NFL News and Notes: February 5, 2019

Ryan K

Okay, so that wasn’t the most exciting Super Bowl ever, but it happened, and now the NFL offseason is set to commence. Let’s catch up on everything that happened in Atlanta last week and look ahead to the offseason.

Number Six

It wasn’t pretty, but the Patriots took home their sixth Super Bowl title of the Brady-Belichick era with their 13-3 win over the Rams. Both defenses dominated the games, although it was Julian Edelman who took home MVP honors with 10 catches for 141 yards. Of course, it was Sony Michel who scored the game’s only touchdown while also gaining 94 yards on 18 carries. In the end, one touchdown drive was all the Patriots needed to take home their third Super Bowl ring in the last five years.

It’s Official

With the Super Bowl over, the two teams with coaching vacancies were finally able to fill them. In Cincinnati, Rams quarterback coach Zac Taylor became the new head coach of the Bengals. The 35-year-old is now the second-youngest coach in the league, as he’s just a couple of years old than his former boss Sean McVay. The Bengals are hoping that after Taylor helped Jared Goff establish himself as a quality quarterback he can work similar magic with Andy Dalton. Meanwhile, Patriots assistant Brian Flores was introduced as the new head coach of the Dolphins one day after devising a brilliant game plan to stop the Rams. The 37-year-old will now face the Patriots twice a season in his first job as a head coach.

Leaving South Beach

Speaking of the Dolphins, multiple outlets reported prior to Flores being named the head coach that Miami was expected to part ways with Ryan Tannehill this offseason. Trading him could be tricky given his salary the next two seasons, so the Dolphins may have to cut him. There is speculation that the Dolphins could tank next year in hopes of getting one of the quarterbacks available in the 2020 draft. However, they could also pursue Nick Foles or Teddy Bridgewater in free agency in hopes of competing next season.

Any Brotherly Love?

On the topic of Foles, the Eagles are reportedly set to use the franchise tag on their backup quarterback. Philadelphia has a $20 million option on him for next season, although Foles could pay $2 million to get out of it and hit the free agent market. At that point, the Eagles would place the franchise tag on him in order to bring him back next season or trade him and get something in return. Needless to say, it’s a soap opera waiting to happen.

Time to Hang Them Up

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers announced his retirement. The 39-year-old is walking away after 17 seasons in the league. Peppers started and finished his career in Carolina, spending time with the Bears and Packers in between. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro on three occasions. Only three players have recorded more sacks than Peppers, which should secure his standing as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Into the Hall

Speaking of the Hall of Fame, eight new members were announced on the eve of Sunday’s game. The class is headlined by defensive backs Champ Bailey, Ty Law, and Ed Reed. Tight end Tony Gonzalez and center Kevin Mawae are also notable selections. DB Johnny Robinson is going in after being a seniors finalist. Executive Gil Brandt and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen complete the class.

Looking Ahead

It didn’t take long after Super Bowl 53 ended for Vegas to put odds on next year’s Super Bowl. Not surprisingly, the Chiefs have the best odds to win it all next year at 6-1. The Patriots, Saints, and Rams are all close behind at 8-1. Beyond those four teams, the Bears, Chargers, and Steelers are all listed at 14-1. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that the Browns are among six teams that currently have 20-1 odds to win Super Bowl 54. Obviously, they are far from favorites, but it doesn’t seem as impossible as usual for Cleveland to think about a Super Bowl.

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