Winners, Losers From Vikings’ Overtime Win Over The Saints In Wild-Card Round

After a thrilling opening to the playoffs on Saturday, the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints delivered another nail-biting finish on Sunday. Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins each had the chance to silence the skeptics, but only one stepped up when it mattered.

New Orleans’ offense came out slowly as Brees struggled to help this team find any rhythm. Fortunately for the Saints, folk hero Taysom Hill saved the day in seemingly every moment and kept this team alive.

Despite playing in a hostile environment and being underdogs, the Vikings brought it to the Saints in the Superdome. A healthy Dalvin Cook came back and looked strong, while Minnesota’s defensive line came alive with a relentless attack that kept this contest tight.

The game went into overtime, giving Cousins a chance to quiet the critics and reverse the narrative that he falls short in the clutch. That’s exactly what he did, delivering some of the biggest throws in his career and stunning the Saints, 26-20.

Here are the biggest winners and losers from Vikings’ stunning overtime win over the Saints in Sunday’s wild-card action.

Winner: We like that Kirk Cousins’ clutch gene

It wasn’t always pretty from Cousins. He missed some throws early, but his teammates kept this game alive. When opportunity knocked, and the Vikings needed their quarterback to step up in overtime, he delivered and became a hero in Minnesota.

While the broadcasters questioned the Vikings for putting the ball in Cousins’ hands, he quickly silenced them. His unbelievable 43-yard strike was placed in the perfect spot, putting Minnesota in position to win it. After Dalvin Cook couldn’t punch it in, Cousins dropped back and delivered the perfect pass to Kyle Rudolph to quiet the Superdome for good. We like that clutch gene, Kirk.

Loser: Stefon Diggs has more emotional outbursts than catches

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Diggs’ game-winning touchdown in the playoffs two seasons ago put Saints fans through a wave of negative emotions. This time around, it was Diggs who was left having emotional outbursts and frustration.

He didn’t even face Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Diggs was basically erased by Janoris Jenkins, whom the New York Giants gave up on. The star receiver’s most notable moment was an emotional outburst on the sideline. Diggs is a great player, but he showed on Sunday that he still has room to grow. If the Vikings want to keep their Super Bowl hopes alive and deliver another upset next week, Diggs will need to beat Richard Sherman to do it.

Winner: Vikings’ defensive line march through the Saints

Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans entered the playoffs with a healthy offensive line for the first time in weeks. We can’t imagine how much uglier things could have been if Minnesota’s ferocious front faced backups.

This was a collective effort of dominance. Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen dominated off the edges with three combined sacks and brought countless pressure on Brees. On the interior, defensive tackle Jaylyn Holmes came through in the clutch with a key fumble recovery. Credit to Minnesota’s front four, it overwhelmed the Saints all day and made the difference on Sunday.

Loser: Drew Brees can’t escape pass rush or father time

Brees looked incredible near the end of the season and set NFL records in the process. We never saw that version of the future Hall of Famer on Sunday. Instead, Brees looked like a 40-year-old quarterback who couldn’t evade a pass rush, struggled to make anything but the simplest of throws and made some costly mistakes.

When Brees wasn’t funneling targets to Michael Thomas, this offense struggled to gain yards. The biggest play through the air came from Taysom Hill’s arm then Alvin Kamara punched in the touchdown. Just when he started to put it together late, Brees committed another egregious turnover. Brees is certainly a Hall of Famer, but it’s hard to ignore his repeated failures in recent playoff moments.

Winner: Taysom Hill’s legend grows

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

It might be time to build Hill a statue. As Drew Brees struggled mightily in the first half, Hill came through for the Saints. He delivered the monumental 50-yard strike to put New Orleans at the four-yard line then delivered the key block on Alvin Kamara’s touchdown run.

Finally, Brees and the passing attack started clicking late in the fourth quarter. After moving the ball downfield, Hill broke open in the end zone and hauled in the pivotal touchdown to make it a one-score game. Oh, he also led the team with 50 rushing yards. After the Saints re-sign Brees this offseason, Hill must become their top priority.

Originally posted on Sportsnaut  |  By Matt Johnson  |  Last updated 1/5/20

All-time Super Bowl QB rankings: Tom Brady tops 61-man list

Five Super Bowls ago, the dominant pregame storyline centered around whether Peyton Manning was poised to become the greatest quarterback of all time.
Tom Brady’s preposterous stretch since then, including four more Super Bowl bids, two huge fourth-quarter comebacks and one MVP award all but settled that particular debate. Returning to the big game with this particular Patriots team almost feels like running up the score.

Brady’s place atop the quarterback mountain stands in stark contrast to the stature of his Super Bowl LIII counterpart, Jared Goff, who will be a few months younger than Brady was back in February of 2002, when the Patriots dynasty was born against the Rams. But where does Goff stack up against other Super Bowl starters overall?

To figure that out, I combed through the resumes of all 61 Super Bowl starting quarterbacks, including Goff. It’s important to note that for players like Johnny Unitas and Bart Starr, who started Super Bowls but whose peak years came before the Super Bowl era, I considered their entire careers, not just what they did from 1966 onward. I ranked all quarterbacks based on career achievements, with regular-season excellence, All-Pro/Pro Bowl appearances and seasons as top-five and top-10 players at the position carrying more weight than just Super Bowl success. (Spoiler: Jim Plunkett did not have a better career than Dan Marino. Sorry.)

The good news for Goff: He’s already ahead of a few Super Bowl starters. At 24 years old with the biggest game of his life ahead, he has a long runway to improve his resume.

To the rankings!

G.O.A.T. pasture

1) Tom Brady (Super Bowl record: 5-3 with Patriots)

2) Johnny Unitas (1-0 with Colts)

3) Joe Montana (4-0 with 49ers)

4) Peyton Manning (1-1 with Colts; 1-1 with Broncos)

5) Dan Marino (0-1 with Dolphins)

6) Brett Favre (1-1 with Packers)

These are the six men who could conceivably have an argument as being the greatest ever, although the breadth of Brady’s career now makes it difficult for the rest of the group. The first nine seasons of Brady’s career — which included three titles and an undefeated regular season — now look like an appetizer to Brady’s dominant Gronk-era peak.

It’s impossible to truly compare across eras because the game has changed so much, but Unitas (who played from 1956 to 1973) edges out Montana (1979-1994) and Manning (1998-2015) for the No. 2 spot because Johnny U was so clearly the best of his era and a transformative figure for the sport. Unitas collected three MVPs and five first-team All-Pro nods, and he displayed a sneaky statistical dominance compared to his competition.

Manning ultimately overwhelms Marino and Favre with individual honors and consistency. He was so rarely outside the league’s top-three quarterbacks during a career that included five MVPs. Marino is probably the best pure passer of this group. He was never supported with a top-10 running game, and he rarely played with a good defense. He shouldn’t suffer too much, historically speaking, just because of Don Shula’s personnel decisions. Favre has perhaps the strangest resume. He combines a brilliant peak with three consecutive MVPs and a career famous for its durability with some lesser efficiency stats than the rest of the tier. Still, there’s not that much separating any of these guys.

The best second tier ever

7) Steve Young (1-0 with 49ers)

8) Aaron Rodgers (1-0 with Packers)

9) John Elway (2-3 with Broncos)

10) Roger Staubach (2-2 with Cowboys)

11) Drew Brees (1-0 with Saints)

12) Bart Starr (2-0 with Packers)

It’s wild how similar the resumes of Young and Rodgers look. They both had to wait before taking over for all-time greats who just happen to be in the tier above. They each have two MVPs. They were both as athletic as any top quarterback who has ever played. Young’s teams went 94-49 in his starts, from 1985 to 1999. Rodgers’ teams have gone 100-57-1. Young gets the slight edge for now because his seven-year peak ranks with that of any quarterback who has ever played, but it’s only a matter of time before Rodgers moves up.

Elway was a physical marvel, won an MVP and earned three second-team All-Pro nods in his career (1983-1998), but his passing numbers (3,217 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 picks per year), when adjusted for his era, don’t stack up with the rest of the top 10. Staubach is a great “What if?” because he didn’t become a full-time starter until he was 29 years old. He’s still the consensus best quarterback of the 1970s and led the league in passer rating four times. He probably gets downgraded too much for the era he played in. Starr, who has a reputation for being a “winner” of the ’60s and early Super Bowl era without generating great stats actually has … pretty great stats. So does Brees, who just turned 40 — and just completed one of his best NFL seasons.

In (or should be in) the Hall of Fame

13) Fran Tarkenton (0-3 with Vikings)

14) Ben Roethlisberger (2-1 with Steelers)

15) Troy Aikman (3-0 with Cowboys)

16) Terry Bradshaw (4-0 with Steelers)

17) Joe Namath (1-0 with Jets)

18) Bob Griese (2-1 with Dolphins)

19) Len Dawson (1-1 with Chiefs)

20) Jim Kelly (0-4 with Bills)

21) Kurt Warner (1-1 with Rams; 0-1 with Cardinals)

22) Ken Anderson (0-1 with Bengals)

23) Ken Stabler (1-0 with Raiders)

Like Brees, Tarkenton was an undersized, undervalued but consistent star with an incredibly long run of statistical dominance. Roethlisberger has been a top-five quarterback for the better part of his career, especially after his second Super Bowl triumph (following the 2008 season). Aikman’s peak (1991-96) was impressive, but unfortunately too short. Bradshaw wasn’t great in the seasons preceding his first two Super Bowl triumphs (1975 and ’76), but he wound up being a league MVP and finishing in the top five in yards per attempt five times. Namath gets extra credit for his impact on the game, although it’s worth noting Griese had three more Pro Bowl appearances (eight to Namath’s five), one more All-Pro nod (two to one) and far more seasons in the top five in yards per attempt. The offensive line and running game help, but Griese deserves some legacy love!

Dawson was the best passer in a pass-happy league, leading the AFL in passer rating for five straight years (1964-68). Kelly, like Aikman, had a brilliant peak that wasn’t quite as long as that of some others listed here. Warner had a singular career, starting late before winning two MVPs and leading two different teams to the Super Bowl. Anderson still should be considered for the Hall of Fame, as he was the rare player to win MVP, Comeback Player of the Year and the Walter Payton Man of the Year award. He led the league in passer rating four times and earned a first-team All-Pro selection and two second-team nods, which is more than plenty of the names above him. Stabler finally got into the Hall in 2016, unfortunately after his passing.

Fun to watch

24) Donovan McNabb (0-1 with Eagles)

25) Boomer Esiason (0-1 with Bengals)

26) Daryle Lamonica (0-1 with Raiders)

27) Matt Ryan (0-1 with Falcons)

28) Earl Morrall (0-1 with Colts)

29) Eli Manning (2-0 with Giants)

30) Steve McNair (0-1 with Titans)

31) Russell Wilson (1-1 with Seahawks)

32) Rich Gannon (0-1 with Raiders)

McNabb was a top-10 quarterback for nearly all of his career, very often in the top five. I’m surprised he doesn’t get more Hall of Fame consideration. Esiason won an MVP (1988) and led the league in yards per attempt in that season and 1986. Lamonica was someone I didn’t fully appreciate until this exercise. While he was fattening up on a soft AFL, he made five Pro Bowls and nabbed two AFL Player of the Year awards. He finished his career 66-16-6 as a starter! Ryan has a number of seasons as a top-10 quarterback, although his MVP campaign of 2016 stands out as an anomaly.

Full List

By: Gregg Rosenthal

Winners and losers from the Divisional Round of the 2019 NFL playoffs

The Divisional Round of the NFL playoffs got underway Saturday night with the AFC’s top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs in action against the Indianapolis Colts. A week off did nothing to slow the Chiefs’ offensive momentum.

Led by Patrick Mahomes, who did not find his first career playoff start nearly as intimidating as the pundits thought he would, the Chiefs jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first half, and never looked back. The Colts hardly looked ready to play, nothing like the team that rode a 10-1 streak into the weekend. The Chiefs went on to win by a final score of 31-13.

The Cowboys and Rams met in LA for the late game on Saturday night to decide the first of the NFC Championship entrants. The Rams’ running game had no troubles against a usually stout Cowboys defense, and the home team rolled on for a 30-22 win.

On Sunday, the Patriots had no problems running around and through the Chargers, winning 41-28 to lock down their eighth consecutive appearance in the AFC Championship game.

The Saints turned aside the Eagles, sinking their hope of a Super Bowl repeat with a 20-14 win in New Orleans. The Saints will host the Rams there next weekend.

Winner: Michael Thomas

The postseason hasn’t been filled with inspiring performances from offensive skill players. But the Saints wide receiver changed that. He and Drew Brees single-handedly got the Saints offense rolling again after a slow start. His best catch of the day — and there were A LOT of them — was on the Saints’ go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter. Just watch it.

He finished the game with 171 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches.

Loser: Nick Foles’ magic

You can’t impugn what the guy did prior to this game. The Eagles wouldn’t have been playing this weekend, or last, if Foles hadn’t stepped up as the team’s “closer” again this season with Carson Wentz hurt. But he turned into a pumpkin again, underthrowing his receivers and just unable to get the ball to his receivers when the Eagles needed it the most.

With free agency looming this spring, Foles may have cost himself some money with his performance this week, maybe not much, but enough to notice.

Winner: Time of possession

It feels like we haven’t had a good conversation about time of possession since the early days of the Chip Kelly experience in Philly. This time it was the Saints putting on the clock clinic.

It happened in the third quarter. Trailing 10-14, the Saints got the ball at their own 8-yard line. From there they put together a grinding 92-yard touchdown drive over 18 plays and 11:29 minutes, essentially monopolizing the entire third quarter.

Winner: The Patriots defense

Absent most of the season, the Patriots defense looked like one of the NFL’s most fearsome in the first half of the game. Philip Rivers never had a chance against a pass rush that was previously dormant.

Loser: Philip Rivers’ legacy

He’s got more yards, more touchdowns and fewer interceptions over the course of his career than either Eli Manning or Ben Roethlisberger, but unlike those other two first-round picks from the 2004 draft, he does not have a Super Bowl ring. Instead, he and J.P. Losman have something in common.

Winner: Patriots running backs

The Chargers defense put on a clinic for how to stop a creative running game in last week’s win against the Ravens. Apparently, Patriots OC Josh McDaniels was able to find some holes in their game plan.

Sony Michel rolled up nearly 100 yards and scored three touchdowns … in the first half. He’s the first rookie running back in franchise history to rush for more than 100 yards in a playoff game. He finished the day with 129 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries.

James White, who led the team in receptions during the regular season with 87, was Tom Brady’s favorite receiver on the day, catching 15 of 17 passes for 97 yards.

The Patriots chewed up the clock with their running backs, leaving little time for Rivers and Co. to put points on the board. It also helped keep the workload light for their defense, and teased out what their game plan might be next week against Kansas City.

Winner: C.J. Anderson

The Rams signed C.J. Anderson in mid-December, when Todd Gurley was dealing with a knee injury. Anderson had been released by both the Panthers and Raiders earlier in the season and was really just supposed to be a warm body while Gurley could heal up.

Instead, Anderson has bulldozed every defense he faced. In two games to end the season, he carried the ball 43 times for 299 yards and two touchdowns — that averaged out to 7 yards per carry. But that was against two of the worst teams in the NFL, the Cardinals and 49ers. Next up was the playoffs — and a Cowboys defense that ranked fifth in the league against the run during the regular season. Last week, they held the Seahawks’ top-ranked rushing offense to just 73 yards on the ground.

Anderson had more than that in the first half alone: 12 carries for 78 yards. Even with a healthy Gurley back in the lineup, Anderson was a force in the Rams’ first playoff win in 14 years. He used his, uh, rotund frame to help the Rams dominate the time of possession and scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown.

Anderson was the leading rusher with 123 yards and two touchdowns. Plus, he did this:

All the Winners and Losers here



Winners and losers from ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 13

To say that we expected a well-played game between two teams in the Saints and Cowboys who had combined for 13 consecutive wins heading into Thursday night would be an understatement.

While we did see a ton of drama unfold in Big D, the game itself was not well played. Dallas fumbled the ball three times — losing two in the process. Drew Brees struggled to do anything of substance against a swarming Cowboys defense. That included pretty much a game-ending interception late in the final stanza.

In the end, Dallas came out on top by the score of 13-10 in a huge win for Jason Garrett’s squad. Here are our winners and losers from ‘Thursday Night Football’ in Week 13.

Winner: Byron Jones continues breakout season

Sep 23, 2018; Seattle, WA, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) waits for the Seattle Seahawks to finish player introductions before kickoff at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Jones didn’t necessarily shadow Michael Thomas during Thursday night’s win over the Saints. But he played a large role on the star receiver catching just five of eight targets for 40 yards. It’s in this that the Cowboys were able to do something no team has done this season — stop Thomas from going off. After all, the third-year receiver entered this week’s action having caught 89 percent of his targets on the season.

For fans in Dallas, Jones’ performance is not surprising. He’s been among the best cornerbacks in the NFL this season. Opposing quarterbacks posted a 67.4 passer rating when targeting him through 12 weeks. Drew Brees found out firsthand in Big D just how good this former first-round pick is.

Loser: Randy Gregory costs Cowboys big time

Nov 18, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory (94) reacts as he leaves the field after defeating the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Gregory had played well in the first half of Thursday’s game, recording a quarterback hit and getting into the Saints’ backfield multiple times. Unfortunately, it was one dumb mistake late in the third quarter that cost Dallas big time.

With his Cowboys up 13-3 and the Saints set to punt, Gregory was called for a roughing-the-punter penalty. It was as obvious as they come. And three plays later, the Saints connected on a 30-yard touchdown to pull the game to within 13-10. Earlier in the quarter, Gregory was also called for a 15-yard facemask penalty. These are the types of mistakes that will get you jettisoned from a roster.

Winner: Demarcus Lawrence comes up huge

Nov 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence (90) smiles as he celebrates a victory against the New Orleans Saints at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With New Orleans down 10-0 in the second quarter and deciding to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the Cowboys’ one, this All-Pro performer more than earned his bucks. Known more as a pass-rusher, Lawrence stuffed stud Saints running back Alvin Kamara before the goal line — ending the New Orleans possession without a point being scored. Dallas would go on to drive nearly the length of the field to take a 13-0 lead into the half.

Taking on a quarterback in Drew Brees who has been sacked only 10 times this season, Lawrence didn’t make a huge impact from a pass-rush perspective. But he saved seven points in stuffing Kamara. That’s no small accomplishment.

Loser: Drew Brees not sharp for first time all season

Nov 29, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) leaves the field after a game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Full Article

By: Vincent Frank


QB’s Who Might Be Looking For New Jobs After NFL Season

Written by Joel Corey at CBS

Quarterback stability is highly coveted in the NFL because it’s a vital ingredient for sustained success. Some of the NFL’s most significant transactions occur in an effort to get the position settled.

The 49ers made an unexpected move at the Oct. 31 trading deadline by acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo, whose rookie contract expires after the season, from the Patriots for a 2018 second-round pick. Garoppolo has yet to make his 49ers debut because he has been focused on learning the offense. There isn’t a set timetable for Garoppolo to play. Garoppolo is a prime candidate for a franchise tag, which is expected to be in the neighborhood of $23 million to $24 million, if a new deal isn’t in place by early March.

Demand is usually much greater than the supply of desirable quarterbacks typically available in the offseason, but 2018 might be one of the rare instances where this isn’t the case.

Here’s a look at the passers who could be on the quarterback carousel in the offseason:

Drew Brees QB / Saints

Brees recently reiterated his desire to finish his career in New Orleans although he is going to play out his contract, a one-year extension for $24.25 million signed early last season. The Saints no longer have to rely on Brees’ passing for success because of one of the NFL’s most potent rushing attacks and a perpetually weak pass defense that has been fixed. Brees is on pace to throw for under 4,500 yards for the first time since 2009. The 38-year-old demonstrated that he is still capable of winning games with his arm in an improbable Week 11 come-from-behind overtime victory against the Redskins.

Brees’ contract was structured with 2018 through 2020 contract years that automatically void on March 14, the last day of the 2017 league year. This voiding date eliminates the possibility of Brees being given a franchise tag since it is after the designation period ends March 6. If an extension isn’t worked out between the end of the season and the voiding date, the Saints will have an $18 million salary cap charge in 2018 regardless of where Brees plays next year because of the proration from the $30 million signing bonus he received with his 2016 extension.

It might make sense for Brees and the Saints to go year-to-year since Father Time is undefeated. The 2018 money could be converted into a real contract where the voiding of the 2019 and ’20 contract years is delayed until the last day of the 2018 league year in March 2019.

There isn’t anything in Brees’ history to suggest that he would give the Saints a hometown discount. His current contract made him the NFL’s second highest-paid player by average yearly salary when signed. Regaining that place in the league’s salary hierarchy would likely mean a one-year deal for 2018 in the neighborhood of $26.5 million.

Eli Manning QB / Giants

Expected to contend for the NFC East title, the Giants appear to be destined for a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Wholesale changes (front office, coaching, personnel) might be on the horizon. Manning spending his entire career with the Giants could be in jeopardy because of the disappointing season. Landing a high pick would put the Giants in position to find Manning’s successor. The Giants can’t deal Manning to another team without his permission since he has a no-trade clause in his contract, which runs through the 2019 season. The Jaguars have been most frequently mentioned as a potential destination for Manning because his former head coach Tom Coughlin is Jacksonville’s executive vice president of football operations.

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Players Who Are About To Cash In In Offseason

Written by Joel Corey at CBS

Signings leading up to the start of the regular season took players that would have been highly sought after in free agency or franchise tag candidates off the market. Most notably, Matthew Stafford reset the quarterback market when the Lions signed him to five-year, $135 million contract extension with an NFL record $92 million of overall guarantees during the preseason. His $50 million signing bonus is the largest ever for an NFL player. The $60.5 million fully guaranteed at signing is also an NFL record.

DeAndre Hopkins helped advance the ball for wide receivers by setting new standards for pass catchers with $49 million in overall guarantees and $36.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. His five-year, $81 million extension from the Texans ranks second only to Antonio Brown (Steelers) with a $16.2 million average yearly salary.

Contract-year players that escape serious injury and poor performance in the final year of their deals could see increased attention or riches in free agency with the salary cap expected to continue increasing in 2018 at the roughly 8 percent rate it has been in recent years. This type of growth should put next year’s cap in the $180 million range and keep producing deals during the first wave of free agency where good players are paid like elite players at their position and average players are overpaid.

Here are 15 players to keep an eye on during their contract year.

Kirk Cousins QB / Redskins

Cousins, who was designated as a franchise player for a second straight year, is playing the 2017 season for a fully guaranteed $23.9 million because he declined a Redskins offer reportedly worth $133 million over six years. This offer contained $72 million in overall guarantees, of which $53 million was fully guaranteed at signing. Under franchise tag rules, the Redskins are prohibited from signing Cousins to a multi-year contract until the end of the 2017 regular season on December 31.

Absent a long-term deal before the 2018 league year begins on March 14, Cousins will likely become an unrestricted free agent next offseason because of the high price of restricting him again. Although Redskins president Bruce Allen has indicated that designating Cousins as a franchise player in 2018 for a third and final time at almost $34.5 million is a possibility, it seems implausible, due to the steep cost. Another option is using a transition tag for $28.7 million, which would only give the Redskins a right to match another team’s offer sheet.

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2018 QB Market; Who Is In A Pickle?

Written by Albert Breer at

Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo were separated by 26 picks in the 2014 draft.

This fall, Carr will make $25 million. Garoppolo will make less than $900,000.

“I don’t think about it too much,” Garoppolo said, when I asked him about it the other day. “I’m happy for Derek. I know him from playing in the Senior Bowl and going through the draft process. It’s tremendous. He deserved it. It’s just one of those things. You’ve gotta go about your business.

“You start thinking about those things, you’ll get your head all twisted up worrying about the wrong things. When that time comes, I’ll approach that and go about my business that way.”

What’s uncertain is what’ll happen when that time comes at the end of this season. And that part is complicated, which is our lesson for this week: There are a number of teams facing tricky franchise-tag situations with veteran quarterbacks for 2018.

Here’s a rundown …

• Patriots: New England could effectively kick the long-term QB decision can down the road for another year by tagging Garoppolo at about $22 million in 2018. The issue there? Tom Brady is slated to make $15 million. So, to make this work, does New England have to give Brady a raise in the neighborhood of $8 million? And even if you got that worked out, and were willing to allocate $45 million to two players, would Garoppolo be OK with sitting another year while the team waits to see what a 41-year-old Brady looks like? It seems more likely this is an either/or proposition.

• Vikings: Both Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater are in contract years, and there’s only one franchise tag between them. When I asked GM Rick Spielman about it, he said, “We haven’t made any decisions yet. But I know through our roster planning and our cap planning, we have plans in place to have that position taken care of.” If Bridgewater sits out the year and his contract tolls—there could be a dispute over that down the line—Minnesota may be able to delay a long-term decision another here. At least for now, it seems that chances would be that one or the other will be a free agent.

• Saints: Drew Brees is in a contract year, publicly says he’s not worried about getting an extension done now, and has a no-franchise-tag provision in his contract for 2018. So in a way, New Orleans will have to prove to him that it’s still the right place for a quarterback who will be 39 years old when the free-agent gates open in March. And Sean Payton’s future beyond this year probably will play into that call, too.

• Redskins: This one’s been well-covered. It’d cost Washington a market-busting $34.47 million to franchise Cousins again, and $28.73 million for the team just to retain matching rights (with no compensation coming back if he leaves) via the transition tag. Meanwhile, Cousins knows he’ll have one natural landing spot (San Francisco) and might have two (Los Angeles, depending on Jared Goff’s play).

• Lions: Matthew Stafford is the other big quarterbacking name in a contract year, and by far the least likely guy on this list to change addresses. Detroit will get something done with him, but Stafford’s franchise number is high ($26.4 million), because his expiring deal has a big cap number for 2017. That, on paper, gives him the leverage to ask for close to $30 million per (2 tags = $58.08 million). Or he could give a little back there and ask for more cash to be guaranteed. Either way, he’s in a good spot.

To continue reading this article, click here. 

QBs On The Hot Seat For 2017 Season

Written by Jason La Canfora at CBS

We think quite a bit about coaches and general managers on the hot seat in the NFL. But what about quarterbacks?

Once you start assessing the state of each team’s starting quarterback situations, it’s a little surprising just how much change might be upon us next offseason as well. For how much is made of quarterbacks driving this league, and how difficult they are to find and how essential they are to keep, 2018 could end up being a wacky carousel.

So many QB deals are structured with teams flexible on keeping them, and a bunch of guys atop depth charts today have a tenuous grasp on their jobs. Add in the hype over next year’s quarterback class in the NFL Draft and the fact that a Hall of Famer like Drew Brees could be on the open market, and there is potential for some bold and bizarre moves ahead.

Could a true contender sign Brees short term and trade their high-profile current starter? Could a guy like Mike Glennon, the alleged top free agent quarterback signing of 2017, be out of Chicago in less than a year? Could a veteran Pro Bowl quarterback or two opt to retire?

When you start comparing contracts and talent, it has the potential to be wacky. Surveying the QB landscape, I grouped the starters at risk of being elsewhere next season into three categories. The list ends up comprising nearly half the NFL. And that doesn’t include Tom Savage,  because I am assuming Deshaun Watson wins that job outright.

Here are the 14 quarterbacks, rated from scalding to lukewarm to tepid:


Alex Smith QB / Kansas City

When a team in win-now mode goes up and makes a move as bold as what Andy Reid and John Dorsey did, and they do it for a top-ranked prospect playing your position, well, you time is pretty much up. And when you bank over $15M a year and you haven’t been able to get the team over the top and you don’t get the ball downfield and they clearly want to get more dynamic on that side of the ball, you have just become a place-holder. A highly-paid placeholder on a team with Super Bowl aspirations … but someone who everyone knows will be making way for Patrick Mahomes II in a year.

Josh McCown QB / N.Y. Jets

This is set up to be a one-year scenario and it will be a one-year scenario. If McCown is able to somehow help groom and bring Christian Hackenberg along to the point he can play a little — then he’s gone. And if he doesn’t, then he’s gone, because the Jets are going to be set up to draft the QB of their liking atop the 2018 draft regardless.

Blake Bortles QB / Jacksonville

It’s great that they picked up his fifth-year option and all, and maybe that gives him some confidence coming of a brutal 2016 season. But I don’t see Tom Coughlin truly sinking more big bucks into a player at this position who hasn’t developed, and actually has regressed some. This is a huge year for Bortles, without a doubt, and that option is only guaranteed for injury.

Drew Brees QB / New Orleans

It’s difficult to think of him anywhere other than The Big Easy, but that’s obviously not where he has spent his entire career and it might not be where he ends it. The Saintsdon’t seem to be inclined to do more one-year deals in the $22M range and they are going to need to identify a QB of the future soon enough. How much longer does Sean Payton stick around there? There is much uncertainty in New Orleans, and Brees could get one more big deal on the open market.

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Drew Brees Wouldn’t Tell His Wife If He Got A Concussion

Written by Jeremy Woo at

Saints quarterback Drew Brees offered a brief comment on the concept of self-reporting concussions when asked about Gisele Bundchen’s recent comments about her husband, Tom Brady, and his history with unreported head injuries.

Brees didn’t elaborate much on the issue when asked on the Dan Patrick Show. But he did say that he probably wouldn’t tell his own wife if he were to suffer a head injury of that nature, given that he wouldn’t want her to worry.

Brees agreed with the idea that self-reporting concussions falls in a “gray area.” Players aren’t always self-aware when they have concussions and oftentimes won’t want to leave the game anyway.

“I knew that something was not right. I knew that I was concussed,” Brees said, discussing his only publicly reported concussion, which took place in 2004. “But I didn’t take myself out of the game. I mean, I stayed in the game and played as long as I could until finally a coach pulled me aside and was like, ‘I’m looking out for you here, and you’re not gonna play anymore.’ …

“And that’s why it’s hard to change that mentality for guys. When you’re in the heat of the moment, heat of the battle and it’s competitive, you do not want to pull yourself out. That’s why the concussion protocols are in place where you’ve got the independent neurological consultants and the trainers and the referees. Everybody’s supposed to be looking.”

Brees, 38, is entering his 17th season in the NFL.

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Top Fantasy Performers for Week 3

Written by David McKracken at Bleacher

One thing is guaranteed about fantasy football. And that one thing is nothing is guaranteed.

There were a lot of busts in Week 3, with the likes of Kelvin Benjamin, Ben Roethlisberger and Will Fuller—who all have been fantastic to start the season—bombing big time for their respective teams.

You have to still love Roethlisberger’s value for the rest of the season, with Le’Veon Bell returning to the field in Week 4, but it was a definite shock to see his Pittsburgh Steelers get manhandled by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and the rest of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Heading the next round of action, there are a lot of favorable matchups for elite fantasy players, and Yahoo Sports has the projections for each player heading into Week 4. Take a look at the forecasted points leaders by position for that slate of games:

Note that kickers are not included and defenses won’t be given a “boom, bust or sleeper” label. 

Week 4 NFL Schedule
Date Teams Time (ET) National TV
Thursday, Sept. 30 Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinnati Bengals 8:25 p.m. NFL Network
Sunday, Oct. 2 Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars 9:30 a.m. CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans 1:00 p.m. CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Redskins 1:00 p.m. CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 Seattle Seahawks vs. New York Jets 1:00 p.m. FOX
Sunday, Oct. 2 Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots 1:00 p.m. CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons 1:00 p.m. FOX
Sunday, Oct. 2 Oakland Raiders vs. Baltimore Ravens 1:00 p.m. CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears 1:00 p.m. FOX
Sunday, Oct. 2 Denver Broncos vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4:05 p.m. CBS
Sunday, Oct. 2 Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals 4:25 p.m. FOX
Sunday, Oct. 2 New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers 4:25 p.m. FOX
Sunday, Oct. 2 Dallas Cowboys vs. San Francisco 49ers 4:25 p.m. FOX
Sunday, Oct. 2 Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers 8:30 p.m. NBC
Monday, Oct. 3 New York Giants vs. Minnesota Vikings 8:30 p.m. ESPN


Week 4 Quarterbacks
Rank Player Projected Points
1 Cam Newton 23.38
2 Andrew Luck 22.99
3 Kirk Cousins 21.96
4 Drew Brees 21.85
5 Blake Bortles 21.65
6 Philip Rivers 21.57
7 Brock Osweiler 20.58
8 Matthew Stafford 20.53
9 Andy Dalton 20.44
10 Derek Carr 19.67

Boom: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck’s offensive line is terrible; it’s not his fault he’s inconsistent throwing the ball. He’s an elite quarterback in this league and deserves better than what he’s getting with the Indianapolis Colts, but he’s still a fantasy stud.

He proved why he’s still one of the best signal-callers on Sunday in what has become a stereotypical come-from-behind win for Luck against the San Diego Chargers.

Luck is projected to score the second-most fantasy points among quarterbacks, with 22.99, trailing only the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton (who had a terrible game Sunday). The Colts have an easier matchup in Week 4, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, in what should be a shootout for both offenses.

Look for Luck to have time to throw the ball against a vulnerable Jaguars defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.

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