By Mark Paulette,
The frenzy is beginning to calm down. In the last four day we have been bombarded with transaction after transaction as the NFL rang in its new year. From Antonio Brown to Odell Beckham to Le’Veon Bell, stars have changed colors and teams have splashed absurd amounts of cash.
So let’s take a peak into the crystal ball and see the impacts these last few days will have on the NFL in 2019.
That’s right, it’s the return of Nostramarkus!
– The Odell Effect: With a talented quarterback throwing to him for the first time in his career, Odell Beckham Jr. will have a monster season and help lead the Cleveland Browns to the postseason for the first time since 2002. OBJ will set a new career high north of 1500 receiving yards and haul in no fewer than 12 TD’s as Cleveland edge past the Baltimore Ravens to claim the AFC North, and the #4 seed in the playoffs, with a record of 10-6.
– A New Bell Cow in NYC: In the first season of his 4yr/$52.5mil deal, Le’Veon Bell will be the most productive running back in the Big Apple. Sorry, Saquon Barkley. No, Bell won’t have 1000+ rushing yards and 1000+ receiving yards, but he will outperform the reigning Rookie of the Year as the Giants will bring nothing else to the table on a weekly basis other than their star back. Opposing teams will quickly learn that all they must do is stop Barkley and the G-Men’s offense will sputter to halt. As for Bell, his production will be less than what it was in Pittsburgh, but better than the production of his latest rap album, “Life’s A Gamble.”
– A Gambler’s Ruins: After playing the first few weeks and realizing Derek Carr isn’t that great, and playing at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on a baseball diamond doesn’t mesh with his fur coat-vibes, Antonio Brown decides to take a sabbatical until the team’s move to Las Vegas. In fact, AB departs for Sin City a year early and invests a portion of his $10mil guaranteed salary for the year in a penthouse overlooking the strip. Finally, Brown finds himself a home where no one will judge him for his diva nature.
– An $88mil Bargain: The Jaguars upgraded from super liability to Super Bowl winner at the quarterback position when they inked Nick Foles to a 4-year deal. Foles will lead the Jags to 3-consecutive wins to begin the year, before breaking a rib in week four and being forced into a month on the sidelines. Blake Bortles will return to the helm in Jacksonville and the team will immediately spiral, dropping 4-straight games. But never fear, for Foles shall reappear. The Super Bowl 52 MVP will return by Halloween and lead the team to a 6-2 record down the back-9, fending off the Texans and Titans to earn the AFC’s 2nd Wild Card.
– No Jekyll here, just Hyde: Unlike the literary version, Kansas City will be pleased to be stuck with their Mr. Hyde, who comes in the form of running back Carlos Hyde, who the Chiefs nabbed off the open market for just two million dollars. Hyde will establish his role in KC’s potent offense and lead the league in rushing TD’s in 2019.
– All For Not: In the end, none of the flashy off season moves around the NFL will matter, because when the dust settles, the New England Patriots will go somewhere between 11-5 and 13-3, and have the opportunity to go to a 4th-straight Super Bowl when they play in the AFC Championship Game for the 9th-consecutive year.
Mark Paulette is the executive producer of The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine