By Harv Aronson
The activity this past week in the National Football League will make you dizzy. With the free agency period fully underway as of yesterday, the flurry of moves is eye popping.
As expected, my Pittsburgh Steelers kept to their M.O. and have been quiet thus far. However, they did make several internal decisions. Those transactions include the front office deciding to allow Eli Rogers to walk, and from Rogers’ perspective, he publicly declared he would not be offered a tender contract for the restricted free agent he is. If he was to be brought back, it would have cost the Steelers $1.907 million but if no other teams finds an interest in the wide receiver, he may be coming back for fewer dollars. Rogers is coming off a torn ACL.
Since free agency began years ago, it has become a trend that the Pittsburgh Steelers lose key players as well as backups to other teams when they become eligible to sign elsewhere. Such is the case in 2018 as offensive lineman Chris Hubbard had agreed to a contract with the Cleveland Browns. Hubbard signed for five years and $37.5 million. $18 million of that figure is guaranteed.
Alejandro Villanueva however is going nowhere as he had his current contract restructured clearing $3.53 million under Pittsburgh’s salary-cap. Receiving tender offers from the front office are Chris Boswell who will be paid around $3 million for the 2018 season, and Anthony Chickillo who will get $1.907 million. Under Chickillo’s status, he can look for another offer elsewhere but the Steelers have the right to match that offer and if they refuse to do that, would receive compensation in the form of a 6th round draft pick.
Around NFL, teams have acted quickly to improve their rosters from the 2017 season and one team that might be taking a major step backwards are the AFC champion New England Patriots. The word is that Danny Amendola is expected to sign with the Miami Dolphins. The Tennessee Titans have announced they will steal away Dion Lewis. The Titans are also expected to sign Malcolm Butler to a five year contract after the cornerback was shunned by Bill Belichick in this year’s Super Bowl.
If the Browns do decide to take the quarterback path next month, perhaps they might want to stay away from University of Oklahoma prospect Baker Mayfield. Mayfield could easily be another Johnny Manziel project and his cockiness is a shade above Manziel who was a flop. Recently Mayfield said the following about the possibility of becoming a Brown:
“First things first, they'd get a winner. If there's anyone who would turn that franchise around, it'd be me. They're close. They're very close. They've got the right pieces. I think they just need that one guy at quarterback.”
Close? What is he smoking? They lost EVERY game last season. Granted, they are trying hard to improve and obviously they are not satisfied with their quarterback situation after dealing multi-game starter Deshone Kizer to Green Bay this week in exchange for cornerback Damarious Randall. Cleveland has also added running back Carlos Hyde.
For the rest of the transactions to date around the league, try to keep up!
In the past, the Pittsburgh Steelers have almost always waited until the dust settled in the free agency period to see who they might sign and it appears this year is no exception. Pittsburgh could use help in the secondary and at linebacker, and while you might think that former Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons will return, there has been no official word or talk of that…yet. James Harrison is expected to stay in New England so he won’t be coming back either.
By Harv Aronson
The 2018 NFL draft is quickly approaching and it was 82 years ago that the National Football League conducted its very first collegiate draft toad talent to the teams making up the league.
With 32 first round picks to be made at the end of April, on February 8, 1936 inside the Ritz-Carlton Hotel located in Philadelphia, the league held its very first draft and with just nine teams in the league, the first round was over nearly as quickly as one might snap the ball to begin a play on offense. All kidding aside, the whole process used nine rounds to complete.
So exactly who were those original nine first round draft picks and how did they fare in their respective NFL careers. Here are those original nine men and a summation of their NFL careers.