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Thoughts and Jots: From Tom Brady to Baker Mayfield to the USFL

Things on the mind

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Since GM Andrew Berry has now gone through three NFL drafts, we have learned, a little bit at a time, about his thinking along with head coach Kevin Stefanski’s needs. We’ve learned a bit about how they think, how they approach the game, and, most importantly, how they view the draft.

But there are other things in the world of pro football that are going on. Which gets me to thinking.

1. Tom Brady’s announcement that he will go straight to the FOX broadcast booth after his retirement is not something new. Every network has been seeking Tony Romo 2.0 and I suppose FOX needs the bigger fish. However, $35 million a year to someone who is already quite rich doesn’t seem very fair. I can provide a list of about 2,000 folks who would probably provide the same excellent coverage that are doing podcasts and radio shows or are the voice of certain teams such as former Browns wide receiver Dave Logan who is the voice of the Denver Broncos. And each of these people would do it for $5 million a year which to them is a huge increase in pay. Of course none of the people on my list have seven rings.

2. The USFL is doing its thing, but what exactly is that? A developmental league? I can remember when their first version was going on in the mid-1980’s it was fast and furious after the NFL’s veteran players and did a great job at signing key rookies as an NFL rival league. And next season the XFL will resume along with the American Spring Football League and another new league called Major League Football. Are there enough players not playing in the NFL or CFL to field this many teams?

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants
James Bradberry
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

3. The Giants released their star cornerback James Bradberry a few days ago. Should the Browns go after him? Yes, and no. Yes, because other than Denzel Ward he would be the second best corner on the roster. And he is just 28 year old. However, he was set to make $10.1 million this year and since he will be a hot commodity, he will certainly seek out a similar if not higher payday. Bradberry is better than the three guys who are currently fighting for the opposite corner including Greedy Williams, Greg Newsome and this year’s first draft pick Martin Emerson combined. With Ward’s new deal he is set to cost the cap $26.1 million on his own. Would the Browns keep two players and pay them over $36 million? Probably not, but wouldn’t it be a grand sight to see a pair of Pro Bowlers covering those receivers in the AFC North.

4. Ravens running back Mike Davis had his Atlanta home robbed of over $100,000 worth of stuff including a custom pair of cleats that honored his father who died of cancer in 2019. Um, don’t these players make bank and can afford home security? My dad had a Rottweiler - we never were burglarized.

5. I have no doubt that Deshaun Watson will play every game this season barring injury. All of those civil suits were pushed back to March 2023 and there isn’t a single reason for the NFL to suspend him until all those cases are heard and/or settled. It just seems odd that the attorney for those women Tony Buzbee agreed to wait. All depositions would be in Texas and would certainly have been a hinderance and an aggravation to Deshaun to have to practice and play in Ohio and then during each week fly back-and-forth. To me, that would seem to be exactly what Buzbee’s camp would want with a possible huge settlement in the forecast. I just wonder what was offered to Buzbee to get him to agree to place this aside until next off-season.

6. One company that produces football cards is Panini. They fly in 40+ rookies to their studios in LA for photos and autograph signings on cards that are then randomly inserted into card packs. Part to the process is getting with their respective NFL clubs to ship out their uniforms and equipment for pictures and making sure it all fit their respective players. Plus, get their jersey numbers selected and stitched onto a jersey. The list of who to bring in is tricky. That’s why they choose 40 guys because who knows who starts when and who will be the season’s next star. there are guys on that list you might never know, or guys that you might not hear of until Week 4. Six football card companies existed in 2000 when Tom Brady was drafted in the sixth round, but not every company made a TB rookie card since he was an off-radar guy. Now, you can expect to pay $40,000 for a 2000 Playoff Contenders #144 Brady rookie card. Or for the autographed rookie ticket version there is one for sale with the “Buy it Now” option on eBay for $125,000.

Syndication: Journal-Courier
David Bell
Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

7. There isn’t a chance that the Browns will sign Jarvis Landry. They drafted David Bell who is a slow receiver but has incredible hands and is just as good a downfield blocker as Juice. A lot of #80 jerseys will still be seen at FirstEnergy, but Jarvis is not going to come back for $1-$3 million on a one-year deal when he was about to make $16 million with the Browns and was asking other clubs for $20 million. Besides, DPJ will be WR2.

8. College football is in for a tough road ahead with the NIL. Who is to stop mega-money boosters from forking over lots of cash and houses to 5-stars to come and play for their Alma Mater. No longer will it be to play for Nick Saban or Ohio State or Clemson just because of their winning traditions when these same dudes can make bank going to Western Michigan and drive a Mercedes instead. This will get ugly fast. In the end, the schools with the richest booster clubs will be in the Final Four each year.

9. It appears Baker Mayfield will be Deshaun’s backup at least until sometime before the trade deadline. As soon as another team’s starting QB goes down, then and only then will Berry get his second round draft pick. Until then, this will force Cleveland to carry three QBs on the roster instead of two with another on the practice squad.

10. Kicker Graham Gano of the New York Football Giants is getting paid $50,000 from rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux for his Number 5 jersey. The first round pick this year wore #5 as a unanimous All-American linebacker/defensive end out of Oregon and was the fifth overall pick. The money will be donated to “Puppies behind bars” which gives service veterans service dogs. Since Thibodeaux hasn’t signed his rookie deal yet, I guess Gano took a post-dated check.

11. The AFC North is certainly a tough division, but just be happy that the Browns aren’t in the AFC West. Geez. Every club in that division got much better this year and will certainly beat each other up each week. Sounds alot like the SEC if you ask me.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma
Perrion Winfrey
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

12. Who was the best draft pick for the Browns this year in my opinion? DT Perrion Winfrey out of Oklahoma in Round 4. The middle of that defensive line was a sieve for a lot of games last year. It is important to keep those runners from going up the gut which also protects our linebackers. I am disappointed in Jordan Elliott and believe this will be his last year if he is not cut during training camp. Expect to see Tommy Togiai and Winfrey as the starters. Yes, Winfrey is that good. For one, he was expected to be drafted in the mid-second round. Winfrey is a tough competitor and a high motor that will give effort on every play. He is excellent in pursuit and will chase down runners in the outer flats. Exceptional in one-gap defense and is versatile in that he can play outside with 4.89 speed. Dominated the Senior Bowl.