Will hell freeze over in 2020?
To the fans of the New England Patriots, it just might happen.
The extended 2-year contract of their beloved quarterback Tom Brady is worth $70 million that should keep the aging QB living comfortably.
At the 2000 NFL combine Brady couldn’t run to save his life. So like any gangly athlete, he transferred that mobility to the top half of his body and went the distance with his arm. Six Super Bowls later, here we are, and he has nothing else to prove.
Questions had swirled this season as to whether or not Brady would retire. He squelched the notion and worked on his technique instead. While several NFL players held out for more money, Brady’s camp negotiated a deal with a slight clause that could make Patriot fans nervous. Unless you have been under a rock or just don’t care, Tom Brady is Zeus to the New England fan base.
So what is this clause that may have fans leaping into Boston Harbor? Well, both sides avoid a song and dance around the final leg of his contract. Basically, he doesn’t play his final year at a below-market rate. He goes from $15 million to $30 million. However, there is a clause in his contract that avoids a franchise or transition tag on him.
That’s right you heard me. He has the choice that in 2020 to either retire a Patriot after a ridiculous 20 year span OR he can walk to another team, desperate for a Super Bowl dream.
To be honest, it would be hard to see Brady in another uniform other than the Patriots. However, if Aaron Rodgers continues his drama in Green Bay they can switch, you know, kind of like the television show Wife Swap. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Denver jumped at that since John Elway, VP of Personnel would love to win another Super Bowl by the arm of a soon-to-retire veteran.
Another team that would jump at the chance at Brady would be the Detroit Lions. (What, you didn’t think that was a thought in anyone’s mind, especially head coach Matt Patricia?) The moment Brady says he can play another season or two, Patricia will be first in line, hoodie and all, to channel his inner Belichick. It was written in the stars folks.
Other honorable mention of teams that are willing to take a chance:
As weird as it seems Brady can be up for grabs in 2020. Anything can happen in the NFL and only Father Time will tell. Except right now Father Time is having a beer and waiting for Brady to say when.
Wanda Wiedman is a Chicago Bears reporter, columnist for Our Turf Football and one of our Blitzed Insiders. You can follow her on Twitter here.
For the past two weeks, Kate Arhar has written about more geographically pleasing divisions in the NFL. I love the idea! It would be great to see some of the new rivalries. It would be great to see the Cowboy fans, Saints fans, and Falcon fans go at it.
The AFC North rivalries would be awesome as well! While there weren’t too many big changes with the teams, there were some.
Now, I invite you to come with me to the “What Could Be” Who would win the divisions if they were realigned?
Let’s get the “easy ones” out of the way first. Those would be the divisions that don’t change, starting with the NFC North. Letting the homer side of me through, I would, of course, say that the Lions would easily win the division. Honestly though, if we look at next year, the Lions do have a very good chance at winning the division. They still would have to get through the Packers and the Bears, but there is a chance. But, going off of last year, it’d have to be the Bears. The NFC West? If all stays the same, going based on last year, I still see the Rams winning.
How about the new divisions? Looking at the NFC South, you’d have the Saints and the Cowboys going up against each other. That would be really fun to watch, and honestly, after last season, seeing the Saints lose to the Cowboys, I think that ramps up the interesting factor. I think it would be very tight, but I think that the Saints would win the division.
Over in the NFC East, the Panthers could really stir things up and give some great competition. Adding in the fact that Washington has a shiny new quarterback in Dwayne Haskins, and hopefully a healthy Cam Newton at the helm in Carolina, there would be some shakeup.
Heading over to the AFC, since the AFC West stays the same, we won’t predict that. Until there’s something different, I pick Kansas City to win over there.
Looking at the AFC North, this would be fun. The Colts, the Steelers and the emerging Browns. Poor Bengals wouldn’t be doing too much, I presume, but the top 3 would be great to watch. Until you prove to me otherwise, I’m going to roll with the Colts.
The AFC East would be great because of the Ravens being added. But, until Belichick or Brady leave, the Patriots are going to be the tops of that division.
Finally the AFC South. I have a hard time thinking that anyone but Houston will be winning that division. Though, if Miami got a starting quarterback, they perhaps could make some noise!
So, that’s a look at the winners in the “New NFL”. Honestly, I kinda wish it would happen. It looks like it would be a lot of fun!
Last week, I had fun with my OCD and wrote about radically changing around all of the NFL divisions to create a more geographically pleasing picture.
I was genuinely surprised at the number of fans who loved my ideas – and equally surprised at the ones who hated my new divisions.
But even the haters agreed that some amount of reorganizing is way overdue. If you simply pause and think about the number of teams that have moved, from Houston to Tennessee or perhaps St. Louis to Los Angeles, and you will agree that a few changes would be a good thing.
Here is my much more realistic view of a few changes to divisions that make a ton of sense. I’m not moving anyone from the AFC to the NFC and I’m keeping most of the divisions intact, so this should be a fairly painless change for most of you!
I’ll start with the NFC. The NFC North is just fine the way it is. It’s a fairly competitive division and I just don’t see any reason to shuffle these teams around. The NFC West, while not ideal from a mapping perspective, doesn’t contain any teams that I feel belong somewhere else. Seattle being situated all by itself fits just as easily here as it would anywhere else. However…
Dallas being in the NFC East is simply ridiculous. I’m moving the Cowboys into the NFC South. Carolina may be a “southern town,” but they would be better suited to the NFC East.
The AFC isn’t quite as simple. The AFC West (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland/Las Vegas, Los Angeles Chargers) are close enough geographically to stay together. They also make sense from a competitive perspective. Even with Oakland moving to LV in the near future, the mapping still works. However…
Miami being the in AFC East is as silly as the issue with Dallas. But in order to move them somewhere else, I have to juggle two other AFC divisions. I could probably do it with just one move but hey, this is my article, so I get to do what I want….
Put Miami into the AFC South, replacing Indianapolis. Move the Colts into the AFC North, replacing Baltimore. Finally, move Baltimore into the vacant AFC East spot. Easy Peasy.
Yeah, we went there. But before I begin handing out these dubious awards, full disclosure: I am in no way fashion forward. If we're being honest, you could call me fashion backward and I'm perfectly fine with that. But today, I'm going to put on my fashion critic hat, and go over some of the best and worst dressed at last week's NFL Draft.
Best Dressed of the 2019
NFL Draft Awards
Houston's Ed Oliver. The headphones threw it off a little bit, but still. Chef's kiss for that look!
"I Rarely Dress Up, So I Put On
The First Suit I Found" Award
Alabama's Quinnen Willams. All grey errything, huh? But it matches, it's pretty tame, so you can't go wrong...but still.
One more Honorable Mention:
Duke's Daniel Jones. He's another one that looks like his suit is reliable. Good for banquets, interviews, and impressing parents on first dates.
The "We're Going to the NFL, So We're Stepping Up Our Suit Game" Award
Georgia's DeAndre Baker. The sports coat is different but not too different. The Dolce and Gabbana shoes give the look that added NFL Dimension.
Worst Dressed of the
2019 NFL Draft Award
This season an unprecedented eight NFL teams will have new head coaches. And for six of these coaches, it will be their first time running the whole show.
Bruce Arians has stepped out of the booth and back onto the field in Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers have floundered recently and Jameis Winston hasn’t grown or flourished the way we expected him to when he was drafted in 2015. Perhaps promoting former NFL QB turned offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will be the first step in turning Winston around.
But the seven other coaches have their work cut out for them. Let’s take a look at these “rookies” and, maybe the biggest key to their success, who will be under center as they take the field.
The toughest job has to belong to Kliff Kingsbury, taking over the 3-13 Cardinals and rookie QB Josh Rosen. He worked with some familiar names during his tenure as head coach at Texas Tech, including Case Keenum, Johnny Manziel, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes. While I hope he as the chance to work with Rosen, rumors abound that the Cardinals might trade Rosen for a chance at Kyler Murray in the draft.
The Denver Broncos (6-10) surprised many with the hire of Vic Fangio, and more were stunned when they signed veteran QB Joe Flacco. After four years as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, Fangio knows how to stop opponents. But, as he also found out in Chicago, good defense isn’t enough without a QB and an offense. Flacco feels more like a safe choice to buy them time and not really a long-term answer.
Aaron Rodgers is absolutely an elite quarterback. Is he enough to stand behind Matt LaFleur as he takes over in Green Bay? An incredibly disappointing 6-9-1 season that was laden with injuries tells part of the story. And word on the street is that Rodgers and former head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t actually see eye-to-eye, which Rodgers has now refuted. LaFleur has worked for a few NFL teams as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, so that should help their relationship.
When you are in a division with the New England Patriots, you just get used to settling for second place. But the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets are trying to show that it’s not good enough to settle, and both teams made coaching changes as well as QB changes.
Leaving the Dolphins, Adam Gase may not be a rookie, but he’s got something to prove as heads to the New York Jets and takes over managing Sam Darnold. His rookie year left a whole lot of question marks as to his abilities. After the QB carousel Gase dealt with in Miami, it should be interesting to see what he can do with the #2 pick from last year’s draft. Given time and resources, this should be the kind of QB he can build a team around.
Plus, those new uniforms are sweet.
Brian Flores leaves New England to take over the struggling 7-9 Miami Dolphins. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a great off-season addition and should be an asset to the defensive-minded Flores. From scouting to defensive coordinator, Flores worked his way through the Patriots organization. He learned from the master himself, Bill Belichick. If anyone knows the strengths and weaknesses of the Dolphins, it’s him. I’ve got a feeling we’ll see 9 or 10 wins this season.
Lastly, we come to my home division: the AFC North. A division in turmoil, with the Ravens and Steelers on the decline – at least that’s what I like to believe. It’s a division ripe for the taking and both of the Ohio teams are making moves.
Zac Taylor was a wide receiver and quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams. He’s worked with Jared Goff. No one knows what, if anything, Andy Dalton has left in his tank, but if the Bengals can find a way to get Murray or Dwayne Haskins or some other young QB to develop, Taylor is the guy to do it. After taking over the bottom spot in the division at 6-10 last year, fans were beyond thrilled that Taylor was hired to right the ship.
I try to be objective. I fail, but I try. Freddie Kitchens has the best job in this bunch with Baker Mayfield under center. The team that went 1-15 then 0-16 just a short while ago, made huge strides to finish 7-8-1 last year. Kitchens was named the interim offensive coordinator after week 8 and earned the respect of the players, the front office, the fans, and most importantly, general manager John Dorsey. His relationship with Mayfield seems to be solid and, if they continue to click, this team is headed to the playoffs.