The Bills sign a veteran quarterback in free agency
By benching Tyrod Taylor last season, this Buffalo has shown it’s not interested in him being the starting quarterback in 2018. Nathan Peterman, he of six interceptions in two-plus quarters, shouldn’t be the answer. And the team, picking 21st and 22nd in the NFL draft, may not want to wait or trade assets to move up in the draft. I’m not convinced the Bills have the structure in place to foster a 21-year-old rookie starting quarterback with new OC Brian Daboll and a defensive-minded head coach. Go out and get a guy who knows what he’s doing—a Bradford or Keenum (or eventually trade for Foles)—and who can get you another wild-card berth. Because we all know who’s winning the AFC East.
The Patriots sign a free-agent QB better than Brian Hoyer and ultimately get back to the conference title game
I’m not willing to send the Patriots to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII because there’s plenty to work out. Yes, it appears Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will remain together for at least one more season. And Josh McDaniels, the likely eventual head coach of the Patriots, is back as offensive coordinator after a big raise and some hurt feelings in Indianapolis. The Patriots have to figure out their defense and plan for the future at tight end. All that said, though, if you have Brady and Belichick, you should expect this team to be in the AFC title at the least.
Drew Brees signs two-year deal with the Saints with voidable years later that will push cap space down the road
The Saints signal-caller confirmed he’s sticking in New Orleans, but of course he’s going to come at a price. If you look at the Saints, every year they seem to be in cap hell because of Brees’s contract that has some impossibly large cap hit that season. That won’t change. Brees will get a big signing bonus that will be spread out for cap purposes over multiple years. The end result: one, good final run at a Super Bowl with Sean Payton and locking up every meaningful passing record on his way out.
Dave Gettleman and Odell Beckham Jr. strike up a deal just before the season starts
In the 2014 NFL draft, the Panthers, Gettleman’s former team, selected Kelvin Benjamin, but the new Giants general manager gushed about Beckham, quick to share how he thought Beckham was the total package. He’s been around the block long enough to know that you don’t let a top-three receiver walk in free agency just because he’s a diva—that comes with Elite Receiver Territory. There’s going to be some hardball and leaks on both sides throughout the summer, but Gettleman will reach an agreement to make Beckham the highest-paid receiver before the Giants kick off the 2018 season.
The Seahawks get Malcolm Butler to keep their Legion of Boom on life support
Belichick may or may not ever explain why he decided to bench Butler during Super Bowl LII, but whatever the reason, I doubt the Seahawks care. Whether it was poor play in practice or something ranging on the nefarious scale (which Butler has vehemently denied), Butler is going to get paid in free agency and no longer be a Patriot. Seattle’s Legion of Boom has crumbled. Earl Thomas could be traded if they can’t reach an extension. Kam Chancellor may never play again. Richard Sherman is recovering from an Achilles’ tendon tear. Seattle will surely add to the defensive backfield in the draft, but they need a free-agent signing now and that’s got to be Butler. Unless, of course, some hard feelings get in the way.
... and the 49ers win the division and go from worst to first
With all the respect to the Coach of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year, 2018 belongs not to the Rams but to the 49ers. Mr. Perfection Jimmy Garoppolo went 5–0 while closing out the season with wins against playoff-bound Tennessee, Jacksonville and the L.A. Rams. He hung 44 on Jacksonville’s defense. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan seem to have figured things out rather quickly in the Bay Area, and another great draft this spring will solidify my prediction.
Kirk Cousins will sign a deal worth at least $29 million per year
Now that we are sure Cousins won’t be in Washington, we are also sure (maybe?) that Washington wouldn’t do something as dumb (maybe?) as tagging Cousins again and potentially being on the hook for $34.5 million. He will be the first true top-tier quarterback to hit free agency since Drew Brees, and there’s no doubt he’s going to get a contract bigger than Jimmy Garoppolo, who now tops the charts at $27.5 million per year. Cousins is coming off an extremely impressive season considering the team around him, passing for his third consecutive 4,000-yard season. He’ll be 30 at the start of the season, and the highest-paid player in NFL history.
Teams continue to make a sham of the Rooney Rule
This year we saw just one team (Cardinals) hire a minority head coach. We saw the Raiders make a mockery of the Rooney Rule and the Patriots put themselves in position to do the same when Belichick steps down and McDaniels takes over. Hiring minority coaches in the NFL shouldn’t be that hard: seven out of every 10 players are black, and many coaches are former players. Yet the numbers continue to be disproportionate despite the best efforts of the Fritz Pollard Alliance. No team seems to be getting in trouble by violating the spirit of the Rooney Rule, so I imagine teams will continue to try to circumvent this very important policy.
Jon Gruden flubs a crucial late-game decision that costs the Raiders a game because he hasn’t been on a sideline in a decade.
Sort of speaks for itself, no? Coaching an NFL after 10 years off isn’t exactly like riding a bicycle. This isn’t to say Gruden doesn’t know the rule changes or how the speed of the game has changed since he last roamed the Bucs sideline. But there’s bound to be some rust on THIS GUY!
The ratings will continue to decline
It’s obvious that we’re still oversaturated with pro football: fans can watch games wherever we want on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. In order to reverse ratings, there needs to be more exclusivity. On a whole, our television viewing habits have changed and that’s reflected across the board. And if the ratings from this year’s Super Bowl, one of the greatest ever pitting two teams in major media markets, turned out another year of declining ratings, then why is the 2018 season going to be any different?
The national anthem will still be performed with the players on the field
There’s been chatter that the NFL will revert back to the days of when players stayed in the locker room during the anthem, but I don’t find that likely. Putting the players back in the locker room would be seen as a capitulation to the “protestors”, and the NFL cannot be seen as such. Did you watch the Super Bowl? The Medal of Honor winner flipping the coin, the flyover OVER AN INDOOR STADIUM, all the America that you could want. The anthem certainly isn’t going anywhere, and the NFL isn’t about to hide its players in the locker room.
Ryan Shazier gets back to running in 2018
Man, it was uplifting to see the Steelers linebacker stand when being applauded at the Penguins game this week. Shazier is now reportedly walking with assistance just more than two months after his scary spinal injury in December. It’s obviously too early to tell if Shazier will ever return to football, but every positive update we get brings us more hope that he’ll be able to live a healthy and full life whether he plays football again or not. Here’s hoping that his recovery goes so well that we see Shazier back on a treadmill by the end of the year.
Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/fearless-predictions-2018-nfl-season-173631438.html