WWJD #10 – Musings, Rumors, and Lies



It’s the time of the year where NFL rumors are swirling, MLB speculation is running rapid, college basketball coaches’ seats are hot, and we live in March Madness.


When the 2020 NFL Draft takes place on April 23rd at the Ceaser’s Grand Ball Room, the Las Vegas Raiders will already have an idea of who they want and what needs they need to fill. The NFL starts their new year on March 18th, and the Silver and Black look to be a team that will be active in free agency. The rumors are flying around NFL circles with the biggest question being, “Who will be the Raiders starting quarterback when Allegiant Stadium opens up?”

Will Derek Carr remain the starter, or will general manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden go sign Tom Brady or another veteran quarterback to supplant Carr? Will they draft a QB in the first round of the draft to groom to take over for Carr after backing him up, or will they bring in a veteran like Marcus Mariota to come in and be the guy should Carr falter?

Las Vegas NFL Combine
Photo credit: Silver and Black Pride

As it currently stands, Las Vegas is armed with $56.59 million in cap room, which could go up should the Raiders decide to cut or trade offensive lineman Gabe Jackson, saving $9.6 million in cap space. Las Vegas could once again go “big game hunting” in free agency by adding much-needed help at middle linebacker. A source told me a name to watch is Blake Martinez of the Green Bay Packers as well as the Cincinnati Bengals Nick Vigil.

The Raiders need help with their interior defensive line, and a few names to watch are the Dallas Cowboys’ Maliek Collins and Robert Quinn along with D.J. Reader of the Houston Texans. As for defensive back help, cornerback Byron Jones of the Cowboys, safety Anthony Harris of the Minnesota Vikings, and Chris Harris of the Denver Broncos are names that have the Raiders interested per my sources.


The Raiders’ need for a #1 wide receiver is also front and center for Raider Nation.


While there are not any free agents that fit the bill, a player that could be traded is the Vikings’ Stefon Diggs. Diggs is due $14.5 million and is under contract until 2023. He fits what the Raiders traditionally like in a receiver, big, fast, athletic, and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Sources at the combine told me that while the Vikings would like to keep him, their salary cap may dictate that he gets moved. I was told that they were talking to teams that are potentially interested, and the Raiders were one of those clubs.

The Raiders also met with the 2020 NFL Draft’s top receivers at the NFL Combine, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III from Alabama, and CeeDee Lamb from Oklahoma. Another two names to pay close attention to, especially if the Raiders trade back in round 1, are TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor and LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson. I was told that the Raiders met with the two  (amongst others) and that adding a receiver early is “a priority at this time” to the team.


But until the new CBA is done, almost all NFL teams are playing the waiting game due to the uncertainty of the salary cap and franchise tag designation.


Speaking of the NFL’s CBA, I am glad that it is getting done before any work stoppage, but at what cost? Having friends and family who played in the NFL, I have seen first hand the damage that the players have endured and how it affects not only them but their families and loved ones alike.

Do I know all the ins and outs of the proposed deal? No. I don’t. But I do know that if I were a player, I would want a 50/50 revenue split as well as health care for the rest of my life. Those two things would be non-negotiable, especially if the owners want to go to a 17 game season, and only the #1 seed having a bye week when the playoffs start.

Photo Credit: NFL and NFLPA

On Tuesday, the NFLPA did a fantastic thing, in my opinion. The players voted JC Tretter of the Cleveland Browns as their new president. Eric Winston had been the president and did a fine job, but Tretter is a Cornell graduate who majored in Industrial Labor Relation.

More importantly, he wasn’t a hard yes or no when it came to the new CBA.  He also sent out a series of tweets regarding the CBA, that the players are currently voting on. Tretter put together a presentation on the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement that did not take a public stance on the deal, something that the players liked.

The NFLPA also voted to add or keep Calais Campbell, Richard Sherman, Malcolm Jenkins, Alex Mack, Wesley Woodyard, Michael Thomas, Lorenzo Alexander, Thomas Morestead, and Benjamin Watson on their executive council.  Also, on Tuesday, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to move the franchise tag deadline (to next Monday) as well as the CBA vote, but the start of the new league year (when Free Agency starts) remains the same, Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 pm. ET.


TJ Otzelberger is not going to leave UNLV this offseason, he’s here to rebuild the Runnin’ Rebels and for the long haul


With coaches getting fired or leaving their schools now that the NCAA season is staring it’s coaching carousel, considering the type of coaching job he did this season, UNLV head men’s basket coach TJ Otzelberger will have his name mentioned for some of those jobs. Otzelberger led the Runnin’ Rebels to a 17-15 record, but they finished tied for second place in the Mountain West Conference when they were predicted to finish seventh. He injected life into a dead Thomas & Mack Center and into a once-proud basketball program that sorely needed it.


Photo Credit: Terrence Quaites – Franchise Sports Media

There is speculation that if Iowa St. or another bigger named school opens up that coach Otzelberger will leave, but I don’t believe that to be the case. He made it clear to those who are close to him that he doesn’t want to be the type of husband and father that up and moves his family for the next job opportunity. In-fact, he initially rebuffed UNLV and Director of Athletics Desiree Reed-Francois before she finally got a chance to sit down with him.

Otzelberger and his wife, Alison, have three young children, and they want to keep their family in a comfortable place. They want their family to be stable and allow the kids to grow-up with friends they make early. Las Vegas and UNLV have helped provide that. Under Otzelberger, UNLV has the Mountain West’s top ’21 recruiting class and seems to have a great start to the ’22 class as well. In short, he is starting to build something special on Tropicana and Maryland Parkway.

TJ loves what he has at UNLV. He knows that if he can turn the Runnin’ Rebels around, this is the type of program that could be a North Carolina, Duke, or Villanova. Everything is in place at UNLV to become a national power; why would he want to leave when his vision is coming into focus?


We have to be smart about the well being of ourselves and others during the ordeal that we are going through at the moment.


We are dealing with an epidemic that is causing mass hysteria in society, the coronavirus. As of the writing of this article, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has announced he is advising indoor sporting events to eliminate spectators. This is big news since the MAC Conference basketball tournament is taking place in Ohio, as well as the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Ivy league canceled their conference basketball tournament as well.

The NBA, MLB, NHL, and MLS issued a joint statement on Monday, stating that they are closing access to locker rooms and clubhouses to all nonessential personnel, including media, in response to the coronavirus crisis. “Given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms, and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting.”

The APSE and six writers organizations have issued a statement asserting that they are intent on preserving a safe work environment but that “we also must ensure the locker room access — which we have negotiated over decades — to players, coaches and staff is not unnecessarily limited in either the short or long term. We look forward to open communication with the leagues as, together, we deal with this serious health matter.”

How does this affect Las Vegas, and what’s going on in our town? In a month and a half, the 2020 NFL Draft is taking place, in a couple of weeks the first round of the NCAA tournament takes place, and hundreds of thousands of people ascend on Las Vegas for the weekend to watch the opening round, in the best environment to do so. The Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas Lights FC, and the Las Vegas Aviators have home games as well as countless conventions and shows taking place.


While the threat of serious injury or even death is real and not to be taken lightly, I do have a couple of questions.


First off, and I don’t mean this in a joking manner, why are people buying up all the toilet paper from stores? Costco, Smiths, Target, Walmart, Albertsons, Stater Bros., and other markets are running out of it. The same can be said for hand sanitizer, water, and baby wipes. I went to a Smart and Final, and they had a limit to how much someone can buy, up to 4 items (mix and match). I understand the others, but TP, why? Could there be a quarantine on the horizon?

Second, I respect the need for safety, for the athletes, fans, and people working in the arenas. I am all for temporarily playing games without fans, but it can’t be the norm, nor can it become the rule and not the exception, can it? Players love playing in front of fans; it gives them an energy that can’t be explained and is needed.

Owners love it for the money they make at the concession stands and the gate. They love TV deals, their paydays, and the ability to pay their players’ contracts with a surplus. But the vibe the fans bring gives the venue life and the players energy. It’s a symbiotic relationship that we need and crave, but we need to err on the side of caution. With what’s going on today, safety is paramount, so it just may be the norm for the foreseeable future.

Lastly, I believe a nationwide quarantine will happen at some point; I think it is inevitable. This is a communal disease, and we need to play our part in trying to contain it. That means wash your hands, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze, stay home if you’re sick, and don’t shake hands. It is life or death for some people. If it causes some type of inconvenience to our daily lives, adapt. Like TQ told me when we talked about this, “it’s all about adaptation,” and he is right.


It made me think of one of my favorite lines in a movie. In “Moneyball“, Brad Pitt, who plays Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, tells the director of scouting who he fires a few moments later to “Adapt or die!” As a society and as the human race, we need to do just that.


WWJD      WWJD     WWJD      WWJD     WWJD      WWJD     WWJD      WWJD     WWJD      WWJD     WWJD      WWJD


-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media






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