…no, I am not really going to talk much about Zeke here. But I will say, now I know how the rest of the world felt about the Deflategate circus. Well, I knew how they felt anyway on that, since I felt the same way. Dragged on for far too long, with all the appeals and all the lawyers and all that nonsense. Serve the suspension already. That’s how I felt about Tom Brady at the time, even though I thought the offense was ridiculous and that every team likely does something similar, just that the Patriots were dumb enough to get caught. In a nutshell anyway. But I just wanted him to serve the suspension so that the whole thing went away.
Now, Elliott is supposed to start serving his six game suspension after the latest court ruling this week. But does anyone think it is really “over”? Zeke’s men are “considering all options” and, though I am far from an attorney, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the field during the Cowboys next game in Week 7.
The reality is, he has (allegedly) a brutal history of domestic violence. Again, serve the suspension already. You know you deserve it. Not to mention some jail time too. Zeke gets six games for “allegedly” beating women on a regular basis. Brady got four for taking the air out of footballs. Sigh…
That’s enough of that…from me anyway.
As for the picks, almost picked the correct score for Thursday Night this week (picked 27-24 and ended up 28-23). Solid. Better game than I thought it would be as well. We shall see if this is a good sign for the rest of them…
Green Bay (-3.5) at Minnesota
Minnesota is always a tough place to play. Divisional matchup to boot. But Case Keenum under center again. No Dalvin Cook. No Stefon Diggs. Tough for me to take the Vikes here.
Green Bay 27, Minnesota 17.
Cleveland at Houston (-9.5)
All aboard the Kevin Hogan bandwagon!! Hell, I don’t know if Hogan can actually play. But with the Texans injury issues, I feel like taking the points with the Browns here. I know, Houston put up 57 on the Titans at home 2 weeks ago and even 34 at home against the Chiefs in a loss a week ago. How does anyone think the Browns are going to stop these guys? I don’t know. I just feel like the spread is too big. I’ve been wrong plenty though.
Houston 24, Cleveland 17.
Miami at Atlanta (-10.5)
On the flip side, this spread may not be big enough. In Atlanta, who is off a bye and off a terrible loss at home to Buffalo before the bye. This could be over by halftime.
Atlanta 44, Miami 10.
San Francisco at Washington (-9.5)
Yup, I’m taking the points with another awful team on the road. The Niners have lost all five games they have played. But did you realize that 3 out of the last 4 have been on the road and they have lost all 4 by a field goal or less? Sure, some of the competition has stunk too (Colts, Cardinals). But the other 2 (Rams, Seahawks) were decent foes. Similar to Cleveland, they may not win. But I’m looking for them to keep it close.
Washington 31, San Francisco 24.
Chicago at Baltimore (-6.5)
Mitchell Trubisky looks like he has some skills. But he looked nowhere near ready to play in the NFL when I saw him last Monday night. I don’t expect that to change against the Ravens.
Baltimore 23, Chicago 13.
Detroit at New Orleans (-4.5)
I put my faith in the Lions last week, while acknowledging it could be a mistake. Surprise! It was. Not this week. The Saints at home off a bye. Stafford banged up. Feeling good about N.O. I’m sure I’ll be wrong on this one though.
New Orleans 27, Detroit 20.
New England (-9.5) at New York Jets
Battle for first place!!! Who saw that line ever being printed in 2017, regarding the AFC East? No one. But this is where the Pats kick it into high gear and take off. So says me. Brady hurt? Pffffffft. This one won’t be close.
New England 38, New York Jets 17.
Los Angeles Rams at Jacksonville (-2.5)
Goes without saying that these two teams, both sitting at 3-2, are the biggest surprises (on the positive side) in the league this year. Unless you count the Bills and the Jets with the same record…which I don’t. Although maybe I should count the Jets, since they did beat Jax. Anyway…the Jags have been kind of inconsistent this year, alternating dominant efforts with mediocre to poor ones. So I haven’t bought in on them at all. But last week’s demolition of the Steelers in Pittsburgh finally got me to take notice. So I guess it’s time for me to actually pick them to win for once.
Jacksonville 28, Los Angeles Rams 24.
Tampa Bay (-2.5) at Arizona
The Bucs stunk a week and a half ago and still almost came up roses at the end. Arizona simply stinks. Don’t try to convince me that AP is going to save the day here either. Certainly not this week.
Tampa Bay 31, Arizona 13.
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland (-3.5)
I don’t believe that the Chargers have been as bad as their record. Oakland probably has played as bad as their record. Derek Carr is back after missing the last game. Maybe Amari Cooper will finally show up too. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking that I think Oakland takes this game. They were supposed to be battling for one of the top seeds in the conference after all. Maybe this is the springboard.
Oakland 31, Los Angeles Chargers 24.
Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-3.5)
Is Big Ben done? I hope so! KC seems like a juggernaut. Typically, this is where the underdog wins and makes everyone look foolish. Sticking with the Chiefs at home this time though.
Kansas City 27, Pittsburgh 23.
New York Giants at Denver (-11.5)
The Giants lost 14 wide receivers for the year last week. Zero running game. Plus their coach seems to be a buffoon. And they plain suck this year. Denver coming off a bye should be ready to roll in this one.
Denver 34, New York Giants 17.
Indianapolis at Tennessee (-1.5)
Could go either way on this one. Mariota or Cassel, does it matter? Indy has surprised to go 2-3 in the absence of Andrew Luck. The Titans have underachieved for sure. Divisional matchup. I have no idea.
Tennessee 20, Indianapolis 17.
Week (against the spread): 1-0
Week (straight up): 1-0
Season (against the spread): 38-40
Season (straight up): 49-29
So now we are over a week into free agency. As you know, most of the huge money across the league flies out in the first couple of days. There are still some very desirable stragglers, but most of the big-ticket dudes sign right away. The Patriots, as you also know, made some unexpected moves. Of course, we will cover everything that has happened thus far in this post and the one that follows. Thank you for listening.
Arriving: Dwayne Allen, Brandin Cooks, Rex Burkhead
Returning: James Develin, Michael Williams, Matt Lengel
Departing: Martellus Bennett
In limbo: LeGarrette Blount, Cameron Fleming
Who cares?: Brandon Bolden, Michael Floyd, Greg Scruggs
Worth mentioning: Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Amendola
First, the trades:
*Allen from the Colts, along with a 6th round pick, for a 4th rounder. This was the first shoe to drop for the Patriots in the free agency period. A gamebreaker, by no means. But we all knew Bennett was going to chase the green once he got to free agency. He got his ring, now it was time to get paid. No problem with that, good for him. Highly doubtful the Pats were going to throw a ton of money at him anyway. So they got someone else for just dropping down a couple of rounds in the draft. Belichick was going to turn that 4th rounder into a 6th and a 7th or something like that anyway. May as well get a useful player while we are at it.
In any event, even though Allen isn’t Bennett, it appears to be a move worth making. His contract extension signed before last season is kind of silly for what he has(n’t) done in the NFL…3 more years at roughly 17.5 million left. But he is supposed to be a pretty good blocker and also a nice red-zone target. So can’t complain much here. Besides, hopefully Gronk stays healthy for 19 games this year. Yeah…
*Cooks from New Orleans, along with a 4th round pick, for 1st and 3rd rounders. Always have to wonder when a stud 23-year-old receiver, who in 3 years in the league has two 1,000 yard seasons already, gets dealt. Why did the Saints want to unload this dude? Yeah, he supposedly whined about not getting any targets in a blowout win last season. But what stud wide receiver DOESN’T do that sort of thing?
Is there another reason he was available that we don’t know about? Maybe. Perhaps he was impressive in putting up those stats indoors with Drew Brees his QB in a pass-first offense. And can’t transition to cold weather or something. I don’t know. But I don’t care. The first rounder given up was last in the round. I’d rather have the guy that has proven he can play in the NFL a bit anyway instead. The third rounder given up? Bill would have just taken some random dude from Rutgers. No big loss. The fourth rounder acquired looks like it will be given up due to the last remaining piece of the Deflategate penalty. But Bill would’ve just taken another guy from Rutgers there too…so I’m not losing sleep over that either. I’m all-in on this one.
*Rex Burkhead? I’m not doing cartwheels. But it seems like a solid move. I’ll tell you one thing…if this means Bolden is gone, I MAY do some cartwheels. I asked for an upgrade at backup RB. Rex could be that guy. Looks like he can contribute a helluva lot more offensively than Bolden can. That’s enough for me. I can’t imagine the team picked him up to be the lead back. I’ll feel a little differently if that is the case. Let’s see what the dough is…
*Williams/Lengel. Can’t hurt. That’s about all I need to spend on these guys.
*Blount. He will be back. I feel it. Jamaal Charles, Latavius Murray and Adrian Peterson are still out there. Along with plenty of other flotsam and jetsam. But I don’t see it. If Blount thought he was going to cash in because of the 1,100 yards and all those TD’s, he was mistaken. He knows the system, Bill loves him and all that. He will eventually take a small deal to return, much to my dismay.
*Fleming. He’s restricted. No one else is paying him 1.8 mil. He will eventually be officially in the fold.
*Floyd. I would’ve taken a flier if no other moves were made at the position. Despite the fact he has some jail time to serve. But Cooks’ acquisition has closed this door.
*Amendola. Love this guy. Hated him when he first got here. Several big catches, great attitude, team player…and then some…eventually won me over. Has a cap hit of almost 8 mil next year though. I’m sure he would restructure (again), but it may be over. Cooks, Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell ahead of him on the depth chart. If Bill keeps a 5th, he’s a special teamer…or just uses Matthew Slater there. Only 4 are usually active on game day. All the injuries. Belichick loves his depth elsewhere more than he does at this position. We will see what happens and I’d love to keep him. But the signs are there…and it doesn’t look good.
*Garoppolo. I’ve changed my mind. I now believe that those reports of the Pats not trading him for ANYTHING are true. He stays. But the Pats already have thrown a few surprises at us already. So watch him go.
Here’s what I believe now though: Jimmy Football stays this year. Tom Brady is owed 1 million cash in 2017, 15 mil cash in both of 2018 & 2019. With all of the cap room available still in 2017 (even after a few more signings to go), I believe the Patriots rework Brady’s contract this offseason. Use a ton of cap space in 2017 for Brady, then add some bogus years to spread things out. And pay him a ton of cash in 2017 & maybe 2018. Have it all work out where it is essentially a 2 year deal, with the majority of the cap hit occurring in 2017.
Then the Pats franchise Jimmy in 2018. Yup. If Brady’s cap hit is huge in 2017 and low in 2018, they can afford to do this. Instead of you know, spending and/or having cap hits of like 50 million on 2 QB’s in 2018.
I may have confused anyone that actually reads this with all that crap above. Bottom line? Brady is the QB for the next two years. Jimmy takes over in 2019, when Brady will be 42. Will Tom still be able to play at a high level at age 42? Perhaps. But do you think Bill is going to bet on that? It’s never been done. Bill is going to err on the side of caution here.
Now…get ready for a Garoppolo trade next week…
Since the season starts (for the Pats) starts in about a half hour (as I start typing this), here’s some random observations…basically since the team started camp. No rhyme or reason, no particular order, completely all over the place. But no, no more roster projections. I can promise you that.
*The starting offensive line tonight appears to be Cameron Fleming/Joe Thuney/David Andrews/Ted Karras/Marcus Cannon…YIIIIIIIIKKKKKKKEEEEEESSSSSSSS!!!!
*The Patriots have re-signed some of their upcoming free agents recently: Matthew Slater, Jonathan Freeny & Rob Ninkovich, to be specific. I do love Ninkovich, despite him being an idiot and getting suspended for PEDs. Have an “expert” check the labels next time Nink. But if I had to pick three of the impending free agents to re-sign, these wouldn’t be the first three. Devin McCourty restructured today apparently too. I HOPE all of this means they have created some decent cap room and are locking up Jamie Collins for several years.
*The rest of the impending free agents? I’m not worried about Malcolm Butler next offseason. He’s restricted. If they sign Collins, they can franchise tag Dont’a Hightower. Jabal Sheard? Would love to keep him, but I bet they let him go, especially after some other team throws a ton of dough at him…assuming he has a good year of course. Logan Ryan & Duron Harmon? Replaceable. Martellus Bennett? A luxury this year. Sebastian Vollmer? Injury-prone, seems likely if he wants to stay, he will have to take a huge pay cut. Point being? Sign Collins ASAP and the rest should fall into place.
*Yes, the Julian Edelman “losing Brady is like one of your friends going to jail” comment is silly. He was on the same team with Aaron Hernandez at one point, no?
*If Jimmy Garoppolo is truly is affected by the Tom Brady banner hanging at Gillette Stadium, is he the person we want quarterbacking the team?
*Jacoby Brissett looked pretty good in the preseason. But if Jimmy Football struggles out of the gate, do people really think he will be better? At least now? Not so sure about that.
*Gronk has a bad hammy. Uh oh.
*Brady is keeping sharp by throwing to Gisele. That should work.
*Surprised DJ Foster is inactive. Thought they may go short passing game tonight. Wouldn’t be shocked if they showed a bit of no-huddle. Running game is average, at best. Line is potentially brutal. Foster could help there. Maybe we will see some Brandon Bolden out there in his place. Yuck.
*People were surprised that Cre’von LeBlanc and Kamu Grugier-Hill were left off the final roster. I was. But do we really think that these guy will end up being superstars elsewhere? Doubtful.
*Gametime. Moving on. Prediction? Ugh. I think the Pats will show better than most think. But the obstacles are too great. Arizona, 24-17.