GridironGrit.com http://gridirongrit.com NFL, College Football, NFL Draft and Fantasy Football News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 00:35:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/ranking-the-10-best-nfl-free-agents-still-available-2/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/ranking-the-10-best-nfl-free-agents-still-available-2/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:36:56 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23577

Most of the big-name NFL free agents have already been snatched off the open market, but there are still a handful of notable players with a plenty of potential and big-play ability remaining in free agency.

[RELATED: 10 NFL Teams That Improved the Most in Free Agency]

Photo Credit: Packers.com

Photo Credit: Packers.com

With the first five weeks of free agency in the books, here’s a look at the 10 best players still available.

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Montreal Alouettes Sign WR Chad Johnson http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/montreal-alouettes-sign-wr-chad-johnson/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/montreal-alouettes-sign-wr-chad-johnson/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:06:13 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23619

The Montreal Alouettes have reportedly signed former NFL star receiver Chad Johnson.

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Photo Credit: en.montrealalouettes.com/

Photo Credit: en.montrealalouettes.com/

[RELATED: The 10 Best Bargains Still Available in Free Agency]

Johnson (formerly known as Ochocinco) knows he won’t be makings loads of money in the CFL, since the average salary is around $85,000 and the salary cap is $4.4 million per team, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue for him. At the end of the day, he’s just looking forward to playing football for the first time since 2011.

“I don’t even need a check,” Johnson said, via ESPN.com. “Didn’t I give it all away for 12 years straight? Think about it. Did I ever care about money when I played throughout my career? Still don’t. I want to have fun. I want to enjoy the game. That’s it.”

[RELATED: Chad Johnson Tweets Photo From Home Theater, Then Says He's Broke]

The former 6-1, 188-pound wide out registered 766 receptions for 11,059 yards and 67 TDs in 11 NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2001-10) and New England Patriots (2011).

“It’s just football. It’s football,” Johnson said. “It’s not about Montreal. It’s about the opportunity to be able to play football again, something I love.”

Montreal quarterback Troy Smith, the former Ohio State standout, says most people don’t realize how much talent is in the CFL. And he believes Johnson can make an impact.

“I know he’s going to bring some fun and excitement to the team,” Smith said.

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for up-to-date news and analysis on free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Report: 49ers ‘Shopping’ LaMichael James http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-49ers-shopping-lamichael-james/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-49ers-shopping-lamichael-james/#comments Thu, 17 Apr 2014 04:49:23 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23616

The San Francisco 49ers are reportedly “shopping” running back LaMichael James, per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. The report doesn’t exactly come as a shock, as James has received just 44 offensive touches since entering the league as a second round pick (No. 61 overall) out of Oregon in the 2012 NFL Draft.

But looking back, it’s pretty stunning that within two years, the 49ers — one of the best teams in the NFL right now — have just three of their seven 2012 draft picks left on their roster, and they’re shopping one of them.

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

It’s worth noting that James did serve as the team’s primary returner last season and performed well in that role, averaging nearly 11 yards a punt return. However, according to the Bee, James has “made it clear” he wants a stronger role out of the backfield, and it’s unclear whether that prompted the Niners to consider trading him.

In 14 games, James has rushed for just 154 yards on 39 carries (4.7 YPC) and caught five passes for 45 yards. He’s also returned 26 kickoffs for 738 yards (28.4 YPR) and 23 punts for 251 yards (10.9 YPR).

Barrows also suggests James could conceivably be used in a package if the Niners were to move up in the draft. The team may already be eyeing replacements for James, as they’ve already met with UCF tailback Storm Johnson and will meet with Towson running back Terrance West.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Jets Sign Chris Johnson To Two-Year Deal http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/jets-sign-chris-johnson-to-two-year-deal/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/jets-sign-chris-johnson-to-two-year-deal/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 19:38:56 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23605

The New York Jets have just landed Chris Johnson on a two-year contract, per ESPN’s Adam Shefter.

Johnson visited with the Jets all day on Tuesday and said he had more visits to make, but it appears that Gang Green  was ultimately the only team showing legitimate interest in the six-time 1,000-yard rusher. The former 2008 first round pick (No. 24 overall) out of East Carolina was the sixth-best player still available on the open market.

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Photo Credit: TitansOnline.com

Photo Credit: TitansOnline.com

[RELATED: 10 NFL Teams That Improved the Most in Free Agency]

Johnson, 28, still has his legs, but his effort has recently come into question.

“When I watch film, I don’t see the effort in him,” former NFL running back Terrell Davis said earlier this offseason. “And I never, ever want to question somebody’s effort. But … the tape, it doesn’t lie. And I don’t see the desire I saw when he was Chris Johnson, the no-big contract Chris Johnson.” Davis also added than Johnson’s no longer “willing to bang your head against the wall if the wall is not breaking down.”

In six seasons with the Titans, Johnson rushed for 7,965 yards and 50 touchdowns on 1,742 carries (4.6 YPC) with 272 receptions for 2,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

The New York Daily News suggests a short-term deal for around $3-4 million annually. The former first round pick will likely have plenty of opportunities with Gang Green as the lightning to Chris Ivory’s thunder.

[RELATED: The 10 Best Bargains Still Available in Free Agency]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for up-to-date news and analysis on free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Report: Browns ‘Really Love’ Derek Carr http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-browns-really-love-derek-carr/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-browns-really-love-derek-carr/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:22:34 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23601

The Cleveland Browns “really love” Derek Carr, according to Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman.

“The feeling with many in football is that Cleveland will take Carr with its 26th pick,” Freeman writes in an interesting column on Tuesday. “He has charmed almost every team he’s met with and his arm and accuracy are underrated. And no one seems to be scared of the fact he’s related to epic draft bust David Carr, a notion that was definitely in play just a few months ago.”

This jibes with what NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah was hearing way back in late February. Coach Mike Pettine said Carr was the “best natural thrower in the draft” after a March private workout.

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Photo Credit: HoustonTexans.com

Photo Credit: HoustonTexans.com

[RELATED: Report: Raiders Have 'Massive Crush' On Derek Carr]

On Tuesday, Carr confidently claimed that he’s “absolutely” the best quarterback in this year’s draft.

“We can turn the tape on and watch it,” Carr said on Tuesday’s “NFL AM” show on NFL Network.

Carr has drawn some rave reviews throughout the pre-draft process for his off-field demeanor and leadership skills and he does possess arguably the strongest arm of any QB in this class.

Nevertheless, he’s still expected to be the fourth quarterback off the board due to his inaccuracy under pressure. Carr also doesn’t always throw from a balanced base and his footwork issues will likely frustrate the fan base where he lands, similarly to Jay Cutler or Matthew Stafford. And the system he played at Fresno State could also be hurting his stock, as he was forced to throw plenty of quick passes near the line of scrimmage.

His one year of experience in a pro-style offense as a redshirt sophomore under Pat Hill could be helping his stock, according to Ashley Fox of ESPN.com. “He learned the skills a quarterback needs at the next level: timing, footwork, and accuracy, among them,” Fox wrote last week. “He threw vertical routes with precision and displayed a strong arm.”

“When you see him now in that type of system when he went to the Senior Bowl, during the practices, during the week, during the game, during his pro day, he was very comfortable with the footwork, timing, mechanics, accuracy that he’s going to need at the NFL level,” said ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, the former director of pro personnel for the Eagles and Redskins. “There are some people that are very, very, very impressed by what they think his skills are relative to an NFL projection.”

[RELATED: Report: Browns, Raiders Prefer Derek Carr Over Johnny Manziel]

Stay tuned to GridironGrit.com for up-to-date news and analysis on free agency and the 2014 NFL Draft.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Report: Patriots, Ravens, Browns Among Six Teams Showing Interest in Michael Sam http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-patriots-ravens-browns-among-six-teams-showing-interest-in-michael-sam/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-patriots-ravens-browns-among-six-teams-showing-interest-in-michael-sam/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 16:24:22 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23597

The Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets are showing the most interest in Missouri edge rusher Michael Sam, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.

The projected third-day prospect put up stellar production in his senior season, racking up 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss and was also named a first-team All-American and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Sam is expected to become the first openly gay man to play in the NFL this fall and he has plenty of potential at the next level, but he could also face a difficult transition as a so-called “tweener” — a 4-3 DE in college who lacks the size to remain at defensive end and lacks the experience to play as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He also struggled during outside linebacker drills at the Senior Bowl as he attempts to transition to a new position.

Some also consider Sam a one-trick pony that utilizes an edge rip move to beat heavy-footed offensive tackles and fails to use his hands to jolt opponents to the chest or work outside.

Nevertheless, the fact that Sam is receiving so much interest seems to indicate that his weaknesses and presumably media-driven concerns over his sexuality could be overblown at this point in the draft process.

Sam’s former teammate, cornerback E.J. Gaines, a potential third round pick, provided plenty of support for Sam in an exclusive interview with GridironGrit.com earlier this month (link will be posted below this afternoon).

“In the locker room he’s just one of the other guys,” Gaines said. “Great player, great person to be around honestly. I don’t think him being gay has anything to do with a team having to worry about him being a distraction. If you draft Michael Sam, you’re just drafting a great football player. That’s what he wants to be known as and that’s really what he is.”

During the combine, Jim Harbaugh also said the Baltimore Ravens would have no issue accepting Sam.

“Any player that has the qualities to be a great player and a good teammate is a guy that fits us,” Harbaugh said. “We’re really good at helping players, any player, become a part of our team. That goes to all the things that I think are happening in the NFL the last couple of months.

“Any player that has a good heart and wants to be a good teammate, who loves football, we’re good at helping them become part of a team. And anything that deters from that or detracts from that is not what we’re going to be about.”

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Report: Victor Hampton, Kelcy Quarles Wanted By NYPD http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-victor-hampton-kelcy-quarles-wanted-by-nypd/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-victor-hampton-kelcy-quarles-wanted-by-nypd/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 03:43:17 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23589

Someone apparently forgot to tell South Carolina cornerback Victor Hampton and defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles to stay out of trouble with less than a month until the 2014 NFL Draft.

The pair of projected day two (second and third round) prospects are ”wanted for questioning at the very least” by the NYPD following an altercation on April 11, TMZ reports.

Victor Hampton, Kelcy Quarles split image

Details of the incident are still hazy, but a fight reportedly broke out in the VIP section of the Greenhouse nightclub in New York City in which three men attacked a club promoter and caused “extensive facial injuries.”

Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Hampton and Quarles could become day-three prospects.

Hampton is one of the more physical edge defenders in this class, but NFL Media draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki noted his bust potential in mid-February, citing Hampton’s off-field problems.

“Has had issues with anger management, emotional outbursts and team suspensions,” Nawrocki said. “Will be targeted for unsportsmanlike conduct penalties given tendency to talk and taunt. … Size and physicality will appeal to teams, though character concerns will cloud his draft status and could knock him off some draft boards.”

Quarles racked up 39 tackles and actually led the Gamecocks with 9.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss in 2013. In February, he told Lombardiave.com that he models his game after Reggie White and Warren Sapp.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Report: Aldon Smith ‘Probably Won’t Play For 49ers in 2014′ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-aldon-smith-probably-wont-play-for-49ers-in-2014/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/report-aldon-smith-probably-wont-play-for-49ers-in-2014/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 23:36:45 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23579

After speaking with “several sources involved with the (team’s) decision-making,” Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News reports Aldon Smith “probably won’t play for the 49ers in 2014.”

The star 6-4, 265-pound outside linebacker was arrested and released from jail late Sunday on $20,000 bond after allegedly making a false bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport.

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

[RELATED: 10 NFL Teams That Improved the Most in Free Agency]

Smith, 24, hasn’t officially been charged with a crime, but that’s expected to change after his next hearing on April 29. It’s worth noting that the former 2011 first round pick (No. 7 overall) out of Missouri and All-Pro outside linebacker also missed five games in 2013 while undergoing substance abuse treatment.

Kawakami reports the 49ers plan to let the legal process play out before making a final decision on Smith’s fate, but “he almost certainly will face NFL punishment” and ”there is a weariness and frustration over Smith’s behavior” from team management that Kawakami hasn’t seen “involving any recent 49ers player.”

Kawakami is also “told that the weariness and frustration is mostly focused on Smith, and that team management supports Colin Kaepernick through the ‘suspicious incident’ that Miami police are still investigating and that the 49ers are not planning to release Culliver despite his felony and misdemeanor hit-and-run charges recently.”

In three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Smith has registered a total of 137 tackles with 42.0 sacks, one interception and five forced fumbles through 43 games (24 starts).

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Brandon Lloyd Returns To 49ers On One-Year Deal http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/brandon-lloyd-returns-to-49ers-on-one-year-deal/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/brandon-lloyd-returns-to-49ers-on-one-year-deal/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 19:26:49 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23563

The San Francisco 49ers selected Brandon Lloyd in the fourth round (No. 124 overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft. The soon-to-be 33-year-old receiver now returns to the team 11 years later on a one-year deal, the team announced on Tuesday.

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

Photo Credit: 49ers.com

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best Bargains Still Available in Free Agency]

Lloyd’s name surfaced for the first time since September last week when CSN Bay Area reported that the 49ers were in talks with the 6-0, 200-pound wide out after striking out in their pursuit of Julian Edelman, Emmanuel Sanders and Hakeem Nicks.

The NFL journeyman spent has accumulated 385 receptions for 5,695 yards and 35 touchdowns in 10 NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2003-05), Washington Redskins (2006-07), Chicago Bears (2008), Denver Broncos (2009-11), St. Louis Rams (2011) and New England Patriots (2012).

Lloyd was released by the Patriots in a salary-splashing move last offseason and starred in a direct-to-DVD zombie movie during his time away from the game last season. While he doesn’t exactly take the top off defenses at this stage in his career, Lloyd’s athleticism and body control were among his top attributes when he was last on the field in 2012, when he racked up 74 receptions for 911 yards and four scores with Tom Brady and company.

Lloyd also put up some solid numbers with the Rams and Broncos in 2011 (70 receptions for 968 yards and five TDs) and was awarded to the Pro Bowl following a stellar 2010 campaign with the Broncos when he set career-bests in receptions (77), yards (1,448) and touchdowns (11).

His addition is another indication that the Niners don’t feel too comfortable heading into the 2014 season with Quinton Patton as the No. 3 receiver behind Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin.

 [RELATED: 10 NFL Teams That Improved the Most in Free Agency]

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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Rams Offer Fans Chance To Win $100,000 http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/rams-offer-fans-chance-to-win-100000/ http://gridirongrit.com/2014/04/rams-offer-fans-chance-to-win-100000/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 01:42:54 +0000 http://gridirongrit.com/?p=23560

Want to win $100,000? All you have to do is correctly predict all 17 weeks of the St. Louis Rams’ upcoming 2014 regular season schedule. That includes the opponent, location and day of each game.

“In anticipation of the Rams 2014 regular season schedule release, we are excited to offer fans the unique opportunity to win $100,000,” Rams Vice President of Marketing Brian Killingsworth said, via the team’s official website. “We challenge our fans to accurately predict all 17 weeks of the team’s regular season schedule and win the cash prize.”

Photo Credit: StLouisRams.com

Photo Credit: StLouisRams.com

[RELATED: Ranking the 10 Best NFL Free Agents Still Available]

The team’s opponents for the 2014 season are already known and can be seen the chart below.

Rams’ 2014 Regular Season Opponents
Home Away
Dallas Cowboys Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants Washington Redskins
Denver Broncos Kansas City Chiefs
Oakland Raiders San Diego Chargers
Minnesota Vikings Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers (Div.) San Francisco 49ers (Div.)
Seattle Seahawks (Div.) Seattle Seahawks (Div.)
Arizona Cardinals (Div.) Arizona Cardinals (Div.)

The odds of accurately determining the order of each of these matchups will be a tall order, however. As you would expect, Rams and NFL employees are prohibited from winning the contest, which will end on Monday, April 21. If multiple contestants correctly guess the order of the schedule, they’ll duel it out in a 10-question trivia challenge.

Michael Gartman is a College Football and NFL Senior Writer, the AFC South and NFC West Lead Writer and the Founder, CEO of GridironGrit.com.  He’s also about to start reporting on topics across all sides of the political spectrum and analyze important issues in the liberty movement for a political website.  Follow him @_MichaelGartman on Twitter.  Be sure to ‘like’ Gridiron Grit on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GridironGrit to keep up with the latest coverage on college football, the NFL and more!

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