Pro Football Grades
Oakland Raiders: Raiders acquire Christian Hackenberg from Jets for 2019 conditional 7th round pick. | May 22nd, 2018
Christian Hackenberg, 23, was the New York Jets second-round pick in 2016 and since coming into the league he has done nothing but deserves a draft bust label.
For the past two seasons, Christian Hackenberg has been battling for at best the #2 job in New York but failed multiple times to win over Bryce Petty. For some time now, the New York Jets have been trying to trade Hackenberg but no suitors arose and with the asking price likely at a low the Raiders decided to take the flier on him.
Now a member of the Oakland Raiders, Hackenberg hooks up with head coach and former mentor during his QB Camp in Jon Gruden. Being familiar with Hackenberg does not guarantee a spot on the roster as he is buried on the depth chart as he will have to beat out Connor Cook and EJ Manuel for a spot on the 53-man roster. It will be a tough battle entering camp for young Hackenberg.
Oakland Raiders: D- | New York Jets: C-
Oakland Raiders: Raiders acquire Martavis Bryant from Steelers for the 79th pick in 2018 draft
In the middle selections of round one of the 2018 NFL Draft. The Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms on a trade that sent Martavis Bryant to Oakland for the 79th pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Oakland Raiders: The addition of Bryant to Oakland improves the Raiders receiving core. There is a lot of writing on the wall for Martavis Bryant to re-establish himself with Oakland. Bryant joins Michael Crabtree and Jordy Nelson as Derek Carr’s top targets on offense.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Pittsburgh Steelers got a steal in return for Martavis Bryant. Martavis Bryant has had a handful of flaws during his tenure in Pittsburgh from his substance abuse suspensions that cost him the entire 2016 season and so much. Martavis Bryant is set to hit the free agent market in 2019 and the Steelers likely had the mindset of wanting to part ways with him before the start of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles: Eagles acquire running back Jay Ajayi from Miami Dolphins for 2018 4th-round draft pick | October 31st, 2017
This is a shocking trade! After a disappointing outing so far Jay Ajayi will get a new look and a chance to contribute to the NFL’s best overall team.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Philadelphia Eagles already have themselves a solid core of running backs but injuries have become an issue with their running backs. This season, Jay Ajayi has taken a few steps back from his 2016 season as he was having a hard time being a playmaker playing behind a very rocky Dolphins offensive line. This trade to Philadelphia is a huge upgrade for Ajayi as he will have a more suitable offensive line to run in front of. Jay Ajayi will be the new lead back in Philadelphia with Blount, Smallwood and Clement all following behind him. His first test with Philadelphia will be against a slumping Denver Broncos team.
Miami Dolphins: Like the baseball team in Miami, the Miami Dolphins are also becoming sellers and looking for a re-build. Miami Dolphins head coach Adam Gase was very critical of the team this past week after getting shutout and blown out 40-0 by the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. Adam Gase stated that “they got to stop hitting home runs all the time” and that “It’s on the running back. Do your job. It’s not hard to do.” This season, the running game has been none existent as the Dolphins have yet to see a rushing touchdown this season. Going forward, the Dolphins will go with Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake at running back. The Dolphins are not yet done as they are also listening to trades on Jarvis Landry. It is going to be an interesting day for the Dolphins.
Final Grade: Philadelphia Eagles: A | Miami Dolphins: C-
San Francisco 49ers: 49ers acquire quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from Patriots for 2018 second-round draft pick | October 30th, 2017
After denying having interest in trading Jimmy Garoppolo away, the Patriots pulled the plug and traded him to San Francisco this evening.
San Francisco 49ers: The San Francisco 49ers have their franchise quarterback for the future in Jimmy Garoppolo. The start of the Kyle Shanahan Era started with Brian Hoyer as starting quarterback and that lead them to a 0-6 record. The past two weeks and part of week 6 against Washington, the 49ers have been working with C.J. Beathard as their starting quarterback and he was a slite improvement over Hoyer but not by much. This season has been a disaster for the 49ers but the addition of Jimmy Garoppolo could prove to be a positive for the immediate future. Jimmy Garoppolo should be slowly worked into the 49ers offense so it is unlikely he will play against NFC West rival Arizona this week but week 10 matchup against the New York Giants seems like more suitable 49ers debut for him. The 49ers will release Brian Hoyer to make room for Jimmy Garoppolo.
New England Patriots: The Patriots have decided to cash in on Jimmy Garoppolo at the trade deadline before potentially losing him to free agency at years end. The Patriots have cleaned house at the quarterback position this year as they traded Jacoby Brissett to the Colts and now Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers. With the pair of ex-backup quarterbacks gone from New England, it leaves the Patriots with Brady the only quarterback listed on the roster for now. Expect the Patriots to bring in quarterbacks this week to find Brady’s backup. The Patriots could potentially use their second-round selection on a quarterback during the 2018 draft on prospects like Mason Rudolph or Josh Allen.
Final Grades: New England Patriots: B+ | San Francisco 49ers: A+
Seattle Seahawks: Seahawks acquire Duane Brown from Houston Texans for Jeremy Lane and two draft picks | October 30th, 2017
After holding out for the majority of the season, Duane Brown finally suited up for the Texans against Seattle and today he has been shipped out to Seattle.
Houston Texans: All season long it was one of the topics of discussions and that is when or if the Texans will pay Duane Brown his much-deserved contract extensions? The Texans now do not have to deal with Brown’s contract demands as he has been traded to a team they just played Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks. Heading to Houston is cornerback Jeremy Lane and two draft picks (2018 fifth-round pick, and a 2019 second-round pick). Jeremy Lane, 27, has been dealing with a groin injury and his play has taken a step back due in part of it. When healthy, Jeremy Lane is a solid corner and adds solid depth to their cornerback core.
Seattle Seahawks: The Seattle Seahawks entered the season with offensive line issues and it continues to be a trend but the addition of Brown helps bolster the protection of Russell Wilson. Duane Brown, 32, will immediately take over as starting left tackle and then starting tackle Rees Odhiambo will be regulated to being a backup for the foreseeable future. Duane Brown will transition to the Seattle’s playbook this week before facing a tough test in week nine against Washington and taking on the Adam Carriker lead defense.
Final Grades: Seattle Seahawks: A+ | Houston Texans: B+
Chicago Bears: Bears acquire wide receiver Dontrelle Inman for 2018 7th round pick from L.A. Chargers | October 26th, 2017
The Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms on a trade that will send wide receiver Dontrelle Inman to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2018 7th round selection.
The Chicago Bears have been having issues at wide receiver all-season long as injuries have depleted this receiving core and now they can add some depth to the position. Dontrelle Inman has spent all season as a non-factor in the Chargers passing game due in part of who is in front of him on the depth chart. Dontrelle Inman has been no stranger to trade rumors as his name has been mentioned in potential trades during the offseason and with him not being a factor for Los Angeles they did him a favor in trading him.
Dontrelle Inman, 28, is in a contract year and it seemed unlikely that the Chargers were going to re-sign him during the 2018 offseason. Dontrelle Inman will now get the opportunity to get more reps in a Bears offense who don’t have Cameron Meredith and Kevin White. Dontrelle Inman should become an immediate contributor going forward for the Bears.
Final Grades: Los Angeles Chargers: C | Chicago Bears: B
Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals acquire running back Adrian Peterson for late draft pick from New Orleans | October 10th, 2017
Arizona Cardinals: Since losing David Johnson in week 1 against Detroit, the Cardinals have still not found a groove at running the football. You can put the blame on a number of factors from the depth behind David Johnson to even the atrocious offensive line the Arizona Cardinals currently have. The Cardinals have been using Chris Johnson as their premiere runner but he has not proved much. The Cardinals also have Andre Ellington but he is not an every down back and has emerged as a receiving back for the team but, he does not offer a whole lot in the rushing game. Adrian Peterson, 32, has not proved much in recent seasons due to injuries and not being effective, this will likely be a short stay in the desert for Peterson.
New Orleans Saints: I questioned the signing of Adrian Peterson to New Orleans since the day it happened. Adrian Peterson joined a Saints team that has Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara (who I said is going to develop into something big) and he would be battling for reps and he sure did this season. Adrian Peterson just did not fit the build in the Saints offense and with the emergence of Alvin Kamara took all the reps away from Peterson and some from Mark Ingram. Adrian Peterson was treading water for the Saints since week one and now the struck a deal and got a late round draft pick for him. Getting anything for Adrian Peterson at this stage in his career is a plus.
Final Grades: Arizona Cardinals: C | New Orleans Saints: B
Pittsburgh Steelers: Steelers sign cornerback Joe Haden to 3-year contract | August 30th, 2017
In a matter of hours, Joe Haden went from being released to becoming a Pittsburgh Steelers as he signed a 3-year, $27 million dollar contract, $7 million guaranteed.
Joe Haden, 28, is clearly outside of his prime and the injury bug started catching up to the last couple of seasons. Last season, Joe Haden missed three games for the Browns as the season prior in 2015 he missed the vast majority of the year, playing in only 5 games.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are developing a solid defensive backs core as they have Artie Burns, William Gay and now signing Joe Haden. Artie Burns and William Gay are the promising corners for the Steelers but injury concerns do cloud Joe Haden as well as Senquez Golson. I expect Joe Haden to a solid amount of playing time even with Burns and William Gay’s presence. At age 28, Joe Haden will have an opportunity to re-solidify himself as a dominant/terrorizing corner in this league but the injury bug questions will continue to linger over his head entering 2017 and beyond.
Final Grade: B
Pittsburgh Steelers: Steelers acquire tight end Vance McDonald from 49ers | August 29th, 2017
The Pittsburgh Steelers have acquired tight end Vance McDonald from the San Francisco 49ers and a 5th round pick in 2018 in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Pittsburgh Steelers tight end game has been weak in recent seasons as they invested time in Ladarius Green but concussion issues played the role of his below average performance with the team. The Pittsburgh Steelers then turned their focus to Jesse James who stepped up in a big way last season as he caught 39 receptions for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns. You can always beef up the position and that is what the Steelers did by acquiring Vance McDonald.
Vance McDonald, 27, will be entering his 2nd-year of what is one of the most shocking contracts ever given to an average tight end in the league (5-year, $35 million dollars, $16 million guaranteed). Vance McDonald’s name has been linked to trade rumors this past offseason and with it taking until the last week of the preseason the Niners likely lowered their offer and got his overpaid contract off their hands. Vance McDonald will join the Steelers where he will compete for reps with Jesse James and with this trade coming late and with the start of the season being next week, I expect Jesse James to get the bulk of starting reps but McDonald should come through by week 2 or week 3 and compete for more reps.
Final Grades: Steelers: B+ | 49ers: B
Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs acquire linebacker Reggie Ragland from Bills | August 28th, 2017
The tenure of Reggie Ragland in Buffalo comes to a disappointing end after one-season with the team.
Reggie Ragland was the Buffalo Bills 2nd round draft selection out of Alabama and was expected to play a big part in the team’s defense but an ACL tear put a hold on everything. After missing out his entire rookie season, Reggie Ragland has been working back from the injury and has been working with the Bills third-squad.
This is quite a pickup for the Chiefs as they will now have two linebackers returning from injuries from 2016 with Derrick Johnson coming back from an Achilles injury and now Reggie Ragland. The Buffalo Bills are looking like a below .500 team this year and are likely going to tank this season but, getting a 4th-round selection for an injured Ragland is surprising but it is a done deal nonetheless.
Reggie Ragland lands in a great situation with the Kansas City Chiefs where he can be the leader at linebacker as Derrick Johnson, 35, is not getting any younger. Ragland still has a season or two of freshening up but the skill is there if healthy. The Chiefs have addressed their need for another linebacker and now sit with Johnson, Ragland, Houston and Ford at linebacker on defense.
Final Grade: Chiefs: B+ | Bills: A
Tennessee Titans: Titans sign free agent Eric Decker to a one-year contract | June 18th, 2017
The short-term stint on the free agent market has officially ended for Eric Decker. The Tennessee Titans made it a priority this offseason to get help in the receiving game for Marcus Mariota and they addressed that in the draft as they selected Western Michigan star, Corey Davis.
Eric Decker is coming off an injury-ridden season which saw him play in 3 games due in part to serious shoulder injuries which required surgery. Eric Decker was one of many surprising cuts by the Jets as they are looking at tanking in 2017 in hopes of rebuilding in next years draft. At age 30 and coming off shoulder surgery, the Titans are giving him a tryout year by signing him to a one-year contract before they talk long-term extension. The full details of the contract has not been released but with it being a one-year contract it is likely not an outrageous cost for Tennessee.
I am giving this deal a B- because we all know what Eric Decker is capable of doing when he is healthy but the shoulder injury and if he is truly 100% has yet to be seen.
Final Grade: B-