We’re just a few weeks away from the start of the 100th NFL season. Football being back is one of the best times of the year, the fall weather begins, fantasy football starts back up, it’s great. But the NFL has been loaded with headlines before the start of the season. Sports news had been dry for a while since the NBA season ended, and we just had baseball. No offense to baseball but the more sports in season, the better. The top headlines have kept us itching for the start of the season.
Antonio Brown and His Helmet
With the Oakland Raiders on this season of HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ the cameras have been on them during training camp, and Antonio Brown is stealing the show. He has been sitting out of training for a few crazy reasons. The craziest being that he refuses to play without his outdated helmet. The league has banned the use of the Schutt Air Advantage helmet. The same helmet Brown has used throughout his NFL career. Brown has now filed his second grievance with the NFL to try and be able to wear the helmet. He has yet to find one that can pass the NFL’s testing, and has threatened to straight up stop playing football if he can’t wear it.
Brown also has a bizarre ‘injury’ that is slowing him down. He apparently wore the wrong footwear when he went in a cryotherapy chamber. That led to him getting frostbite on his feet, and now they are peeling and look extremely uncomfortable to do anything on.
Running Backs Rule the League
Last season we saw LeVeon Bell sit out after not getting the money he thought he deserved from the Steelers. Now we have Ezekiel Elliot and Melvin Gordon threatening to sit out this season.
Elliot has been in Cabo instead of in Dallas for training camp, he’s adamant on not playing until he gets his extension. Zeke has been one of the best running backs in the league since he entered a few years. Zeke is only set to make $3.85 million this season. And the running back market was set by Bell last season as he signed a 4 year, $52.5 million deal with the Jets. So Zeke is right to think he deserves more. And Jerry Jones is not handling the situation very well, dropping a “Zeke who?” quote that Zeke was not a fan of. Elliot’s agent said that neither of them were amused by the quote, and Zeke felt disrespected.
Melvin Gordon is in a similar situation, but he has significantly less leverage. Gordon is a good running back, but I’m not sure he is of the caliber that he can hold out for a massive new deal. That puts the Chargers in a tough spot, because they like Gordon, but how much are they willing to give him? They offered a deal worth $10 million a season, but the two sides are reportedly still millions apart. I think Gordon is overvaluing himself, but if he doesn’t get paid by the Chargers, I’m sure there is a team that will pay him what he wants.
I hope that star players threatening to sit out entire seasons does not become a regular thing.
Kyler Murray leads that group in terms of popularity and in expectations. He is the only top quarterback from this draft who is expected to start right away. In Arizona with first year head coach, Kliff Kingsbury, Murray faces the challenge of being ‘too short’. Murray is listed at 5’10”, and worried some scouts and coaches due to his lack of height. He will also always have the baseball dilemma looming over his career, if his NFL career is not great or even good, people will judge his decision to leave his MLB opportunity.
The other top quarterbacks are Dwayne Haskins Jr, and Daniel Jones. Haskins is battling for a starting spot with veteran Case Keenum. The Ohio State product has shown flashes of potential in the preseason. Daniel Jones was easily the most confusing pick in this years draft. Taken with the number 3 overall pick, he has some pretty big expectations. He is going to back up Eli Manning in New York at least to start the season. He is going to be an interesting player to watch because if he succeeds, that would be a huge win for the Giants, proving everyone wrong. But if he sucks or is a sub par player, that will be looked at as a terrible use of the number 3 pick, especially if other quarterbacks taken after him are more successful.
The Cleveland Browns
The Browns have been the laughing stock of the league for as long as I can remember. But this upcoming season they have the expectation to win some football games. A second year quarterback in Baker Mayfield is set to be one of the better quarterbacks in the league, he shined last year once he started games. And with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr, there is some firepower to their offense. Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb both are looking to continue their success with the team. And the Browns have a legitimate chance to win the AFC North now that Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell are out of Pittsburgh now. Whether they are as good as their expectations, they are for sure going to be a fun team to watch.
– LeVeon Bell on the Jets
– Jay Z’s Deal with the NFL
– Andrew Lucks injury struggles
– How will Mahomes look after his MVP season