Michael Turner

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The Winners of NFL Free Agency’s First Week

WP BuccaneersDarrelleRevis The Winners of NFL Free Agency’s First Week

The NFL is a crazy, wonderful thing. In the first week of the 2014 free agency period, teams handed out over $1 billion in contract money to free agent players. In this effort to strengthen their teams, general managers were battling against one another to get their guy to sign on the dotted line, with some teams, such as the Denver Broncos, being much more active than others.

However, spending money in March does not guarantee you success next February, as many teams have found out the hard way. Despite this, the free agency frenzy does affect the NFL outrights for next season, as fans take a high-profile signing as a cause for optimism. The increased salary cap has allowed teams to go out and try to get players to take them to the next level.

The Biggest Names

Michael Bennett: Seattle Seahawks

One of the most important players on the Super Bowl winning defense, defensive end Michael Bennett was re-signed by the Seahawks to a longer term deal. He will be a key part of maintaining Seattle’s defensive dominance.

Greg Hardy: Carolina Panthers

Similarly, the Panthers are building an extremely good defense, of which Hardy played a key part. Bringing him back was important, especially as Carolina’s offense seems to be crumbling in free agency.

Darrelle Revis: New England Patriots

Famous for locking down opposing receivers on ‘Revis Island’, the cornerback had an anticlimactic season for Tampa. However, signing with the Pats gives him an immediate chance of a Super Bowl, and he can still play at an extremely high level.

Golden Tate: Detroit Lions

An underrated receiver, Tate played an important role in Seattle’s incredible season. Tate offers more than just catching as a receiver; he is an extremely good blocker and a deadly punt returner.

Jared Veldheer: Arizona Cardinals

Many have criticized the Raiders for allowing left tackle Veldheer to leave. What is Oakland’s loss is definitely Arizona’s gain, with Veldheer filling a huge need on the offensive line.

Eric Decker: New York Jets

A part of the (almost) all-conquering Denver Broncos offense last season, Decker will find life tougher as a number one receiver in New York. No quarterback is Peyton Manning, however; the Jets’ QB situation is pretty awful, and defenses should be able to scheme against Decker.

Aqib Talib & DeMarcus Ware: Denver Broncos

The Broncos are in ‘win now mode’, adding two extremely good, experienced players at positions of need. With Talib playing corner and Ware rushing the passer, Denver’s defense may hold up more next season.

Jairus Byrd: New Orleans Saints

With adding Byrd to their set of safeties alongside young star Kenny Vaccaro, the Saints are copying the blueprint that brought the Seahawks so much success. One thing is for sure, this duo comes pretty close to rivaling Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

Posted on: NFL

The NFL Salary Cap may be upwards of $130M!

nfl money logo2 1 The NFL Salary Cap may be upwards of $130M!

Good news for cap-strapped franchises league-wide.

NFL Media’s Albert Breer reported Tuesday that the salary cap is expected by most to climb north of the$130 million figure discussed last week and well above the previously projected $126.3 million for 2014, according to team and union sources.

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The NFL and NFL Players Association are in talks Tuesday to set the cap, which three sources pegged as more than $130 million. One team told Breer it expected the cap to be closer to $129 million.

We think immediately of Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman, who repeatedly at the combine called the Panthers a “cap-strapped” club with minimal wiggle room to re-sign its own players, much less anyone else’s.

“We don’t have a choice,” Gettleman said, bemoaning the cap’s slow growth. “What hasn’t happened yet is the agents and the players don’t understand that the money isn’t there the way it used to be.”

At least a little more of that money will be available to Gettleman and other financially challenged general managers in 2014.

Posted on: NFL

Will Josh McCown be the starting quarterback going forward for the Chicago Bears?

i Will Josh McCown be the starting quarterback going forward for the Chicago Bears?

Josh McCown has shown he should be the long term answer for the Chicago Bears. This does not bold well for Jay Cutler and any contract talks he plans on having with Bears management. Should the Bears re-sign Cutler or let him walk now that McCown is playing well?

Josh McCown is 34 years old though has has had a 58.0 completion percentage throughout his career. Since Cutler went down and McCown took over as starter, he has boosted that percentage to 66.8 and maintain a passer rating of over 90.0 which is incredible for any quarterback. Take a look at how he has impacted the Chicago Bears odds and the overall impact on the lines for NFL betting by referring to Sportsbook.

The Monday night game versus the Dallas Cowboys put even more doubt in Cutler fans. McCown lead the Bears to a near flawless victory scoring on eight of their nine drives; taking a knee on the ninth drive. He became the first Bears quarterback since 1970 to pass for four touchdowns and run for another.

Josh McCown has made the Chicago offense deadly, especially his receiving crop. The emergence of Alshon Jeffery as a proven superstar has freed up Brandon Marshall to coverages he hasn’t seen in years! The Chicago Bears have a deadly offense with a gunslinger willing to spread the ball around.

The Bears win moves them into a tie for first place in the NFC North with the Detroit Lions. The Lions hold the tiebreaker, since they swept the Bears during their two season matches, but there is a ton of football left to be played. The Green Bay Packers are only a half game back as well so the final games of the 2014 NFL season are going to come down to the wire in the NFC North.

Josh McCown has certainly proven he has the skills necessary to be a starter going into next season. The question now is will it be in a Chicago uniform or not?


Aaron Rodgers may be back on the field by Thanksgiving!

 Aaron Rodgers may be back on the field by Thanksgiving!

Don’t be shocked to see Aaron Rodgers back on the field sooner rather than later.

When asked during his weekly “The Aaron Rodgers Show” on 540 ESPN Radio whether he targeted a Thanksgiving matchup with the NFC North-leading Detroit Lions for his return, the Green Bay Packers quarterback said he wants to get on the field even sooner. Just in time for the Packers to continue on the Super Bowl path. You can bet on Superbowl 2014 live this year!

“I haven’t given up hope on playing any week,” Rodgers said, per “It depends on how I heal and depends on what the next X-ray looks like. Obviously, this week is probably not going to happen — not going to happen. (pause) Probably not going to happen.”

Rodgers said he’s taking baby steps toward returning. He pointed to being able to sleep through the night, pull on a shirt and put on his socks without being in an “extreme amount of pain” as positive signs his fractured collarbone is healing well. Dont forget there will be live betting odds for Superbowl in 2014.

He also said he’d push to play as soon as he can tolerate the pain.

When asked if team physicians would have the final say or if he could insist on playing despite their objections, Rodgers replied, “I’d like to think the latter.”

“I think I’m going to know when I’m ready to play,” he said. “And I’m going to play.”

Posted on: Aaron Rodgers

Browns trade Trent Richardson to the Colts, then add WIllis McGahee

Trent Richardson Trade Browns Colts Browns trade Trent Richardson to the Colts, then add WIllis McGahee

Not long ago, Trent Richardson was viewed as a cornerstone for Cleveland’s future.

On Wednesday, he became part of its recent inglorious past.

The Browns traded the powerful running back to the Indianapolis Colts in a stunning move just two games into the season and one year after drafting Richardson in the first round.

On Thursday morning, the team tweeted a picture of Richardson, who will wear No. 34, at its team headquarters.

The trade was first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Richardson told reporters Wednesday night that he wanted Browns fans, who he called “some of the best fans I’ve ever been around” to know “his first team will always be the Browns.”

He said he learned of the trade when he got a phone call from a friend and he then turned on the radio to hear the news for himself.

“I can’t believe it. I didn’t see it coming anywhere. I guess it was the best move for the Browns,” he said. “I wanted to be a Brown, I didn’t see it coming but at the same time I’m a Colt now and have to get ready for Sunday’s game.”

Cleveland’s new front office dealt Richardson for a first-round draft pick next year, when the team will have two opening-round selections and 10 overall. Cleveland is rebuilding again and the team hopes to use those picks — seven in the first four rounds — to help turn around a floundering franchise.

Such a reversal was what the Browns had in mind when they took Richardson with the third overall pick in 2011. The former Alabama standout seemed to have it all: power, speed and good hands.

But Richardson wasn’t the type of back Cleveland’s front office wanted or apparently suited first-year coach Rob Chudzinski’s offense. Richardson, who rushed for 950 yards as a rookie despite playing most of last season with two broken ribs, gained just 105 yards on 31 carries in Cleveland’s two losses this season.

He lacked the explosiveness the Browns’ new regime is looking for, and it may not have helped that Richardson made it clear he wanted the ball more.

However, Browns CEO Joe Banner said there was nothing negative about Richardson and the team simply seized an opportunity to improve. And the Colts have been looking for a back sinceVick Ballard suffered a season-ending knee injury during practice last week.

“This was more about the moment presented itself,” Banner said, “and based on the situation the Colts found themselves in, it wasn’t something where we could say, ‘Can you wait three weeks to think about this or learn more?’ We thought it was a move to make us better and we had to make that decision now. We decided to move forward.”

Banner said the Browns’ first conversation with the Colts about a deal for Richardson was Tuesday.

The shocking trade — easily the biggest in Cleveland’s expansion era and one of its most significant since the Browns joined the NFL in 1950 — came on the same day Chudzinski announced third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer will start Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Hoyer got the surprising call over backup Jason Campbell to fill in for starter Brandon Weeden, who is sidelined with a sprained right thumb.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Richardson joins defensive lineman John Matuszak as the only players since the NFL merger in 1970 to be drafted within the top three, play their first season with the team that drafted them, and then play for another team the following season.

Elias also says that with Richardson joining Andrew Luck, the top overall pick in 2012, in Indy, it marks only the third time since the merger that two of the top three players from a draft class were on the same team within two seasons of being selected. The others: LaVar Arrington andChris Samuels of the Washington Redskins and Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt of the Colts.

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted his excitement about the trade.

The Colts have been ravaged by injuries to starters over the past week, losing Ballard, guardDonald Thomas and tight end Dwayne Allen for the season.

“Since I’ve taken this job, [Irsay] has wanted to achieve greatness no matter the circumstances,” Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. “Losing three starters in one week, you can’t let that affect your mindset.”

Richardson will become the starter once he learns the offense. He’ll team with Ahmad Bradshaw, the current starter, to give the Colts the backfield duo they envisioned with Bradshaw and Ballard before the latter was injured. But instead of them splitting the load 50-50, expect Richardson to get the majority of the carries as long as he remains healthy.

The double whammy floored many Browns fans, leaving some to wonder if the team was giving up on this season.

Banner denied that and said he understands the fans’ suspicions.

“We have to earn their belief and trust in the decisions we’re going to make as a group,” he said. “I don’t expect them to trust that until we prove that the trust is well placed. So, I understand the skepticism for now. We have to do what we think is right, move the franchise forward and get it to where we want it to be.”

Chudzinski isn’t worried about any negative backlash from the players.

“That’s football,” said Chudzinski, adding he reached out to the team’s captains. “You deal with those things whether they are injuries or a trade. I believe in this group and I believe the next guy will step up and we will find a way and do what we need to do to win.”

Like Richardson, Weeden’s days could be numbered with the Browns, who have started 19 quarterbacks since 1999 and are still looking for the right one. Next year’s draft class includes several top-flight quarterbacks and the Browns could be loading up on high picks to make sure they get a good one.

Banner, though, said the Browns aren’t angling toward any particular position or player.

“I don’t want to tip our hands on what we’re going to do or prioritize in doing, but I think it puts us in a very good position to have made some real progress with the team in this offseason to be in very good cap shape going into next season,” he said.

The Browns are brutally thin at running back after trading Richardson and losing Dion Lewis and Montario Hardesty to season-ending injuries. Chris Ogbonnaya and Bobby Rainey are the only backs on the roster.

The team is bringing in free-agent running back Willis McGahee for a physical and will sign him if he passes the examination. A two-time Pro Bowler, McGahee rushed for 731 yards in 10 games for the Broncos last season and has gained 8,097 in his nine-year career.

Richardson has been slowed by injuries since he was taken after Luck and Robert Griffin III last year.

His college coach, Nick Saban, wished him well with the Colts.

“Hopefully this is going to be a great situation and circumstance for him, so that he can have more success, and be a good player for a long time,” Saban said. “The guy was a fantastic player here. We never had anybody who contributed more to the team in terms of how he played and how he affected other people.”

Before the deal, Richardson spoke to Minnesota media on a conference call about the expectations that come with being such a high draft pick.

“I think people make it more pressure than what it is,” he said. “I just like to play football. At the end of the day, I’m going to play football like I’ve always been coached. The way I’ve always played. I’m going to be physical, fast, I’m going to be up-tempo.”

And he’s going to do so in a new uniform.

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