2022-3 NFL Pro Football (Pls, no other sports - thx!)

NFL 2022 schedule: the 10 must-watch games of the upcoming season
The schedule for the 2022 season was unveiled on Thursday night and there’s no shortage of delicious matchups on offer
London Guardian U.S. 13May2022

The NFL released its full 2022 schedule on Thursday night to add to what’s been a rollicking and unpredictable offseason. Here’s a lookahead to what should be some of the most entertaining matchups of the upcoming season.

Week 1
Buffalo Bills at LA Rams (Thursday, 8.20pm ET)

The defending Super Bowl champions open against quarterback Josh Allen and the Bills to christen the 2022 season in Los Angeles. After helping the Rams win it all in 2021, linebacker Von Miller signed a six-year, $120m contract with Buffalo. Los Angeles will welcome wide receiver Allen Robinson, who inked a three-year, $46.5m deal to join quarterback Matthew Stafford’s arsenal.

Week 1
Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers (Sunday, 1pm ET)

After missing the entire 2021 season, quarterback Deshaun Watson will debut for the Browns after the team signed him to a five-year, $230m contract. Cleveland inked Watson to the splashy deal, which includes $80m guaranteed, after he was cleared of criminal sexual assault charges. Twenty-two women have filed civil complaints against Watson for various forms of sexual coercion during massage appointments.

Week 1
Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (Monday, 8.15pm ET)

In his first game as the Broncos quarterback, Russell Wilson returns to Seattle to battle the franchise he led to eight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl victory. It will also be the ESPN debut of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who left Fox in the offseason to sign five-year deals with to become the new leads of Monday Night Football.

Week 2
LA Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (Thursday, 8.15pm ET)

The AFC West showdown will be the first Thursday Night Football game streamed exclusively by Amazon Prime, which signed a 10-year deal to gain exclusive rights in March 2021. The Chargers will send star linebacker Khalil Mack, who they acquired from Chicago in an offseason trade, after Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Week 4
Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, 8.20pm ET)

The most successful quarterback in NFL history meets his potential successor for the fifth time. Tom Brady and Mahomes have split their first four matchups and will meet for the first time since the Buccaneers routed the Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV.

Week 6
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, 4.25pm ET)

After providing the most thrilling game of the 2021 season in the AFC divisional playoffs, the Bills return to Kansas City in mid-October for a rematch of one of the best games of the decade. This late-afternoon blockbuster is arguably the biggest game of the season and a potential conference title game preview.

Week 7
Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, 1pm ET)

After entering the playoffs as the AFC’s top seed last season, the Titans were upset by the Bengals in the AFC divisional round. Tennessee added wide receiver Robert Woods from the Rams before stunning most experts by trading star wide receiver AJ Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles on the first day of the 2022 NFL draft. After missing the playoffs last season, the Colts traded for longtime Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to try and lead them to the top of the AFC South.

Week 10
Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday, 8.15pm ET)

Carson Wentz, tabbed by the Eagles with the No 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, was once Philadelphia’s franchise centerpiece. Now he’s on his third team in two years since getting traded by the Colts in March. Philly’s notoriously surly fans will no doubt be giving him an earful.

Week 13
Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 4.25pm ET)

If Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wants to avenge his loss in last season’s AFC championship game, he will have to do it on the road in Cincinnati. It’s one of 10 playoff rematches on the schedule this year, including the instances where teams will face each other multiple times as division rivals.

Week 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (Sunday, 8.20pm ET)

The best of three Christmas Day matchups will be a battle between the 45-year-old Brady and a star quarterback 20 years his junior in Kyler Murray. After starting the 2021 season with a 10-2 record, the Cardinals dropped four of their final five games before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams at home.
One site's take on the upcoming season schedule.


Ranked easiest (#1) to hardest (#32) schedule for the 2022 season, plus projected win totals and current betting odds for every NFL team:
1New York Giants7.17.5 +130
2Philadelphia Eagles8.878.5 -150
3Indianapolis Colts9.89.5 -140
4Chicago Bears6.86.5 -140
5Detroit Lions6.256.5 +115
6Washington Commanders7.657.5 -125
7Tampa Bay Buccaneers11.511.5 -110
8Cleveland Browns10.010 -110
9New Orleans Saints8.28.5 +120
10Dallas Cowboys10.510.5 -110
11Baltimore Ravens9.659.5 -125
12Jacksonville Jaguars6.356.5 +105
13San Francisco 49ers9.89.5 -140
14Carolina Panthers5.65.5 -120
15Green Bay Packers10.8510.5 -145
16Minnesota Vikings8.78.5 -130
17Denver Broncos10.110.5 +130
18Buffalo Bills11.6511.5 -125
19Miami Dolphins8.78.5 -130
20Los Angeles Chargers10.210.5 +120
21Tennessee Titans9.49.5 +100
22Seattle Seahawks5.85.5 -140
23Atlanta Falcons4.454.5 -105
24Arizona Cardinals9.059.5 +135
25New England Patriots8.68.5 -120
26Cincinnati Bengals9.69.5 -120
27New York Jets5.855.5 -145
28Houston Texans4.454.5 -105
29Pittsburgh Steelers7.67.5 -120
30Las Vegas Raiders8.58.5 -110
31Los Angeles Rams10.410.5 +100
32Kansas City Chiefs10.5510.5 -115


Browns Have Signed Another Quarterback
MSN News Sports 15May2022

The Cleveland Browns have an obvious issue at quarterback right now. They have a lot of money invested in the position between Deshaun Watson and Baker Mayfield. But the Browns must believe that they need even more competition for the backup job this summer. They just added a fifth player to their quarterbacks room.

According to NFL insider Ari Meirov, the Browns have signed Felix Harper as an undrafted free agent. Harper played for Alcorn State and had 1,792 passing yards and 14 touchdowns for the Braves last season. Harper attended the Browns' rookie minicamp as a trialist and got a contract. Also notable is that Harper is left-handed, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. He's a unique signing to be sure.

But NFL fans are having a riot with this signing. Some are saying he's way too small for the NFL while others are laughing at how far Baker Mayfield has fallen down the Browns' depth chart.

With Felix Harper now in the fold, the Cleveland Browns have Harper, Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield, Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs under contract for the 2022 season. It's still widely believed that Baker will be taken off the Browns roster - one way or another - in the near future. But whether that's before training camp, after training camp, or sometime during the season is still a total mystery.

One thing is for sure: The Browns won't be lacking hungry challengers for the starting job this summer.
Lethe 200
ccording to NFL insider Ari Meirov, the Browns have signed Felix Harper as an undrafted free agent. Harper played for Alcorn State and had 1,792 passing yards and 14 touchdowns for the Braves last season. Harper attended the Browns' rookie minicamp as a trialist and got a contract. Also notable is that Harper is left-handed, 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds. He's a unique signing to be sure.

Russell wilson was supposed to be to small, Seahawks didn't think so, nor Denver
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Jerry, this is for you!

3 reasons to be optimistic about the Cowboys 2022 season
Things to look forward to for the Cowboys. .
SB Nation Mile High Rpt by Connor Livesay May 19, 2022

It’s been a rough offseason for the Dallas Cowboys. They traded away Amari Cooper for peanuts, they outright released La’el Collins, and a long-term extension with EDGE Randy Gregory failed even though the money they supposedly saved from DeMarcus Lawrence’s new contract was supposed to go there.

This all came prior to doing not much at all in outside free agency while we saw playoffs teams improve their rosters by signing or trading for veteran players at positions of need. While it’s easy to be pessimistic about the upcoming season, there are also reasons that should give Cowboys fans optimism.

Dak Prescott is still the far-and-away best quarterback in the NFC East
While the end of the 2021 NFL season was a disappointing one for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense, too much of the blame was pointed at Prescott, and not the Cowboys offense struggling to block, run the football effectively, and not commit penalties that stalled drives before they could even get started.

While it’s easy to place blame on the guy who touches the football on every play, it’s also easy to evaluate why things didn’t go so well. The Cowboys passing game caused terror for defenses after a terrific first half of the season. With Dak Prescott near the top of the list of MVP candidates at the midway point of the season, defenses adjusted, and in doing so begged the Cowboys to run the football in order to find success on offense. The Cowboys failed to do so with any sort of consistency and that resulted in a numbers game, that did not favor Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Cedrick Wilson, Michael Gallup, and Dalton Schultz for most of the second half of the season.

Secondly, Dak dealt with his fair share of mental and physical hurdles in 2021. Working back from a nasty ankle injury that ended his 2020 season before it could get going, Dak spent most of his offseason rehabbing, attempting to get himself ready for camp, only to suffer a shoulder strain before that ball could get rolling. Nonetheless, Prescott came out firing on all cylinders when the regular season kicked off, before a calf injury in a week six win against the Patriots slowed him down again. The mental hurdle of working back from a 2021 injury was one thing, but then to have two other minor injuries slow down the progression was a lot to overcome for a guy that was being asked to handle a lot of the responsibilities for making the Cowboys offense work.

In 2022, expect a healthier, sharper, and more consistent Rayne Dakota Prescott, and that’s one of the biggest reasons Cowboys fans should still be excited for the upcoming season.

Dan Quinn and the defense in year two
While Dan Quinn’s defense in year one as defensive coordinator was one of the biggest improvements we’ve seen from a side of the ball in what feels like forever, year two could be just as special. Let me preface this by saying, defensive results are one of the hardest things to sustain in the NFL, so we could also see some regression from Quinn’s unit based on recent metrics.

With that being said, the Cowboys defense didn’t lose many contributors from 2021 to 2022, minus Randy Gregory. Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee are no longer with the team, but neither player changed the aspect of the defense for Quinn and the Cowboys. By re-signing Jayron Kearse, Malik Hooker, Dorance Armstrong, Leighton Vander Esch, and Carlos Watkins, and with the additions of Dante Fowler, Sam Williams, and John Ridgeway, this group has the potential to take a step forward if there are jumps from Micah Parsons, Osa Odighizuwa, and healthy seasons from DeMarcus Lawrence, Neville Gallimore, and Trevon Diggs.

They’d have to be somewhat of an outlier to produce an even better 2022 season than they did in 2021, but it’s hard to bet against Quinn after what he showed in year one, and with Micah Parsons emerging as one of the best defenders in the NFL, there’s plenty to be excited about for the projected 2022 Cowboys defensive results.

Toughness over talent
While it’s a topic we may debate for the next 100 years, there’s no denying that the Cowboys valued toughness in the 2022 offseason over talent. With every draft pick, the Cowboys seemed to put an emphasis on tough minded individuals that play with some nastiness to their game.

At times, this front office and coaching staff have openly criticized players on the roster for maybe not playing up to the mental and physical toughness level they wanted out of their team. They’ve mentioned multiple times recently about not being tough enough in the 23-17 loss to the 49ers in the 2021 playoffs. While it’s concerning they lost some of their more talented players this offseason, it’s easy to see that they maybe valued the toughness, nastiness, and grind that some of these new additions will bring over the talent guys like Amari Cooper and La’el Collins may have had.

We’ll see how it plays out at the end of the season, but I do appreciate them going away from more of the finesse mentality that’s shadowed this team from quite some time.
Kudos to the entire Bills organization!

Entire Buffalo Bills roster honors victims at memorial near site of mass shooting
Every member of the Bills roster and coaching staff arrived at the scene on Wednesday to volunteer.
SB Nation/Buffalo Rumblings May 18, 2022

Every member of the Buffalo Bills roster and coaching staff loaded onto a bus Wednesday morning to head from Orchard Park to the East Side of Buffalo. It was a day originally reserved for voluntary Organized Team Activities, but in light of the massacre at a local grocery store over the weekend, the team instead paid their respects to the victims and volunteered to help the surrounding community they left behind.

Wearing black shirts with a Bills logo and the words “Choose Love” emblazoned across the front, the Bills players laid flowers at the temporary memorial across the street before lining up to prepare and serve food to the local residents impacted by the loss of the only grocery store in the area. (Shout out to the World Central Kitchen for stepping up and coming to Buffalo, as well. They supervised the food, the Bills provided the manpower.)

Before they did that, assistant head coach Leslie Frazier led a moment of silence and prayer for the victims. “It’s the least we could do,” said head coach Sean McDermott to WGRZ. “When the community has been affected the way it’s been affected, we need to step up and fill the gap with love and unity.”

“We’re really just trying to be a shining light for the community down here right now during this tough time,” long snapper Reid Ferguson told WGRZ TV in Buffalo. “We wanted to be as quick as we could.”

Ferguson mentioned that the team captains were instrumental in organizing the event, and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown singled out special teams captain Taiwan Jones. Captain Stefon Diggs flew in specifically for the event.

The Bills players were joined by members of the Buffalo Sabres (NHL) and Buffalo Bandits (NLL). All three teams are owned by Kim and Terry Pegula. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around how there’s such evil in the world; today we’re just here to spread some love,” said tight end Dawson Knox, via Justin Murphy of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Murphy confirmed it was every single player and coach.

Bills’ superstar quarterback Josh Allen didn’t want to talk about what the Bills were doing, though. He went straight to the heart of why the team was there in the first place.

“What happened here is disgusting,” said Allen to a pool of reporters.

To donate to causes helping the survivors of this weekend’s shooting or the community at large as they try to move on from the fallout, there are multiple verified options at this link. You can also give to the Thurman Thomas Family Foundation here.
If Lethe 200 says tHe Cowboy are going to be good, take it to the bank.
The Cowboy's-49 's wars were some of the best games of the 80's and 90's...

the Cowboys are good, the 49's are peaking...
Let us hope they meet in championship game in 2022
Cowboy's depend on their 'talent' rather than grit, if they can play 'tough' for 60 minutes they will win the Superbowl.
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Now, Jerry - don't get your hopes up too high! I didn't say the Cowboys were going to win it all. These are the SBNation columnists. Since it's the off-season and not much is happening, I'll be adding posts on individual teams as the articles show up. Can't promise I'll get all the teams covered, but I'll try to find the most interesting stories for everybody.

This is an AFC West report. With the Chiefs, Raiders, Broncos and Chargers in it, it looks on paper to be the most competitive of all the divisions in 2022-3.

PFF gives Broncos’ offseason a high grade
George Paton followed up a very good first year with a home run of a second as general manager of the Denver Broncos.
SB Nation Mile High Rpt by Tim Lynch May 17, 2022

In two short years, general manager George Paton has completely transformed the Denver Broncos. He skipped addressing the quarterback position in last year’s draft and elected, instead, to draft cornerback Patrick Surtain. That predictably led to another failed season, but in hindsight that move will make this team a much better one now that the quarterback situation is resolved.

The trade for former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was Paton’s master stroke in his two year remake of the Broncos. They added some depth in the 2022 NFL Draft, but they already had an incredible young offensive core for Wilson to work with.

Sam Monson, over at Pro Football Focus graded each team’s offseason on Monday and of the four ‘A’ grades or higher given, Denver received one of them.

Denver Broncos
Offseason Grade: A
Free Agency Grade: Above Average
Draft Grade: B+

Few teams made a bigger move in the offseason than the Broncos, who finally found a franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson via trade. Last offseason, this roster was an elite quarterback away from contending, and while it isn’t quite the same roster, they will be hoping that enough of the important pieces remain so that the same thing is true.

Critically, the Wilson trade didn’t cost them any key components of the offense other than tight end Noah Fant, and they have a replacement already in house in Albert Okwuegbunam. Adding Randy Gregory in free agency also gives them a legitimate pass-rusher after trading away Von Miller last year.

In the draft, Denver added another pass-rush specialist in Nik Bonitto, who owns the best pass-rush win rate of any pass rusher in the draft class over the last two years. Greg Dulcich adds depth to that tight end room again, and now Denver has to hope that it has the system in place to maximize Wilson.
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Ranking the Browns offseason moves
The uncertainty surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson clouds everything, but how well did Cleveland do this offseason?
SB Nation Dawgs By Nature by Thomas Moore May 17, 2022

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry had a busy offseason as he worked to rebuild a roster that finished a disappointing 8-9 last season. The biggest additions came on offense via trade as the Browns acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans and wide receiver Amari Cooper from the Dallas Cowboys.

Free agency was more about filling some roster holes with serviceable players as opposed to making a “big splash,” with the most noteworthy signing probably being return specialist Jakeem Grant Sr.

The NFL Draft was a bit muted without a first-round selection, but Berry still was able to find two players that should see considerable playing time this fall in wide receiver David Bell and cornerback Martin Emerson Jr., took a shot at fixing the kicking game with Cade York, and added a pair of intriguing prospects in defensive end Alex Wright and defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey.

All is not perfect, of course, as the uncertainty about Watson’s availability will hang over the team until there is a resolution to the civil lawsuits filed by 22 women who have accused him of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault. And Berry has not fully fixed the defensive end position opposite Myles Garrett, although an eventual return by Jadeveon Clowney would check that box.

It is those last two issues - primarily the one with Watson - that appear to have influenced how the NFL media has viewed the work the Berry has done, with the grades and/or rankings pushing the Browns down a bit further than one might expect. With that in mind, let’s take a quick run through a few prominent sites and see what they think about the Browns.

Pro Football Focus: Offseason Grade: B+
Free Agency Grade: Above Average
Draft Grade: B
Obviously, the biggest move Cleveland made was acquiring Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Leaving the moral discussion on that subject for another article on another day, if Watson plays all season this year, he is a big enough upgrade over even a healthy Baker Mayfield to immediately propel this team back among the contenders.

In addition to that, they also addressed the biggest weakness on the team by trading for receiver Amari Cooper. The draft was solid if unspectacular, as UAB’s Alex Wright was the most intriguing selection. Wright recorded a 91.1 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2021, 51 pressures and three batted passes, and he has the kind of athletic profile to replace Jadeveon Clowney opposite Myles Garrett.

Cleveland already had a contender’s roster, but Mayfield’s injury last season meant they failed to capitalize. Now they have Watson, and the only big question remaining is whether they can trade away Mayfield or if they have to cut him, as they would rather do that than live through the awkward situation of keeping him as a backup all season

ESPN: Ranked No. 17
The Browns entered the draft without a first-round pick, then traded out of the second round despite a need at wide receiver. Cleveland finally added one near the end of the third round, selecting David Bell from Purdue. Bell, who was ultra-productive in college, could play a big role in the Browns’ offense. But he will likely be operating out of the slot and in underneath coverage. That should allow Peoples-Jones to remain a starter opposite Amari Cooper. And though the Browns could still add another receiver, they will be counting on DPJ to play significant snaps next season.

Sporting News: Ranked No. 17
The Browns are here assuming Deshaun Watson will be playing every game for them in 2022 as their new major upgrade at franchise QB. He gives them a much higher running and passing ceiling offensively than Baker Mayfield and the Myles Garrett-led defense is built to be a great complementary force playing with more leads. Cleveland joins Baltimore in having a good chance to displace AFC runner-up Cincinnati in the North.

NFL.com: Ranked No. 14
The Browns remain an impossible team to rank in this exercise given what we don’t know about Deshaun Watson. The quarterback remains in limbo on account of the 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct, as well as the ongoing league investigation. Will he even play in the 2022 season? And if he doesn’t, how much can we realistically expect from a team — 8-9 a year ago — being led by Jacoby Brissett? Well, they do have Baker Mayfield, but the team will throw an anniversary halftime celebration for the 2000 Super Bowl champion Ravens before the former No. 1 overall pick plays another snap in Cleveland. The Browns have the chance to be an AFC superpower in the years to come, but they remain a messy proposition in the here and now.

Rankings and grades are a mostly harmless process, but with the uncertainty surrounding Watson, it is hard to get a good grasp on how good the Browns can be this fall. Even with everything going on in 2021, the team still finished just two games off the pace in the AFC North, so with the improvements made this offseason, plus the continued growth of the offense and defense, it is not that difficult to see an additional three wins and a return to the playoffs, as long as Watson is available all season.
(Note: subtitles in Bolded/Blue are direct links to articles on a variety of websites, for more detailed reporting)

Friday Cheese Curds: Packers ready to begin Year 1 AD (After Davante)
The absence of Adams will be felt as Green Bay begins organized team activities
SB Nation by Kris Burke May 20, 2022

The Green Bay Packers are about to embark on a bold new era. It’s hard to envision a team that is returning a vast majority of their starters from a year ago actually experiencing such a dramatic change, but when you lose a talent like Davante Adams the aftershocks are felt throughout the entire organization.

How exactly can the Packers replace Adams in just one year? Well, the draft picks of Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are the big swings while the team continues to search for other options as they currently have 10 wide receivers on the roster with more coming in for tryouts.

The Packers are also counting on some development by 2021 third round pick Amari Rodgers who had an abysmal rookie season marred by multiple gaffes on special teams and not being able to crack the lineup on offense very often.

With the addition of this year’s rookie class along with the signing of veteran Sammy Watkins, all eyes are on Rodgers in the wide receiver room. Yes, he should be given the chance to develop but he was so bad as a rookie the tolerance with him not showing strong growth should be limited. Meanwhile, Watkins brings another veteran presence alongside Randall Cobb and should be a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers.

It’s a brave new world for the Packers and they take their first steps into it starting next week.

Packers Adapting to Life Without Adams—Packer Central
The message from receivers coach Jason Vrable is simple: who is going to catch passes from the future hall of fame quarterback? All those targets have to go somewhere, so it’s now a matter of who wants them the most.

Packers feel confidence growing for WR Amari Rodgers entering Year 2–Packers Wire
Coaches aren’t exactly going to light up a player in front of the media in May but if their belief in Amari Rodgers is genuine it’s now up to the player to reward that faith. There’s really nowhere to go but up for the former Clemson star.

Sammy Watkins is ‘in a good place right now–Packers.com
Vrable coached Watkins in Buffalo and that familiarity is likely a big reason Green Bay went after him. If he can avoid injury, not a lock given his career so far, Watkins could be a sneaky good spring signing by the Packers.

Jaire Alexander contract extension with Green Bay Packers includes salary cap-friendly 2022–PackersNews.com
Jaire Alexander’s extension freed up around $6 million in cap space which gives the Packers some room to add yet another veteran wide receiver should they so choose.
KC Chiefs chose future flexibility over Tyreek Hill
The prevailing thought about this year’s offseason in KC continues to become clearer.
SB Nation Arrowhead Pride by Pete Sweeney May 19, 2022

KC Chiefs general manager Brett Veach joined a number of national media outlets over the past week. The sixth-year GM told NFL Network’s Rich Eisen that the organization had two goals entering the offseason: help the defense and find a way to keep WR Tyreek Hill.

The Chiefs achieved one of those goals, and the other — well, things changed as the offseason went along. We have addressed that on these pages before, but Veach provided further details during his call with Eisen.

“We had Orlando (Brown) on the (franchise) tag, and we wanted to take care of Tyreek and then kind of address the defense,” started Veach. “Then, the way the market shifted with the receivers and the way the market shifted with the veteran defensive linemen, we kind of altered our course of action and decide to go through the draft almost entirely.”

Seven of 10 members of the Chiefs’ 2022 draft class play defense.

“Again, I think we’re happy with the way it turned out — but there’s going to be a lot of young guys you see on the defensive side, but I think we’re very hopeful that these guys are going to be who we think they are.”

On the books, the Brown tag cost the Chiefs roughly $16.6 million. Edge rushers like Chandler Jones, Von Miller and Randy Gregory priced themselves out of KC, agreeing to lucrative deals with other teams. As Veach suggested, the No. 1 receiver market reached heights it never had before, making things more complicated when it came to retaining Hill.

“When teams go to the Combine, they certainly go to evaluate the college prospects, but they also are there to discuss contracts with their players and the agents that are there,” he said. “We had a chance to talk to [Hill’s agent] Drew Rosenhaus at the Combine on multiple occasions, and I think we laid an initial framework for a contract, and we felt things were kind of trending in the right direction. All big contracts take a few weeks and some take a few months.

“But we left there and we felt like we were in a pretty good place. And then, as you know, the WR market exploded and went in a crazy different direction. So we were looking at a situation where, if we wanted to acquire, let’s say, a veteran defensive end — and where that market went — we would do so, but then it would be very difficult to do Tyreek. And how could we sign a veteran defensive end to a contract like that and not address the Tyreek situation? That would have been a problem, and it wouldn’t have been something that we would have done given our relationship with Tyreek and all that he has done for the organization over the years.

“On the flip side, when the market went to where it went, if we did that, in addition to carrying an Orlando Brown tag, in addition to the contracts that we have, then there would be no way to address the defense — to do anything on the defensive side. So it was either an all-or-nothing scenario.

“We just took a step back, and this is the great thing about how we operate here. We certainly go through all the scenarios, and one of the scenarios was that if we couldn’t get something done, this [trade] possibility. And so it made sense that, if you really wanted to add some weapons and to invest in multiple players and multiple positions, that this may be the best scenario for us... after taking a step back and talking things through with Andy (Reid) and with Clark (Hunt), it just made sense for us to entertain this trade.”

Veach explained that the package the Miami Dolphins were willing to send the Chiefs (which wound up being five draft picks over the next two years) would allow them — in 2022 — to take as many defensive players as they did, all the while opening up the salary cap for years to come. The general manager added that he expects the Chiefs to be more prominent players in next offseason’s free agency period. Veach specifically mentioned the Jacksonville Jaguars’ contract for WR Christian Kirk and the Las Vegas Raiders’ contract for WR Davante Adams as the pivot point of the offseason.

“I felt like if we do [a contract for Tyreek Hill] here, we might be out of free agency the next two to three years,” explained Veach. “This game — gosh, it’s so hard to be good year in and year out. More than anything, you have to have a roster that can handle the physicality of this game and the injuries. Year in and year out, teams are just holding on to get to the bye week so they can take a breath. It’s hard, and so, like I said, when we thought about this opportunity long and hard and [considered] not just the pick but the cap space over the next few years, it made a lot of sense to us.

“I think it worked out for both parties. I know that’s kind of a cliché there, and it sounds good. Everybody says it, but I really do. I think Miami has a chance to some things with Tyreek, and he lives there, and his family’s there. It was important for him to be there, and that was a place where he wanted to be, so he deserved that. And he has certainly helped us reach heights that many thought were impossible over the years. So I think he was deserving of that contract, and I was happy for him.”

And on the other side, Veach remains optimistic about the future in KC.

“I was happy we were able to get resources to help continue to build this thing for the next five, 10 years. And I think that we’ve taken the right step, and that won’t be easy, and we’re going to have a lot of young guys play football for us this fall. There’s going to be a transition period, but after the draft ended and from the time [the young players] have been here through the rookie minicamp, we’ve been certainly impressed with them and their attitude, so we’re excited about getting this thing rolling.”

As details on the Chiefs’ offseason thought process continue to trickle out, the prevailing notion is this: trading Hill was much less a decision than it was a solution.
Ranking Las Vegas Raiders’ 2022 trades
New GM Dave Ziegler has been busy
SB Nation Raider Nation by Bill Williamson May 19, 2022

New Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler has developed a knack for swinging trades in his first offseason in charge of the team. Ziegler has pulled off eight trades so far. Four included veteran players and the other four were draft-pick deals while on the clock. Let’s rank them based on initial perceived value that came to the Raiders in the trade:

Davante Adams trade:
The Raiders’ St. Patrick’s Day trade for the All-Pro wide receiver was one of the very best trades in an NFL offseason full of blockbusters. Las Vegas sent the Packers their first and second-round picks (No. 22 and No. 53). Yes, it was a steep price, but the Raiders got a centerpiece of the offense for the next three years and now their Super Bowl window is wide open.

Rock Ya-Sin trade:
A day before the Adams’ deal, Ziegler swung his first trade by sending standout pass-rusher Yannick Ngakoue to the Indianapolis Colts for cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. The key to the trade was moments earlier, the Raiders signed pass-rusher Chandler Jones. He has played for this brass in New England and he is a better fit for the new Raiders’ defense than Ngakoue. Ya-Sin has a chance to start and be a top-of-the-rotation cornerback. Like Ngakoue, he is entering the final season on his contract. But, again, this trade is as much about making room for Jones as anything.

Dylan Parham trade:
This was Ziegler’s first draft trade. The Raiders went down from No. 86 to No. 90 and they also get No. 169, which they traded later. They got Parham, a guard-center who many scouts think can start for the long haul. Tennessee, though, is excited about the trade because it took quarterback Malik Willis with the pick after he fell so this could be a win-win draft deal.

Butler, Munford trade:
The Raiders sent No. 164 to the Rams for No. 175 and No. 238. They took Tennessee defensive tackle Matthew Butler in the fifth round and tackle Thayer Munford of Ohio State in the seventh round. That’s two decent late-round prospects for one late-round pick.

First Vikings trade:
The Raiders received No. 122 and No. 250 in a deal for No. 126 and No. 227. They jumped up to take Georgia running back Zamir White in the fourth round. The Raiders think White can be their top running back in 2023. The traded up to move ahead of their AFC West rival, the Los Angeles Chargers. They took Isaiah Spiller of Texas A&M at No. 123.

Jarrett Stidham trade:
The Raiders acquired backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham from the New England Patriots and seventh-round draft pick for a sixth-round pick in 2023. Stidham was with Ziegler and new Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels in New England and he has the inside track to be the backup for starter Derek Carr.

Second Vikings trade:
This was a prime example of Ziegler’s aggression toward trades. The Raiders got No. 126 back and took LSU defensive tackle Neil Farrell. Minnesota got No. 165 and No. 169. Ziegler worked the board to get the players he wanted at the spots he valued them.

Bryan Edwards trade:
The Raiders traded 2020 third-round pick, receiver Bryan Edwards to Atlanta and a conditional seventh-round pick for a 2023 fifth-round pick. The Raiders are loaded up at receiver and thought they were better fits than Edwards. He will get a chance to reestablish his career in Atlanta.
Fun, altho a little confusing in layout. Discusses how each SB Champion team faltered the next year, and also gives the SB loser's story.

The last 17 attempts to repeat as Super Bowl champions: What went wrong?
The Rams are trying to run it back, something that hasn’t happened in almost 20 years
SB Nation by Kenneth Arthur May 16, 2022 Pt 1 of 2

The LA Rams want to “run it back” as Super Bowl champions, obviously, but the real goal here is not to repeat. The goal for the Rams is the same as it was in 2021: To be that season’s Super Bowl champions. If LA is able to win the Super Bowl next season — DraftKings Sportsbook currently gives the Rams the third-best odds to do so — then “repeating” will merely be a technicality.

The journey is different with each new season and it would be a waste of time and energy for Sean McVay and the Rams to worry about the fact that they are the reigning champions. Once Week 1 kicks off against the Buffalo Bills, the new season is officially underway and LA’s only concern should be the opponents on this schedule, the players on this roster, and the pressure of this season. Let time take care of the pressure of becoming a dynasty. Time is one thing that you can’t rush.

Not since the 2004 NE Patriots has a team won two Super Bowls in a row. What are the reasons for this? None is more important than the fact that it is difficult to be the last team standing out of 32 once, let alone twice in two seasons. It’s not like being a dominant boxer in the middle of his prime, laying out opponent after opponent; in the NFL, not only is there usually at least a half-dozen dominant boxers, but their strengths and weaknesses are constantly in flux because a team is a living organism.

That organism changes dramatically year over year, as do the other organisms that are directly working to combat what worked for that “dominant boxer” in the past. It’s a constant game of cat and mouse, with a significant factor of LUCK, as well. What happened to the last 17 Super Bowl champions in the following season?

2005 NE Patriots
Record: 10-6
Final game: 27-13 loss to Broncos, divisional round
The ‘04 Patriots had a 14-2 record and steamrolled the AFC before beating the Eagles 24-21 in a Super Bowl that wasn’t even as close as the final score. After winning three of four Super Bowls, the Patriots lost OC Charlie Weis to Notre Dame and DC Romeo Crennel to the Cleveland Browns.

The defense lost safety Rodney Harrison early in the season, Willie McGinest may not have been quite as dominant at age 34, and NE went from second in scoring defense to 17th. Only one team allowed more passing yds in 2005 than the Patriots and after waving away the Jaguars in the wild card round 28-3, Tom Brady fell to Peyton Manning’s Broncos in the divisional round.

2005 Super Bowl loser story: The Eagles had made four straight NFC Championship games from 2001 to 2004, but Donovan McNabb’s wheels fell off in 2005 and Philadelphia went 6-10.

2006 Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 8-8
Final game: 23-17 OT win over Bengals in Week 17
The Steelers were a wild card Super Bowl champion team in 2005, beating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Detroit. Pittsburgh started the season 7-5 before winning the next eight games in a row behind second-year QB Ben Roethlisberger.

Despite bringing back pretty much everyone who they would have wanted for a repeat, including head coach Bill Cowher, both coordinators, and the majority of their star players, the Steelers scored fewer points, allowed more points, and started 4-7 in 2006 before rebounding to win four of the last five.

Pittsburgh was shut out not once, but twice during their quest to repeat, including by the Jaguars in Week 2. Roethlisberger finished with 18 TDs and 23 interceptions, signaling that he may have been a significant part of the problem.

2006 Super Bowl loser story: The Seahawks had their most dominant season in franchise history at that point in 2005, but Mike Holmgren never recovered from that Super Bowl loss. Seattle lost three games in a row late in the 2006 season, squeaking into the playoffs at 9-7, then needing a Tony Romo botched FG hold in order to get past the Cowboys in the wild card. The next week, the Seahwks were dispatched by Rex Grossman and the Bears in OT.

2007 Indianapolis Colts
Record: 13-3
Final game: 28-24 loss to Chargers, divisional round
The Colts had everything they wanted going into 2007 and they may have been an even better team than the previous season. You can watch the whole game on YouTube, but it’s the final three minutes of the Colts-Chargers divisional round matchup during the 2007 playoffs that shut the door on the Colts.

Peyton Manning had a first-and-Goal from the Chargers 9, as Indianapolis trails 28-24 with 2:56 on the clock. SD’s defense shut his passing game down to hold the line. Manning would get another drive after that, but SD’s defense came to play that day and that’s how the Colts’ quest to repeat ended.

2007 Super Bowl loser story: The Bears were the number two scoring team with the #three scoring defense in 2006. They were maniacs in forcing turnovers that season. Chicago couldn’t come to an agreement on a new contract with DC Ron Rivera, so he left for a job with the Chargers, leading to their defeating the Colts from repeating. The turnover luck ran out and the Bears went 7-9 in 2007, ranking 16th in points allowed.

2008 NY Giants
Record: 12-4
Final game: 23-11 loss to Eagles, divisional round
Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin shocked the world with their Super Bowl victory against the previously-undefeated Patriots in 2007. NY rode that wave into being a much better team in 2008, clinching the top seed in the NFC and a first round bye. But the Eagles were a good team too and they twice beat the Giants in their home stadium in 2008.

2008 Super Bowl loser story: Tom Brady tore his ACL in Week 1 and Matt Cassel helped lead the Patriots to an 11-5 record, but no playoffs.

2009 Pittsburgh Steelers
Record: 9-7
Final game: 30-24 win over Dolphins in Week 17
The Steelers won a Super Bowl under Mike Tomlin and brought back most of the key ingredients. Once again, they flopped in the following regular season, including five-straight losses in the second half of the schedule. The ‘09 Steelers lost two games in OT, plus three other games by three points. They didn’t lose any game by more than a TD. The margin between getting into the playoffs and missing them was razor thin and Pittsburgh could have been a huge threat if they had won one or two more games that season.

2009 Super Bowl loser story: The Cardinals nearly became another shocking Super Bowl winner in 2008, but fell just shy. They went 10-6 with Kurt Warner in 2009 and beat the Packers 51-45 in a legendary wild card win. But then AZ lost 45-14 to the eventual champion Saints in the next round.

2010 New Orleans Saints
Record: 11-5
Final game: 41-36 loss to Seahawks, wild card
Like the ‘99 Rams, few teams have had more of an influence on the NFL than the 2009 Saints. The way that Drew Brees and that offense motored through the league for years has helped transform passing into what we see today. Despite that, OC Pete Carmichael has never had a strong desire to be a head coach. He still remains with the Saints and on Sunday, Drew Brees even hinted at a return to NO for next season.

The Saints went from 32 points per game in 2009 to 24 points per game in 2010. They were still a good team, but not as good and Brees’ 22 interceptions that year did not help. New Orleans fell to a 7-9 Seattle team in the wild card round after a TD run by Marshawn Lynch created an actual earthquake in the city.

2010 Super Bowl loser story: The Colts went from 14-2 in 2009 to 10-6 in 2010. This would be Manning’s final season as a player for Indianapolis, as he missed all of 2011 and left in free agency in 2012. Indy lost to the Jets in the wild card round.
Pt 2 of 2: Super Bowl winners/losers, the year afterwards

2011 GBay Packers
Record: 15-1
Final game: 37-20 loss to Giants, wild card
What else is there to say other than, you can be the NFL’s most dominant team by a mile and all it takes is one bad day to ruin your journey. It’s hard to believe, but Aaron Rodgers’ most recent Super Bowl appearance was now 12 years ago. He’s never had a more dominant team around him than this one and yet GBay didn’t even get close to repeating.

2011 Super Bowl loser story: The Steelers went 12-4 in both 2010 and 2011, but their efforts to get back to the Super Bowl were thwarted by Tim Tebow for his one moment of glory, in the wild card round.

2012 NY Giants
Record: 9-7
Final game: 42-7 win over Eagles, Week 17
Another surprising Super Bowl win over Tom Brady. Another repeat effort that fell short. The great find of 2011 was receiver Victor Cruz, an undrafted free agent who had 1,536 yds in his first season as a starter, but then he wasn’t quite as dominant in year two. Injuries soon robbed Cruz of the rest of his career, unfortunately. Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora were also far less effective as pass rushers for that one season, after dominating the line of scrimmage in 2011.

2012 Super Bowl loser story: Just like Weis once upon a time, the Patriots lost an OC to college as Bill O’Brien took a job with Penn State in 2012. He was replaced by Josh McDaniels after his failed trip with the Broncos. NE went 12-4 that season but lost 28-13 to the Ravens in the AFC Championship. Nobody knows how to approach each season better than Bill Belichick and whether NE wins the Super Bowl, loses the Super Bowl, or fails to reach the Super Bowl, they always seem to come back.

2013 Baltimore Ravens
Record: 8-8
Final game: 34-17 loss to Bengals, Week 17
Nobody expected Joe Flacco to do what he did, including the Ravens, who held off giving him a contract extension until they saw if he could get them to the finish line in 2012. He got them there and the Ravens won their second Super Bowl championship in franchise history. The down side to that is that Baltimore then decided to make Flacco the highest-paid player in the game when what they should have done is tag and traded him.

In 2013, Flacco threw 19 TDs and 22 interceptions as the Ravens went .500 and failed to make the playoffs. Ray Rice also struggled immensely and the team was in its first year without Ray Lewis.

2013 Super Bowl loser story: The other Harbaugh had the 49ers at 12-4 and back in the NFC Championship game once again in 2013. There, SF fell to the eventual champion Seahawks after a tipped interception by Richard Sherman and Malcolm Smith in the final seconds. This would be one of the final career NFL games for Jim Harbaugh, and the last playoff game for Colin Kaepernick.

2014 Seattle Seahawks
Record: 12-4
Final game: 28-24 loss to Patriots, Super Bowl
The first team since the ‘04 Patriots to make the Super Bowl again after winning it, Seattle eventually fell to Belichick in their quest to repeat. The Seahawks held a 10-point Q4 lead but Brady led NE back to take a lead and ultimately Russell Wilson’s Super Bowl legacy will always end in “that interception” to Malcolm Butler.

Seattle wasn’t as dominant in 2014 as they were in 2013, the Legion of Boom slowly but surely fell apart, and now Wilson is playing for the only team he ever beat in a Super Bowl. This ending alone may have indeed torn apart the Seahawks’ hopes of becoming a dynasty.

2014 Super Bowl loser story: Manning helped guide the Broncos to the NFL’s top scoring offense in 2013 and they were ranked second in 2014. Denver went 12-4 but lost to his former team, the Colts, in the divisional round. It wouldn’t take him long to get his revenge though.

2015 NE Patriots
Record: 12-4
Final game: 20-18 loss to Broncos, AFC Championship
What can one say about the Patriots? They keep showing up on the list. They’re consistently “in it” and they either come close to getting back to the Super Bowl or they fall a round or two shy. Belichick and Brady always had the Patriots in contention. If Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford can do that for even the next three years, it’ll be special.

2015 Super Bowl loser story: The Seahawks were 4-5 midseason, but then Wilson had arguably the most dominant stretch of his career as a passer and Seattle won six of their final seven games. Then after another extremely lucky wild card win (Blair Walsh missed a chip shot FG that would have given the Vikings a win), the Seahawks fell behind 31-0 in the divisional round to the Panthers and a comeback bid fell just shy.

2016 Denver Broncos
Record: 9-7
Final game: 24-6 win over Raiders, Week 17
Other than maybe the Flacco situation, this is the only time on the list that the team that won the Super Bowl knew for sure that the window was about to close. Manning was finished but gutted through the playoffs and Von Miller’s defense is what guided the Broncos to a Super Bowl victory.

Denver next turned to Trevor Siemian and first round pick Paxton Lynch in 2016, and while a winning record is admirable with those players under center, the Broncos weren’t nearly good enough. Head coach Gary Kubiak temporarily retired after the 2016 season, returning in 2019 as an assistant with the Vikings.

2016 Super Bowl loser story: The Panthers were simply not as good as their 15-1 record from 2015. They had the easiest schedule in the NFL, Cam Newton’s MVP season was not repeatable, turnover luck ran out, and Carolina went 6-10.

2017 NE Patriots
Record: 13-3
Final game: 41-33 loss to Eagles, Super Bowl
As said before, they are consistent.

2017 Super Bowl loser story: The Falcons led the NFL with 34 points per game in 2016 but their meltdown to the Patriots is something that they never recovered from. Sound familiar, Seahawks? Atlanta scored 22 points per game in 2017, after Kyle Shanahan left for the 49ers, and the Falcons lost 15-10 in the divisional round to the eventual champion Eagles.

2018 Philadelphia Eagles
Record: 9-7
Final game: 20-14 loss to Saints, divisional round
Carson Wentz had been a frontrunner for MVP in 2017, then a devastating injury wiped out the rest of his season and arguably his career. There was much debate if the Eagles should keep Nick Foles (Super Bowl MVP) and start him over Wentz, if they should trade Foles, or if they should keep Foles around as insurance. Philadelphia chose option three, wisely, and nearly made it back to the NFC Championship game despite being much worse overall. The team went from third in scoring offense to 18th and from fourth in scoring defense to 12th. The Eagles also lost OC Frank Reich to the Colts in 2018.

2018 Super Bowl loser story: The Patriots came back the next season and won the Super Bowl.

2019 NE Patriots
Record: 12-4
Final game: 20-13 loss to Titans, wild card
It’s hard to be memorable when you win the Super Bowl 13-3, but that’s how Brady and Belichick got their final Lombardi Trophy together, as you all know. At least in the three seasons since this, the Rams have been the better team.

There was certainly talk of this being near the end of Tom Brady’s career, as NE struggled immensely in the playoff loss to the Titans, scoring zero points in the second half and Brady finishing with 209 yds on 37 passes with one interception.

2019 Super Bowl loser story: You know it well. The Rams extended Jared Goff and prayed for the health of Todd Gurley. Neither of those things worked out but ultimately McVay found a way back.

2020 KC Chiefs
Record: 14-2
Final game: 31-9 loss to Bucs, Super Bowl
Everybody fell in love with the Chiefs as soon as Patrick Mahomes became this dominant force of a passer in 2018. Their first bid to win a Super Bowl with him ended in a close AFC Championship loss to the Patriots in 2018. Then Mahomes led comebacks against the Texans, Titans, and 49ers to win the Super Bowl in 2019. KC then came back in 2020 and was their best version yet, except that by the Super Bowl, the OL was decimated to such a degree that Mahomes’ value was somewhat neutralized by the Bucs’ dominant pass rush.

2020 Super Bowl loser story: After going 13-3 in 2019, the 49ers fell from second in scoring offense to 21st, and dropped to 6-10. It’s a familiar yo-yo season by Shanahan.

2021 TBay Buccaneers
Record: 13-4
Final game: 30-27 loss to Rams, divisional round
Brady wasn’t done, winning a Super Bowl in his first season away from Belichick. The Bucs had an even better record in 2021, and won the division, then beat the Eagles 31-15 in the wild card. Brady attempted another amazing comeback effort in last season’s divisional round game to the Rams, tying the score after a 27-3 deficit, but Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, and Matt Gay gave L.A. a 30-27 win in the final seconds. Brady retired after the loss, but announced a return shortly thereafter.

2021 Super Bowl loser story: The Chiefs went 12-5 and lost 27-24 in the AFC Championship game to the Bengals. KC should be right back in contention again in 2022.
  • Super Bowl teams: 17
  • Got back to the Super Bowl: 3
  • Got back to the Conference Championship (no Super Bowl): 1
  • Got to the divisional round (no conference champ): 5
  • Missed the playoffs: 5
Will the Rams post a better record in 2022 than they did in 2021? All we can do is watch and find out!
I'm really happy Kendrick Bourne is doing well for the Pats. He had such potential with San Francisco but could not break into the regular WR rotation behind Deebo Samuels, Brandon Aiyuk, and Jauan Jennings, despite a great 2018 for the Niners. He signed a 3-yr contract in 2021 with the Pats and was a break-out star for them.

Patriots’ 2022 offense will feature two of the top big-play threats in the NFL
SB Nation Pats Pulpit by Bernd Buchmasser May 19, 2022

The New England Patriots’ offense had an inconsistent 2021 season under first-year starting quarterback Mac Jones, but there were plenty of encouraging moments as well. Jones, after all, was not the only new addition to leave his mark on the unit and help it bounce back after what was a disappointing 2020 campaign.

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne and running back Rhamondre Stevenson deserve praise for their contributions. In fact, the two were among the most explosive players in all of football last year: both Bourne and Stevenson rank near the top of the list in big plays created at their respective position groups for the 2021 season.

A new analysis published by USA Today’s Marcus Mosher shows that Bourne ranked fifth among all wideouts with a big-play rate of 19.5 percent. Bourne had a combined 16 plays qualifying for big play status: he had 10 receptions of more than 20 yards as well as six runs gaining more than 10. That means that almost one fifth of his 82 total opportunities — i.e. passing targets plus rushing attempts — during the regular season went for big plays.

For comparison, fellow Patriots receivers Nelson Agholor and Jakobi Meyers had a big play rate of “only” 13.4 (33rd) and 9.4 percent (72nd). New England offseason trade acquisition DeVante Parker registered a big play on 9.6 percent of his looks (69th).

Bourne, 26, joined the team on a three-year, $15 million free agency contract last offseason. He was one of the most productive players on the Patriots’ offense and built a quick rapport with Mac Jones. Heading into his second year in the system, the expectation is that he will continue to play a sizable role within New England’s attack both as a receiver and part-time ball-carrier.

Stevenson, meanwhile, ranked even higher compared to his position group. A fourth-round draft pick by the Patriots last year, Stevenson posted an impressive big play rate of 15 percent: he had 20 runs that gained more than 10 yards and also caught a pair of passes exceeding 20 — all while touching the football 147 times. He was a bit hit-or-miss at times during his rookie campaign, but all in all the Oklahoma product had a strong first season with the Patriots.

Like Bourne, his development in Year 2 will be fascinating to watch. While he is again expected to share early-down touches with Damien Harris, he should be able to see regular opportunities and play prominent role within New England’s offensive attack.

As for Harris, he looked good himself as far as generating big plays is concerned: he ranked 18th in the NFL in that category, having 24 qualifying plays on 220 touches for a rate of 10.9 percent.

New England did add more weapons to Mac Jones’ arsenal this offseason, but those who were already under contract in 2021 should not be forgotten about either. The numbers make this quite obvious.
Arizona Cardinals will be featured team on ‘Hard Knocks In Season’
HBO’s docuseries will follow the Cardinals during the 2022 season
SB Nation May 23, 2022

The Arizona Cardinals have been selected by HBO to be featured on “Hard Knocks In Season.”

From HBO:
Television’s most acclaimed sports reality franchise HARD KNOCKS, which expanded its programming platform last fall with the introduction of a multi-episode, in-season edition, will debut a second presentation when HBO Sports and NFL FILMS team up for HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON: THE ARIZONA CARDINALS this fall for an all-access primetime docuseries on the NFC West contender.

The 18-time Emmy®-winning weekly series will deliver its signature all access coverage to document an NFL franchise in-season and in real time, following the Cardinals as they navigate the challenges of an NFL season and battle to return to the post-season. The series will be available on HBO and to stream on HBO Max during the 2022 NFL season beginning in November.

HARD KNOCKS IN SEASON debuted last fall with the engaging and eventful drama of the Indianapolis Colts’ 2021 regular season journey.

“Last season Hard Knocks made an unprecedented leap, documenting an NFL regular season in real time for the first time ever with the Indianapolis Colts,” said Keith Cossrow, NFL Films Vice President and Senior Coordinating Producer. “It was a vivid and illuminating look at the life of an NFL team. This season, we are eager to build on that success and go even further with one of the most exciting teams in the NFL. We can’t wait to get to work in Arizona, and we thank Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim, Coach Kingsbury and the entire Cardinals organization for this opportunity.”

If the Arizona Cardinals have another late season collapse, it will be interesting to see what was going on, as much as we can. If they correct things, well it will just be enjoyable to see the Arizona Cardinals even more intimately.
Football fans will want to click on that #3 link and read those Power Rankings. He covers all 32 NFL teams and includes factors such as divisional strength, schedule difficulty, and FA/draft picks. That said, the dreaded Random Injury Bug still has yet to pick its 2022-3 victims yet, LOL.

3 more national analysts join the Detroit Lions hype train
Three national analysts have joined the growing Detroit Lions hype train and have legitimate reasons for hope. (Note: It is not the three people in this photo)
SB Nation by Jeremy Reisman May 23, 2022

Last week, our own Mike Payton pointed out that it certainly seems like the world is falling in love with the Detroit Lions. This was off the heels of Dan Campbell being a betting favorite for Coach of the Year honors and ESPN’s Mina Kimes drinking the Honolulu Blue Kool Aid on NFL Live last Monday. Well, over the past few days, several other national analysts have professed that they’ve been sipping a little Kool Aid of their own.

It started with former NFL offensive lineman Brian Baldinger, who tweeted out “Lions are going to be fun to watch in 2022” while providing a two-minute clip of him breaking down how impressive Detroit’s offensive line was last year.

“I think the Lions are going to put this all together,” Baldinger narrates on the video. “This is how you know they’re well-coached. Watch this moving amoeba right here against the Steelers. That’s a picket fence,” he said, admiring a screenshot of a wall created by Lions offensive linemen.
Baldys Breakdown

He concludes the tweet with a statement that will cause goosebumps. “IF they can put it all together they are going to be playing important games in December for the first time in a long time. Year of the Lion?”

Next in line in the Lions hype train is statistical analyst Warren Sharp. Over the past week or so, Sharp has been running advanced statistics on the 2022 schedule, like the amount of rest each team is getting compared to their opponents, as we referenced in this post. Last week, he joined the Bill Simmons podcast and referenced the Lions as a potential sleeper to win their division, thanks, in part, to a favorable schedule.

“One team that is interesting, although this would be a major longshot, and basically you’re needing something to fall apart with the Packers’ early schedule here, and that could potentially be the Detroit Lions coming out of nowhere,” Sharpe said. “We know that I really like their rest advantage, they also have the fifth-easiest schedule based upon who they play this season.”

Later he turns to some football reasons to support the Lions, starting with, of all people, Jared Goff. “With reasonable enough coaching and level play, his stats are fine,” Sharp added. “They added a lot of pieces around him, and one of the most important things for a quarterback, especially one that we don’t love, is a good offensive line, good protection, and that’s one of the things that they really have there.”

Finally, there is NBC Sports’ Peter King, who dropped his initial 2022 power rankings on Monday. King, who recently visited Detroit for a story not yet released, ranked the Lions 20th overall—far above where most analysts have them at this point. “I did some reporting on the Lions in Detroit this month, and I’m higher on them than most,” King explained. “Consider how hard they played in a disastrous rookie year of coach Dan Campbell, and how, despite winning only three games, they were 11-6 against the spread, indicative of a team outperforming expectations.”
P.King's 2022 Power Rankings

One important thing to note about all three of these national analysts is that they all hedged their support of Detroit to varying degrees. Baldinger put “IF” in all-caps for a reason when saying “IF they can put it together...” Sharp admits the Lions are a “major longshot” to win the division and only will if something collapses with the Packers. Even King notes “it’s Goff who has to be more productive for the Lions to play meaningful December football.”

Still, the attention to what Detroit is building is nice. Every year there always seems to be a rogue analyst or two who picks the Lions as a longshot to improve, but it hasn’t felt this widespread in quite some time. I’ll leave King with the last word: “This is one of the most interesting teams in football—and, their starved fans hope, for the right reasons.”
George Kittle explains why Travis Kelce, all top tight ends deserve higher salaries
Does the Chiefs tight end deserve more money? Almost definitely. But there’s more to it than that.
SB Nation Arrowhead Pride by Pete Sweeney May 24, 2022

The NFL’s best tight ends over the past few seasons — Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle — are making the media rounds as they promote the second annual “Tight End University.” The three-day event is set to take place following the conclusion of the Chiefs’ organized team activities (OTAs) — in mid-June (more here: Travis Kelce's TE University returns).

During a recent media stop with ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio, Kittle made some noteworthy comments regarding Kelce’s salary. “I mean Travis Kelce, six seasons in a row, 1,000 yards,” said Kittle. “I’m pretty sure he has the most receiving yards over any wide receiver, skill position in the last six years.”

As it turns out, Kittle had done his research, with Kelce accumulating more yards over that span than the likes of wide receivers Davante Adams, Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins.

“[Kelce] gets paid half of what a wide receiver makes, which just boggles my mind. I mean, to me, Travis Kelce, he’s been doing it for so long and at such a high level. And he doesn’t have an off game. I think he has one bad game a year, and it’s just because he’s getting triple-teamed.

“He’s a player I look at like, when he gets the ball in his hands, he’s a monster.... More tight ends and more tight ends are starting to get the ball more, starting to be more part of the offense, be more explosive. love watching Darren Waller. love watching Mark Andrews. [Zach] Ertz is really fun now down in Arizona. That’s just fun to see him just kind of dominate, getting a lot of touchdowns. [T.J.] Hockenson , [Robert] Tonyan . There’s all these tight ends that are explosive and fun to watch, but Kelce — when you have six 1,000 [yard seasons] in a row, you’re hell of a football player.”

Kittle’s words make for no surprise, coming as a result of what transpired in the wide receiver market this past offseason. General manager Brett Veach recently explained that when the wide receiver market “exploded,” the Chiefs had to completely shift their offseason plans — eventually opting to trade Tyreek Hill instead of signing him to a new contract.

Where this could become something to watch is with tight ends who produce as top receivers — such as Kelce, Kittle and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (when healthy) and Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews. They collectively have a very good case: if they are going to be among the league’s top producers in receiving yardage, they deserve to be paid as such.

Kittle has a slight advantage over Kelce in this type of discussion, as the 28-year-old is four years younger than the 32-year-old Kelce. There is more uncertainty as to whether Kelce could maintain his 1,000-yards-per-year level of production — even if, to be fair, he has shown absolutely no sign of slowing down. I would also have a question about Kelce’s desire to leave quarterback Patrick Mahomes. My answer would be simple: no.

“Every NFL team that’s won a Super Bowl or been to the Super Bowl for like the last five years has had an All-Pro tight end a part of the team,” continued Kittle. “I feel a tight end’s not just like a cog in the wheel, it’s an important position that can really add to your offense or diminish it.”

Maybe there is a future answer somewhere in the middle. With the decision to trade Hill, let safety Tyrann Mathieu walk (and so on), the Chiefs have made it clear that no one player (other than Mahomes, obviously) is more important than maintaining cap flexibility so they can have quality players at every position.

It is doubtful they would be willing to pay a 32-year-old Kelce in the range of $30 million per year as a top receiver — especially considering his average salary currently stands at $14,312,500 for a contract that does not expire until 2026. But there could conceivably be a “good-will” adjustment — or correction — in the cards. CBS Sports cap analyst Joel Corry has always been stunned by the sheer team-friendliness of Kelce’s current deal.

At a certain point, the tight ends who serve as elite receivers will want to be part of the “explosion,” as Veach called it. And you really can’t blame Kittle for getting the ball rolling.
CBS Sports ranks Bucs as least vulnerable of division winners heading into 2022
Tampa Bay labeled as “sturdy” for this upcoming season
SB Nation by Gil Arcia May 25, 2022

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got an early Christmas gift a couple months back when quarterback Tom Brady decided to not retire and return to football. That immediately put the Bucs back in the conversation of who will contend for the Lombardi trophy this upcoming season.

But it doesn’t end there. CBS Sports ranked last season’s division winners in order from the least vulnerable team to the most sturdiest for 2022 and Tampa Bay earned their highest marks.

Look no further than the man under center. Ever since Tom Brady returned from “retirement,” they became the story of the NFC, if not the NFL. The transition from Bruce Arians to Todd Bowles on the sidelines is an underrated X-factor, but Brady’s still in his prime at 44, and his weaponry remains elite. Meanwhile, the Saints are acting like they’re still in contention but have questions at QB and coach, the Panthers are in the same boat, and the Falcons may have the league’s worst roster.

This season will certainly have questions for the Bucs because of a new head coach and several roster changes. In fact, the skeptics are very much still out there. What won’t be questioned — nor should it be — is Brady’s ability to lift his team, and that gives the Buccaneers every chance to be among the league’s best.
Why Ali Marpet was happy to walk away from $20M and the NFL at 28
The Pro Bowl guard protected Tom Brady on the way to Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl LV victory. But he was always different from the typical football player
London Guardian U.S. 18 May 2022 (note: edited for length)

Back in February, a key member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense sent shockwaves through the NFL when he announced his retirement after a storied career.

Unlike Tom Brady, guard Ali Marpet would not unretire 40 days later. And unlike Brady, Marpet opted to end his NFL career just as it had started to soar. A year removed from earning a Super Bowl ring, fresh off his first Pro Bowl, Marpet was done. At the age of 28.

“The biggest reason for me was the physical toll: I didn’t want any more of that. There were some things I wanted to accomplish in my career that I had done,” Marpet tells the Guardian. “I loved playing football. But one of my strongest values is health and if I’m really going to live out what’s important to me it doesn’t make sense to keep playing. There are also the unknowns of the head trauma of the NFL and how that plays out. Plus, your joints, the aches and pains that come with surgeries and all that stuff.”

Still, despite all the risks, NFL players rarely retire voluntarily at such a tender age. Marpet had already earned over $37m in career salary and roster bonuses but he was due to earn another $20m in the final two years of his contract with the Bucs. Plus, Brady was coming back, an instant boost to the team’s Super Bowl chances. Most players would at least be tempted to continue. But Marpet is far from the typical NFL player.

Marpet hails from Hastings-on-Hudson in New York’s Westchester county: a town of artists rather than athletes. His father, Bill, is a renowned Emmy-winning director of photography and fashion producer, who still found time to coach his kids in Little League and wake up at 4.30am every day to work out.

Marpet’s mother, Joy Rose, is a musician and a leading advocate for increasing the value of motherhood in society. She holds a master’s degree in mothers’ studies and helped establish the Museum of Motherhood in New York City in 2011. “She is supporting what motherhood looks like now, changing our values associated with it, and education about the history of motherhood,” he says.

Marpet is another oxymoron: a Jewish NFL player. He calls his connection to Judaism “laid back” and like many non-Orthodox Jews, his family were more focused on the cultural aspects of the religion. They celebrated holidays and the Marpet kids were given the option to have Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.

But perhaps the most atypical part of Marpet’s path to the NFL is that he didn’t start playing football regularly until he was a junior in high school. “Football wasn’t a strong passion of mine. It wasn’t like I had this burning desire to get a scholarship and play [Division I college football] and in the NFL. That was never really on the table,” he says.

It’s a small miracle that Hastings High even had a football team while Marpet was a student: New York state has one of the lowest youth football participation rates per capita in the United States. While states like Florida and Texas will keep the pipeline strong in the immediate future, the socio-economic split in youth football participation is more pronounced every year. Put bluntly, people with other options are sometimes less inclined to plunge into what can be a dangerous career.

Aside from the lack of accessibility of football in his town, Marpet thrived as a multi-sport athlete, playing soccer, baseball and basketball. Like Roger Federer, Marpet believes playing multiple sports helped his career.

Marpet started getting bigger and stronger, partly thanks to cross-training, and used his football skills to gain acceptance into Hobart, a tiny liberal arts college in Geneva, New York with barely 2,000 undergraduate students. Hobart’s football team, the Statesmen, plays in Division III, far from the huge stadiums and multimillion-dollar budgets of the elite Power Five conferences. An NFL career did not seem realistic: when Marpet was at college, the last time a Division III player had been picked in the top 100 of the draft was 1990. “[A professional football career] wasn’t even a consideration,” he says.

Instead, the most intriguing part of Hobart was the college’s record of helping their alumni get jobs after graduation. As an economics major, Marpet thought he’d go into finance in New York, but as time wore on it felt a little less exciting and more of a default. At the same time, he started to blossom on the field during his sophomore year.

By Marpet’s junior year, when others were doing their financial internships, making a living from football became a possibility. He still wasn’t thinking about the NFL but there are a lot of DIII players who join teams overseas as player-coaches. “That was all on the table for me. Maybe I would coach and be a gym teacher,” he says.

But by the winter of his junior season, he began to be scouted. That scrutiny led to an invitation to the Senior Bowl and NFL combine, where top college prospects can showcase their skills to scouts and coaches. He was gradually creeping up teams’ draft boards. Marpet’s 2015 draft night was another pleasant surprise, thinking he might get drafted in the third round. Instead, he was selected in the second round as the Buccaneers’ 61st overall pick. At the time, he was the highest-drafted DIII player in NFL history.

Marpet takes immense pride in his rise from Hobart: a Jewish, small school guy from New York. He loved meshing his own story with the varied backgrounds of his teammates. “I relished a good locker room environment that was full of trust,” he says. By the end of Marpet’s rookie season, he was a full-time starter.

The Bucs gave few reasons to be excited on the field, but off the field the league and its image were in a tumultuous time. The locker room was abuzz: it was 2016 and Colin Kaepernick was protesting police brutality and societal inequity. Donald Trump came onto the scene and waved his wand of threats at the NFL and any dissenters.

Looking back, Marpet believes the period united players like never before, not just in the Bucs’ locker room but leaguewide. “It’s tough because I felt it wasn’t always a place for me to speak my truth because I didn’t always see the value in that,” he says. “But when other guys did it, it was pretty special. What Kap did was truly special. Whether we realize it or not we’re seeing huge social justice pushes and real dollars behind it, real resources.”

As other NFL players followed suit and began to protest in their own way, Bucs ownership met with players to hear about their experiences of racism. A player-led social justice committee followed, which Marpet took part in. He sees the direct connection between Kaepernick’s kneeling and the $250,000 each club pledged to donate to player-led social justice initiatives.

The Bucs locker room coalesced even further in March of 2020 when the most decorated quarterback in the history of the NFL walked in. As an interior lineman, Marpet would go on to protect QB Tom Brady, serving as a pivotal factor in the Bucs’ Super Bowl LV win. This offseason as Brady starting plotting how to win an eighth Super Bowl, Marpet – 16 years his junior – decided he was content with one and started planning the rest of his life.

After making the Pro Bowl last season, an honor Marpet considers a validation of “all of his grinding”, he was happy to leave the NFL and start his second act. Almost immediately after his retirement, he proposed to his girlfriend Meaghan on a sunset cruise off the small Hawaiian island of Lanai.

He is now keen to address issues that are important to him. In Marpet’s final years with the Bucs he became an advocate for mental health awareness. “If there’s one takeaway from Covid for me, it’s that people are willing to share their own stories and mental health is starting to see its day a little bit,” he says. “That feels really good and mental health is definitely something we should prioritize.”

Marpet aims to get his Master’s degree in mental health counseling or marriage and family therapy. While he awaits admissions decisions for his Master’s, he is volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries, a non-profit in Tampa that serves the homeless population. He’s working with teens and elementary school children under the supervision of the counseling center.

The NFL prides itself on uniformity. Its players are rewarded with riches but not much is guaranteed, including future earnings or good health. Not all players have the wherewithal or drive to have complete control over their lives, pre-and-post NFL. But Marpet has certainly provided a blueprint.
Very interesting:
Most of us can't fathom walking away from 20M, neither can we fathom the 37M he has already earned.
Obviously, this kid has his head on straight-as an economics major we do not have to worry about him ever being poverty stricken.

His interest in others, his willingness to help others is refreshing.
Good post!
Kris Boyd starts GoFundMe for victims of Uvalde shooting
The Texas native is helping out
SB Nation by Christopher Gates May 26, 2022

A member of the Minnesota Vikings and a native of the state of Texas is taking to the internet in an effort to help those that have been affected by Thursday’s shooting in Uvalde. Defensive back Kris Boyd has started a GoFundMe in an effort to raise $150,000 for those that have been affected by the tragedy and their families.

Boyd is a native of Gilmer, Texas, and played his college ball at the University of Texas before the Vikings selected him in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft. So far, the fundraiser has raised just shy of $20,000, but it’s only been up for about 24 hours.

I didn’t want this to pass without letting people know about what Boyd is doing and giving everyone the heads-up on how to donate. If you want to add your contribution to the fund, you can do so right here: GoFundMe for Uvalde victims' families
‘They could’ve kept Wilson and fired Carroll’ - ESPN ranks Seahawks offseason as NFL’s worst
SB Nation by Mookie Alexander May 26, 2022

There’s no doubt that this offseason has been unlike any other for the Seattle Seahawks. Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, Bobby Wagner was released, and many assistant coaches were let go as part of yet another makeover of the staff. This chapter of Seahawks football has come to a close, and the greater public believes Seattle will be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2022.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell doesn’t have a lot of kind things to say about this team. In fact he’s ranked Seattle’s offseason as the rock-bottom worst of the worst. Now this is behind the ESPN+ paywall so I won’t lift the whole thing, but Barnwell had praise for the re-signing of Quandre Diggs, as well as staying put at No. 9 and selecting left tackle Charles Cross — he said nothing of the pass rushers and corners they added in the draft. As for the bad? Well there’s a lot of bad and there’s a “what-if?” as it pertained to the Wilson trade.

“ What went wrong: You’ve probably heard about the Russell Wilson trade by now. One week after Pete Carroll publicly said that the Seahawks had “no intention” of trading Wilson, the Seahawks sent their franchise quarterback to the Broncos for Drew Lock, Shelby Harris, Noah Fant and five draft picks, including two first-rounders. I wrote at length about this deal at the time, and I don’t like it for Seattle.

The Seahawks simply didn’t get enough for a superstar in the prime of his career, and while I held out some hope that they would then go after a viable replacement under center, they’re about to head into 2022 with Lock and Geno Smith as their two quarterbacks. They went from having a true superstar under center to having two replacement-level veterans and no clear path toward their next franchise passer. That’s a disaster.

Beyond the Wilson deal, the Seahawks further committed toward their philosophy of a 1970s offense. Amid concerns about running back Chris Carson’s future because of a neck injury, Seattle re-signed Rashaad Penny to a one-year, $5.8 million deal then used a second-round pick on Ken Walker III. As The Athletic’s Ben Baldwin pointed out, the Seahawks should know how easy it is to find running backs with late-round picks, having traded one for Marshawn Lynch while using the 249th selection in 2017 to draft Carson. This team has too many needs elsewhere to continue investing meaningful cash and draft capital on tailbacks, even if those backs do end up succeeding.

Fant will replace the departed Gerald Everett in the lineup, but I was shocked to see Seattle sign fellow tight end Will Dissly to a three-year, $24 million deal. As it plays out, Dissly’s deal is more like a one-year pact for $10.8 million, but that’s TE1 money for a player who hasn’t topped 262 receiving yards in a single season as a pro. Dissly is a solid blocker, but the Seahawks need him to be a Rob Gronkowski-level blocker to justify that sort of contract.


What they could have done differently: Well, they could have kept Wilson and fired Carroll. If the relationship between quarterback and head coach had deteriorated to the point where one had to go, Seattle made the wrong choice. Carroll has been a very good NFL coach, but he is 70 years old. The defense he helped mold into the league’s best is gone, as the Seahawks fell to 21st in defensive DVOA a year ago. Carroll’s choices for coordinators haven’t worked out, and the unit has struggled to draft effectively for the better part of the past decade. It’s tough to imagine that we’ll look back in five years and feel like the Seahawks made the right choice between their head coach and quarterback. ”

Other notable offseason moves for the Seahawks included bringing in Uchenna Nwosu from the Los Angeles Chargers, bringing back Quinton Jefferson to beef up the interior d-line, and signing center Austin Blythe while (presumably) letting both Duane Brown and Brandon Shell walk.

The way Barnwell sees it, the Seahawks have no obvious long-term plan or path to a new franchise quarterback, a head coach who’s past it, and a roster filled with bad contracts and resources wrongly allocated to positions that aren’t of need. I don’t think Seattle has had an offseason as poor as say, Chicago or Atlanta, and much of that is because of their draft process. That said, the draft is really the one thing that’s providing any sort of genuine optimism for the franchise moving forward after the monumental Wilson trade back in March. The people excited about Drew Lock or Geno Smith for a full season... are entitled to their excitement! But they’ll be in the minority on that front.
When the NCAA was about to lower the boom on USC, Carroll, who had ample warning, got out of town like a spotted ass ape.