Prime Cuts

Slices of great NFL content from around the web

Why the one-and-a-half-yard line?

Extra Points: How the PAT Could Change by This Fall
mmqb.si.com

There was much debate about making it the 1, the 1-and-a-half or the 2. The feeling about putting it on the 1 was that it could turn into too much of a scrum/push-the-pile play, or a fluky puncture-the-goal-line-with-the-ball-and-bring-it-back play by the quarterback.

This is a strange concern. If the types of plays PK mentions here were such sure things, then they'd be used far more often when teams have a yard to gain. Just put it at the one, and give teams the option of kicking for one or going for two. There's something gimmicky about using multiple lines of scrimmage or putting it at the 1.5-yard line.

Julius Thomas: I didn’t quit on the Broncos last season

Julius Thomas: Memories of March Madness
mmqb.si.com

But I gave everything I had to help our team win last year and be successful, and I don’t have to prove that to him. The people that are in my life, that see me every day, they know it. They know the effort that I put into this game, they know the effort I put on the field, and they know how badly I want to win. I am going to take all those things with me to Jacksonville and continue to give it everything I have to be the best player or teammate I can.

Whatever your feelings on Julius, remember that he's still got one more big contribution to the Broncos, in the form of what should be a third-round pick in next year's draft.

Michael Sam still looking for NFL spot

Michael Sam: ‘I’m not the only gay person in the NFL’
www.star-telegram.com

“I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” Sam said Thursday. “I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.

“Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there’s gay NFL players. There’s gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.

Sam is carefully toeing the line about whether or not him being gay has anything to do with him not being in the NFL:

“Hopefully I’m not being discriminated [against] because I’m gay,” Sam said. “I don’t believe that I’m being discriminated [against] because I’m gay. I just want to know if I’m truly not in the NFL, it’s because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you’ve got to prove that I can’t play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I’ll leave it at that.”

He clearly thinks he still has a shot at an NFL roster spot, somewhere. I'm sure most practice roster players do, too.

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.