Frank Schwab

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner. He spent 10 years covering the NFL for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Appleton (Wis.) Post-Crescent, and is a former NFL MVP voter. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and currently lives near Denver with his wife and daughter.

  • NFL Playoff Preview: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks

    Carolina Panthers (8-8-1) at Seattle Seahawks (12-4)
    Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET on Fox

    PANTHERS AT A GLANCE

    How they got here: The Panthers had one of the most unusual paths to the divisional round of any team in NFL history.

    Carolina went two entire months between wins. The Panthers beat Chicago on Oct. 5 and didn't win again until knocking off New Orleans on Dec. 7. They suffered through a 1-8-1 stretch. And because the NFC South might have been the worst division in NFL history, a four-game winning streak at the end of the regular season allowed them to steal the NFC South title with a losing record, just the second team in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record. The first? The Seahawks, in 2010.

    And if the Panthers needed one more break, they got it, when the Arizona Cardinals and third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley came in and put up an NFL playoff record low 78 yards in 27-16 win.

    Key player: We can't separate Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly, the great Carolina

    Read More »from NFL Playoff Preview: Carolina Panthers at Seattle Seahawks
  • Jerry Jones keeps hoping for playoff expansion to help his mediocre Cowboys

    Jerry Jones joked on Monday about voting for playoff expansion because it might help his Dallas Cowboys get in the playoffs. Har har. A bit awkward, but whatever.

    Then he repeated the same thing on Tuesday and it's harder to tell if he's joking. For all his faults, Jones is way too competitive to beg for the NFL to make it easier for his team to make the playoffs, rather than putting his efforts into winning more games ... right?

    He reiterated his hope for expanded playoffs to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after NFL owners tabled a vote on expanding the playoffs from 12 teams to 14 until the fall:

    I mean, this guy's just begging to be made an example of.

    Jones is a lightning rod to begin with, and making jokes like these aren't going to help him. Not with his fans, or anyone else's fans either. The problem with the NFL's

    Read More »from Jerry Jones keeps hoping for playoff expansion to help his mediocre Cowboys
  • Minneapolis, with its publicly funded new stadium, wins Super Bowl LII bid

    New Orleans had a perfect record when it came to Super Bowl bids. But, NFL owners like rewarding cities that build expensive publicly-funded stadiums even more than they love the Crescent City.

    Minneapolis will be the home of Super Bowl LII in 2018, beating New Orleans in the final vote on Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings. The NFL has made it clear that if you build a stadium, as Minnesota is doing with the help of $498 million in public funds, it will do everything it can to get your city the big game. Nothing else matters. Not the fan experience, the weather during the week, or anything else. After all, NFL owners might want their own new stadium someday, and they'll want the tax money to make sure they don't pay for it. Minnesota’s new dome will open for the 2016 season.

    “I think it had a great deal to do with it, and we want to thank our public for giving that support,” US Bank CEO and Minneapolis Super Bowl committee co-chair Richard Davis told NFL Network about how much

    Read More »from Minneapolis, with its publicly funded new stadium, wins Super Bowl LII bid
  • Peyton Manning cleared after neck exam, will get $20 million and play in 2014

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    There was really nothing about Peyton Manning's play last season that indicated his neck was bothering him.

    The NFL MVP broke records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season and led Denver to the Super Bowl. But, as part of his contract, he has a full exam on his neck every offseason. That was a safeguard for the Broncos considering Manning had multiple surgeries on his neck and missed the 2011 season with the Colts. Once he's cleared each offseason, guarantees in his contract can kick in.

    This particular doctor's appointment with Manning was worth $20 million.

    He passed according to the Denver Post's Mike Klis, which was no surprise, and as a result the Broncos quarterback will have another $20 million coming to him in guarantees. Klis said the team and Manning's agent Tom Condon will start working on the process of guaranteeing that $20 million salary now that he has been cleared. Must be nice.

    Manning, who turns 38 on March 24, appears to have a lot of productive

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  • (USA Today Sports Images)

    Another NFL week started with one more top free agent being taken off the market before other teams had a chance to make him an offer.

    Cornerback Brent Grimes was set to be one of the top defensive backs in free agency, but Miami never let him get there. The team announced it had signed Grimes to a multi-year extension.

    The team had the option to give Grimes the franchise tag before the deadline at 4 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, but the two sides hammered out a deal to avoid that.

    [Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]

    Grimes, who spent his first six seasons in Atlanta before coming over to Miami, had a fantastic 2013 season. He was Pro Football Focus' second-ranked cornerback, behind Tampa Bay's Darrelle Revis. In a league that loves passing the ball, a cornerback with Grimes' ability would have been a hot commodity in free agency.

    The Dolphins

    Read More »from Cornerback Brent Grimes re-signs with Miami Dolphins before he hits free agency
  • J.J. Watt pushes around a 1,000-pound tire, reminds us he’s a beast

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    The NFL has some of the greatest athletes on the planet, but how many players in the NFL are more athletic than J.J. Watt? Not too many.

    We've seen Watt do a 59.5-inch box jump. He has a ridiculous vertical leap. His 6.88-second three-cone drill time at the combine is the eighth-best among defensive linemen at the combine since 2006. He can broad jump 10 feet. He does all this at more than 290 pounds.

    That's why the Houston Texans defensive end is the best defensive player in the NFL. He has unworldly physical gifts.

    This is just another example: Watt put on his Instagram page a video of him pushing around a 1,000-pound tire (h/t to the Houston Chronicle). And he said he did it 30 times.

    Oh, and Watt said he did this at the end of his workout. A cool down, if you will. He didn't look like he was struggling with it either.

    Not sure I'd spend the time to watch many NFL players work out, but Watt's offseason sessions have to be pretty freaking impressive to see.

    More NFL coverage from

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  • (USA Today Sports Images)

    After the 49ers issues with Jim Harbaugh became common knowledge when it was reported that San Francisco and Cleveland discussed a trade for the coach, one of the themes has been that Harbaugh is difficult to deal with.

    He and GM Trent Baalke don't always get along. He wants to be paid like a top coach and isn't happy San Francisco won't do that for him. And now Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that some 49ers players are sick of Harbaugh too.

    "One source with inside knowledge of the team says that Harbaugh's act has worn thin in the locker room, particularly among some key 'face of the 49ers' type players," Killion wrote.

    High-strung football coach rubs people the wrong way ... stop the presses.

    This has been a theme since the beginning of football. It's not a big surprise. It might be a problem for the 49ers only if they let it be (and they already are in the process of that). If they decide the comfort of the players and front office is more important than winning,

    Read More »from Report says Jim Harbaugh’s ‘act has worn thin’ in 49ers locker room, but who cares?
  • (USA Today Sports Images)

    The news that the salary cap is rising substantially seems to have started a signing spree on Friday, of teams retaining their own players.

    All of a sudden, the market got thinner.

    Tight end Jimmy Graham will be franchise tagged by New Orleans, but that's no surprise. Baltimore re-signed Dennis Pitta, making the tight end crop look pretty thin.

    Then the Chargers agreed to a multi-year deal with Donald Butler, one of the top linebackers who was set to hit the free-agent market on March 11. That was followed by the Eagles (who already extended center Jason Kelce and receiver Riley Cooper this week) signing receiver Jeremy Maclin to a one-year deal. Even though Maclin was coming off a torn ACL, he was expected to be one of the top free-agent receivers on the market.

    [Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]

    And if that wasn't enough, Carolina defensive

    Read More »from Jeremy Maclin, Donald Butler among potential free agents re-signed before they hit market
  • No surprise, New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to get franchise tag

    Dec 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (80) carries the ball during warmups prior to kickoff against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. (Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports)

    The New Orleans Saints slapping Jimmy Graham with the franchise tag comes as no surprise to anyone. What comes next is where it gets interesting.

    ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that before Monday's deadline, the Saints will use their franchise tag on the tight end. Or is he a receiver?

    Graham lined up as a traditional tight end on only about 33 percent of plays, according to ESPN and Pro Football Focus. The Saints will argue that he's a tight end, and the projected franchise tag for tight ends is about $6.8 million. For receivers it's about $11.8 million, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. That's obviously a huge difference.

    [Be sure to check out Shutdown Corner's NFL free-agent rankings. Click here for the list of offensive players, and click here for the list of defensive and special teams players]

    Graham's unique skill set has made him one of the NFL's best players (86 catches, 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns last season), but it sets up a huge battle with the Saints. The

    Read More »from No surprise, New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to get franchise tag
  • Richie Incognito getting treatment for ‘severe mental stress’

    (USA Today Sports Images)

    After the Ferrari-bashing incident and a weird, rambling interview with a Phoenix television station, Richie Incognito is getting help.

    NFL Network's Jeff Darlington said the Dolphins guard is being treated at a facility in Arizona after "severe mental stress" caused by the fallout from the Jonathan Martin ordeal.

    That comes right after Incognito's bizarre interview about bashing his Ferrari.

    Fox 10 in Phoenix wasn't sure what it was going to get when it approached Richie Incognito's house hoping to ask him why he'd take a baseball bat to his car, something that was reported by TMZ on Thursday.

    Read More »from Richie Incognito getting treatment for ‘severe mental stress’

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