NFL Free Agency: Free for All. But Not Free — at All.

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A new NFL season is upon us.

With NFL free agency signings slowing down a bit, I thought it would be a good time to step back and review what we’ve learned so far about the 2014 season.

John Elway and Bill Belichick are already engaged in a season-long chess match. So far, the Denver Broncos have claimed Aqib Talib, T.J. Ward, and DeMarcus Ware, leading us to believe that “offense wins games — defense wins championships,” may be their mantra this year.

Meanwhile, the Patriots gathered Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Brandon LaFell. And according to their former cornerback, Aqib Talib (who claims he does not have a hip problem), the Patriots report fake injuries. Which surprises no one.

Michael Vick will stay in green and white, but he won’t be wearing number 7. Vick may challenge Jets quarterback Geno Smith for the starting job — but says he won’t challenge him for his number. Also, the Jets aren’t happy unless they have a full-fledged quarterback controversy on their hands. And ESPN camped out at training camp.

Mark Sanchez will also stay in green and white, as he heads from the Jets to the Eagles, where he will compete  for the job of backup quarterback to Nick Foles with Matt Barkley. Apparently, the job requirements for backup quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles include good hands (for clipboard holding), playing for USC, and being really, really, ridiculously good looking.

Speaking of ridiculously good looking…in releasing wide receivers Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn, and Domenik Hixon, the Carolina Panthers must think quarterback Cam Newton really is Superman and that he can throw the ball and catch the ball — himself. No one will be more impressed than Gisele Bundchen if Newton is indeed able to pull this off.

The NFC North is playing musical chairs (or musical ends), with Julius Peppers going to the Packers, Jared Allen to the Bears, and the Vikings still deciding which Packer they will sign this season.

Denver running back Knowshon Moreno is taking his talents (and his tears) to Miami.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert is still in the NFL, now backing up Colin Kaepernick at the San Francisco 49ers. And making twice as much money — for now.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones signed former Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden to ride his bench. And his unicorn.

If you’re a veteran player, prepare to sign a short contract, with one year deals becoming incredibly popular this offseason. There’s a reason they call the NFL “Not For Long.”

And not for long just got, well — less long.

Stay tuned.

XO

Dear Dez Bryant, There is something Calvin Johnson can do better…

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant airs it out on the sideline (Photo: SI.com)

Wide receiver Dez Bryant airs it out on the Cowboys’ sideline
(Photo: SI.com)

Dear Dez Bryant,

You are a talented player. And football is a competitive game.

Fairly or unfairly, much was made of your comment about Calvin Johnson last week. You were asked what the Detroit Lions wide receiver does better than you. You responded, “I believe I can do whatever he can do.”

Fair enough.

Then came Sunday’s game between the Cowboys and Lions.

You had a few catches, one of them incredible. And a touchdown. Along with some huge temper tantrums on the Cowboys’ sideline.

And while you were making drama, Calvin Johnson was making plays.

By the end of the game, Calvin Johnson had one of the best days a receiver has ever had. In NFL history.

Maybe next time you play Calvin Johnson, you should do something else from the sideline…and watch him.

You just might learn something.

Because, there is one thing Calvin Johnson is better at. Keeping his mouth shut. And catching the ball (guess that’s two things).

So, if you can do whatever Calvin can do…

Then…just do it.

XO

It’s weird in Jerry World

Cowboys Owner/President/General Manager Jerry Jones (Photo: USA Today)

Cowboys Owner/President/General Manager Jerry Jones
(Photo: USA Today)

Remember when you were little? And you could be anything you wanted to be? Then you grew up. And you realized what a super hero gets paid.

Well, that never happens to some people.

Take, Jerry Jones for example. Jerry Jones is the owner, president, and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys. He works at Cowboy Stadium, otherwise known as Jerry World. And when he’s not working (and sometimes when he is), he likes to pretend.

When Jerry Jones bought the Dallas Cowboys in 1989, he fired the longtime general manager, Tex Schramm, and took over complete control of football operations. To this day, Jones remains the NFL owner most involved in the day-to-day operations of his team.

And that’s all fine and good. Until Jerry World collides with the real world.

For example, one of Jerry’s favorite games is to pretend he is part of the team. He is often seen on the field and makes appearances in the locker room after games. In Jerry World, the team wants him there. In the real world…they locked him out once (that we know of).

This offseason, Jerry invented a new game. In this one, paying players what other players make, magically turns them into that player. So, Jerry Jones signed Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to a six-year $108 million dollar contract extension. In real life.

Jones reportedly told Romo that now that he is making “Peyton Manning money,” he expects him to put in Peyton Manning-type time on the job. Apparently, he would rather have Romo studying tape than playing golf. Fair enough.

Romo recently had surgery to remove a cyst in his back, and will miss most of the team’s offseason training activities. But he’ll have plenty of time to watch tape. Which just goes to show you, be careful what you wish for. In Jerry World and the real world.

Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning. Tony Romo is Tony Romo. It was reported this week that Peyton Manning shot a 77 at Augusta National. Apparently, Peyton Manning time does include golf.

Here’s a thought. Maybe Jerry Jones should start putting in Robert Kraft-type time…and pay someone else to do it.

Pretend is great. But real is better.

For now, Jerry Jones is happy in Jerry World.

Who wouldn’t be?

XO