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Popping Tags by Scott Lewis



It’s the most wonderful time of the year for NFL fans worldwide; it’s the offseason. Anyone who follows the NFL knows that March through May are months where player movement is rampant, and people like myself get ready to fire off their upcoming season hot takes due to player movement. It’s also the time of the year where we have a conversation that is old as time. What is the purpose of the franchise tag? The answer to that always varies depending on who you ask because the owners and general managers love it. The players hate it, and fans have varying opinions on it depending on what they think about player empowerment.

As I write this on March 9, 2021, nine players were tagged ahead of the 4 pm EST deadline. The Carolina Panthers franchise-tagged offensive tackle Taylor Moton, Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons, Jacksonville Jaguars OT Cam Robinson, New York Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye, Washington Football Team offensive guard Brandon Scherff, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams and Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson. The Robinson and Bears beef involving this tag is the league’s leading story, but we’ll get to that in a minute. First, we need to know just how this controversial tag even came about.

Let’s take it back to 1993; it was Bill Clinton’s first year as President, the Chicago Bulls were on the verge of their first three-peat, Seinfeld was the hottest show on TV, I was about to celebrate my 5th birthday, and the NFL introduced the franchise tag. The franchise tag system followed what was known as “Plan B free agency,” made in 1989 after the (National Football League Players Association) NFLPA decertified after the players’ failure in 1987. In 1993 the (Collective Bargaining Agreement) CBA was approved by the NFL, and it let players hit unrestricted free agency in exchange for a salary cap and a list of things that included the franchise tag.

The franchise tag was born during negotiations of said CBA because the owner of the Denver Broncos, Pat Bowlen, was worried about whether or not he would re-sign future Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway. After lengthy negotiations with the NFLPA, the late great owner of the then Oakland Raiders Al Davis pushed to allow organizations to have up to five franchise tags at their disposal. The league and the players union agreed to let each team pick one player to pay big money in exchange for a longer bargaining window. The tag was soon known as “The Elway Rule,” then it became something that nobody expected it to evolve, and that was teams using the tag on other positions.

In the first year of the franchise tag, the league had ten players tagged, and one of those included Hall of Famer Reggie White, who was playing for the Philadelphia Eagles at the time. White had an interesting situation as he was granted unrestricted free agency as part of the ’93 CBA because he was a plaintiff in an antitrust lawsuit against the NFL. The Eagles owner Norman Braman had hoped that by tagging White, the team would get compensatory draft picks. But even as the CBA was ratified and approved by the federal judge who was overseeing all of the player’s lawsuits, the NFL and the new NFLPA reached an additional agreement that split the franchise tag into two different categories, exclusive and non-exclusive. The non-exclusive tag was the transition tag, which was also apart of the CBA in 1993.

The exclusive franchise tag prohibits players from negotiating with other teams and pays a salary equal to the average of the top five salaries at that player’s position for the current year. The non-exclusive tag allows players to negotiate with other teams, but it requires two first-round picks as compensation if they sign with another team. The tender for the transition tag is equal to the average of the five highest salaries from the previous year at that player’s position; this calculation used a formula that factors in the last five years of tag numbers and salary cap percentages. There’s a lot to explain about tags, but you get the basics; now, let’s go back to the hot topic of this offseason, Allen Robinson and the Bears.

Allen Robinson signed a three-year, $42 million deal, with $25 million in guarantees with the Bears in 2018. As Bears fans affectionately call him, A-Rob signed this deal after missing a full year in 2017 due to a torn ACL he suffered in the first game of that season. At the time, this signing was vast but a calculated risk for the Bears. A-Rob proved he was worth the money as he posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons the past two seasons, catching 13 touchdowns. In 2020 he showcased his best numbers since 2015 with a career-high 102 receptions, 1,250 yards, and he did all of this with arguably the worst quarterback room in the NFL.

In the middle of the season last year, things went sour between Robinson and the Bears, as Robinson deleted all Bears-related posts off his social media accounts. Robinson allegedly turned down a four-year deal with $16 million per year. The Bears Twitter went crazy, Robinson’s teammates campaigned online for A-Rob to say he will put the negotiations in his rearview mirror and focus on the season. As of March 9, 2021, he has yet to get that extension and was hit with a full exclusive franchise tag by the Bears making $17.8 million, per Spotrac.

There are many ways this can go; A-Rob and the Bears can agree on an extension before the July 15 deadline and Bears fans are happy, or this could be the beginning of the end for this marriage. I feel the franchise tag is disrespectful to the players and doesn’t allow players to control their careers. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it deal, and I don’t think that’s right, but the unfortunate reality is that NFL owners have too much power, and this tag will probably not be going anywhere any time soon.

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The Never-Ending Problem by Scott Lewis




The date was April 27th, 2017, and I was preparing for a day that I thought would be one of the biggest days in the history of my beloved Chicago Bears. The date was the 2017 NFL Draft, and the Bears had the number three overall pick after coming off an unbearable 3-13, 2016 campaign. There was a lot of hype about quarterback Deshaun Watson of Clemson who won the Heisman and the Nationtional title. The other electric quarterback coming into that draft was Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, who was coming off an incredible season where he threw for 5,032 yards, 41 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. For the first time in my life as a Bears fan, I felt we were about to land our franchise quarterback finally, but then a strange thing happened.

As the day was going by and I counted down the hours until the draft, there was chatter getting louder by the hour over another young quarterback whom I never heard of until a few days prior, Mitchell Trubisky. Trubisky was coming off his junior year at the University of North Carolina, where he finally became the starting quarterback and threw for 3,748 yards, 30 touchdowns, and six interceptions. The chatter was getting louder and all signs pointed that the Cleveland Browns, who had the #1 overall pick, were considering drafting him over defensive phenom from Texas A&M, Myles Garrett. I, for one, did not believe that in the slightest; despite Cleveland’s history of making dumb quarterback decisions, I didn’t see how they would pass on a generational talent.

Fast forward to the actual start of the NFL draft, and I was getting ready to make Deshaun in a Bears uniform photoshop become reality. As great as Mahomes was at Texas Tech, there was a real “boom or bust” thing going on for him, and I’m not going to have revisionist history and act like I expected the Bears to draft him; I had my eyes set on Deshaun. The draft starts, and the Browns, drafted Myles Garrett and made him the cornerstone of their young defense. Then the shit hit the fan as the Bears traded one spot up to the #2 pick with the San Francisco 49ers. My heart was beating out of my chest; here is the moment the Bears grab Deshaun and the fate of this franchise changes forever, at least that’s what I thought.

With the 2nd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears select… Mitchell Trubisky from the University of North Carolina”.  Replaying those words spoke into the microphone still keeps me up at night four years later. I honestly can’t really describe the anger that I felt at that very moment, knowing we blew a chance to get a proven young quarterback that could instantly make an impact, and instead the Bears drafted a project.

Mahomes would be the next QB to come off the board as the Kansas City Chiefs would trade up for Mahomes at pick #10. Deshaun got drafted two picks later by the Houston Texans. Since that day, Trubisky has gone on to be one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, meanwhile, Mahomes went on to become a Super Bowl Champion, Super Bowl MVP, and league MVP in four seasons.

While it looks like Deshaun and the Texans are on the road to an early divorce, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league over the last four seasons and led the league in passing last season. This article isn’t strictly on the 2017 NFL Draft and the Bears incompetence that day, I could honestly write an entire book on just how bad that whole thought process by Ryan Pace was, but I digress. This is an article on the incompetence of the Bears franchise as a whole and their inability to address the quarterback position, which is arguably the most critical position in all of the sports.

Here’s a list of QB’s for the Bears over the last 15 plus seasons, Kordell Stewart, Rex Grossman, Chad Hutchinson, Jonathan Quinn, Kyle Orton, Brian Griese, Jay Cutler, Todd Collins, Caleb Hanie, Josh McCown, Jason Campbell, Jimmy Clausen, Matt Barkley, Brian Hoyer, Mike Glennon, Trubisky, Chase Daniel, Nick Foles and now Andy Dalton. 

20 QB’s, 20, and now you throw Dalton in the mix; this problem never seems to go away. During this span, the Bears have made the playoffs only four times and have wasted elite defense after elite defense, after elite defense.

The last few weeks, all eyes have been on the flirtation that was going on between the Bears and the Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. This story lived rent-free in Bears fans’ heads just for it to end up in the same old story when the Bears signed Dalton to a one-year, $10 million contract and stifling any trade rumors regarding Wilson.

We can sit up here and blame Ryan Pace for setting the Bears back when he drafted Trubisky four years ago; you’d be well in your right to do so. I think it’s wiser to take a comprehensive look at seeing that this has been an organizational problem. Until the McCaskey ownership finally hires a guy who has a good eye for quarterbacks, it’s going to be the same shit, different toilet.

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Five Reasons The Chiefs Dynasty Is Over by Cleavon Steele




Going into Super Bowl LV, it was a foregone conclusion the Kansas City Chiefs would beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and solidify their claim as the NFL’s most dominant team.
After the first half, that narrative quickly changed. Whether it was scheme, overconfidence, or fatigue, the Chiefs succumbed to Tom Brady’s greatness losing 31-9.
Some would argue that was just a momentary blip on the radar, while others see a dynasty crumbling before our very eyes. Although it’s human nature to overreact when things don’t go the way you anticipate, I think there’s a legitimate concern for Chiefs Kingdom in the future. Here are five reasons the Kansas City Chiefs dynasty may be over.

1- The salary cap and free agency, the league, is set up to maintain a competitive balance. Salary cap restrictions make it difficult to hold on to good players, and market value is often determined by what bad teams are willing to offer. Sooner than later, the Chiefs will see their marquee talent plucked away by teams willing to pay top dollar they can’t afford.

2- The league has figured them out. It’s no secret or surprise that the Chiefs’ offense was less productive after the first half of the season. Opposing defenses now understand how to slow down the Chiefs and exploit their weaknesses. It’s a copycat league, so there’s no reason to believe the rest of the NFL won’t use the Todd Bowles blueprint for success in the future.

3- Andy Reid is no spring chicken. Reid has been around the block a few times, and the grueling lifestyle of an NFL head coach has taken a toll on him mentally and physically. I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires after next season.

4- Patrick Mahomes is only one piece. The good news is the Chiefs locked up Mahomes for the next ten years. The bad news is he doesn’t catch, play running back, or play defense. If the Chiefs don’t address those areas of weakness, Mahomes’s greatness won’t have an opportunity to flourish.

5- History is not on their side. In the last 25 years, the only two teams to win back-to-back Super Bowls are the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots. In other words, the Chiefs Dynasty is coming to an end.

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Brady Does It Again, The 2020 NFL Season, The Season Like No Other by Scott Lewis

Yet another NFL season is in the books, and for the 7th time in 20 years (4th time in 7 years), Tom Brady is again on the top of the NFL’s Mt. Olympus. Scott dives into a wild NFL season.



Yet another NFL season is in the books, and for the 7th time in 20 years (4th time in 7 years), Tom Brady is again on the top of the NFL’s Mt. Olympus. In his 21st season at the tender age of 43, Brady threw for 4,633 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions with a 65.74 completion percentage per Pro Football Reference.

Brady’s year didn’t start the way people expected after leaving the New England Patriots last March after 20 seasons and six Super Bowls mainly because he wasn’t feeling Bill Belichick’s love. Brady stunned the world by signing with a team that hadn’t made the postseason since 2007 and posted a 7-9 season the year before, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs finished 11-5 (2nd in the NFC South) and headed into the 2020 postseason as a Wild Card with the 5th seed. There were questions about the team leading up to their first playoff game on the road against the Washington Football Team. We can debate whether a team that finished 7-9 should’ve been allowed in the playoffs.

Nonetheless, Brady was facing a new challenging path, and that’s having to play all conference playoff games on the road.

Playing playoff games on the road was a big task for a QB past his prime and a young team with little to no playoff experience, as we would soon learn, though, when you have the greatest of all-time leading your team, no mountain’s too big to climb. The Bucs would beat Washington 31-23 in a game that the score was closer than the game was before heading into a three-game gauntlet against three of the game’s greatest quarterbacks.

The Buccaneers headed into the Super Dome in New Orleans to take on the division rival Saints, who blew the doors off them in their two regular-season matchups. One of the old sayings in football is it’s hard to beat a division rival three times in one season, especially a team with the game’s greatest QB and a young and hungry defense that was licking their chops at the chance to end the career of Drew Brees.

Todd Bowles’s defense held Drew Brees to under 150 yards passing, forced him to throw three interceptions, and kept the playmaking, Alvin Kamara, under 100 yards rushing and out of the end zone. Brady would lead the offense with two touchdowns as the Bucs won 30-20 to advance to the NFC championship.

Waiting for the Bucs in the NFC Championship was the eventual league MVP Aaron Rodgers & the number one seeded Green Bay Packers. The Packers finished the season 13-3 and had the league’s best offense, but none of that mattered that cold day at Lambeau Field. Tom Brady had an off game throwing three touchdowns and adding three interceptions, but the defense and questionable play-calling was the story.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur elected to go for a field goal as the clock ticked under five minutes left in the game and down 8 points. Going for the field goal instead of going for the tie with Aaron Rodgers on your team is like deciding to take an Uber when you have a Bentley in the driveway; it makes no sense. All Brady needed was the first down, and he was heading to his 10th Super Bowl in his career. After a holding call on the Packers’ Kevin King, the game was sealed with a Chris Godwin first down, setting up a matchup against the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes, the old vs. the new, a matchup we haven’t witnessed since 2002 in the WWE where The Rock went head to head with the aging Hulk Hogan. Mahomes is the NFL’s young star, and in only four seasons, he has already thrown for 114 touchdowns, been a league MVP, won a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP.

Expectations were for Brady to pass the torch to an up and coming talent in Patrick Mahomes. Regrettably, for Mahomes and many people who can’t stand Tom Brady, this did not happen; it was nowhere close to happening as this game was a route from the start.

The Bucs defense showed out, Devin White and the gang held Mahomes to ZERO TOUCHDOWNS; you read that right, the league’s brightest young QB did not get into the end zone one time. Mahomes was under pressure all night as he was sacked three times and threw two interceptions. The Chiefs struggled as Tom Brady went 21/29 for 201 yards and threw three touchdowns. The Bucs would win 31-9 and win their 2nd Super Bowl in franchise history. Brady would get his 7th Super Bowl win and capture his 5th Super Bowl MVP.

Brady winning his 7th championship, as crazy as that is, was not the big story of this wild 2020 NFL season. Almost a year ago, COVID-19 changed everything, and all sports leagues stopped play. The NFL barely missed it as Super Bowl 54 wrapped up just the month before, and they had the longest time out of all the associations to come up with a Covid plan.

I was very skeptical of how this season would go considering the NFL plays in the fall/winter, how many people are on the teams, and the coaching staff. The NBA received praise for implementing the bubble that kept the league safe. The NFL could not rely on such accommodations to keep players and staff safe. Despite the fact, there was no real training camp, no preseason, and the NFL started their season mid-September with mainly no crowds and quarantine rules for all teams.

I felt this was a hazardous move, and I thought we would get tons of positive tests, and games wouldn’t take place, especially late in the season.

Woefully that’s what happened as teams such as the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Buffalo Bills dealt with positive tests and had to reschedule games. Hell, the Denver Broncos played a WHOLE ASS GAME with no quarterback available. Although all of this craziness happened, I feel the NFL handled this season the best way they could. As a die-hard football fan, I also didn’t have a problem with the multiple doubleheader games we got on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday through the middle part of that season.

Around Thanksgiving, the outbreaks started to slow down, and the league got through the playoffs with little to no issues. Even though many people, including myself, didn’t like the 20,000 people (half of the crowd was vaccinated) who were at Raymond Jones Stadium for the Super Bowl, this will be the future of sports. The NBA has already laid out a plan to start slowly inviting fans back to games, and I believe the 10-25% capacity is about to be the blueprint on how to get sports crowds back to normal.

The NFL gets a lot of shit & rightfully so, and despite the fact we don’t like their plan, they succeeded when it came to delivering the season like none other.

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