Beyond Repair? Browns Already Looking to Move on From Johnny Manziel

Has Johnny Manziel become another mistake by the lake?

Has Johnny Manziel become another mistake by the lake?

Another day, another story about Johnny Manziel. After a fan was trash talking the Browns’ quarterback at a golf tournament  in Texas, Manziel reportedly threw a water bottle at the heckling fan in frustration. While I can actual see Manziel’s side of fans that cross the line and berate athletes, his handling of the situation proves the lack of maturity that continues to plague the young quarterback.

It appears that Cleveland, who traded up to select Manziel in the first round last year, is reportedly looking to move on from Johnny Football. It’s one thing to question if Maziel’s natural ability will translate to the field. Personally, I don’t think he will given his size, arm, and that his best success came ad libbing an offense at the college level. Best comparison would be Troy Smith from Ohio State with a higher celebrity status.

I can get why Maziel reacted the way he did with the fan over the weekend. Still, he should have the maturity to realize that he is already on thin ice with his off the field escapades and should either not go out to public events or bring a security detail with him. Still, even if Manziel can mature the bridge could have already been burned in Cleveland. Given the quarterback talent on the roster Johnny Football can he be the starter in Cleveland, but as a leader of men the question is has he lost his team?

Johnny has gone to rehab, but it remains to be seen if the party boy is truly gone.

Johnny has gone to rehab, but it remains to be seen if the party boy is truly gone.

Robert Griffin the III is the best example of a quarterback that has seemingly lost the faith of the players and coaches in an NFL organization. Thing is Griffin is a former Rookie of the Year and has been in the league for a couple of years. Manizel has only started two games in the pros and has made more headlines for his off the field antics then play on the field.

Look, I get it Johnny. You’re young and want a good time. But whether he likes it or not a quarterback is the CEO of an NFL franchise. Sorry Johnny, I don’t see many other star signal callers rolling dollar bills in vegas or throwing water  bottles at fans.

Can Manizel be saved? Of course. If he is willing to put in the work and be a mature adult he can be a successful quarterback in the NFL. I don’t see a star quarterback, but a serviceable starter is not out of the question. However, it may be best for Johnny and the Browns to part ways. There is just too much turmoil in the Cleveland organization to have a quarterback like Manziel. It’s like throwing gasoline of a dumpster fire.

Will the divorce come this season? Probably not. But don’t be surprised if the Browns decide to move on from Johnny Manziel sooner than later.

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Mo Money Mo Problems for New York Jets

Wilkerson's contract could become a concern for the Jets

Wilkerson’s contract could become a concern for the Jets

When the New York Jets selected USC defensive end Leonard Williams with the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft two things instantly became apparent. The Jets would have a dominant defensive line and now a contingency plan for star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson.

Since being drafted by the Jets in 2011, Wilkerson has emerged as one of the best 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. In four seasons Wilkerson has started in all but four games for New York and has been the stalwart of the defense tallying 145 tackles, 24.5 sacks, and seven forced fumbles. His reputation in the trenches has earned the admiration of his peers as for the second straight year Wilkerson has made the NFL Top 100 players list.

With that track record in mind the defensive end is looking to cash in. Wilkerson could look seek a deal that would pay him at least $ 10 Million per year after J.J. Watt received his $16 Million per year contract.  While Wilkerson will earn $ 6.49 Million this season, this will be the first time he has earned $ 1.5 Million for a season. By most standards Wilkerson has been underpaid and at the age of 25 is ripe for a long-term deal. However, Wilkerson finds himself in a difficult situation with the depth on the defensive line for the Jets when it comes to negotiating a new contract.

Sheldon Richardson is emerging as a superstar at defensive end earning the defensive rookie of the year in 2013 and following up with a sophomore campaign where he had 8 sacks. With Leonard Williams now in the fold after New York selected him in the First Round of the Draft, the Jets now have a surplus of young talented defensive ends.

Leonard Williams could form a tremendous trio with Wilkerson and Richardson. However, he also gives the Jets leverage and a backup plan if a deal with Wilkerson cannot be reached.

Leonard Williams could form a tremendous trio with Wilkerson and Richardson. However, he also gives the Jets leverage and a backup plan if a deal with Wilkerson cannot be reachedWilliams in the fold, a prospect that most scouts felt was the best defensive prospect in the 2015 Draft, Wilkerson does not have the leverage with the Jets for a mega deal. While the Jets have reported that they want to keep Wilkerson, and would be a better team in 2015 with Wilkerson on the field, if the contract becomes too rich, New York may decide to move the star defensive end.

Don’t get me wrong the Jets would be a better team if they could keep Wilkerson. While the team will play a base 3-4, new head coach Todd Bowles has been known to adjust his defensive scheme for an opponent and handled a similar situation with getting talented defensive linemen on the field in Arizona. There have even been times where Bowles will play five defensive linemen and given their versatility it would not be surprising to see the three talented ends play different positions along the line for New York.

However, considering the Jets depth at the position  if another team gives the Jets a great trade offer, Wilkerson may have played his last down as a Jets.

One team to keep an eye on for Wilkerson could be the Cleveland Browns. Mike Pettine was Wilkerson’s defense coordinator under Rex Ryan and could use Wilkerson’s versatility in his defense.

The only thing for certain is that this will be the biggest story that surrounds Florham Park this offseason.

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Buck Stops Here: Milwaukee Unveils New Logo

The Milwaukee Bucks have a young and talented roster that the franchise is looking to nba_bucks-primary_final_1294x1572build around. However, for the 2015-2016 season the Bucks will have a new look with new uniforms and logos. The primary logo features a more aggressive and formidable stag that replaces the softer looking former logo. The new logo also features a subtle M that forms the neck while also having Milwaukee’s first letter having a prominent place in the logo.

The team has also changed the color palette adding cream as the secondary color over the previous red. With the red color gone, the Bucks will now use nba_bucks-secondary_final_1296x1296white and blue as their accent colors.

Overall the logo and colors feels more rustic which makes sense given Milwaukee’s mascot. The secondary logos are also solid new logs which not only look great, but play more to the state’s MJS MB_Secondary_Logo_2.jpgheritage.

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Quarterback Roulette: Where Will Top Prospects Land?

Jameis Winston: Round 1 Pick 1 winston-football-640

This pick has seemingly been locked for a long time. Winston has been the consensus top quarterback in the class and has been almost locked as the top pick for months. Barring some trade or a bold decision, it looks like Winston will be a Buccaneer. It makes too much sense. Tampa Bay has been desperate fort a franchise quarterback for years, Winston is from the Tampa area, the small market could help the media exposure around Winston, and Tampa has some great weapons on offense. With the state of the NFC South, it’s not that far-fetched that if Winston can play well from day one, the Buccaneers could compete for the division title.

Marcus Mariota: Round 1 Pick 2Unknown-1

The biggest question about this year’s draft will be where will Mariota go? Will he be drafted high or fall? Will a team trade up for him? Which team could trade for him? In this scenario I have Tennessee grabbing him here for one of two reasons. First, they need a franchise quarterback and Zach Mettenberger is probably not the answer. The other reason he could go here is that Tennessee could play the leverage game and try to trade him for more draft picks. Either way Mariota will probably be off the board sooner than later.

Bryce Petty: Round 1 Pick 19NCAA Football: Oklahoma at Baylor

Every year quarterbacks go earlier in the draft then projected. It is a quarterback driven lead after all and teams will be aggressive to get a quarterback before they come off the board. With two first round picks, the Browns have the luxury to use one of the picks on a quarterback while still getting a talented player with the other. I have Petty going with the later pick. Cleveland has made it clear that they are no longer sold on Manziel and Petty has the type of character make up a franchise would want at quarterback. Petty will need some time to sit and learn the playbook and with Josh McCown now on the Browns it has made it the perfect situation for Petty to sit and learn rather than playing right away. It also could give Cleveland the excuse to move on from Manziel.

Garrett Grayson: Round 2 Pick 6usatsi8192945

The Washington Redskins could be looking to move on from Robert Griffin III. However, they probably will not want to use a first round pick on a quarterback even if Mariota is available. In the second round Washington could take a shot on Garrett Grayson who has been battling Hundley and Petty to be the third quarterback off the board. Grayson has the size and enough arm talent to possibly be a future franchise quarterback in the NFL. While Griffin has more physical talent, the problems with his leadership and durability will have Washington looking for a possible replacement plan.

Brett Hundley: Round 2 Pick 23 UCLA UCLA (vs. Washington, Nov. 15)

Despite three different quarterbacks in 2014, the Arizona Cardinals were able to make the playoffs. However, with Carson Palmer’s health now a question mark the team needs a solid backup plan. Hundley could be the future starter in Arizona, and could be groomed in the meantime under Palmer. Arizona has the defense to be a contender but they will need a quarterback to get there. Hundley could be that option if Palmer is hurt again and Hundley’s skill set is perfect for not only this team but this division. With a division with great defenses and pass rushers, a mobile quarterback in the pocket is crucial. There’s a reason the NFC West has two of the most mobile quarterbacks in the league, it’s because this division has great defenses. Arizona needs a quarterback to get back to the postseason and Hundley is a great security blanket should Palmer get hurt again.

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What NFL Team Could be the Dark Horse for Landing Marcus Mariota

Marcus-MariotaWhere will Mariota go? This has been the biggest question when it comes to the 2015 NFL Draft. At the moment, it is assumed that Florida State’s Jameis Winston will be drafted with the first overall pick. After that, the picture gets very murky.

Could the Titans draft Mariota? While the team does have Zach Mettenberger primed to take over the starting role, the Titans may feel that Mariota has more upside and better mobility to make up for Tennessee’s shaky offensive line then Mettenberger.

What about the Redskins? The Robert Griffin saga could be reaching its conclusion with Griffin’s option for next season counting for $16 Million  against the cap. The organization may decide that the once emerging star and rookie of the year has overstayed his welcome in the nation’s capital.

The Jets? Even though the Jets front office has been adamant that it will continue to try to develop Geno Smith, head coach Todd Bowles has said that the Jets will look to address the quarterback position in the draft. New York hasn’t had a franchise signal caller since Joe Namath and could feel that Mariota is their future franchise quarterback.

Even beyond those teams there has been numerous speculations especially that Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles, who have been wheeling and dealing all offseason, will try to move up to take Mariota even though Kelly denies this possible option. However, there is one team that people aren’t talking about who could be in the sweepstakes for Mariota’s services and has the ammunition to go up and get the quarterback. That team is…

The Cleveland Browns. Scratching your head? Let me explain. Despite the poor play at quarterback last season Cleveland finished with a 7-9 record and had a chance to make the playoffs. Cleveland is desperate for a franchise quarterback and thought that they might have found one in last year’s draft. Unfortunately, Johnny Football is now Johnny Rehab as last year’s first round pick has careened out of control.  While Cleveland still has holes at the wide receiver and tight end, the most glaring is quarterback.

While the Browns have signed Josh McCown
Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Brownshe is a stop-gap at best at this point in his career. The team has no idea when Manziel will be back and more importantly if he can play in the NFL. Cleveland needs a franchise quarterback to build around and has something no other team has, two first round picks.

Cleveland could trade both picks, or move one pick will keeping the other first round pick this year in a package deal to move up and grab Mariota. If they elect to keep a first rounder this year, and presumably give up high future picks, the team could use that pick to give Mariota a play maker. Would Mariota make the Browns a contender over night? Probably not, but Cleveland is in a better spot then people think.

Despite their tough division and poor quarterback play last season the team finished with a decent record. Mike Pettine has a solid running game and an underrated defense. Like Rex Ryan, we know that Pettine’s square will have a formidable defense. If Mariota can come in and make plays then the Browns could make a run at a division title as soon as next year.

Will this happen? It’s anyone’s guess. While it would make sense for Cleveland to move up, they may feel there are better quarterback options later in the draft or they still, I don’t see how, but still have faith in Johnny Manziel. Either way, don’t be surprised if a franchise that’s been desperate for a franchise quarterback decides to pull the trigger and move up for Mariota.

One thing we do know. It’s going to be an interesting draft because Mariota could go anywhere.

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The Camundrum: Should Talbot Start Over the King?

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Talbot has been sensational since taking over the starting role

When Henrik Lundqvist went down earlier this year with a neck injury many Ranger fans felt that the injury would derail the team’s season. While Lundqvist is expected to return next week to the lineup, it may not be an easy return for the King.

Many expected that New York’s season would take a dive after losing their star player. Instead they have thrived behind their young goaltender Cam Talbot who has made it very interesting for the Rangers moving forward.

Talbot has been spectacular in the goal helping propel the Rangers into first place in the Metropolitan Division with a 17-6-4 record, 2.19 GAA, and .926 save percentage. Currently, Talbot’s statistics, including winning percentage are higher than Lundqvist’s totals this season.

There is no question that Lundqvist is still one of if not the best goaltenders in the NHL. However, after suffering a severe injury like the one Lundqvist is a hard one to overcome quickly. When he is on, there is no question that Lundqvist is the team’s starter. Still, he needs to prove that he is 100% healthy before New York relies on him to carry the team throughout the playoffs.

If Lundqvist struggles should the Rangers stick with the King or ride the hot hand in Talbot ?

If Lundqvist struggles should the Rangers stick with the King or ride the hot hand in Talbot ?

However, if Lundqvist struggles in his return before the playoffs it might be better for this team to do the unthinkable, bench the King. In the NHL Playoffs it’s the team with the better goaltender or hotter goaltender at the time that makes a run. Given how well Talbot has played this season and if Lundqvist is not at 100%, it makes sense to start the player who gives the team the best chance to win.

Even though the Rangers will probably start Lundqvist no matter how he plays in his return, the organization should keep a short leash on him in the playoffs. If he does not play well in a series, the Rangers should not be afraid to pull their star goaltender and play the hot hand.

The Rangers have the potential to not only make it back to the Stanley Cup Finals, but to win their first championship since 1994. However, they will need strong goaltending to get there and will need to figure out who gives them the best chance to win. The King or Cam Talbot?

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