Giants Continue To Lose In Heartbreaking Fashion

Daniel Jones / New York Giants

Where do I even begin? Let’s start here. No team loses games like the New York Giants. No other team takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that ends in heartbreak quite like the Giants.

Add last night’s loss to the pantheon of bad Giants’ losses. After Graham Gano kicked a field goal to put New York ahead 29-27 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, I tweeted this out. I, like a lot of other Giant fans, know how this works. We’ve seen how this script ends.

Lo and behold, the Washington Football Team drove right down the field and set kicker Dustin Hopkins up for a 48-yard game-winning field goal. The kick was no good!

I jumped off my couch, screamed at the top of my lungs, and pounded my chest in celebration.

That happiness ended within 5 seconds after I saw the flag. Dexter Lawrence, who lined up a nose tackle, jumped offsides, giving the WFT another chance to win.

Spoiler alert: WFT won.

The Giants build you up just to rip your heart out at the end. It’s a disease. The Giants do not know how to win close football games. Sure, they can beat the Cowboys and Bengals with a backup quarterback, but they couldn’t beat Taylor Heinicke, who threw for 336 yards and 2 TDs in an excellent performance.

There are people to blame, but one man deserves none of it. That player is Daniel Jones, who played one of the best games of his career. Danny Dimes finished with 249 yards passing and 1 TD to go along with 95 yards rushing and 1 TD. Jones did everything the Giants asked him to do and more. Jones is the best runner on the team right now and if it weren’t for a BS holding penalty, he would’ve rushed for close to 150 yards and 2 TDs.

I will be the first to say that Jones is not “the guy.” Jones hasn’t shown he’s a franchise quarterback. However, last night was not his fault. I understand the bar is not particularly high for Jones. That’s not a groundbreaking revelation. Jones is the butt of a lot of jokes, and a lot of the criticism is warranted. But last night isn’t on Dimes. Some will point to Darius Slayton’s drop and blame Dimes for throwing it too far. Could he have made a slightly better throw? Of course. But Dimes put that ball on Slayton’s hands. Slayton HAS to make that catch.

Slayton can catch deep passes. He proved it earlier in the game!

Dimes, you’re absolved (for now). Defense, take a seat. What happened to the Giants’ defense? This was supposed to be the strength of the team. Teddy Bridgewater and Heinicke, two quarterbacks that were backups heading into training camp, torched the Giants. The Broncos and WFT combined for over 800 (!) yards of total offense. That is unacceptable.

The pass rush is nonexistent. Who is the best pass rusher for the Giants right now? Anyone? My vote would be for Azeez Ojulari. When a rookie is leading the team in the sacks, there’s a problem.

Pound for pound, the Giants’ secondary was the best unit on the team coming into the season. Yet, they’ve been a massive disappointment. Terry Mclaurin became Jerry Rice last night. Patrick Graham has a “keep everything in front of you” mentality, which is fine in the first half. But when the game mattered, Heinicke carved the Giants’ secondary, scoring on two of the final three possessions to win the game. That can’t happen.

To the secondary’s credit, they did force a turnover in one of the biggest spots of the game.

This leads me to my final point. The biggest percentage of the blame falls on Joe Judge and the entire coaching staff. Judge coached an awful game last night. For a coach that prides himself on execution and doing the little things right, the Giants were an undisciplined mess.

In the first half, the Giants took a delay of game/false start out of a timeout. That led to a sack, and that resulted in a punt. Points disappeared before our very eyes.

After the big turnover late in the fourth quarter, the Giants needed one first down to put the game away and make it so they have the ball last. Jason Garrett, who wasn’t awful last night, and the offense only wasted 16 seconds before kicking a field goal. That’s unacceptable. (I want to rant about Garrett’s play-calling, but I have to wrap this article up.)

Then, Lawrence jumped offsides on the most important play of the game. Judge is supposed to be a special teams guru, and yet this team made the biggest mistake of the game on special teams. You don’t see good teams jumping offsides on field goal attempts. The Giants were undisciplined, and that falls entirely on Judge.

Last night hurt a lot. Many are saying the season is over. Are they wrong? I’m not sure yet. If the Giants lose to the Falcons in Week 3 on Eli Manning Day, then I’m out on this season.

At least Giant fans get to relax on Sunday.

P.S. Saquon… yikes. If he’s hurt, sit him.

What are your initial thoughts in regards to the Giants’ loss to the WFT? Tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 NFL Week 1 Stock Report: Four Up and Four Down

2021 NFL Week 1 Stock Report

Each week during the NFL season, UnafraidShow.com will take you through the four NFL teams/players that are trending up, as well as the ones that are headed for a crash. Let’s get to it:

1) The Saints Go Marching

Jameis Winston is filling some enormous shoes, while trying to throw out his previous pair. On Sunday, he managed to do both, playing relatively mistake free football, and helping the New Orleans Saints completely demolish the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay had come into New Orleans having scored 30+ points in five consecutive road games, and the Saints defense, bolstered by sacks from Tanoh Kpassagnon and Marcus Davenport, and interceptions by Paulson Adebo and Marcus Williams, has sent a signal to the rest of the NFL that the Saints aren’t going to have to win by shootout.

2) Same Old Tom and Gronk

We wrote about last Thursday’s electric NFL season opener, and once the dust settled on the entire weekend, it was clear that Tampa Bay still stood out as one of the most impressive teams of week 1. Of course everyone expects a defending Super Bowl champion to still have some gas left in the tank, but the Buccaneers came out with an even bigger tank, overflowing with high grade premium fuel. Antonio Brown looks better than he did last year. The Bucs run defense looks better than it did last year. And for the third time in the last seven games, Tom Brady found his old pal Rob Gronkowski in the end zone more than once. If for any reason Tampa wasn’t your Super Bowl favorite heading into 2021, it might be time to change your mind.

3) The Cardinals Take Flight

The Arizona Cardinals had the most eyebrow raising additions, as well as departures, leading up to the 2021 season. While the hype around this team remains minimal, as Arizona isn’t exactly the sexiest market for national talking heads, the week one thrashing of the Tennessee Titans on the road has caused quite a stir. Whether it’s Chandler Jones taking out his frustration with his contract situation on Taylor Lewan and Ryan Tannehill, or Kyler Murray finding both DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk for two scores each, you have to wonder if the Cardinals largest margin of victory in a season opener since the 1960’s is a flash in the pan, or a sign of things to come.

4) The AFC West

I definitely did not think that the NFC West would go undefeated in week 1. Especially when the Kansas City Chiefs trailed the Cleveland Browns by two scores in the fourth quarter, and the Las Vegas Raiders trailed the Baltimore Ravens by a TD with six minutes left in their Sunday night matchup, but here we are. The emergence of Justin Herbert at QB for the Los Angeles Chargers might make this the most entertaining division in all of football this year, especially if Von Miller and the Denver Broncos defense keeps them in games enough for Teddy Bridgewater and Melvin Gordon to work some magic, the way they did against the Giants on Sunday.

Heating Up

I know they lost, but I was impressed with both Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, and Browns QB Baker Mayfield’s progress. Our own George Wrighster believes that Dak Prescott is currently a top-5 NFL QB, and if he repeats his week 1 performance a few more times, I’m not sure I’ll be able to disagree. You have to throw Rams Head Coach Sean McVay on this list as well, because Matt Stafford’s play at QB is making him look like even more of a genius than he’s purported to be. Oh, and in case you forgot, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin still knows what he’s doing. Pittsburgh’s win over Buffalo should be a strong warning to the rest of the AFC North division that the Steelers aren’t quite dead yet. And why not give a shout out to the Houston Texans, who many thought would be circling the drain this year… a lot of season left, but as it stands right now, Tyrod Taylor and company are undefeated. Last but certainly not least, if you’re going to face an entire offseason of rumors that the Eagles are looking to replace you as the starter before you ever really get the chance to prove yourself, you might as well go out and dominate the way that Jalen Hurts did.

1) Aaron Rodgers

If you’re going to spend an entire offseason letting rumors and reports of your discontent run unchecked, and then you’re going to grant an interview to Erin Andrews further explaining your dissatisfaction with your status as the QB of the Green Bay Packers, you don’t get to be shocked when the team you’ve made it abundantly clear you don’t want to play with isn’t showing up on the field to support you. If Aaron Rodgers isn’t able to convince the Green Bay Packers to rally around him in his last year there, he’s going to have to be the one to do the rallying. Either he swallows his pride, or he’s going to swallow a few more five touchdown defeats.

2) Minnesota Vikings

Never has a team been more emblematic of the phrase “playing to the level of your competition” than the Kirk Cousins-led Minnesota Vikings. The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t a bad football team, but they’re certainly not as talented as the Vikings, and the idea that they’d need to come from behind to force overtime (and still lose!) to an offense that features Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who have an average combined age of 23-years-old, has to infuriate Skol nation.

3) Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans wasted an all-time great offense last season by surrendering over 30 points eight different times. So how’d they kick off 2021? How about putting the brakes on that offense while still leaking like a sieve in the secondary? It doesn’t look like Ryan Tannehill is the guy you want trying to play you back into a game from behind, and when you have your franchise left tackle publicly thanking the defensive end that beat him five different times for “exposing” him? YIKES.

4) Atlanta Falcons

When your salary cap situation is so bad that you have to let the best receiver in franchise history walk away, you probably aren’t going to earn much praise for having your longest play from scrimmage be 18 yards… at home… against a team defense that was in the bottom half of the league in both total yards and points allowed last year.

Cooling Off

The top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, weren’t a disaster in their season debuts, but outside of Aaron Rodgers, they finished second and third on the weekend as far as the worst completion percentage. Wilson, while he looked decent at times against Carolina, was sacked six times in his debut. If the Jets don’t protect their investment, who is on pace to take 26 more sacks than David Carr did in 2002, a record that still stands to this day, then they’re going to likely be scouting top QBs for the second draft in a row.

Have a take you’d like us to address? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future Wrighster or Wrong podcast.

The NFL Delivers One Hell of a Season Opener

Fans in the stands. America’s team, fresh off Hard Knocks. The G.O.A.T., fresh off his seventh Super Bowl. Nearly 800 yards passing. Two lead changes in the final two minutes. Redemption for the two players that nearly cost their team the game. Ed Sheeran chilling with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell? This game had everything.

There could not have been a better season opener than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-29 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

It’s clear that Tom Brady still has whatever makes him Tom Brady, but Dak Prescott reminded the casual NFL fan with 403 yards passing, and a fourth quarter go-ahead drive, that his $40-million per year contract coming off a serious ankle injury was deserved.

After watching the snooze-fest fifth season of Hard Knocks on HBO, which featured Dak Prescott being held out of preseason practices and games with issues in his throwing arm, it was definitely a surprise to see him drop back to pass over 60 times, with 58 total attempts. Ezekiel Elliot only had 11 rushing attempts on the day, and a big reason for such a pass-heavy game plan was Tampa Bay’s stout run defense led by Jason Pierre-Paul, Ndamukong Suh, and an extremely strong-looking Vita Vea.

Rob Gronkowski grabbing two touchdowns in a game in the season opener, after doing the SAME THING in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs feels surreal. How many people questioned his decision to return when he was five games deep into the 2020 season with only 12 catches and no touchdowns? Since then? He’s gotten into the end zone 11 times in his last 16 games!

Nobody was happier to see Dak Prescott return than Amari Cooper. He had 13 catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns in tonight’s game on 16 targets. He saw his targets and receptions fall dramatically after Dak’s injury last year, going from an average of 13 targets and 9 catches in the first four games of 2020, to nearly 7 targets and 5.5 receptions per game with Andy Dalton under center.

There’s nothing better than a redemption story, and this game presented two of them. Dallas Cowboys kicker Greg Zuerlein missed an extra point and a 31-yard field goal earlier in the game (he also missed a 60-yard attempt, but who could have expected him to make that?), so everyone on the Dallas sideline was certainly holding their collective breath when he lined up for a 48-yard attempt to give the Cowboys a late lead- but Greg the Leg nailed his kick, which came on a drive that was facilitated by a major mistake by the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay was close to putting the game away mid-way through the fourth quarter (and covering for anyone who took the Bucs -8.5) when Damontae Kazee found a way to get his helmet on the ball and cause WR Chris Godwin to fumble inside the 5-yard line. On Tampa Bay’s final drive, it was Chris Godwin who made the catch put Tampa Bay in range for a game-winning attempt by Ryan Succop.

Was that catch a missed offensive pass interference? Well, what would an NFL game be without a little controversy. I’ll let you watch the clip below and decide for yourself.

While Dallas didn’t open with a win, they still have to be encouraged about Dak Prescott’s health and progress, as well as their run defense. Tampa Bay showed that they’re still the top dog in the NFC, but if they want to stay on top, they’re going to have to find a way to fortify their secondary so that they aren’t beat by route technicians like Amari Cooper or speed demons like CeeDee Lamb.

Hopefully we’ll get a Cowboys/Buccaneers rematch sometime in the postseason, and if we do, according to George Wrighster, if Dak Prescott comes out on top, it might be the last we see of Tom Brady in pads:

Have a take you’d like us to address? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, tweet us, @unafraidshow, or send us an email at immad@unafraidshow.com.

2021 NFL Season: Playoff And Awards Predictions

Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady / NFL

The 2021-2022 NFL season gets underway Thursday night as the Dallas Cowboys take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Grab a beer, order some wings, and glue yourself to the couch because it’s football season once again. Every fan comes in with the hope that it’s their year, and all of that hope will disappear after your team’s offense goes three and out on the first possession. There’s no better feeling than yelling at the television on a Sunday.

After much deliberation, I’m ready to make my playoff and awards predictions. Buckle up those chinstraps, and let’s go.

NFC

Once again, Tom Brady took his team to the Super Bowl and walked away with another ring. Every fan should have seen this coming especially if your team plays in the AFC. Why would it be any different? Brady runs the league, and the Bucs are going to be contenders once again with all 22 starters from the Super Bowl team. The rich, do in fact, get richer.

So who will stop Brady’s reign of terror? The best bet plays in Green Bay, and his name is Robert Paulson. Actually, his name is Aaron Rodgers, and he’s the reigning MVP. Despite falling to the Bucs in the Conference Championship Game, the Packers still have #12 under center for at least one more season, which automatically makes Green Bay a contender.

The NFC West is the group of death as the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are all talented enough to not only make the playoffs but win a Super Bowl. In the East, someone has to win the division right? In the South, maybe this is the year I stop believing in the Falcons. I can’t make any promises.

NFC Seeds

  1. Bucs
  2. Packers
  3. 49ers
  4. Cowboys
  5. Rams
  6. Seahawks
  7. Saints

NFC Title Game – Bucs over 49ers

Special Note: As a Giants fan, I’m contractually obligated to give a prediction for the NFL season. With a horrible offensive line and mediocre quarterback, I’m not expecting to light up the scoreboard. However, I believe in Joe Judge and the defense. The Giants should be on the “In The Hunt” graphic all season. Final record: 8-9.

AFC

Ask yourself one question: Can *insert team here* beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs?

That’s the only question that matters. So far, no team without Brady has beaten Mahomes in the playoffs. To go one step further, the Kansas City Chiefs have never played a road playoff game since Mahomes become the permanent starter. Why should that change this year? Frankly, I don’t think it will. Mahomes is going to be a man possessed after the Chiefs were embarrassed in the Super Bowl. A pissed-off Mahomes is a quarterback that I wouldn’t want to see if I’m on the other sideline.

The teams with the best chances of stopping Mahomes are the same two teams that faced the Chiefs in the playoffs a season ago. Those teams are the Browns and the Bills. Top to bottom, the Browns roster is more talented than the Chiefs. Cleveland has the best 1-2 rushing attack in football with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Plus, Myles Garrett is one of the favorites to win MVP. I hate to channel my inner sports talk show host, but Cleveland’s success will come down to Baker Mayfield. If he moves the chains, the Browns will go far.

In Buffalo, the Bills are coming off their most successful season of the 21st century. Last year was not a fluke for Josh Allen (more on him late), and the young quarterback should be even better than he was a season ago. The biggest non-move of the offseason was the return of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. If their defensive line improves, expect a rematch with Kansas City for the AFC Championship.

In other news, Lamar Jackson might rush for three thousand yards after every running back in Baltimore suffered catastrophic injuries. Don’t count out Mike Tomlin, who’s never had a losing season. Also, the “Year Two” jump for quarterbacks is real. CC: Justin Herbert.

AFC Seeds

  1. Chiefs
  2. Bills
  3. Browns
  4. Titans
  5. Ravens
  6. Steelers
  7. Chargers

AFC Title Game – Chiefs over Browns

Super Bowl

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Bucs and Chiefs are still the two best teams in the NFL. I expect a closer Super Bowl this time around, but I’m still picking the GOAT to win by a field goal.

Super Bowl – Bucs over Chiefs

Awards

MVP – Josh Allen

If the Bills make the playoffs again, then Allen will have to be spectacular once again. He still needs to take care of the ball, but there’s a chance his stat line could look like this: five thousand yards, 42 passing TDS, and 10 rushing TDs. That’s good enough to win NFL MVP.

Offensive Player of the Year – Josh Allen

See the above.

Defensive Player of the Year – T.J. Watt

If it’s not Aaron Donald again, I’ll take T.J. Watt, who finished 3rd and 2nd in voting the previous two seasons.

Comeback Player of the Year – Dak Prescott

This is the easiest award to predict. Dak was on pace for record-setting numbers before his injury in 2020. Expect the QB to light it up once again.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Trevor Lawrence

The bet to place is that a QB will win this award. Why not go with the number one overall pick? Lawrence will struggle at first but expect a huge second half once he gets in sync with Urban Meyer.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Patrick Surtain II

Surtain II is a s-t-u-d. Add his name to the list of elite Denver cornerbacks.

Coach of the Year – Kyle Shanahan

The 49ers should jump from 6 wins a season ago to at least 11, probably 12, no matter who lines up at quarterback. If that happens, Shanahan should take home this award for the first time.

Enjoy the season.

What are your predictions for the upcoming NFL season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

There are 258 Million New Reasons that Josh Allen is For Real

Josh Allen just signed a six-year, $258 million dollar extension with the Buffalo Bills, with $150 million guaranteed. The debate on whether the 7th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft even belongs at the quarterback position, much less as an NFL starter, should effectively be settled.

I’ve been a Josh Allen defender since week 2 of the 2016 college football season. Sure, there’s nothing about a five interception performance against the Nebraska Cornhuskers that screams “first round pick and franchise cornerstone,” but your average observer wasn’t 1) watching that game live, 2) a longtime Wyoming football supporter, and 3) expertly-versed on what a good quarterback on a bad team looks like.

It’s not easy to convince good high school football players to attend school in Laramie. During Josh Allen’s final season in Laramie, the team had only managed to sign seven 3-star recruits in the previous four combined recruiting classes- compare that to Nebraska, who signed 41 combined 3-star or above players to the 2015 and 2016 classes. Of course Josh Allen wasn’t going to look like a superhero against that Cornhuskers roster, in Lincoln no less.

But what Josh Allen did show in that game, aside from his very obvious size and ability to sling the ball to the moon, was an escapability and short memory after his mistakes. It was more than clear to me at that point that if he was put in the right situation, he had all the tools to be a star.

Don’t believe me? Well, I’ve certainly got the receipts of some lofty early claims about Allen’s early comps:

One of the main reasons I was so confident in Allen’s ability to adapt to a better situation was a tortured childhood fandom spent rooting for the Arizona Cardinals. Jake Plummer’s stint as a Rose Bowl-bound Sun Devil won me over, and so when the Arizona Cardinals made him a second round pick, and quickly gave him the reigns to the team, it resulted in me spending the next six years believing that if the Cardinals had given him any support in the form of an offensive line or a running game, he’s have ascended far beyond the 114 interceptions and 52 losses he amassed in his first six seasons.

The Denver Broncos believed what I believed, and they took a “Josh Allen at 7 overall” level risk by offering Plummer a seven year deal despite having only one season with more TDs than INTs. The result? Plummer would win 40 total games in three and a half years for the Broncos, and lead them to three playoff appearances before being benched for a young Jay Cutler.

I’m not bringing up Jake Plummer as an example of my infallibility as a QB prognosticator, in fact, my favorite QB from the stacked 2018 draft class wasn’t even Josh Allen, it was Josh Rosen, who is currently fighting for a roster spot on his fourth different team.

I bring Jake Plummer up to say that so many QBs are completely dependent upon outside factors in order to see their true potential fulfilled. Josh Allen’s supposed accuracy issues had as much to do with the talent gap Wyoming faced with most of their opponents not allowing him the time to consistently set his feet and find his guys downfield… and the insane, perpetual wind of the high plains in Laramie wasn’t much of a help either. I knew what Mike Shanahan knew about Jake Plummer back in 2003- if he was put in the right situation, his natural gifts would prove his worth.

But now Josh Allen’s worth has been quantified. The man who had no offers coming out of high school, and only one coming out of junior college, has 258 million additional reasons affirming that he belongs on this stage.

Now he just has to work on earning the next extension, which is something George Wrighster and I got into on the latest episode of Wrighster or Wrong (listen on iTunes or watch on Periscope below)

Do you agree that this contract extension is proof that Josh Allen is the real deal, or do you think he has to repeat/exceed his 2020 performance to be considered legit? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future podcast.

Five Trade Destinations that Make Sense for N’Keal Harry

Heading into his third year in the NFL, N’Keal Harry’s agent has requested that the New England Patriots find him a new home. Los Angeles-based lawyer and NFL Agent Jamal Tooson gave the following statement about the former first-round pick’s trade request, first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo:

For the record, I came up covering N’Keal Harry, first as a high school standout, and then later as a star receiver at Arizona State University. While Patriots fans are understandably upset at the idea that anyone would ask to be moved from their storied franchise, the trade request actually makes sense. Bill Belichick’s post-Tom Brady offense ranked tied for last in TD passes, 31st in completions, 30th in passing yards, and 27th in points per game. They return the same offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels, and WR coach in Mick Lombardi, and in all likelihood, Cam Newton will take the majority of the snaps under center this year as 2021 first round draft pick Mac Jones develops.

In his first two years in New England, N’Keal Harry has battled injuries, and struggled to find a consistent role in the Patriots offense when he’s on the field. As his agent alluded to in his public comments about the trade request, Harry desires to be used as a downfield threat. To many Patriots fans, they see a receiver that struggles to create separation off the line of scrimmage, and so continuing to try and make use of him on shorter routes seems to be counterintuitive.

While Pats fans might be upset at Harry’s early production, and at the idea that he’s request a trade heading into his third season, if they don’t believe he’s going to ultimately fulfil their expectations, why wouldn’t they be behind the idea of attempting to get some compensation in return for finding a more fitting offense?

On N’Keal Harry’s end, it makes sense to attempt to position himself as a necessary offensive weapon on a team with a thriving (or at the very least, average) offense. It’s going to be increasingly difficult for N’Keal Harry to earn a second contract on a team whose wideouts from the 2020 season ranked 28th in total targets, and one of only three teams in the NFL without a single wide receiver on the roster to average over six targets per game (Eagles, Raiders).

Whether there’s a market for N’Keal Harry isn’t in question, what remains to be seen is just how motivated Bill Belichick is to finding a new home for Harry whilst seeking fair compensation in return. Assuming the Patriots do move N’Keal Harry, here are five trade destinations that make the most sense:

1. The Kansas City Chiefs

Any wideout would jump at the chance to play alongside Patrick Mahomes, as well as in an Andy Reid offense. What makes this a potentially great fit is that the Chiefs actually have a need for a bigger-bodied receiver after losing Sammy Watkins in free agency to the Baltimore Ravens. They have Marcus Kemp, Jody Fortson and Gehrig Dieter as developmental guys, so you know they have a desire to play a bigger wideout alongside speedy-but-diminutive threats Mecole Hardman and Tyreek Hill. N’Keal Harry could make an already unstoppable offense even more dangerous, but as Charles Goodman of Chiefs Wire pointed out, the $1.4 million and $3.2 million cap hits over the next two years might be a tough pill to swallow unless they believe Harry is going to pan out.

2. The Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert likes big receivers, and isn’t afraid to take risks downfield. While adding N’keal Harry would likely be more of a depth play in 2021, as Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are firmly entrenched as the top two receivers on the Chargers roster, one has to wonder if the Chargers plan on breaking the bank to keep Williams and Allen paired together beyond 2021. The dynamic duo is scheduled to make a combined $31 millions this season, and with Williams on the cusp on unrestricted free agency, and Allen due another $66 million in 2022-2024. Harry could give the Chargers the option of spending their money elsewhere in the 2022 offseason, while giving him some of the more mild weather that he thrived in as a collegiate standout.

3. The Jacksonville Jaguars

Urban Meyer likes big athletes with five-star pedigrees, and N’Keal Harry certainly has that going for him. The Jaguars are putting their franchise in the hands of a rookie QB in Trevor Lawrence, and the best thing they can do for him is surround him with as much talent as possible right out of the gate. The Jaguars have the resources and the cap room to make this happen without even breaking a sweat, and the capital with the fans to mark any risk that doesn’t pan out in the early going as a well intentioned experiment (for reference, see Tim Tebow).

4. The Green Bay Packers

Could one man’s trade request be the cure for another? Aaron Rodgers’ much-chronicled battle with the Green Bay front office has dragged on far longer than any Packers fan is comfortable with, but it looks like they’re ready to hang on to Rodgers no matter how hard the future hall of famer makes the lives of every single suit in that organization. Certainly adding one former first round pick at wide receiver isn’t going to cure all of the internal ills they have going on over there, but even if adding N’Keal Harry doesn’t tempt Aaron Rodgers to squash his many beefs and attempt to put together another MVP season in 2021, Jordan Love is going to need more weapons on the outside anyway.

5. The Denver Broncos

You might be looking at the Denver Broncos being included on this list and saying to yourself “why would N’Keal Harry want to go to a team that’s equally unsettled at the quarterback position?” Well, fellow class of 2016 5-star wideout Jerry Jeudy is a Denver Bronco, and one thing the Denver Broncos made sure to do was give him tons of opportunities to succeed. Jeudy was second in targets among rookies in 2020 despite being eighth in receptions. Through their growing pains, the Broncos at least made sure to take plenty of shots. The other thing I find appealing about this Broncos offense is the way Vic Fangio makes use of 6-4, 212 WR Tim Patrick. After two forgettable years in Denver, Patrick had 51 receptions and 6 touchdowns in 2021. That’s exactly the type of development and career rehabilitation N’Keal Harry needs.

How The Match Provided Insight About The Future Of Aaron Rodgers

The Match

In a match between two Hall of Fame quarterbacks and two elite golfers, no one wanted to talk about who could drive the ball the longest or birdie the most holes. All everyone wanted to discuss was the future of Aaron Rodgers.

Well, everyone except Rodgers.

During Capital One’s The Match, Rodgers teamed up with Bryson DeChambeau to defeat Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson. It’s hard to look at Rodgers and Brady on the same course and not think of what transpired during the 2021 NFC Championship Game. I’m sure Green Bay’s star player would happily trade this golf win for a chance to go for it on fourth and goal.

Most people including myself use golf as an escape. Nothing beats hanging outside with your friends, drinking a few beers, and hitting a tiny white ball around for a few hours. The last thing anyone wants to talk about on the course is work.

However, The Match was anything but an escape as the topic of his future in Green Bay was discussed multiple times throughout the broadcast. The most relevant clip occurred when Brian Anderson asked Rodgers if he would be the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers on Opening Day.

Like he’s done all offseason, Rodgers sidestepped the question with a cryptic remark, saying “I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Does he really not know what’s going to happen? The reigning MVP acts cool, calm, and collected, but he’s just as calculated as Brady. These remarks were another chance to express his unhappiness with the Packers organization.

“I don’t know” is an answer of uncertainty, but in this case, it’s Rodgers who doesn’t know what to do, not the Packers. He wants a breakup with the Packers, but he wants the Packers to do it for him. Reports of frustration and unhappiness have been reported in the media, and Rodgers skipped OTAs to hang with Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, and Keleigh Teller. (For the record, I would also choose Hawaii over OTAs.)

If Rodgers wants out so badly, all he has to do is ask. Yet, he’s never publicly said he wants to leave the Packers or demanded a trade.

Rodgers didn’t anticipate the Packers to bluff when the report about his disappointment with the organization leaked on draft night. He thought the team would cave into these reports and trade away the superstar. To the Packers’ credit, they stood their ground and didn’t budge. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said they will “not trade” Rodgers.

It all comes back to the “I don’t know” remark. It’s not about the Packers. It’s about Rodgers and if he will play the one card he has left, which is to demand a trade and hold out of training camp. This is the nuclear option, but it’s his only remaining option. If Rodgers doesn’t ask out of Green Bay, he will be a Packer for at least one more season.

If Rodgers doesn’t want to talk about the Packers anymore, then I suggest he stays off the golf course.

What do you think the Packers will do with Aaron Rodgers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

Gardner Minshew: Why Teams Should Trade For Jaguars QB

Gardner Minshew

The quarterback that NFL teams should be trading for is not on the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, or Houston Texans. This quarterback plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars and no, it’s not C. J. Beathard. The aforementioned quarterback is Gardner Minshew.

Yes, the dude with the killer mustache and jorts should be a quarterback of interest for teams who either need a backup or want to bring in some competition.

With the additions of Trevor Lawrence* and CJ Beathard, the Jaguars’ quarterback room has no room for Minshew. The team would be doing themselves a disservice to keep Minshew as their third quarterback. The Jaguars should trade Minshew in the coming months, and according to Ian Rapoport, teams are interested.

There is a 99.9% chance the Jaguars draft Trevor Lawrence with the first pick. Let’s assume it happens.

If a team needs a starting QB, Minshew may not be as appealing as Deshaun Watson, Jimmy Garoppolo, or Sam Darnold. However, between his age, talent, and contract, there’s a lot to like about Minshew.

First, Minshew is entering his third season in the NFL. Minshew is 24 to turning 25. Do you want to know what other quarterbacks are 24/25? Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock, Daniel Jones, and Darnold are all 24 and under. Outside of Darnold and (maybe) Jones, is Minshew on the same talent level as the other guys? I’ll go one step further and say he’s better than Haskins and Lock.

Minshew’s age might be appealing, but his contract is extremely desirable. One of the best ways to build teams in the NFL is to go all-in with a quarterback on a rookie deal and surround him with quality talent. In other words, it’s the exact opposite of what the Jets did with Darnold. With a cap hit of under $1m in each of the next two seasons, Minshew is a cheap option.

Obviously, the most important aspect of Minshew’s appeal is his play on the field. Is he a great quarterback? No. Is he a good quarterback who can produce and win games? I believe he can.

During his rookie season in 2019, Minshew went 6-6 as a starter and threw for 3271 yards, 21 TD, 6 INT with a 60.6% completion percentage. Not bad for a 6th-round pick. Last year, Minshew played most of the year with a thumb fracture and ligament strain. Still, Minshew raised his completion percentage to 66.1%. Overall, he’s thrown for 27 TDs and 11 INTs in two seasons. Keep in mind that the Jaguars traded or cut most of their “good” players in 2020.

Numbers don’t tell the entire story with Minshew. He’s deceptively mobile, especially in the pocket. Minshew became the leader of the team once the organization chose him over Nick Foles, who was traded to the Bears. Likability isn’t towards the top of important characteristics I’d want in a quarterback, but how can you not root for a guy like Minshew that shows up and gives it his all each week?

To acquire Minshew, teams would most likely have to trade at least a fourth-round pick. Would you rather take a flyer on a Day 3 quarterback or trade for Minshew? I’ll go one set further and say Minshew is better than any QB you’ll find on Day 3. Swapping a fourth for a cheap, proven commodity seems like a no-brainer.

There are quite a few teams with quarterback issues. Either these teams signed uninspiring options in the offseason or they might run out someone with more questions than answers.

I’m going to name some teams and their quarterback situations. Tell me which option you’d rather have.

Chicago Bears: 33-year-old Andy Dalton, who signed for $10 million, and Nick Foles, who was traded to Chicago from Jacksonville, or Minshew?

Denver Broncos: Drew Lock, who had a 57.3% completion percentage and 15 INTs in 2020, or Minshew?

New England Patriots: Cam Newton, who threw for 8 TD and 10 INT in 15 games last season, and Jared Stidham, who can’t even get on the field, or Minshew? Jim Nagy, the director of the Senior Bowl and former NFL scout, also believes the Pats should trade for Minshew.

Washington Football Team: Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed for $10 million, and Taylor Heinicke or Minshew? Before Fitzpatrick signed, FanSided analyst Matt Verderame said, “Gardner Minshew, if I’m Washington, I’m calling them every day, ‘You want a third-round pick? We’ll give you a third-round pick.'”

If you’re like me, you answered Minshew in every option. Minshew produced and won games for an awful team. Imagine what he could do in the right system.

Is Gardner Minshew a franchise quarterback? Probably not. But if a team needs an effective backup to compete with the starter, why not take a chance on Minshew?

The NFL QB Carousel: Breaking Down What Every Team Will Do At QB

Cam Newton of the New England Patriots

Round and round here we go, where it stops, nobody knows! The NFL QB Carousel is in full swing as free agency starts next week.

Teams need a good quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. Correction, teams need the right quarterback to compete for a Super Bowl. For those saying “No shit, Sherlock,” you’d be surprised with how many teams don’t understand this concept!

It’s not hyperbole to say this has been a wild few months at the quarterback position. It almost resembless an NBA offseason with all of the trades. Matt Stafford is now a Ram, Jared Goff is a Lion, and Carson Wentz is a Colt.

Between free agency and the draft, more teams are going to address the quarterback position. Here are my QB projections for every team.

  • Kansas City Chiefs – Patrick Mahomes
  • Tampa Bay Bucs – Tom Brady
  • Buffalo Bills – Josh Allen
  • Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers
  • Los Angeles Chargers – Justin Herbert
  • Cincinnati Bengals – Joe Burrow
  • Cleveland Browns – Baker Mayfield
  • Baltimore Ravens – Lamar Jackson
  • Tennessee Titans – Ryan Tannehill
  • Arizona Cardinals – Kyler Muray
  • Minnesota Vikings – Kirk Cousins
  • Jacksonville Jaguars – Trevor Lawrence*

*I’m putting the Jags on this list because there is a 99.9% chance they take Trevor Lawrence.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers – Benjamin Roethlisberger
  • New York Giants – Daniel Jones
  • Las Vegas Raiders – Derek Carr
  • Los Angeles Rams – Matthew Stafford
  • Detroit Lions – Jared Goff
  • New England Patriots – Cam Newton
  • Indianapolis Colts – Carson Wentz
  • Dallas Cowboys – Dak Prescott

That leaves us with 12 teams who must decide on QB for the upcoming season. Some of these teams will take care of their needs in the draft. Others will try to make a blockbuster trade in hopes of changing their franchise. The biggest wildcard is Deshaun Watson and the Texans. There is no chance he’s the starting QB for the Texans on opening day. If that’s the case, where will he end up?

Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan is still good enough to start in the NFL. He’s your classic fantasy QB who gets you 300 yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. The Falcons are in salary hell because Ryan and Jones combine for over $63m of their cap. Will they try to move Ryan? I doubt it. As I said, he’s still capable of leading a team to the playoffs. However, they may draft Ryan’s successor with the fourth pick in the draft.

New Orleans Saints – Jameis Winston / Taysom Hill

My wish was finally granted. Jameis Winston upgraded his eyesight!

This all comes down to Drew Brees. After losing to the Bucs, it appeared as if Brees played his last game for the Saints. However, Brees is now working out like a guy who wants to play again. There’s a difference between doing some mobility stretches in the morning and pushing sleds up the street. Does he want to make a comeback? My gut tells me Brees retires, which means the Saints should sign Jameis and keep Taysom Hill as the backup.

Chicago Bears – Alex Smith

The Bears are screwed if they don’t acquire Watson, Russell Wilson, or one of the top QBs out of college. Seriously, what can they do if all else fails? I love Mitch Trubisky (the person) and I actually believe he’s a competent QB. However, he’s not a franchise-changing player. Nick Foles is an expensive backup QB, not a starter. If they can’t trade for Wilson or Watson, I would sign Alex Smith and Trubisky to one-year deals. Then, fire Ryan Pace and (possibly) Matt Nagy and draft a QB next year.

Washington Football Team – Ryan Fitzpatrick

Once again, we’ll see if the WFT can draft a top QB or trade for Watson. However, Riverboat Ron Rivera and Ryan Fitzpatrick were made for each other. Fitzy would love to sling it to Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas. This seems like a perfect fit.

Philadelphia Eagles – Jalen Hurts

History tends to repeat itself. Will the Eagles draft another quarterback to compete with their starter? It didn’t work well for Wentz, let me tell ya that! The Eagles need to rebuild. Draft weapons, take care of the offensive line, and see if Jalen Hurts is “the guy.”

Seattle Seahawks – Russell Wilson

Hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Imagine having a top-five QB and trading him away because you couldn’t take care of him? Couldn’t be my team! In all seriousness, the Hawks should jump in the Pacific Ocean and never come back if they trade Russell Wilson.

San Franciso 49ers – Sam Darnold

I’ve never wavered from this prediction. If the Jets trade Sam Darnold, it will be to the San Francisco 49ers. Sorry Jimmy G, but your health is an issue. If you can’t stay on the field, then you can’t be a franchise QB. Those are the rules. Kyle Shanahan is going to unlock Darnold and remind us all why we loved the SoCal QB out of USC.

Carolina Panthers – Teddy Bridgewater/Trey Lance

It’s no surprise that the Panthers want to make a splash with a new owner who is not afraid to spend money. Teddy B is a serviceable QB, but the Panthers will be looking to upgrade. If they don’t get Watson, the draft is where they’ll make their mark and take a guy like Trey Lance.

New York Jets – Zach Wilson

The Mormon Manziel is coming to New York City if and only if Watson gets traded elsewhere. Zach Wilson’s stock is soaring as he continues to garner comparisons to Aaron Rodgers. Pair him with some WRs and another tackle and the Jets will be much improved in 2021.

Miami Dolphins – Deshaun Watson

Miami, this is the move to make. You have the ammo to make the move with the first-round picks. You have the QB to send back to Houston in Tua Tagovailoa. With Flores as the foreseeable coach in the future, Watson would be happy as a member of the Dolphins organization for the next decade.

Houston Texans – Tua Tagovailoa

See above. This is not personal, Tua. It’s just business. I like Tua, but Watson is the superior talent right now.

Denver Broncos – Drew Lock/Justin Fields

Drew Locks has shown flashes of potential, but he’s not the guy. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Denver will most likely trade up in the draft to take a QB like Justin Fields. Let Fields compete with Lock and hopefully (for John Elway’s sake), Fields comes out on top.

What should your team do at QB? Let me know in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

Tom Brady: The Ultimate Villain Turned Babyface

Tom Brady

I have a confession to make. I like Tom Brady.

10 years ago, I would have punched myself in the face for making a statement like that. Even two years ago, I would never admit my admiration for the seven-time Super Bowl champion

As a Giants fan, I’m arguably one of two fanbases (the other being the Eagles) that have no reason to hate Brady for his success on the field. The Giants defeated Brady twice on the biggest stage. Big Blue stopped Brady and the 2007 Patriots from immortality, ruining the undefeated season. You’re welcome, Miami Dolphins.

I hated Brady not for his play, but for the uniform he wore. The New England Patriots were the bad guys of the 2000s. The Patriots were the Galactic Empire, Bill Belichick was Darth Vader, and Gillette Stadium was the Death Star. From all the “gate” scandals to cheating implications, New England kept winning. To make matters worse, Patriots’ fans became insufferable. How many times did I have to hear “Our season starts in the AFC Championship” from New England fans? As much as I hated them, the fans were right.

I may have disliked Brady, but I always respected TB12. He is the GOAT. That was never up for debate. The stats that support Brady’s GOAT case are unfathomable. Brady’s postseason numbers are “Gretzkyesque” and will take a monumental effort from a generational player to eclipse his stats.

As I watched Tom Brady hoist the Lombardi trophy for the seventh time, I said to myself, “This effing guy. Again?” The 43-year-old vet bested the 25-year-old phenom who wants to be the GOAT himself one day. It’s still possible Mahomes can become the GOAT, but the gap between Brady or Mahomes feels insurmountable.

Then, I watched the parade. Brady was laughing hard and partying harder. I couldn’t help but smile at all the videos of Brady celebrating on his boat.

He threw the Lomnbardi trophy to another boat in what could go down as the greatest pass of his career.

TB12 skipped the diet today and pounded a few too many drinks. It was the most relatable clip from Brady I’ve ever seen.

Over the past few years, Brady demonstrated his sense of humor with his social media posts after wins. From the TB Times to “W” videos, Brady knows how to assert himself as a winner. He’s also pretty funny and self-aware, evidenced by his avocado tequila tweet.

How can you watch those videos with a straight face? TB12 is turning babyface right before our eyes. For the non-wrestling fans, that means he’s becoming a likable good guy. Most football fans hated Brady in New England because he was the perfect villain. Society loves to root for stars, but it also enjoys watching the villain fall.

The more I laugh at Brady’s antics, the more I realize how much New England hindered his personality. Rob Gronkowski said he likes the “freedom of being yourself” in Tampa Bay, which was a clear shot at the disciplinarian system run by Belichick. That doesn’t make New England’s system wrong. The Patriots won six Super Bowls over the course of two decades. However, it’s tough to get a sense of a player’s true personality when Darth Vader is breathing down your neck.

It’s Brady’s world and we’re all living in it. Right now, I like what I see from the GOAT.

Do you like Tom Brady? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.