JJ Lanier

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Lucky Dawg

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

The first scenario that has Georgia making it to the college playoffs is pretty straightforward- beat LSU in the SEC Championship game and you’re in. Nothing very complicated about it, except for, you know, the fact they have to beat LSU.

What’s more intriguing to me is whether or not there’s a scenario where Georgia could still make the playoffs, even if they lose to the Tigers; something I assume most Georgia fans have already begun contemplating.

To start with, let’s go ahead and assume Ohio State, Clemson, and LSU all win their respective title games and are in. That leaves the winner of the Big-12 matchup (Oklahoma or Baylor) and possibly the winner of the Pac-12 (Utah or Oregon) that the Bulldogs would have to contend with for the final spot.

I’m going to just skim right over Oklahoma and Oregon because if they Sooners win, they’re in. And if Oregon happens to win, I think they would end up behind either Big-12 winner and Georgia since they’ll have two losses and the Pac-12 is basically regarded as an inferior spin-off of a better conference.

Where it gets interesting is if both Baylor and Utah win. The argument for putting Georgia in ahead of either of those two teams begins and ends with one thing; name recognition.

As much as the NCAA wants us to believe the committee is choosing the four most deserving teams, they’re not. What they’re looking for are the four biggest named teams ($$$) that they can realistically justify putting in the playoffs. I mean, how else do you explain their love affair with Alabama and their FCS looking schedule?

The committee will play their part and acknowledge that Georgia will ultimately have one more loss than either Baylor or Utah, but then I imagine they’ll argue Georgia comes from a tougher conference (they do), had a better overall season (debatable, especially considering the South Carolina loss), and that the Dawgs pass everyone’s favorite metric, the eye test (probably true), as reasons as to why the Bulldogs made the cut ahead of the other two.

When the teams were announced for the college playoffs inaugural season in 2014, there was a large contingent of fans arguing Ohio State only made the playoffs, not on their merits, but because of their national recognition. It would be no different this year; Ohio State vs. Georgia is much more appealing on paper than OSU vs. Baylor/Utah. (By the way, I went ahead and put Ohio State as the overall #1 seed because if this scenario actually plays out, just watch the committee place Ohio State ahead of LSU. But, remember, this whole thing is purely objective and nothing is based on matchu…….hahaha, I can’t even finish typing it out.)

Look, I’m not promising this is what will happen, or even that it’s what should happen, I’m just so skeptical when it comes almost everything the NCAA touches, that I almost expect that’s the way things will turn out. After all, it’s a business, and Georgia is better business.

Of course, this all changes if UGA gets steamrolled by LSU, or best-case scenario for Bulldog fans, they happen to win Saturday.

That said, if the latter takes place, and Oklahoma winds up winning the Big-12, it may bring up an even more interesting question- what does the committee do with LSU?

Either way, don’t be shocked if a one-loss Baylor or Utah team is on the outside looking in. I know the NCAA won’t be.

Changes In The South

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

When you look at the stability, or really instability in most cases, when it comes to head coaches and quarterbacks throughout the NFL, the NFC South in many ways is the exception.

Two of the divisions head coaches, Sean Payton and Ron Rivera, have been with their respective organizations for at least nine years.

Dan Quinn is currently in his fifth year with Falcons, whose predecessor, Mike Smith, was with the organization for seven years. In fact, the Buccaneers seem to be the only divisional team that has head coaches come and go as if they’re a seasonal employee at Target.

The quarterback position has been even more stable, with Jameis Winston being the shortest tenured of the bunch, at five years in the league.

Longevity is always great when you’re in the midst of it, but like all things, it eventually comes to an end; the NFC South may begin to see that stability start to falter at the end of this season.

The biggest changes will more than likely be seen within the Carolina Panthers organization. As it looks right now, the only person less likely to be the Panthers starting quarterback at the beginning of next season than Cam Newton is Colin Kaepernick.

As much of a lightning rod as Newton has been- some legitimate, some petty- it’s all but a certainty that the best quarterback in franchise history won’t be back for a tenth season.

Meanwhile, Rivera, who began his head coaching career the same year Newton entered the league, is trending towards sharing the same fate as his QB.

The 2-time Coach of the Year has dodged the pink slip in the past due to his team finishing the season strong, but I’m not sure that could even save his job this time around.

The end of an era in Carolina is starting to look less like a possibility and more like an inevitability.

There isn’t going to be a change at quarterback for the Falcons, at least not this year, but the same can’t be said for their head coach.

There is the slight possibility that Quinn could pull a “Rivera” and keep his job if Atlanta were to finish the season strong, but I doubt it.

As for Ryan, his job obviously isn’t in jeopardy, but he is starting to get up there in age and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new head coach looking to begin grooming his replacement.

As for Tampa, I think Winston’s time there is over, but who knows. Would you really be all that surprised if they brought him back? And Bruce Arians isn’t going anywhere as of now, but he’s not the long-term solution, so the smart money is on that dynamic looking dramatically different within the next year or two.

Then there’s the Saints, the organization that has been the most stable in both areas. I imagine at some point Brees will contemplate retirement, if he hasn’t already, but he’s still got a few good years left, so don’t expect that coach/qb combo to change anytime soon.

The NFL specializes in turnover, so it really is a testament to the teams in the NFC South that they’ve gotten as much consistency out of the two most important positions on a football over the past decade.

Just don’t be surprised when those familiar faces start to change; sooner rather than later.

The SEC Fortune Teller

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

As sportswriters, we love to make predictions, especially when we don’t revisit our assumptions afterwards to see how well we did.

So, in the spirit of trying to hold myself accountable, here are three semi-bold predictions for the upcoming SEC basketball season, that I’ll come back to at season’s end to see how I did.

1- Florida, not Kentucky, will enter the SEC Tournament with the best conference record. On the surface it’s easy to dismiss this as an overreaction on my part to Kentucky’s loss to Evansville; I promise it’s not.

Don’t get me wrong, as much as I enjoy watching a John Calipari coached team lose that type of game, the outcome will have absolutely zero bearing on the team they’ll ultimately become.

The reason I’m going with Florida is, besides the dearth of talent on the Gators roster, Kerry Blackshear Jr.

Normally, the expectations for a graduate transfer aren’t quite that high because if they were that talented to begin with, they would’ve either already been drafted, or would still be with their original team; Blackshear is the rare exception.

Having watched him play at Virginia Tech for the past few years, he is a better than average talent who will bring experience and tenacity to the Gators.

He’s that “heart and soul” type player you want on your team in big time games, because in most instances he’s going to deliver. He may not be the best player in the conference, but he could wind up being the most important.

2- Anthony Edwards will be the SEC Player of the Year. I say this about Edwards for two reasons.

The first is that I genuinely think he may be the most talented player in the country. In a freshman class that is underwhelming compared to the last few years, Edwards is one of the few players that would’ve been a top tier talent in those earlier classes.

The second, and what may factor in as much as his talent, is that Tom Crean is going to make sure Edwards is showcased as much as he can.

It’s like if you were the owner of Willie’s Wee-Nee Wagon for a day, would you spend it advertising the burger and hotdogs, or would you push the pork chop sandwich?

You’re going to go with what works best, right. (By the way, Cole Anthony is going to get the same treatment at UNC that Edwards will get.)

Edwards has the potential to be a program changing recruit, so you know Crean is going to give him every opportunity to put up numbers. Edwards won’t be the most efficient player in the country, but he may turn out to the best.

3- Only 5 teams from the SEC will hear their name called on Selection Sunday. Out of the three predictions, this is the one most likely to come back and bite me.

College basketball is so wide open this year it’s difficult to find a team, let alone multiple teams, you feel confident in.

This may be the season all those whose clamor to see more mid-major teams in the tournament get their wish.

Regardless of whether or not any of these predictions come true, this season promises to be an entertaining one. It’ll just be a little bit easier to revisit in a few months if I happen to be right.

Taggart Time Over

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

So, who had a year and a half in the “Taggart’s Time in Tallahassee” office pool? I had three years, so once again, I lose.

If you’re wondering why Taggart’s tenure at Florida State ended as soon as it did, there’s a picture making its rounds on the internet that sums it up pretty nicely.

The photo is one of a Miami Hurricanes player about to score a touchdown with a pair of Seminole defenders trailing on the play, both of whom seem either more interested in yelling at each other, or are in the midst of an intense game of “1,2,3 Don’t Blink”, than trying to make a play.

The picture really does encapsulate just about everything you need to know about what has taken place since Taggart’s arrival. Losing to an in-state rival? Check. Losing to a less than mediocre football team? Check. A complete lack of discipline? Check.

And if you’re curious as to how desperately they wanted Taggart out, Florida State was able to raise the more than $17 million dollars needed to buy him out, mostly from donors and alumni, quicker than Don Draper’s marriage vows when a beautiful woman walks by. (Sorry, I’m binge watching Mad Men at the moment.)

While the immediacy of Taggart’s dismissal may have come as a bit of surprise, I don’t think the ultimate outcome is. I don’t recall too many people feeling confident in the hire when it happened as much as taking a wait and see approach; not exactly what you would expect from a program like Florida State.

In fact, Taggart’s hire kind of reminds me of Cardale Jones and Mitch Turbisky. What I mean by that is scouts and analysts were fawning over how Jones should’ve entered the NFL draft after he led Ohio State to a national title, although he had played in only a handful of games. Instead, he returned to the Buckeyes the following year and people realized they were a little overzealous about his abilities after seeing a larger sample size.

And Trubisky was the first quarterback drafted in his draft after starting for only a year, even though there were more accomplished quarterbacks available. Now, it seems pretty obvious that he may only be the fourth best quarterback in that draft class.

In Taggart’s case, he did well at South Florida, but only spent one mediocre season at Oregon, so there wasn’t really much of a coaching history to justify the hiring at a school at Florida State, outside of just thinking he might be successful.

As to where Florida State goes from here, I have no idea. I vaguely remember them having difficulty before finally bringing in Taggart- something that certainly could explain his hiring- and I doubt his firing will make things more enticing than they were a year and a half ago; the product on the field certainly isn’t.

However, they are still Florida State and due to the timing of Taggart’s termination they will have ample time to hone in on one or two coaching candidates, making sure they are the right fit, before announcing a hire.

Right now, that Miami photo is only indicative of the Taggart years. If the Seminoles happen to miss on this upcoming hire, that picture could represent their program as a whole. And it may take less than three years for them to get there.

Bad Entertainment

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

It’s been a rough few weeks for any fan that happens to pull for a team residing in the state of Georgia.

The Braves finished off what was a pleasant season with a memorable, for all the wrong reasons, playoff loss.

The Bulldogs find themselves on the outside of the college playoffs and even if certain things pan out the way they need them to, still may not be able to overcome their loss to South Carolina.

And as for the Falcons, I think the only way their season could get any worse is if they actually string together enough wins over the second half of the season that Dan Quinn keeps his job.

So, in the wake of these past few weeks I’m going to say something I never thought I would’ve said a month and a half ago, it’s time to start watching the Atlanta Hawks.

It’s not that I think the Hawks are title contenders, but they’ve got a great core of young talent that even in defeat they will be entertaining to watch- something I think will happen more often than not, despite their strong start to the season.

Of course, the excitement begins with Trae Young. Coaches like to refer to a player’s ability to shoot by saying they’re in range once the cross-half court. In most cases it’s just a figure of speech, but in Young’s case, it’s spot on.

Part of Young’s appeal is that he has more “What a dumb….holy hell that was a great play” possessions than a Harlem Globetrotter.

The other part of his appeal, and one that somewhat plays into the first part, is that he’s just as likely to commit ten turnovers as he is to rack up ten assists. You truly never know which guy you’re going to get on any given night, which makes things a bit interesting.

Surrounding the talented guard is a bevy of young players- John Collins, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish- all of whom are gifted enough to be potential All-Stars down the road.

The addition of Jabari Parker in the off-season seemed to increase the level of intrigue, at least on the offensive end.

Parker reminds you of that kid in middle school who could score on anyone, at any time, but tended to avoid playing defense like a child at a salad bar.

Parker’s just as likely to score thirty points as he is to give up thirty to the person he’s supposedly guarding.

And then there’s Vince Carter, one of the few North Carolina players this Duke fan roots for.

Obviously, the highlight reel plays don’t occur with the regularity they used to, but to see Carter still be able to perform some of athletic feats he’s capable of at his age (42) is nothing short of incredible.

There’s no doubt Atlanta has had better teams in the past, but even many of those years had a cloud of lethargy hanging over their heads due to the mundane, workmanlike feel to the games. They were exiting because the team was winning, not necessarily because of how the team played.

Not saying that’s a bad thing, but if the Hawks are still a year or two away from realistically making a playoff push, at least they’re giving you reasons to show up and watch.

If you’re going to be bad, might as well be entertaining; otherwise, you’re just the Falcons.

Ramblin Wreck

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I have to imagine Geoff Collins begins each day staring at the mirror, doing his best Stuart Smalley impression.

However, instead of repeating the self-affirmation quotes that end with “….and doggone it, people like me” I picture him reciting all the reasons he decided to take the Georgia Tech head coaching gig in the first place- $3 million dollars a season…it’s not Temple…close proximity to The Varsity.

I feel as though it’s pretty safe to assume most anyone who watches college football knew this would be a tough transitional year for Georgia Tech, but I’m not sure even the most ardent of Yellow Jacket fans thought it would be this rough.

Not only are they the worst team in the ACC, but you could argue they are the worst of all the Power Five schools. The team is really living up to the whole Ramblin’ Wreck nickname, but for all the wrong reasons.

It’s hard to find many bright spots when your opponents are out gaining you by over 100 yards per contest, you haven’t scored more than 24 points in any game and you lost not only to an FCS school, but a bad one at that.

I could go even more in depth, but it would be close to bullying at that point, especially since you can’t really blame the current coaches or players for what’s taking place.

When you’re struggling through a season like Georgia Tech is currently going through, you can usually point to a litany of reasons as to why it’s happening. While that’s true in this case, the main culprit has to do with recruiting; the talent just isn’t there.

Paul Johnson did a decent job early in his tenure of bringing in players that fit his system, even if they weren’t the most talented.

That wasn’t necessarily the case over the past few seasons, so what’s left is a group of players brought in to play in a system no longer being used, most of whom just aren’t talented enough to compete at this level on a weekly basis.

To use the “Cook the meals, buy the groceries” analogy from Bill Parcells, Johnson bought the groceries he thought he needed to make lasagna and now Collins is having to turn those ingredients into stir fry.

Given the circumstances it’s hard to tell how much of an impact the new head coach has made, but the free pass you could argue he should be afforded lasts for this year only.

Now, I know contracts don’t necessarily mean a lot in today’s game, but given the seven-year contract Collins was given I have to believe the administration is willing to give him an opportunity to turn things around, even though it won’t be immediately.

I doubt Tech will be favored in any of their games for the remainder of the season, and even though they could pull off an upset or two, they are looking at arguably their worst season in 25 years. At this point it’s about getting to the end of the season without completely embarrassing yourself.

More than likely it will be a few years before Georgia Tech is back to being relevant on the college football landscape, although being in the Coastal Division could certainly help speed up the rebuilding process.

In the meantime, Collins may need to find things to add to his daily mirror pep talk.

Failure To Fly

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Making it to the proverbial mountain top is the goal of almost any athlete and coach.

The only problem with getting to the top is things can only go down from there. The Falcons may not have technically made it to the top of the mountain, but they, and Dan Quinn in particular, are finding out how quickly that fall can come.

So, here’s the good- Quinn ended an 18 draught for Falcons when he led them to the Super Bowl a few years ago.

He also guided them back to the playoffs the following year, something most teams that lost in the previous years’ championship game had struggled to repeat, so I give him credit for that. Plus, the Falcons have had some injuries, particularly on defense, which should be taken into account.

Now for the bad news- in today’s NFL none of what I mentioned above really matters, especially when you didn’t actually win the Super Bowl.

Since their Super Bowl appearance three years ago, Atlanta’s win total for each season has been 10-7-and “on pace for fewer than 7 wins this year”.

I realize after you win 14 games you’re going to step back, and 10 wins certainly isn’t anything to shrug, but it’s still a continual decline.

Defensively, the Falcons have had difficulty stopping the run and forcing turnovers; not a great combination, to say the least.

Fortunately, outside of the Houston game, where their defense had more leaks than the staff at the White House, they’ve been able to minimize the damage when it comes to points.

Surprisingly enough, the offensive side is really where they’ve been hurting. Matt Ryan is currently having a career worst TD/INT ratio and the running game is basically nonexistent.

Point being, you can deal with a few less wins each year as long as there isn’t a huge drop off in performance on the field, which isn’t the case.

Throw in the injuries to Drew Brees and Cam Newton, combined with Tampa’s inconsistency, and the season was opening up to be Atlanta’s for the taking.

The Falcons have yet to face either of those teams. All three are playing better than expected, so while their success isn’t a direct correlation to Atlanta’s struggles, it does make the season up to this point that much harder to handle.

You also can’t ignore Atlanta has some pretty high priced players that are right in the middle of their primes (Julio Jones) or close to nearing the end (Ryan), adding additional urgency to each season.

Personally, I don’t think Quinn should be in danger of losing his job, but the Falcons care about my opinion as much as McDonald’s does about my individual boycott of the McRib- seriously, that whole sandwich is just unnatural.

But, it’s all about what have you done for me lately, and if this current trajectory continues, Quinn answer will be very short.

I remember the simultaneous look of joy and exasperation on the face of my high school chemistry teacher when she found out we (her students) had the highest end of course test scores in the state; she was at the top of the mountain.

Unfortunately for Quinn he’s currently experiencing the exasperation and difficulty in Atlanta without having ever experienced the joy beforehand.

If things don’t change, he may not have to worry about it anymore, at least not in Atlanta.

Turn Off The Cam-Era

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

We like our athletes a certain way- strait-laced, singularly focused on winning, and someone who plays the game the “right way”.

Of course, the definition of “right way” seems to change depending on what team the player is on.

So, when you have someone as gregarious as Cam Newton, playing the most visible position there is in sports, he’s going to be a lightning rod for all sorts of criticism.

This has led to numerous hot topic articles such as Newton’s post game press conference attire and how he only cares for himself. (Who cares about what he wears; Dwayne Wade wore pants to a presser that were size Osh Kosh B’Gosh for crying out loud. And as for Newton’s selfishness, that’s easily debunked by simply Googling “Cam Newton Charity Work”.)

While those topics may be fun to write about, the main storyline concerning Newton should revolve around whether or not it’s time for he and the Panthers to part ways.

It’s not a new sentiment by any means, but up until recently it was one whose fuel was fired by those who didn’t like Cam for reasons beyond his play on the field.

After the Panthers Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay, WFAN’s Joe Ovies tweeted: “Cam Newton game theory: Proving your shoulder strength is fine by overthrowing it every other pass attempt.” Besides wishing I had come up with that quip, the only thing I would’ve added was “…. while running for his life behind a porous offensive line.”

Cam shoulders a lot of the blame for his play when it comes to his lack of accuracy and his decision making, neither of which has improved much since he was drafted, but it’s not completely his fault he and the Panthers organization may have to decide on his future quicker than originally anticipated.

I think everyone could foreshadow his injuries due to way Cam plays the game, but Carolina’s inability to provide their franchise quarterback with any type of stability on the offensive line sure did expedite the whole thing.

I don’t remember exactly where I read it, but Cam has apparently had either a different Left Tackle or Guard to begin every season since 2013. It’s kind of hard to feel comfortable in a pocket when the people protecting your blindside change as often as Jon Gruden’s feelings towards his quarterbacks. (Knock on wood if you’re with me.)

Plus, it’s not like Cam has had an abundance of talent at the wideout position to help him as he’s scrambling for his life.

Kelvin Benjamin’s talent was surpassed only by his love for Krispy Kreme doughnuts, and Devin Funchess was so ineffective I actually forgot his name for a second.

The Panthers do have some young talent at the position now, but with the beating Cam has taken I’m not sure if it even matters at this point.

Behind Steve Smith and Julius Peppers, Cam is probably my third favorite Panther, so I very reluctantly answer the question I posed above about parting ways with a “yes”.

I still believe Cam can play and is an above average quarterback, I’m just not sure Carolina is where it’s going to happen. Both sides have legitimately done their best to make it work, it just didn’t turn out like they had hoped.

Whether his departure takes place this year or down the road, Cam’s positive impact on the Panthers and the city Charlotte will speak much louder than his fashion sense.

Pink Eyed

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I have been a sports fan for the better part of thirty-five years, but over the past few years my enthusiasm has waned.

In part because of the antics that take place within schools, organizations, and players, but also because of the fans; when we get things wrong, we really get them wrong.

However, when fan interaction culminates into what took place in Athens for the Georgia/Arkansas State game, it shows that when we do get it right, we can make an impact.

Georgia’s impromptu “Pink Out” in honor of Wendy Anderson- the wife of Arkansas State’s Head Coach Blake Anderson- who passed away from breast cancer in August not only says a lot about the Georgia fan base (I’ll get to that in a second), but was also a significant gesture.

For one, this wasn’t proposed by the team being directly impacted by Anderson’s passing; it was done by the opposing school, with little to no ties to the program they were about to face. It’s one thing to participate in a cause someone else has put together, it’s something else entirely to be the place where the idea originates from.

Secondly, the fact it was done by Georgia brought an awareness to the story that frankly, Arkansas State would never be able to replicate.

Outside of the money raised from the pink t-shirts sold for the game, it’s difficult to know exactly how many donations came in solely because of the story’s exposure; I imagine it had to be a decent number though.

It’s like the difference between your local pizza place holding a fundraiser for an employee and Pizza Hut having one for that same employee. Suddenly. a story that had local roots was able to branch out nationwide.

Obviously, the Georgia fans- in particular the Bulldogs’ Battling Breast Cancer who initiated everything- deserve the credit for putting this together, something that has become somewhat of a norm in Athens.

Whether it’s the already planned “Pink Out” game scheduled for October, raising money for an assistant coach of an opposing team whose daughter was suffering from a rare genetic condition, or helping out their own former players, it seems pretty evident the UGA fan base does a good job of helping others in need.

I realize this type of assistance takes place at most programs across the country, but unfortunately most of those acts of kindness don’t get much publicity, and I thought this was more than deserving.

I also understand this type of loss is something that almost everyone has gone through at some point in their lives; many of whom don’t have the social support structure to help when it does occur.

It’s why things like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the Pink Out are so important; not only does it help raise money, but it lets people know there are things being done on their behalf.

No one would have blinked an eye or thought any less of Georgia had they just done a moment of silence in Wendy Anderson’s honor and then moved on to the game. Instead, they decided to go above and beyond and do something about it.

As fans, we like to preach about how sports can bring communities together, but are often slow to follow through. That wasn’t the case in Athens. For once, it was nice to see fans practice what they preach.

The Strong Silent Type

By: JJ Lanier

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

For the better part of a decade at the wide receiver position, there has been almost a direct correlation between a player’s ability to perform on the field and his antics off it. The crazier the antics the more talented the player must be, otherwise why put up with it.

That said, it’s somewhat poetic that on the same day Antonio Brown is turning in a diva performance the entire cast of “Real Housewives of New York City” would’ve been proud of, Julio Jones is signed a contract making him the highest paid wide receiver in the NFL.

I say this because when a player like Jones- someone who doesn’t throw sideline rants, blames losses on his lack of targets, or post videos on social media demeaning the organization he plays for- becomes the highest paid, it almost catches you by surprise. (During the stretch when Jones wasn’t getting many red zone targets, could you have pictured him posting a video of all his touchdown catches in Atlanta followed by the words “Remember Me???” as the video fades to black? Now how about Brown?)

I’m sure Jones is more vocal behind closed doors, but if so that at least seems to be where those conversations stay. And while some may look at him holding out as diva-like behavior I have no issue with it, especially when you consider the way it’s been handled by both Jones and the Falcons.

There are several different avenues to venture down when you discuss making a 30-year-old the highest paid wideout in the league, but the real story that will have implications across the league are the terms of the extension- $66 million over the next three years, all guaranteed.

Regardless of what side of the argument you fall on- whether contracts should be guaranteed or not- you must admit Jones’ contract could be the turning point for how those contracts are handled in the NFL.

How many times have you heard of a deal stalling out not because of the length or total money involved, but because of the guaranteed dollars?

As annoying as it is, there’s a reason “The number of years or total dollar amount doesn’t matter, it’s all about what’s guaranteed” comment is ingrained in our minds. I understand why NFL money isn’t guaranteed, but it’s a huge hurdle that sometimes can’t be overcome.

In a profession where contracts are built upon existing contracts with other players, why in the world would another player of Jones’ caliber settle for anything less than a fully guaranteed contract, or at least something close to that. If I were him, I wouldn’t.

I’m not saying this is something that will happen overnight, or take place for every player in the league, but the precedent has been set and I imagine there will be a line of football players waiting to follow in Jones’ footsteps.

Whether or not you believe Jones is worth the money at this stage of his career, or if you think he’ll have lived up to his contract five years from now may not even matter.

There’s a good chance we’ll look back at his signing as a change of the times and something that may alter the way the NFL handles contracts from here on out.

And it all happened without the use of Instagram.

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