Looking at the Three Major NFL Trades This Week

The NFL Trade Deadline is approaching and we are actually getting something happening that we’ve never really seen before at the Trade Deadline in the NFL: Trades.

This week we saw three moves being made that really impacted teams who are hoping to play some January football.  We will look at all of them and figure out the impact of the trades for the teams involved.

RAIDERS TRADE AMARI COOPER TO COWBOYS FOR 2019 FIRST ROUND PICK

For Dallas:  The Cowboys needed a WR as the passing offense is a disaster, so it makes sense on that issue.  Adding on, Tavon Austin (whom Jerry Jones compared him to Michael Irvin-not kidding on that either) has been injured while the tandem of Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, and Michael Gallup won’t resemble that of the Falcons, Steelers, and Saints receivers that’s for sure.  It’s been said that Jerry Jones was REALLY involved on getting Cooper there and when Jerry REALLY wants a certain player, he will get that certain player.  But is Cooper worth a first round pick?  He has the ability to be a #1 receiver and an elite one at that.  His first two seasons were excellent and considered elite (155 rec, 2,223 total yards, 11 TD), but the last two years, as he’s been dinged up, he has struggled tremendously (especially this year in the Raiders lost season).  He has only 22 catches for 280 yards and 1 TD.  Now Dallas hopes that a better atmosphere instead of the toxic one out in Oakland right now will do the trick.  But though it is one pick, that is a first rounder.  If Cooper produces like he did in 2015 and 2016 then yes, a pick well spent.  But Dallas was burned before 10 years ago when they traded a first rounder to Detroit for Roy Williams, who pretty much did nothing after joining the Cowboys.  So in other words, high-risk, high-reward for Dallas with this move.  That said, they probably could have made a better offer than that for Cooper.  GRADE: C+

For Oakland:  The nightmare for Raiders fans continue as Gruden now shipped off his offensive star.  While I get the idea that the Raiders weren’t Super Bowl material, they were at the very least competitive with those guys.  Unless Gruden is trying to pull like an Atlanta Braves where they sell off their top stars and pile up the picks to have a great future in their new home in Las Vegas, this is just a head-scratcher in what they have been trying to do since the Khalil Mack trade.  That being said, getting a #1 for Cooper right now is not too bad.  Of course while they do have three first round picks, it doesn’t seem like aside from their own pick (which could be the first overall), Oakland won’t be seeing those picks near the front of the draft.  I guess because they got the first round pick from Dallas, that is fine, but the team is in disarray because of Gruden.  GRADE: B

Apple

GIANTS TRADE ELI APPLE TO THE SAINTS FOR A FOURTH AND SEVENTH ROUND PICKS:  

For New Orleans:  The Saints need help at corner and Apple, who had played decent this year despite the Giants woes, fits that need.  Is it a risk?  Yes, but giving up a 4th and 7th rounder isn’t a massive risk.  Apple has gotten a new attitude this year which has been considered a positive by Giants personnel so this may be a great move for New Orleans if he plays well and is up to snuff.  Given New Orleans is Ohio State Pro, he may fit in perfectly.  And if the Saints are able to take down the Rams (New Orleans and Los Angeles are probably the favorites to win the NFC right now), it is because they have to slow down the Los Angeles offense which is top notch in both the run and the pass.  He fits the bill.  GRADE: A-

For New York Giants:  Many felt like Apple turned the corner with the Giants this year so it was a bit surprising.  The defense isn’t the problem nor was Apple.  We can figure out what the issue is with the Giants of why the struggles are there.  Getting a 4th and 7th rounder I felt is a little bit of selling low on him unless Pat Shurmur was just fed up with him and we don’t know it.  I really don’t get this move for the Giants besides the whole “we are going to rebuild a la Oakland.”  GRADE: D

Detroit.jpg

GIANTS TRADE DAMON HARRISON TO LIONS FOR 5TH ROUND PICK:

For the Lions:  Detroit needs depth on the line as well as finding guys who can stop the run (Detroit is ranked 30th against the run in 2018).  Adding to the fact that Ezekiel Ansah has been injured for most of the season, the Lions desperately needed help as Matthew Stafford is in the midst of his prime years and probably the Lions best chance to be a legit threat in the NFL.  Harrison fits this bill.  Now Detroit owes him a lot of money but partly because they had some left over after Haloti Ngata left the Lions for the Eagles for LESS money, they could afford it.  Harrison will be with tackles Da’Shawn Hand and A’Shawn Robinson and could be a huge veteran presence on a young line.  To me, this could be a trade for Detroit that could change their season in a good way.  GRADE: A

For the Giants:  Yep, rebuild.  Moving contracts out, getting picks (though late round picks), etc.   But a 5th for Harrison?  I guess because Detroit is eating the contract that it was either pay the contract or pay for a pick.  But honestly, a guy like Harrison’s caliber doesn’t necessitate a 5th round pick.  I honestly don’t know what the Giants are doing really at this point.  At least the Raiders are getting picks near the top of the Draft.  GRADE: D

That’s it for this time.  Let’s see what the deadline holds later this week.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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The Obstructed NFC East Preview-2018

Like for college football’s premier conferences, I am also going to get in my NFL preview fix.  Of course, every year the league has those surprise squads and teams that dramatically fall off so my previews normally go ker-plunk by Week 2 of the regular season (or the pre-season sometimes).  Like the others, I will start with the champions division of the NFC East where the Super Bowl champion Eagles reside.  It is somewhat strange to stay that, but on a personal note, I’ve always liked the Eagles since I started watching football.  Maybe because of the colors or the fact I’ve never been fond of Dallas, Washington, or New York and they’ve always been the underdog for the longest time in that division.  But anyway, I’m going to be as objective as much as possible for this division.

Eagles

(1) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 

LAST SEASON:  13-3 (1ST PLACE, NFC EAST, WON SUPER BOWL).  

KEY ADDS: DT-Haloti Ngata (FA-Detroit), LB-Corey Nelson (FA-Denver), WR-Mike Wallace (FA-Baltimore), DE-Michael Bennett (Trade-Seattle) TE-Dallas Goedert (Draft-South Dakota State), LB-Paul Worrilow (FA-Detroit), TE-Richard Rodgers (FA-Green Bay)

KEY LOSSES: DT-Beau Allen (FA-Tampa Bay), RB-LeGarrette Blount (FA-Detroit), TE-Trey Burton (FA-Chicago), CB-Patrick Robinson (FA-New Orleans), K-Caleb Sturgis (FA-Los Angeles Chargers), TE-Brent Celek (released), DE-Vinny Curry (released-Tampa Bay), WR-Torrey Smith (Trade-Carolina)

The Eagles capped a dream season last year of winning the Super Bowl, despite being really underdogs as a first seed.  That was in part because of Carson Wentz going down, but Nick Foles stepped up.  Philadelphia as many have suggested has the best top-to-bottom roster in the NFL despite key losses in the off-season and should be good to go.  The offense is going to click especially if Wentz comes back 100% healthy and if not, Foles is ready to go.  The defense is a strong defense in all three levels from the line through the secondary.  Adding Michael Bennett will help out, but a question will be is he going to implode on himself like he did in Seattle in his final season.  But overall, this is a very stacked team and really have a great balance.  It is hard to think they will have a major drop-off, if any in 2018.  They may not go 13-3 again, but we are talking maybe 12-4 and a bye in the first round barring key injuries.

KEY QUESTION:  WILL THE EAGLES HAVE ANY SUPER BOWL HANGOVER?  It’s possible, but I don’t see them being that team.  They have that vibe that they want to show that last year wasn’t a fluke.

MY PREDICTION:  12-4.  A couple of intriguing road games for the Eagles in 2018 as they visit New Orleans and Jacksonville.  Won’t be easy to win those.  But aside from that, they should be firing on all cylinders.

Giants

(2) NEW YORK GIANTS

LAST SEASON: 3-13 (4TH PLACE)

KEY ADDS: RB-Jonathan Stewart (FA-Carolina), OT-Nate Solder (FA-New England), LB-Kareem Martin (FA-Arizona), OG-Patrick Omameh (FA-Jacksonville), WR/KR/PR-Cody Latimer (FA-Denver), DE-Josh Mauro (FA-Arizona), FS-Michael Thomas (FA-Miami), CB-William Gay (FA-Pittsburgh), WR-Russell Shepard (FA-Carolina), LB-Alec Ogletree (Trade-Los Angeles Rams), P-Riley Dixon (Trade-Denver), RB-Saquon Barkley (Draft-Penn State), G-Will Hernandez (Draft-UTEP), LB-Lorenzo Carter (Draft-Georgia), DT-BJ Hill (DT-NC State).

KEY LOSSES: DE-Jason Pierre-Paul (Trade-Tampa Bay), QB-Geno Smith (FA-Los Angeles Chargers), RB-Orleans Darkwa (FA), RB-Shane Vereen (FA), G-DJ Fluker (FA-Seattle), LB-Jonathan Casillas (FA), WR/KR-Dwayne Harris (Released-Oakland), OT-Bobby Hart (Released-Cincinnati), WR-Brandon Marshall (Released-Seattle), WR-Tavarres King (FA-Minnesota), OG-Justin Pugh (FA-Arizona), C-Weston Richburg (FA-San Francisco), P-Brad Wing (Released), LB-Devon Kennard (FA-Detroit), CB-Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Released)

Last year the Giants season was summed up in one word: hospital.  They were injury plagued and some of the players probably could have been checked in to an asylum as well.  The team had injury woes, chemistry woes, and a coach who was just out of his element.  And rumbles of Eli Manning being in his final season really progressed.  However with a new coach in the mix with Pat Shurmur, and some of these head cases gone while making a nice splash in the market for free agents and a great draft, the Giants should get back on solid footing.  Now how much of a contender will be a question, but the running game should improve tenfold with Saquon Barkley and the reliable veteran in Jonathan Stewart in the mix.  The defense should improve with Alec Ogletree being acquired from the Rams.  However, the thing that still could sting the Giants are the attitudes, namely of Odell Beckham, Jr. Eli Apple, and Janoris Jenkins.  Those three, who are expected to play a part in their rebound, have got to grow up at some point.  If not, then another season goes by the window in New York, and it may be Eli’s last season or one of his last seasons.

BIG QUESTION: CAN ODELL BECKHAM STAY FOCUSED AND KEEP HIS COOL FOR THE GIANTS TO GO FAR?  He hasn’t proved he can.  Last year he kept saying he wanted to be the highest paid player in the NFL, but questions abound of his weekday partying during the playoffs against Green Bay in 2016 and then his whole video of being with a woman who was doing cocaine in bed didn’t help matters.  If Beckham can zero in and be one of the top WR’s in the game while not imploding on his team, the Giants are a sleeper in the NFC.  If he continues the antics and they fall back because of it, it may be time for New York to move on from him.  And remember this, Eli won two Super Bowls with the likes of David Tyree and Mario Manningham.  So having an elite WR to take you to a Super Bowl isn’t necessary.

MY PREDICTION:  9-7.  The Giants, barring another year of a rash of injuries, should be a threat.  They could win 10 games as a couple of games on the schedule I can see go either way (New Orleans).  But they won’t be an easy team to take down, especially if they are gelling.  

Dallas

(3) DALLAS COWBOYS 

LAST SEASON: 8-8 (2ND PLACE)

KEY ADDITIONS: WR-ALLEN HURNS (FA-Jacksonville), WR-Deonte Thompson (FA-Buffalo), OT-Cameron Fleming (FA-New England), DE-Kony Ealy (FA-New York Jets), LB-Joe Thomas (FA-Green Bay), FB-Jamize Olawale (Trade-Oakland), WR-Tavon Austin (Trade-Los Angeles Rams), DT-Jihad Ward (Trade-Oakland), LB-Leighton Vander Esch (Draft-Boise State), G-Connor Williams (Draft-Texas), WR-Michael Gallup (Draft-Colorado State)

KEY LOSSES: FB-Keith Smith (FA-Oakland), WR-Dez Bryant (Released), WR-Brice Butler (FA-Arizona), WR-Ryan Switzer (FA-Oakland), OT-Byron Bell (FA-Green Bay), OG-Jonathan Cooper (FA-San Francisco), DT-Benson Mayowa (Released-Arizona), LB-Anthony Hitchens (FA-Kansas City), LB-Kyle Wilber (FA-Oakland), CB-Orlando Scandrick (FA-Washington), TE-Jason Witten (retired)

Dallas will look very different on offense as there will be no Dez Bryant or Jason Witten.  With Dak Prescott as the guy in Dallas, it is the changing of the guard.  But last year’s season was thrown off because of the Ezekiel Elliott suspension.  Had Dallas not had that, they may have sneaked in to the playoffs.  But even with Elliott there, Dallas had holes, notably on defense as they couldn’t get much pressure on teams and really make those key stops to win games.  It was somewhat of a red flag the year before in their divisional loss to Green Bay.  With Bryant and Witten gone, the Cowboys revamped the receiving corps of bringing Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns as Dallas hopes those guys can make the offense complete (at this point I’m just nodding my head and smiling and thinking “sure”).  The defense especially against the pass is a concern still as the Cowboys gave up good bit of points though the yardage was down and didn’t get many turnovers because of it.  I don’t see the Cowboys really making strides on defense especially when they have to see the Eagles and Giants 4 times while they see Atlanta, Detroit, New Orleans, and Houston (all teams who have quarterbacks who can throw).  It may be the difference between a playoff spot or a top 10 pick.

BIGGEST QUESTION: WHEN DOES JERRY JONES COMPLETELY ABDICATE HIS THRONE AS GM?  Probably never until the Good Lord comes to take him.  It is more when SHOULD Jones step down and the answer has been since 1994.  The good moves Jones has made is when he was overruled in some aspect save Dez Bryant.  Remember, he was talked out of drafting Johnny Manziel and drafted Zack Martin.  But other moves (i.e. signing Darren McFadden, drafting Felix Jones, Quincy Carter, etc.) is on his watch and firing Jimmy Johnson because he got more credit for those Super Bowl wins shows how inept the guy is.  Honestly, he may have been talked out of keeping Bryant at that contract.  He needs to let his son take over as he really has more of a sense than Jones does.

MY PREDICTION: 7-9.  Dallas is just that team that isn’t bad at all, but not good like many still want to believe.  Just “average.” 

Josh

(4) WASHINGTON REDSKINS

LAST SEASON: 7-9 (3RD PLACE)

KEY ADDITIONS:  QB-Alex Smith (Trade-Kansas City), WR-Paul Richardson (FA-Seattle), LB-Pernell McPhee (FA-Chicago), CB-Orlando Scandrick (FA-Dallas), QB-Kevin Hogan (Trade-Cleveland), DT-Daron Payne (Draft-Alabama), RB-Derrius Guice (Draft-LSU), OT-Geron Christian (Draft-Louisville)

KEY LOSSES: QB-Kirk Cousins (FA-Minnesota), CB-Kendall Fuller (Trade-Kansas City), S-Su’a Cravens (Trade-Denver), C-Spencer Long (FA-New York Jets), WR-Terrelle Pryor (WR-New York Jets), LB-Will Compton (FA-Tennessee), TE-Niles Paul (FA-Jacksonville), DE-Trent Murphy (FA-Buffalo), WR-Ryan Grant (Indianapolis)

Washington like most years, made a splash in the off-season trading for Kansas City QB Alex Smith, thus ending the polarizing career of Kirk Cousins in the Capital.  To me, it was dumbfounding on a few instances.  First, the Redskins traded up-and-coming CB Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs.  Second, the ceiling on Cousins is far higher than the ceiling on Smith while I think Cousins is a better fit in Jay Gruden’s system than Smith is.  And given Smith’s scrambling prowess, leaves him up to injury especially at age 34.  And despite not having a real go-to WR, Cousins netted 4,000 yards and used the weapons to the best of his ability.  I don’t see Smith being that kind of quarterback.  Also, Cousins was sacked 41 times last year.  And given how Washington struggled to protect him, a quarterback like Smith may end up getting hit more than Cousins did.  And while the Redskins have Josh Norman, having a corner on the opposite side of him has now become a problem.  And again, if you look at that schedule, Washington has to see the Eagles, Giants, Falcons, Saints, Texans, and Packers while having one of the worst run-stopping defenses in the NFL in 2017.  I don’t see Washington improving any on defense and if anything may have took a step back.  Maybe they’re hoping all the Alabama guys they drafted the last few years (Payne, Ryan Anderson, and Jonathan Allen) find that Alabama formula to help out Norman and Ryan Kerrigan.

KEY QUESTION: WILL THIS BE JAY GRUDEN’S LAST SEASON IN WASHINGTON?  I think so, even if the Skins are 8-8 and in the playoff hunt.  There are too many questions right now despite being in the “win now” mode when they traded for Smith.  Not really Gruden’s fault, but this team just doesn’t put a scare into anybody.

MY PREDICTION: 6-10.  They may not be bad either, but they aren’t a team that will sneak up or pose a threat to the NFC powers like Philadelphia, the Rams, Atlanta, Minnesota, or New Orleans right now.

Overall the expectation levels for all 4 teams will always be high and always have that “win now” mode, especially in Dallas and Washington.  Those two have gaping holes on the roster right now while the Giants biggest enemies may be themselves.  It looks like it’s Philadelphia’s to lose once more and maybe another Super Bowl return for the city of Brotherly Love.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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Is Odell Beckham, Jr. Burying His Career?

It wasn’t long ago Terrell Owens blessed us with his presence on the football field.  From 1996-2010 TO was one of the most dominant receivers in the game.  In fact, he may have been the best all-around receiver in the NFL for a time in that range.  If you asked him to go deep, he could.  If you asked him to go up the middle to make a big catch, he could.  If you asked him to run a short route and make something happen, he most definitely could.  He was a sight.  And it may come to a surprise to a lot of my close friends who know me as I’m never one who cared about the cocky, arrogant attitude players in any sport, but I loved watching the guy.

But…..what killed TO from going down as one of the greatest ever was his attitude.

Yes, Owens loved pointing out he never gotten in trouble with the law, which had been (and still is) a problem in the NFL.  He also loved pointing out how he avoided doing extracurricular activities which could have netted him in trouble as he worked out 24-7 it seemed.  But that was it.  He wore out his welcomes in San Francisco and Philadelphia.  He ran his mouth religiously to anybody with a microphone and a camera.  He did things and said things that drove his own teammates bonkers.  It was like “man, chill out!”

With all that said, Terrell Owens was a once in a lifetime NFL player.

Now we see the closest thing to Owens in Odell Beckham, Jr. An incredibly God-given talented player.  The catches he makes are just incredible and you wonder how he can do it.  It makes him look like the best WR of this group of great receivers that we’ve seen.

And then, his mouth opens up.

Along with the antics.

Whether it is yelling at his teammates, coaches, or going into the media griping how he isn’t having any fun anymore, Beckham has become one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL, and even in the Giants locker room.  And when the normally soft-spoken Eli Manning says it is time to grow up, it is time to grow up.  And now one of the Giants owners while not saying he is putting OBJ on the trade block, he hinted nobody IS safe right now in New York.

But what makes it worse is the fact that Beckham’s actions in the past do make a casual fan wonder if his drive is similar to the likes of Owens.  We can say a lot about Owens, but the guy was a workhorse.  Odell, you don’t have that same feeling and loves more of the camera and the glitz more than getting to that next level.

There is always a debate on the best WR in the game every year and for the last few years, it has been down to a handful: Beckham, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Dez Bryant.  Bryant’s struggles in Dallas have been well-known and has eliminated him not only from one of the top receivers in the game, but maybe even on his team.  Brown and Julio are still up there, but Beckham, partly due to his injury, has fallen down too.  The antics and the stuff he does, you have to think it is really hurting his value.  Before the 2017 season, Beckham believed he should be the highest paid player in the NFL.  Of course, save for Atlanta (Jones), and Pittsburgh (Brown), most teams do not really heavily invest in one receiver.  The question is, can the Giants AFFORD to follow suit?

Beckham.jpg

People looked at New York’s 2017 season and saw a complete disaster, but let’s face facts for the most part: the Giants were VERY dinged up and probably had a head coach that was in well over his head in Ben McAdoo.  Of course the argument has been should New York go through a massive rebuild?  My answer is, “I don’t think so.” Yes, Eli is getting older and New York SHOULD consider a heir apparent to him and soon, but there are pieces in place.  However, the Giants are not on the same level as the other NFC powers of Philadelphia, Atlanta, Minnesota, New Orleans, and Los Angeles.  Investing a lot of money in a WR when the team isn’t on that upper echelon is a very bad thing.  Just look at the Detroit Lions when they gave Calvin Johnson all that money.  Detroit was handcuffed by the move which also saw them lose Ndamukong Suh and take a hit on their improved defense.  I’m not saying Detroit would be a powerhouse in the NFC (not with their run game), but it did change the Lions fortunes.

Now the report is that Beckham wants a new contract and will not play until he gets one.  I get his idea believe it or not especially after his horrible injury last year.  If he has another one, you can pretty much say bye-bye career as nobody will even let him sniff a fraction of what he would want.  With that said, Beckham will be in a bind of wanting his wish of being the highest paid player.  No team in the NFL from the Super Bowl champion Eagles to the Cleveland Browns will give him that money.

IF Odell is serious about cashing in, the biggest thing he needs to do is stay low and avoid the spotlight.  I understand the term “any publicity is good publicity” but when it comes to the NFL lately, it is the opposite.  And with the possible leaked video of Beckham and possibly getting nailed on the NFL’s substance abuse policy, it does not look good on him. And that alone, showing the immaturity that he has, could cost him millions with the Giants-or any team wanting to take a chance.

Bottom line is, Odell Beckham, Jr. has to grow up and fast if he wants to come close to having his wish come true.  The Giants have to be weighing the pros and cons of keeping Beckham this off-season and right now it doesn’t seem like for as good as the pros are for him, they outweigh the cons.  And it is unfortunate, because he could be the best receiver of this generation for a very long time.

-Fan in the Obstructed Seat

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