The Evster's Guide to the NFL's Old Faces in New Places

The Evster's Guide to the NFL's Old Faces in New Places

Last week during my fantasy football draft, I was shocked to find out how many important players switched teams this summer. As the clock ticked down and my blood pressure rose, I scrambled through cheat sheets and depth charts in an effort to figure out which players would elevate their games in their new surroundings. Turns out, Priest Holmes is not one of them, which pretty much killed my draft strategy of taking him with each of my first 11 picks. But you shouldn't have to go through what I went through. So to make it easier on you, I've compiled a list of this year's BIG BOARD CLIMBERS along with my expert, HARD-HITTING analysis of each player who pulled a SUPER DUPER SWITCHAROO this past offseason.

RUNNING BACKS

Steven Jackson -- St. Louis to Atlanta

According to NFL dot com, S-Jax (no one calls him that) rushed for over 10,000 career yards in St. Louis with an average of 4.2 yards per carry. THIS IS A BOLD FACED LIE. I've had this guy on my fantasy team like eight different times and he has never, EVER, done anything besides look totally awesome while running toward the sidelines for a 3-yard loss. Despite his amazing dreads, he is currently banned from my fantasy squad, so I fully expect him to lead the NFC in rushing and probably win the Super Bowl.

Reggie Bush -- Miami to Detroit

Poor Reggie Bush. He went from rebuilding New Orleans to lounging in Miami to now renting a dumpy apartment in America's dumpiest city. Luckily for Reg, he'll have the opportunity to reignite his career in Detroit, joining forces with Lions Offensive Coordinator Mike Martz, whose high-octane offense revolves around pass-catching backs. Unfortunately for Reg, Mike Martz is not really the Lions Offensive Coordinator, I just made that up because it seemed like a good transition from the previous sentence. Either way, I expect Reggie to literally jump over around eight or nine guys this year, because he is still the closest thing to a kangaroo that this game has ever seen.

Rashard Mendenhall -- Pittsburgh to Arizona

Wasn't Mendenhall supposed to be the next Jerome Bettis? I'm pretty sure I once saw a guy's chest cavity explode when he tried to tackle him. Now Mendenhall has been shipped off to Arizona (RIP Beanie Wells) to compete with a person named Ryan Williams and another dude named Stepfan Taylor. Yes, that is the man's name, Stepfan. He's a real person and his name is Stepfan. Unbelievable. What an unbelievable world we live in. I cannot say for certain, but I am 99% confident Stepfan's name is pronounced "Stuh-floggin".

Neymar -- Santos to Barcelona

Very excited for Neymar's move to European football. He could score up to 30 goals this year playing in Spain while also contracting roughly 147 new sexually transmitted diseases.

Danny Woodhead -- New England to San Diego

Whatever happened to the days of bruising Chargers backs like Marion Butts, Rod Bernstein and Bob the Bruiser Brosenberg? (I created Brosenberg in Madden last year and he scored over a hundred touchdowns and was definitely on steroids.) Ugh, now they've brought in Little Danny Woodhead? The idea is to have Woodhead be San Diego's third-down back while also spelling Ryan Mathews from time to time. But I think it's pretty clear that Woodhead will end up the starter considering Mathews will most likely shatter his femur by the time you're finished this blogpost.

Chris Ivory -- New Orleans to NY Jets

I'm not kidding I actually think Chris Ivory is kinda good.

Other running backs who don't deserve to have entire paragraphs written about them:

Felix Jones (Dallas to Philadelphia): Super Bowl bound, baby! Peyton Hillis (Kansas City to Tampa Bay): Peyton Hillis was on the Chiefs? Ahmad Bradshaw (NY Giants to Indianapolis): Starting off the season on the PUP list, which means absolutely nothing to everyone in the world besides his backup, Vick Ballard. LaGarrette Blount  (Tennessee to New England): It doesn't matter, Blount will always be remembered as the guy who blasted that dude in the face while he was at Oregon. Frankly I thought the dude deserved it. Shonn Greene (NY Jets to Tennessee): The former Rex Ryan favorite could take goal line carries away from Chris Johnson and omg seriously who cares.

QUARTERBACKS

Tim Tebow -- NY Jets to New England

It's honestly really sad what's going on with Tim Teebs. Two years ago, he was leading the Broncos to a playoff victory and now he has been relegated to Tom Brady's backup's backup. I mean, I understand that the guy can't throw a football anywhere near where it's supposed to go, but he is REALLY FUN to watch. I'd never wish a player to get injured, but I really, really, really wish Tom Brady and Ryan Mallett would get injured so I guess I would wish a player to get injured -- actually two players -- so c'mon God let's make this happen!

Also, I made a bet with my brother around three years ago that one day Tim Tebow would lead a team to the Super Bowl. The loser has to spend 10 whole minutes talking to an employee in Macy's perfume department. Please, Lord, please give Tebow a shot. I'm begging you.

Carson Palmer -- Oakland to Arizona

I know, I know, I know, as Mr. Funny Football Joke Man I'm supposed to say something snarky here about Carson Palmer and then zing it on home with a joke. But there is nothing, nothing, nuttthhh-innngggg that I can write that would be as funny as the simple fact that the Arizona Cardinals signed Carson Palmer to be their starting quarterback.

Have you seen Carson Palmer play football in the last four or five years? Have you SEEN this guy play football?!?! OF COURSE YOU HAVEN'T, because he suckkkkssssss. No human being in their right mind would want to watch Carson Palmer play football!!! I don't know why I'm using all these exclamation points!!!

Alex Smith -- San Francisco to Kansas City

I think I've figured out what Andy Reid is doing this season (and what he did during his first year with the Eagles). By choosing Alex Smith as his starter (and Doug Pederson in '99), Reid is hoping to start off his tenure in Kansas City by being THE WORST FOOTBALL TEAM ON THE PLANET. Then, at around week six, he'll replace Alex Smith, take over the play calling duties from his offensive coordinator WHO JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE DOUG "THE DING DONG" PEDERSON and lead the Chiefs out of the cesspool he got them into. Chiefs fans will be inspired by the team's turnaround, Reid will restore pride in the city and ultimately be remembered as a coach who really, really, really liked to laminate his play charts.

Other quarterbacks who will have little to no effect on this season:

Matt Cassell (Kansas City to I Have No Idea): but I'm sure you could easily google it. Kevin Knob (Arizona to Buffalo): Knob is competing for the starting job with scintillating rookie, EJ Manuel. The stud from Florida State recently injured his knee during a preseason game and is questionable for week one. According to BuffaloBillboBaggins.com, the Bills have hired EVERY SINGLE DOCTOR IN THE WORLD in order to get Manuel healthy for opening day. Ryan Fitzpatrick (Buffalo to Tennessee): With the arrival of Knob and Manuel, Fitz moved onto the Titans where he'll back up Jake Locker and be featured in the most boring sentence that has ever been written on this entire website.

Evster's note: I originally intended to include a section for defensive players in this post (Darrelle Revis to TB, James Harrison to Cincy, Charles Woodson to Oakland, and more), but it's currently 11:30pm and my wife is yelling at me to come to bed. I would like to add however that former Eagle and 49er, David Akers, is now kicking for Detroit, replacing 64-year-old Jason Hanson (aka the only player in my fantasy team's history to have his jersey retired).

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Wallace -- Pittsburgh to Miami

The 27-year-old speedster cashed in this offseason by signing a $60 million contract with the Dolphins despite the fact that he can only catch a football when the other guys promise not to hurt him. Regardless, Wallace is a major upgrade over Miami's 2012 starting receiving corps which consisted of Brian Hartline and do you really have to hear the other guy I mean Brain Hartline on his own should be enough to hammer this point home.

Percy Harvin -- Minnesota to Seattle

THERE SURE ARE A LOT OF GUYS WHO SWITCHED TEAMS THIS YEAR. I'm honestly amazed that Harvin's still alive. The oft-injured playmaker had offseason hip surgery, and while Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is hopeful he'll be back on the field at some point this season, there is no timetable for Harvin's return. "Percy has been working really hard on his rehab," said Carroll earlier this week. "Luckily we've got a bunch of guys on this team who can step right in and fill that void though." When it was later explained to Coach Carroll that the "bunch of guys" he was referring to were Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin, Carroll took off his shoe and started repeatedly slugging himself in the tits.

Wes Welker -- New England to Denver

Absolutely nothing will change about Wes Welker.

Danny Amendola -- St. Louis to New England

[Joke about how Danny Amendola and Wes Welker are the same person.] Actually, did you know that both Amendola and Welker went to Texas Tech? That's kinda interesting. Even more interesting though is the fact that Amendola is the first receiver in NFL history who was born without feet.

Greg Jennings -- Green Bay to Minnesota

This summer, Jennings traded in Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback for Christian Ponder. Feel free to read that last sentence 85 more times until it really sinks in. There are some people out there who feel like Minnesota will offer a fresh start for Jennings, allowing him to play alongside Adrian Peterson while giving him an opportunity to be the Vikings' go-to guy. Those people can generally be found hanging around 10th and Market street wearing milk cartons on their feet. It's CHRISTIAN PONDER. I expect Jennings to be out of the league by week 6 and Ponder to be featured in The Evster's 2014 NFL Guide to Old Faces in New Places.

Anquan Boldin -- Baltimore to San Francisco

One of these days Anquan Boldin is going to die on a football field.

Other wide receivers who would probably be shocked to see that they were mentioned in this article:

Ted Ginn, Jr. (San Francisco to Carolina): This is Ginny's year! Darrius Heyward-Bey (Oakland to Indianapolis): Pull your 81 jerseys out, one clap. Devery Henderson (New Orleans to Washington): It actually must be very exciting for Henderson to get out of the shadow of the 15 other wide receivers on the standard Saints roster. Kevin Walter (Houston to Tennessee): Have fun with Jake Locker, dude. Have. Fun.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Sixers were right to reject Pelicans' reported Jahlil Okafor trade offer

Sixers were right to reject Pelicans' reported Jahlil Okafor trade offer

If the reports are accurate, Bryan Colangelo probably made the right decision not trading Jahlil Okafor last week.

After the Pelicans acquired DeMarcus Cousins early Monday morning in a shocking, post-All-Star Game blockbuster, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported several interesting pieces of information regarding the Sixers.

"The Pelicans were very close on a deal for Jahlil Okafor about 10 days ago, offering a similar package except it didn't include [Buddy] Hield," Shelburne wrote

A few hours earlier, she reported on ESPN that the deal for Okafor would have netted the Sixers Tyreke Evans, a protected first-round pick and a future second-round pick from New Orleans.

The protection the Pelicans sought was heavy — they wanted top-20 protection, according to Shelburne.

That just isn't a meaningful enough return, even for a player without a role in Philly.

Why? 

• Evans is a free agent after the season who has had three knee surgeries in the last two years and can't shoot threes. 

• A second-round pick is just a sweetener, so moving on from that ...

• A top-20 protected first-round pick isn't that enticing at all. Of the players selected between 20 and 30 in the last draft, only Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Toronto's Pascal Siakam and San Antonio's Dejounte Murray even have roles. 

In the previous year's draft, the best picks between 20-30 were Bobby Portis and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. 

The year before, Rodney Hood and Clint Capela panned out for their teams, but the eight others selected in that range have done little.

This sort of trade might have worked for the Sixers if they weren't already accumulating some roster depth. They don't need to go search for another late-first-round pick they can hopefully turn into the eighth or ninth guy in a rotation. With players developing like T.J. McConnell, Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes and Nik Stauskas, the Sixers are already building a decent second unit for the future.

There are a lot of people in this city ready to give Okafor away, but doing so just makes no sense for the Sixers. All it would solve is the center logjam and awkwardness, but the value in that New Orleans proposal just wasn't there for the Sixers. 

At this point, it's looking extremely unlikely Okafor is traded before the Feb. 23 deadline. The Blazers were interested but acquired Jusuf Nurkic from Denver instead. The Pelicans were interested but landed Cousins. 

The only team left we've heard connected to Okafor is the Bulls, who don't have much of intrigue to send the Sixers' way.

But still, hanging on to Okafor and trading him after the season, or on draft night, could yield the Sixers a better return than New Orleans was offering. Forget about Evans and forget about the second-round pick — that offer was basically a pick in the 20-30 range for Okafor. 

Not enough. 

The Sixers held out in hopes of New Orleans' making the pick top-10 protected or lottery-protected instead, but Pels GM Dell Demps knew the Sixers didn't have much leverage and thought to himself, "If I'm trading away a potentially valuable draft pick, I want a better player in return."

And so he got Cousins. That's how we ended up where we are today.

The Sixers' future is brighter because their pick swap with the Kings now holds more value, so last night was a win for them even though Okafor remains on the roster.

Sixers' big picture still bright even after recent bumps in the road

Sixers' big picture still bright even after recent bumps in the road

If you’re a fan of the local professional basketball franchise, it’s understandable that you might have been a bit frustrated to learn, weeks after the fact, that Joel Embiid suffered an itsy-bitsy-teeny-weeny meniscus tear.

And you might have found it a tad concerning that contrary to popular opinion, there exists the possibility that Ben Simmons won’t play at all this year. Or that Jahlil Okafor won’t play somewhere else.

This reminder: You can love your team, but don’t expect it to love you back.

And one more: As disillusioned as you might be at present, you’ll be back.

You know it, and the Sixers know it.

They can be somewhat less than forthright on the injury front or somewhat less than successful on the trade front, and it won’t matter. They can, in fact, do everything short of moving to Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., and it won’t matter.

Because if you’ve stuck with this outfit to this point in The Process – and man, you’re a real glutton for punishment if you have – you sure as heck aren’t going away now.

Not after watching Embiid, who – 31 games into his professional career already – looks like a transcendent player. And not when you stop to consider the promise of Simmons, the first overall pick in last summer’s draft. Or the promise of whatever Okafor might bring in a trade.

That said, the optics are not good right now. Not with the smoke from three brush fires hovering over the team, partially obscuring some promising developments (the rise of Dario Saric and T.J. McConnell foremost among them).

General manager Bryan Colangelo appears to have only told the truth about Embiid’s injured left knee as a last resort – i.e., after Derek Bodner of derekbodner.com reported the meniscus tear on Feb. 11.

Before that, the team had most often referred to the injury, sustained Jan. 20 against Portland, as a contusion, which would seem to connote some sort of minor, skin-deep issue. As he continued to miss games – in all he has been held out of the last 11, and 14 of 15 – there was, eventually, the admission that it was a bone bruise.

In a hastily convened news conference after Bodner’s story broke (and before a game against Miami), Colangelo finally said that the team knew from the start it was “a very minor meniscal tear,” in addition to a bone bruise.

Not the finest hour for a GM who had promised transparency.

Then the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported last Friday, at the start of All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, that the Jan. 23 CT scan on Simmons’ surgically repaired right foot indicated he had not fully healed.

Simmons suffered a Jones fracture of that foot’s fifth metatarsal on Sept. 30 -- i.e., the final day of training camp. The word then was that he would miss three months and thus be back in January. Then there were reports he would return after the All-Star break. As recently as last Wednesday coach Brett Brown told ESPN.com, “I fully expect him to play this season.”

After Pompey’s report, Colangelo issued a statement saying the team is “employing a conservative and thoughtful approach” to Simmons’ recovery, and basing his return “on the advice and direction of medical professionals.”

Colangelo added that Simmons’ next examination is scheduled for this Thursday, the day before the Sixers resume their season at home against Washington. Brown has said the rookie will need four or five full practices before he plays in a game, of which 26 remain in the season. The math doesn’t look promising, people.

The trade deadline also arrives Thursday, and on Sunday night Sean Deveney of The Sporting News and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com tweeted out that the Kings offered guard Tyreke Evans, a 2017 first-round pick and a future choice over a week ago for Okafor before shipping a similar package (as well as rookie guard Buddy Hield) to Sacramento for All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.

Shelburne tweeted that the sticking point in the Okafor-to-the-Pelicans deal was the fact that the Sixers and New Orleans could not agree on the protections for the first-round pick.

So this saga continues. As far back as Feb. 6, there was a report (from USA Today’s Sam Amick) that the Sixers were talking with New Orleans about a deal involving Okafor.

Then, during a break in that Miami game on Feb. 11, Okafor was seen shaking hands with teammates as if a deal had gone down. He didn’t play that night – Brown admitted it was because of “trade rumors” – and Okafor didn’t even travel to Charlotte for a game two nights later.

But he rejoined the team last Wednesday in Boston for the Sixers’ final game before the break and saw some time off the bench. David Aldridge of Turner Sports has since reported that a swap with Portland fell through.

Other outlets have reported that Denver and Chicago expressed interest (the Nuggets presumably before swapping centers with the Blazers), and on Saturday Deveney wrote that Dallas was a potential destination.

So far, nothing.

Lest you be inclined to fret about any of this, understand that the Sixers stand to benefit from a (likely) downturn in Sacramento’s already-dim fortunes, given that they can swap first-rounders with the Kings under terms of a larcenous 2015 trade engineered by Sam Hinkie.

On another front, Embiid said that if all goes well in practice this week, he “probably” will return Friday.

And kindly consider the big picture – that the Sixers have had far worse times than this. Far worse, even, than the first three years of The Process. They are the franchise that traded Wilt, Moses, Barkley, AI and nearly Dr. J. The one that went 9-73 when they were TRYING to win. The one that twice frittered away 3-1 leads en route to losing playoff series; no other Eastern Conference team has done it that often.

You will get through this.

Deep down, you know it. And they do, too