NFL free agency 2017: Where the top 100 free agents have signed

There’s no shortage of optimism for NFL fans in the spring, and nothing says hope springs eternal like a brand new free agent acquisition. The player your team just signed is totally going to be the difference this year; you just know it!

While there are a few names still on the market, most of the biggest money has already been spent in the weeks since NFL free agency began on March 9.

Grooming a young franchise quarterback is an art, not a science.

For a team to overcome high QB bust odds, it needs to know everything about itself and everything about the quarterback in question. That’s what teams like the Bears and Texans need to do in 2017.

It’s getting harder to be patient and sit a quarterback given the demands on coaches and offenses to produce quick turnarounds. In more cases, the so-called rushing quarterbacks into action is the only option.

The Texans and Bears in 2017 are faced with such conundrums with Deshaun Watson and Mitchell Trubisky, respectively. The Chiefs (Patrick Mahomes) and Browns (DeShone Kizer) might even find themselves in similar situations by the time training camp arrives.

But which approach — start or sit the rookie franchise passer — has been preferred in the league’s recent passing-boom history?

SN’s Vinnie Iyer and Tadd Haislop look back at franchise-hopeful quarterbacks drafted over the last 14 seasons and determine whether one plan truly is better than the other.

Editor’s note: This list, updated from its 2016 version, includes last year’s rookie quarterbacks for additional context.nike_steelers_3004

Westbrook was the story of the season

Kawhi Leonard is, in my opinion, the best player in the league right now, Popovich said after San Antonio’s 103-96 Game 6 victory to eliminate Memphis on Thursday. He’s the best two-way player and does it all with such class. It’s impressive.

Leonard ran amok against the Grizzlies, averaging 31.2 points per game, including a 43-point Game 4 barrage that nearly went to double overtime. He did so shooting 54.8 percent from the field, 48.3 percent from three, and 96.7 percent from the foul line, far and away the most efficient shooting mark of any player to average at least 17 points in the first round.

Elite Womens Randy Gregory Jersey In the small-sample-size theater that is the postseason, a few major runs by a certain lineup can certainly have a huge impact. There are a few other huge plus-minus swings in the postseason: The Wizards have been outscored by 23 points in Bradley Beal’s 43 minutes off the court, and Chicago has lost by 26 in Dwyane Wade’s 69 minutes resting this series. But neither are nearly as severe as the two point guards above.

Austin Rivers Womens Jersey Westbrook was the story of the season, and the Thunder always fell apart when he sat throughout the entire year. We talked a lot about how that cost them the playoffs, and his on/off splits are admittedly even worse by a small margin. But now Westbrook is eliminated, and it’s time to do the same with Conley.

The Grizzlies are actually pretty similar to the Thunder in two respects, and it’s the same two areas that are killing them.

Memphis’ backup point guard, Andrew Harrison, is a below-average backup point guard who shot 32.5 percent in 80 games during the regular season. In Oklahoma City’s series against Houston, they tried two backup guards (Semaj Christon and Norris Cole) before giving up and putting Victor Oladipo at signal caller when Westbrook rested. None of those options worked, and the same thing is playing out in Memphis.

Even the 49ers were confused why the Bears traded up for Mitchell Trubisky

The Chicago Bears had a strange approach to the 2017 draft. Nothing was more confusing than their decision to sacrifice three picks to move up one spot, from No. 3 to No. 2, in a reach to get North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky has the tools to develop into a viable NFL starter, but the Bears are paying Mike Glennon $18.5 million dollars to start this year. It was hasty to sacrifice additional picks to move up to draft another quarterback when the Bears have glaring needs elsewhere on the roster.

Jared Crick Authentic Jersey Ross’ ACL tear was a freak accident in spring practice during his sophomore season. Somebody was in his way, and he jumped out of the way to avoid contact.

He heard the pop, but was able to get up on his own and walk without any assistance. When he went to sleep that night, he woke up with his leg stuck at a 90 degree angle, and knew something wasn’t right.

The injury was the first time he had to go a year without football, which was a tough pill for Ross to swallow. But Ross said it was the best thing to ever happen to him because he was able to grow from it.

Speed was what got Ross into playing football, which goes for a lot of people. But his speed was another beast. The 40-yard dash record was thought to be so unbreakable, that Adidas offered the player who broke it their own island.

Ross didn’t get the island, but he got the record.
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His cousin told his girlfriend as they were watching that Ross was going to break the record. The speed was so fast that his grandmother said she almost had a heart attack. She knew the record was coming, though.

Jamaal Charles will visit Broncos, and could be a great fit

The Denver Broncos will be hosting former Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles for a visit on Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The Chiefs released Charles on Feb. 28 after he spent the first nine seasons of his career with the team. The veteran back turns 31 years old next season.

Last season, Charles was placed on IR after dealing with swelling in his knee that also landed him on IR during the 2015 season. After a re-evaluation, it was determined that he would need a second surgery on the knee. Spencer Ware’s emergence during the season made it easy for the team to move on.

Charles would be a good fit in Denver, though. The team started three different players at the position during the 2016 season, with rookie Devontae Booker and C.J. Anderson getting six and seven starts, respectively. He would have a lighter workload in Denver, and if he’s able to maintain good health, could be effective in a more limited role.

Signing Charles would be a low-risk, high-reward proposition for the Broncos. Charles is a versatile back who could be an added weapon for a team that appears to be going with Trevor Siemian as its starter for the 2017 season yet again. The more weapons the young quarterback can have around him, the better.

Limited Youth Shea McClellin Jersey In his last full healthy season, Charles rushed for over 1,000 yards, scoring nine touchdowns, with nearly 300 receiving yards. He’s been a Pro Bowler four times, as well as earning two first-team All-Pro nominations.

Limited Youth David West Jersey Running backs with knee problems like Charles don’t get too much demand, but if he’s healthy, it’s a smart and inexpensive move for the Broncos to make. He’d also have a chance to show he can do it against a divisional rival, the Chiefs.

At Michigan’s Pro Day, Peppers said he’d be the steal of the draft.

It’s likely Samuel will play wide receiver for the Panthers, and regardless — they just got much more dangerous. Cam Newton has been playing amazing football but the Panthers have had a lack of playmakers next to him on offense. They now have two more.

Sticking with the running back position, the Vikings took Cook out of Florida State. With the last few years of the Adrian Peterson era being tumultuous at best, the Vikings are now finally ready to move on with Cook, who will step right in and be a contributor from Day 1.

The Cleveland Browns, who took Myles Garrett with the first pick of the draft, passed up taking a quarterback twice despite having nothing interesting at the position. They finally took DeShone Kizer off the board at No. 52 overall, a pick they received from the Titans. Kizer has so much potential, but his tendency for frustrating mistakes make him a gamble. But he’s a gamble that will now be in Cleveland.

At Michigan’s Pro Day, Peppers said he’d be the steal of the draft.

“Whatever team takes me, it’s going to be a steal,” Peppers said, via the AP. “I don’t care what the draft experts — and things like that — what they have to say. I only care about what these GMs and coaches think about me. I just need the opportunity. That’s it.”

Hooker was languishing behind then-starters Vonn Bell and Tyvis Powell, and he was tired of not playing. The Pennsylvania native was also homesick. He told his mother, Angela Dennis, that he wanted to transfer somewhere closer to home. She wasn’t having it.

“Her exact words were: ‘I don’t know what you’re going to do. But you’re not coming back home,'” Hooker said.

It’s a good thing he stuck it out, because he became a star.nike_broncos_3097

Chicago opened opportunities to enhance the fan experience

The Cowboys gambled on Lewis, who will have a hearing for one count of misdemeanor domestic violence in late July.

Lewis was a key figure in the Wolverines’ recent revival. The dynamic cornerback plays the pass well in man coverage, and his Big Ten tenure suggests he’s the kind of player defensive coordinators can leave on an island, even against top receivers. Though his 5’10 frame leaves him vulnerable against bigger wideouts, his innate ability to track and explode toward the ball made him one of the NCAA’s most impressive defensive backs.

Over his last three seasons, Lewis has made only six interceptions but broke up 35 potential completions — a rate of more than one per game. In 2016, opposing quarterbacks completed just seven of their 30 pass attempts to receivers he was covering. He changes directions well and mirrors receivers though the first move of their routes, offering little separation.

Limited Mens Sheldon Richardson Jersey Chicago opened opportunities to enhance the fan experience, including Draft Town, an interactive experience for fans in Grant Park. But like Chicago, the move to Philadelphia is not expected to become an annual tradition.

The NFL decided on Chicago in October 2014, after sending letters to New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles about hosting it.

Limited Youth Kenyan Drake Jersey As far as the coming years go, it would appear as if we’ll likely have to wait and see on a year-by-year basis. For 2018, Dallas is being considered, as are several other big cities, according to

Other cities that have expressed interest in hosting the event include Chicago, Canton, Denver, Green Bay, Jacksonville, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Falcons owner Arthur Blank told ESPN last month that he would like to see Atlanta considered as a draft host, as well.

During NFL draft, ESPN airs 2014 video of Joe Mixon punching woman

In the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected running back Joe Mixon with the No. 48 overall pick. Mixon, who played three seasons at Oklahoma, was charged with a misdemeanor in 2014 for punching a woman in the face, which broke four bones in her face.

Frank Clark Authentic Jersey Last December, the video of the incident was released to the public. You can watch the video here, via NewsOK. Details of the graphic images were previously reported on by local Oklahoma media.
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Shortly after Mixon was drafted, ESPN chose to air the full video of the 2014 incident, with a warning beforehand, and then devoted several minutes of serious discussion to the issue. NFL Network elected not to air the video.

The incident between Mixon and the woman happened in July 2014, before his freshman season with the Sooners began. He entered an Alford plea, maintaining his innocence but recognizing the evidence against him, and received a deferred sentence. He was also suspended for his entire freshman season, but he was allowed to remain in school.

He played the remainder of his three seasons of eligibility from 2014-16. Mixon was not invited to the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, as part of the NFLs 2016 policy to not invite players convicted of domestic violence or sexual assault. Last week, Mixon reached a settlement for the civil suit filed by the woman. The two said they met privately.

Lynch got a massive contract from the Seahawks a few years back

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All the rumors and discussions also make it seem to be a given that Oakland and Lynch will be able to agree on a new contract, which is not necessarily the case.

Lynch got a massive contract from the Seahawks a few years back, but those kinds of deals no longer exist at the position. The largest current long-term contract for an NFL running back is LeSean McCoys $8 million-per-year deal with the Bills. Most contracts for RBs in Lynchs age group are in the $4 million-per range.

While Lynch had a great career in Seattle, his final year as a Seahawk was anything but great. He averaged just 3.8 yards per carry and was injured for most of the season. Those are not the kinds of numbers a team normally would see as big-contract-worthy.

This also is the same reason Peterson remains unemployed. Peterson at the very least should have to take a heavily incentive-laden contract, which he might decide is not worth the trouble.

Evan Gattis Jersey Chances are you’ve heard this story by now. Brady enjoyed a solid career at Michigan, where he finished 20-5 as a starter and led the Wolverines to a victory in the 2000 Orange Bowl. Few, however, could have predicted that the sixth-round pick would go on to be a five-time Super Bowl champion and the greatest quarterback in NFL history.

This is as close as Laremy Tunsil will likely ever come to naming the person who hacked him: three minutes and 27 seconds of the football player navigating a personal hell in real time. No one seems to be in control of the moment, especially Tunsil. Hes visibly nervous and repeats himself. He also contradicts his own account of events while answering questions on the matter for the first and last time.

John Wall showed the Hawks why he’s a master of his craft

John Wall’s third quarter was a tour de force that made something clear: we are watching a master of his craft. In a 114-107 win, Wall steadily and methodically picked apart Atlanta’s defense, including one stretch where he scored or assisted on 19 of the Washington Wizards’ 20 points. It was a full, loaded display that blended excellence with flair and creativity, and it left anyone watching shaking their head.

Washington led most of the game, even though Atlanta never let them pull away. But the Hawks couldn’t find anyone that could bother Wall. He finished with 32 points and 14 assists on 12-of-24 shooting, breaking down Atlanta’s defense repeatedly with a feathery touch. Take this pass, for example.

Blandino’s decision is not an unusual move. Given the complexities of the NFL rulebook, it’s nice when the broadcast networks have people who can actually understand it and translate it for the fans at home who just can’t understand why Dez Bryant didn’t catch the ball even though it sure looked a lot like he did.

That doesn’t change the fact that his departure, which becomes official at the end of May, leaves a big void at a critical juncture in how the league handles officiating and replay. Blandino would have been the one making the calls with the new centralized replay system.

The league will need to find a replacement for a job that will almost certainly make that person the most hated suit in the sport (except for maybe Roger Goodell himself). Several options have already been kicked around, including assistants under Blandino or veteran referees.

Mike Carey has more than two decades of experience as an NFL referee, but he’ll be forever immortalized as CBS’ rules expert who NEVER made the right call on the broadcast.

The Maple Leafs wont be overlooking Wilson anytime soon.

On Lynch’s similar run this year against the Cardinals, he once again went to his dick:

But this time, the NFL was watching, and gave Lynch an $11,000 fine for the gesture.

Authentic Youth Matt Dumba Jersey Lynch had another big run against the Packers, and knew that if the referees saw him grabbing his dick, they’d give him a 15-yard penalty. So he tried to be subtle, and instead of jumping backwards, merely turned and put his hands on his dick:

Twitter never forgets, and apparently neither does Tom Wilson. The Capitals and Maple Leafs went to overtime on Thursday, and Wilson scored the game-winner despite an incredible game from Frederik Andersen.
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After the initial shock wore off that it was Wilson who got the game-winner, a fourth-liner who had yet to score a goal in the postseason until Thursday, this tweet went viral. After the 38-17 home dud against Wyoming, CSUs offense found fourth year (34 points per game and 6.1 yards per play over the next four games), then found fifth (52 points per game and 9.2 yards per play over the last four).

Most of the reasons return. Third-year starting quarterback Nick Stevens raised his passer rating from 138.7 to 171.3 last year, but it didnt come without drama. He was dreadful against Colorado in the season opener, going 6-for-20 for just 31 yards with two sacks and two picks. Backup Faton Bauta went 6-for-17 the next week against UTSA, so freshman Collin Hill took the job.

Babcock on Wilson: Nothing against Wils because he works hard and all that, but hes not as big of concern as lot of people on their team.

The quote comes from Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, who, when asked about Wilson, dismissed the forward as not as big of a concern as other members of the Capitals.