NFL RUSH

Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was voted the 53rd-best player in the NFL by his peers on "Top 100 Players of 2014."

Poll. Which team will struggle the most next season?

Free agency has pretty much come to a close with just a few well known names left such as Chris Johnson getting released by the Titans. And now that the big names have been signed you wonder what they are going to do for their teams next year. Sometimes when a free agent hits the open market a team signs the player and gets that difference maker they need. Other times teams sign a player with a lot of hype and they turn out to be a bust. So here are the teams who snatched those difference makers and the ones who grabbed a player who might have been over evaluated and how these teams will excel and struggle.

Teams that can excel this season:
Denver Broncos- It's hard to beat a record breaking season and a Super Bowl appearance but the Broncos had such a good free agency they can go back to the Super Bowl and win. They signed one of the best safeties in free agency ,TJ Ward, and they also picked up one of the best cornerbacks on the free agent market, Aquib Talib. But they surprised everyone by signing 3 defensive stars when Demarcus Ware joined Talib and Ward in Denver. Other signings were Emmanuel Sanders and Will Montgomery. All these players will improve the Broncos even though Knowshon Moreno and Zane Beadles both headed for Flordia. Talib will be a great cornerback in the system with Chris Harris and an upgrade from the aging Champ Bailey. TJ Ward will bring a new type of play into the safety position. Demarcus Ware will help the pass rush and compliment their defensive line. And finally Emmanuel Sanders will replace Eric Decker who signed with the Jets, at the number 2 receiver spot. With the Broncos new free agents they could do more than just go to the playoffs. They could be a top contender and threat especially with the other AFC west teams not being big factors in free agency. And with Peyton Manning and company already in Denver they can improve their already Super Bowl team.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Last season the Buccaneers were among the worst teams in the league. Then they fired head coach Greg Schiano and put Lovie Smith into that position and since then the Buccaneers have been rising. Free agency has been what now makes Tampa look like a more dangerous team. They grabbed Aluterraun Verner a young pro bowl cornerback to replace Darelle Revis and with Lovie Smith being a defensive coach he could develop him into more than just an elite corner. They also snatched Michael Johnson, one of the best defensive ends in the league, from the Bengals. They didn't just go all defense in free agency; they also got some free agents on the offensive side. They picked up what might be the starting quarterback for them next year in Josh McCown and they also signed left tackle Anthony Collins and tight end Brandon Myers. With Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and a great offensive line already on the offensive side and Gerold McCoy and Dashon Goldson already on the defensive side combined with all of their free agent additions make them look dangerous. And now that they have released Darelle Revis and he has gone to New England they could maybe use the cap room for more great free agent moves to put the Buccaneers in the right direction.

Teams that will struggle this season:
Carolina Panthers- The Panthers went deep in the playoffs last season but in free agency they haven't gone deep to sign a player. The Panthers have an elite quarterback and a good defense but it looks like everything is falling apart on both sides of the ball. Their receiving unit fell apart when they cut Steve Smith, lost Dominek Hixon to the Bears, lost Brandon Lafell to the Patriots, and Ted Ginn to the Cardinals. Now they have a whole unit to build and so far all they've done is sign the aging Jerricho Cotchery and they have 3 more receivers to go. On the defensive side they put a franchise tag on Greg Hardy and signed Roman Harper from the Saints but they still have problems. They lost safety Mike Mitchell to the Steelers and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to the Vikings. Both were good players for the defense. Now because of all the free agent moves the Panthers are left with several positions in need. They need secondary help, wide receiver help, and right tackle help. Now they have to rely on the draft and even though it's deep I don't think it'll be enough to fix all the Panthers problems. This is when they really need Cam Newton to carry the team on his back. If that doesn't happen they'll be a disappointment but if he does it'll be a miracle.

Cinncinati Bengals- Another playoff team who has just not been a factor in free agency. The Bengals didn't end their season well last season and didn't start the season well either this season. They just haven't been active in free agency. They lost Anthony Collins their left tackle and cut both James Harrison and Kyle Cook which will definitely sting but the big loss was Michael Johnson. Johnson and Collins both went to Tampa but he was not only the starting defensive end he was an elite and some might say one of the best defensive ends in the league. All of those losses including them losing both their offensive and defensive coordinators will really hurt the Bengals. Now you're probably wondering if the Bengals fought back and signed new players. Well, they didn't. They have been one of the quietest free agent teams with a big cap space. Any other general manager would take that money and spent it on free agent talent. Over this span of time they have only made one significant free agent move by signing safety Daniel Manning. To add to that Andy Dalton is coming off a disappointing year and quarterback might be next on the list for team needs. That adds to a list of needs that includes another defensive tackle to help Geno Atkins, another defensive end, and a cornerback. The Bengals would have to be loaded with draft picks to at least get a couple good fits for those positions but they're not. Just like the Panthers I don't think the draft will fix all of their needs. It is deep and I think they could trade up to get a good quarterback or any other position but they'll have to develop them. Now that they are not in very good shape you'd usually rely on the quarterback but Andy Dalton has been struggling so if it's a rough ride for him next season it'll be a rough ride for the team.

All of these teams have been through great and not so great free agencies before so they know what they're doing. And for the teams that don't look very good at the end of free agency must have a secret when they're in the boardroom on draft day.

 

Poll. If your team could add one of these players, which would you choose?

The 2014 -15 NFL season is ONLY seven months away!  How is your team going to improve enough to win Super Bowl XLIX?

 

There are three ways to do it:

 

1. Draft some stud college players when the NFL Draft begins on Thursday, May 8th 
2. Pull off a blockbuster trades

3. Sign an awesome Free Agent

 

NFL RUSH draft coverage will begin in the next few weeks, and you know we'll cover any big trades.

 
But what about the Free Agents?  Below is our short list of the best platers available...which one is perfect for your team?
 

Leave us a comment and tell us why you hope that your team adds one of these NFL stars during this offseason.

 

1.  Jimmy Graham (TE) - New Orleans Saints

Size, speed and awesomeness are Jimmy's specialties.  He tallied 1,215 receiving yards and 16 TDs last year...think your team could use that?

 

2. Eric Decker (WR) – Denver Broncos

If you like big, fast wide receivers with sticky hands, Eric's your guy.  He's 6'3", 214 lbs., and catches footballs like they're chocolate-chip cookies.

 

3. Greg Hardy (DE) – Carolina Panthers

Greg, aka the “Kraken,” unleashed the fury for 15 sacks last season. 15!!!  At 6'4", 280 lbs.,, he's an imposing force of nature who could make any team's defense better. 

 

4. Brian Orakpo (LB) – Washington Redskins

Close you eyes for a second.  Imagine your favorite team’s current defense.  Okay, now imagine that same defense with one of the leagues best pass-rushing LBs, Brian Orakpo.  Better, right?

 

5. T.J. Ward (S) – Cleveland Browns

Young, athletic strong safeties are in short supply in the NFL.  Ward covers TEs and RBs like a wet blanket and tackles like a mack truck.  Yes, your defense could use him.

 

Poll. Which is the better NFL Pro Bowl Squad?

The first ever fantasy-style draft was held to determine the rosters of the two teams playing in this year's NFL Pro Bowl game.   NFL legends Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders served as the captains and took turns choosing players for each squad.

 

Fantasy-licious!

 

Take a look at the two teams below and let us know which team you think has the best chance of winning on Sunday.

 

TEAM RICE TEAM SANDERS  

QB Drew Brees, Saints

QB Philip Rivers, Chargers

QB Alex Smith, Chiefs

WR Josh Gordon, Browns

WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears

WR Brandon Marshall, Bears

WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals

TE Jimmy Graham, Saints

TE Tony Gonzalez, Falcons

RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles

RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys

RB Matt Forte, Bears

FB Mike Tolbert, Panthers

T Joe Thomas, Browns

T Tyron Smith, Cowboys

T Jordan Gross, Panthers

G Jahri Evans, Saints

G Ben Grubbs, Saints

G Evan Mathis, Eagles

C Ryan Kalil, Panthers

C Nick Mangold, Jets 

DE Robert Quinn, Rams

DE Cameron Jordan, Saints

DE Cameron Wake, Dolphins

DT Jason Hatcher, Cowboys

DT Marcell Dareus, Bills

DT Kyle Williams, Bills

OLB Justin Houston, Chiefs

OLB Robert Mathis, Colts

OLB John Abraham, Cardinals

ILB Vontaze Burfict, Bengals

ILB Derrick Johnson, Chiefs

CB Joe Haden, Browns

CB Brandon Flowers, Chiefs

CB Antonio Cromartie, Jets

CB Alterraun Verner, Titans

S Eric Reid, 49ers

S Jairus Byrd, Bills

S Antrel Rolle, Giants 

ST Justin Bethel, Cardinals

PR Dexter McCluster, Chiefs

K Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

P Johnny Hekker, Rams

LS Matt Overton, Colts

QB Andrew Luck, Colts

QB Cam Newton, Panthers

QB Nick Foles, Eagles

WR A.J. Green, Bengals

WR Dez Bryant, Cowboys

WR Antonio Brown, Steelers

WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles

TE Jason Witten, Cowboys

RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs

RB Eddie Lacy, Packers

FB Marcel Reece, Raiders

T Trent Williams, Redskins

T Duane Brown, Texans

T Branden Albert, Chiefs

G Marshal Yanda, Ravens

G Logan Mankins, Patriots

G Kyle Long, Bears

C Mike Pouncey, Dolphins

C Alex Mack, Browns

DE J.J. Watt, Texans

DE Greg Hardy, Panthers

DE Mario Williams, Bills

DT Ndamukong Suh, Lions

DT Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers

DT Dontari Poe, Chiefs

OLB Brian Orakpo, Redskins

OLB Tamba Hali, Chiefs

OLB Terrell Suggs, Ravens

ILB Luke Kuechly, Panthers

ILB Paul Posluszny, Jaguars

CB Patrick Peterson, Cardinals

CB Darrelle Revis, Buccaneers

CB Brent Grimes, Dolphins

CB Tim Jennings, Bears

S Eric Berry, Chiefs

S Eric Weddle, Chiefs

S T.J. Ward, Browns

ST Matthew Slater, Patriots

PR Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings

K Justin Tucker, Ravens

P Brandon Fields, Dolphins

LS J.J. Jansen, Panthers

 

 

 

Don’t miss the  NFL Pro Bowl this Sunday at 7:30PM ET on NBC.

 

Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy has recorded seven sacks in the last two games of the season to tie the franchise single-season sack record.

greenbaywoohoo just scored 42 points in Jump! Duck!!
 After a beast-like performance in week three, Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.   
  • After a beast-like performance in week three, Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.   
 After a beast-like performance in week three, Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.    Hardy had his first three sacks of the season in the Panthers 38-0 win over the New York Giants.  He also had a team-high eight tackles, five of which were behind the line of scrimmage for a total of minus-22 yards.
  • After a beast-like performance in week three, Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week.   


Hardy had his first three sacks of the season in the Panthers 38-0 win over the New York Giants.  He also had a team-high eight tackles, five of which were behind the line of scrimmage for a total of minus-22 yards.