Rock the House
Nothing beats references to old Gorilla’s hits to start a new 104 issues streak. We hit NFL Free Agency/Franchise Tags/Apocalypse because of course the NFL needs to insert itself into as many months of our lives as possible. We’ll also tackle a bit of the news surrounding Russell Westbrook as well because that needs a post statement after the main features.
Just a side note, I am currently in Chicago and writing this while on a bit of mini vacation.
The Russell Wilson Elephant Room Trade
In the tiers of QB sports coverage, we’ve had a rather full month. Tom Brady retired but teased the media enough to give fans anxiety. The Aaron Rodgers saga continued legitimately from the moment the Packers lost to the 49ers up until Tuesday afternoon when he said he was returning to the Packers. We also factor in the Calvin Ridley gambling scandal which broke Monday and caused the NFL to immediately issue a year suspension (he gambled on games and only got a year, Pete Rose probably hates Goodell by proxy).
All that finally got blown up and swept into the trash can for something that’s been teetering on the branch for a while. Denver has been jonesing for a better QB than Drew Lock since watching him throw the ball into the hands of defenders more often than his receivers. A lot of people are in agreement that Denver really is a QB away from being a contender. The AFC West is essentially the most dangerous division in football now and it’s not even close.
I stopped myself from making the obvious pun.
Russell Wilson has been traded to Seattle for two first round picks, two seconds, a fifth rounder, Drew Lock, Noah Fant, and Shelby Harris. In return the Seahawks send Russell Wilson, and a fourth rounder to Denver. There’s been more smoke surrounding Russell for a while now, and all last off season teams like the Chicago Bears had saucer like eyes thinking they might land a true top 8 QB to really put them on the map. When none of that panned out, Russell stayed put and the offense stayed stagnant in Seattle.
Denver’s fortunes have improved but they’re still looking at an uphill climb against Kansas City and Los Angeles. Patrick Mahomes is still the best QB in football and his production hasn’t slipped despite a very rough start to the season. Justin Herbert and the Chargers still have to recognize there’s four downs in a series and actually use those four downs instead of waiting till 3rd to put on a fireworks show. The Raiders are the Raiders and my hatred of them for not allowing a Tie to create maximum chaos in the post season still burns. So I will not discuss them and am not taking questions about why at this time.
The AFC West will be must watch football this year and woe to Fox who mostly broadcasts NFC games.
Aaron Rodgers/Calvin Ridley
It was the best of shocks, it was the dullest of shocks. Calvin Ridley gambling on games and causing everyone to wonder if he was point shaving to make extra money is a story universe into itself. Aaron Rodgers re-signing with Green Bay is the most Aaron Rodgers thing he could do.
Brian Flores alleges that Stephen Ross asked him to lose for money. Calvin Ridley admitted he gambled but not on games he played in, during a period where he spent time away from the team to “get his life in order” (wouldn’t know what the feels like).
“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a letter to Ridley notifying him of his suspension.
Gee Roger, the integrity of the game or the facade of the legitimacy of the league? The integrity of the game would be investigating Stephen Ross and Dan Snyder and actually making the findings public so that said owners can be ousted from their franchises. Instead of that, let’s say Ridley is ruining the game’s integrity. Roger is good at what he does and that’s to be a distraction and a nuisance to the media by putting on a red nose and rainbow wig to take heat off the actual stories we should be following. Ridley getting suspended for a year is a joke especially when one compares it to other eggregious offenses that have occurred in the past several months yet it still calls into question the league’s embrace of legal sports betting. It’s a relationship that no doubt everyone figured would has consequences yet occurred anyway.
Aaron Rodgers is sticking in Green Bay. Great. No surprise, especially with the Bears, Lions, and Vikings mulling their futures for a couple years. It’s like Tom Brady in 2013–2017, just a free ticket to the Playoffs because your whole division is the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins. Not every division is created equal, the same issue has happened the league over for years. Every division has an embarrassing couple of years where a lack of competition begs people to wonder if the seeding should be altered to reflect soft schedule/strength of opponents. It makes a lot of sense for Rodgers to stick in Green Bay, they have all the talent in the world that he could ask for with Davante Adams getting the franchise tag, a lot of the offense being just Aaron working it out.
Yet for speculation sake, it’s the dullest outcome in the world. Everyone wanted Rodgers to go somewhere and not be in the NFC North. By everyone I mean me, I want Rodgers out of the NFC North. Well, I’m not totally alone in the sentiment.
The Packers having back to back Hall of Fame level QBs lining up behind center makes it impossible to enjoy a division when no one else seems to have a crowbar to pry their heads out of their behinds. Note, the only other divisions that can arguably understand this sort of “When the hell does it end?” kind of feeling is the AFC East and the AFC South because of Manning and Brady. Even then, those were just single QBs, the Packers went from Favre to Rodgers and it’s just never ending disappointment. That’s probably why the AFC West is going to be so fun because it’d be like having Rodgers, Manning, and then having Russell Wilson show up to make things even more interesting.
For now it sucks and I look forward to another year of groaning but not before the NFL Draft.
The Post Section
The first new feature. Pulling a page from other writers, I’m saving a couple paragraphs to discuss something off topic. In this case, Russell Westbrook and the Lakers travesty. There’s a point where no matter how much an athlete gets paid and performs poorly should fans actually cross it.
Leave families out of your bashing.
This is harassment, plain and simple. It’s not cheeky, it’s not funny. Westbrook is playing poorly, he knows it, the media knows it, the fans know it. Piling on him isn’t going to help but if that’s what people want to do, he has to accept it. What he doesn’t and shouldn’t accept is the harassment of his wife and kids. The Lakers are terrible team but it’s not all Russell’s fault. they let Alex Caruso walk away to the Bulls. They traded all their young talent for Anthony Davis for half a season and a bloated contract. They went and got Carmelo Anthony who can’t seem to get a shot to fall without medical assistance. The Lakers roster construction looks like Pelinka pulled an excel document from 2012 Olympic Team and said “That’ll work just as good now as it did then!”.
Leave Russell’s family out of it. The guy proved his worth in Oklahoma, Houston, and Washington when he was there. If Bron and Davis wanted him gone and he wasn’t traded, take it up with Pelinka or ask yourself how the hell he stayed on the roster as long as he did if he played this bad. The Lakers being terrible after winning that championship is legit the fault of more than just Westbrook. They sucked last year thanks to injuries (no surprise) and they suck this year for the same reasons and then some.
Let them be bad, it happens to every team.