Every Sunday our NFL columnist Anthony Stalter provides his quick-hits from the week that was in the NFL.
+ The Ravens had no choice but to sign Ray Rice to a long-term contract, and the deal wound up being fair for both sides. Rice will receive $8 million per year, which is more than fair for his production level. The Bears were also wise to sign Matt Forte but had Chicago rolled the dice and Forte wound up holding out, at least the Bears still have Michael Bush to fall back on, as well as an improved passing game that features Brandon Marshall. Had the Ravens not signed Rice and he held out into the season, Baltimore would have relied on the backfield duo of Joe Flacco and Anthony Allen. Yikes.
+ Troy Polamalu gave the media and fans a very honest, very realistic look into the world of the NFL by telling Dan Patrick earlier this week that he’s lied to trainers about injuries so that he could stay in games. Nobody should be under any grand illusions that Polamalu is the only player that has lied about whether or not he was hurt so that he could re-enter a game and in some respects, he should be lauded for providing reality into the situation. The problem, of course, is that there’s a list of former players that filed a suit against the NFL trying to prove that the league is responsible for not telling them about the dangers of concussions. It’s going to be hard for these players to prove to a judge that the NFL has been negligent about anything when current players are lying about their injuries to get back into games. That said, the game has changed, especially when it comes to the treatment of concussions (which were once viewed as a joke by teams and players). Still, the players on these concussion suit can’t exactly be thrilled by Polamalu’s comments, no matter how honest he was being.
+ Who knew Santonio Holmes was such a comedian? During a recent podcast for NFL.com, Holmes essentially scolded the New York media for being too negative when it comes to reporting on the team and then told them that if they wanted to feel important, they should only report on the positive aspect of the Jets. First off, I didn’t realize that the New York Jets cut the paychecks for the staff at the New York Post. I also didn’t realize that the Post was supposed to be a group comprised of cheerleaders that provided unwavering support for the Jets. Holmes’ comments are laughable and he’s one to talk considering back in October of last year he called out his entire offensive line for not giving Mark Sanchez enough time to throw. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black – if Holmes wants the media to be positive he should start by being positive himself.
+ Another week, another slew of arrests for the NFL. Marshawn Lynch was booked for driving under the influence after weaving lane to lane with two near collisions. What’s interesting is that the mistake could wind up costing Lynch $17 million in guaranteed money because as an NFL exectuvie tells Sirius XM Radio’s Ross Tucker, a suspension for conduct detrimental or substance abuse defaults the guaranteed money in Lynch’s four-year, $31 million contract. Now, there’s a good chance that the Seahawks won’t touch Lynch’s money but if they did, not calling a cab will have cost the running back $17 million. Ouch.
+ Of course, Lynch wasn’t the only player arrested recently. Elvis Dumervil, Dez Bryant, Robert Quinn, Kenny Britt and Aaron Berry all ran afoul from the law from everything from driving drunk to assault with a firearm to smacking their mother around (in the case of Bryant). Granted, it’s not as if NFL players are the only ones committing crimes. We just hear about them because of their celebrity status. But it’s almost unfathomable that these players refuse to learn from their peers and in the specific case of Britt, how one player can be arrested so many times since coming into the league. This is a guy that has been booked four times in the last two offseasons; it’s unbelievable. These players are essentially co-workers that continue to ignore the endless supply of warning signs that are around them. Front offices must be praying nightly that they don’t receive phone calls at two in the morning from now until training camp opens.
+ If Norv Turner had one foot out the door last year then he’s got about three fingertips on the door frame heading into this season. It was surprising that the Chargers didn’t fire him last year considering the Chargers couldn’t take advantage of the hot mess that was the AFC West. Regardless, he absolutely has to win this season and not just one playoff game – he better be knocking on the door of the Super Bowl. That said, why should Turner get whacked and A.J. Smith be saved? When was the last time A.J. Smith hit a home run in the draft? And because he plays hardball with free agents his talent is evaporating on both sides of the ball. So if Turner gets axed then he and Smith should be sharing a cab out of San Diego.
+ It was pretty smart of the Jets to include a “poison pill” in Darrelle Revis contract. Rex Ryan and Mike Tannebaum were clearly annoyed with Revis’ holdout situation a couple of years ago and were hell-bent that a repeat wasn’t in the works. Revis announced earlier this week that he’ll report to camp on time this year, although it may not have been on his own accord. According to a report earlier this week by ESPN.com’s James Walker, if Revis skips camp his current deal would be automatically extended by three years. Considering Revis wants to get to free agency as quickly as possible, that would not have been a very favorable situation for him.
+ You have to appreciate Michael Vick’s confidence in the Eagles. Said Vick earlier this week, “When I look at our football team and what we have on paper, I think about when I was growing up and the great San Francisco 49er teams, the great Green Bay Packer teams, and the great Dallas Cowboy teams, how they just positioned themselves to compete and be one of the best teams out there I think we have a chance to be that. I think we have a chance to develop a dynasty.” Obvious Vick’s comments shouldn’t be overexposed because he was really just trying to convey his optimism in his current team. But dynasty? Try winning one Super Bowl before you claim you’re on the path of winning multiple Super Bowls.
+ How about Terrell Owens? Dude claimed he was broke a couple of months ago but faced with the prospect of going to prison, all of a sudden he had enough money to pay back the child support that he owed. Funny how that works.
It’s Week 1 in the NFL, so you know there are going to be some juicy headlines heading into this weekend’s action. Here are my top 5…
1. What will Rex Ryan and the Jets do for an encore?
We’ll have to wait until Monday before we see “Hard Knocks” play out on the field, but Ryan’s squad is going to get a stiff test right off the bat. The Ravens are loaded offensively and some believe could challenge for a Super Bowl berth this season. Meanwhile, Darrelle Revis is back at practice after holding out for 36 days, but is he ready to play after missing all of training camp? How will his chemistry be with a defense that he hasn’t played a live game situation with in over seven months? Can the Jets live up to their own Super Bowl expectations? Something tells me we’re going to find out a lot about both of these teams in four nights.
2. How will the new-look Redskins fair?
The Redskins were a disaster under Jim Zorn last year, so owner Daniel Snyder hired Mike Shanahan to help restore order and then signed off on a trade for Donovan McNabb. Now questions remain not only about McNabb’s health, but about whether or not he has enough help around him. The O-line is still a major question mark, as are the running back and receiver positions. On the other side of the ball, Shanahan has been feuding with Albert Haynesworth for the better part of a decade and rumors have started to circulate that he could be traded to Tennessee (uh, Haynesworth – not Shanahan. That would be ridiculous.). Kind of a bad time to be playing on national television against a divisional rival that is expected to be a Super Bowl contender, huh?
3. Kevin Kolb gets stiff opening test
All eyes will be on Kolb this week in the first game of the McNabb-less era in Philly. He won’t have time to get acclimated to the situation for very long, because the Super Bowl-hopeful Packers are coming to town with their top ranked defense from a year ago. It’ll be interesting to see what the backfield combination of Kolb and Shady McCoy will produce in their first live run of 2010. The offensive line is good and Kolb has plenty of weapons in the passing game thanks to DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin, but if McCoy can’t find running room then the Packers will certainly amp up the pressure. This could wind up being the best matchup on the Week 1 schedule next to Ravens-Jets’ bout on Monday night.
4. Mike Martz’s Windy City Debut
If you’re like me, I’m waiting for one of two things to happen in Chicago this year: Jay Cutler becoming the second-coming of Jeff George in Martz’s offense…or Jay Cutler becoming the second-coming of Jeff George in Martz’s offense. George, if you remember, could zip the ball around a football field as well as any quarterback in the league. Too bad he also forced passes into small windows instead of throwing it out of bounds or take sacks. He was also a pistol when it came to dealing with teammates and coaches, which is not unlike Cutler. It stands to reason that given Cutler’s skill set, he could wind up having a great season under Martz. But considering his offensive line still isn’t that good and he’ll be throwing the ball even more than he did last year, he could also wind up breaking the NFL record for interceptions in a single season. Either way, it should be fun.
5. Welcome to the NFL, Sam Bradford
Unlike some people, I don’t mind when teams start rookies at quarterback. The best way to learn the game is to play and while young signal callers are going to make plenty of mistakes, they’re also going to gain valuable experience as well. Bradford needs a better set of receivers than what the Rams currently have on their roster, but it’s not like the team is sending him into a firefight with a water gun and a shank. The offensive line is improving and having Steven Jackson in the same backfield will help take some of the pressure off of the rookie’s shoulders. He’s going to make some dumb mistakes and chances are, he’s also going to make some plays that make you say, “Hmm, nice throw kid.” Either way, Week 1 isn’t going to make or beak his future. It’ll be fun to see how he does in his first NFL test though.
Just missing the cut…
6. Is Maurice Jones-Drew healthy?
7. Brady and Welker sans car accidents and knee injuries
8. T.O. and Ocho Act I
9. Can the Texans finally get the Colts monkey off their backs?
10. How will the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers fair with Dennis Dixon under center?
11. Pete Carroll makes his debut in Seattle
12. Will we actually see Brandon Jacobs’ head explode if Bradshaw gets more opportunities in the Giants’ offense?
It took roughly 35 days for Darrelle Revis to settle his contract dispute with the Jets.
Thirty-five long days.
The details have been announced and the terms of the deal are that Revis will receive a four-year contract worth $46 million and he’ll also get $32 million guaranteed.
Here’s why it works for all parties:
Revis: He’s not going to make as much as Nnamdi Asomugha on a per-year basis, nor will he be able to call himself the highest paid cornerback in the NFL (two things that were apparently important to him when the process started). However, he’s going to walk away from this deal with $36 million in guaranteed money, so at the end of the day who gives a flying Rex Ryan about being the top paid corner? Thirty-six million guaranteed is $36 million guaranteed. Plus, he skipped all of training camp (which is the time of year players absolutely hate) and shows up just in time to play in the Jets’ opener next Monday night.
Jets: They were never going to pay Revis what he was asking for, but considering they were able to hang onto their best defender and sign him to a deal that allows them to sign other players is what the Jets wanted for themselves all along. Obviously if he continued to hold out then they wouldn’t be out anything financially, but it would have come at the price of losing their top defensive player. The Jets believe that they’re a Super Bowl contender and if they are going to accomplish their goals, then they need Revis locking down one side of the field.
Rex Ryan: Had Revis held out for even a fraction of a year, it would have compromised what Ryan has already started to build in New York. He led this team to the AFC title game last year and while I applaud him and the Jets for saying that they could have gotten by without Revis, the fact of the matter is that he’s their most vital piece defensively. Without him, it stands to reason that the Jets could have gotten by with rookie Kyle Wilson. But with him, they should return to the top of the league in all defensive categories and now Ryan can continue to work on what he started last year with the Jets. With him, they’re contenders (playoffs or otherwise) again.
Mike Tannenbaum: The dude can finally go back to sleeping at night.
Revis didn’t get what he ultimately wanted in the end, but nobody should be insinuatating that he “lost” this battle. He just skipped all of training camp, will play a full 16-week season and now has $36 million in his back pocket.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting via his Twitter account that the Jets and cornerback Darrelle Revis have reached an agreement in principle to a new deal, although the specifics have yet to be announced.
Filed to ESPN: Jets and CB Darrelle Revis reach agreement in principle. Revis will fly to NY, sign contract and be on field next Monday nt.
Darrelle Revis is scheduled to be at the Jets training facility tomorrow to sign the deal. Numbers likely to be a team, but not NFL record.
“Darrelle is not here, and we’ve planned accordingly,” general manager Mike Tannenbaum said on a conference call with reporters. “We feel good about our depth at corner. We have six guys that can help us, and that’s the group we’re going to be moving forward with.”
“We have to move forward,” Tannenbaum said. “We’re playing ball in a little over a week, and that’s what we’re prepared to do. We feel good about the roster we have; we feel good about our coaching staff. Over the course of a 16-game season, there are going to be a number of players that are unavailable. Traditionally it’s for injuries; one happens to be a contract issue.”
Good for the Jets. They drew a line in the sand and stuck to it. I don’t get what Revis expected to happen; the Jets told him that they would never pay him what he wanted and he still continues to hold out. It’s amazing how much money this guy is going to leave on the table just because he wants to carry the moniker of being the highest paid cornerback in the league.
I’ve got news for you Darrelle, with the way free agency works in the NFL, you would only have been the highest paid corner for the next couple of years and then somebody would have topped your figures. So just play some damn football already.