There was nothing about Peyton Manning's play last season that indicated his neck was bothering him.
The NFL MVP broke records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season and led Denver to the Super Bowl. But, as part of his contract, he has a full exam on his neck every offseason. That was a safeguard for the Broncos considering Manning had multiple surgeries on his neck and missed the 2011 season with the Indianapolis Colts. Once he's cleared each offseason, guarantees in his contract can kick in.
This particular doctor's appointment with Manning was worth $20 million.
He passed according to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, which was no surprise, and as a result the Broncos quarterback will have another $20 million coming to him in guarantees. Klis said the team and Manning's agent, Tom Condon, will start working on the process of guaranteeing that $20 million salary now that he has been cleared. Must be nice.
Another NFL week started with one more top free agent being taken off the market before other teams had a chance to make him an offer.
Brent Grimes was set to be one of the top defensive backs in free agency, but Miami never let him get there. The team announced it had signed Grimes to a multi-year extension. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported the four-year deal is worth up to $32 million with $16 million guaranteed.
The team had the option to give Grimes the franchise tag before the deadline at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, but the two sides hammered out a deal to avoid that.
[Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]
The NFL has some of the greatest athletes on the planet, but how many players in the NFL are more athletic than J.J. Watt? Not too many.
We've seen Watt do a 59.5-inch box jump. He has a ridiculous vertical leap. His 6.88-second three-cone drill time at the combine is the eighth-best among defensive linemen at the combine since 2006. He can broad jump 10 feet. He does all this at more than 290 pounds.
That's why the Houston Texans defensive end is the best defensive player in the NFL. He has unworldly physical gifts.
Oh, and Watt said he did this at the end of his workout. A cool down, if you will. He didn't look like he was struggling with it either.
After the 49ers' issues with Jim Harbaugh became common knowledge when it was reported that San Francisco and Cleveland discussed a trade for the coach, one of the themes has been that Harbaugh is difficult to deal with.
He and GM Trent Baalke don't always get along. He wants to be paid like a top coach and isn't happy San Francisco won't do that for him. And now Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that some 49ers players are sick of Harbaugh too.
"One source with inside knowledge of the team says that Harbaugh's act has worn thin in the locker room, particularly among some key 'face of the 49ers' type players," Killion wrote.
High-strung football coach rubs people the wrong way ... stop the presses.
The news that the salary capis rising substantially seems to have started a signing spree on Friday, of teams retaining their own players.
All of a sudden, the market got thinner.
Tight end Jimmy Graham will be franchise tagged by New Orleans, but that's no surprise. Baltimore re-signed Dennis Pitta, making the tight end crop look pretty thin.
Then the San Diego Chargers agreed to a multi-year deal with Donald Butler, one of the top linebackers who was set to hit the free-agent market on March 11. That was followed by the Eagles (who already extended center Jason Kelce and receiver Riley Cooper this week) signing receiver Jeremy Maclin to a one-year deal. Even though Maclin was coming off a torn ACL, he was expected to be one of the top free-agent receivers on the market.
The New Orleans Saints slapping Jimmy Graham with the franchise tag comes as no surprise to anyone. What comes next is where it gets interesting.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that before Monday's deadline, the Saints will use their franchise tag on the tight end. Or is he a receiver?
Graham lined up as a traditional tight end on only about 33 percent of plays, according to ESPN and Pro Football Focus. The Saints will argue that he's a tight end, and the projected franchise tag for tight ends is about $6.8 million. For receivers it's about $11.8 million, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. That's obviously a huge difference.
- Frank Schwab at Shutdown Corner1 mth ago
After the Ferrari-bashing incident and a weird, rambling interview with a Phoenix television station, Richie Incognito is getting help.
NFL Network's Jeff Darlington said the Dolphins guard is being treated at a facility in Arizona after "severe mental stress" caused by the fallout from the Jonathan Martin ordeal.
After a very long few weeks, I can report Richie Incognito has accepted professional help in wake of severe mental stress from Wells report.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) February 28, 2014
Incognito is currently being treated at a facility in Arizona after what has been some very stressful times for him & those closest to him.
— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) February 28, 2014
That comes right after Incognito's bizarre interview about bashing his Ferrari.
At 4 p.m. ET on March 11, the spending spree began. That’s when NFL free agency officially opened. Teams had their wallets ready, with the salary cap increasing past $130 million, and hundreds of free agents available to drop millions on.
Every team hopes that pass rusher or wide receiver they just dropped eight figures on will be the one to push them to the playoffs. There’s a little something for everyone this year, between instant stars and fine young bargains at almost all positions.
Here’s the ranking of every significant offensive free agent (you can find the defensive free agents here) who teams will be clamoring to sign in hopes of building a winner for 2014:
1. Michael Vick: He's 33 and that 2010 revival season with the Philadelphia Eagles is getting further in the rear-view mirror. But he's still the most exciting player of this group.
There's no Michael Jordan among retired NFL players, a player who can sell just about anything many years after his playing career is done.
There's no Pele either, with global icon status, or Arnold Palmer, who has a refreshing drink named after him that he can make money off of.
In Forbes' list of highest paid retired athletes, no former NFL player cracked the top 10. Michael Jordan, to the surprise of nobody, was first at $90 million last year.
But who was the top earner among former NFL player according to Forbes? You might guess Jerry Rice, who has stayed in the spotlight after his career. Maybe Steve Young, because Joe Montana really didn't seem interested in publicity after retirement. Michael Strahan seems to be on our televisions all the time. John Elway had a chain of car dealerships in Denver and a pretty nice job with the Broncos, so maybe him?
Nope, none of them was the top earner among retired football players last year. Any guesses?
Well here it is:
Bet not many of you guessed Roger Staubach.
Richie Incognito owns a Ferrari, and apparently he took a baseball bat to it while it was parked in his front yard.
Sadly, we're getting to the point with Incognito where that story isn't even really all that surprising.
Incognito, the Dolphins guard who was suspended from the team and was blasted in Ted Wells' report for his harassment of teammate Jonathan Martin, has a history of erratic behavior. We've seen that in the Wells Report from the sudden shifts in tone of his text conversations with Martin. His Twitter feed, which is full of sudden rants and quick backtracking, has been another window. For example, he seemed to fire his agents on Twitter and then shortly after he tweeted that he would never fire them. Perhaps it's all an inside joke, but it's strange to see.