Three Free Agents that Could Scramble the NFL Betting Markets in 2020

NFL  football is definitely a team sport. But one player added to the right team at  just  the right time can have a ripple effect throughout the entire team and organization. 


Top Three Quarterbacks in the 2015 NFL draft (archival article)

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While a lot of teams in the NFL feel like they already have a franchise quarterback to count on, there are going to be teams looking for that type of guy in the 2015 NFL draft. It might not be the most outstanding year for quarterbacks, but there are a few who have an opportunity to become starters rather quickly. Here is a look at who might be able to take a franchise to another level.

Jameis Winston

In his redshirt freshman year, Winston made a name for hiimself as a nationalchampion and a Heisman Trophy winner. However, a lot of people are goingto focus on some of his transgressions off of the field as reasons to doubt his character a little bit. He seems to be maturing quickly, and a lot of mock drafts have him as the number 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have been desperately looking for a franchise type of guy, and he certainly has the arm strength and the size to be solid in the NFL.

Marcus Mariota

Like Winston, Mariota goes into the draft with the Heisman Trophy alreaady to his name. He has some people doubting him as well, but that has to do with the type of style he played at the college level. There are some scouts who feel like Oregon made him look better than he actually is. His draft position seems a little bit trickier, but someone in the 1st round is going to take a chance on him. In fact, slipping out of the top 10 seems almost impossible.

Brett Hundley

After the top 2 prospects, there is a chance that we do not see another quarterback drafted until the 3rd round. There are going to be some options for teams at that time, as Bryce Petty and Garrett Grayson could go in that round as well. Hundley just seems like the guy with the most potential right now. He was able to have quite a bit of success at UCLA, and he has the armstrength to compete at the highest level.


Three Mind-Blowing 2017 NFL MVP Candidates

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As National Football League teams prepare their respective training camps, there are a number of questions heading into the new season. Can the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots repeat? Will the Dallas Cowboys continue their winning ways behind a second-year quarterback and last year’s NFL Rookie of the Year? And everyone wants to know, who will win the NFL’s MVP award?

If you are looking for answers to those questions, they may very well be 1) absolutely, 2) maybe, and 3) any of a number of players. The best bet is the guy that guided New England to its (sixth) Super Bowl victory last season. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has shown no signs of slowing down despite being 39 years of age. In 2016, Brady enjoyed a season where he completed 67.4 percent of his passes, threw 28 touchdowns, and just two interceptions. His receiving corps returns and gets a boost from former New Orleans WR Brandin Cooks who had 78 catches for 1,173 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Brady will turn 40 in August, but has the ingredients for an MVP season.

Another solid bet for the NFL MVP award is Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. A winner of two MVPs already, Rodgers established career highs in both completions (401) and attempts (610) last season. He threw 31 touchdown passes versus just eight interceptions and this year should have a better running game to aid the Packers passing attack. If that isn’t enough, history could be an indicator. Rodgers won his first MVP in 2011. Three years later in 2014, he won his second. The 2017 season marks three years since Rodgers’ last MVP. He will have the weapons to put together an MVP-caliber season.

The longshot pick in the MVP race is Houston Texans DE J.J. Watt. The 6-foot-5, 295-pound Watt missed most of last season with a back injury, but will return in 2017. In his first five seasons in the NFL, Watt was the league’s defensive player of the year three times. At age 28 and healthy, he should be in his prime and another 20-plus sack season could be in the cards. Watt will also benefit from the improved play of DE Jadeveon Clowney, who had six sacks and 16 tackles for loss last season. It is difficult for a defensive player to win an MVP award, but if Watt has a season similar to 2012, ’14, or ’15 he will be in the mix to be crowned the NFL’s best player in 2017.

Three NFL Teams that Crushed Free Agency in 2017!

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There’s a tried and true saying in the NFL: “championships aren’t won in the offseason.”  Year after year, there are numerous teams who go out and “break the bank” in free agency, only to see mediocre results in the regular season, with some of those high-priced acquisitions failing to live up to the fat paychecks they’re earning. But at the same time, those teams who make the right combination of moves, by balancing the high-priced free agent acquisitions with the moderately-priced role players or young players with upside, can quickly change the trajectory of a given side of their football team, if not their football team as a whole.

Taking a look at the 2017 NFL offseason to date, three teams appear to have positioned themselves for significant improvements this upcoming season, thanks to both the quality, and quantity, of moves that they’ve made:

3. Philadelphia — After two straight seasons of finishing with a 7-9 record, the Philadelphia Eagles have positioned themselves to take a sizable step forward this offseason, given some of the additions they made. For anyone who watched the Eagles for any period of time last season, their biggest need — at least on offense — was painfully clear: they desperately needed reliable weapons to whom Carson Wentz could throw the football. The Eagles decisively addressed said need by adding wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey, formerly of the Chicago Bears, and wide receiver Torrey Smith, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. Jeffrey provides Wentz with the tall, reliable receiver who can go up over cornerbacks to catch the ball, whereas Smith provides the vertical threat that Wentz can use to attack defenses vertically. On defense, the unit looked like it would mostly stay the same, save for any badly needed upgrades they would make at the cornerback position. But, they were prepared to lose the services of defensive tackle Bennie Logan to free agency. That became a reality when Logan signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. However, the Eagles actually may have ended up with a better player in the long run, after acquiring defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan from the Baltimore Ravens, for nothing more than a swap of third round picks. Such a price is nothing short of a steal for Philadelphia, as they acquire the rights to one of the young, talented, and unheralded defensive linemen in the NFL. That essentially means that if the Eagles were to make any upgrades at cornerback and running back in the 2017 NFL Draft, this could be a profoundly different — and profoundly better — team next season.

2. New England — It might seem silly to include the reigning Super Bowl champions on a list of teams that have improved themselves this offseason, but that is actually the case with the Patriots (as scary as that may seem). New England, under Bill Belichick, usually won’t make any overtures towards free agents sure to garner lucrative contracts. That’s why it came as a surprise to many people when the Patriots quickly inked cornerback Stephon Gillmore to a five-year deal with $65 million, on the first day of free agency. Coming off a Pro Bowl season, Gillmore gives New England a pair of Pro Bowl cornerbacks, alongside Malcolm Butler. Their other big move in free agency wasn’t actually an acquisition, but rather the retention of Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower. Hightower opted to return to New England on a four-year, $35.5 million deal. As the middle linebacker for New England (and a favorite of the coaching staff), Hightower was an integral part of the Patriots defense. Being able to retain his services was a huge win for them. On offense, New England gave future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady yet another weapon, in the form of wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The Patriots sent the #32 overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft to New Orleans for the rights to Cook, who will provide Brady with a deep threat that was sorely lacking last year. Add in the acquisitions of defensive end Kony Ealy from Carolina (an underrated pass rusher) and tight end Dwayne Allen (who has shown the ability to be a dominant red zone option), and it’s not hard to see why New England should be the favorites in the AFC yet again.

1. Jacksonville — For the second straight year, Jacksonville has gone out and spent liberally in free agency, enhancing the young and talented foundation of players they’ve taken via the NFL Draft with veteran players at key positions. This year, the Jaguars were able to secure the services of one of the true crown jewels of the 2017 Free Agency period: defensive end Calais Campbell, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals. The Jaguars only had one player finish with eight more sacks last season — rookie defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue — whereas Campbell himself has recorded  56.5 sacks over his nine seasons in the league. Jacksonville also went out and signed cornerback A.J. Bouye to a five-year, $67.5 million deal.  As one of the breakout stars of 2016, not only does Bouye give the Jaguars one of the very best tandems of cornerbacks in the NFL (alongside uber-talented rookie Jalen Ramsey), but it also makes a key division rival — the Houston Texans — weaker in the process. Finally, the Jaguars also went out and upgraded what could’ve been their biggest position of need heading into this offseason at left tackle, acquiring veteran tackle Branden Albert from the Miami Dolphins through a trade. Albert has struggled with injuries recently, but he’s less than two seasons removed from a Pro Bowl appearance. With his acquisition, it not only affords quarterback Blake Bortles more protection next season, but it also allows Jacksonville to continue to upgrade their team, by taking the best available player with their first round pick (#4 overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft.