Around the League: Foles' Options, Rodgers' Decision, Legal Football Betting, More

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Around the League: Foles’ Options, Rodgers’ Decision, Legal Football Betting, More

Chicago Bears

The NBA’s fast-paced trade deadline has come and gone, while MLB’s transaction period is in a deep freeze. And then there’s the NFL, where the rumor mill is always spinning in one direction or another.

  • Bears fans know what Nick Foles magic is all about after January’s playoff loss to the Eagles, but I’d bet against Chicago getting a shot at a rematch at Foles in Philadelphia when the two teams meet up this year:

  • At this point, the Eagles’ option is an easy one. Expect the Eagles to tender the franchise tag on Foles with the intent of trading him. The Athletic’s team of beat writers offer up the Jaguars and Broncos as teams with the best chance of making a deal happen, with the Raiders, Giants, and Bengals as teams with slim chances.
  • So I guess if the Bears are going to exact their revenge on Foles, it might have to come against Jon Gruden and the Raiders in London or Vic Fangio’s Broncos in Denver.
  • Aaron Rodgers is saying no to offseason knee surgery. Even though the Packers’ star quarterback played through a knee injury he suffered in the first half of Week 1 against the Bears, Rodgers reports the knee is good to go without an offseason cleanup. “My body feels really good,” Rodgers said, via writer Jeremy Bergman. “Instead of getting surgery postseason, decided to kind of go through a different routine with my knee than I’ve done in the past, and I’m reeling really, really good.” Rodgers suffered a concussion in the team’s season finale against the Lions, but he says it’s cleared up since.
  • I’m glad Rodgers has a clean bill of health moving forward. So when the Bears beat the Packers to open up their (and the NFL’s) 100th season, there will be no health-related excuses.
  • Green Bay is expected to have a decent amount of cap space and they have needs all over the gridiron. Expect the Packers to be active in the free agent market and aggressive in the draft. In his post-Super Bowl mailbag over at The Athletic, Jay Glazer doesn’t mince words regarding the challenges Green Bay faces this offseason.

“The Packers have a lot of holes — a lot. The Packers need pass rush help, they’ve needed it for a long time. In the past, they’ve drafted over and over to help on the defensive line and too many haven’t panned out. They need a few bona fide pass rushers on that team and some help on the offensive line.”

  • Other than that, everything is fine north of the border in Wisconsin.
  • The Packers aren’t known for diving deep into free agency, but that changed last year with a new GM who wanted to make a bold statement. If Green Bay wants another roll of the dice, they might want to avoid players on Kristopher Knox’s list of potential free agent busts over at Bleacher Report. Or go after them and sign them to lucrative, long-term, cap-prohibiting deals.
  • We already know the 49ers want to keep kicker Robbie Gould from exploring the market, but San Francisco has its eyes on bigger prizes. Vincent Frank writes a free agency preview for the 49ers at Forbes, describing the team’s cap situation like it has “a Brinks truck worth of cash to spend.” That’s certainly a visual that suggests they are like to keep Gould (as well as free agent punter Bradley Pinion). Frank lists Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, Seahawks safety Earl Thomas, Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, and Texans pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney as potential San Francisco targets who will be on the open market.
  • Brian Cushing, who was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substances policy in 2010, is set to become the Texans’ Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. That’s a curious decision, at least from where I sit.
  • At least the NFL’s officials can’t take this away:

  • Was this poll taken before or after NFL Network analyst Kyle Brandt suggested the Saints’ Super Bowl window could be closing?

  • The Associated Press reports fans in Rhode Island legally bet nearly $6.5 million on the Super Bowl. The key word here is legally, because duh. Reports from the AP also note that folks in Nevada, New Jersey, and Mississippi put down $185.5 million worth of legal bets on the Super Bowl.
  • Someone at the Super Bowl party I attended asked me when Illinois was going to get in on the action, but I didn’t have much of an answer for them. Gambling legalization bills were introduced last session and re-introduced this session, per The Southern Illinoisan. A report by the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the University of Illinois Project for Middle Class Renewal notes the state could net $100 million in increased annual revenue by legalizing sports gambling, increase gaming industry revenue by $565 million per year, and create more than 2,500 new jobs. First-year Governor J.B. Pritzker said he would support legalization during his campaign, so we’re left to see if he acts on it now that he is in office.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.