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NFL 1st rounders all signed, here’s their salaries

With the signings of Russell Okung and C.J. Spiller on Friday the entire first round class of 2010 NFL Draft picks are now signed and expected to be in camp.

Although Dez Bryant was the first of the picks to sign with the Dallas Cowboys, the ball really got rolling when first overall pick Sam Bradford signed with the St. Louis Rams to a record $50 million guaranteed.  Since then, a rapid flurry of signings has taken place including that of Ndamukong Suh on Tuesday.  Suh was widely believed to be the best available and was often believed to the Rams first choice in many mock drafts. 

The signing of Russell Okung by the Seattle Seahawks represents the first of what could be many first round signed draft picks under new coach and former USC Trojans coach Pete Carroll. Okung, an Oklahoma State product, was named Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year last season and will be expected to be a replacement to lineman Walter Jones who sat out the entire 2009 season due to injury. 

C.J. Spiller was believed to be the best available of running backs in the 2010 Draft and fell into top place during the draft when he was selected by the Buffalo Bills as the ninth overall pick.  Spiller represents the first pick of former Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets coach Chan Gailey. 

Buffalo has struggled mightily in the past few season on the offensive side of the ball.  The team often looked as if they needed a map, compass and a lot of luck to score.  The matter was further complicated when starting quarterback Trent Edwards was lost to injury. 

Spiller will be expected to take pressure off of the offense in Buffalo and will specifically be expected to provide variation to an offense that sometimes appeared one dimensional.  Before selecting Spiller, many believed Buffalo would opt for a quarterback and met several times with Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow. 

Listed below are the first round picks of the 2010 NFL Draft class along with the terms of the respective agreements.

1. St. Louis Rams – Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma – Signed (6-years, $78M/$86M max; $50M guaranteed)
2. Detroit Lions – Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska – Agreed to Terms (5-years, $68M max; $40M guaranteed)
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma – Signed (5-years, $63M max; $35M guaranteed)
4. Washington Redskins – Trent Williams, OT, Oklahoma – Signed (6-years, $60M max; $36.75M guaranteed)
5. Kansas City Chiefs – Eric Berry, S, Tennessee – Signed (6-years, $60M; $34M guaranteed)
6. Seattle Seahawks – Russell Okung, OT, Oklahoma State – Agreed to Terms (6-years, $48.5/$58M max; ~$30M guaranteed)
7. Cleveland Browns – Joe Haden, CB, Florida – Signed (5-years, $50M max; $26M guaranteed)
8. Oakland Raiders – Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama – Signed (5-years, $30M/$40M max; $23M guaranteed)
9. Buffalo Bills – C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson – Signed (5-years, $25M/$37M max; $20.8M guaranteed)
10. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tyson Alualu, DT, Cal – Agreed to Terms (5-years, $28M; $17.5M guaranteed)
11. San Francisco 49ers– Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers – Signed (5-years, $26.5M; $15.954M guaranteed)
12. San Diego Chargers – Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State – Signed (5-years, $25.65M max; $15.083M guaranteed)
13. Philadelphia Eagles – Brandon Graham, DE, Michigan – Signed (5-years, financial terms undisclosed)
14. Seattle Seahawks – Earl Thomas, S, Texas – Signed (5-years, $21.1M; $12.32M guaranteed)
15. New York Giants – Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, South Florida – Signed (5-years, $20.05M; $11.629M guaranteed)
16. Tennessee Titans – Derrick Morgan, DE, Georgia Tech – Signed (5-years, financial terms undisclosed)
17. San Francisco 49ers – Mike Iupati, G/T, Idaho – Signed (5-years, $18.25M max; $10.8M guaranteed)
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – Maurkice Pouncey, C/G, Florida – Signed (5-years, financial terms undisclosed)
19. Atlanta Falcons – Sean Weatherspoon, LB, Missouri – Signed (5-years, $17.54M max; $10.4M guaranteed)
20. Houston Texans – Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama – Signed (5-years, $13.1M; $10.35M guaranteed)
21. Cincinnati Bengals – Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma – Agreed to Terms (5-years, $15.85M/$18.5M max/$9.66M guaranteed)
22. Denver Broncos – Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech – Signed (5-years, $12.155M/$15.5M max)
23. Green Bay Packers – Bryan Bulaga, OT, Iowa – Signed (5-years, $14.75M max; $8.76M guaranteed)
24. Dallas Cowboys – Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State – Signed (5-years, $11.8M; $8.375M guaranteed)
25. Denver Broncos – Tim Tebow, QB, Florida – Signed (5-years, $11.25M/$33M max; $8.7M guaranteed)
26. Arizona Cardinals – Dan Williams, NT, Tennessee – Agreed to Terms (5-years, financial terms undisclosed)
27. New England Patriots – Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers – Signed (5-years, $10M/$13.2 max; $7.825M guaranteed)
28. Miami Dolphins – Jared Odrick, DE, Penn State – Signed (5-years, $13.07M max; $7.133M guaranteed)
29. New York Jets – Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State – Signed (5-years, $12.99M max; $7.12M guaranteed)
30. Detroit Lions – Jahvid Best, RB, Cal – Signed (5-years, $9.8M)
31. Indianapolis Colts – Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU – Agreed to Terms (5-years, financial terms undisclosed)
32. New Orleans Saints – Patrick Robinson, CB, Florida State – Signed (5-years, financial terms undisclosed)

Used with permission of the author.

Cade Caldwell is an Atlanta-based sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, NFL, Recent BuzzComments (0)

NFL quarterbacks shattering records

Throughout the history of the National Football League the quarterback position has been one of great importance and in the minds of many NFL fans and the media the quarterback is usually the one to blame when things go awry.

While the game has traditionally focused on an even balanced attack consisting of passing, running and strong defense, recent statistics suggest this trend has shifted.

The passing game has exploded. 

During the 2009 season a total of ten quarterbacks passed for over 4,000 yards.  Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans compiled the most at 4,770 yards and nearly propelled his team into the NFL playoffs for the first time had it not been for several missed kicking opportunities earlier in the season. 

Also included in that elite list was Brett Favre of the Minnesota Vikings.  Though Favre had struggled with his decision on retirement earlier in the year, he led the Vikings to within one game of a Super Bowl appearance – a large part of which hinged on his arm. 

Among the other starters that exceeded 4,000 yards in 2009 are both Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts.  Not surprisingly, the Saints and Colts collided in the Super Bowl with Brees’ performance earning him the Super Bowl MVP. 

Interestingly enough, the leading rusher for the Super Bowl Champion Saints last season was running back Pierre Thomas with a total of only 793 yards.  A year earlier the Pittsburgh Steelers became Super Bowl Champ with another leading rusher with less than 1,000 yards in Willie Parker with only 791. 

The trend of recent NFL drafts supports this change in style of offense on the field.  In the 2009 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions drafted Matthew Stafford No. 1 overall with their first pick of the draft.  Placing the bank on the arm of their new quarterback, the Lions signed Stafford to $78 million, $41.7 million of that guaranteed, an NFL record. 

Later in the same draft, the New York Jets moved up with a trade and selected Mark Sanchez No. 5 overall.  Sanchez later signed a deal worth $50 million.  As the largest contract the Jets had offered in the history of the organization, the deal included $28 million in guarantees.  Sanchez became only the fourth rookie quarterback in NFL history to win his first playoff game. 

In the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams passed up the opportunity to take college defensive star Ndamukong Suh in favor of selecting Sam Bradford.  Although Bradford has yet to agree to a deal it is expected that the Rams will offer a deal that will likely surpass the record received by Stafford a year earlier.

Although teams are more likely than ever to place a premium on a young quarterback during the draft, it doesn’t always work as expected.  In 2007, the Oakland Raiders selected JaMarcus Russell with the No. 1 overall pick of the draft after Russell had displayed a substantial amount of talent throughout his days at LSU and was highly coveted following the NFL Combine. 

After a long holdout, Russell and the Raiders agreed to a contract worth $61 million with $32 million guaranteed.  As a starter for the Raiders, Russell would finish a dismal 7-18 before being released in May 2010.     

What does this mean in terms of the growing popularity of the sport?  The NFL leads the way among all professional sports organizations in television ratings and will receive a combined total of $20.4 billion from FOX, CBS, NBC and ESPN.  The current terms of the deal are until 2011 for FOX, CBS and NBC with ESPN maintaining rights through 2013.  Between the four, the contract of ESPN is the most valuable at $8.8 billion.  For the first time ever, the 2010 Draft was aired in prime-time and reported a 30 percent hike in ratings.

In 2003, the league launched the NFL Network.  Many argue that the network is among the most successful of the networks devoted to the four major professional sports.  In 2010, the network began airing Canadian Football League games and will air the Grey Cup.  Some criticize that the league is airing CFL games in order to stir further interest in a full-time team in Canada. 

Despite whatever motive may exist, the league has shown an interest in international exposure evidenced by playing a regular season game annually in both Toronto and London.  Closer to home, the league often makes its presence felt in San Antonio. 

While the success of all four sports leagues is apparent, only the NFL could move forward in operations without a marketing department.  When such a successful product explodes on the field boosting television ratings to levels previously not imagined the surge in viewers and in the cash flow destined to come from networks can only be expected to inflate further. 

 As long as the pigskin is being tossed for a record number of yards the NFL can continue to expect the popularity to follow.  And in this economy, it is nice to have advertisers that are looking for you!

 Used with permission of the author.

Cade Caldwell is an Atlanta-based sportswriter and contributor to Sports Climax.

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

Posted in Features, NFL, Recent BuzzComments (0)

Roethlisberger suspended 6 games; involved in trade talks

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was slapped with a 6-game suspension today by NFL big ben roethlisbergerCommissioner Roger Goodell for dissin’ the league’s personal conduct policy.

Goodell also is requiring the star slinger to attend as the boss put it, “comprehensive behavioral evaluation by medical professionals.”

Like Michael Vick’s suspension after he came back into the league after serving jail time for dog-fighting charges, Roethslisberger’s penalty can be reduced to a lesser amount (4) games for good behavior.

Roethlisberger, who’s meat has dominated the news, is also banned from participating in any team off season drills or activities until he completes this evaluation.

Here’s what the boss had to say regarding the suspension:

“The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline ‘even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime’ as, for example, where the conduct ‘imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person’,”

“As the District Attorney concluded, the extensive investigatory record shows that you contributed to the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by purchasing alcoholic beverages for underage college students, at least some of whom were likely already intoxicated. There is no question that the excessive consumption of alcohol that evening put the students and yourself at risk.”

“The Personal Conduct Policy also states that discipline is appropriate for conduct that ‘undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players.’ By any measure, your conduct satisfies that standard.”

Jason La Canfora of NFL.com reported that the Steelers have kicked up efforts to trade Big Ben.

Big Ben should draw some attention in the trade market, especially with two Super Bowl wins under his belt. You would have to assume he will straighten out knowing, like Vick, it’s shape up or ship out time.

According to La Canfora, the Steelers “had a brief conversation with the St. Louis Rams over the weekend, according to a league source, but the Rams weren’t interested in taking on Roethlisberger. The Steelers wanted to send Roethlisberger to the Rams as part of a package to move up to No. 1 overall in this week’s draft and select Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford.”

Other teams possibly showing interest are the Buffalo Bills and Oakland Raiders.

More Big Ben: Big Ben’s Meat Still in the News

Accuser: Roethlisberger ‘Came back with his penis out of his pants’

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Posted in NFLComments (1)

Heisman Trophy Winner Bradford Considers Having Surgery

OKLAHOMA – ESPN reported that last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Oklahoma Sooners’ quarterback Sam Bradford (AP Photo/Ty Russell)is seriously considering having season-ending surgery on his injured shoulder.

Bradford has missed a majority of the season and when he tried to make a comeback last week, lasted just two series of downs before leaving the field aggravating the injury further.

The Sooners entered the season focused on making a run for a national title but those dreams were shattered in one snap of the ball. The Sooners currently sit at the cellar of the AP Top 25 with a 3-3 record and are struggling to earn a decent bowl bid.

While we watch Bradford’s stock in the NFL 2010 Draft drop like a Wall Street crash, it makes me reminisce about the day Mark Sanchez announced he was leaving the USC Trojans and opting to join the draft.

At the time, USC Coach Pete Carroll showed some displeasure at the press conference and said Sanchez “made a bad choice”.

Since then, Sanchez has been the starting quarterback for the New York Jets, playing under a contract fat enough to support even the family members he has never met ($60 million with $28 million guaranteed).

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford who went No. 1 overall in last year’s draft is another player who left campus early. Stafford who is currently rehabbing a knee injury suffered this NFL season is the starter for the Detroit Lions and playing with a $72 million contract ($41.7 million guaranteed).

While Bradford contemplates going under the knife with a cloudy future and Sanchez and Stafford cash their checks every week, I would like to now ask Mr. Carroll who he thinks made a “bad choice”.

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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NCAA Football Weekend in Review

The NCAA Football season opened with a bang this weekend.

Sam BradfordSome of the news creating the biggest buzz was #20 BYU upsetting #3 Oklahoma Sooners 14-13 in a game that included Heisman Trophy winner QB Sam Bradford watching a majority of the contest from the sidelines while sporting a sling on his multi-million-dollar throwing arm.

Bradford sprained the shoulder during the final seconds of the first half then was replaced by back-up Landry Jones who finished (6-of-12, 51yds) for the game-quarterback stats unfamiliar with the Sooners and their fans.

In another game, #6 the Ohio State Buckeyes avoided an embarrassing upset, squeaking out a win against Navy in the final minutes.

With the Buckeyes leading 29-27 late in the forth quarter, Navy attempted a two-point conversion but the pass was intercepted by the Buckeyes and taken to the house on the opposite side of the field giving the Buckeyes a narrow 31-27 victory.

Is there a reason to worry in Athens?

The #13 Georgia Bulldogs may be headed in for a long season while they try to compensate for the loss of two members of last year’s dominating offensive backfield, quarterback Matthew Stafford who went #1 overall in the 2009 NFL Draft and running back Knowshon Moreno, another first-round selection.

The Bulldogs offense sputtered out and they lost to #9 Oklahoma State 24-10.

In the days sparring matches, Tim Tebow and his #1 Florida Gators defeated Charleston Southern 62-3, #2 Texas squashed Louisiana-Monroe 59-20 and #4 USC, led by freshman quarterback Matt Barkley crushed San Jose State 56-3.

Related Articles:

Why Stafford and Detroit Lions are a Bad Marriage

Get Ready Lions, Stafford Knows How to Party!

Copyright © 2009 – Sports Climax

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