Category Archives: #RumorHasIt

#RumorHasIt: 7 NFL Offseason changes that will change next seasons playoff picture

No one is safe from an off-season move. If the NBA Trade Deadline taught us anything, it’s that no matter how much you’re worth, trades and free agency can still change the dynamic of any team in the league.

Here are seven NFL teams facing off-season decisions that will impact the playoff picture in 2018. There are a lot of quarterback decisions to be made, which keeps free agency exciting.

Philadelphia Eagles, NFC Eastlarge (1)

Yes, the Eagles just won Super Bowl 52. They also just lost their offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, to the Colts and their QB coach, John DeFilippo, to the Vikings. Aside from potentially learning a new offense, the Eagles are also at a crossroads in their quarterback battles (Foles vs Wentz) along with upgrading and maintaining their defense.

Although he was named Super Bowl 52 MVP, the Eagles aren’t expecting to start Nick Foles in 2018. With Carson Wentz, a potential regular season MVP, the Eagles can’t chose Foles to start.

Foles is with the Eagles through this season, and I expect him to play a bit, but unless Wentz gets injured again, he won’t start any games for the Eagles.

Currently, the Eagles aren’t seeking a new offensive coordinator to replace Reich, who just signed as the new head coach for the Colts. With questions about continuing their success in 2018 without an OC, the team may try to find someone later in the off-season as other teams make moves.

Another big question mark for the Super Bowl Champions is the state of their defense. Super Bowl hero Brandon Graham reportedly wants to stay with the team, and has already let the Eagles know he wants to retire as only an Eagle. If this doesn’t happen, the Eagles will need to find their next star on the defense.

New England Patriots, AFC EastFarmvilleMiddle

After advancing to their third Super Bowl in four years, the Brady-led Patriots are poised for another playoff run in 2018. With no news on retirement from Brady or Belichick, the Patriots dynasty will continue as planned.

Now that Josh McDaniels remains with the Patriots, there isn’t going to be a new offense for the team, but there are still a couple of major decision on the offensive and defensive side of the ball that will impact how successful the 2018 season plays out.

Star tight end Rob Gronkowski, who suffered a concussion in the AFC Championship game against the Jaguars but played in Super Bowl 52, is considering retirement. He had an excellent season, coming back from a leg injury and posted a 100+ yard, two touchdown performance in the Super Bowl.

Only 29-years-old, and already a 5-time Pro Bowler, Gronkowski is weighing his options, following the Patriots loss to the Eagles.

On the defensive side, the Patriots are expected to release cornerback Malcolm Butler in free agency and need to find a high-talent pass rusher to keep up with the league.

Minnesota Vikings, NFC Northminnesota-vikings-logo-transparent

The biggest decision for the Vikings comes at quarterback. With the injury to Sam Bradford, five-year veteran Case Keenum took over the role of starter. Finishing the season 12-3, Keenum and Bradford are both about to be free agents. The Vikings will be deciding who to choose moving forward, and if Teddy Bridgewater is in the mix.

I expect the Vikings to move on from Bradford, potentially franchise tag Keenum and then the conversation will be between Bridgewater and the NFC surprise, Keenum. There are also rumors that Kirk Cousins could end up in Minnesota this off-season.

In addition to their quarterback dilemma, the Vikings are also in the midst of an identity crisis. After boasting the top defense in the NFL last season, the Vikings gave up nearly 500 yards to the Eagles in the NFC Championship.

Luckily, a majority of their defensive line remain under contract through 2018 and will continue to help the Vikings defense.

Indianapolis Colts, AFC Southi

With a new coaching staff, the Colts will need big changes to get back in the playoff picture in 2018.  The biggest question for the Colts is whether quarterback Andrew Luck will be healthy enough to play in 2018.

After missing the entire 2017 season with a shoulder injury, the Colts had an abysmal 4-12 record. With Jacoby Brissett at the helm, the Colts don’t necessarily need to rush Luck into playing.

Aside from the quarterback question, the Colts are in need of defensive improvements. Last season, the Colts were near the bottom of the league in every defensive statistic. Injuries to key players played a role in their disappointing season, but this off-season could be what they need to turn things around.

Under new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus, the Colts have switched to a 4-3 defensive scheme that will help them pressure the quarterback more than their previous 3-4 scheme.

With questions about the status of running back Frank Gore with the Colts next season, I expect them to draft a running back. Although they just drafted Marlon Mack last season, and his season was productive behind Gore, I don’t think he’ll make his career with the Colts.

Arizona Cardinals, NFC WestteamPic117911-25092-1di6loo

The Cardinals suffered some major injuries that caused them to miss the playoffs last season. With injuries to star running back David Johnson in week 1 and starting quarterback Carson Palmer in week 7, the Cardinals looked to their reserves to get them through the 2017 season.

Finishing 8-8, the Cardinals are looking to Johnson’s return to help them in 2018.

After 15 seasons, Palmer has called it a career, announcing his retirement in January. Along with Palmer, head coach Bruce Arians also retired follow the season, leaving a new coaching staff to revitalize the struggling Cardinals.

Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert and Matt Barkley all stepped up after Palmer’s injury, leading to his retirement. Stanton became the starter for the remained of the season, but all three are bound to be free agents in March. The Cardinals will have to decide if they want to go with one of their current backups or draft a new franchise quarterback.

On the defense, the Cardinals sit in the middle of the league in most statistics. With a handful of 2017 starters entering free agency in 2018, the Cardinals will need to be smart about their acquisitions to get back to the playoffs.

Los Angeles Rams, NFC Westlarge

In 2017, Sean McVay saved the Rams from everyone’s expectations. With Jared Goff and Todd Gurley having the best seasons of their young careers, the Rams put together an 11-5 season and made it to the NFC Wild Card game before losing to the Saints.

With most of their offense returning, the biggest moves for the Rams should come for their defense.

Cornerback Trumaine Johnson and safety Lamarcus Joyner are both set to become free agents. Alongside stars Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn, Johnson and Joyner had exceptional 2017 campaigns. Donald was named defensive player of the year.

The Rams would like to keep Quinn, but he may have to accept less money to stay with one of the best teams in the NFC next season.

McVay took the league by storm, transforming one of the worst offenses in 2016 to one of the best in 2017. His contract is through 2021, but he’ll have to continue to prove himself on the field to keep the Rams moving in the right direction.

Pittsburgh Steelers, AFC North51bxeTuGmPL

Le’Veon Bell wants to be paid better for the impact he has for the Steelers. After losing to the Jaguars in the AFC Divisional Game, the Steelers were shocked.

After the tough loss, and end of their season, three major decisions need to be made for the Steelers.

  1. What kind of contract do they want to offer Bell? How much is he worth to them?
  2. Who will be Ben Roethlisbergers replacement?
  3. How can they improve their defense?

First, Bell is set to become a free agent in March. If the Steelers don’t want to lose one of the best running backs in the NFL, they’ll need to pay him. A lot. The Steelers are considering offering Bell a franchise tag, again. Worth upwards of $15 million, Bell accepted last year, but only so he was on a roster and could play.

Next, Ben Roethlisberger is going to be playing in his 15th season, all with the Steelers. In the next few years, he is expected to announce his retirement. This means the Steelers should start developing his replacement this season.

Draft a quarterback in a later round of the draft and give him some playtime in the preseason. Let me learn and grow under a veteran quarterback and hope he is ready whenever Big Ben calls it a career.

Last, the Steelers need to upgrade their defense. With the loss of Ryan Shazier (praying for a speedy recovery), they need to fill his linebacker spot. With Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Bell on the offense, the Steelers weakness is their defense. Upgrading their safety position and linebacker spots would improve the who team, without spending too much money in the off-season.


#RumorHasIt NBA Trade Deadline Roster Moves

That’s a wrap on the NBA Trade Deadline.

The Cavaliers made some of the biggest moves today, but the Clippers and Pistons made some impressive deals earlier this month that will help them down the road.

Here are the biggest deals that went down:

Clippers-Pistons deal: 1/30/17

After sending Chris Paul to the Rockets in the offseason, the Clippers are preparing for the long run.

Approaching this seasons trade deadline, the Clippers dealt Blake Griffin to the Pistons in a big deal involving three players and a pick for each team.

In addition to Griffin, the Clippers gave up Brice Johnson and Willie Reed, both minor level players, in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic and a first & second round draft pick.

Griffin was the primary target for the Pistons, and both Harris and Bradley add good value to the trade.

A heartfelt letter from Griffin:

UPDATE: Willie Reed has been acquired by the Bulls for Jameer Nelson and a swap of second round draft picks and will be waived by the Pistons.

Cleveland-Lakers deal: 2/8/18

After playing in just 15 games this season with the Cavaliers, Isaiah Thomas is headed to the LA Lakers in a huge trade for both teams.

The trade makes sense for both teams, but I’m surprised the Cav’s are already parting with Isaiah Thomas. Last season, Thomas led the Celtics to the best record in the Eastern Conference and was able to advance to the ECF before they fell to the eventual NBA Champion Cavaliers, where he landed in the offseason.

Admittedly, IT hasn’t had the best time in Cleveland. Coming back from a major hip surgery, he has only seen the floor in 15 games this season. Averaging less than 15 points/game is not what we’re used to seeing from Thomas who finished last season as the third best scorer (28.9ppg) behind only Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

Aside from sending Thomas to the LakeShow, the Cavaliers are also parting ways with 13-year veteran Channing Frye.

In his third season with the Cav’s, Frye is only averaging 4 points/game in 12 minutes/game–the lowest of his career.

Because they still have a 1st-round pick from the Brooklyn Nets, the Cav’s used their own pick to complete this blockbuster trade.

For the Lakers, a one of the youngest teams in the league, to get a former All-Star like IT is going be change the dynamic of the team.

When they’re both healthy, I expect Lonzo Ball to play shooting guard with Thomas at point guard. That could be a lethal combination.

In return, the Cav’s are getting Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers to build around Lebron.

Clarkson and Nance, both young players with only 5 seasons combined, prior to this season, are both playing at high levels.

Clarkson is right on pace with all his career averages and Nance is playing the best basketball of his young career.

The Cavaliers are adding two young players that they can invest in and develop without serious impact on their salary cap, while dealing away Thomas and Frye who were racking in the money for minimal game-changing impacts.

Cavaliers-Jazz-Kings deal: 2/8/18

In another big trade for the Cavaliers, a major trade involving three teams plays out like this:

Rodney Hood is having the best season of his career in Utah, and George Hill is a proven veteran. The Jazz get Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose, but reports say they plan on releasing Rose.

UPDATE: The Minnesota Timberwolves plan on signing Rose, once he clears waivers.

Crowder came to the Cav’s in the offseason trade with the Celtics involving Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas and Co.

The Cav’s will send Iman Shumpert and Joe Johnson (along with a 2nd-round pick in the 2020 draft) to the Kings.

Neither Shumpert nor Johnson were averaging double digit points for the Cavaliers this season. Both Hill and Hood were getting plenty of points for their teams.

Cavaliers-Heat deal: 2/8/18

In yet another big move by the Cav’s, they’ve sent veteran Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat for a protected 2nd-round pick in the 2020 Draft.

After a 13 years with the Heat, Wade was traded to the Chicago Bulls two years ago, but only played their last season before coming to Cleveland. After playing in 46 games for the Cav’s, averaging 11 points in 23 minutes, Wade will head back home to South Beach.

Wade is the Heat’s franchise leader in games, points, assists and steals.

Knicks-Nuggets-Mavericks deal: 2/8/18

The last major trade of the day involved just three players and two draft picks.

The Nuggets traded Emmanuel Mudiay to the Knicks, who traded a second round pick back to the Nuggets and Doug McDermott to the Mavericks, who traded Devin Harris to the Nuggets.

McDermott will now rejoin former high school teammate Harrison Barnes on the Mavericks team, who is trying to get back in the playoff race.

After these big trades, I expect to cover over who starts in Cleveland, how Isaiah Thomas and Lonzo Ball mesh and how Blake Griffin has helped the Pistons.

Until next time.