Bears Won’t Re-Sign Forte

The Chicago Bears will not re-sign running back Matt Forte. He confirmed the news on Instagram.  Forte has spent his entire career in Chicago after being drafted in the second round of the 2008 draft.

Forte has been extremely productive since entering the NFL. He has five seasons with 1000+ yards rushing and six seasons with 400+ yards receiving. He has equaled or eclipsed 1200 yards from scrimmage every season of his career. In 2014, Forte totaled 102 receptions, which is an NFL record for running backs.

Two teams that would make sense for Forte are the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys. Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch announced his retirement on Twitter during the Super Bowl, so the ‘Hawks could be looking to bolster their backfield. And while Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls looks like he could be the top back, it can’t hurt adding a player as talented and versatile as Forte. The Cowboys haven’t found a feature back since RB DeMarco Murray walked in free agency one year ago, and Forte could help take pressure off of quarterback Tony Romo.

Multiple teams are expected to pursue Forte, who could be very productive in the right system. He is very dynamic, and can make a big impact both running and catching the football.

Golden Analysis: Broncos’ Post-SB Contract Situation

The Denver Broncos can (and should) celebrate their Super Bowl victory over the Carolina Panthers all offseason. They are at the top of the league and deserve to enjoy the moment.

At some point, the Broncos will have to address their contract situation. General manager John Elway constructed an extremely talented roster, and more specifically, an elite defense. Many key contributors are set to enter free agency this offseason.

Priority number one is outside linebacker Von Miller, who has been one of the league’s top pass rushers since the Broncos drafted him second overall in 2011. In the playoffs, Miller was unstoppable, and was named Super Bowl MVP.

If the Broncos and Miller don’t agree to an extension early this offseason, the team will likely franchise tag him. In an ideal world, they will agree to an extension with Miller and quarterback Brock Osweiler early this offseason so they can franchise tag someone like defensive lineman Malik Jackson or linebacker Danny Trevathan. The Broncos have already signed defensive lineman Derek Wolfe to a contract extension.

It would be more cost-effective to franchise tag Miller ($14 Million) than Osweiler ($20 Million), notably.

Winning a Super Bowl is a mountain of a challenge; winning two is Mt. Everest. The Broncos had the Super Bowl-winning formula this season, and they will be looking to retain as much as talent as possible.

Broncos Win Super Bowl 50, Defeat Panthers 24-10

The Denver Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 24-10 to win Super Bowl 50. Broncos linebacker Von Miller spearheaded a valiant defensive performance and won the Super Bowl MVP title.

Broncos first-year head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis each deserve credit for leading the Broncos through adversity all season and coaching the team to a Super Bowl victory. Broncos EVP of Football Operations and general manager John Elway crafted a high-quality roster built for a Super Bowl run.

Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning completed 13 of 23 passing attempts for 141 yards, a completed two-point conversion, and an interception. Running back CJ Anderson tallied 90 rush yards on 23 attempts and a touchdown.

Miller recorded five tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Cornerback Chris Harris Jr., CB Aqib Talib, and defensive lineman Malik Jackson each totaled five tackles, and Jackson scored a touchdown on a fumble return. Kicker Brandon McManus connected on all three of his field goal attempts, and punter Britton Colquitt averaged 45.9 yards on his eight punts.

The Broncos defense shut down Panthers QB Cam Newton, who completed 18 of 41 passes for 265 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and two fumbles. Coming into the game, a key to a Denver victory was to win the turnover battle, and they came out on top 4-2 in that category.

Elway, who quarterbacked the team to two Super Bowl titles in the late 90’s, recognized owner Pat Bowlen after the game. Mr. Bowlen is battling Alzheimer’s disease.

If Manning decides to retire, it would be a fitting end to a great career. Manning and the Broncos faced a lot of adversity, but they are undisputed league champions, and they accomplished a goal they set before the season began.

Super Bowl Preview

Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos

Previewing the Panthers: During the regular season, the Panthers finished with the top seed in the NFC with a 15-1 record. Quarterback Cam Newton is expected to win the league’s MVP award. He is the centerpiece of the Panthers’ multidimensional offense, which finished second in the league in rushing offense and 11th in passing during the regular season. The Panthers frequently use spread formations, which isolate tight end Greg Olsen and create mismatches with wide receivers and running backs. RB Jonathan Stewart has been very productive and notched his first Pro Bowl invite of his eight-year career.

The Panthers defense has forced turnovers all year. Cornerback Josh Norman locks down receivers on the perimeter and the front seven has disrupted opponents’ passing and rushing offenses. The special teams unit has been productive with kicker Graham Gano, punter Brad Nortman, and returner Ted Ginn Jr.

Previewing the Broncos: The Broncos have been able to win games with elite defensive play and a steady offensive attack. QB Peyton Manning, who will be the oldest signal caller to start a Super Bowl in NFL history, missed several games this season with an injury, but backup QB Brock Osweiler filled in and led the Broncos to a 5-2 record as a starter. The Broncos are very balanced with their passing and rushing  offenses, which is spearheaded by RB’s CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman.

The Broncos finished first in the league during the regular season in total defense. With a dominant front seven led by outside linebackers Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, the Broncos have pressured opposing quarterbacks at an unprecedented rate. CB’s Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib have been shutdown corners, and the entire unit has been nothing short of spectacular. During their 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots two weeks ago, the Broncos hit QB Tom Brady 20 times. If they can contain the Panthers’ top receiving targets, pressure Newton, win the turnover battle, and stay balanced on offense, they will be in great position to win.

Pick: Broncos, 20, Panthers, 17

Browns to Cut Manziel

The Cleveland Browns are apparently ready to move on from quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Browns EVP of Football Operations Sashi Brown released the following statement, per Browns.com:

We’ve been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny’s continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization. His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time.

Manziel has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons recently. The NFL is currently investigating an incident that led to the police searching for Manziel.

According to ProFootballTalk, the Browns can’t release Manziel before March 9, which is the start of the league year.

The Browns drafted Manziel in the first round of the 2014 draft. Manziel started eight games during the two seasons he spent in Cleveland, and totaled a 2-6 record.

Newton, Miller Highlight Depth of 2011 Draft Class

The Carolina Panthers selected quarterback Cam Newton first overall in the 2011 draft. One pick later, the Denver Broncos drafted linebacker Von Miller. Newton and Miller will be the first 1-2 duo from the same draft class to face each other in the Super Bowl next Sunday.

In hindsight, the 2011 draft class was stacked with talent. Houston Texans defensive lineman JJ Watt is arguably the league’s top player. The depth of the draft was remarkable as well. Linebacker Justin Houston and running back DeMarco Murray, who were third round picks, have both made huge impacts in the NFL.

Player Team Round
QB Cam Newton Carolina Panthers 1
DE/OLB Von Miller Denver Broncos 1
DL Marcell Dareus Buffalo Bills 1
WR AJ Green Cincinnati Bengals 1
CB Patrick Peterson Arizona Cardinals 1
WR Julio Jones Atlanta Falcons 1
DL JJ Watt Houston Texans 1
DE Cameron Jordan New Orleans Saints 1
DL Muhammad Wilkerson New York Jets 1
QB Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals 2
QB Colin Kaepernick San Francisco 49ers 2
TE Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings 2
WR Randall Cobb Green Bay Packers 2
DE Justin Houston Kansas City Chiefs 3
RB DeMarco Murray Philadelphia Eagles (Drafted by Dallas) 3
DT Jurrell Casey Tennessee Titans 3
TE Julius Thomas Jacksonville Jaguars (Drafted by Denver) 4
CB Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks 5
QB Tyrod Taylor Buffalo Bills (Drafted by Baltimore) 6
C Jason Kelce Philadelphia Eagles 6
TE Virgil Green Denver Broncos 7

The meeting between Miller and Newton reveals both the early success that the 2011 draft class has attained, and its potential to possibly emerge as one of the best draft classes in league history.

Super Bowl Bettors Supporting Carolina

Las Vegas pinned the Carolina Panthers as clear Super Bowl favorites over the Denver Broncos.

Per ESPN.com, the highest opening line has Carolina favored by -5.5 points. Most sports books have Carolina between -4.5 and -3.5. “Over 80 percent of the early money and tickets are on the Panthers -4.5,” said John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn and Encore.

More lines could push Carolina to -5.5, according to the source.

The Panthers and the Broncos will play in the Super Bowl next Sunday.

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