The NFL Pre Season year doesn’t officially begin until tomorrow, but what a start to the league year already. Retirements, free agents signings (pending of course), trades and releases have already shook up the new league year. The next 52 days leading up to the draft should be exciting, so sit back, relax and let Water Cooler Talk help you become the sports guru of the office this week.
The news of Calvin Johnson retiring broke just about 40 minutes before I sat down to start writing the column for the day, obviously I had to change the strategy. For the first time since 2006 and 731 receptions later, the Detroit Lions will be without who could be considered one of the most dominant WRs of all time. What does this mean for the Lions? For now, it should mean they’re in scramble mode as they try to find a piece (or pieces) to replace Megatron. With Johnson retiring, the cap number gives the Lions more breathing room, but the crop of receivers on the market aren’t great. And while the Lions need to address defensive issues in the draft, perhaps it’s now time to look at a WR who you can try to build around for the future and to keep Matthew Stafford happy for the foreseeable future.
DeMarco Murray, you know, the guy who ran for over 1,800 yards with the Cowboys in 2014, has been traded to the Tennessee Titans. After a tumultuous season with Philadelphia in 2015 in which he only rushed for 702 yards, Murray is headed to a much friendlier offense that fits his style under Mike Mularkey. Questions arose about Murray’s commitment to Philadelphia even after Chip Kelly was fired, but it’s apparent that the damage is done which is why Murray is on the go once again.
Staying with the Eagles, they’ve decided to drop most of the pieces of Chip Kelly moves by shipping off Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso to the Miami Dolphins. Maxwell was paid prior to the 2015 season as a #1 corner which didn’t pan out at all and Alonso was acquired in a trade with the Buffalo Bills for LeSean McCoy. It’s apparent that the Eagles want to forget Chip Kelly ever being in the organization in any capacity.
Retirements and trades have been a hot topic the last 16 hours or so, but a release has made some buzz as well, though it doesn’t come as a surprise. Robert Griffin III, more easily known as RGIII, is on the market after the Washington Redskins declined his 5th-year option. RGIII set the NFL world on fire in 2012 as a rookie, but a devastating knee injury in the finale of that season saw a major decline in production. After sitting out all of this past season, it appears that RGIII will best be suited in a backup role with a prominent QB who can learn the ropes on what could be a comeback trail.
That QB in which RGIII can sit back and learn won’t be Peyton Manning as he officially retired yesterday. However, Brock Osweiler was able to learn from Manning and as an unrestricted free agent, can let the dollars fly his way. While Denver has offered Osweiler a sizable contract (3 years, $45 million), other teams are in the market for a QB and could offer more (Houston comes to mind). I think Brock stays, but if he waits too long to sign with Denver they may move on since Denver wants to keep Malik Jackson as well, Denver currently only has $9 million in cap space.
All of this buzz comes at a good time for the NFL as most sports fans are anticipating the bracket release on Sunday surrounding college basketball. So for now, the NFL buzz is amplified leading up to the free agency period which begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m.
No, I haven’t forgotten about college basketball, but the latest NFL news has trumped that talk for now. Next week’s Water Cooler Talk will solely focus on March Madness and the bracket. So be sure to come back next week as I give you my prediction for the upcoming tournament (I did pick the eventual Final Four and champions last year). In the meantime, enjoy the warm weather and be sure to follow me on Twitter, @JasonSaulter. Have a great week everyone.