Thursday, March 26, 2015

Chargers seem destined to leave San Diego

Apart from the bright-line rules that were (and weren’t) adopted at the now-concluded annual league meetings, one thing became clear via the chatter among those in attendance:  The Chargers are determined to leave San Diego for Los Angeles.
They haven’t said so publicly, and they likely won’t for months to come.  But enough is being said privately to lead to the inescapable conclusion that the Chargers are destined to escape from the city they’ve called home since 1961.
With public money no longer a viable option in California (or pretty much anywhere) to construct an NFL stadium, the money necessary to build a new building in San Diego won’t be offset by the kind of revenue that justifies the investment.  Instead, it now seems to be far more likely than not that the Chargers will partner with the Raiders in Carson, or that the Chargers will become the second team in the Inglewood stadium that will house the Rams.
It means that the Rams or Raiders will be shut out of the market.  The most common theory making the rounds in Arizona this week had the Rams joining the Chargers and the Raiders possibly filling the void in St. Louis created by the departure of the Rams.
Regardless, 20 years of talk about a team moving to L.A. will soon be ending.  In 2016, it now seems inevitable that the Chargers and another NFL team will be back in Los Angeles.

Author: Mike Florio

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jordy Nelson recovering from hip surgery

Packers receiver Jordy Nelson is recovering from hip surgery.
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said at the league meeting that Nelson felt hip pain at the Pro Bowl and had surgery after that.
“He had some post-season work done,” McCarthy said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He’ll be fine in a couple of weeks. I’ve seen him. I’m trying to think if it’s six-to-eight weeks, but really he should answer that. But it’s nothing serious.”
It’s not clear whether Nelson’s injury could slow him down during the team’s offseason program, but McCarthy did not sound overly concerned. Nelson has started all 16 games the last two years, and from all indications, Nelson will be good to go long before the start of the season.

Source: PFT
Author: Michael David Smith
AP Photo, Ann Heisenfelt

Monday, March 23, 2015

Goodell says playoff expansion talk hasn’t cooled

A year ago, the NFL seemed to be poised to expand the playoffs from 12 to 14 teams, effective in 2015.  And then someone apparently realized that it didn’t make much sense to expand the playoffs before the year in which the playoffs would be expanded.
So it’s now 2015, and there’s no proposal for expanding the playoffs as the league meetings commence — along with plenty of talk that there won’t be expansion of the playoffs this year.  So Peter King of asked Commissioner Roger Goodell why the subject had cooled.
“I don’t think it’s cooled at all,” Goodell said.  “There are a lot of factors that go into it.  One, we want to be right when we do it. . . .  It’s something that we think has got a lot of merit from a competitive side, because it would actually add more teams to the race as you get toward the end of the season.  There’s the broadcasting side of it.  When would you play that extra game?”
Scheduling of that one extra game per conference, where the No. 2 seed would face the No. 7 seed, also becomes a challenge, as Steelers owner Art Rooney II recently noted.  Bumping a game to Monday night of wild-card weekend gives the winner limited rest for the divisional round — and it creates a potential conflict with the NCAA title game.
“We’re respectful of college football,” Goodell said of the NFL’s free farm system.
Goodell mentioned another complication that we (or at least I) hadn’t previously considered.  The No. 2 seed could, in theory, end up playing home games for five straight weekends.  If, for example, the team that emerges as the second best team in the conference finishes with back-to-back regular-season home games, hosts the No. 7 seed and wins in the wild-card round, hosts the divisional round and wins, and then if the No. 1 seed loses in the divisional round (which happens nearly half the time), the No. 2 seed would be looking at five home games in five weekends.
“If you have a northern climate, that’s a lot to ask of your fans,” Goodell said.  “So we have a lot to balance.”
Still, dollars will drive this bus (as they always do), and there are plenty of dollars to be made by staging two extra wild-card games.  The prevailing belief is that even more dollars will be made by tying the extra playoff games to the Thursday night package.
Once that happens, the other details will easily fall into place, with the college title game sliding to Tuesday night if need be and with teams that play outdoors in northern climates not finishing the regular season with consecutive home games.

Author: Mike Florio
Photo: US Presswire

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Report: Seahawks, Wilson “very close” to a new deal

The Seahawks have increased Marshawn Lynch’s compensation to $12 million in 2015.  They’ve also traded for Jimmy Graham, who’ll get $27 million over three years despite never playing a down for the team.  Meanwhile, quarterback Russell Wilson continues to operate under a slotted third-round rookie deal that in comparison pays him peanuts.
That soon could change.
Terry Blount of, while appearing on 710 ESPN in Seattle, said that a deal between the Seahawks and Wilson could be coming.
“From what I’ve been told they’re very close, they’re just trying to make sure every single thing is in place before they go forward with this,” Blount said.  “I think it’s going to be bigger and crazier and different from what any contract has ever been.”
There has been plenty of speculation that the Seahawks are considering a fully-guaranteed contract for Wilson that would keep the cap burden lower while also ensuring he’ll get every penny.  This would require owner Paul Allen to fully fund the future guarantees at signing, but that’s something he easily can afford to do.
The Seahawks would have to be willing to assume the risk of career-ending injury.  And they’d have to assume the risk of ineffectiveness.  Most importantly, the team would be assuming the risk of non-career-ending injury leading to ineffectiveness.
Case in point:  Robert Griffin III.  His torn ACL didn’t end his career, but it changed his career to the point where Washington may not pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract in May.  A similar injury to Wilson wouldn’t end his career but it could significantly diminish his skills.  Then what would the Seahawks and their “always compete” approach do with a guy into whom so much money has been invested?
However they do it, the time has come to reward Russell Wilson.  The challenge will be determining the right amount and the right structure — especially since some would say the jury is still out on his overall passing skills.

Author: Mike Florio
Photo: Rick Scuteri, AP

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