Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and so is our Sports Time Radio pick contest. Schaumburg Stu and Dan the Man got off to a hot start both going 10-6 in the first week. I managed a .500 record at 8-8 while Mr. Fantasy starts the year off in the cellar at 7-9. I’ll try to remember to update you every Wednesday on how we’re doing. Feel free to play along and see if your picks are better than ours.
In the 2010 draft the Buffalo Bills thought they had found their feature running back when with the 8th pick I the 1st round they selected C.J. Spiller from Clemson. Spiller rushed for 1212 yards with 12 touchdowns, he caught 36 passes 4 of which ended in touchdowns. Spiller was also dangerous in the return game as he returned 8 punts and 21 kickoffs with 5 of those returns going for touchdowns. Coming into the NFL Spiller looked like a 3-down back which is something that is tough to find in the league now. Spiller averaged 4.6 yards per carry in his first pre-season and was named the Bills #1 running back. Spiller beat out Fred Jackson and Marshwan Lynch. Lynch was dealt to the Seattle Seahawks soon after Spiller was named the starter. Spiller played in 14 games his rookie season getting 1 start. He rushed for 283 yards and caught 24 passes for 157 yards and 1 touchdown. It wasn’t the offensive contribution that the Bills where expecting out of the #8 pick. Spiller did play well on special teams as he averaged 14.6 yards on 12 punt returns and 23.0 yards on 44 kickoff returns taking 1 back for a touchdown. Spiller started 11 games in 2011; rushing for 561 yards with 4 touchdowns and catching 39 passes for 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. 2012 was Spiller’s best season as he rushed for 1244 yards and 6 touchdowns while catching 43 passes for 459 yards and 2 touchdowns. In 2013 Spiller got close to his second 1000 yard season, but fell short at 933 yards. He had 2 rushing touchdowns and caught 33 passes for 185 yards. Injuries cut Spiller’s 2014 season short. He played in just 9 games and totaled 300 yards rushing, but no touchdowns, He added 19 receptions for 125 yards and 1 touchdown. That was Spiller’s last season with the Bills. Spiller signed a 4-year $16 million dollar deal on at what seemed to be the perfect place for his skill set with the New Orleans Saints. Spiller started 2 games for the Saints on 2015, but played in 13 games total. He rushed for 112 yards, but caught 34 passes for 239 yards and 2 touchdowns. You would’ve thought that with a full off season and training camp with New Orleans that Spiller might be looking at a big role in their passing offense. Sadly Spiller’s training camp was cut short as he suffered a knee injury that caused him to miss the final 2 pre-season games. When Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders rolled around the Saints made Spiller inactive for the game and went with veteran running back Travaris Cadet in that role. It shouldn’t of come as a surprise after being inactive for Week 1 that the Saints decided to part ways with Spiller by cutting him on Monday. New Orleans was carrying 6 running backs on their roster and sooner or later one of them was probably going to be released.
With the release of Spiller the Saints have more than $40 million in dead money counting against their salary cap; by far the most in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns are second at $28.1 million. That number includes their other big free agent signing from 2015, cornerback Brandon Browner, among several others.Spiller will count $4.5 million against this year’s cap, then another $2.5 million next year.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are 3 games under .500 at 70-73 and it doesn’t look like they’ll be getting one of the National League wild card spots this season. Pittsburgh had been in the wild card game the last three seasons. With the playoffs out of reach the Pirates decided to shut their ace down and placed pitcher Gerrit Cole on the 60-dat DL. Cole came off the DL after three weeks to pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. Cole pitched 2 innings giving up 5 runs on 4 hits while walking 4. Pittsburgh lost that game to Philadelphia 6-2. This time Cole is headed to the DL with right elbow posterior inflammation. This is Cole’s 3rd trip to the DL this season. Cole finishes 2016 the season with a 7-10 record in 21 starts and a 3.88 ERA. Cole was coming off his best season in 2015 when he went 19-8 with a 2.60 ERA, made the All-Star team and finished fourth in National League Cy Young Award balloting. Cole is 26 years old and is the future of the Pirates rotation. He has a career 47-29 record with an ERA of 3.16. With the Pirates out of the playoff race it’s in their best interest and Cole’s to shut him down and allow him to be ready to go come spring training in 2017.
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