The Daily Briefing Tuesday, May 9, 2017

AROUND THE NFL

NFC NORTH

 

CHICAGO

Heading to the booth, Jay Cutler has some advice for the Bears regarding QB MITCH TRUBISKY.

 

“If it’s going downhill, I don’t really see any reason to play the kid,” Cutler said, via CSN Chicago. “I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of people calling for his name, because you draft him at No. 2 and draft him for a reason, and that’s to play football and win games. But if you look at a lot of quarterbacks throughout this league, until you’ve got some people around you, some pieces around you, it’s hard to win football games in this league as a quarterback.

 

“If it’s going downhill, there’s no way I’m playing him. For what? So he can go out there and take a beating and he can get off to a rough start as an NFL quarterback?”

 

There is a long list of young quarterbacks tossed into the fire early to see their careers crippled before they got off the ground. From David Carr to Blaine Gabbert, there are plenty of players who could have benefited from time on the bench.

 

The flipside to the Trubisky issue is he earned just 13 starts during his college career. Getting the No. 2 overall pick experience could become beneficial down the road.

 

Cutler understands the difficulties the Bears face in 2017, with a receiver corps led by oft-injured Kevin White and Cameron Meredith. Chicago should boast a solid run game with Jordan Howard and has a stellar interior offensive line.

 

While it might behoove Trubisky to sit behind Mike Glennon for the year, as Cutler suggests, with coaches fighting for their job, showing promise in their future signal-caller could be the only move left if the season opens in disastrous form. First-round quarterbacks just don’t have an incubation period in the NFL, even if they might need one.

 

NFC EAST

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

As mentioned below, Lance Zierlein at NFL.com ranks all 32 draft classes from 1-32 – and he has the Giants in last place:

 

32. New York Giants

Draft picks: Evan Engram (No. 23 overall), Dalvin Tomlinson (No. 55 overall), Davis Webb (No. 87 overall), Wayne Gallman (No. 140 overall), Avery Moss (No. 167 overall), Adam Bisnowaty (No. 200 overall)

 

The Giants draft was more mortar than brick. Evan Engram should be an outstanding playmaking addition to a potent passing game, while DT Dalvin Tomlinson adds quality depth and a potential future starter. I never understood the hype on QB Davis Webb while watching the tape, but I do think that DE Avery Moss has the talent to surprise as a fifth-rounder. They failed to find a left tackle in this draft, though.

 

Is it really that bad?

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

Lance Zierlein at NFL.com ranks all 32 draft classes from 1-32 – and he has the Eagles in first place.

 

1. Philadelphia Eagles

Draft picks: Derek Barnett (No. 14 overall), Sidney Jones (No. 43 overall), Rasul Douglas (No. 99 overall), Mack Hollins (No. 118 overall), Donnel Pumphrey (No. 132 overall), Shelton Gibson (No. 166 overall), Nathan Gerry (No. 184 overall), Elijah Qualls (No. 214 overall)

 

Some will look at the Eagles picks and say “yeah, but” to many of the selections, but I see a good draft. Derek Barnett isn’t flashy, but he’s productive and tough. If cornerback Sidney Jones comes back healthy, the Eagles stole a first-round talent in the second. CB Rasul Douglas isn’t fast, but he’s an absolute ballhawk. WR Mack Hollings is an electric deep threat and outstanding special-teams talent.

 

  2. New Orleans Saints

  3. New England Patriots (vets WR BRANDIN COOKS & DE KONY EALY count in their haul)

  4. San Francisco 49ers

  5. Baltimore Ravens

  6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (stole TE O.J. HOWARD and RB JEREMY McNICHOLS)

  7. Los Angeles Chargers

  8. Cleveland Browns (great draft, but penalize for having 3 first round picks?)

  9. Buffalo Bills

10. Washington Redskins (seems to question DT JONATHAN ALLEN’s durability)

11. Indianapolis Colts

12. Arizona Cardinals

13. Seattle Seahawks (DT MALIK McDOWELL has high ceiling, low floor)

14. New York Jets (added football character with JAMAL ADAMS and MARCUS MAYE)

15. Jacksonville Jaguars

16. Green Bay Packers

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

18. Houston Texans (filled big needs with quality talent)

19. Cincinnati Bengals

20. Dallas Cowboys (didn’t get cute, filled defensive needs)

21. Tennessee Titans (really liked first three rounds, didn’t like rest of draft)

22. Chicago Bears (can’t find any reasonable defense for Trubisky trade)

23. Carolina Panthers

24. Kansas City Chiefs (swung for fences with Mahomes and Kpassagnon)

25. Atlanta Falcons

26. Los Angeles Rams

27. Denver Broncos

28. Minnesota Vikings (spotty, didn’t like 4th and 5th round picks)

29. Oakland Raiders

30. Detroit Lions

31. Miami Dolphins

32. New York Giants

 

You can read all his rationales if full here.

 

 

WASHINGTON

Deposed GM Scot McCloughan is still helping the Redskins.  John Keim at ESPN.com:

 

Scot McCloughan has turned his popularity into a vehicle to help a foundation run by the team that fired him.

 

The former Washington Redskins general manager, at the suggestion of his wife, is auctioning off items on eBay that he wore during his two years with the team, including an autographed camo hat. He was photographed in that hat on several occasions, often during training camp.

 

The Redskins fired McCloughan on March 9 after an offseason of tension, according to multiple reports. The move enraged fans, many of whom were incensed when team officials anonymously blamed it on his drinking issues to The Washington Post. The Washington fan base largely saw his January 2015 hiring as one that would help the Redskins return to prominence. In his two years as general manager, the Redskins won a combined 17 games, though that success stemmed from a variety of factors, including the ascendance of quarterback Kirk Cousins.

 

Some of McCloughan’s moves paid off, such as drafting Pro Bowl guard Brandon Scherff and wide receiver Jamison Crowder. Some did not: His first free-agent class was all gone after the first season, and the last free-agent signing was cut this offseason.

 

Still McCloughan was a popular figure and remained a symbol of hope for a franchise that has not won more than 10 games in a season since 1991. Since winning the Super Bowl that season, the Redskins have won just three playoff games; they had won that number of Super Bowls in the previous 10 years.

 

The bidding on McCloughan’s auctioned items reflects his popularity. The latest bid Monday morning for the camo hat was $410. A second autographed hat that he had worn twice, according to a description of the item, had received a bid of $175.51. Radio station 106.7 The Fan first mentioned on its website that McCloughan’s items were up for auction, citing a tweet by his wife Friday.

 

The McCloughans will donate the money to the Redskins Charitable Foundation. Jessica McCloughan told The Washington Post that: “When it’s all said and done, Scot and I are still grateful that we were able to come here, so why not give back to the people that brought us here.”

 

Jessica McCloughan told ESPN it wasn’t a hard choice to support the Redskins’ charitable foundation.

 

“I had first hand experience with the foundation while I was here so I know how much they help people and kids specifically,” McCloughan said in a direct message.

 

They also put one of McCloughan’s jackets up for bid, with proceeds going to Northern Virginia Family Services. It’s a tan suit — which his wife described on the site as “luxurious dijon mustard/tan color” — that McCloughan wore during many Redskins games. The description states that former San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Nolan bought the jacket for him in 2005 because McCloughan didn’t have a suit. The bid on eBay as of Monday morning: $70. Yes, he’s willing to autograph that, too.

 

Team president Bruce Allen said there’s been no decision on how the Redskins will replace McCloughan. They could retain the status quo and not promote anyone in-house or hire an outsider. They will start the process in earnest over the next week. By that time, the McCloughans will be finalizing the bids on the hats — and preparing to donate a chunk of money to his former team.

 

NFC SOUTH

 

TAMPA BAY

Bucs GM Jason Licht talking up QB JAMEIS WINSTON at ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht likes what he’s seen from quarterback Jameis Winston in his first two seasons, but Licht also says he’s going to see a lot more.

 

Licht said on PFT Live that it would be hard for Winston not to improve, given how much work he puts in during the offseason.

 

“We expect improvement,” Licht said. “No one works as hard as he does. He’s here every day, has been here the entire offseason for the most part.”

 

What the Buccaneers are working on is getting Winston to learn that he doesn’t have to win a game all by himself. Winston threw 18 interceptions and lost six fumbles last season, and the Bucs think he’ll cut down on those turnovers if he doesn’t try to do everything himself.

 

“Learning to know when it is OK to give up on a play and to throw the ball out of bounds, take a sack other than thinking you can make every single play,” Licht said. “That’s been ingrained into his brain on his own part, he is the first to admit that, and I think we’re going to see him make better decisions in that regard.”

 

Winston already has a pair of 4,000-yard seasons under his belt and he’s only 23 years old. If he keeps getting better, Licht should have a first-rate franchise quarterback on his roster for a decade or so to come.

– – –

There was a time that USC players (think Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart) had housing arrangements that raised eyebrows.  Now, there is DT STEVIE TU’IKOLOVATU who lived in his SUV while studying at Southern Cal.  Martin Fennelly of the Tampa Bay Times:

 

He didn’t live in a van down by the river.

 

Let’s get that straight.

 

He lived in an SUV down by the beach.

 

“Not homeless, just a choice,” Stevie Tu’ikolovatu said with a smile.

 

Tu’ikolovatu — “Stevie T.” to Bucs players and coaches who gave up trying to pronounce his name last weekend at rookie minicamp — is a big man (340 pounds) with a bigger dream: playing in the NFL. The former run-stuffing Utah defensive tackle and USC graduate transfer was selected in the seventh round of the draft by the Bucs.

 

Tu’ikolovatu (“Too-ee-kolo-vah-too”) has an oversized story. He is one of seven children born to Leilani and Viliami, who moved to Salt Lake City from the Pacific nation archipelago of Tonga. Leilani is a librarian. Viliami is a vehicle mechanic for a large company. Stevie Tu’ikolovatu is 25. He served a two-year Mormon mission in the Philippines.

 

Bored yet?

 

Tu’ikolovatu has dreams even beyond football. He and his wife, Kalo, want to set up senior living facilities. Tu’ikolovatu is working on his master’s in gerontology from USC; he has three online courses remaining to earn his degree. Gerontology is the study of old age and the process of aging.

 

Bored yet?

 

This story will never get old.

 

And now let’s hop in the car.

 

Stevie and Kalo, who were married in 2015, were praying at the Salt Lake Temple in February 2016. Kalo served her mission in Paraguay.

 

“Steve told me I think we need to move because he got a really strong impression about USC,” Kalo said. “When we get an impression, when the Heavenly Father tells us to go, we have to go.”

 

The problem was that until Tu’ikolovatu was officially enrolled at USC, NCAA rules prohibited the school from giving him benefits, such as housing. But he wanted to get out to Los Angeles to begin working out. So, away he went, no real plan.

 

He wound up sleeping in his car. For two months. His idea. Eventually, his parents delivered his mom’s 2004 brown Chevy Suburban to Los Angeles. They didn’t know their son would use it as an apartment. That story only came out after Tu’ikolovatu began playing for USC. He won the school’s defensive player of the year award in 2016 and was named defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl after making eight tackles.

 

Back to the car …

 

“I wasn’t a hundred percent comfortable in there,” Tu’ikolovatu said. “Kind of squeezed. But I took the back chairs out and was able to fit in there a little better.”

 

Three weeks into his life on the road, Kalo, who had initially stayed behind in Utah to keep her job to save money, joined her husband. Double occupancy.

 

“It was hard being apart,” Kalo said.

 

There was no “apart” in the Suburban. They piled blankets and pillows in the back of the SUV. They hung shower curtains inside to block the sun. They bought two small fans. They had an ice cooler and a garment bag for laundry. Home, sweet home.

 

The happy couple frequented the beaches and beach parking lots. Steve’s favorite was Manhattan Beach, because of the boardwalk and the grass hill he worked out on in the mornings. Kalo liked Imperial Beach. There were fire pits. They would shower at night at beach facilities. In the morning, Kalo dropped Steve off at USC and looked for work. Then came dinner.

 

“Steve has skills,” Kalo said. “He seriously knows how to survive. He made a barbecue grill out of foil and wood.”

 

“That was all material from Dollar Tree,” Stevie said.

 

“We’d get strips of steaks and hot dogs and cook on the beach,” Kalo said.

 

“It was normal in a lot of ways,” Tu’ikolovatu said. “We went to church every Sunday. But no one had any idea we were living in the car.”

 

Kalo said. “We’d visit friends and they’d see the blankets and ask us, ‘You’re not sleeping in that thing, are you?’ We’d say no, of course not.”

 

Tu’ikolovatu could have stayed with teammates. He had friends and relatives in Los Angeles.

 

“I don’t like to bother people, make a hassle,” Tu’ikolovatu said. “I’m kind of independent. I also understand that when you have struggles, there are also lessons.”

 

They knew they weren’t truly homeless. Kalo did volunteer work at Los Angeles’ “Skid Row,” where the homeless lived in tents or on the street.

 

“We had the car,” Kalo said. “When we traveled around, we met a lot of people sleeping in cars and vans. We weren’t alone.”

 

Tu’ikolovatu grew up in a crowded home. Maybe squeezing into a car wasn’t a big deal.

 

“It teaches you not to be selfish,” he said. “It teaches you not to take life so seriously. It teaches you how to love.”

 

Back to the Suburban …

 

“I miss the car,” Kalo said. “There was always something to do, meeting new people, making new friends.”

 

“I don’t miss it at all,” Stevie Tu’ikolovatu said with a smile.

 

They plan to have a big family.

 

They bought a Land Rover.

 

We have no idea how many it sleeps.

 

AFC WEST

 

THE RAIDERS

If all goes well, the Raiders are a lame duck for three years.  Richard Velotta at the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

 

Construction of a 65,000-seat domed football stadium is expected to begin in January and be completed by June 2020, giving the Raiders three months to move in before their first NFL regular-season game.

 

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority’s draft of a preliminary project timeline shows a 30-month construction period after stadium bonds are issued. Site work on 62 acres at Interstate 15 and Russell Road, purchased by the Raiders for $77.5 million on May 1, is targeted by December.

 

The Stadium Authority board is expected to discuss the timeline at Thursday’s meeting at 1 p.m. at the Clark County Government Center.

 

A 30-month construction timeframe is ambitious when compared with other recent stadium projects. Of the last four domed NFL stadiums built, none have been completed within 30 months. Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the new home of the Falcons is about to hit its 36th month of construction and is due to open in August. Minneapolis’ US Bank Stadium, new home of the Vikings, took 32 months to complete.

 

Most of the focus on the draft timeline, posted Monday on the authority’s website, are actions and approvals that must occur in the next nine months.

 

Here is a little more about the site from Ed Greeney of the Review-Journal, written last August:

 

There isn’t a more impressive sight for a city’s standing as major league than a stadium erected directly off the interstate for out-of-town visitors to witness, which those arriving daily would with this 62-acre site west of Mandalay Bay. It has the size designers are reportedly looking for, and what would seem as painless a level of access in and out of a stadium as anyone could hope from an NFL game or other major sporting event.

 

When you stand near the piece of land, you can absolutely see a state-of-the-art stadium and enough space for parking and tailgating and other game-day entertainment options. It just looks like the right place.

 

If you can see the map, that is Mandalay Bay right across I-15 from the stadium, Russell Road to the right, Hacienda Boulevard to the left or north.  Luxor across Hacienda from Mandalay Bay.

 

 

 

AFC EAST

 

MIAMI

RB JAY AJAYI is bidding to stay on the field on third down.  Joe Schad in the Palm Beach Post:

 

There was a play in the final Miami Dolphins preseason game of 2016 that Jay Ajayi would like to forget.

 

Actually there were a few plays Ajayi may still not have forgotten, including a fumble and a dropped pass.

 

But for the moment here, we’ll focus on the dropped pass. Because that final preseason game of 2016 went so bad for Ajayi that it was decided by Adam Gase he would not dress in the season opener against Seattle, an idea Ajayi objected to the extent that he was left behind.

 

That was a long time ago. And since then, the NFL (and Dolphins fans and players and coaches) learned that Ajayi is one of the most determined, violent, physical inside runners in the NFL (think Beastmode).

 

But one thing that seems uncertain still, is if Ajayi can become both a lethal (and consistent) receiving threat. Because teammates Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams are so, so dangerous when catching passes from Ryan Tannehill.

 

And so imagine if Ajayi, a Pro Bowl breakout season under his belt, could polish off that skill?

 

“Jay (Ajayi) is working hard to be a three-down back,” Dolphins offensive coordinator Clyde Christensen said at a recent news conference. “His receiving skills are 200 percent better than a year ago today.”

 

Two hundred percent!

 

Christensen is an eternally optimistic, affable, supportive, cooperative chap.

 

But is it conceivable that Ajayi might have say, 100 percent more catches in 2017 than 2016?

 

Let’s take a closer look.

 

Ajayi had 27 catches (none for touchdown) in 2016 (topping three catches in a game only against New England in Game 2 and Baltimore in Game 11).

 

But what if Ajayi could catch 54 passes from Tannehill?

 

Well, it would put him in the receiving realm of Devonta Freeman (54), DeMarco Murray (53), Theo Riddick (53), Duke Johnson (53), Darren Spoles (52) and LeSean McCoy (51).

 

Perhaps that’s a bit unrealistic, as Ajayi is never going to be confused with Darren Sproles.

 

And as long as Damien Williams eventually signs his one-year tender offer (eventually, we assume, he will) and as long as the explosive Drake is driving to live up to his third-round draft status, Ajayi’s PPR (points per reception in fantasy football) may be limited.

 

So how effective were each of those Dolphins when thrown to in 2016?

 

Ajayi: 27 catches, 5.6 yards per catch, 0 touchdowns, 27/35 (77 percent).

 

Williams: 23 catches, 10.8 yards per catch, 3 touchdowns, 23/32 targets (72 percent).

 

Drake: 9 catches, 5.1 yards per catch, 0 touchdowns, 9/10 targets (90 percent).

 

At first glance, it may seem surprising how much more Williams did with his 32 receiving targets than Ajayi did with his 35 receiving targets.

 

But Miami is fortunate the New England Patriots (or some other NFL team) didn’t swoop in and sign Williams to a restricted deal they didn’t want to match.

 

He is a very valuable, underrated weapon.

 

After that terrible preseason finale last season, Gase seemed confounded by what was perceived by some to be a lack of concentration or focus by Ajayi.

 

“I feel like what he’s shown me in the spring and training camp as far as being a guy who’s reliable in the passing game, I don’t know the exact ball placement if it was behind him or he dropped it,” Gase said afterwards. “I know when the ball’s on target he usually makes that play.”

 

Then Gase added: “I expect better from him. I have high standards for him.”

 

It was a foreshadowing of Ajayi’s season-opening benching. Perhaps Christensen’s recent remarks will be seen as a foreshadowing to the plans for Ajayi.

 

Of course, if opponents believe Ajayi is a more-viable pass-catching option in 2017, it could alter the way they align in the box to contain his brutal running style.

 

According to Ajayi’s NFL.com college scouting report, he was a: “True weapon out of backfield with adequate hands and good feel for maximizing each catch in space.”

 

As a junior at Boise State in 2014, Ajayi had 50 catches for 535 yards (10.7 yards per catch) with four touchdowns.

 

If Ajayi could ever duplicate those numbers in the NFL, he’d be more than a Pro Bowl running back. He’d be one of the most complete, and frankly, best running backs in the league.

 

 

NEW YORK JETS

Jets WR ROBBY ANDERSON had a problem with authority.  Connor Hughes at NJ.com:

 

Jets receiver Robby Anderson was involved in a fight and argument with police Sunday evening when asked to leave a concert in Miami.

 

Here’s more from the police report, which was obtained by NJ Advance Media:

 

[Robby Anderson] was fighting with security after being told to leave. [Robby Anderson]  refused to leave and was told by (officer) to sit on the ground. [Robby Anderson]  tensed his body and pushed (officer). [Robby Anderson]  was redirected to the ground and continued to fight with police and security. DEF arrested.

 

Anderson has been charged with one felony count of resisting arrest with violence, and also obstruction of justice.

 

“We are aware of the situation,” a Jets spokesperson told NJ Advance Media. “This is a pending legal matter, and we will have no further comment at this time.”

 

Anderson, 23, signed with the Jets last year as an undrafted free agent out of Temple. He made the team as a long-shot, but quickly found a role on offense when Eric Decker was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Anderson caught 42 passes for 587 yards and two touchdowns.

 

This offseason, the Jets released veteran Brandon Marshall. With Decker still working his way back from shoulder and hip surgeries, Anderson figured to slide in as the No. 2 receiver. Quincy Enunwa and Charone Peake are also expected to compete for playing time.

 

The Jets already have two players serving suspensions to start the year. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins will miss the first two games after violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Receiver Jalin Marshall will miss the first four games after violating the league’s policy for performance enhancing drugs. A third Jet, cornerback Nick Marshall, was also suspended to start the year, but the team waived him on Thursday.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

FORMER PLAYERS

Tony Romo made a spirited bid to qualify for the U.S. Open.  Drew Davison in the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:

 

Tony Romo failed to make it through local qualifying for this year’s U.S. Open on Monday afternoon.

 

He finished with a 3-over-par 75 on a breezy day at Split Rail Links & Golf Club, but he certainly gained the appreciation of his fellow golfers. He was paired with David Lutterus, a Fort Worth resident who has played 48 PGA Tour events.

 

“As a pro you can see who can really hit the ball and who can’t, and he strikes it,” said Lutterus, who shot a 3-under 69 and earned the second alternate spot in a playoff.

 

“If he wanted to [become a pro], there’s no question about it — I think he could make it. You know what he’s got? He’s got the mind. We’re going down the 13th hole and he said something about two par-5s and eagling this and do that. I’m thinking, ‘Whatever.’ And then he goes and eagles the next hole. I’m like, ‘That’s the way you’ve got to think, right? So that was pretty cool. That taught me something. That’s how the best think.”

 

Romo finished tied for 40th in the 107-man field. Seven advanced to sectional qualifying with two alternates after 18 holes of stroke play on a course that stretched 7,211 yards. A 3-under 69 was the cut line for the seventh spot, which was won through a four-man playoff.

 

Romo showed flashes of having his golf game in good enough shape to make a realistic run for a spot in the U.S. Open, which is being held in his home state of Wisconsin for the first time. The tournament is scheduled for June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Erin, Wis.

 

“It was fun to be back out competing,” said Romo, who shot a 3-over 39 on the front nine and an even-par 36 on the back. “It’s been awhile since I felt the feeling of a competitive aspect in the golf world.

 

“There’s some good signs. I hit the ball pretty well today. Obviously had the big mistake on the one hole [15] … other than that, I played pretty well.”

 

Romo energized himself and a crowd of about 200 with an impressive showing on the par-5 14th to get him back in it. He used a downwind to his advantage with a 370-plus yard drive and knocking a 6-iron from 225 yards to a couple feet for a tap-in eagle.

 

That pulled Romo to 1-over on the day, but things fell apart on the next hole. Romo sprayed his drive right into the water on the par-4 15th and three-putted for a triple-bogey seven. It was his fourth three-putt on the day to go along with missed birdie chances from within 10 feet on Nos. 1, 12 and 13.

 

Romo lost any hope of advancing after the dreadful 15th, but finished strong with a birdie on the par-5 18th. He had a nifty third shot in which he punched his ball under a tree and then drained about a 10-footer.

 

Asked if golf could fill the competitive void he lost when he walked away from football and headed to the CBS Sports broadcast booth, Romo said: “It’s different. Competition in itself I enjoy and, for me, just improving and looking at something to get better at.

 

 

BROADCAST NEWS

The NFLPA is interested in being more pro-active in the network television deals which up until now they only benefit from on a pass-through basis.  Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com:

 

With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring in 2021 and the broadcast deals ending a year later, the timeline could quickly become very awkward for both the NFL and the NFL Players Association, which jointly will benefit when negotiating with the networks if labor peace can be guaranteed. And with the NFLPA deriving a significant amount of revenue from the national TV deals (55 cents on the dollar), the players have a clear interest in ensuring that the deals remain as lucrative as they’ve been.

 

“Frankly, we may reach out to some of the network executives in the coming months to figure out ourselves exactly what they’re planning in terms of the changing landscape of broadcasting,” NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said on Monday’s PFT Live. “The players are in this weird position of benefiting the most you can argue from the television contracts but also not having as much data as the people who negotiate those contracts.”

 

As a result, the union will have several questions.

 

“What do those deals look like? What do they contemplate long term with the changing landscape of how consumers are taking up content in sports? And what do those rights fees look like?” Atallah said. “We hope that the league office and those that negotiate these deals will treat the players as partners. If we can come to the table with the TV networks unified, my guess is our revenue stream will be more secure.”

 

It won’t be easy to significantly surpass the current TV deals, especially with ESPN constantly losing revenue that previously came from people who paid for cable without ever watching the four-letter network. By 2023, ESPN may be hard pressed to cough up big cash for Monday Night Football, which will require that money to come from one or more other companies that can afford to pay gigantic sums to deliver via cable, satellite, Internet, or however video and audio images of games.

 

Traditionally, the NFL exclusively handles those negotiations. With the NFLPA realizing that its interests are directly tied to the outcome of those talks, it makes sense for the union to take a more active role in ensuring that the league gets the best possible deals for the rights to broadcast NFL games.

 

 

SUPER BOWL 52 ODDS

Rarely, if ever, has a team gone into the season as such an overwhelming choice to win the Super Bowl as the Patriots at the moment – this from a team that trailed by 25 points in the last SB and only won in overtime.

 

These odds are from FootballLocks.com:

 

New England Patriots            4 to 1

Dallas Cowboys                   11 to 1

Atlanta Falcons                    12 to 1

Green Bay Packers             12 to 1

Seattle Seahawks                12 to 1

Denver Broncos                   15 to 1

Houston Texans                   15 to 1

Pittsburgh Steelers               18 to 1

New York Giants                 20 to 1

Oakland Raiders                  20 to 1

Kansas City Chiefs              25 to 1

Carolina Panthers                30 to 1

Indianapolis Colts                 30 to 1

Minnesota Vikings                30 to 1

Arizona Cardinals                 35 to 1

Baltimore Ravens                40 to 1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers      40 to 1

Miami Dolphins                    50 to 1

Philadelphia Eagles              50 to 1

Tennessee Titans                 50 to 1

Washington Redskins          60 to 1

Cincinnati Bengals               70 to 1

Detroit Lions                         70 to 1

New Orleans Saints             70 to 1

Buffalo Bills                          80 to 1

Los Angeles Chargers         80 to 1

Jacksonville Jaguars         100 to 1

Chicago Bears                   125 to 1

Los Angeles Rams             150 to 1

New York Jets                               150 to 1

Cleveland Browns              300 to 1

San Francisco 49ers          300 to 1

 

Does anyone else see the Giants are over-valued at 20 to 1?  And the Texans at 15 to 1?

 

The DB thinks Arizona, Tampa Bay, Miami, Philadelphia and Tennessee are just as likely, if not more, to win as those two.  And they would pay at least twice as much.

 

Odds can vary among sports books. If you check them out here at oddsshark.com you will find the Patriots ranging from 3.25 to 1 to 5 to 1 at 10 surveyed locations.

 

The Giants who we wondered about, go even lower some places, ranging from 16 to 1 to 20 to 1.

 

Still, there can be some wide variations – the Cardinals go from 16 to 1 to 37 to 1 for example.

 

Here are the regular season wins and losses odds from Bovada:

 

New England Patriots            12.5

Seattle Seahawks                  10.5

Pittsburgh Steelers                 10.5

Green Bay Packers                10

Oakland Raiders                    10

Atlanta Falcons                        9.5

Dallas Cowboys                       9.5

Baltimore Ravens                    9

Indianapolis Colts                    9

Kansas City Chiefs                  9

New York Giants                     9

Carolina Panthers                   8.5

Cincinnati Bengals                  8.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers          8.5

Tennnessee Titans                  8.5

Denver Broncos                       8.5

Philadelphia Eagles                 8

Arizona Cardinals                    8

Detroit Lions                            8

Houston Texans                      8

Minnesota Vikings                   8

New Orleans Saints                8

Washington Redskins             7.5

Los Angeles Chargers            7.5

Miami Dolphins                       7.5

Buffalo Bills                             6

Jacksonville Jaguars               6

Chicago Bears                        5.5

Los Angeles Rams                 5.5

New York Jet                          5

Cleveland Browns                  4.5

New York Jets                        4.5

 

The win totals add up to 258.5, slightly above the 256 games the NFL will play in 2017.

 

Last year, the under won 17 bets and lost 14.  One was pushed.

 

In 2015, the under won 19, lost 12.  One was pushed.

 

But in 2014, the over went 19-13.

 

This from Michael David Smith at ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Will the Patriots’ win total go over or under 12.5? That’s a question bettors can wager on heading into the 2017 season, and it’s an almost unheard of wager in the NFL.

 

According to the oddsmaker Bovada, the Patriots’ win total of 12.5 is the highest any team has had heading into the season in the last 10 years. The NFL is so unpredictable that it’s almost unheard of for bettors to think it’s a safe bet to pick any team to go 13-3 or better, but that’s exactly how bettors are treating this year’s Patriots.