Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

If you need a QB to go out and win you a game, Alex Smith isn’t your man

Quarterback Records When Their Team Allows 21+ Points
www.footballperspective.com

As for Smith? There are 121 quarterbacks who started at least 40 games where their teams allowed 21+ points. Smith has the 8th worst winning percentage among that group, behind David Carr (0.065), Archie Manning (0.068), Fitzpatrick (0.104), Lamar McHan (0.116), Eddie LeBaron (0.120), Ron Jaworski (0.130), and Jeff George (0.156).

You knew that already, right? Still, he's a Chief, so it's fun to rub it in. Smith's winning percentage in such games is a woeful 16.3%. As for gross wins over expectations, Peyton Manning ranks second only to Tom Brady, while John Elway is tied with Norm Van Brocklin for fifth most.

Could the Jets trade for Philip Rivers or Drew Brees next month?

With QBs Drew Brees and Philip Rivers possibly in mix, Jets could make moves
www.nydailynews.com

Rivers has one year left on his contract and said he has no intention of signing an extension before the end of the 2015 season in part because of the uncertainty of whether the Chargers will be playing in Los Angeles in 2016. Maybe he doesn’t love L.A., but could he love the New Jersey countryside for his wife and kids?

If they're to drop the LOLJets moniker, such a move would be a good place to start, even if Tom Telesco and Mickey Loomis are downplaying the possibility of moving Rivers and Brees, respectively.

HOFer Chuck Bednarik passes away at 89

Chuck Bednarik, Famed Football Tough Guy, Dies at 89
www.nytimes.com

Chuck Bednarik, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Hall of Fame center and linebacker, one of the last N.F.L. players to commonly play on both offense and defense and a legendary football tough guy, died Saturday in Richland, Pa. He was 89.
...
They called him Concrete Charlie, and while Bednarik worked during his off-seasons as a salesman for a concrete company, the nickname perfectly captured his fearsome presence as a jarring blocker at center and a thunderous tackler at middle linebacker.

RIP

OTC: Broncos still in line to get four compensatory picks

Last Call On The 2015 Compensatory Pick Projections
overthecap.com

Some I feel quite confident in, such as the very first compensatory pick that will almost certainly be a 3rd round pick to New England for Aqib Talib (those will be highlighted in green). There are others I feel will be awarded but may be off by a round due to missing the cutoffs too far or from improper cancellations (those will be highlighted in yellow).

Our friend Nick Korte is projecting Denver to receive a fourth-rounder in return for Zane Beadles, a sixth-rounder for Shaun Phillips, another possible sixth-rounder for Knowshon Moreno, and a seventh-rounder for Robert Ayers.

Barnwell: Terrance Knighton, Rahim Moore two of best free-agent bargains

The 10 Best Free-Agent Deals (So Far)
grantland.com

In general, though, you’ll notice that perennial contenders like the Ravens and Patriots seem to do their business well after free agency begins. That’s not a coincidence.

Denver got Vance Walker at half of Washington's price for Knighton, while Darian Stewart surely signed for a fraction of what Houston paid Moore (no details are out yet on Stewart's contract). That seems like a bet on Wade Phillips and his scheme, as much as anything else.

MMQB/OTC: Pats engender contractual goodwill by rewarding players

The Biggest Gamble in the NFL’s Wildest Offseason Week
mmqb.si.com

The Patriots can also be very quietly generous with their players to build that trust with a player who performs. Last season the team reworked the contract of Sebastian Vollmer to give him a better chance of earning incentives in his contract that he missed the year before because of injury. Often they give even their practice squad players a boost in salary at the end of the year. When the time comes to ask players for a pay cut later on, I am sure that these things are remembered. They play a different game than anyone else in the NFL.

This seems like a page the Broncos should take from the Pats' playbook. Over the past two offseasons, we've seen several young Broncos depart unhappily. BTW, love seeing Jason Fitzgerald getting his proper due.

Report: Peyton Manning’s pay cut came with a no-trade clause

Peyton Manning’s new deal has a no-trade clause
profootballtalk.nbcsports.com

Even without a no-trade clause, it’s unlikely that any team would trade for Peyton Manning if he didn’t want to play for that team.  Still, Peyton asked for and received a commitment that the Broncos won’t, and can’t, ship him to another city, in 2015.

Two guesses as to the reason behind this: either Peyton doesn't entirely trust John Elway and thought a trade might be possible, or the NFLPA wanted to be sure that Manning got something in exchange for taking a pay cut for the first time. Over the years, it's often been suggested that the union wouldn't want any of its marquee players taking pay cuts.

Led by Brandon Marshall, 56 Broncos receive performance based pool bonuses

Brandon Marshall, C.J. Anderson top Broncos' performance-based bonuses
espn.go.com

Linebacker Brandon Marshall, a player who had been released three times by the Jacksonville Jaguars and spent almost all of the 2013 season on the Broncos’ practice squad before finding his way into the lineup, led the way at $277,471.04.

These bonuses aim to help compensate players who have low cap numbers (mostly minimum salary guys on rookie deals) but play a significant percentage of their team's snaps. Each team allocates the same amount toward the pool, which is not charged against the salary cap.

OTC: As of now, Broncos would have two 2016 compensatory picks

2016 Compensatory Draft Pick Update (3/13/2015)
overthecap.com

Andrew Mason has an excellent article for the team’s official website (and cites OTC) that demonstrates work that John Elway has done to project picks for the Broncos, coming to a similar conclusion as my program has. Denver holds two picks now but has the potential to get more.

Per Nick, Denver would net a third-rounder for Julius Thomas and a fourth-rounder for Orlando Franklin, and could also benefit from Terrance Knighton earning a weight incentive in Washington. Among remaining free agents, Wes Welker and Nate Irving could potentially add to that.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be laughing about this Joe Don Duncan signing

Futures: Two Non-College Prospects
www.footballoutsiders.com

I still may be reaching with my comparison for Duncan, but based on what I’ve seen his comparable upside is within the range of Heath Miller: not fast enough to be an every-down, vertical threat, but a fluid athlete with strength and excellent hands in tight coverage who can win in the open field.

There's also a likening to Dallas Clark in Waldman's evaluation. Obviously, we should all be somewhat cautious before getting too excited.

But we should also consider the possibility that Duncan was just waiting for the right situation, and that the departure of Julius Thomas made him see Denver as precisely that. (h/t 303user and aldenbrown)