Seven Step Drop — 05/04/2017

Credit: End Zone Score

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Seven Step Drop; a weekly blog reporting, analysing, and discussing news and views from around the NFL!

Published every Wednesday right through the season until Super Bowl LII next year, Seven Step Drop brings you insights and opinions from Sports Under Centre. So let’s delve into this week’s news!

1 — Tony Romo’s retirement

2017’s biggest off-season saga ended yesterday as news broke that Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has decided to retire from football. Romo is set to replace Phil Simms as CBS’s game-day analyst alongside Jim Nantz. Romo’s retirement ends speculation that had linked him to both the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos. Romo defied expectations as a former undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois, and whether you consider him a potential Hall of Famer or not, it cannot be argued that he was one of the best quarterbacks of his era.

Credit: Detroit News

2 — New England’s backfield battle

Despite already having Dion Lewis, Super Bowl hero James White, and new signing Rex Burkhead under contract in the backfield, the Patriots hosted free agent running back Adrian Peterson on Monday. Peterson left without an offer and has already visited the Seahawks. He has also been linked to the Giants and Packers. Although Peterson wants to play for a contender, he is coming off a meniscus injury and wouldn’t be a good fit in New England’s offense. The Patriots and current free agent LeGarrette Blount reportedly have mutual interest in a reunion after a career year. However, interest in both veterans is low due to an upcoming draft class loaded with running backs.

Credit: Black Main Street

3 — Marshawn Lynch visits the Raiders

There have been rumours in the past couple of weeks that Marshawn Lynch is considering coming out of retirement and playing for his home-town Raiders. Oakland has mutual interest, especially after letting Latavius Murray sign with Minnesota. But if Lynch were to return his rights would still belong to Seattle, who would have to either release him or agree to a trade. Lynch visited Oakland’s facility today, which crucially was approved by the Seahawks, adding more fuel to the fire. If Beastmode suits up and retains his bruising, punishing running style, the Raiders are strong playoff contenders once again.

Credit: OregonLive

4 — Richard Sherman trade talk

Seahawks general manager John Schneider confirmed that Seattle has listened to trade offers for cornerback Richard Sherman. If a trade were to happen, only a handful of teams would be a good fit. The Raiders desperately need secondary help and would love to reunite Sherman with former Seattle linebackers coach Ken Norton Jr. The Falcons and Chargers could also be fits, given the presences of former Seahawks defensive coordinators Dan Quinn and Gus Bradley. Sherman had several high-profile disagreements with head coach Pete Carroll and other Seattle coaches last season, and also showed some signs of slowing down, particularly against quicker receivers.

Credit: CSN Mid-Atlantic

5 — The Timmy Jernigan trade

On Tuesday the Ravens traded starting defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan to Philadelphia for a swap of third round picks. After Baltimore re-signed fellow defensive tackle Brandon Williams to a five year, $54 million deal in March, Jernigan’s time with the Ravens was limited. General manager Ozzie Newsome recouped some value for Jernigan before the 4th year player could leave as a free agent at the end of the season. Jernigan joins an Eagles defensive line rotation that already includes Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, and Vinnie Curry.

Credit: Bleacher Report

6 — Redskins sign Zach Brown

Washington is remodelling its defense this year after ranking 28th overall last season. Their best move so far has been inking former Bills linebacker Zach Brown to a one year contract on Monday. Brown is a solid coverage linebacker who was second in the league with 149 tackles last season. Brown also had four sacks, four pass breakups and an interception. However, Brown is only a one year starter and needs to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.

Credit: Musket Fire

7 — Cleveland’s quarterback plans

Cleveland has been linked to a potential trade for Patriots backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for much of the off-season, but must be mindful of two things; last year’s disastrous Brock Osweiler deal and the track record of ex-Brady backups. Cleveland must consider whether taking a risk on a quarterback with two career starts is worth it. They must also be sure that Garoppolo can succeed outside the ‘Patriot Way’, unlike past Brady backups. Garoppolo will be cheap on the last year of his rookie deal, and trading for him now would allow the Browns to evaluate him over an entire season. The Patriots reportedly don’t want to part with Garoppolo, but is this a classic Belichick bluff to make the Browns pay more than Garoppolo is worth?