It’s been an interesting week around the NFL. With the draft complete, teams will be preparing for OTAs (Organized Team Activities) and mini-camps which will take place over the next two months. Here’s what else is going on around the league.
Steelers Take Care of Shazier
The Pittsburgh Steelers have long been a first-class NFL franchise. Earlier this week, the Steelers converted most of Ryan Shazier’s $8.718 million base salary in 2018 to a signing bonus. The result is that Shazier will get his money immediately so that he can continue rehabbing from the gruesome spine injury he suffered last season. Pittsburgh also placed Shazier on the physically unable to perform list, which puts an end to his 2018 season. Shazier walked for the first time in public when he announced one of the Steelers’ draft picks last week at AT&T Stadium.
It was 18 years ago when the New England Patriots used draft pick No. 199 to select future Hall of Famer Tom Brady. This year, the Tennessee Titans used the same pick to take Washington State QB Luke Falk, a huge fan of Brady. Falk actually follows Brady’s TB12 training protocol and has modeled his game after Brady’s. Falk will take his talents to the Titans where Marcus Mariota is the starter and Blaine Gabbert was signed to be the backup. Falk might force new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel to keep three quarterbacks on the roster.
Jason Witten Retires
He didn’t even want to be a TE at Tennessee, but Jason Witten became one of the NFL’s all-time greats. He played his entire 15-year career in Dallas and retired this week. He leaves with 1,152 career receptions, 12,488 yards, and 68 TDs. Long-time NFL coach Bill Parcells commented that Witten is “what football is supposed to be.” Witten will join the broadcast team of Monday Night Football this season.
Following the lead of former 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, former 49ers safety Eric Reid filed a collusion lawsuit against the NFL. Reid, like Kaepernick, believes that NFL teams have deliberately colluded to prevent Reid from signing with a team. The big problem for Reid and his attorneys is proving that acts of collision occurred within the previous 90 days, according to Article 17 of the collective bargaining agreement. You can bet all 32 teams were waiting to see how the draft unfolded before making any decisions on free agents like Reid.
Matt Ryan Breaks the Bank
Falcons QB Matt Ryan will sign a five-year contract extension that will make him the first NFL player to earn $30 million in a season. Ryan’s new contract includes a guarantee of $100 million. Ryan, who turns 33 this month, holds 20 Falcons’ franchise records and reached 40,000 career passing yards faster than any quarterback in NFL history.
After drafting USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in this year’s draft, the New York Jets decided to part ways with Bryce Petty. The Jets attempted to trade the three-year veteran but there were no takers. With Josh McCown, new free agent pickup Teddy Bridgewater, and 2016 second-rounder Christian Hackenberg all on the roster, one quarterback had to go. That would be Petty who went 1-6 in starting seven games over the past two seasons.