Man, it feels good to get back into a steady flow of writing. I mentioned last week I wanted to put out at least one new article every week, and so far I’m two for two. Hopefully this is a streak I can keep going. Lots to get to this week, so here are my five thoughts of the sports week.
Thoughts of the Week
1. Antonio Brown wants to be a 49er?
We’ve all seen the drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers over the last few weeks. Mostly about Antonio Brown and his future with the team. Owner Art Rooney said that it’s “unlikely” Brown is with the team next season (slightly paraphrasing on my part), and I believe him. And according to Jerry Rice, Brown desperately wants to land in the Bay Area with the San Francisco 49ers. That would be a perfect fit for him. They don’t have anyone on that offense that comes close to him talent wise, they have the great young quarterback that will be there for the next decade, and they’d still have tons of money to throw around after a potential trade. I fully expect more teams to jump in on the Brown market (Jets? Colts? Packers?), and now I’m expecting him to not be in the Steelers black and yellow next season.
2. Kyler Murray to enter NFL Draft
Personally, I would’ve chosen baseball. From all the reports, it’s clear that the A’s and the MLB want him desperately, so they’re obviously willing to play him right away and market him accordingly. But Kyler (according to Adam Schefter) desperately wants to play football, so all power to him. I’d just want to play the sport that has less wear and tear on my body and, if he makes it, will pay him more than football can over a longer period of time. I didn’t even mention yet that the contracts in baseball are fully guaranteed, unlike football.
3. The Eagles plan to stick with Carson Wentz
Philadelphia Eagles head coach yesterday said that they plan to move forward with Carson Wentz as their starting quarterback. To me, that’s the only choice they can make. They moved a whole bunch of draft capital to move up to the second overall pick and select him, Wentz is younger, and more talented than Foles. They could always try to re-sign Foles at a friendly number, but that seems unlikely after his last two playoff runs. If I’m the Eagles, I let someone else overpay him $20M or more per season.
4. The Cleveland Browns hire a killer coaching staff
I absolutely love what the Browns have done to start their off-season. If you have read anything from me the last few years, you know that I’ve been an early entrant on the Browns bandwagon. Sure, that didn’t look great when Hue Jackson went 1-31 in his first two seasons, but now I’m looking pretty good. The Browns offense took off when Freddie Kitchens took over as the offensive coordinator and play caller, and he reportedly has a great connection with Baker Mayfield, which made him a no-brainer choice for their next head coach. They hired Todd Monken who had big offensive numbers in Tampa Bay and made Ryan Fitzpatrick look decent the last two seasons. And they hired former Cardinals HC and Panthers DC Steve Wilks as their new defensive coordinator. I’m not taking any stock in his Cardinals tenure though, just due to the fact that they only let him coach for one season. His defenses in Carolina were stellar. An underrated hire for this staff is James Campen as their OL/Associate head coach. He’s been able to develop great talent on the offensive line in Green Bay over the years, most recently David Bakhtiari (4th round pick) and Corey Linsely (5th round pick). With the money I expect the Browns to throw around this summer, I fully expect them to go into next season as the favorites in the AFC North.
5. James Harden is absolutely incredible
Harden for the last few weeks has been on an insane scoring run. He’s upped his averages to almost 35 ppg on the season and just the other night, after finding out his starting center Clint Capela will miss 4-6 weeks with a hand injury, put up a season high 57 points. He’s in a dead heat right now with The Greek Freak in Milwaukee for the MVP, but it’s critical that the Rockets find a way to rest him over the rest of the season. We’ve seen Harden burn out in their last few playoff appearances, and it’s likely that will happen again if his usage rate remains this high for the rest of the season. The Rockets should be heavy buyers in the next few weeks before the trade deadline for that reason alone.