Lootmeister NFL Archives: December 2013 Through February 2014

February 28: After signing T Jason Peters to a big deal yesterday, the Eagles locked in some more players, agreeing to new contracts with WR Riley Cooper and center Jason Kelce. The deal for Cooper is rumored to be in the 5-year/$25 million range, while Kelce’s deal is for 6 years and $37 million. It also ends speculation that the Eagles would let Cooper go with Jeremy Maclin expected to be back in the fold next season. They are still expected, however, to look to sign Maclin. Baltimore Safety Matt Elam, coming off his rookie campaign, hopes to open retail stores with the money he earns in the NFL. To gain experience, he is working 20-hour weeks at Finish Line–a retail store located in a Gainesville, Florida mall. 13-year veteran center Matt Garza re-signed with the Chicago Bears on a one-year deal worth $1.5 million.

Changing of the Guard: Loot takes a look at teams that have changed head coaches, offensive coordinators and defensive coordinators. NFL Coaching Changes.

February 27: Eagles star left tackle Jason Peters signed a 5-year deal worth over $51 million. Peters has recovered from a pair of Achilles injuries and is coming off one of his best seasons, after missing all of 2012. The deal likely locks Peters up for the remainder of his career. Recent reports indicate that Miami offensive lineman Jonathan Martin doesn’t want to return to the Dolphins, preferring a fresh start elsewhere. Even in protected custody, embattled ex-Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez managed to get in more trouble, following an altercation with another inmate.

February 26: In somewhat of a surprising move, the Carolina Panthers were dealt some bad news upon the retirement of all-pro left tackle Jordan Gross after 11 seasons with the team. In his final season, he made All-Pro and Carolina will need to fill that spot in the draft or in free agency. With Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians stating Andre Ellington will be the number-one back, Cardinals back Rashard Mendenhall has also hinted at retirement. Though only 26, Mendenhall has seen his form slip over the past couple seasons. Scheduled to earn over $14 million in 2014, Dallas pass-rusher DeMarcus Ware could become a cap casualty. It’s difficult to determine if Ware’s disappointing 2013 campaign was a result of injuries or if he has perhaps slowed down a tick or two. Ware will be 32 by the beginning of the season.

February 25: Pittsburgh’s Ryan Clark, who always has something to say about NFL-related rules and regulations, has questioned the league’s adoption of penalizing players for using racial slurs. Clark pointed out that it’s going to be hard to legislate the rule and that it will be African-American players who are actually going to be penalized, since white players don’t generally throw around those words on the field. It should be interesting to see how it plays out. It appears as though the Seahawks will release DE Red Bryant, in a move that will save them $5.5 in salary cap space.

February 24: It appears the 49ers are close to signing Anquan Boldin, with the 33-year old coming off a big season where he caught 85 balls for 1178 yards. A new rule is expected to be passed, where players would receive a 15-yard penalty for uttering a racial slur. How heavily that is going to be instituted remains to be seen. With free agency beginning on March 11, the Giants have elected to let receiver Hakeem Nicks and defensive end Justin Tuck hit the market. Tuck is coming off an 11-sack season, while Nicks had zero touchdowns in his 56 catches. Another Baltimore player got himself in trouble, though in a far less serious offense compared to the Ray Rice allegations, when backup WR Deonte Thompson was arrested for marijuana possession during a traffic stop in Gainesville, Florida.

February 23: The Chargers continue to try to work their way through their best receiving talents’ health issues. After learning of Danario Alexander’s continuing knee problems that threaten to end his career, they also have to deal with another ultra-talented ball-catcher in Malcom Floyd, who is dealing with a career-threatening neck injury. He will see a spine specialist shortly to determine his next course of action. If he can bounce back, he fits nicely into San Diego’s plans. The Denver Broncos have confirmed that two of their more-important offensive weapons will hit the free agent market, with Eric Decker and Knowshon Moreno testing the waters, in addition to defensive standout Wesley Woodyard. It’s doubtful with their cap space that the Broncos will return all 3 players.It looks like the Eagles will have to choose who to have as their number-two receiver between Jeremy Maclin and Riley Copper. Despite a breakout year last season and increased chemistry with QB Nick Foles, reports are that Cooper may be the odd man out. Following a slew of contrasting reports on the Rams and QB Sam Bradford, it now appears that the front office is actually reaching out to the beleaguered quarterback on talks of an extension. If true, that means they won’t be looking at a QB with their number-two pick.

February 22: Yesterday, we reported how Redskins’ tight end Fred Davis was suspended indefinitely following his third violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It followed a terrible year for Davis who had his worst season ever. Well, Davis wasn’t done, as he was arrested for driving under the influence–just a day after his suspension. Unbelievable. Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin has signed a one-year extension that now has him signed through the 2015 season. Injuries and inconsistent play have made Seattle receiver Sidney Rice a non-integral part of the Seahawks offense, which will lead to his release from the team, which is reportedly impending. In the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, there is reportedly casino surveillance tape that shows Rice knocking out his fiancee. This lapse in judgment could be costly, for both Rice and the Ravens.

February 21: Two big-name players are recovering from shoulder surgeries, with Detroit’s Ziggy Ansah and Indy’s Trent Richardson now recovering from going under the knife. Richardson’s procedure was only a scope, but both are expected to be fine. In bad news for Navorro Bowman, coach Jim Harbaugh has said he will likely be out until midseason following a gruesome knee injury in the NFC title game against Seattle. Following spinal fusion surgery, talented but fumble-prone Giants running back David Wilson is reportedly ahead of schedule and projected to participate fully in training camp. Talented Redskins tight end Fred Davis capped a recent bad run of events after testing positive in a drug test, leading to an indefinite ban. What’s worse is that Davis is coming off an absolutely terrible season.

February 20: A video has been posted by TMZ that shows Ray Rice dragging an unconscious woman, presumably his fiancee, out of an elevator. In the video, Rice acts visibly flustered, until a security guard comes into the scene. It’s not a video that paints Rice in a very positive light, though his attorney insists that everyone should wait until the full story comes out. A summons obtained by media sources indicates that Rice knocked her unconscious, which if true would be terrible for his reputation and could lead to a lengthy suspension. For teams looking to get Redskins’ Kirk Cousins, Washington has set the price tag at a 2nd-round pick, a hefty price tag that might lead to Cousins ending up right back with the Skins as RG3’s backup again next season. The sad saga of Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander continues. The ultra-promising ball-catcher has been experiencing major complications from his latest knee surgery, suffering from an infection. The 25-year old has shown tremendous promise when healthy, but the constant setbacks have sadly put his career in jeopardy.

February 19: Recently-retired tight end Tony Gonzalez was hired as a studio analyst and will be a key part of the CBS football coverage. With the addition of Gonzalez, CBS has severed ties with Dan Marino and Shannon Sharpe, both of whom will no longer be on the show. Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher has reiterated his commitment to starting quarterback Sam Bradford. Fisher said that Bradford is rehabbing well after a torn ACL and is the clear-cut Rams quarterback. There have been recent talks that the Rams might draft a quarterback high in the draft, which could lead to Bradford being released or having his contract redone. Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was arrested for failing to appear in court for a traffic violation stemming from a tinted windows violation.

February 18: Baltimore tight end Dennis Pitta and the Ravens are far apart on contract talks. If the negotiations stall out, the Ravens may put a franchise tag on Pitta, which may lead to him filing a grievance that he should be paid according to receiver standards. New Orleans faces a similar situation with TE Jimmy GrahamLouis Delmas, the safety who was released by the Lions last week in a salary cap move, visited the Steelers on Monday. Gabe Carimi, the offensive lineman released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2013 season, has signed with the Atlanta Falcons. The first-rounder will hopefully help the Falcons address their O-line issues, but he hasn’t really panned out yet and his role is unclear.

February 17: The Baltimore Ravens signed LB Terrell Suggs to a 5-year extension worth $30 million. Suggs now looks to finish his career with the Ravens, as the Baltimore brass now looks to lock up Haloti Ngata. In less-promising news out of Baltimore, Ray Rice was arrested after a physical altercation with his fiancee at an Atlantic City casino. Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome said that despite the arrest, Rice is a key part of Baltimore’s 2014 plans. 33-year old wide receiver Anquan Boldin will be talking to the 49ers in an effort to work out a contract before Boldin goes into free agency on March 11. Setting up a make-or-break season, former top pick Sam Bradford’s contract will reportedly not be extended. Unless he begins producing according to his gigantic salary, Bradford could be sent packing following 2014.

February 16: In the report made by Ted Wells on the Dolphins bullying scandal, a player identified as Player A was also a recipient of bullying. That player has been identified as current Panthers player Andrew McDonald, who wants to just get on with his career and have nothing to do with the scandal. With all of the details of the bullying now coming out, perhaps we can move past this story, but that’s very unlikely, as this story seems to have more legs than most were anticipating. The Kansas City Chiefs have signed tight end Richard Gordon to a 1-year deal to add depth to a position in which they struggled in 2013.

February 15: In what is shaping up to be a massive fall from grace, former all-pro safety Darren Sharper has been charged by prosecutors for drugging and raping two women in California, while being linked to five other cases. The 6-time all-pro is looking at some pretty insidious charges. Tax filings indicate the NFL paid commissioner Roger Goodell a whopping $44.2 million in the 2012 calendar year. New Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak stated his first order of business is to get RB Ray Rice on the right track again. Rice slumped in 2013, having his career-worst season.

February 14: With different teams cutting ties with long-serving players, the Lions jumped into the mix releasing WR Nate Burleson and S Louis Delmas. The Green Bay Packers are glad to hear that star TE Jermichael Finley will be fully-healed in 6-8 weeks time. Finley suffered a career-threatening neck/spinal injury last season, but doctors project a 99.9% chance of full recovery. Reports are that New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was right in the running for the Cleveland Browns job up until the final moment when they signed Mike Pettine as new head coach. Ed Reed was apparently robbed of $50,000 after making a withdraw at a bank. While going into another bank, the money was taken from his car.

February 13: The New Orleans Saints released 4 defensive standouts and members of their 2009 Super Bowl team, when they cut Roman Harper, Jabari Greer, Will Smith, and Jonathan Vilma. Though the players are perhaps past their peak, salary cap issues also propelled these moves. Denver Broncos executive vice President John Elway had his contract extended 3 years, while also assuming the title of GM. Former Morse High School standout and Oakland Raiders star tackle Lincoln Kennedy suggested on his radio show that there is a feeling among the Oakland organization that 2013 second-round OT Menelik Watson “doesn’t have it.” Harsh words from a man who knows what he’s talking about, though Watson should get more time to prove whether or not that’s true.

February 12: Word out of Cleveland is that former first-round pick QB Brandon Weeden wants out. That’s not a good sign when even players who have shaky standing can no longer stomach the dysfunction. It appears that Cowboys WR Miles Austin will have to ply his trade elsewhere in n effort to rebuild his career. Austin, 29, has been inconsistent and riddled with injuries since his big 2009 season where he went for 1320 yards and 11 touchdowns. Another player that will likely not remain with his current team is Cincinnati’s defensive end Michael Johnson, who is not likely to get the deal he is looking for after the Bengals already spent big-time bucks on other luminaries on their D-line. It is projected that Denver free agent receiver Eric Decker will be looking for number-one receiver type money at $9 million a year. It remains to be seen if Denver will be willing to go that high.

February 11: The Buccaneers have cut offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, a first round pick in the draft in 2011. After struggling with Chicago, he was traded to Tampa, but failed to cement himself in the rotation. The Washington Redskins have brought in one of their Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks back into the fold, with Doug Williams now serving as a personnel executive under GM Bruce Allen. Another player finding work in football after his career has ended is former Steelers star LB Joey Porter, who will be a defensive assistant starting next season. The organizational changes continue in Cleveland, as the Browns have now restructured their front office. CEO Joe Banner and GM Mike Lombardi are leaving, with Ray Farmer now being moved into the role of GM. Cleveland also has a new coaching staff, with Mike Pettine named new head coach last month.

February 10: Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Williams will be arraigned on February 24 on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and criminal mischief. After signing a 5-year extension worth $40 million prior to the 2013 season, Williams missed 10 games last season with a hamstring injury. After missing mandatory team meetings and rehab sessions, coupled with this latest transgression, the Tampa brass has to be concerned that Williams has lost his edge. Denver has two key players who have become free agents in RB Knowshon Moreno and WR Eric Decker. Both have said they very much wish to remain on the team, though it remains to be seen if Denver will fork over the cash while being fairly deep at both positions.

February 9: The Kansas City Chiefs released cornerback Dunta Robinson following a disappointing 2013 campaign. Robinson was just one year into a 3-year deal, but failed to deliver and saw the Chiefs dump him and his hefty contract. Rob Chudzinski, the recently-deposed head coach of the Cleveland Browns, will take an assistant coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts. Super Bowl odds for next season have already been posted and Seattle is favored at 11/2 to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Second on the list at 13/2 is the San Francisco 49ers. The top-ranked AFC team is New England at 10/1, with Denver coming in at 11/1. Filling out the top-five choices is Green Bay at 12/1. Future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez continues to drop hints that he may return in 2014. By the time training camp begins, we should have a better idea.

February 8: The Green Bay Packers have hired former Florida and Illinois head coach Ron Zook as a special teams assistant. Zook has been inactive as coach since 2011 when he he was let go as Illinois head coach after 7 seasons. Prior to that, he was the Gators coach for three seasons. Reports indicate that Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander underwent a second knee surgery to repair an ACL in the right knee. Despite fantastic play when he was on the field, it is unlikely the Chargers will keep Alexander. Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson was released by the team, apparently in a move meant to clear up salary cap space. Henderson should draw interest from teams looking for a good linebacker. Following a solid season, Lions’ center Dominic Raiola has been signed to a 1-year deal. It appears that Detroit’s offensive plays will be called by new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, despite new head coach Jim Caldwell being known as an offensive mind. Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio was signed to a 2-year deal to remain in Denver. In addition to making big strides with the “D,” Del Rio was 3-1 as interim coach after head coach John Fox had some midseason health issues.

February 7: The Seattle Seahawks and their fans are still basking in the glory of their first-ever Super Bowl triumph. During a party in the streets of Seattle, an estimated 700,000 fans turned out to help celebrate with a parade that went from the Space Needle to CenturyLink Field, with thousands packing the streets of the 2-mile long march. Among the highlights were the player speeches and a “moment of loudness,” where the notoriously-boisterous Seattle faithful provided the last deafening cheer. Seahawks’ wide receiver Golden Tate, who is set to be a free agent this offseason, has said he is willing to take less than what other teams offer him in order to remain in Seattle. More players are coming out on behalf of pot being used in connection with different maladies suffered on the football field. Ryan Clark, the Steelers veteran, said he knows players on his team that smoke, saying it provides relief and is a healthy alternative to highly-addictive pharmaceutical painkillers. Apparently, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo

February 6: The Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks will be celebrating with their rabid fans as a parade goes through the city. On Sunday, the Seahawks won their first-ever Super Bowl with a smashing 43-8 win over the Denver Broncos. Offseason player moves have begun around the league, as the Atlanta Falcons have released CB Asante Samuel and LB Stephen Nicholas. Vikings QB Matt Cassel, who saw serious time as the Vikings starter last season, will reportedly void a 2014 option with the team and see if he can’t pull down a better contract on the open market. The San Diego Chargers have opted to stay at Qualcomm season for another season, meaning they will stay at the stadium at least through the 2014 season. Reports indicate that the Texans, who have the first pick in this year’s draft. are looking at quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles as possible selections. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, signed only through the 2014 season, may be extended to a longer deal, if the Chiefs have their way. Owner Clark Hunt says he would like to extend Smith’s deal.

February 5: Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson is pondering his next step, which could conceivably include a trip to Texas Rangers spring training. Wilson’s agent is saying that they will wait for the smoke to clear from winning the Super Bowl before fully exploring all the available options. Wilson has two seasons of Class A under his belt, but it is widely perceived that his baseball ability, while promising, lags far behind his prowess as a football player. San Francisco 49ers’ linebacker NaVorro Bowman underwent knee surgery to repair a torn ACL stemming from a gruesome injury in the NFC title game against Seattle. He also incurred damage to his MCL, but is hopeful the recovery will have him ready for the regular season, though he could be out even through preseason training camp. The signing of Kyle Shanahan as the Browns’ new offensive coordinator is official and the deal is for 3 years. For the previous 4 seasons, Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Redskins, alongside his dad and head coach Mike Shanahan. The Browns’ new defensive coordinator is Jim O’Neil, who was hired last week, but expect defensively-minded new head coach Mike Pettine to be heavily-involved in the Cleveland “D.”

February 4: Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVIII represents the single biggest margin of the point-spread being off in a Super Bowl. With Seattle 2-point underdogs and winning by 35, the point-spread was 37 points off. The next-closest was when the (guess who?) Denver Broncos lost Super Bowl XXII as 3-point favorites to the Redskins 42-10. Seattle got some more good news on Monday upon learning star cornerback Richard Sherman’s injury was just a high ankle sprain. The injury kept him out of the game for some of the 4th quarter. With such a young team, some focus turns to the question on how many more rings Seattle may be able to win. For Denver, the disappointment has to resonate heavily. They were outplayed at every turn, especially on the line-of-scrimmage, an area where they will focus on heavily in the offseason.

February 3: The Seattle Seahawks battered the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win Super Bowl XLVIII. The MVP was linebacker Malcolm Smith, who ran an interception back for a touchdown back 69 yards, while also recovering a fumble in the second half. Smith is the first defensive player to win the MVP since 2003 when Dexter Jackson won the MVP in Super Bowl XXXVII. Smith was such an unlikely MVP that odds weren’t even offered on him, as we part of the “field,” where all nondescript players are combined into one choice. It was the most lopsided Super Bowl since 1990 in Super Bowl XXIV when the 49ers crushed the Broncos (ironically) 55-10. Other highlights included Seattle’s Percy Harvin and his 87-yard touchdown kickoff return to open the second half, four Seattle turnovers, and a efficient performance from Russell Wilson (18-25-206-2-0). For those of us who have watched football all season, the withdraw symptoms now begin.

Super Bowl XLVIII Preview and Prediction: It’s been a great year! In my estimation, the top 4 teams made it to the conference championships and the two best teams won those matchups. Prior to the season starting, many actually had Sea/Den as their teams to meet up for “The Big Game” and after watching a full season of football, I can honestly say that this game shouldn’t disappoint. Seattle Seahawks vs. Denver Broncos Super Bowl XLVIII Preview and Pick. – 2/2

Super Bowl 48 Player Prop Bets: Loot breaks down some player props offered at Bovada Sportsbook along with the personal bets that he’s making on each. Super Bowl 48 Player Prop Bets. – 2/2

Super Bowl XLVIII Player Prop Bet Picks: Loot takes a look at some popular SB props revolving around Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch, Demaryius Thomas, Monte Ball and Knowshon Moreno. Super Bowl XLVIII Player Prop Bets. – 2/2

Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Prop Bet: The Super Bowl is the one day of the year that we condone “cutting loose” and having some fun. Super Bowl Sunday is a joyous day and we should all allow ourselves to load up on yummy food, drink lots of beers and make lots of prop bets! Who Will Win the Super Bowl XLVIII MVP Award? – 2/2

February 2: For Super Bowl XLVIII, the opinions are split almost down the middle. The point-spread is closer than any Super Bowl of the past 30 years, as fans should expect a well-contested game where any number of outcomes seem perfectly plausible. Sources indicate the Cleveland Browns will hire Kyle Shanahan as their new offensive coordinator. The NFL named some award winners yesterday, with Peyton Manning winning the league MVP, and Carolina’s Ron Rivera winning the Coach of the Year award with his player LB Luke Kuechly, named Defensive Player of the Year. Green Bay RB Eddie Lacy was Offensive Rookie of the Year, with New York Jets’ DE Sheldon Richardson pulling down Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers was named Comeback Player of the Year. Chicago’s Charles Tillman was the proud recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Hall of Fame inductions were also announced, with Derrick Brooks, Walter Brooks, Andre Reed, Aeneas Williams, Claude Humphrey, Ray Guy, and Michael Strahan named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

February 1: Jaguars owner Shad Khan said that they will definitely be drafting a quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft. The Jaguars will be selecting third and have a slew of big-name quarterbacks to choose from. Richie Incognito lawyer Mark Schamel has reportedly revealed a slew of texts to a TV channel that shows his client and Jonathan Martin engaged in mutual insults via text that look more like two friends ribbing each other than how it has been characterized. The texts portray a two-way situation a little different than what has been portrayed. Marshawn Lynch has been more cooperative with the media as the big game is just a few days away now. The banter is in full-swing and the hype peaking, with the point-spread ranging from a pick ‘em to Denver favored by 2.5 points. Future Hall of Fame kicker Adam Vinatieri says he plans on kicking another 2-3 years. The 41-year old is still among the most effective place kickers in the league. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has stated he will look into the medicinal value of marijuana. Other issues in Goodell’s state of the league address is the possibility of a centralized replay office in New York and a code of conduct that applies to locker-room behavior on the heels of the mess in Miami this season.

January 31: Super Bowl Sunday is looking a little better from a weather perspective. The most-recent forecasts indicate it will at least be a dry game, with precipitation unlikely. Seahawks’ receivers Percy Harvin and Doug Baldwin are both full participants in practice and neither are expected to play with any limitations on Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reportedly unhappy with the behavior of WR Mike Williams after signing a 6-year deal worth over $40 million. Williams reportedly started missing team meetings and mandatory rehab after a hamstring injury in midseason. Ravens running back Bernard Pierce underwent shoulder surgery this week and is expected to miss 4-5 months, which will slow his progress in getting acclimated to Gary Kubiak’s new offense, a system where he should see increased production.

January 30: The Rams have fired defensive coordinator Tim Walton, paving the way for St. Louis hiring Gregg Williams as their new defensive coordinator. The Dallas Cowboys made Rob Marinelli their official defensive coordinator. Last year’s defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin will now have the title of assistant head coach/defense. In 2013, the Cowboys finished dead-last in defense while struggling through many injuries on that side of the ball. Former Lions running back Jahvid Best, who saw his career ended by a slew of concussions is filing suit against the NFL, Riddell Helmets, and Easton Bell Sports. As the Super Bowl approaches, Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch is again making headlines, strangely for not talking to the media. The press has coined him “silent mode,” a play on his nickname “beast mode.” Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin said in an interview with Tony Dungy on the NFL Network that he felt trapped as a member of the Dolphins and that he wasn’t the only player who was forced to hear “racial, aggressive, and sexually-charged” remarks. It seems unlikely that Martin will ever return to the Dolphins, though he says he wants to play next season.

January 29: Seattle star running back Marshawn Lynch gave a brief interview with the NFL Network, but has otherwise remained true to form and is speaking minimally or not at all with media, as the Super Bowl is now only days away. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson is reportedly happy with the signing of Norv Turner as the new offensive coordinator. Turner was signed last week. Former Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan has spurned job offers from the Dolphins and Ravens, but is apparently interested in the offensive coordinator vacancy in Cleveland. Last week, the Browns signed new head coach Doug Pettine. Several sources claim the Dallas Cowboys have signed Scott Linehan as their new offensive coordinator, the third Dallas OC in as many years. It is unclear what this means for previous offensive coordinator and playcallerBill Callahan, but some expect him to remain with the team in a reduced role. It turns out Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera was receptive to a contract extension. After finishing 2013 with a 12-4 record, Rivera has signed a 3-year extension.

January 28: Gary Kubiak, dismissed as Texans head coach last season, has landed on his feet and will become the new offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. Kubiak is bringing along Rick Dennison from Houston as his new quarterbacks coach. Top Denver corner Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has suggested he may retire if the Broncos win the Super Bowl. Strange words indeed for a player who likely played well enough this year to lock down a long-term lucrative deal. Atlanta head coach and GM Mike Smith and Thomas Dimitroff have been given one-year extensions, as both will be able to avoid lame-duck status in 2014. Despite an awful 2013 campaign, Smith is 60-36 as head coach and has taken the Falcons to the playoffs 4 times since taking over in 2008. Titans running back Chris Johnson reportedly played most of last season with a torn meniscus, despite going over 1000 yards. Word has it that Johnson will be ready to go in time for all training camps, though he and the Titans are likely to part ways.

January 27: The Miami Dolphins hired a new GM in Dennis Hickey, who previously worked as an executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including a 3-year stint as director of player personnel. Hickey replaces Jeff Ireland, who had a 6-year tenure with the team. The hiring caps off a somewhat-embarrassing process that saw Miami’s top candidates turn down the job. Saints star tight end Jimmy Graham is unhappy that New Orleans is thinking of placing the franchise tag on him, which would prevent him from signing a long-term deal. Graham led the NFL with 16 touchdown catches last season and the franchise tag would mean he gets paid an amount far beneath his market value for 2014. Carolina coach Ron Rivera, thought to be on the hot-seat entering 2013, has now been offered a contract extension by the team. This is Super Bowl week and Seattle is happy to announce WR Percy Harvin will be good to go “without limitations” by game-time. There is some variance in the Super Bowl line, with BetAnySports having it as Denver -1, with a lot of brick-and-mortar books having it at Denver -2.5. Bovada has it at Denver -3.

January 26: With the Super Bowl a week away, teams are gearing up for the big game. Denver place kicker Matt Prater was sent home from practice. It was the third consecutive day Prater missed practice and coach John Fox wants to prevent anyone from catching whatever bug ails Prater. On December 8, Prater set a new NFL record with a 64-yard field goal against Tennessee. New York Giants OL David Diehl has called it quits at 33 after 11 years with the team. While only 33, Diehl had seen his form drop off somewhat dramatically in the past season or two. Word out of Dallas is that they are considering hiring former Detroit offensive coordinator Scott Linehan as their new offensive play-caller. That role now belongs to Bill Callahan, who may see his role reduced.

January 25: The Super Bowl XLVIII line has remained solid all week, with the Denver Broncos still 1-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks. One thing a lot of people are keeping their eyes on is the weather forecast. With the game over a week away, the forecast calls for game-time temperatures in the 20’s with possible snow showers. Free agent tight end Fred Davis will be facing a 6-game ban for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Davis, coming off by far his worst season, was also banned for four games after the 2011 season. Geno Smith has been issued an apology from Virgin Airlines following an apparent misunderstanding that resulted in Smith being taken off a flight. The culprit of the incident now appears to be a unreasonable stewardess. It’s good to see a kicker make some good money and that’s what Dallas’ Dan Bailey will do after signing a 6-year extension worth $22.5 million. As many believed would happen, the Browns have signed Mike Pettine as their new head coach. This is Pettine’s first head coaching gig above the high school level. Pettine’s expertise is as a defensive guy and he should help boost the Browns’ unit immediately. Who he hires as offensive coordinator will be key. Replacing Pettine as Buffalo’s defensive coordinator will be former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.

January 24: A source has revealed that RB Adrian Peterson will opt for groin surgery after consulting a specialist this week. the injury had limited Peterson’s effectiveness over the second-half of the season. Good news for Seattle as they approach the Super Bowl on February 2, as Percy Harvin is a full participant at Seahawks practice. Still, his full role remains unclear. Despite much criticism, particularly from his ex-coach, the NFL has ruled that Wes Welker’s Sunday hit on Aqib Talib was legal. Hall of Fame offensive lineman and former Titans’ head coach Mike Munchak has landed in Pittsburgh, where he will be the Steelers’ new offensive line coach. The Jets are expected to release WR Santonio Holmes. Former Cowboys’ defensive tackle Josh Brent was convicted of intoxication manslaughter, following the 2012 death of teammate Jerry Brown. Brent was sentenced to 180 days in jail and also faces probation.

January 23: With San Francisco suffering through terrible injuries in the NFC title game, they got some much-needed good news on the injury front, as former South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore should be ready to participate in the Niners’ offseason program. Lattimore could add some much-needed depth to an aging Frank Gore. Lattimore missed all of his rookie season after recovering from a nasty knee injury suffered in college. A deal is apparently close to being signed that would make Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine the new head coach of the Cleveland Browns. Word is that the one quarterback who has distinguished himself since the college season ended is Derek Carr, who is standing above other draft-eligible quarterbacks. Former Kansas City GM Scott Pioli has been brought in by Atlanta as an assistant to help current Falcons’ GM Thomas Dimitroff. 30-year old ex-NFL quarterback and college star Vince Young has filed for bankruptcy. Facing two lawsuits, the one-time star now finds himself in financial peril.

January 22: The Lions have hired a new offensive coordinator in Joe Lombardi, former quarterbacks coach for the Saints. Lombardi will join new head coach Jim Caldwell. Interestingly, Lombardi is the grandson of NFL coaching legend Vince Lombardi. Highly sought Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase has withdrawn his name from the Cleveland Browns head coach hunt, where he was thought to be a top candidate. The Browns will reportedly interview Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for a second time and are still looking to Seattle coordinator Dan Quinn. San Francisco offensive linemen Mike Iupati suffered a broken left fibula against Seattle in the NFC title game. Star linebacker NaVorro Bowman suffered a torn ACL/MCL and Frank Gore will have to undergo finger surgery. 42-year old Jason Licht is the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager. Licht was the VP of of player personnel for the Cardinals. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, let go with Jim Schwartz’ staff in Detroit, is apparently a frontrunner for the Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator job. Another frontrunners are Kyle Shanahan, Jim Hostler, and Kirby Wilson.

January 21: Seattle head coach Pete Carroll says WR Percy Harvin should be good to go in time for Super Bowl XLVIII. Harvin missed most of the season and has suffered some setbacks upon his return, including a concussion against the Saints that kept him out of Sunday’s NFC title-winning effort over the 49ers. Denver running back Knowshon Moreno, who had to leave the AFC title game on Sunday with a rib injury, is also expected to be ready to go before the big game. The Houston Texans, who hired new head coach Bill O’Brien, have also named Romeo Crennel new defensive coordinator. Both O’Brien and Crennel are products of the Bill Belichick coaching-line.

January 20: Super Bowl VLVIII will feature the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The very early line has the Broncos favored by a point. The game takes place on February 2. Troubled WR Davone Bess, arrested at a Florida airport last week after acting erratically and assaulting a cop with coffee, was apparently sent to a psych ward back in March after authorities were summoned to his home. Word is that the New York Giants will not resign WR Hakeem Nicks, who is coming off a bad season where he caught zero touchdowns. Also contributing to his exodus from New York was his tendency of showing up late or missing meetings and training sessions. It looks like Vikings’ star Adrian Peterson may opt for groin surgery in the offseason. A decision is forthcoming after AP visits with a specialist.

NFC Championship Analysis: This game may end up being better than the actual Super Bowl! It’s power vs. power when these two teams clash Sunday at CenturyLink Field. It’s hard to imagine this game being decided by more than a field goal so we believe the Niners are the value play here. San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Pick (6:30PM EST) – 1/19

AFC Championship Preview: The last time these teams met it was freezing cold in Foxborough and the game was an absolute thriller. Expect more of the same Sunday when the Pats come marching in at a time when they may have gained traction and appear to be peaking. New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos Pick (3PM EST) – 1/19

January 19: In a sordid story, former Packers, Vikings, and Saints star safety Darren Sharper has been arrested in Los Angeles in connection to three separate sexual assaults. Sharper retired in 2010 and has a job with the NFL Network, who suspended him upon the breaking of this news. New Tennessee Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt brought over Jason Michael from last year’s job in San Diego, as the former tight ends coach was named the Titans new offensive coordinator. Taking the defensive coordinator gig will be Ray Horton. Late point-spreads for the conference title games see the Broncos favored by 5.5 points over the visiting Patriots, while the Seahawks are 3-point favorites at home over the San Francisco 49ers. The home-stadium for the Vikings, the Metrodome, was deflated for a final time, clearing the way for demolition. The Vikings will have a new billion-dollar stadium for the upcoming season. Speaking of the Vikes, they have a new offensive coordinator in Norv Turner, who served in the same capacity for the Browns last season.

January 18: Percy Harvin will not play for the Seahawks in Sunday’s conference title game with the San Francisco 49ers. Harvin still has lingering affects from a concussion he suffered last week against the New Orleans Saints. Patriots WR Aaron Dobson, who had 519 yards receiving this year, may be able to play on Sunday after missing time with a foot injury. Cleveland Browns wide receiver Davone Bess, 28, was arrested at the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport for assaulting an officer and disorderly conduct. Reports indicate Bess was acting erratically and appeared to be under the influence. He is coming off career-lows with 42 catches for 362 yards and missed the last two games of the season for undisclosed personal reasons. In a bizarre corollary, the Jets’ Geno Smith was taken off a plane after an altercation with a stewardess in Los Angeles that was bound for Fort Lauderdale.

January 17: After missing practice yesterday, Tom Brady returned on Thursday and everything looks good as the Patriots prepare to play Denver on Sunday for the AFC title game. Also missing practice was the 49ers’ linebacker Ahmad Brooks, though he is fully expected to play on Sunday, as the Niners roll into Seattle for the NFC title game. Another candidate has emerged for the Cleveland Browns, the only team currently without a head coach. The Browns will interview Bills’ defensive coordinator Mike Pettine today for the vacant gig. Word out of Nashville is that the Titans are expected to cut RB Chris Johnson, who is set to earn $8 million next year. Avoiding “lame-duck” status, Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan was signed to an extension. Details are still pending. The Detroit Lions have hired a new defensive coordinator to work with new head coach Jim Caldwell, in Teryl Austin, who has worked with Caldwell at Penn State and Wake Forest. Replacing Mike Zimmer as Cincinnati’s new defensive coordinator is Paul Guenther, who is being promoted from linebackers coach. Seattle WR Percy Harvin still hasn’t been cleared to go on Sunday as he recovers from a concussion.

January 16: The Minnesota Vikings, having fired Leslie Frazier, will hire Mike Zimmer as their new head coach. Zimmer has spent the previous 5 seasons in a successful run as the Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator. Zimmer will pursue Norv Turner as his offensive coordinator, who will interview with the team tomorrow. Patriots QB Tom Brady, gearing up for the AFC title game on Sunday, reportedly missed practice due to a minor illness on Wednesday. The Miami Dolphins have hired 41-year old Bill Lazor as their new offensive coordinator, replacing Mike Sherman, who was fired after two seasons. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam stressed patience as the Browns search for their new coach after the firing of Rob Chudzinski. The slow pace of the process leads some to conclude their top candidate may be Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who refuses to address coaching opportunities while Denver’s season is still in progress. Jay Gruden is in at Washington as the new head coach. Interestingly, he promoted tight ends coach Sean McVay to offensive coordinator and McVay is a tender 27 years old. Gruden, however, will be the one calling the plays.

January 15th: Vacant coaching positions continue to be filled. Earlier this week, the Tennessee Titans hired Chargers offensive coordinator and former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt. He was Detroit’s main candidate, but the Lions wasted no time, signing former Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, 58, as their head coach. The Chargers replaced Whisenhunt with new offensive coordinator Frank Reich–the former NFL quarterback who was the Chargers’ QB coach. San Diego will keep their defensive coordinator as John Pagano signed a contract to remain with San Diego. The Oakland Raiders will reportedly keep defensive coordinator Jason Tarver. It looks like the Raiders will retain most of the same coaches they had last season. The Giants have hired former Green Bay QB coach Ben McAdoo as their new offensive coordinator. The Redskins signed tight ends coach Sean McVay to be their new offensive coordinator. With Denver just days away from playing New England in the AFC title game, they signed former Patriots defensive back Marquice Cole, while placing DE Derek Wolfe on IR. Houston Texans owner Bob McNair recently spoke highly of projected top pick Jadeveon Clowney, further enhancing the possibility that the Texans, who hold the top pick, will select the South Carolina standout defensive end. McNair had also said earlier that he would open to trading the number-one pick.

Interesting Divisional Playoffs Props: Loot breaks down some of the more interesting props offered this weekend at Bovada. NFL Divisional Playoffs Prop Bets.

Sunday AFC Divisional Playoffs Action: This line opened quite a bit higher than I had anticipated. The Bolts actually play Denver pretty tough at Sports Authority Field. I attribute this inflated line to all of the media attention that Denver receives. Yes, the Broncos are a good team. No, their defense isn’t good enough to warrant a line this big vs. a team that can run/pass the ball as well as the Chargers can. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Chargers are peaking right now and in all candidness, while I’m not calling it, it wouldn’t surprise me to see San Diego win this game straight up. San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos Pick (4:40PM EST) – 1/12

Sunday NFC Divisional Playoff: These teams are very similar. Both should be very difficult to run against. I think the difference here will be which tame can make a big play or two against the other team’s secondary. San Francisco 49ers vs. Carolina Panthers Pick. (1PM EST) – 1/12

Saturday AFC Divisional Playoff Preview: It’s nothing short of a miracle that the Colts are even here. In case you’ve been living under a rock, they were down huge at home last week to the Chiefs who sustained more injuries (to key players) in a single game than I’ve ever seen. Luck had some “luck” and here we are! Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots Pick. (8:15PM EST) – 1/12

Saturday NFC Divisional Playoff Analysis: The last time the Saints came into Seattle, they were given one of the biggest beatings in recent memory. Nobody is giving the Saints a chance this week and I too have the same thought at first glance, however, not many thought that this team would compete vs. the Eagles last week either. Could it be possible that NOLA is getting hot and Seattle may have already peaked? Check out Loot’s take right here: New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks Pick. – (4:35PM EST) – 1/11

Sunday NFL Wild Card Game Previews and Predictions ATS:
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Pick (1PM EST)
San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers Pick (4:40PM EST) – 1/5

Saturday NFL Wildcard Game Previews and Picks:
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Indianapolis Colts Pick (4:35PM EST)
New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles Pick (8:10PM EST) – 1/4

NFL Coaches on the Move: 5 teams wasted no time in axing their head honchos Monday, one day after the end of the 2013 NFL regular season. Black Monday 2013: List of Fired NFL Coaches.

Week 17 Sunday Night Football: Can the Cowboys defense get a stop? NO! Yes, the Cowboys beat up Philly earlier in the season but that was a different time and different circumstances. Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Pick. (8:30PM EST) – 12/29

Niners/Cards Week 17 Analysis: This game has HUGE playoff implications! The Cardinals have been playing lights out and seemingly haven’t been receiving the respect that they deserve. The Niners are playing top notch football as well, but this line has trap written all over it! San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals Pick. (4PM EST) – 12/29

Week 17 NFC Battle: The Pack get QB Aaron Rodgers back who even at less than 100% would likely slice and dice the Bears horrible defense. The question is can the Packers defense get enough stops on the Bears? They too have been sub-par as of late. Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Pick. (4PM EST) – 12/29

Week 16 MNF Preview: The 2013 NFL season has been nothing short of a disaster for the Atlanta Falcons. Their secondary has been nothing short of a joke and they’re likely to get torched on Monday in front of a national audience. One would think that the team would bring their best for the sake of respectability but it’s becoming more and more apparent that they just don’t have the pieces. On the other hand, the SF 49ers are gaining steam and looking like a team ready to go deep into the playoffs. They’re getting healthy and looking lean and mean. Atlanta Falcons vs. San Francisco 49ers Pick. (8:30PM EST) – 12/23

Week 16 Sunday Night Football: Century mark anyone? That’s the first thing that I thought when I saw this matchup. These are a pair of the most burnable defenses in the NFL. The posted total of 55.5 is enormous, but may actually be set too low! Chicago Bears vs. Philadelphia Eagles Pick. (8:30PM EST) – 12/22

NFC South Battle: The Saints are gaining a reputation as being a team that can’t get it done on the road. We agree to a certain extent, but this is a great matchup for them as the Panthers secondary is sub par which will ultimately lead to their demise on Sunday. New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Pick. (1PM EST) – 12/22

Week 15 MNF Preview and Pick: A pair of 7-6 teams meet up Monday night at Ford Field in a battle for playoff position. Neither team has been lights out this year but Loot believes one will best the other in convincing fashion in front of a national audience. Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions Pick. (8:30PM EST) – 12/16

Week 15 Sunday Night Football: Pittsburgh suffered a heartbreaker last weekend as their last second razzle dazzle play resulted in Antonio Brown stepping out of bounds, costing the team the win. If they’ve have played a little “D” from minute 1 through 59, they wouldn’t have found themselves in that position though, so they definitely deserved what they got, which was a loss. Cincy is heating up and carry a 9-4 record into this matchup. Will the Steelers D showup for this semi-rivalry game? Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Pick (8:30PM EST) – 12/15

Week 15 Thursday Night Football AFC West Clash: The Broncos just keep rolling on. This point scoring machine seems to have too many weapons for opponents to stop. They’ll probably win this game straight up, however, these teams usually play each other pretty close. San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos Pick. (8:25PM EST) – 12/12

Week 14 MNF Betting Analysis: Are there two more helter skelter teams in the NFL than the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears? Will either play allaa lick of defense Sunday night? We may see 100 points scored in this one! Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Pick (8:30PM EST) – 12/9

Week 14 Sunday Night Football: There are some good games this weekend, however, this particular matchup peaks my interest the most. We’ll see what New Orleans is made of after betting blown out in front of a national audience Monday night at Seattle. To make matters worse for NOLA, they had plane issues and weren’t able to depart until Monday putting them on an ultra short week. Luckily for them, they’ll be back in the friendly confines of the Superdome and ready to expose some holes in the Panthers secondary. Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Pick (8:30PM EST) – 12/8

Week 14 NFC West Clash: Many bettors will be calling their bookies looking to get down on the Hawks as 2.5 underdogs with visions of a big payout and extra Christmas spending money. After all, how could mighty Seattle lose after the lambasting of the Saints on Monday night? For starters, the Saints aren’t the same team on the road and nor is Seattle. The tables turn here as the Niners actually offer tremendous wagering value as less-than-a-field-goal favs. Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers Pick (4:25PM EST) – 12/8

Week 14 Thursday Night Football: Pride will be on the line Thursday night as two teams that have had really rough seasons matchup in a nationally televised prime time game. Texas has dropped a bunch of games this year in which they were in many of them until the end. The Jags just kinda stink. There’s really no other way to put it. As usual, I don’t see how they’re going to stop the run, which Houston can and will do on them often. Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick. (8:30PM EST) – 12/5

Week 13 Monday Night Football Analysis: There are some interesting variables in play here. Seattle’s secondary has been ravaged by suspensions. New Orleans is coming off of a bye week. The Saints have looked much different on the road than at home. The current spread of 4.5 covers two key numbers (common final score margins, 3 and 4) and this game is on a mega stage being on MNF. What does all this mean with regards to the spread? Read Loot’s take on the game here: New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks Pick (8:30PM EST) – 12/2

Week 13 Sunday AFC Clash: Arrowhead stadium is a TOUGH place to play. To make matters worse for Denver, Peyton Manning is not a fan of playing in cold weather and the report calls for low 30’s temperatures Sunday. Knowshon Moreno is banged up and questionable for Sunday’s game. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left Sunday’s game vs. the Pats with a banged up shoulder and will likely play but how effective will he be? KC dropped a tight one to SD last week and will be ultra motivated to avenge both that and their earlier loss to Denver this season. Denver Broncos vs. Kansas City Chiefs Pick (4PM EST) – 12/1

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NFL Betting

Reduced Juice – Loot explains how reduced odds football betting works and where you can find this valuable asset.

What is a Point Spread? – Many new to the game struggle to understand why one side has a (+) while the other has a (-) in front of a team. We explain what the spread is and how it works.

Football Bets – All the different types of wagers that you can make when betting on football games.

What Professional Handicappers Do – Learn the tricks of the trade and increase your odds of beating the books!

Key Numbers – The article that bookies don’t want you to read!

NFL Betting Quiz – Test your football wagering prowess with Loot’s 10 question quiz!

Super Bowl 52 Predictions – Loot gives his preseason picks for which teams are most likely to win “the big game” along with middle of the road and a longshot that is sure to surprise you!

2017 NFL Season Wins Predictions – Loot breaks down every team and gives his opinion on how they’ll do vs. the number!

2017 NFL Bye Weeks – The first set start in Week 5 and the final byes take place in Week 11. Loot also gives tips on betting on teams coming off byes.

2017 NFL Coaching Changes – We seem to be in an era where football coaches become disposable in an instant if they don’t win. 2016 was no different as a handful of teams made the switch. Check out who went where right here!

Misc.

Famous Football Players – Biographies of the best and greatest NFL football players of all-time.

Greatest NFL Players of All Time – A list of all time greats at each position. Each position has it’s own dedicated article!

Best Quarterbacks of All Time – Joe Montana heads our list of top 10 QB’s, however, Tom Brady is a sure bet to give him a run for his money by the time his career is said and done.

Best Running Backs of All Time – We list the top 10 greatest ball carriers of all-time. The order may be debatable, as Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and Walter Payton all brought something special to the gridiron.

Football Lingo – One must be very familiar with all of the terms, slang and jargon associated with this game to win at football betting. Find a slew of pigskin terminology right here!

Football Quotes – Funny and memorable sayings from around the National Football League including comments made by Vince Lombardi and John Madden.