Jason Fitzgerald

Recent Posts by Jason

Poll: You Make the Call on the Jets Coach and GM in 2015

I asked this on Twitter today and got a number of responses so I thought it was worth adding as a poll to make it easier to collect responses.

I closed the poll after getting a reasonable number of replies on it and I’ll go over the responses now:

1. Retain Rex Ryan and John Idzik (4.2%)- This ended up as the least popular option indicating that the fanbase is pretty fed up with this tandem and does not believe they can operate together. Even knowing tht it was playoffs or bust with this scenario most just figured its best to move on.

2. Retain John Idzik and Hire a New Coach (12.3%)- Clearly there was not much support for letting Idzik continue as GM. As I have speculated before he is getting the lions share of the blame for the mess the Jets are in and people dont want to risk more with him. Knowing that this option may only have a one year shelf life probably doesnt help.

3. Retain Rex Ryan and Hire a “Rex Guy” as GM (31.5%)- I should not have been surprised with this one but part of me was suprised that Rex got this much support. There are really a large number of fans that love Rex and look at him as part of the solution. Nearly 37% wanted Rex back next year compared to just 16.5% for Idzik.

4. Clean House and Start Over (52%)- This was the majority opinion that the Jets need to get rid of everyone and start over next year with a new team calling all the shots. Id think this is the leading option for Woody Johnson as well but it was not exactly an overwhelming opinion to get rid of both guys.

Feel free to add any thoughts in the comments.

2015 NFL Draft Selection Tracker

Welcome to our NFL Draft Selection Tracker. We are currently updated through the results of all the afternoon games in week 16. Hopefully this tracker will give you a better idea for your mock drafting or fan discussions as it reflects the overall SOS rather than the SOS at this moment in time.

The draft order for the first 20 selections is determined by win/loss record with ties being broken by strength of schedule.  Most draft charts will only use the current SOS, but for this chart we use the SOS projections for a teams’ entire schedule since it’s that number that eventually matters. Picks 21 through 32 are determined by playoff exits.

With another week in the books we have a pretty clear picture of the draft.

The Buccaneers and Titans should now be locked into the top two picks in the draft at this point. I don’t believe that the Bucs can lose the tiebreaker so as Ive been saying for some time- lose and get the number 1. If any of them was to “trip up” and win next week they would still beat all the 3 win teams in a tiebreaker.

The Jaguars and Jets are currently in the 3 and 4 slots. A win in week 17 combined with a Raiders and Washington loss would drop them behind both teams. So both could be as low as 6 or as high as 3.

If the Raiders get a win in week 17 and Washington loses the Raiders will pick 6. For them to get back to the top 3 they need both the Jets and Jaguars to win their final game.

Washington can still get as high as 3 if the Jaguars, Jets, and Raiders each win. If Washington wins they will still pick 6 as they will hold a tiebreaker against Chicago, the only 5 win team in the NFL.

Chicago currently sits at 7 and that is the highest pick they can have. If they win in week 17 they could drop all the way to 11 as they will lose to tiebreaks to all of the 6 win teams with the exception of the Rams.

If you notice any other errors also let me know and Ill check the formulas to make sure the schedules are correct.

2015 Projected Draft Order, December 21 (All 4PM games)

PickTeamWin %SOS




NFL Predictions: Week 16

Last week I went 13-3 SU and 9-5-2 ATS to bring the yearly records to 151-72-1 and 124-94-2.  I had a rough start to this week with Thursdays games but hopefully I can bounce back on the weekend games.

Eagles (-7.5) over REDSKINS- This is a must win game for the Eagles and while I expect the Redskins to give an effort I don’t think they have the talent to keep up with  a potential playoff team. Eagles 35 Redskins 30

Chargers (+1.5) over 49ERS- San Francisco is playing out the string and with a veteran team and what seems to be an outgoing coach most likely means even less effort than usual. San Diego doesn’t have the greatest firepower but they should have enough to win. Chargers 20 49ers 16

Vikings (+6) over DOLPHINS- Miami can never seem to get over the hump but should beat the Vikings this week. I’d expect the Vikings defense to keep this closer than 6 though. Dolphins 23 Vikings 19

Packers (-11.5) over BUCCANEERS- Packers had a poor game last week and that should be the wakeup call for this one. Packers 37 Buccaneers 17

Lions (-8) over BEARS- The Bears may be at the point of no effort as they bench Cutler for Jimmy Clausen. The Bears have a ton of problems outside of the QB position making this an easy win. Lions 27 Bears 14

Falcons (+6) over SAINTS- Expect a shootout between these two defensively challenged teams who both have a chance at the playoffs. Take the points in a game like this. Saints 33 Falcons 30

Patriots (-10.5) over JETS- This is not going to be a pretty end for Rex Ryan if this is indeed is last home game. New England always take great pleasure in rubbing it in against the Jets and often do that in their second meeting. Patriots 37 Jets 14

Chiefs (+3.5) over STEELERS-  One of these teams will likely be disappointed with missing the postseason because they lost to some of the worst teams in the NFL. I like the Chiefs defense in this one and believe the offense will be a bit more open from desperation. Chiefs 27 Steelers 23

Browns (+4) over PANTHERS- Im amazed at how so many people have ripped apart Johnny Manziel after just one game.  This is a much better matchup for the team and there will be no expectations either.  Close game and Ill lean towards Cleveland. Browns 21 Panthers 19

Ravens (-4.5) over TEXANS- Baltimore didn’t give the best of efforts last week, but they have to be the more desperate team and Houston is way down on the QB chain. Ravens 23 Texans 17

Giants (+6.5) over RAMS- Could be an interesting game. Giants haven’t looked very good against decent teams so this will be a test to see if they can keep winning. Rams also want to keep playing strong and this is a much easier defense to play than the Cardinals one.  Rams 23 Giants 21

Bills (-7) over RAIDERS- Buffalos best season in years will likely result in no playoffs but Id expect them to pour it on the Raiders as they did this year playing the Jets. Bills 26 Raiders 13

Colts (+3.5) over COWBOYS- Colts are certainly banged up but I still like Andrew Luck matching up against the Dallas defense. Colts need to start playing better and I think they do that this week. Colts 30 Cowboys 27

CARDINALS (+7.5) over Seahawks- I think almost everyone believes Seattle will win this one big but I think the Cardinals will put up a strong fight even if they don’t have the offense to win. Seahawks take the lead late in the game. Seahawks 17 Cardinals 10

Broncos (-3) over BENGALS- All eyes will be on Cincy to see if they can actually put together a strong game in a primetime matchup. I think they can but it wont be enough to beat Denver. Broncos 27 Bengals 20

Podcast: Cutler, Cap Carryover, Extensions, NFL Picks and More

In this weeks OTC Podcast:

– I give some thoughts on Jay Cutlers situations

– Look over the benefits of late season contract extension

– Discuss the rules of salary cap carryover

– Talk some Steelers contracts

– Give my picks for the week

– And of course talk a little Jets football

View in iTunes

Listen via Stitcher

Subscribe to the OTC Podcast

NFL Predictions: Week 16 Thursday Night Football

Titans (+4.5) over JAGUARS- I think its fitting that Thursday night football ends the season with perhaps the worst possible game of the last 10 years. After suffering through Jets/Titans last week Im not sure I can take back to back Tennessee games and doubt Ill give it more than  a glance. Just to keep up with the predictions Ill take the Titans to win outright.  Titans 17 Jaguars 16

Jay Cutler Benched

I’ve posted many times here on how overvalued Jay Cutler has been and now according to Adam Scheffter of ESPN he has been benched for his poor play.

The move marks yet another chapter in the Cutler contract saga that has been heavily debated since it was signed last year. It was a contract that came under a great deal of scrutiny due to the high guarantees given to someone who at best could be described as inconsistent but talented. The questions really should have started long before the deal was ever signed as the Bears somewhat dragged their feet on the deal possibly costing millions in the process.

The Bears had all of 2013 to work out  contract with Cutler. Had they signed him to an extension that year they could have guaranteed his $8.47 million salary, which was already virtually guaranteed since he was going to be their starter. Rather than taking a proactive approach  they waited out the 2013 season one in which some argued he was outplayed by Josh McCown. Cutler missed 5 games that year and what Cutler did in those 11 games to take the question marks out of the process is a mystery. It seemed logical that Chicago would use the $16.2 million franchise tag to protect their long term security but instead they rapidly signed him to  a contract in January that would pay him $22.5 million in 2014 and guarantee him another $15.5 million in 2015.

Now the decision for the Bears becomes what to do with Cutler and his massive contract. Their best option is to try to find a team willing to take a chance on Cutler. His salary in 2015 is $15.5 million which is probaby low enough for  team to take a gamble on him, but the problem is that a team trading for him would also assume what is likely to be $16 million in guarantees in 2016 as well.  For a player who has been a 3rd tier performer and is often injured that may be too much risk.

Trading Cutler leaves the Bears with just a $4 million dead money hit on their salary cap and would create $12.5 million in cap space in 2015. Cutler’s contract contains dead money because the Bears converted a portion of his base salary to a signing bonus to aid them in signing Jared Allen.  If he remains in Chicago he will carry a $16.5 million cap hit in 2015 and $17 million cap hit in 2016. The 2016 number would be completely wiped from the books.

Cutting Cutler is not really an option. If they release him the Bears will still need to pay him $15.5 million.  In addition his bonus money would accelerate, leaving Chicago with a $19.5 million cap charge. That cap charge would result in a loss of $3 million in cap room. If they were to consider it they would need to release him in early March. On the 3rd day of the 2015 League Year $10 million of Cutler’s $16 million salary in 2016 becomes fully guaranteed.

The most realistic option might be a common ground trade settlement where the Bears would either pay a portion of Cutlers contract to allievate the burden of guarantees in the contract to the acquiring team or agree to take on a bad contract in return. Such a scenario paints the best financial situation for any team involved.

49ers Release Ray McDonald

The San Francisco 49ers have announced that they have waived defensive lineman Ray McDonald in light of a recent investigation into sexual assault charges. This was likely an easy decision for the 49ers as McDonald was entering the final year of his contract in 2015 and likely going to face a suspension by the NFL under the personal conduct policy. With the team struggling and out of the playoff race it would make little sense to deal with the questions that would come up about why McDonald remained on the team. With a strong chance that he would either be released next season for salary cap purposes or forced to miss a large number of games, releasing McDonald with two weeks remaining avoids a lot of unneeded attention for the team.

The 49ers had converted $2.645 million of McDonalds salary into a signing bonus this August to help with the teams tight salary cap position entering the season. To obtain further relief they added two additional void years to the contract.  Because of that bonus McDonald will carry a $4,609,971 cap charge next season for San Francisco. He was scheduled to earn $4.2 million and carry a $5.946 million cap charge. His release will free up about $1.86 million in cap room.

As a vested veteran McDonald is eligible for termination pay following the season if he clears waivers. Termination pay is essentially a base salary guarantee that every veteran earns for a season by being active during the season. Because of this McDonald will continue to count against the 49ers salary cap at the same figure as if he were on the roster. McDonald can choose to file for this payment after the season.  Because you can only file for termination pay once in an NFL career there is probably a good chance that McDonald will not use it this season provided he thinks he can return to the NFL at a later date. He would collect $100,588 in salary by putting in a claim, a number far lower than his required minimum salary if another team signed him in the future.

I’ll leave McDonald’s salary cap page up for another day or two as is before moving him to the dead money list for the 2015 season.