07 Apr

Jayden Daniels addresses concerns about his throwing elbow

Former LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels is hoping to hear his name called early in the 2024 NFL Draft, and he could be the second player off the board to the Washington Commanders. However, a picture that went viral this past week raised some concerns about a specific body part of Daniels’.

In a report revealing which teams would meet with Daniels at his pro day, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport used this photo on social media:

Immediately following his Pro Day, #LSU QB and potential Top 3 pick Jayden Daniels is scheduled to meet with the #Patriots, #Commanders, #Giants, #Vikings, #Broncos and #Raiders, per his agent Ron Butler. Daniels has not previously met with any teams. pic.twitter.com/1wM92chLz8

— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 27, 2024
As you can see, something looks off with Daniels’ right elbow. On Friday, the quarterback took to social media to address the issue everyone was now talking about.

my elbow is perfectly fine .. stop the cap!!🧢🥱

— Jayden (@JayD__5) March 29, 2024
Whatever is wrong or not wrong with Daniels’ elbow didn’t affect his play. The Arizona State transfer won the Heisman Trophy this past season after dominating through the air and on the ground. Daniels recorded the highest passer efficiency in a season in FBS history (208.0), led the FBS in total yards per game (412.2) and total touchdowns per game (4.2) and led all FBS quarterbacks in yards per attempt (11.7) and yards per rush (8.4).

He is without a doubt one of the top quarterbacks in this class, and a mystifying image of his elbow won’t change that.

07 Apr

Here’s why one NFL owner doesn’t think league will have more streaming and less games on broadcast TV

ORLANDO, Fla. — The NFL has embarked in the streaming revolution over the last few seasons. The league had its first playoff game exclusively to streaming and it was a tremendous success, prompting the league to have a playoff game exclusively on a streaming service every year.

This comes on the same year there was an exclusive regular season game on Peacock and a new “Black Friday” game on Amazon in addition to having the entire “Thursday Night Football” package on Amazon and an international game exclusively on ESPN+.

Games exclusively to streaming have grown around the NFL, as the first international game for the 2024 season between the Philadelphia Eagles and an unnamed opponent will be on Peacock. This is the first international game in Brazil and the league iis banking on new subscribers to watch football on a Friday night on the first week of the season.

As the streaming population is growing and more NFL inventory is being placed on a streaming service, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie doesn’t see a significant amount of games getting taken off broadcast television. The NFL’s bread and butter is being over-the-air.

“I don’t see it more and more, but what I do see is population embraces streaming in certain ways, tremendously,” Lurie said at the NFL Annual Meetings this week. “So technically it was the wild-card game on Peacock that was a huge success. I think they had 21, 22 million viewers, technologically it was excellent. And so it’s also a younger demographic.

“The NFL like other sports leagues but we’re proactive when itself comes to demographics, we want to be younger at times, streamers and Amazons have the ability to deliver younger audiences. The beauty of NFL is most of it is on free television and it’s going to remain that way a long, long time, that’s the basis of the popularity of the NFL.”

Under the NFL’s current contract, the league has an all-digital package with “Thursday Night Football” with Amazon, an exclusive game on ESPN+ and an exclusive game on Peacock. CBS games are also simulcast on Paramount+, NBC games are simulcast on Peacock, and ESPN/ABC games are also simulcast on ESPN+. Amazon added the exclusive “Black Friday” game and a wild card playoff game over the past year, as part of the growing inventory of streaming.

With 23 million tuning into a wild card playoff game, the NFL will milk the streaming cow as long as it can. Lurie doesn’t want fans to be concerned the league will have a bulk of its inventory on streaming.

“I wouldn’t want anyone to think — it’s just another way to go to expand distribution of games,” Lurie said. “But the bulwark of NFL games are free and direct access for all consumers.”

07 Apr

Lions match 49ers’ three-year offer to TE Brock Wright, per report

The San Francisco 49ers attempted to poach a tight end from an NFC foe, as general manager John Lynch signed Detroit Lions restricted free agent tight end Brock Wright to a three-year, $12 million offer sheet that included $6 million guaranteed, per ESPN. However, the Lions matched the offer, keeping Wright on the roster, per NFL Media.

The Lions reportedly initially tendered Wright with a one-year, $2.98 million offer. If Detroit did not match San Francisco’s offer, the Lions would not have received any compensation back, because Wright was originally an undrafted free agent, per the Detroit Free Press.

The 25-year-old tight end found his way to Detroit after going undrafted in 2021. Wright played his college ball at Notre Dame, but was not a major receiving threat, as he caught just seven passes for 78 yards and one touchdown in 28 games played. However, for the Lions, Wright has served as an effective blocker in the run game.

In 41 NFL games played, Wright has caught 43 passes for 424 yards and seven touchdowns. He recorded a career-low 91 receiving yards and one touchdown this past season, and did not play in the NFC Championship matchup vs. the 49ers.

07 Apr

Why Eagles are taking a major gamble by dealing best pass rusher to Jets

Dealing Haason Reddick appeared inevitable based on how the Philadelphia Eagles offseason transpired. Philadelphia signed Bryce huff on the first day of free agency and restructured Josh Sweat’s contract a week later, setting the stage for Reddick’s final days as an Eagle.

Reddick wanted a pay raise for past performance and it was easy to understand his case. Only Reddick and Myles Garrett had 10+ sacks in each of the last four years — and Reddick accomplished the feat with four different defensive coordinators and three different teams. The Eagles paid Reddick an average annual salary of $15 million per season, good for 20th amongst edge rushers in the NFL.

By all accounts, Reddick was underpaid. The Eagles weren’t going to give Reddick a significant bump in pay or a new contract for a 30-year-old pass rusher. Reddick was traded to the New York Jets for a conditional 2026 third-round pick (which is bumped up to a second-round pick if Reddick gets 10+ sacks or plays 67.5% of the snaps).

The trade did make sense for the Eagles, yet they are taking a huge gamble by moving on from Reddick when he has some good football left.

One-year left on the deal
The Eagles could have altered Reddick’s deal similar to how they restructured Sweat’s contract, allowing him to walk after the 2024 season as a free agent. The 2026 conditional third-round pick is valuable for the franchise to remain at a Super Bowl contending level in future years, yet Reddick keeps the team in Super Bowl contention for 2024.

Regardless how the Eagles pass rush fared at the end of the year last season (29th in sack rate at 5.3%), Reddick was still the best pass rusher of a group that disappeared. His 2.5 sacks trailed only Fletcher Cox during that stretch and his 7.9% pressure rate also trailed only Cox.

The Eagles lost their two best pass rushers this offseason with Cox retiring and trading Reddick. By signing off, the Eagles had the money to allow Reddick to keep playing in 2024 in a rotation with Huff and Sweat. The pass rush could have returned to 2022 form with those three leading the way, Nolan Smith having another year to develop, and Brandon Graham playing a limited role.

That group could have arguably been the best pass rush in the NFL. Paying Reddick guaranteed money and parting ways with him after next season could have increased the chances at making the Super Bowl again. Reddick’s ability to get to the passer was massive in Philadelphia winning the NFC Championship two seasons ago.

Too many wild cards in pass rush
The Eagles have more “ifs” in the pass rush, than the certain “sure thing” in Reddick. Sweat has 31 sacks over the last four seasons, but didn’t have any sacks and a 10.3% pressure rate from Week 13 through 18 last season (when the Eagles lost five of six to close the regular season). In the year prior, Sweat had 6.5 sacks from Weeks 13-18 with a 12.6% pressure rate and he had 4.0 sacks with a 15.8% pressure rate in 2021.

The Eagles appear to be treating 2023 as an anomaly for Sweat rather than the norm. Huff, on the the other hand, is what the Eagles are banking on to replicate Reddick’s production. Huff’s 21.3% pressure rate last season trailed only Micah Parsons amongst pass rushers with 250+ snaps. He finished with 10 sacks despite playing 47% of the snaps.

Philadelphia is hoping an increased volume of snaps for Huff will result in more sacks and a high pressure rate. Being 25 years old to Reddick’s 30 was another reason the Eagles decided to pay Huff at a value they were comfortable with. Philadelphia is paying for future production instead of past production.

Nolan Smith had one sack and eight pressures in 182 snaps last season, as the Eagles are ready to give the 2023 first-round pick an expanded role. Brandon Graham is playing his 15th and final season at 36 years old and free agent signing Zack Baun will also be part of the pass rush rotation.

The Eagles don’t have an elite pass rusher like Reddick on the roster. They are hoping Huff becomes one over the life of his contract and Sweat becomes the closer he was at the end of the 2021 and 2022 seasons. Philadelphia is also hoping Smith takes the next step as well.

This is a major gamble for 2024, one that could have been avoided by paying Reddick top dollar for this year than moving on. The trade was a good one, but keeping Reddick on the roster would have been better.

07 Apr

Jadeveon Clowney talks 2023 resurgence, has high hopes for Panthers in 2024 season

Jadeveon Clowney is about to enter his first season with the Carolina Panthers, coming off one year with the Baltimore Ravens and the 31-year-old is ready to continue to prove himself in 2024. This offseason, the edge rusher signed a two-year, $20 million contract, worth up to $24 million, with his hometown team, marking the sixth franchise he has played for in his NFL career.

The Rock Hill, South Carolina native finished with 9.5 sacks last season, tying his career high. Clowney, who played in 17 games last year and finished with 43 total tackles and two forced fumbles, said last year was a crucial one.

“That was very important, really for myself because I already knew I could play the game and make plays,” Clowney said (via ESPN). “I tell people all the time if I play in 16, 17 games, it’s going to look like a Pro Bowl season. That’s all I got to do, is just be out there playing.”

He continued, saying, “I know I can make the plays no matter what team I’m on. I’ve just got to be available and take care of myself. The older I get the more I figure out how to stay healthier.”

Clowney changed his number from No. 90 to No. 24 ahead of his 2023 campaign, which ended up being his first year since 2017 that he played a full season. He said one reason for the change was to separate himself from his bad ending with the Browns.

“That was my Kobe Bryant year, the return of the killer,” Clowney said. “I said Kobe [year] because when I was in Cleveland a lot of stuff happened my last year there when I didn’t have my best season.”

Upon leaving the Browns, he said he had people to prove wrong.

“I said I just need one opportunity to show these people I still can do this at a high level and I’m not the guy they make me out to be,” Clowney said regarding last season. “That’s all I wanted to do that whole offseason, prove that to people.”

Whether it was the symbolic changing of the number, a new team or the extra motivation following a rough time in Cleveland, Clowney’s plan to return to his old way of playing worked. His solid season meant he was sought after in free agency, with the New York Jets also wanting him in their uniform in 2024.

Clowney ended up choosing the Panthers, in part due to his history with the Carolinas. Playing for his hometown team he says is “allowing me to live out my dream.” The potential of helping improve the team that finished 2-15, the worst record in the league, last season, was another reason he decided to make Bank of America Stadium is home field.

“I think we can turn this thing around and have some fun here,” Clowney said. “I’m looking for something great for this upcoming season.”

The South Carolina alum believes his new team can beat out the reigning divisional champ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as well as the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

“The division [NFC South] was tight last year regardless of what people say. It’s no reason to think the Panthers can’t come out on top of the division this year and make the playoffs,” Clowney said.

Clowney said he is hoping former Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, who he played with in high school and college, will be joining him on the Panthers. The edge rusher said Gilmore has been wanting to join the Panthers.

He will be changing his number once again, going back to No. 7, which he wore in high school in college, despite No. 24 being available. He said No. 24 has already done its job.

07 Apr

Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott have mutual interest in reuniting, per report

Could Ezekiel Elliott be back in a Dallas Cowboys jersey next season? There is mutual interest between the two parties, according to ESPN.

A deal to make the reunion happen has not been finalized, but Elliott and the Cowboys are both willing to make it happen.

In 2023, Elliott played his first season in a different jersey, after spending the first seven seasons in Dallas. With the New England Patriots, he finished with 184 rushes for 642 yards, both team highs, with an average of 3.5 yards per carry, with three touchdowns in 17 games. He also had 51 receptions, a team high, for 313 yards and two touchdowns in the air.

Elliott had career lows in multiple categories, including rushes, yards and touchdowns, but when Patriots lead rusher Rhamondre Stevenson went out with an injury toward the end of the season, his involvement in the run game increased. The Cowboys liked how he concluded the 2023 season, according to ESPN.

The veteran was released by the Cowboys last offseason and signed with the Patriots in August on a one-year deal worth $3 million.

He was selected at No. 4 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft and lead the league in rushing in two of his first three years with the Cowboys. The 28-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowler, with 8,904 rushing yards, 71 touchdowns on the ground, 356 receptions for 2,649 yards and 14 touchdowns in the air.