1. The Seahawks have locked up their star linebacker Bobby Wagner to a four year deal valued at $43 million. The average of $10.75 million per season (APY) is easily the largest for a linebacker (the Steelers' Lawrence Timmons is second with $9.56 million APY) and comes on the heels of a monster offseason by Seattle.
The Seahawks general manager John Schneider is doing a brilliant job with his team building. There are currently nine starters on the Seahawks with multi-year contracts guaranteeing over 50% of the contract. In comparison, the Packers have zero, and the Broncos and Patriots both have five (and all of these players have signed their deals in the past year). For the Patriots, three of their five are special teamers (Matthew Slater, Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen) and the others are Devin McCourty and Rob Ninkovich.
The smart teambuilder will manage their cap by convincing their players to take reduced achievable money over the length of their contract in exchange for more guaranteed money up front. This allows the players to still feel valued, without the need to set new records with every deal. More teams should follow this model in order to retain home-grown talent.
2. The Washington football team made the fantastic announcement that the team received "7,845,460,401 unique visitors of print/online coverage of the 2014 Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Camp from July 24-Aug. 12." This tally accounts for roughly 600 million more people than those currently residing on Earth, so their "unique visitor" count is a little warped. The team released this information as publicity to help prop up local interest in the team and to use as ammo when negotiating with advertisers.
Washington reached this count by seeing how many times the team was referenced in print media, and then multiplying that count by the total visitors on that site. So if we mentioned the team name on the Pulpit three times in the past month, the study would multiple our monthly traffic of Six Quintillion by three and say they received eighteen quintillion unique visitors.
If only it were that easy.
3. In positive news, Chiefs safety Eric Berry returned from his bout with cancer that was discovered this past November. Berry was one of the league's rising stars, having made the Pro Bowl three times and earning an All Pro distinction in 2013. Berry had to go through chemotherapy that, if you know someone that has gone through the process, can affect the strongest people and leave them struggling to get through their day. It turns out that Berry is superhuman and came out on the other side a pound heavier than when he started. That's absolutely incredible and we wish him the best of luck as he continues to regain his former ability.
4. The Titans have no idea how to manage their quarterbacks and it's become a walking punch line. First, they drew a strong line in the sand with regards to fairly minor contract language with first round pick Marcus Mariota. The language would have allowed the Titans to recuperate some money if Mariota is cut and signs with another team over the course of his rookie contract. If Tennessee ends up cutting a 2nd overall pick still on his rookie contract, the Titans front office will have far bigger issues on their hands. I understand where the Titans are coming from, but it's just a silly way to start off with their supposed franchise cornerstone.
Apparently the Titans spelled Zach Mettenberger's jersey name as "Mettenbeger". This is an unconscionable diss to "the poor man's Tom Brady." Shape up, Tennessee. C'mon now.
5. Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has a lot of growing up to do. Less than two weeks after receiving a suspension for violating the NFL's drug policies, Richardson was arrested for taking part in a road race and running from the police. Richardson cracked 140 miles per hour and when the police tried to pull him over, he tried to get away by running a red light. He shut off his headlights and pulled into a driveway, but the police still found him. The police found a "loaded handgun" and noted that the car smelled of marijuana. There was also a 12 year old in the car.
Richardson failed to report the incident to his team, and they found out about it through Twitter with everyone else. The Jets defensive lineman wants the league to take a measured approach to handling his punishment.
"I didn't know [you had to report arrests to the league immediately], and I take full responsibility for that," Richardson told the media. "But [the league] not knowing fully what's going on, before they pass judgement on me, I say they let the situation blow over...not blow over, but resolve...and then pass their judgment before doing anything drastic by extending my suspension."
Any approach by the league will be held in juxtaposition to the hellstorm that's been spinning around Tom Brady. The league's reaction will be interesting to follow.
6. To end on a positive note, let's have another round of applause for a member of the Kansas City Chiefs (the team responsible for sending the Patriots to the brink prior to the Super Bowl run). Running back Jamaal Charles took the stage during the Special Olympics to share how his experience as a youth changed his life.
"When I was a boy, I had trouble reading and I found out I had a learning disability," Charles said in front of a crowd of over 60,000 people. "People made fun of me. They said I would never go anywhere. But I learned I could fly. When I was ten years old I had the chance to compete in the Special Olympics. That's right, the Special Olympics gave me the first chance to discover the talent I did not know I had.
"When I competed in the Special Olympics, I found out just how fast I was. I stood high on the podium, getting the gold medal in track and field. And when I found out how fast I was, I was blessed with a new confidence. The confidence turned into courage. Courage, into the best I could be, every day."
What an incredibly honest speech by Charles- you can tell how much this moment and experience means to him. Watch the video below.