New York Jets Running Back Chris Johnson

Multiple news outlets are reporting Wednesday that the New York Jets and former Titans running back Chris Johnson have agreed to a two-year deal. Johnson was released by the Titans last week. The deal is reportedly worth $8 million over two years with $1 million in incentives. Johnson joins ex-Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker as the top Jets off-season signings. Since rushing for 2,006 yards in 2009, Johnson has been underwhelming by his standards. He’s averaged 4.5 YPC just once since his breakout season, and last season he was extremely mediocre averaging just 3.9 YPC. Johnson will join Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell in the Jets backfield, which figures to be one of the deeper rushing attacks in the AFC. Continue reading Jets Sign Running Back Chris Johnson »

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Notre Dame's Troy Niklas (Joe Camporeale, USA Today Sports)

Rather than chase after the next Aaron Hernandez, many Patriots pundits believe that the team would be better off selecting a more traditional tight end in the draft. The idea that the Patriots could play smash-mouth football using 22 personnel with Gronkowski, TE X, Ridley, and Vereen is an intriguing proposition. This year’s draft class is fairly deep at the tight end spot, and there are a few options that the Patriots might consider. Perhaps the best traditional tight end in the draft is Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas.

Gronkowski-Lite

One player Niklas has been compared to (thanks to his size and athleticism) is Rob Gronkowski. Niklas replaced Cinciniati Bengal Tyler Eifert in the Notre Dame starting offense last season and caught 32 balls for 498 yards and five touchdowns. Continue reading 2014 NFL Draft Profile: Troy Niklas »

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Tim's Playoff Bracket (NHL.com)

The board has been set. With the conclusion of the NHL regular season yesterday, the match-ups for the first round are finalized and boy are there some exciting ones.

I filled out a bracket on NHL.com, which has a fun and easy tool to use (see the featured image).

As you can see, I have the Bruins winning it all (big surprise.) I do have a few interesting upsets, though, and the first round will be fascinating to watch.

Western Conference

Avalanche vs Wild

What a story for Colorado this season, going from a basement dweller to the top team in the West. On the other hand, Minnesota is a team that just squeaked by. This is an easy one. Avalanche in 5. Continue reading NHL Playoff Predictions: Bruins over Kings »

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With a huge turnaround from last season, Colorado is well-positioned. Now what can they do with it? (nsidc.org)

The NHL playoffs are here, and the annual playoff Pick ‘Em is back. And it should be a good one this year with the Wildcard format leading to divisional match-ups in the first two rounds, except for Wildcard Dallas shifting over to the Pacific Division. East newcomers Detroit and Columbus face tough challenges as Wildcard teams themselves.

In our Pick ‘Em, four of the eight series have unanimous winners selected, though most series look to be tightly contested. New York and Philadelphia was the hardest series to choose, though defending champion Chicago will have a difficult contest against St Louis.

Scoring in the Pick ‘Em is as follows:

  • Correctly picking the winner of a series is worth two points.
  • Correctly picking how many games a series will last is worth one point.

And with that out of the way, complete picks for the first round are below. Updated results will be posted when the first round is complete. Continue reading 2014 NHL Playoffs Expert Picks: First Round »

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"Pro Wrestling," NES

With the NHL season over and the playoffs about to begin, it’s time to announce the results of the 2013-2014 Regular Season Pick ‘Em. The Blackhawks and Red Wings could have been better for us, while the Avalanche and Lightning mucked around with the standings.

With the Penguins, Bruins and Blues coming through, the Pacific seeding hard to choose, and the Rangers settling in behind the Penguins, it was a close contest this year. And who managed to eke out a win amid stiff competition? Without further ado, the winner of the 2013-2014 NHL Pick ‘Em is… Continue reading 2013-2014 NHL Expert Picks Results »

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Texas Tech's Jace Amaro (Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports)

In 2010 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots struck gold at the tight end position by selecting both Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The two revolutionized the Pats offense, and it appeared that the two would be staples of the New England offense for years to come. However, with Hernandez behind bars and Gronkowski being chronically injured, the position has become a huge need for the Patriots.

A Position of Need

With the 2014 NFL Draft less than a month away, and Gronkowski’s Week 1 status still in doubt, it’s time to start seriously looking at tight ends that the Patriots might try to land during the first two days of the draft. One name that was commonly linked to the Patriots around the time of the combine was Jace Amaro. The 6’5″ TE out of Texas Tech was a common named displayed next to the Patriots in mock drafts a couple months ago. Since then, however, he has sort of dropped off the radar. Mainly because most believe the Patriots should focus their attention on the defensive line. There is also the fact that this draft is fairly deep at the tight end position, and good value can be found on days two or three. Nevertheless, Amaro is the real deal, and should be considered a real option at #29, or as a candidate to trade up for in the early-to-mid second round.

Potential Hernandez Replacement

One thing that is intriguing about Amaro possibly joining the Patriots is his similarity to Aaron Hernandez. Like Hernandez, Amaro has the potential to play the “Joker” role in the Patriots offense. While Amaro’s combine numbers represent that he may be a step slower than Hernandez, he put together a very impressive combine overall. Unlike Hernandez, who was small for a tight end, Amaro has prototypical tight end size at 6’5″ and 265lbs. At Texas Tech he demonstrated impressive route running ability, a good release off the line, and superb body control. One knock on him, however, is that he struggles to catch contested balls. This may be due to his small hand size. His hands measured at just 9″ at the combine, which is shockingly low for a player his size.

Amaro has also shown improvement as a blocker during his time at Texas Tech, and has become a better all-around player each and every season. While he certainly could play the Joker role that Hernandez has left vacant, he also has the size needed to play as a traditional tight end. Amaro certainly makes sense as a scheme fit next to Rob Gronkowski, but with Gronk’s injury problems, Bill Belichick and company may look to select a more traditional tight end like Notre Dame’s Troy Niklas or Iowa’s C.J. Fiedorowicz in the upcoming draft.

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Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater (Brian Spurlock, USA Today Sports)

With the NFL Draft a little over a month away, teams are now beginning to visit with players at team facilities. Last week, the New England Patriots used two of their thirty pre-draft visits on quarterbacks Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater. For the Patriots, quarterback hasn’t been a position of need since Drew Bledsoe was selected first overall in 1993. However, with Tom Brady on the wrong side of 35, the future is going to have to be answered at some point. Ryan Mallett is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and these pre-draft visits aren’t a good omen for his future in New England.

Quarterback Prospects

So should we make of the Patriots hosting two of the top QB prospects for pre-draft visits? Continue reading Will the Patriots Draft a Quarterback? »

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