All posts by carsonbarcome1

Patriots Add Key Pieces for Next Season

If Bill Belicheck, the mastermind trader, didn’t whip out a special and sensual week of offseason moves, maybe I would have written a creative piece that shows you readers how sophisticated of a writer I can be. Alas, I’m not going to do that. Not this week. Beause I’m way too turned on by the offseason moves our sexy leader, Bill Belicheck, has been piecing together. Let’s do some play-by-play analysis on the big moves.

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As mentioned earlier this week by our wonderful Brian Brigham, Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones was traded to the Arizona Cardinals for Guard Jonathan Cooper and a 2nd round draft pick, 60th overall. If you thought Chandler Jones was staying on this team in two years time, you’re a clown: I’m saying it now. Jones is a hell of a pass rusher, but a serviceable pass rusher is probably the easiest thing to replace. Seriously, think of how many kick-ass pass rushers there are each year in college, it’s not harder to find a couple guys who can rotate and split plays and do a good job rushing. As much as I loved Chandler’s energy and passion for playing, let’s be real. He would’ve commanded a ton of money next year on a contract year (see Olivier Vernon for proof) for a position that’s very replaceable, and Chandler had a way of disappearing in games. Look at his stats this year, a strong first half of the season, and then he disappears. In the end, this only helps us lock our defensive anchors down on long-term deals (Hightower, Collins, Butler). If you want to read more, check out Brian’s post from this past week. I have more to talk about.

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Right after the Chandler Jones trade, the Patriots signed defensive end Chris Long for a 1 year, 2 million dollar contract. See what I mean when I mention how replaceable a pass rusher can be? Long was a stud a few years back for the Rams, but has missed a step the past few years, and just hit 30. Regardless of his play, I love this signing. Long was a class act on the field, around the town of St. Louis, and in the locker room. He signed a one-year deal in the hopes of getting to the big game, and I think he could play well enough to take us there. At the most, I expect Long to be a sweet rotational piece and a great source of veteran leadership.

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Stop me when this next move sounds familiar. The New England Patriots sign a short white wide receiver that plays the slot position. Heard this one before? Chris Hogan, ex Bills receiver, appeared to me to be just the type of guy Bill Belicheck looks to sign. When playing against him last year, he played us great. His contract is front-loaded, so he’s making the bulk of his cash this coming year, giving us the opportunity to sign those defensive studs I mentioned above. All in all, this should be some good depth in the wide receiver corps for Tom Brady.

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The Patriots very recently got a stud player from the Bears. One that I think could help set us above the pack this year. Yeah, I’m talking about Bears linebacker, Shea McClellin. Obviously the least exciting signing here, McClellin was a joke on the Bears the past few years. But Belicheck gave him a three-year deal, so I think we could see something special here. Really, I do. The past few years, Belicheck has scooped up some young players and made them a solid rotational piece on the defensive side of the ball, and honestly, I’m just hoping he turns out to be decent for us.

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The final piece I’d like to talk about is the trade for Bears tight end, Martellus Bennett. Easily a top 5 tight end in the league, Bennett is a stud in all facets of the game. Ex-Bears offensive coordinator and new Dolphins head coach Adam Gase once said that Bennett was such an elite blocker, it’s like having a third tackle on the line. If that doesn’t get you going after this past year (I’m talking about AFC Championship Game flashbacks, R.I.P. Brady), I don’t know what will. Not only is he a stud blocker, he’s a stud receiver. Bennett had the second best Yards After Catch in 2014 as a tight end, only behind our own Rob Gronkowski. Seriously everyone, the Boston TE Party is back, and the only thing that can stop us is a couple murder charges (assuming Belicheck did a background check this time)! Bennett wanted out of Chicago because he wanted more money, and although this is a one-year deal for now, maybe Martellus will like the taste of winning enough to stick around.

Finally, I just want to note that there’s an even sweeter punch after all of this. Although Roger Goodell took our draft picks, we went out and got some more. The Patriots now have two second round draft picks, back to back, and they have five picks in the 6th round. Think about it everyone; we could draft five Tom Brady’s this year. Time to get excited.

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2016 NFL Free Agency – Week 1

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48 hours since the 2016 NFL free agency began, and I need a moment to breathe. If anyone is reading this… I need food, water, and sleep. For the love of God, could the Raiders hold off for a minute on making moves so I can take a little cat-nap?

As I mentioned in my previous article, NFL Free Agency is, to me, the most wonderful time of the year. Move over Santa, because Bill O’Brien and the Houston Texans have something sweet brewing down South.

So far, the 2016 NFL Free Agency has not disappointed. The theme this year is that a few teams are throwing money on anything that moves.

Now for the opinion part of this article. Here’s the question: Who are the big winners so far in the 2016 NFL Free Agency?

Yes, friends, I even did a ranking system for this. How did I rank them, you ask? I based it off of what I think these new signings will have as an impact on their new team. I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s begin…

#3 – Houston Texans
I’m sure there are folks out there who are upset that the Texans aren’t ranked higher. The Texans won the AFC South last season on a pipe dream, with a good defense, a rotation of bench player running backs, a breakout wide receiver (that I drafted by the way, I’m a fantasy guru) and a dumpster quarterback in Brian Hoyer. In two day’s time, the Texans sign the best quarterback available in “the Brock Lobster” Brock Osweiler. Brockstar, as we all know, made a name for himself last year as the backup quarterback for the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. He played in 7 games, and was benched in one of those due to a plethora of interceptions to end his season. If Brock can continue to play as well as he did last year, this is an awesome signing. The question is, will he continue to play like he did last year? The Texans shelled out 72 million dollars over 4 years for this guy, and from my perspective, we haven’t seen enough of him to be confident in handing that money out. The other transaction that puts the Texans on this chart is the signing of running back Lamar Miller while releasing running back Arian Foster. Foster is a hell of a talent, but he’s near 30 (the elderly-age mark for running backs), and loaded with injuries. If the Texans wanted to win in the playoffs, they needed a running back they could rely on. Miller is just that. Lamar Miller is the kind of player where you know what you’re going to get. Signing for 4 years for over 26 million dollars, Miller is good for 1000 yards a year and overall a quality signing. Along with offensive lineman additions Jeff Allen and Tony Bergstrom, can these guys bring the Texans over the AFC South hump? I don’t know, I can’t predict the future.

#2 – New York Giants

Stunned at the Super Bowl as much as the rest of us, Eli Manning quietly had a career year this past season. Elite Eli kept his team in almost every game, but the Giants disaster of a defense helped the Giants get a shabby 6 – 10 record. Naturally, all three signings have been made on the defensive side of the ball. The number 1 cornerback available, Janoris Jenkins, joins the team for 5 years on a 62.5 million dollar contract. Good signing here, Prince Amukamara is likely gone, as he’s significantly worse than Jenkins and wants a similar contract. New York Jets star defensive tackle Damon Harrison signed with the Giants for 5 years on a total of 46.25 million dollars, which strengthens the Giants defensive line. And finally, Olivier Vernon, Dolphins defensive end, joins the squad on a record-setting 85 million dollars over 5 years. People hate this last signing, but I think it’s a good pick up. Vernon is underrated, and had the 3rd best percentage of rushing the quarterback last season. But if you’re looking at the money, this is a silly amount of money going to guy who isn’t guaranteed to be a game-changing player. As far as rushers go, Vernon isn’t as nice as Von Miller or J.J. Watt, and I’m not even sure I’d rank him directly below those two. Time will tell on this signing, but for now, I’m just amazed at the loads of cash Vernon has now. The Giants held onto their impressive offense, kept their schemes the same, and added a few key defensive signings: expect a playoff push from these guys next year.

#1 – Oakland Raiders

Oakland is doing things right. Two years ago, I never thought I’d say that. Oakland is signing game changers, while at the same time building through the draft. The core is already there, and it showed in an upswing of a season. Huge additions such as linebacker Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith, and offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele should only boost the young core on the Raiders (guys like Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, Latavius Murray, and Amari Cooper). For the past few years, the Raiders have earned my respect. They’ve had money to blow for a while, and last year everyone thought they would sign Suh to his ridiculous contract. Yet, they held on strong, and brought in some smaller but equally as important additions in the year. They waited until the team grew on its own and established its talented core, and then struck gold. Bravo, Oakland. Seriously, if two of these three guys pan out for the Raiders, they have an immediate chance at winning their division. Yeah, I mean the Super Bowl Denver Broncos division. Deal with it.

I know what you’re thinking…
“Hey Carson, why not mention Jacksonville? They’re going to have an awesome offense, and just improved on defense! I think you’re a terrible writer, and I’m disappointed in your work.”
… Well, reader, if that’s what you think, go ahead and join the other people I’ve left not feeling satisfied. Here’s why Jacksonville missed the cut. Chris Ivory, good signing. Malik Jackson, good signing (although he got way too much money in my opinion). Where did they improve? Bortles will have offensive weapons, but no line to protect him. T.J. Yeldon had a promising first year, and turning his work into a committee job might back fire on his progression (read above about building through the draft). Malik Jackson will eat up the middle at defensive tackle, but they have a defense filled with liabilities, and will have to build at more areas before I consider them spooky.
My biggest issue here is that Terrell Owens hasn’t tried to make a comeback so far, but maybe next week that will be my topic. Stay tuned.

 

 

First Reactions – Peyton Manning Retires

So long, Sheriff.

When the hell did he get that nickname? Did ESPN just call him that enough that it stuck? Does it matter anyways?

Today, March 7th 2016, the great Peyton Manning announced his retirement. I sit in my dorm room and watch the live stream of Peyton at the podium with considerably the least exciting “breaking” news of all time. I say this because we’ve known all season that this moment was going to occur; yet I sit and watch a “so-long” party of people lining up to kiss Manning’s butt cheeks, and ironically the line began with Jaime Naughright (or is that too soon?) Jokes aside, the NFL poster-child retired today, right when the scandals begin to build up around him he chooses to ride off into the sunset.

I promised myself I wouldn’t make this article about the Brady vs. Manning saga.

But it makes me sick that people are beginning to compare the two evenly due to his retirement. Seriously, there’s no comparison… Brady is the greatest. You want to argue that? Contact me directly, I’ll save that sh*t for another day.
But it is upsetting, and it’s annoying. For us New England fans, it almost feels wrong to be so angry after a decade of success and a very recent (and still sweet-tasting) Super Bowl.

But I know why this retirement party is so frustrating to myself and so many Patriots fans out there that are like me.

I’m a football fan, so I respect Peyton Manning. He has had a successful career, he is an all-time great, and he has changed the game for the better. Overall, he is a likeable guy. Not all of his commercials are annoying. Although he could care less about how I feel, I do respect him. That being said, I hate the guy.

Manning comes off as the hard-working American. The Budweiser drinkin’ cowboy that worked his way up to becoming a hero. I don’t understand why. Manning was bred to excellence, in a family of quarterbacks. He was the top draft pick in his draft, and had an excellent cast of players to help him become a top QB.

With that being said, he has reinvented the pace of football, become a well-known NFL product and helped make the NFL a worldwide phenomenon of a sport, while also gunning for the title of “America’s Past Time”.

Maybe I hate him because of his success, as I proudly loath the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Lebron James.

Yet that doesn’t make sense either, because the Patriots have typically had his number throughout his successful career.

So I’ll chalk it up to this. Peyton, buddy ol’ pal, you’re an all right guy. I don’t care about HGH, and it’s old news that you rubbed yourself on your trainer (seriously guys I’ve known that for years, keep up), and it’s outstanding that you came back from four neck surgeries and was able to become a starting quarterback again. So I respect you, I respect you as the enemy. You had Bill’s number plenty of times, and always matched up to Brady with weeklong anticipation.

But I hate your fans, and I hate the media around you. I hate how ESPN praised you as the golden boy, and I hate how Goodell treated you as his own child. Wipe away those tears big man, because no matter what I think of you, you’ll go down as one of the greatest. In New England, you’ll be disliked forever. Let’s embrace that, because it only shows how much you challenged this team and it’s fan base over the years.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who people view as the “greatest”. Let’s appreciate we’ve been watching two of the best athletes of all time duke it out for a decade. We won’t see people as impressive as Brady and Manning for years to come, and regardless of how much I’ve hated you growing up, I have to respect you.

And f**k the Jets.

The Top-5 Patriot Free Agency Must-Grabs

Bye Bye JoJo and Scott Chandler! Good riddance losers!

For my first article, I wanted to begin with my favorite time of the year in the NFL season. For me, Free Agency is as thrilling as Blair Walsh shanking a 19 yarder to lose in the playoffs. There’s something energizing about Adam Schefter and his pudgy Twitter fingers, reporting the latest ounce of drama in the NFL world. Last year we had Frank Gore play for 3 teams, Andre Johnson try to create a super team, and Deandre Jordan cause a league-wide twitter fight (I know it’s the wrong sport). The big question here is, what are the top 5 free agents my New England Patriots should sign? Before I begin, I have some ground rules everyone should know.

#1. Do not talk about fight club.
#2. I’m only talking about signing new players, so you won’t read a thing in here about LaGarrette Blount.
#3. There is nothing about the NFL Draft in this post, that’ll come later.
#4. These are signings that legitimately could and should happen. Therefore, a lot of these signings aren’t huge and flashy. If you want to read “Lebron to LA?” or “Should the Patriots trade Tom Brady because he’s a cheater?” I highly recommend the watered down bullsh*t site, www.espn.com.

Let’s Begin…

#5 Marques Colston

Good ‘ol Marques! One of the most underrated wideouts of his time, Colston has proved he can play well given a good QB. The past few years haven’t been too kind to the old man of 32, who posted his career-lowest year this past year with 520 yards. Although this doesn’t sound so great, Colston wouldn’t be the go-to #1 receiver for Brady. So the pressure is off him a little, making it easier to produce. Besides, it just feels like classic Patriots to sign a vet receiver in the hopes of squeezing out one more year of production.

#4 Zach Miller

Zach Miller is simply here because I still have pipe dreams of recreating the glorious double-TE set that brought us to the 2011 Super Bowl. That, and this guy balled out in the second half of last year with the incompetent “Cutlet” Jay Cutler. Miller set personal records for yardage with 439, and catches with 34. Now, he already did well as a backup TE behind Martellus Bennett, so imagine what he could do behind Gronkowski? Miller has youth and athleticism, which is a huge upgrade over Scott Chandler last year. Personally, I think we should surround Brady with as many options as possible. The dude is playing until he’s 45; let’s give him something to work with here. Miller is young, he’s cheap, and he’s a good option.

#3 Rishard Matthews

Once upon a time, a young and promising Dolphins wide receiver joined the rival New England Patriots and became one of the best in Patriot’s franchise history. Sound familiar? It should. Both Matthews and Welker posted 400-yard years followed by 600-yard years (Matthews had an injury-ridden year in between, only totaling 135 yards). Welker went on to sign with the Patriots, becoming an all-time great for the franchise in some of the best years in Patriot history. Now, could Matthews reach that potential? We won’t know until we sign him. In all seriousness, this guy is quick, and he can play the slot or go deep. He’s made a ton of progress with Tannehill under center, so playing for the Patriots could make him an all star. To me, this would be the biggest-impact and long-term player of the 5 I’m mentioning in this article.

#2 Will Blackmon

Willy Blackmon is the odd-man out in this article. Being the only defensive player mentioned, Blackmon is an NFL journeyman and 31-year-old veteran at cornerback. Truthfully, our defense is young and hungry. Our weakest link in the defense, as much as Malcom Butler and Logan Ryan played wonderfully last year, is the cornerback position. Is Will Blackmon a game-changer? No. If you want a game changer; Sean Smith, Janoris Jenkins, and Prince Amukamara command 15 million dollars per year: money the Patriots simply do not have. If you want some cornerback depth and veteran presence in the locker room, Willy Blackmon is your guy for a stellar 3 million dollars. Lastly, Blackmon is your answer at the slot position. While two cornerbacks (Ryan and Butler) guard guys deep, you need a man to cover the short-yardage passes. Blackmon’s coming off of a career year with the Redskins; he had 10 starts, 38 tackles and 2 interceptions. If Belicheck wants to go out and spend cash on a #1 cornerback, I’m cool with that. But I’m a grounded blogger, and I’m telling you this is the route Billy B is more likely to go when it comes to signing free agents.

#1 Mohamed Sanu

To me, Sanu is easily the biggest difference out of this lovely cast I’ve presented to you. I know what you’re thinking…

Dear Carson,
Why Sanu? He had his worst year as a starter. He drops balls. You suck at football analysis…
… Let me explain. This guy is a pure upgrade over JoJo “Drop-O” Lafell, and although he only had a less-than stellar 394 yards, I like to look at the year before. To be fair, the Bengals’ strength this past year was sharing the love with receivers, and nobody predicted the breakout performance of Eifert this past year. Let’s look at 2014: 790 yards, 5 touchdowns, and a nice 50-yard pass in the backfield. This is what I love about the guy. He already knows what it’s like in a wide receiver committee; why not join the best one in the league? Further, he was a QB in college, and thoughts of ‘Dola, Edelman, and Sanu all available for trick plays is a real big turn on for me. Billy B…make it happen. On a career low year last year, he won’t command much cash, it’s an upgrade over Lafell for less money, and Cincinatti has other priorities to re-sign. In other words: a no-brainer.