Last year, the Steelers went 7-3 in the 10 games Bell missed. He rushed for 556 yards and three touchdowns over six games last year. His 2014 season — 1,361 rushing yards, eight rushing touchdowns, 83 receptions for 854 yards and three touchdowns — stands as the benchmark of his potential.
Let’s start with the look.
Okay…NOW it’s official.
We have re-signed QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn’t pass the NFL quarterback eye test. He wasn’t blessed with the stature of Cam Newton, arm of Carson Palmer or presence of Aaron Rodgers. If we’re being honest, he looks more like a tertiary character on Game Of Thrones. If we’re being totally honest, he might best resemble a veteran place kicker who fell down a well.
Fitzpatrick’s decision to grow out his hair and beard during his contract standoff feels like a clever ploy from the Harvard guy. It’s like Fitzpatrick is telling us (and the rest of the NFL), “Isn’t it funny people were making such a big deal about me? I’m Ryan Fitzpatrick! There’s no need to take me seriously! You should probably focus elsewhere.” Fitzpatrick might just be the NFL’s answer to Billy Hoyle. A hustler disguised as a chump.
Fitzpatrick’s unassuming nature is one of the reasons Jets fans fell for him. Well, that and the fact that he was stunningly productive last year. He set the Jets’ franchise record with 31 touchdown passes, a reality that gets more shocking with time. His three-pick, crash-and-burn in Buffalo in Week 17 was unfortunate, but he was very nearly a hero there, too. Look it in, Kenbrell!
Over the past two seasons, the 25-year-old corner earned 30 passes defensed to go along with four interceptions. Last season, Slay allowed a passer rating of 90.1 when targeted in coverage with a completion percentage of 63.2. He was targeted 68 times, per NFL Media research.
Slay will lead a youthful Lions cornerback group that enters training camp with 2014 fourth-round pick Nevin Lawson slated to start opposite. Slay has shown the ability to travel with opposing No. 1 receivers and could be asked to do much more shadowing in 2016.
After the Lions lost two game-changing talents the past two years on both sides of the ball (Ndamukong Suh, Calvin Johnson), locking down Slay was a priority for new general manager Bob Quinn. Friday’s payday ensures he’ll wear Honolulu Blue for the foreseeable future.