Cut Costs, Cut Your Losses

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By Stefan Anderson

Cut costs and budget properly, an economical statement that applies to many facets of life, is now taken place in the National Football League. With free agency starting beginning yesterday, many teams are aligning themselves to stock up on their roster and compete for this year’s upcoming NFL season. Also with the collective bargaining agreement and salary cap laws team have to remain under the salary cap.

The 2014 salary cap is currently, 133 million per team, but that doesn’t mean every team’s spending power is the same. Teams can choose to carry over unused cap space from the prior year, as 29 teams did this year. That carryover from each team’s salary cap are combined with final calculations of incentives, escalators, bonuses and other factors that will give teams the option of their  own unique spending limit.

With the new spending limit teams will make big rosters as some teams already have done:

Notable signings:

  • Denver Broncos have acquired Aquib Talib and T.J. Ward
  • New Orleans Saints have signed Safety Jarius Byrd
  • Philadelphia Eagles added safety Malcolm Jenkins
  • Tampa Bay brought in Alterraun Verner along with Micheal Johnson

Along with the teams adding stars to their team, there is another aspect of free agency that is groundbreaking this year. With so many teams in fear of going over the salary cap, many teams are forced restructure their star player’s contracts or ultimately release them.  With that comes a lot of perennial pro bowlers are faced with something some have not been faced with in years, Free Agency.  The list of players that now have to face free agency to cut costs on their teams include: Demarcus Ware, Darrell Revis, Julius Peppers, Jared Allen, Champ Bailey and Michael Vick just to name a few.

Nothing wrong with the players having to face the difficult situation, I believe that this gives the league a balance.  Now with so many high profile free agents out there teams that could get a Darrell Revis or Demarcus Ware, could now go out and weigh their options into acquiring the big name talents. It is a great thing for the thing league and gives every team the opportunity to build up their rosters with not only draft picks but good free agents.

With the upcoming draft and a lot of great free agents hitting the market, the 2014 NFL season should be a great one to watch. 

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And Number 1 Overall Pick Is …

By Stefan Anderson

After selecting Mario Williams, with the first overall pick in 2006, the Houston Texans are faced with the same predicament in this year’s draft. After suffering from a terrible season that included a 14 game losing streak, coming off a season where they won their division and franchise record 12 wins. Things took a turn for the worst in Houston, which leads to the question, What to do now? The 2014 season looks to be a year of optimism for the Texans as they make steps to rebuild and get back to their promiance as on the AFC’s contenders again.

After firing head Gary Kubiak and replacing him with Bill O’Brien, a coach that has dealt adversity in past becoming the first head at Penn State following the legendary Coach Joe Paterno, the team looks to be in great leadership and has the rebound and come back in a winning fashion. With the opportunity to have the number 1 overall selection in this year’s draft, the options on which way the Texans should go with their selection varies.

Many have already selected QB Johnny “Football” Manziel as the Texans first pick and to be the savior of his hometown team. The former Heisman winner has already stated his reasons why he should be selected. Daring the Houston Texans by saying “I want them to say absolutely, without a doubt, with 100 percent certainty, that I’m who they want,”. The Texas A&M also went to add, “I want everybody from the janitor at Reliant Stadium to the front office executive assistant all the way up to (owner) Bob McNair to say, ‘This kid is 100 percent, can’t miss. This is who we want being the face of our program. We want the Texas kid staying in Texas and leading the Texans.'”

Although, I am also sold on the Texas kid leading the Texans, I am going to give the Texans a better solution for the Texans to reclaim their crown of the AFC South. Draft Jadeveon Clowney . Yes, I am very aware of the Texans struggling offense from the year before. The Texans ranked 31st of 32 teams in the NFL in points scored last season, but will Manziel solve that issue? You have to take into consideration that they lost their biggest playmaker in Arian Foster last due to injury, when you have that happen you lose a guy who gave you 17 touchdowns in the previous season to go along with over 1600 all-purpose yards, not to mention rushing for 1,000 in the past 3 previous seasons. Therefore, I believe the Texans should go ahead stick with another Texas QB Case Keenum, who is from Brownwood, TX and started at the University of Houston. With the mentoring of Bill O’Brien, who is Tom Brady’s former QB coach will help Keenum develop into the QB, he is destined to be.

Unlike Manziel, Clowney is a player that comes along once a century. A defensive player that continues to dominate the field and make his impact known every time he steps onto the turf. With his ability to rush the pass and affect your run offense, will be a reason for QB’s all over the league to audible. Imagine JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on each side rushing for your defense, scary site for every opponent in the league. The Texans lost 9 games last seasons with the point deferential was 7 points or less. With this explosive pass with the added Clowney, can help drive the Texans to help their team win more games and cause more turnovers ratio, where they fell from top ten to the second worst in the league. I know that offense sells tickets, but as the winner of this year’s Super Bowl has proven that “Defense Wins Championships”.

Michael Sam: First Openly Gay NFL Prospect

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By Maceo Lester 

On April 15, 1947 Jackie Robinson became the first person of color to participate in a major league sports event. Robinson was clearly breaking a huge barrier as America was still home to segregated schools and public areas. Entering “America’s Game” as an African-American was truly going against the grain.

America in 2014 is a much different place; the “melting-pot” consists of several different races of people who are more socially accepted, including homosexuals.

But there’s something missing; that barrier-breaker who can catapult homosexuals to being accepted on a higher platform. Last week that person arrived. On February 9th, former Missouri Tigers defensive end, Michael Sam, told ESPN and The New York Times that he is gay. Sam’s announcement launched mixed responses via social media. Sam gained many supporters around the sports world, on the contrary, others aren’t so sure of how to react to a homosexual teammate or opponent.  Locker room situations can be made uncomfortable, “how am I supposed to respond,” Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints expressed his concerns of homosexuals in football prior to Sam’s announcement.

As Robinson broke the color barrier in MLB years ago, he was forced to endure hatred and racial slurs from fans, opponents, and even his own teammates. Sam should expect much of the same. The NFL is the epitome of a “macho-man” sport, and many may believe that homosexuals don’t belong. But in the year 2014, society is slowly but surely changing. Same-sex marriages are becoming legal in more states and it is clearly evident that some American citizens are more lenient towards people’s sexual preference.