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By CHRIS HAVEL
ESPN report: NFL’s 2018 compensatory picks will be kind to Packers after strategic moves; Also, NFL spring meetings set for this week
The NFL’s spring meetings this week in Chicago should bring interesting news on topics ranging from shorter overtimes to relaxed rules on end zone celebrations.
Frankly, I could do without O.T. and end zone displays. But I am a realist so I offer solutions.
End Zone celebrations
Choosing to – in the words of Aaron Rodgers – r-e-l-a-x the penalties for end zone dances and such is wise. The league should go a step further and request that its TV partners refrain from showing the celebrations altogether.
Fans that attend games get to see something TV viewers won’t, which is another great reason to buy a ticket. Also, ignoring the TD celebrations is a great way to promote sportsmanship.
The idea of penalizing and fining players for excess celebrations is ridiculous. Officials have far more important matters to adjudicate.
As for overtimes, and the league’s likely decision to go from 15 minutes to 10 minutes is stopping way too short of the goal line.
A regular-season game that ends in a tie should stay that way. The NFL prides itself on parity. In fact, it pats itself on the shoulder pads any chance it gets to brag about parity EXCEPT the most obvious reflection of it: Overtime games.
Why is an overtime game a pariah? I mean, aside from its impact on legal gambling?
The NFL is slowly but not so surely moving to shorten O.T. In fact, owners are likely to trim it by five minutes – from 15 to 10 in the regular season – by this week’s end.
Why stop at 10 minutes? There are times when NFL teams are incredibly close and they play like it.
Furthermore, the league uses statistics such as “point differential” in determining playoff seeds. Surely a tie after going helmet-to-helmet for four quarters is a much fairer way to break ties (no pun intended) for post-season seeding purposes.
The NFL reportedly also is going to expand its archaic rule regarding players returning from in-season IR. Teams will be able to bring back two players that fit the requirements. Again, it’s a move in the right direction that stops short.
Why does a league that espouses player safety still maintain outdated game-day roster limits? I mean aside from saving comparative peanuts on player salaries?
What price can be put on an NFL playoff team losing its quarterback to injury because it ran out of offensive linemen who were game-day active? What good does it do to have 10 practice squad players that practiced all week standing around in sweats and T-shirts on the sideline during games?
The NFL needs to open its eyes and expand game-day rosters.
Packers compensatory picks
Perhaps the best news this week was provided by an ESPN report that suggests the Packers might receive four compensatory picks in next year’s draft.
In fact, the Packers should receive a third-round pick in return for losing right guard T.J. Lang in free agency. By allowing Lang to leave without re-signing him, the Packers essentially traded him to whatever team (the Detroit Lions) he signed with in exchange for a 2018 third-round selection.
Who wouldn’t trade Lang for a third-round pick?
Packers GM Ted Thompson did. He avoided guaranteeing $10 million to an aging player and reportedly will receive a third-round pick in return.
Now that’s a sweet deal.
ESPN, which cited OverTheCap.com, believes the Packers will receive a third-round pick for Lang, a fifth-rounder for center J.C. Tretter (signed by Cleveland), a sixth-rounder for Jared Cook (signed by Oakland) and another sixth-rounder for Eddie Lacy (signed by Seattle).
The loss of defensive back Micah Hyde (signed by Buffalo) offsets the Packers’ signing of free agent tight end Martellus Bennett. The Packers’ other free agent signings – cornerback Davon House, tight end Lance Kendricks and defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois – were “street” free agents.
Chris Havel is a national best-selling author and his latest book is Lombardi: An Illustrated Life. Havel can be heard Monday through Friday from 4-6 p.m. CDT on WDUZ FM 107.5 The Fan, or on AM-1400, as well as Fan Internet Radio (www.thefan1075.com). Havel also hosts Event USA’s MVP Parties the evening before home games.