By Marc Lawrence — While it’s difficult at the moment to think past the current week, front NFL front offices are trying to map out how a global pandemic will change preparations beyond this season. The uncertainty has likely slowed down the pace of long-term deals. After a huge number of players (15) were given tags this year, only two (Chris Jones and Derrick Henry) received longer commitments before the July 15 deadline to strike an extension. And while a few players (like Patrick Mahomes and Joey Bosa) recently signed megadeals, many more superstars (including Jalen Ramsey and Dalvin Cook) are now entering the final season of a rookie contract without new money appearing to be close. With it, according to NFL.com, March 2021 could bring the deepest free-agent class ever. With it we could also see the likes of Dallas QB Dak Prescott, New Orleans RB Alvin Kamara, and San Francisco TE George Kittle among others topping the list of franchise-type free agents. For a complete list and ranking of players anxious to join the list click here.
For what it’s worth, ESPN polled 16 its hoops experts on who they liked to win and advance in the first round of the 2020 bubble-playoffs. The tallies were: Bucks 16-0, Raptors 16-0, Celtics 16-0, Heat 16-0, Lakers 16-0, Clippers 16-0, Nuggets 15-1, and Rockets 10-6. The surprise: No. 5 seed Miami. Not so much that they are the chosen-one to defeat No. 4 seed Indiana, but by a 16-0 sweep. The other 4-5 seed meeting, Houston versus Oklahoma City, was more to form.
Grinding Out The Profits
From the 2020 PLAYBOOK FOOTBALL PREVIEW GUIDE magazine: The L.A. Chargers are one of three NFL teams who improved their stats on both sides of the ball, yet slipped SUATS last season. These teams are almost always flying under the radar, knowing their record indicates that they competed better than their record indicated. In the Bolts’ case, they are one year removed from a 13-win season and outyarded opponents in 11 of 16 games last season. And for what it’s worth, new QB Tyrod Taylor is 14-6-1 ATS during the first seven games of his NFL career.