Jeff Haynes for Sports Illustrated/The MMQB
Will James Jones fill Steve Smith’s void in Carolina? (Jeff Haynes for Sports Illustrated/The MMQB)

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I’d love to hear some good reasons why James Jones, he of the 17 touchdown receptions over the last two seasons, is sitting on the sidelines of free agency, offer-less. He’s a very good deep threat whom Aaron Rodgers would like to have back. I don’t get that one. Jones and Cam Newton would make beautiful music in Carolina.

2. I think I like what the Broncos are doing in free agency; I appreciate the fact they’re growing some teeth on defense. On the other side of the ball, I realize Ryan Clady will return from his Lisfranc foot sprain (he was hurt in the Broncos’ second game last season) to nail down the left tackle spot in 2014. But Denver has lost effective guard Zane Beadles to Jacksonville and done nothing to improve the line in free agency. In the Super Bowl, Peyton Manning scrambled for his life much of the time. I counted eight “quiet” pockets when I re-watched the game, meaning only on eight pass attempts did Manning have all the time he needed to make a comfortable throw. I’m sure John Elway is concerned about the line, particularly right tackle Orlando Franklin’s ability to hold off quick outside rushers, but we haven’t seen him act on it yet.


Greg A. Bedard highlights the winners, the losers and the leaps of faith through the first four days of wild free agency spending.


Following the draft hopes of Boston College running back Andre Williams, Jenny Vrentas takes you behind the scenes at the Heisman finalist’s Pro Day.


Robert Klemko puts you inside Louis Delmas’ inner circle as the free agent safety contemplates an offer from the Dolphins that, quite truthfully, he could refuse.


New Orleans has a tough cap situation, but Andy Benoit explains why Who Dat Nation will be just fine.


The Raiders plan to spend money, just not all at once. Take it from Andrew Brandt, who once worked with Oakland’s GM.


Don Banks says the PAT is ... good! So leave it alone.


In the absence of real stats, this is how offensive linemen are graded.


We ranked the top 100 free agents. Click here for 100-51, and here for 50-1.

3. I think it’s amazing to see the decline in impact and market presence for B.J. Raji, who re-signed with Green Bay for one year and $4 million. This is a man who looked like a five-year, $40-million player a year or so ago. But you are what your tape says you are, and Raji’s tape stunk last season.

4. I think if I were Miami, I’d follow up with Devin Hester. He’s a “U” guy and wants to play for the Dolphins … Miami has $25 million free under the cap … The Dolphins have a pedestrian return man in Marcus Thigpen … What’s the delay? The fit is perfect.

5. I think this is how I view the first week of free agency for Seattle: totally understandable and justifiable. You think the Seahawks should have kept wideout Golden Tate, at $6 million a year, instead of letting him go to Detroit? You think Seattle should have kept proficient right tackle Breno Giacomini at $4.5 million a year, instead of letting him go to the Jets? There are two factors at play here. When you win the Super Bowl, teams come after your unrestricted free agents, and you’ve got to figure out which ones you should keep and which ones you can replace in the draft. Factor two: Seattle has to find a way to re-sign Russell Wilson, who will be in the last year of his rookie contract next season and eligible to renegotiate, and keep Legion of Boom members Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. The front office has to make all 2014 decisions with 2015 in mind. That’s why, to me, there was one must-sign for Seattle in this year’s free agency class: defensive lineman Michael Bennett. And the Seahawks locked him up for four years and $28.5 million a day before the market opened. When they made that signing, Seattle’s free agency business of consequence was finished, and rightfully so.

6. I think I like the Browns taking a run at Cincinnati restricted free agent Andrew Hawkins, committing $10.8 million in the first two years of an offer sheet so the Bengals won’t match. And Cincinnati almost certainly won’t. Though smurfy, the 5-foot-7 wideout is surprisingly physical and competitive in the air. Hawkins is a good player taken from a division rival who—most likely—will be the slot receiver for your team that Davone Bess wasn’t. Good move by GM Ray Farmer and Cleveland, who’ve got scads of cap room.

7. I think if I’m a Cowboys fan, and I’ve seen defensive ends DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher fly out the door, with Anthony Spencer soon to follow, I’m thinking: General manager Jerry Jones had better have an impact-player defensive draft, or owner Jerry Jones should fire the GM.

8. I think every year Julian Edelman is healthy for 16 games and has Tom Brady throwing to him, he’ll catch at least 100 balls.

9. I think it’s been a bad week for Cam Newton’s pass catchers: Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell signed elsewhere, and neither Hakeem Nicks nor Emmanuel Sanders became a Panther. But let’s judge the makeup of Carolina’s receiving corps in August, when training camp is in full swing, and not on St. Patrick’s Day. There are no games today.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. Best story I read this week: Andrew Solomon in the New Yorker, on how Newtown killer Adam Lanza’s father is coping with life after the inexplicable.

b. Imagine thinking your son would have killed you, your other son, Ryan, and your ex-wife, Nancy, if you’d all been together when Adam Lanza went on his rampage. That’s what Peter Lanza told Solomon would have happened: “With hindsight, I know Adam would have killed me in a heartbeat, if he’d had the chance. I don’t question that for a minute. The reason he shot Nancy four times was one for each of us: one for Nancy; one for him; one for Ryan; one for me.”

c. Hard to live with that, I’d say.

d. Second-best story: Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times, on a name you might remember if you’re a football fan of a certain age, former Seahawks center Grant Feasel, who died in July 2012 of acute alcoholism—and apparently from the effects of CTE.

AP Photo/NFL Photos
Grant Feasel was a 6-7, 278-pound center drafted in the sixth round by the Baltimore Colts in 1983. He suffered the effects of CTE later in life and died in July 2012 from alcohol poisoning. (AP Photo/NFL Photos)

e. How incredible a story, a jumbo jet disappearing. It’s amazing in this day and age there isn’t a fail-safe system that can account for an airplane vanishing.

f. Good week for my new rotisserie baseball team. When you draft Patrick Corbin, Brandon Beachy and Oscar Taveras, and they all start falling apart days after the draft, well, maybe it’s a sign that it’s going to be a long year. Or that you don’t know what you’re doing.

g. Jon Stewart is never not funny.

h. Coffeenerdness: Big fan of the reusable Starbucks cup that saves you 10 cents every time it’s used. Paid for itself in about a day and a half.

i. Beernerdness: Not that I have a go-to beer (well, I might if I lived in Seattle), but having Brooklyn Lager on tap at most of the places in my neighborhood is a very good thing.

j. Some journalism people to point out: ESPN’s Adam Schefter just had as good a week as I can remember in this business, breaking story after story of who was signing where. This is a rivalry business, naturally, but you’ve got to tip your hat to a man who is so on top of his game, and Schefter certainly is.

k. Good luck to Rick Reilly as he moves away from writing. It’s become fashionable to rap Reilly for some of his recent work, and he’s not without his faults. (Nor am I, as you all know very well.) But I’ve always viewed his prose as I-am-not-worthy stuff, so much of it brilliant. He raised the bar for sportswriters everywhere. I’ll miss reading him.

l. Hey, Jay Glazer! Feel better. The man’s got double pneumonia, and that cannot be fun. He had a tough time in the hospital last week.

m. Saturday was Sid Hartman’s 94th birthday. The Minnesota media legend (there is a bronze statue of him outside Target Field) still works six days a week, writing three or four columns for the Star Tribune and doing daily radio spots. He also does a radio show on WCCO on Sunday mornings, and then hosts a sports TV show on Sunday nights. Can I have that energy, please, for four more decades?

n. Louisville, fourth-seeded? So there are 12 teams in America that are either better overall than Louisville or playing better right now? I don’t think so. I’m a basketball doofus and even I know that stinks.

The Adieu Haiku

Do not grade teams now.
Free agency just one piece
of a big puzzle.

themmqb.com

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137 comments
JessieERichardson
JessieERichardson

just as Josephine implied I'm surprised that a mom can get paid $8270 in 1 month on the computer . see this site..............................



---------------ZℯℯJob.COM------------GET-work-at-home---

JimKelly
JimKelly

Grant Feasel had one of the best nicknames: The Fighting Weasel.


RIP

RobertMacArthur
RobertMacArthur

I agree with the other comments on here.  This guy as an East coast liberal snob, so full of himself it grates.  I like to think he knows something about football but even there he just seems to mostly give you either hype or the obvious and come on like he's omniscient or something.  You're not that cool, buddy. 

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

I refuse to watch NFL live, anymore. Not even the Super Bowl. Why? Because it's 3.5 hours to watch 1 hour of game. That's insane.


Get rid of replays altogether.


PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

Can't the NFL find a way to do replay's quickly?  The system is too slow and has become an excuse for more commercials.  FOX immediately goes to commercial as soon as there is a review and not just 1 commercial.  Speed it up.  The NHL has a great system, just suck it up, be men and admit that another league does it better.  No one will care, they just want it done efficiently regardless of who thought of it first.  

skanee00
skanee00

Some fans, such as myself, are worried about gimmickry taking over the NFL. A close examination of the way the game is played today, however, shows that it is already ruled by gimmickry. The one chuck in five yards rule is a gimmick meant to artificially make the sport a passing game.

raffellis
raffellis

Look up the definition of erstwhile.

BB2
BB2

Pete, screw these knuckleheads who come here to troll. Its your column, write it your way. Also, you should come to San Diego for good beer...

a couple of thoughts while the owners are all meeting over $50 drinks and $500 wines...

 

as noted below, they should have an 18 week, 16-game schedule, two byes each team, play the Super Bowl on the second week of February, 


Don't cut preseason games, just cut their prices. The games are all about a team getting depth, and not for the starters anyway. Don't charge starter prices.


Adding another team to each conferences playoffs is fine. It goes from 37.5% (12/32) of the league to 43.7% (14/32). It doesn't add weeks, and makes winning the conference extra special. But, reseed based solely on record, so the Niners don't come in second and get screwed.

gsperson
gsperson

It's been a long time since I read this King fellows column. I see he's still a self important tool.

anon76
anon76

@SI_PeterKing


OK Peter, I challenge you to look through your writer Bedard's "Pressure Points" articles and find one game other than the Super Bowl where the Broncos O-line looked as incompetent as they did during XLVIII.  They showed up unprepared at the big game and had by far their worst outing of the season.  They're still the best pass protection unit in the league by some margin- why worry about their capabilities instead of the other 31 units that give up so much more pressure on their QBs?

Chris8
Chris8

In regards to playoff expansion: "I’m hearing it’s probably a matter of when, not if."

That's the same thing the sports media was saying about the 18 game schedule just 3-4 years ago.  Seems every other year sports media says "I'm hearing it's probably a matter of when, not if" in regards to an NFL team in L.A.  SI, ESPN, and all the rest talk about these things like they've already happened.  While it's still a possibility I don't think it's a stretch to say that the 18 game initiative has lost most of it's steam.  And we're going on 20 years now waiting for that supposedly inevitable L.A. team.

Until the playoff change actually happens it's still very much an "if."

jonpa31
jonpa31

Middle class? Really?

RS1022
RS1022

Danny Trevathan replaced Wesley Woodyad at WOLB.

Correction: Wesley Woodyard was the Starting WOLB for Denver in 2012 and played near a pro bowl level, excelling in coverage. In 2013 Trevathan was considered an equal if not better option at WOLB and Woodyard who is a team first guy was moved to ILB, despite being too small. He ended oh getting too beat Up and ineffective and was ultimately replaced by Paris Lennon. He's a great leader and WOLB.

pvburchett
pvburchett

THE KICKOFF


Could Einstein have seen

In the first ball's spinning flight

A season's fortunes?


Kevin11
Kevin11

All of those college bowl games hasn't made college football better. There were 35 bowl games this year. Remember when there were only about 12? The soccer-momming of NCAA football (finish at .500 or better, you get a bowl game. Here's your participation trophy, don't forget to see the treats mom on your way out.) has made the college post season unbearable.


So, the last thing the NFL needs is to head down this path. I believe the top 2 teams in each conference deserve that week off, and their respective home field advantages. Make the other teams prove their worthiness. 

Dani
Dani

six wild-card games instead of four : what would Roger Goodell do to get more money. One day, mark my words, there will be 16 playoff teams.

ConradWesleyClough
ConradWesleyClough

As a long suffering (but recently blessed) Seahawks fan, I would have liked to have seen them keep Golden Tate, but not at anything like the contract Detroit was willing to give him... Detroit is a great place for Tate to continue his career, and with a a team that features a more pass happy offensive attack and a guy like Johnson opposite him to draw all the double coverages, I think it will a place where Tate can really shine.

Getting back to Seattle's free agency, I would have liked them to try to hold onto either Red Bryant or Clemmons for at least another year, and either Thurmond or Browner for another year if possible (this would have required a new contract though, unlike the case with the aforementioned defensive ends). One person I am not sad to see leave is Giacomini... he has his good points but he gets penalized way to much.  I see people arguing that he was much better on the penalty front last season then he was the year before, and that is true, but he still ties for 3rd most penalized player on the Seahawk's roster with 8 penalties last year, and he missed 7 games due to injury. Had he been healthy there is every chance he would have reached or even topped his number of penalties the year before (13).

Enusmith1
Enusmith1

The PAT will never go. It is another stoppage in play in which the NFL can show 5 minutes of commercials.

BillfaloBuf
BillfaloBuf

New England should go after Steve Smith.  Put him, Edelman and Amendola on the field at the same time and no one would be able to see the Pats receivers.  Unfortunately, no ball would ever hit the ground either.  Don't yell!  It's just a joke!

Buck2185
Buck2185

Peter, great picture of the head referee in the replay booth. I always wondered why it took them so long in that booth. But now, since I saw you under the booth table in that picture, I no longer wonder.....

Redskins
Redskins

No movement is expected on creating centralized replay at the league’s officiating control center, but I’m hearing that owners will discuss and consider—and that’s the word I keep hearing, consider—allowing league officiating czar Dean Blandino to consult on replays while the referee is determining whether to uphold or overturn the call. This wouldn’t be a cure-all for bad replay decisions, but it would be a safety valve to help prevent horrible calls like the one Jeff Triplette mauled in Cincinnati last season, when he awarded Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis a touchdown even though he appeared to be down shy of the goal line in the replay.


I'm all for replay but how would this work? How much time would it add? What if Blandino is dealing with another problem? Please hold, Mr. Coleman, in Cleveland, Mr. Blandino is on the line with Mr. Triplette in Chicago! Nurse!

JeffRyanCarlson
JeffRyanCarlson

As for the Oakland Raiders and their free agency movements the past week, it shouldn't be hard to read the tea leaf. They are probably gonna take the best available offensive tackle in the upcoming NFL Draft. When I look at Jared and Rodger, I think they are good offensive linesmen, but the one from Texas A&M and Auburn are not just good, they are great. So, as a Raiders fan, I'm not concerned about what they are doing now, except I hope they do bring back Charles Woodson. 

MadDoser
MadDoser

"Died July 2012 of acute alcoholism—and apparently from the effects of CTE".  So is the excuse we use for every single football player now when they have any sort of mental issue in their life?!?!?  For crying out loud there is a large percent of the normal population that has mental disorders (bipolar/alcholism) and I would expect at LEAST that percent of NFL players to have disorders.  Maybe more since they are dealing with fame/fortune and a short career.  Tired of using CTE as an excuse for every single issue...

dbum
dbum

i dont usually do this but, the idea of a sports haiku is about the dumbest f0ckin sh1it ive ever heard. and yours are about as uninventive and boring as ive read. 

VanHayhow
VanHayhow

@RobertMacArthur  Now they are not correct. But I have a question. If he was a conservative from the midwest snob, would you complain? I ask because subscribe to a magazine on music and stereo equipment and one of their featured columnists occasionally writes on topics that touch on political issues. He would get letters like your post. Finally, in response to one such letter (you are liberal, you should stick to stereo equipment or music, etc.) he pointed out that he had written many things that didn't agree with typical liberal positions (and he did this specifically and as I read his column I knew he was correct) and said he had never received a letter from a liberal telling him to stay off politics. Curious, isn't it? 

gregatacd
gregatacd

@billthompsonbaby  PVR. Fairly ubiquitous now and pretty much solves the problem. Just don't browse the web while watching (and why would you since there's NO BREAKS except for the ones you create getting another beer or 3 for yourself).

VanHayhow
VanHayhow

@billthompsonbaby  Well, to make it worse, the WSJ put a stop watch on a game and started it on the snap of the ball and stopped it when the whistle blew. The actual playing time was around 10 to 11 minutes for the game.

billthompsonbaby
billthompsonbaby

@PhillyPenn  I haven't been a hockey fan in the past, but I watched the Winter Olympics and I have to say hockey is much more exciting because the game doesn't stop nearly as much as NFL football.

raffellis
raffellis

@raffellis Many (even professional writers) mistake erstwhile for "steady" or "consistent." It means formerly--once was. Doesn't apply to Jared Verdheer.

Frotoon
Frotoon

Was just thinking the same thing. I read the football parts, and skipped over his non-football parts where he talks about picking his toenails.

Joebuckster
Joebuckster

@anon76 @SI_PeterKing  And... Beadles, according to ProFootballFocus.com, was the weak link on the line - by far  - and the Broncos were right to let him be overpaid on his new contract. See ya. With Clady back, his replacement simply slides into Beadles spot and it's an instant upgrade. Maybe King should just write a 'My Non-Football Thoughts of the Week' column and leave the football writing to people who actually watch and understand the game.

RS1022
RS1022

@Chris8  What makes more sense is an 18 week season were each team plays 16 games... More TV revenue and prime time games and better rested players... Improve safety too as They could give automatic byes to teams before they play on Thursday night...


18 playoff teams is too many... With 12 teams, there are too many 8-8 teams making it.  NHL and NBA have to have everyone make playoffs, because so much of revenue is from the gate... NFL doesn't need it....

Stephen Reeve2
Stephen Reeve2

@jonpa31  If the "middle class" has to suffer through a $5-7 million contract, well I must need food stamps.

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

@RS1022 Good luck to Wesley Woodyard in Tennessee but he is too small to play in the middle.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@Kevin11  Putting every one in the post season makes the regular season less interesting.  


The league points to higher interest at the end of the year because more teams are in the playoff hunt, but they miss the fact that the start and middle of the season become less interesting because it doesn't matter if a team starts 2-4 or 1-5, they still have a chance to make the playoffs.


If half of the league gets into the playoffs, the regular season becomes a formality that you're just trying to get through without getting hurt.  See the NBA, NHL, MLB, as they have expanded their playoffs.


Oh well, owners just see more playoff games, which means more television money and higher ticket prices.  They don't really care if stadiums are half empty the rest of the year except in the biggest and most dedicated markets.

Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@Redskins  As far as I'm concerned, every replay in every sport should be handled by a central league office, and if conditions are so terrible that the league can't get a satellite feed from the stadium, then you just don't have replay.  We're in a day where thanks to satellite TV packages, literally every game in every city is available coast to coast in real time, so there's no excuse not to centralize to speed up the process and get it right.


Why do we need an official to waste his time going over and looking under a hood when the analysts and fans have already seen the replay from multiple angles?  Why do we need a coach to throw a flag after he waits for his coach upstairs to see the play, when we could just let an official who actually knows the rules look at it and make a judgment before the coach could even have the time to throw the flag?


Bearsclone
Bearsclone

@MadDoser  It's likely that a lot of those people in the general population also have those conditions because of CTE or similar effects.  Youth sports are arguable worse for your brain than playing in the NFL, because there's less supervision, your brain is still developing and fragile, and you take more of the smaller, less traumatic hits that add up to CTE or other long term damage.


The difference between the average person and an NFL player is that if you kill yourself or have severe emotional or physical problems, no one is going to look at your brain to look for CTE damage.

foaming.solvent
foaming.solvent

@MadDoser  So, you commented without reading the linked Seattle Times article. Had you looked at the linked article, you would have seen the pictures of slices of Feasel's CTE-atrophied brain.

davidhd
davidhd

@MadDoser  I couldn't agree more with that comment. Also, is it the chicken of the egg? Do extremely large men, in both size and ego, who like to bang their bodies into each other and play a full contact sport for money have a hyper-aggressive side before playing football, or does the strange mental attitude and emotional baggage come entirely FROM football. I think we're oversimplifying this issue because it's popular and profitable to make everyone a victim in our culture, but that's just my opinion. 

anon76
anon76

@dbum  

Don't complain to us, complain to the folks that trussed you up Clockwork-Orange style and made you read it!

TaterSalad
TaterSalad

@dbum  D Bum does not like

The trivial King  haiku

It's easy to skip

Mike26
Mike26

@dbum  Thanks for the fascinating comment dbum!

RS1022
RS1022

Regarding Denver's O-Line

1. Peyton makes the line look better than they are because he gets rid of the ball so quickly.

2. Beadles was the weak link as he graded in red nearly every week in profootballfocus

3. Ryan Clady was sorely missed during the SB... Instead if one OT needing help (Franklin who has trouble w speed rushers), they had two. Hopefully Clady's foot is okay, as superior footwork is a cornerstone to his game.

4. If Su'a-Fila OG from UCLA is around at 31, and they don't trade back, he's their #1 pick.

tyronedamone
tyronedamone

@Redskins @foaming.solvent@MadDoser

There may not be a causal link, but CTE does affect the frontal lobe, which is responsible for executive functioning (planning, judgement, decision making skills, inhibitions, etc).  When this area of the brain is damaged, like it is in CTE, all of these processes can be impaired.  While it may not directly cause alcoholism or the abuse of other substances, damage to this area of the brain can predispose those with the disease to make more impulsive decisions, and it is not uncommon for people with CTE to have concurrent substance abuse issues.

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