Franchise quarterback? Cutler is out, Glennon is in:

Photo credit: Cliff McBride / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Chicago Bears are turning the page from their former franchise quarterback Jay Cutler after Cutler spent 8 seasons in the Windy City. The move will save the Bears $12.28 million dollars in cap space and the opening paves the way for Mike Glennon. Chicago inked Mike Glennon to a 3 year $45 million dollar contract and now Glennon will fulfill that franchise quarterback role. Culter will look to find a new team, one possible destination could be the New York Jets. Regardless if it is the Jets or not someone should make an offer to the 33 year old Jay Cutler. There is no doubt Cutler could start for the Bills, 49ers, Rams, or maybe even the Cardinals. So there is definitely life after Chicago for Jay Cutler the question is whether or not someone is going to want him for a starting gig? Cutler could retire if team’s try to sign him to a back up role, therefore it’s imperative for Cutler’s behalf that some team sees him as a day 1 starter. Teams could choose to develop their younger quarterbacks though and if that does happen Jay Cutler could find himself out in the cold with no offer. Glennon on the other hand is now charged with infusing life into a depleted Chicago Bears team. Last year the Bears had a 3-13 record and they ranked 15th offensively. Adding Glennon should help the Bears improve that ranking but this team has to get better collectively. They found a way to lose a lot of football games last year and they needed a big marquee signing like Glennon to get some positive momentum. Now whether or not Glennon can live up to expectations is really going to be question? Glennon is being paid $15 million dollars annually to lead this football team and now he has to come out and play like a $15 million dollars a year player. That means he has to produce games where he throws 3 and 4 touchdown passes without any interceptions. If Mike Glennon can do that consistently he will be well worth the money.

Charity of the day: United Methodist Committee on Relief

Go donate! www.umcor.org

The Eagles wide receivers are looking much more potent after signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith:

Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel

Author: Jon Kuzma

The Philadelphia Eagles knew they had to address the wide receiver position after a lackluster performance from that particular position in 2016. Well now the Eagles wide receivers are looking much more potent after signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Alshon Jeffery couldn’t find the long term deal he was looking for and opted to sign with the Eagles on a 1 year $14 million dollar contract. Jeffery will have a shot at another huge payday after this 1 year audition season with Philadelphia. Jeffery has been hampered by injuries the last couple of seasons but the talent is definitely there. Jeffery has averaged 5.2 touchdowns a year over the duration of his 5 year career and the Eagles believed he could be even better if he is healthy. That compelled Howie Roseman to ink the former Bears receiver and now Carson Wentz will have a plethora of receivers at his command. The Eagles didn’t stop there either, they brought in Torrey Smith to add pass catcher depth. The Eagles still have Jordan Matthews and Dorial Green Beckham on their roster as well, so the additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith will sure up the position. The Eagles will be leaps and bounds better at the receiver position in 2017 from a talent perspective, now those player have to go out and execute on the field. At first glance Head Coach Doug Pederson seems to have a stable grip on the offensive reigns for the Eagles. So expect Pederson to make the most out of these acquisitions. Philly also bolstered their offensive line by signing Chance Warmack away from the Tennessee Titans. Warmack was a star at the University of Alabama before being drafted by the Titans. Warmack will have a chance to come in and help solidify Perderson’s offensive front. The NFC East better look out for the uprising Philadelphia Eagles they have already made a splash in free agency.

Charity of the day: United Methodist Committee on Relief

Go donate! www.umcor.org

The Texans unloaded Brock Osweiler and a 2nd round pick on the Cleveland Browns:

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Author Jon Kuzma

The Houston Texans only needed 1 season of Brock Osweiler to realize he wasn’t the best fit for their football team. Osweiler threw for 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions in 2016 and that was after the Texans had signed him to a $72 million dollar contract. Clearly Houston reached when they offered Osweiler that contract and now the Texans have found a bailout. That’s right the Texans traded Brock Osweiler and a 2nd round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns. The Texans didn’t get much in return and this move was clearly for cap reasons. The Texans will save $16 million dollars and $10 million dollars in cap space because of this move. The Browns on the other hand receive Osweiler and a 2nd round draft. Cleveland isn’t expected to keep Osweiler either, they are shopping in him in trade talks hoping to find a suitor for the veteran quarterback. That means Cleveland could end up with the 2nd round draft pick from Houston and another draft pick from dealing Osweiler. So from the Browns stand point this move could turn into a couple of quality draft picks for Cleveland. Which will go a long way in helping reshape that roster to Hue Jackson’s vision. There also was a pair of later picks that were traded from the Texans and Browns deal. The Texans get the Browns 4th round compensatory pick while the Browns get Houston’s 6th round draft pick. So really this is a win for the Texans, they get to move on from their bad investment in Brock Osweiler and it really came at a minimal expense considering how bad it should have been. This is a great move by the Houston Texans front office and now they can roll out the red carpet for Tony Romo. Who will likely sign with Houston before free agency comes to an end.

Charity of the day: United Methodist Committee on Relief

Go donate! www.umcor.org

Brandon Marshall signs a 2 year contract with the New York Giants:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Giants let Victor Cruz walk this off-season and boy did they have a replacement in mind for Cruz. Former New York Jets Wide Receiver Brandon Marshall signed a 2 year contract with the G-Men today and this is a huge acquisition for big blue. Marshall is easily one of the most productive wide receivers in the entire NFL and he has recorded an impressive 12,061 career receiving yards over the course of his career. That is big time production and now the Giants have easily 1 of the most dynamic receiving groups in the league. Marshall will team up with Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard, 2 young and explosive players who could have got the job done this season by themselves. Now that tandem will have the veteran Marshall there to show them the ropes and this was a great move this football team. Eli Manning will be able to distribute the football to a variety of different players and really now it’s about Manning rising to expectations. General Manager Jerry Reese put Manning in a position to succeed by giving the veteran quarterback as much talent around him as possible. The only way this backfires for the Giants is if Marshall and Odell Beckham both have emotional meltdowns or if the offensive line can’t hold up. If those problems can be avoided it feels like New York should be able to get a playoff win this year. It’s because Reese brought in Marshall on 2 year $12 million contract, it’s because Reese loaded up that defense, and ultimately Jerry Reese deserves a lot credit for reshaping this roster. Last year those moves got this team back to the playoffs and now it’s up to players like Brandon Marshall to take it a step further. Anything less than that is a failure so Marshall has to understand that it’s not all fun and games. The Giants are counting on him to go over 1,000 yards again hopefully that doesn’t come at Beckham’s expense. Keep an eye on how those 2 players mesh it will have direct result on the success this team has over the course of the 2017 season.

Charity of the day: American Brain Tumor Association

Go donate! www.abta.org

Desean Jackson would be a great complementary receiver to Mike Evans:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The Tampa Buccaneers have made their interest in DeSean Jackson very public. First Jameis Winston talked about how much he wanted DeSean Jackson in a Buccaneers uniform and then the team confirmed they planned on making a major push for Jackson’s services in free agency. Last season Jackson had 1,005 receiving yards so the 30 year old receiver is definitely still a competent player. Not only that but Jackson could come into Tampa’s offensive system and be an immediate vertical threat. Jackson’s speed can take the top off the defense and Winston’s arm strength would mesh well with Jackson’s capabilities. That’s what makes signing DeSean Jackson such a compelling move for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he would also be the ideal 2nd option to Mike Evans. Evans was an absolute star last season recording 1,321 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. With Jackson on the Bucs roster the team will have a shot at having 2 1,000 yard receivers in 2017. That could lead to a huge year for Jameis Winston and really it’s a no brainer to add DeSean Jackson if you’re Tampa’s front office. When building a football team you want to put the most dynamic offense on the field you possible can. Jackson brings a lot of speed to the table and that can result in a whole lot of points. The bad news for the Bucs is several other teams are also competing for Jackson’s services. The most notable of those teams are the Cowboys and the Patriots, so Tampa Bay will have to out bid those other teams to land Jackson. It would be a less risky move to go to the Patriots or Cowboys if Jackson wants to win. However the Buccaneers could be a surprise team in 2017 similar to how the Cowboys were last season (especially if they land D Jack). It will be up to Jackson to take into account each team’s potential for success and all the financial factors as well. Ultimately he has to make the best move for himself.

Charity of the day: Conservation Fund

Go donate! www.conservationfund.org

Adrian Peterson offers the New England Patriots a prorated price for his services:

Photo credit: Icon Sportswire

Author: Jon Kuzma

Adrian Peterson has hinted that he would take a pay cut to play with the New England Patriots. Sources close to the veteran running back have stated that Peterson would play for less money if New England were interested in his services and now it’s up to Belichick to make a decision on the matter. Last season LaGarrette Blount rushed for 18 touchdowns last season, however Blount is a free agent. You have to think the Patriots would prefer to have Blount back first because of his production from a year ago. If that falls through though Peterson could be a decent fit in that role. In order for Peterson to be affordable for the Patriots he would have to be willing to play at $2 million dollars a year. A price that would be much less than other team’s offers. That could ultimately squash the deal between the 2 sides especially since Peterson could get over $5 million dollars more playing somewhere else. Truthfully because of those circumstances it feels like this contract will fall through but you never know especially with the Patriots. New England is known for bringing in veterans looking to win a championship, guys like Junior Seau, Chad Johnson, and Cory Dillion all signed with the Patriots later in their careers with the hopes of winning a Super Bowl. So the Patriots are familiar with tapping into an aging player’s talent and trying to revive their career. For Peterson that situation would certainly be better than playing for the Vikings but at this point we have to wonder if Peterson can hold up for a full NFL season? Peterson has been lackluster lately and needs to show he can be what he once was. Running backs lose it quickly in the NFL and that’s because once your fast twitch muscles don’t fire as quickly as they used to you can’t keep up with the speed of the game. Peterson has to prove his muscle stimuli are up to par with the other backs in the NFL and most importantly he has to prove he can still be effective running the football. It seems like a different location might be better for Peterson but if he is adamant about playing for the Patriots, it’s very possible.

Charity of the day: ALS Association

Go donate! www.alsa.org

Jabrill Peppers could be an immediate impact player at the strong safety position:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

Former University of Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers had a good showing at the NFL combine and teams should take notice. Peppers ran a 4.46 40 yard dash and that makes Peppers an ideal fit at the strong safety position. Peppers was a cornerback in college but also played some snaps at linebacker. Due to the fact that Peppers is a heavier player he will convert from the cornerback position to a safety spot in the pros. That makes Peppers speed, tenacity, and ability to tackle a rare blend of talent and it’s easy to believe Peppers will be a star in the National Football League. Peppers bench pressed 225 pounds 19 times at the combine and also broad jumped 128 inches. Those results give a glimpse of the type of athlete Jabrill Peppers is and NFL team’s would be foolish to not want that talent on their roster. Peppers can play man coverage when asked and keep up with NFL receivers better than almost any strong safety in the league. He also can come down hill quickly and smack running back’s in the mouth. A lot of scouts have been skeptical of Peppers but keep in mind he was the best player at the University of Michigan the last couple of years. Peppers has game changing talent that can single handled determine the outcome of football games and that playmaking ability is very hard to find. The position change is the only thing that is a red flag for Peppers but keep in mind the kid is a football player at heart. He understands what it takes to be successful in the game of football and he played defense for a former NFL coach in Jim Harbaugh. That has prepared Peppers well and not he gets a chance to take his skill set to the professional game. If Eric Weddle can convert from a college quarterback into a successful NFL safety, there’s no denying Jabrill Peppers. Peppers dominated Weddle’s 2007 combine results in every single drill. If Jabrill Peppers is even half the ball hawk that Eric Weddle is when it comes to playing the ball in the air. He will end up being a much better professional player and Eric Weddle is a pretty good football player himself. We will see which team takes a chance on Peppers next month at the NFL Draft and we will also see if Peppers ends up being a 1st round pick? That could be the difference between a lot of money for the former University of Michigan graduate and now it’s up to an NFL team to bring him on board. The Patriots at the 32nd pick could definitely be a possibility.

Charity of the day: Jane Goodall Institute

Go donate! www.janegoodall.org

Deshaun Watson: The face of a franchise

Photo credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images Sport

Author: Jon Kuzma

With the NFL combine currently taking place there are plenty of players looking to make a name for themselves. While the combine only allows a sample of each athletes athletic prowess, there is one player who certainly left his mark on college football. That player is Clemson’s Deshaun Watson and if you watched the last 2 college football National Championships you surely know Watson’s name. The first time around didn’t go so well for Deshaun Watson, the Tigers were defeated by the Crimson Tide 45-40 but you could see just how much of a competitor Deshaun Watson was. Watson threw for 405 passing yards and 4 touchdowns in a losing effort. That proved Watson could play but not getting the victory definitely tarnished that performance. Fast forward exactly 1 year later, the Tigers have made it all the way back to the National Championship and who is Clemson playing in the final game? You guessed the Alabama Crimson Tide, a rematch from the year before and a shot at redemption for Deshaun Watson. The Tigers ended up winning that game 35-31 and Watson finished with 420 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. That’s 825 passing yards and 7 touchdowns on the biggest stages Deshaun Waston has ever played on. It’s that ability to perform when the pressure is on that sets Deshaun Watson apart from the other quarterbacks in this draft. There has been a lot of praise for Mitchell Trubisky out of North Carolina, make no mistake about it though Watson is the best quarterback in this draft. Watson measured in at 6’2 221 pounds at the combine and it’s that big frame that allows him to operate with such precision from the pocket. That size will suit Watson well in the NFL, and what a pick this would be for the San Francisco 49ers at the number 2 spot. Kyle Shanahan’s brilliant play calling would mesh perfectly with Watson’s playmaking abilities. That could be a match made in heaven and we will see if the 49ers select Watson when the time comes? We have heard rumors that the 49ers are trying to pull the trigger on a deal for Kirk Cousins. If that doesn’t go through expect Deshaun Watson to end up in San Francisco, and expect Watson to be the face of the franchise.

Charity of the day: Bowery Residents’ Committee

Go donate! www.brc.org

Brandon Marshall has been released by the New York Jets:

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Author: Jon Kuzma

The New York Jets decided that parting ways with Brandon Marshall would be the best move for their franchise. The 32 year old wide receiver was scheduled to make $7.5 million dollars in 2017 and apparently the Jets wanted to move on to make way for the younger players on their roster. Marshall recorded 59 receptions for 788 yards in 2016, he also recorded 3 touchdowns but it was certainly a down year for the player who is known as “Machine Marshall.” With Quincy Enunwa showing promise at the receiver position that made Marshall a little bit more expendable. Enunwa will make only $1.7 million dollars in 2017 and he can be the Jets leading receiver (Enunwa led the team in 2016). New York opted to go with the younger, cheaper, and more productive choice and now we will see if Marshall signs on with another team and continues his career. Brandon Marshall has been working as an analyst on the show Inside the NFL while simultaneously playing for the Jets. So Marshall already has hit foot in the door for a sports media career and that could compel the veteran wide receiver to walk away from the game for good. In today’s era players are more aware about the long term health consequences that comes with playing pro football and that’s leading to a lot of premature retirements. Marshall could be the next player on that list however if he wants to keep playing it’s very possible number 15 could get back to playing big time football. A lot of people wrote Marshall off after he left Chicago, all those people were wrong and don’t be surprised if that happens again. This guy is easily one of the best in the business and he has 8 seasons of at least 1,000 receiving yards. If he does keep playing look for the Giants to possible be a landing destination for Marshall. He could keep working for Inside the NFL (located in New York) and he would have a chance to play for a contender.

Charity of the day: Veterans Support Organization

Go donate! www.theveteranssupport.org

2017 NFL mock draft: Measuring the potential impact of Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey

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Author: Jon Kuzma

There are plenty of teams in the National Football League that could use a quality running back to help balance their offense. The running back position is such a central piece to any NFL offense because those players take on a huge offensive load. In order for a team to run effectively they need a strong rushing attack which is a combination of good blocking and strong running back play. While the blocking part of the game takes a major coordinated effort, sometimes landing a dynamic player at the running back spot can make life so much easier for an offense. That’s why several teams are looking to land a star running back in this draft like the Cowboys did last season with Ezekiel Elliott. This spring those star players are hands down Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, and Christian McCaffrey.

Leonard Fournette made some headlines at the combine for weighing in at 240 pounds. Fournette stated that the weight was “water weight” but you have to wonder if Fournette is taking the process seriously? The goal was to weigh in at 235, and Leonard Fournette missed that mark. Lets be honest we all know this guy can play when he is in top tier condition but the last year Fournette has had some struggles. Due to injuries Fournette only recorded 843 rushing yards last season and it was his only year at L.S.U that he didn’t crack the 1,000 yards rushing mark. Truthfully you would have liked to see Fournette come to the combine a little bit leaner but he will have a chance to put the questions to rest with a great 40 yard dash performance. The goal for Leonard Fournette should be to get under the 4.43 mark. If he does that most teams will look past his weight ( although they still will even if he doesn’t hit that mark).

Davlin Cook’s story is a little bit different from Fournette’s. Cook never had an injury plagued season like Fournette did and he managed to put up 3 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons at Florida State. With a combined career total of 4,464 rushing yards and 46 division 1 touchdowns Dalvin Cook is the epitome of a dynamic running back. Cook finished his college career with 145 yard thrashing of the Michigan defense in the Orange Bowl. That was a glimpse of what is to come for Dalvin Cook and every team would like to have this player on their roster. Cook was measured at 5’10 210 pounds at the NFL combine and he put up an impressive 22 bench press reps. It’s that consistency from Dalvin Cook that has you thinking he could be the best out all 3 of these players. Fournette should be hungry because people were frustrated with his performance last season. Dalvin Cook on the other hand has to maintain that cool, calm, and collected style of play he approaches the game with and make sure he takes care of himself health wise. Other than that it’s easy to believe Cook is the best running back on the whole board.

The last back who could end up being a star in the National Football League is the son of former NFL star Ed McCaffrey. That’s right Stanford’s very own Christan McCaffrey is heading to the NFL and he feels that people are overlooking his athletic abilities. McCaffrey told the press “I feel like people are underestimating me” and McCaffrey will do everything he can to get NFL teams to buy into his style of play. McCaffrey was measured at 5’11 210 pounds at the combine and recorded 10 bench press reps. To be honest 10 bench press reps is a little bit weak, especially considering Dalvin Cook put up 22 bench reps but that doesn’t mean McCaffrey can’t help a team out. It might not be until the 2nd round but Jacksonville at 35 or Carolina at 40 could be 2 teams that are interested in McCaffrey’s services.

Overall this running back draft class looks decent but really Fournette and Cook are the 2 players to nab. There is more risk with Fournette who didn’t participate in the bench press event at the combine, but if he plays up to his abilities he could be a game changer. Cook is more consistent but you never know how long that will last? Regardless though if you walk away from the draft with Fournette or Cook on your roster you did your job as a General Manager and you added a terrific football player to your team.

Charity of the day: Veterans Support Organization

Go donate! www.theveteranssupport.org

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