In an intriguing thought exercise for ESPN Insider (subscription required), former Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik attempts to put together the best possible 53-man team while staying below the NFL’s $133MM salary cap. Making the experiment more interesting was that Dominik didn’t simply select a squad of Pro Bowlers, but rather a club that would value attributes like special teams prowess — in short, a complete team. So in addition to stars like Tom Brady and Patrick Peterson, the roster contains lesser-known players such as J.R. Sweezy and Justin Bethel. It’s a fun piece that’s worth a full read. Let’s take a look at some news from around the league to close out this Friday night:
- Eric Decker might not put up the same numbers with the Jets as he did in Denver, but New York receivers coach Sanjay Lal didn’t just use raw statistics to evaluate Decker’s 2013 performance. Instead, writes Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Lal judged the former Minnesota Gopher in three areas: his ability to separate from defenders at the top of routes, his capacity to win against press coverage, and his potential to beat DBs on deep balls.
- While Andy Dalton might be the definition of a league-average quarterback, it made sense for the Bengals to sign him to an extension, as it’s quite difficult to find even a mediocre QB, explains Neil Payne of FiveThirtyEight (with the mathematical data expected from a Nate Silver outlet).
- In a video report, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com rounds up the latest 49ers news, including a look at San Francisco’s improved defensive line, and how Blaine Gabbert leads the battle for the No. 2 quarterback job.
- Cornerback Jansen Watson has returned to Raiders camp after taking some time to decide whether to continue his NFL career, tweets Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times. Watson’s exempt-left squad designation period expired yesterday, so he once again counts against Oakland’s 90-man roster limit.