Today the Atlanta Falcons extended Devonta Freeman to the tune of five years, $41.25 million with a $15 signing bonus and $22 million guaranteed. With the extension numbers Freeman will be the highest paid running back at $8.25, he also has $1.8 million due from his rookie deal.
Freeman is a two-time Pro Bowl running back who posted back to back 1,000 yard seasons on the ground. Last year he ran for 1,079 yards, 462 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns (11 rushing).
I know people are asking what does Freeman have to do with Le’Veon Bell? With the Pittsburgh Steelers fighting with Bell to set up a new contract, they will likely use Freeman’s deal as a base. Right now they have a franchise tag on him for $12.12 million, but Bell rightfully wants a long term deal and he wants to get paid. Now the question is how much more will Bell get than Freeman? I don’t have the answer to that, but know he wants to get paid like a receiver or close to it because his dual threat ability. Will it be $9, $10, $11 million or more a year?
I vlogged about the Bell situation less than two weeks ago, so when I saw Freeman get the deal I revisited the situation. Freeman is a real good running back, but we all know right now Bell is the best back in the NFL. I know we can argue four or five others, but minus trouble or injuries he is the man and the Steelers are going to have to cut the check or lose him sooner than later.
Antonio Brown is arguably the best receiver in that National football league. Entering his 7th season in the league all of which he spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers since being drafted in 2010, you have to wonder how many teams, scouts and personnel cringe knowing they passed on him? Since coming into the NFL, Brown has posted three consecutive seasons going for over 1,500 yards and appears to be headed for another with the start he has had so far.
It may come as a surprise, but business has not always been boomin’ for No. 84. Mr. Brown was drafted 195th in the sixth round. There were 21 receivers drafted before him and with the exception of Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant maybe all were mistakes. Of course no one really knows how these players are going to progress and turn out but that doesn’t stop the casual fan from wondering how all of these teams could have got it wrong or made the same mistake?
Was it a slower 40 yard dash time then needed or small hands? Maybe it was a character issue stemming from college or smaller stature in the wake of everybody looking for the next Calvin Johnson? Whatever the case may be, Antonio has proven his value in this league.
Pittsburgh is currently looking like true contenders to win the Super Bowl this year with Antonio being their biggest threat. An amazing a player passed on by most can dominate the league at his position while also providing some action returning punts and kick offs.
The best way to exhibit revenge is to have success. With that said, he’s doing just that. Going forward, continue to make them pay Mr. Brown, I’m sure the other teams in the NFL regret their decision.
With training camp set to begin within the next week or so, I figured what better time than now for me to make my 3 bold predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Now anyone and there dog can throw something out that they’ve heard around the league and brag they are correct come January, the real test of psychic abilities is to travel far beyond the perimeters of the metaphorical “box” and have those be correct. Here is my best attempt at just that.
Joe Flacco hits a stat line of 44Tds, 4000+ Yards and a trip to the playoffs
While some may say the postseason berth alone is a bold prediction, I laugh in the face of critics. Call it a homer pick, the truth is in the stats laid out in this paragraph and my previous article. I won’t go into the 2012 Super Bowl run, those reasons are known and I’ve written about this numerous times, no need to beat a dead horse. All I will say is, look at the previous seasons pace, which was headed towards a 4000+ yard season, all without Joe for the better part of 2015 and lacking any credible WRs. Add to the mix for the upcoming year, a vengeful Mike Wallace, a redemption seeking Breshad Perriman, two solid rookies in Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds and the ever dangerous, Steve Smith Sr. All this making Mr. Joe Flacco locked and loaded for another spectacular run. Mark it!
Pittsburgh Steelers fail to crack the top 5 in offensive rankings
At the surface of this prediction, one would dare to say it isn’t bold to state a team misses out of a top 5 ranking. In this case it is. Heralded by many to have the most potent and deadly offense in the entire NFL, the Steelers are aiming for the top ranked team on one side of the ball. Leveon Bell will be back healthy for week 1, as will Big Ben. Antonio Brown will be poised for another gigantic season in yards and Tds, and the main cog in the OL, Maurkice Pouncey, should be ready to lead that line to greatness come September. Seems easy right? Wrong! The offseason saw the Pittsburgh organization lose two massive puzzle pieces to their previous success. Heath Miller went on to retirement while Martavius Bryant learned he will be sitting on the sidelines with a year long suspension. Although it does take more than two players to make a championship roster, it could take two players to break one. Big Ben found solace in Miller for the past several seasons, using him as his trusty safety blanket. Whenever he encountered trouble a check down to Heath would be the solution. This time around they look to former Charger, LaDarius Green. While never having an opportunity to shine in San Diego playing behind veteran, Antonio Gates, one is to wonder if the comfort level will even be somewhat existent between Ben and his new tight end. Also losing your second best WR who made some incredible catches to win games, for not one game, but the entire year is incredibly tough. The onus will be put on AB and Bell to carry the load, potentially causing the major health hazards in the RB to flare up, and causing an easy irritable AB to combust within himself. The end result? A rather mediocre showing, possibly 7th ranking. Oakland, Jacksonville, Green Bay, Arizona, Baltimore and the Vikings, are all on my list of teams to finish higher than the aforementioned Steelers.
The New England Patriots will NOT win division year thus causing them to miss the payoffs entirely
Since 1999, the AFC playoffs have witnessed Tom Brady or Peyton Manning run rampant through teams cementing their legacies along the way. After Peyton announced his retirement following his magical SuperBowl win, the last hope left of this immaculate streak continuing would be #12 in New England. With the earth shaking suspension being upheld for the deflate-gate incident two playoffs ago, The Mighty Pats will be without their saviour for 4 rather decisive games to begin the 2016 campaign. Out of those four opponents they face only one beatable team in the Miami Dolphins, the other 3? Defensive juggernauts, Houston, Arizona and division rival Buffalo. All with legitimate shots of burying the Patriots chances of regaining their division dominance and their playoff predictability. They will in my mind, go 1-3/ 0-4 ultimately leaving them on the outside looking in come postseason time. The team to dethrone the Belichick led organization and take the AFC East? The New York Football Jets!
So in conclusion, call it crazy, clueless, confident or a bit of all of them, the fact of the matter is, these are my Bold Predictions made to envoke friendly debate and discussion among football fans. Have some bold predictions of your own? Leave them in the comments or hit me on Twitter!
The Pittsburgh Steelers were in dire need of a victory prior to tonight’s game. The Steelers defeated the San Diego Chargers tonight on Monday Night Football. The game was a little sluggish at first, but the suspense in the 4th quarter made the game entertaining. Mike Vick led the Steelers down the field in clutch fashion after struggling for majority of the game. Le’Veon Bell, who is arguably the best running back in the NFL won the game with a gutsy wildcat call. Coach Mike Tomlin received a lot of criticism from last week’s game against Baltimore, and tonight he showed the marbles by going for the win instead of settling for overtime. Below, is the video of Bell winning the game for the Steelers.
Due to an injury to backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski the Pittsburgh Steelers sign Michael Vick to a one year deal. This late in preseason this a great move, why do I say that? Because at 35 years of age Vick is just being brought in to place some experience behind Ben Roethlisberger.
The Steelers aren’t getting the Atlanta Falcons Vick that could beat teams by himself, but they are getting a great locker room guy who can if need be can still make plays with his arm and legs. This is a low risk move for the Steelers, we all know Ben is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the NFL so why not have a quality backup on the team at a low cost.
I’m personally shocked slight backlash the Steelers have been receiving on social media for the signing of Vick. I know he had an incident with dog’s years ago(not saying it’s a wholesome situation), but the man paid his debt to society and hasn’t had trouble of any similarity since. I guess we need something to be mad about right?
Vick is about to channel his inner Charlie Batch on the Steelers sideline.
Remember when we talked about being named “Cam” in the NFL? That seemed like so long ago didn’t it? Well I told you the Pittsburgh Steelers were next on the “Cam Spree” and last week they cashed in there sweepstakes ticket. The son of the late “Iron head” Heyward signed a six year extension for $59.25 million, I didn’t see what was guaranteed because the Steelers aren’t big on giving deals structured that way, but Heyward will be able to net $21 million within the first 8 months of the deal.
Cam Heyward has jumped on the scene has the Steelers best defensive lineman the last two years. Coming out of Ohio State he had high expectations, but in college he played 4-3 defensive end so he was more a pass rusher, playmaker than a hole filler and body eater which is what he had to do in the 3-4 with the Steelers. He obviously has done a great job adjusting to the new scheme because the Steelers have signed that check.
With the new deal in place with Cam go to the next level? Will he get more opportunities to rush the passer? We will see starting in the fall.
Hey NFLers change your name to Cam there is money in it folks.
Both players got drafted in 2003 one in the 1st round the other in the 4th round. They both happened to be the staples of the Pittsburgh Steelers backend for the last 12 seasons. Both Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor have decided to hang up their cleats for good.
Fans of the Steelers won’t know any of the players in the secondary name next year with their two main players of the last decade gone.
Coming out of USC Polamalu was always tabbed as of one of the next great safeties and he lived up to expectations, making multiple pro bowls, winning multiple super bowls and a defensive player of the year award. In Polamalu’s prime he was a player every team had to account for and if you didn’t somebody on your offensive team was going to pay.
For Taylor when he came out of Louisiana-Lafayette he wasn’t labeled with high expectations, but he ended up being a top-tier cornerback during his time in the NFL. I always thought he was one of the most underrated corners in the NFL because of his lack of interceptions he didn’t get as much publicity as the other highly touted corners. Taylor was a player you knew would give any number one receiver hell all day.
Every time a person retires nowadays it seems like I’m getting that much other and as I write this the feeling couldn’t be anymore truer.
As least the former teammates were able to go out on their own terms, even if father time has caught up to both of them.
While everybody was complaining over our domestic violence all-stars being signed by the Cowboys and Bears respectively one of the original off the field bad boys has signed a new deal to stay with his team. While everybody will complain about Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald getting a second chance, Ben Roethlisberger is getting some serious dough to stay in Pittsburgh.
Soon as the ink dried on the paper he was guaranteed $60.75 million and $65 million over the next three years. Big Ben is a beast and if the Steelers would’ve ponied up the money somebody else would’ve next year when he would’ve become an unrestricted free agent.
Big Ben is coming off his best statistical season where he completed 67.1% of his passes, threw for 4,952, 32 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions. Not bad for the 11 year pro.
We know Ben has had his run ins’ with weird situations and since his last run in years ago he has been on the straight and narrow. Sometimes being more talented helps, but nonetheless it has seemed to work out for one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Greg Hardy’s situation seems a little more cut and dry than Ray McDonald’s, but hopefully both of these young men take a page out of Roethlisberger’s playbook and stay on the straight and narrow from here on out.
When the Baltimore Ravens meet the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night, a fiery rivalry will once again ensue. It will be the 4th time these teams have met in the postseason, with the Hometown Steelers winning the previous 3.
The first being in 2002, a battle between two mediocre QBs (Kordell Stewart, Elvis Grbac) resulting in a 27-10 Pittsburgh victory. A game most in Baltimore would gladly forget. In January of 2009, these teams met for the 2nd time in the playoffs. This event culminating 7 years after the previous postseason tilt. It was Joe Flacco’s rookie campaign, led by a 11-5 record they stormed into the playoffs only to be stopped in their tracks by the division champs. Two years later they met again for Joe’s revenge. After a dominant performance in the first half, Big Ben came out of the locker room connected with Rookie at the time, Antonio Brown to take the lead and eventually the win. Drowning any hope of a win against their dreaded rivals.
Much has changed since the AFC championship game back in 2009. The Ravens come equipped with a potent Offense to this contest, something they had little of four years ago and any year other than 2012 for that matter. Rounded out by Flashy Torrey Smith, “Icey” Steve Smith Sr and journeyman running back Justin Forsett, RavensNation witnessed the highest scoring offense since the reincarnation of the team in 1996. Their opponents from Heinz Field are fielding a defensive lineup that isn’t much different from 2009. Other than rookie upstart Ryan Shazier and a few other solid contributors, they have a squad that has been together a few years. Timmons, Worilds, Heyward and veteran leaders Polamulu and Harrison all have 3 or more seasons with the club.
On the Ravens Defense they will be sporting an entirely new team from most years, due to retirements of key guys, (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed) and enough injuries to collapse most teams. Cornerbacks are dropping like flies, Baltimore is now down to their 7th string at that position, a scenario rarely experienced in the NFL. Although leadership has been questioned throughout the past two seasons, the talent can’t be. Suggs and Dumervil has become a force to be reckoned with. Leading the league in sacks for a pair with 29 and a combined 64 tackles/2 Forced Fumbles, this dynamic duo has put their stamp on the NFL this year, something Big Ben knows all to well. In his illustrious career no player has sacked Ben more than Sizzle, add Dumervil’s stellar pass rush and The Steelers O Line is going to have more than their hands full. With Le’Veon Bell listed as doubtful, the Black and Yellow squad will have to rely on breakout star Antonio Brown, whom is more than up to the challenge. Landing in the top 3 for almost all WR stat categories, Brown will be a primary target come Saturday. A depleted secondary will have to be on their toes to keep up with the speedy Steeler.
Both teams missed out on the playoffs last year and are seeking postseason glory after solid regular season outings. The Steel curtain is no longer and the days of Ray Lewis Smashmouth Defense are done but this doesn’t mean these two haven’t created their own football identity. With a steady mix of young and old, breakout stars and two Super Bowl quarterbacks, this early January matchup will be one for the ages.
So as the date fast approaches, fans from the Steel city and the DMV will be in heated arguments across the global social media scene, each fanbase exposing the other trying to gain some sort of psychological advantage. In reality nothing is set in stone, like previous games before this, this is a clash of two titans, two equally powerful offenses , special players on both sides of the ball. Mixed with the fact both teams have more hatred for each other than any other rivalry in football today.
Either side can come out with the W, one thing is for sure, anything is possible on “Any Given Sunday”. (Or for this case, Saturday)