The Big Play Slay-Bradberry Duo?

Dreams do come true, though. The Philadelphia Eagles will enter the 2022–2023 NFL season with what is perhaps their strongest cornerback pairing since Bobby “The Blanket” Taylor and Troy Vincent roamed the secondary after finding a much-needed partner for Darius Slay.

Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown are not being disparaged in any way. They were a strong team, and they rarely let their fans down, but nothing compared to Troy and Bobby, and the Big Play Slay/James Bradberry combination ought to keep the opposing offensive coordinators and their quarterbacks up late the night before their games against Philadelphia.

It’s possible that CBS Sports missed the memo. They are aware that Slay and Bradberry are among the finest players, for sure. Does anyone not? Even yet, they nevertheless excluded them from one of their most recent player rankings.

Philadelphia Eagles are not mentioned in CBS Sports’ list of the top 10 cornerbacks in the NFL.

Patrik Walker of CBS Sports released his list of the top ten cornerbacks in the National Football League prior to the last full weekend of June. Here is the list’s inclusion:

L.A. Rams’ Jalen Ramsey Miami Dolphins’ Xavien Howard L.A. Chargers’ J.C. Jackson New Orleans Saints’ Marshon Lattimore Dallas Cowboys’ Trevon Diggs Cleveland Browns’ Denzel Ward Indianapolis Colts Kenny Moore II Buffalo Bills’ Tre’Davious White Atlanta Falcons’ A.J. Terrell Baltimore Ravens’ Marlon Humphrey

Jaire Alexander of the Green Bay Packers is positioned just outside the top ten by Walker. We may be partial, but we were upset to see James Bradberry and Darius Slay overlooked.

Walker, as most people are aware, is one of the more well-known media figures in the Dallas Cowboys community, so we were this close to calling foul (as you see Trevon Diggs earned a top-five ranking). We then went back a little because we realized that he had just identified Kenneth Gainwell as a potential breakout player for the upcoming season. We put the challenge flag back in our pockets like any football-minded person would.

Of course, we’re joking—sort of. Patrik Walker puts a nice group of names together here, and arguing Slay and/or Bradberry on the list means we have to argue one or two guys off. That was an exercise that we didn’t feel like undertaking, so we’ll leave that to the rest of you. Here’s what we can say though.

Slay is a four-time Pro Bowler whose most recent nod came at the end of this past season. He’s coming off of a campaign in which he tallied 52 total tackles, three interceptions, nine pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, and three defensive touchdowns. One would assume he’ll have to level off at some point. So far, there’s been no regression, however, so we’re enjoying the ride while it lasts.

Bradberry had an off-year by James Bradberry standards, but come on. Everyone from players to coaches to front-office personnel has an off-year with what’s become a downtrodden New York Giants franchise. Expect a bounceback from him, especially seeing as how he’s looking for a long-term deal and the Philadelphia Eagles got him for a bargain.

The point is this. Forget the power rankings and positional comparisons. Philadelphia has one of the best starting cornerback combos in Slay and Bradberry, and their starter in the slot, Avonte Maddox is no slouch either. If three of these young guys can evolve into key depth pieces, you may not hear any complaints about the Eagles’ cornerback room all season.


The NFL is poised to argue for an indefinite suspension of at least one year for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson at a hearing scheduled to begin Tuesday in front of the sport’s new disciplinary officer.

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According to a person familiar with the situation, the NFL is prepared to make its case for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson to receive an indefinite suspension of at least one year at the hearing beginning on Tuesday. Wp Take advantage of everything. Select a strategy. ArrowRight The league will argue that Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and should be suspended without pay for at least the rest of the 2022 season after he was accused of sexual misconduct in two dozen civil lawsuits brought by women. Under the league’s proposed punishment, Watson would have to submit an application for reinstatement.

The NFLPA is anticipated to make a case to former U.S. district judge Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinarian chosen jointly by the NFL and the NFLPA, for much less harsh punishment for Watson, possibly even asking for no suspension at all.

With the completion of the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union in 2020, Robinson will make the initial disciplinary decision in accordance with the updated personal conduct rules.

The NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he designates might hear an appeal from the league or the union if Robinson decides that Watson broke the conduct guideline and applies disciplinary sanctions. If Robinson decides Watson did not break the regulations, the matter would be over and there would be no way to appeal.

Goodell had the authority to make the initial disciplinary decision and to decide any appeals under the previous version of the conduct rules. The first instance of the new system is this one.

Robinson’s first decision is expected at some point during the hearing, but neither date nor time is known. The NFL aims to have the entire case, including the resolution of any appeal, resolved before the opening of training camp, a person with knowledge of the matter previously said. The Browns, who completed a trade with the Houston Texans for Watson this offseason, have their first full practice involving veteran players scheduled for July 27.

Watson has refuted the accusations made against him and has not been charged with a crime. He reached settlements in 20 of the 24 then-active civil lawsuits filed against him, according to Anthony Buzbee, the attorney representing the women. When he announced the settlements, Buzbee promised that the details would remain private. He stated that he anticipated that the four ongoing lawsuits will go to trial.

The NFL said when the civil settlements were announced that they would have “no impact” on the league’s disciplinary process. The personal conduct policy permits the imposition of disciplinary actions in the absence of legal action.

The league’s plan to seek a suspension of at least a year does not come as a surprise to those defending Watson in the case. Multiple people familiar with the case said a week ago that the NFL would seek a “significant” suspension of Watson. A person on Watson’s side of the case said then that the league “probably” would argue for a suspension of one full season.

The NFLPA is expected to cite, among other issues, the NFL’s decision not to suspend owners Daniel Snyder of the Washington Commanders, Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots and Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys for incidents involving them and their teams.

Watson has a base salary of $1.035 million for the 2022 season as part of the five-year contract he signed with the Browns worth a guaranteed $230 million. He would lose that salary if he’s suspended for the entire season, and it’s possible that the NFL could seek to impose an additional fine.

Watson did not play last season, as the Texans placed him on their game-day inactive list on a weekly basis. But he was not suspended and was paid his entire salary.

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Eli Manning believes the New York Giants’ new coaching staff could help Daniel Jones break through Eli Manning believes the New York Giants’ new coaching staff could help Daniel Jones break through.

Daniel Jones’ predecessor talked about his views on the young quarterback’s future with the team as Jones was getting ready for the 2022 season.

Jones, 25, will have to prove he can be New York’s quarterback of the future after the Giants declined to pick up his fifth-year option for the 2022 campaign. This will be a “make or break” season for Jones.

Even though it won’t be for several months before we know whether Jones is capable of handling the job, his former teammate Eli Manning suggested on Friday at the Manning Passing Academy that Jones might stand a better chance of succeeding with the assistance of the Giants’ new coaching staff, which is headed by head coach Brian Daboll.

In an interview with NFL Network’s Rhett Lewis on NFL Total Access, Manning stated, “I think with Coach Daboll, and what they’re doing, and their staff, and (new GM) Joe Schoen, having been around the facility some, the vibe has changed. I’m happy for Daniel because I know how hard he’s worked and that he’s experienced many different offenses and coaching changes. Hopefully this will be the right one.

Before the 2019 campaign began, Jones was selected in the hopes that he could pick up tips from Manning, who was already the starter, and be ready to succeed him as the franchise quarterback after Manning’s retirement. But Jones, a former Duke product, has fallen short of expectations in the three seasons since he joined the league. He frequently had issues with ball control and was unable to exhibit the steady leadership and talent that many expected of the young quarterback.

In sharp contrast to Jones’ stint in New York, Manning’s early years saw the Giants win the NFC East in his first season as the starter and a Super Bowl in just his fourth season. As New York has yet to compile even a winning record with Jones at the helm, it goes without saying that Jones’ time with the Giants hasn’t been nearly as successful thus far.

Manning was eager to point out that his consistency in playing for the same head coach for the first 12 years of his career contributed significantly to his own success. Jones has already hired his third coaching staff after Joe Judge and Pat Shurmur were fired after serving as head coaches for two seasons each. Jones is currently adjusting to a new system as Schoen and Daboll take charge. Jones is supposed to develop as a player and leader, which Manning noted makes it substantially more difficult to continuously have to learn new offenses.

“By my fifth year, I had been in the same scheme the entire time, I knew it, I could teach it up, new people are coming in, and I was speaking the same language with my offensive coordinator and (former head coach Tom) Coughlin, and kind of preaching the same stuff,” said Manning. And with (Jones), everything is new and he is constantly striving to learn more and more, so it just takes time for it all to sink in.


The New York Jets have not made the playoffs since 2010.

To locate a Jets squad that was capable of making the postseason, you would have to go all the way back to the 2010 campaign. That qualifies as the NFL’s longest playoff drought. Since that time, the Jets have been unable to advance past the regular season, and they can only look back on one season during that 11-year stretch—2015—in which they finished above.500. Even so, there is hope in the locker room that things might start to change this upcoming season.

Linebacker C.J. Mosley told, “I’m really expecting playoffs or bust.” Naturally, that is my yearly objective, but I believe that our entire team and our coaches can achieve it.

The Jets’ chances of making the playoffs in 2022 are presently +650 at Caesars Sportsbook, while their chances of once again missing out are -1000. The AFC is arguably more competitive than it has been in years, despite the fact that a number of last year’s non-playoff teams (the Chargers, Ravens, Colts, and Broncos) have undergone significant renovations and are now prepared to once again compete for a playoff spot.

However, it cannot be denied that the Jets have advanced. They added a number of young and skilled players to the roster this offseason. With three first-round picks in the draft—corner Sauce Gardner, wide receiver Garrett Wilson, and edge rusher Jermaine Johnson II—they acquired a significant haul.

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While those rookies will have to find their footing in the league, the rest of the roster should be much more familiar with New York’s system as they enter Year 2 under head coach Robert Saleh.

According to Mosley, who recorded the fourth-most tackles (168) in the NFL last season, “everyone was kind of learning the system and learning each other last year.” “Coming into the offseason this year, you can tell that the players already know it, and we’re two steps ahead of where we were last year in terms of playbook familiarity. We know what we have to do, guys are comfortable and now it’s all about going out there and making plays and executing, so I think that’s going to be the biggest step for us this year — everybody having that confidence in what we’re doing and being able to execute the plays.”

Last year, New York went 4-13 under Saleh, so we’d be talking about a monumental turnaround if they were able to find themselves in the playoffs. If they even tried to enter the discourse, that would be quite the accomplishment. While the odds may suggest that this playoff drought will continue for at least one more season, there’s no denying that the Jets are constructing a foundation that should soon help them claw out of the basement.


On Thursday, Pro Football Focus released its list of the 32 best contracts in the NFL and two Eagles made the list: Dallas Goedert at 31 and Jordan Mailata at No.

The Eagles had had enough when Jordan Mailata earned the left tackle position last summer.

The Eagles inked Mailata to a multi-year contract deal soon before the start of the 2021 season, just a few years after they selected the Australian rugby player and long-term project in the seventh round of the 2018 draft.

The four-year, $64 million deal is immediately referred to as the best deal in the NFL. Dallas Goedert, at number 31, and Mailata, at number one, made ProFootballFocus’ list of the 32 best contracts in the NFL, which was revealed on Thursday.

Brad Spielberger of PFF wrote the following about Mailata:

“Mailata went on the field for 733 snaps in 2020 after advancing each year. Before offering him a four-year contract extension, Philadelphia only wanted to see that and years of practice repetitions. His $16 million per year contract sparked some questions, which is understandable given the limited sample size of actual gameplay.

“A year later, the transaction is a superb bargain. Mailata, a true dancing bear with exceptional footwork given his height and inexperience, received an overall grade of 87.4, an 83.3 for pass blocking, and an 87.8 for run blocking. There is still space for growth for Mailata, who already produced the second-highest number of Wins Above Replacement among all tackles in 2021, behind only Trent Williams of the San Francisco 49ers.

Through the 2025 season, Mailata has a four-year agreement that is worth $64 million and includes over $40 million in guaranteed compensation. According to OverTheCap, Mailata’s average annual salary of $16 million places him in a tie for tenth place among left tackles in the NFL and fifteenth overall among tackles.

Even before the extension has started to take effect, this agreement is already a steal for the Eagles based on Mailata’s level of play in 2022.

The good news for Mailata, 25, is that if he performs at the same level as last year, he may be able to make some extra money. While he didn’t make the Pro Bowl in 2021, he played at that level and if he finally gets named to the team throughout his contract, he’ll hit some escalators.

A league source claims that Mailata’s contract contains the following escalators if he is selected to the Pro Bowl or is named to the first or second team of All-Pros:

$1.6 million escalation by 2022

$3.2 million escalation by 2023

$4.8 million escalation by 2024

$6.4 million escalation by 2025

Escalators don’t just appear once. If Mailata were to make the Pro Bowl in 2022, then that $1.6 million becomes a base salary pay raise on all future years of his contract.

But even if Mailata starts hitting those escalators, he’s still going to be a bargain for the Eagles. Here’s a closer look at the four-year extension, which included signing bonuses and option bonuses for cap purposes:


$965,000 is the base pay.

Cap hit: $4.372 million


Base salary: $1.08 million

Cap hit: $7.671 million


Base salary: $14.5 million

Cap hit: $21.091 million


Base salary: $15.5 million

Cap hit: $22.091 million

If Mailata were to simply play out this four-year extension and leave as a free agent in 2026, he would leave $6.775 million in dead money on the Eagles’ books for that season.

But by 2026 Mailata will still be under 30 and if he plays at a high level during this extension, the Eagles will lock him up on another one long before he gets close to free agency. That’s how they operate and that’s how this Mailata deal ended up being such a bargain.

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About 80 tight ends gather in Nashville to learn from NFL’s best

Tight ends congregate in Nashville to learn from the best in the NFL

AP — NASHVILLE, Tenn. Chig Okonkwo, a tight end with the Tennessee Titans, has a very good reason for not working out with the other rookies at the team’s facility as the offseason comes to a close.

Okonkwo, the rookie tight end who set the NFL Combine record for the quickest 40-yard dash among tight ends earlier this year, had better things to do.

The academe for rookie tight ends is called Tight End University.

Okonkwo remarked on Thursday, “It’s just so great to be able to be here and accomplish this. “And it’s simply fantastic. There are maybe 80 of us here. And there are a ton of Pro Bowl players that have lucrative contracts. Being able to play as a rookie in my first season is just incredibly amazing.

As he prepares for his first NFL season, Okonkwo is trying to soak up all the knowledge he can, especially when Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, a seven-time Pro Bowl selection, speaks.

Okonkwo remarked, “He showed me something that I’ve never seen before.” And I thought, “I definitely should start working on that because he’s incredibly talented, he’s the best in the business. So just picking up tiny pieces like that from different folks and learning things like that.

That was the main motivation behind Tight End U, or TEU.

After relocating to Nashville five years ago, George Kittle, a three-time Pro Bowler for San Francisco, had already been working with eight to ten tight ends in the offseason. Greg Olsen, a three-time Pro Bowler, advised inviting everyone when he discussed enlarging the group with Kelce.

They expected 20, with 50 in attendance last year at the high school where Kittle’s father, George, works as an assistant football coach for former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer. At least 85 tight ends attended this week’s camp, which was moved to Vanderbilt University due to the lengthening of the invite list.

Kelce, Kittle and Olsen also had to tell a bunch of young tight ends no.

Because of the large turnout, Kelce added, “We’re still growing and trying to find space for everyone to be able to come out here.” “And on top of that, to hear the tales from the men who are passing through and what they’ve learned, we know what a unique situation it is. Every year, we’ll keep working to make it larger and better.

During camp, the tight ends practice running routes against players who are considerably faster than them and blocking 300-pound linemen. They picked the brains of veterans like Olsen in a classroom before moving onto the field to hone the physical techniques to thrive in an NFL season.

It requires money to gather that many individuals.

TEU is sponsored by Bridgestone, Charmin, Gatorade, Levi’s, and Bud Light. The tight ends once more helped the Boys and Girls Club by raising money. Dawson Knox of Buffalo winning the competition with Okonkwo second, and they brought in more than $131,000. With an additional gift on Thursday, Bridgestone raised that to $681,000.

More TEU expansion is likely in the future. Kelce said they would like to bring in more tight ends, possibly tight end coaches and maybe even college tight ends.

For now, everyone leaves having learned something, whether it’s a new release on a route, a blocking technique or something off tape.

“And everyone here is hungry and everybody here wants to be a great NFL tight end,” Kittle said. “And so when you put all that hunger together, it’s just big ol’ nasty beast, and that’s what a tight end is.”


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Trading for Deshaun Watson

The slowest period of the NFL schedule is now in effect. Training camps won’t start for nearly a month after minicamps and OTAs are through. Deshaun Watson, the quarterback for the Browns, may be facing a punishment from the NFL, but we won’t hear much from them until training camp starts.

Due to his displeasure with the Houston Texans and the current total of 26 charges of sexual misconduct, Watson has not played since 2020. The Browns acquired Watson in a trade in March after deciding that his talent was worth the risk and ensuing PR nightmare. Even though Watson recently reached settlements in 20 of his claims, he is still in danger. It’s unlikely that his cases being resolved will have any bearing on a future ban. The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the NFL wants to suspend Watson for the whole season.

There is no disputing that any revelation will have an impact on the pitch and the betting market, even though the Watson problem is far wider than football and gambling. The Browns’ odds to win the Super Bowl have already decreased since getting Watson, from 18 to 25. Despite having the third-best odds in the division, they were originally considered favorites to win the AFC North. Even while the market has undoubtedly changed as a result of the conceivable impending suspension, there is still time to participate. Here are two profitable strategies to bet against the Browns before the suspension information becomes public.

Dual Forecast for the AFC North

The AFC North has four clubs who hope to compete, making it one of the strongest divisions in football even though it may not be as anticipated as the AFC West or the NFC West. The Cincinnati Bengals made it to the Super Bowl last season. The Baltimore Ravens were 8-3 at one point before their injuries became too much to overcome. Mike Tomlin hasn’t had a losing record with the Steelers since taking over in 2007.

Deshaun Watson should be suspended by the NFL in the coming weeks. (Nick Cammett/Getty Images )

Even if Deshaun Watson was absolved and played all 17 games, you’d be able to make a very good case that the Ravens and Bengals are the two best teams in this division. If Jacoby Brissett starts a lot of games for the Browns this season, it’s hard to envision a world where they can compete with two very good teams. He averaged 5.7 yards per attempt this past season with Miami in five starts. There is no downfield threat at all with Brissett, which will allow teams to stack the box and hone in on the Browns’ run game.

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Currently at BetMGM, you can bet that the Ravens and Bengals will occupy the top two seeds in the AFC North. This is the chalkiest bet in the market, but it still pays out at +175 which is more than good enough.

Browns to finish last in division

Last season, the Cleveland Browns finished the season with an 8-9 record, which tied them with Baltimore for the worst record in the AFC North. This season, the Steelers are prohibitive -190 favorites to finish the season in the basement of the division. The Browns are +400 to finish in last place.

Baker Mayfield played through injury from Week 2 on in 2021, which severely impacted his play and the Browns’ ability to win. There were questions about whether Mayfield is a franchise quarterback to begin the season anyway, which is the main reason why the Browns went out and acquired Watson. However, even while playing with a torn labrum and other injuries, Mayfield is a better quarterback than Jacoby Brissett. So with the Watson suspension looming, it appears the Browns will play a sizable part of their season with Brissett under center. This would mean that rather than improving their biggest question mark, they downgraded.

The Steelers are the favorites to finish in last place, but they’re coming off a nine-win season and a playoff berth. The combination of Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett can’t be worse than the version of Ben Roethlisberger we saw last season. As mentioned above, Mike Tomlin’s teams are always in the mix. We saw him coach a team with Duck Hodges to an 8-8 record a few years ago. If you’re giving me Jacoby Brissett and Kevin Stefanski at +400 to finish below Mike Tomlin, I’m taking it all day long.

The Ravens finished last in the division in 2021, but it’s really hard to envision that repeating itself. In fact, the Ravens are the current betting favorites to win the division at +165. They were 8-3 last season before injuries to Lamar Jackson and a boatload of other important players submarined their season. As long as Baltimore doesn’t have another catastrophic season on the injury front, they’ll avoid the basement.

A lot of people around the NFL expect the Bengals to take a step backwards in 2022, and that’s not a terrible take. They did win the AFC last year; it’d be easy to take a step back from that. However, with Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase another year older, I certainly don’t expect them to fall into the basement of the division.

If we’re banking on a lengthy suspension for Watson and a lot of Jacoby Brissett under center for the Browns this season, then +400 odds to finish last in the division seems like a good bet to make.


A look at the five best NFL duos entering the 2022 season

Talent, consistency and compatibility are vital to any NFL duo’s success. While they don’t necessarily have to play the same position, they perform at an elite level on either offense or defense to buoy one another.

Below are the five of the top offensive and defensive duos in the league entering the 2022 season, driven by PFF Wins Above Replacement (WAR) and PFF stats. Teams with newly created offseason pairings will be considered, as well.


Chase and Higgins excelled during the Bengals’ Super Bowl run as primary pass-catching targets for franchise quarterback Joe Burrow. The two young stars dominated on the field with top-10 WAR figures and quality PFF grades.

Player WAR Offensive Grade Receiving Grade Ja’Marr Chase 0.49 85.3 86.1 Tee Higgins 0.40 83.4 82.8

Chase and Higgins finished this past season with the second- and third-highest offensive grades on the team, and both flourished as big-play receiving threats. Each had average target depths that surpassed 12.0 yards, and they are expected to continue on that trend as vertical weapons for years to come.

Samuel and Kittle form this list’s first irregular positional duo, but they each control the middle of the field at an elite level. Samuel registered a 99.0 medium receiving depth grade this past season, while Kittle possessed an otherworldly 99.9 mark that same campaign. They each posted top-10 2021 WAR figures at their positions and will look to duplicate their 90.0-plus offensive grades from a year ago with new starting quarterback Trey Lance.

Injuries marred Waller’s 2021 season en route to his lowest offensive grade in four years (69.7). When he’s healthy, Waller is one of the league’s most talented receiving weapons, boasting the third-best tight end WAR figure since 2019 (1.19). Meanwhile, new teammate Davante Adams owns the top WAR mark among wide receivers since 2017 (2.73) and seems destined to continue his greatness alongside quarterback Derek Carr, who he played with at Fresno State. Expect Adams and Waller to emerge as one of the premier WR/TE duos this upcoming season.

Godwin and Evans have done annual damage as a receiving duo, and 2021 was no different. The two finished last season with top-20 WAR figures and caught a combined 22 of their 31 contested targets. Whenever Godwin returns from his ACL tear, he and Evans will look to continue their career ascent with Tom Brady returning under center.

Jefferson’s elite impact during his young NFL career has been undeniable. He’s garnered the Vikings’ best offensive grade his first two seasons while possessing the third-highest 2021 WAR figure among receivers (1.16). Thielen missed four games last year while finishing with his lowest receiving grade since 2015, but he is only two years removed from an 87.9 receiving grade. If the two wideouts can achieve excellence at the same time, their offensive impact can elevate the Vikings to playoff contention.


Watt has been a locomotive off the edge the past few years, further cementing himself as a premier defensive player. However, Watt and Heyward’s dominance along Pittsburgh’s defensive front goes slightly unnoticed.

Player WAR Defensive Grade Pass-Rushing Grade T.J. Watt 0.41 89.6 90.6 Cam Heyward 0.40 90.8 83.8

Watt finished with a top-five 2021 WAR mark for edge rushers, while Heyward trailed only Aaron Donald for the best interior defensive linemen WAR figure. The two feed off one another en route to tons of quarterback pressure — including a combined 34 sacks, 24 hits and 70 hurries in 2021.

Last year was the ultimate breakout campaign for Crosby. He led the league in total pressures (108), hurries (77) and hits (20) during 2021 on his way to the PFF edge rusher WAR title. His newest partner in crime will be Chandler Jones, who put together the second-highest pass-rushing grade of his career last year (87.7). The duo should continue the Raiders’ pass-rushing renaissance under new head coach Josh McDaniels.

Hyde and Poyer are among the most underrated safety duos in the NFL. The two’s WAR totals each ranked top 15 in 2021, and they both posted 86.0-plus coverage grades last season. With another year in Leslie Frazier’s defense, expect more great things from this talented secondary pairing.

Bosa had a top-five edge defender WAR in 2021, accompanied by a 90.3 pass-rushing grade. There’s no denying his quarterback-hunting prowess when he’s healthy. The same can be said for Khalil Mack, who since 2016 has been the edge-rushing WAR king (2.93). If he can return to his 2020 form when he posted a 92.5 grade, the sky is the limit for this duo.

Peters missed all of last year with a torn ACL but owns the sixth-best cornerback WAR figure since 2017. Slot cornerback Marlon Humphrey has the fifth-best WAR average during that time span and is looking to bounce back after a down year of playing out of position. A new defensive coordinator and an infusion of younger and fresher secondary talent can bring the best out of this cornerback duo heading into 2022.


Andy Dalton: The Red Rifle in the History of Pro Football

Andy Dalton is unlikely to receive more than a paragraph or two in the early 21st century history of professional football. However, this does not diminish the Red Rifle’s importance in the development of the game. The opposite is true.

Initially, the resume Dalton has accumulated 35,279 passing yards, 226 touchdown passes, and 135 interceptions throughout the course of his 11-season NFL career, which is still active today. In each of his first five seasons, he led the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs and was chosen three times for the Pro Bowl. True tale On the NFL Network’s Top 100 list of the best athletes in the world back in 2016, Dalton came in at No. 35 (!). Ken O’Brien, Ron Jaworski, Jim Everett, and Jay Cutler are just a few players whose careers Pro Football Reference says have been “identical quality and shape” to Dalton’s. Good business!

Dalton, however, was never able to go into second gear and compete with the top passers in the game. Maybe it was his decent, if not amazing, statistical production. The Bengals never won a postseason game with Dalton at the helm, making his team’s January difficulties more more troubling.

Chris Wesseling, a friend and coworker of mine, began organizing well-attended tavern gatherings called Wesstivus to celebrate Cincinnati’s annual postseason defeat in the early 2010s, which almost always occurred in the earliest Wild Card window on Saturday afternoon. Chris Wesseling used the occasion to paradoxically celebrate. Wess was a resident of West Cincinnati, and everyone who knew him will attest to his famous annoyance with Bengals management. He had assembled a 200-page dossier of press clippings and printouts that detailed years of organizational mismanagement years earlier. It acted as the man’s and his childhood team’s divorce papers.

Dalton became a person of enormous interest to Chris despite (or perhaps because of) his tumultuous past with the Bengals. He referred to Dalton as the “primary meridian” of NFL quarterbacks and suggested that other clubs should utilize him and his distinct style of plus-mediocrity to assess the condition of their own quarterback position.

Wess believed that his team’s talent and leadership were solely responsible for Dalton’s achievements and failures. Dalton didn’t have the potential to improve or degrade a team; instead, his success or failure depended totally on the foundation that was created around him. While Andy Dalton couldn’t make you better, he also couldn’t make you worse.

Wess’s “The Dalton Scale” was built on these principles. On a 2019 episode of the podcast Around The NFL, Chris provided the following explanation:


The NFL is seeking to compel the arbitration of a racial discrimination case brought by a Miami Dolphins assistant coach.

The NFL on Tuesday filed a motion in federal court to compel Brian Flores’ class-action lawsuit against the league and several teams, in which he and two other coaches allege racial discrimination in its hiring practices, to arbitration.

The filing was made in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and included redacted contracts for all the coaches who are named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit — Flores, Steve Wilks and Ray Horton. The filing also includes a copy of the NFL’s constitution and bylaws.

The NFL argued in its filing that all three coaches agreed in their signed contracts to arbitrate any claims against the teams that employed them and that “the NFL Constitution’s arbitration provisions to which Plaintiffs agreed expressly cover claims involving two or more member clubs and claims between any coach and any member club — precisely the case here.”

The NFL also argued in its filing that those signed contracts also compel any claim against the league to arbitration and that Supreme Court precedent requires each man to arbitrate his claims on an individual basis.

Flores, who filed his lawsuit in February, also alleged that Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross offered him $100,000 per loss during the 2019 season, his first with the team, to improve its draft position. In its motion filed Tuesday, the NFL stated that this also is not a matter for the federal courts to rule on, writing, “Courts are particularly hesitant to interfere in such matters, because the internal standards of professional sports leagues ‘are not necessarily familiar to courts and obviously require some expertise in their application.’ To support that argument, the NFL cited Charles O. Finley & Co. v. Kuhn (1978) and Crouch v. NASCAR (1988) as precedent.

Douglas Wigdor, one of Flores’ attorneys, had argued before a judge in May that arbitration is the wrong way to resolve the lawsuit. Flores’ attorneys also said in a statement issued in April, when the NFL first expressed its intention to file a motion to compel arbitration, that doing so would eliminate much-needed transparency in the case.

Flores’ attorneys want the case to remain in the courts for a jury trial, where it would eventually move to discovery and each side could view relevant documents held by the other.

A Manhattan federal judge is unlikely to rule on the arbitration issue until late summer, at the earliest.

David Gottlieb, a lawyer for the coaches, said Wednesday that moving the case to the secrecy of arbitration was, in effect, “stripping our clients of their rights.”

“Arbitration is privatizing the judicial branch,” Gottlieb said. “All we’re asking for is an open and fair process.”

He said lawyers for the coaches will argue that the lawsuit against the league belongs in federal court because any agreements calling for arbitration were signed with the teams rather than the league.

Flores alleged discrimination from the Dolphins for his firing in January and from the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Houston Texans — teams he interviewed with for head-coaching jobs but was not hired by. Flores alleged that he received “sham” interviews from the Broncos and Giants to satisfy the Rooney Rule requirement to interview minority coaches. The Texans were later added to the lawsuit after Flores alleged that the team “retaliated” against him by not hiring him because he filed his lawsuit.

The Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans were added to the suit in April when Wilks and Horton joined the lawsuit. Wilks alleges he was “not given any meaningful chance to succeed” by the Cardinals, who fired him after one season in which Arizona finished 3-13. Horton was passed over for the Titans job in favor of Mike Mularkey in 2016.

Mularkey, who had been the team’s interim head coach for the final nine games of the 2015 season, said in a 2020 podcast that the Titans’ owners told him he was going to get the job before they had completed the interview process, including interviewing two minority candidates.

Flores is currently employed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach. Wilks is currently employed by the Carolina Panthers as the defensive pass game coordinator and secondary coach. Redacted copies of Flores’ contract with the Steelers and Wilks’ with the Panthers were also attached to the NFL’s filing, as well as Flores’ contract with the New England Patriots, the team he was employed by before being hired by the Dolphins.

Horton is now retired.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.