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The Villain's Pu-Pu Plater - Feb 7th, 2021

1. Drew Pearson is finally a Hall of Famer

The 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame was announced last night and the notable inductees were no surprise. Headlined by Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson and Calvin Johnson, the list sports 8 all-time greats. The one player I’m most happy for is former Dallas Cowboys WR Drew Pearson. He has been regarded as one of the greatest WRs ever, and certainly of his era. Pearson was voted to first-team selection to the All-Decade team of the 1970s, a 3-time Pro-Bowler, 3x All Pro, 1 Super Bowl ring. His career was cut short by a liver injury he suffered in a car accident. He finished with 489 catches, 7,822 receiving yards and 156 TDs. Why it took almost 30 years for him to be voted into the Hall of Fame is one of the great mysteries. People from today’s era will just remember last year’s rant on Twitter on why he wasn’t in the HOF. But real fans know the original number 88 was a legend and finally is getting his flowers!

2. Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers

After a rather quiet off-season, the MLB Hot Stove finally heated up. Major dominoes fell and the biggest splash happened as Trevor Bauer signed a massive 3-year/$102M contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bauer took to YouTube on Friday to announce the news in his typical social media fashion. Bauer‘s deal has opt-outs after the 1st and 2nd years. Bauer will make $40M in 2021 and $45M in 2022, both years will put him as the top annual earner. The New York Mets had offered more money and were the favorites to land Bauer, but Bauer had other ideas. Clearly, he wanted to go home to the West Coast, and in my humble opinion, he used the Mets to get the money he wanted. He screamed that he wanted to be a Met, they offered the most money, but he didn’t sign. The Mets were used, but I think in the end they will be better off without Bauer. He is the reigning Cy Young Award winner, but is he the best pitcher in baseball? We all know his track record as a head case, but we know he can pitch. We’ll see if he earns that pay-day and the defending world champs another chip.

3. Trouble in Dallas

The Dallas Mavericks are off to a slow start after being proclaimed early season contenders. The 10-14 record isn’t reflective of their talent but is a microcosm of their struggles. The start Luka Doncic is off to a great start (27.2 PPG and 9.4 APG) but not getting much help. Kristaps Porzingis is working himself back from another injury and shooting 30% from 3-point range. The rest of the team isn’t helping much either. The Richardson/Curry trade has upped their perimeter defense but left a big hole in the 3-point shooting. Add in the up and down play of Tim Hardaway Jr and injuries to Kluber/Smith, and this team just not performing. KP has to stay on the count and be the Robin to Doncic’s Batman. He has to score and score from the outside, but coach Rick Carlisle has to get KP in situations to succeed. Lula can’t do this by himself. I also think Dallas need to hit the trade market for a shooter, bring in someone that can score and stretch the defense. But if they don’t start digging out of this hole, the season could be lost.

4. 2021 All-Star Game still on?

The NBA Owners and Player Association have recently voted to move forward with the March 7th NBA All-Star game in Atlanta next month, with limited fans and the Skills Competition. However, players are not on board with the decision. LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Carmelo Anthony, De’Aaron Fox, etc. have spoken out criticizing having the All-Star Game during a pandemic. "I have zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star Game this year," said LeBron James. "I don't even understand why we're having an All-Star Game, but it's an agreement that the Players Association and the league came about." I don’t normally agree with James, but I do here. It is just not worth having an All-Star weekend right now. But money talks, and the owners need to milk that only source of revenue, TV contracts. While the league contends the game will be as safe as a normal game from a COVID protocol perspective, it’s still a pandemic and not a great idea to get a lot of people in one area if it’s not necessary.

5. Breaking down the Stafford/Goff Trade

On the surface, the Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff looks like a straight up QB swap. Both QBs looked to have worn out their welcome in their respective towns and are looking for fresh starts. The Los Angeles Rams gambled on trading the remaining draft capital for the next 7 years to get a 33-year-old QB with no playoff victories and a list of past injuries. The Detroit Lions traded away their franchise QB for another franchise QB with $104M left on his contract and inconsistent play. To me, the Rams gave up a lot to get Stafford. They already traded picks to get Jalen Ramsey and Stafford has no playoff success. But this a team 2 years removed from a Super Bowl appearance, a ready-made offense, brilliant young coach and a top defense. They just need Stafford to be available and consistent. Goff gets a chance for a fresh start on an offense full of weapons and a new coach. He could be a stop gap, but a roll of the dice can find him in the right situation.

6. Is Cam Newton finished?

Cam Newton struggled in his first full season back from injury for the New England Patriots and everyone knows it. Former Patriots safety Rodney Harrison said recently that Newton is finished and can’t play QB in this league. While his numbers back that claim up (2,657 YDS, 8 TDs, 10 INTs), it’s not fair to completely write Cam off. He was coming off a lost season with a shoulder injury, he had no off season due to COVID, he had no preseason, then got hit with COVID himself during the season. And let’s not forget, The GOAT himself barely got the same team into the playoffs and got bounced in the first round with no offensive weapons (which is why Tom Brady is in the Super Bowl with weapons galore). Cam was able to get them to 7-9 despite Bill Belichick drafting horribly for years. And sprinkle in the list of defensive players who opted out this season and you have a below average team. Cam has never been the most accurate QB in the league, only completing over 60% of his passes twice, but to say he’s finish is a stretch. I think he needs a fresh start and a new team to prove he can still play in this league.

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