their offense:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

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The Jacksonville Jaguars just keep on winning. After going all the way to the AFC Championship Game the Jaguars built on that positive momentum with a solid off-season. There was three notable moves that really stand out when you step back and look at Jacksonville’s situation. First the Jags inked Blake Bortles to a contract extension which clears up any questions swirling around their quarterback’s future. Then this front office made sure to put talent around Bortles to help this offensive group take the next step. That came in the form of signing Andrew Norwell away from the Carolina Panthers. Norwell is one of the better offensive lineman in all of football and his five year $66.5 million dollar contract confirms that. After coming off an All Pro season in 2017 Jacksonville knew this addition would not only give Bortles more pass protection upfront. It will also open up some holes for Leonard Fournette in the running game. By having a player (Norwell) that can win one on one match ups and dominate in the trenches the Jags are getting nastier on the offensive line of scrimmage. Norwell will spring some big runs and rack up a number of key blocks because he’s one of the best in the business at what he does. David Caldwell and Tom Coughlin also brought aboard former Jets Tight End Austin Seferian Jenkins to help create some passing offense. Seferian Jenkins caught 3 touchdowns and 357 receiving yards last year in the Big Apple. The hope is that Seferian Jenkins can continue to progress now that’s he’s in a better environment. Together these acquisitions are going to be huge on game day because now there’s boatload of players that can open things up a bit. Expect Bortles to really improve with all this additional opportunity coming his way.

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