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January 25, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:57 AM)

Hey Everyone! Let's get this going a little early

pj (pa)

what chance do the lions have of signing mario williams and cliff avril

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Won't sign both! Could see them being huge players to keep Avril though. I think KVB is a declining DE Avril is in his prime. Would you Franchise Avril? I tend to think not though.

Josh S. (Philly)

Will Desean Jackson be back with the eagles next season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

Maybe. He suits that offense extremely well with his deep ball abilities. But there are a lot of WRs on the free agent market this year and could in turn, be a lot of movement at that position-including D-Jax. He isn't for every O, but he is pretty unique in what he brings to the table.

Mike (Titusville, Florida)

Good afternoon Matt - If Manning is released from the Colts, with teams needing a QB, which team would be the "Best Fit" for Manning? Thanks

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

Last week on Twitter (@WilliamsonNFL), I threw out SEA. I like that fit quite a bit. WASH & NYJ certainly make sense too. MIA too I suppose. SF?

Connor (CT)

What do you think of Giants Jacquian Williams?

Matt Williamson
  (12:02 PM)

Fast undersized nickel type LB who is also a very good special teams player. A lot of value in someone like him-and he can still get better. He represented himself pretty well in my Super Bowl Player Rankings that I just turned in...had to list every player on both 53 man rosters from 1 to 106...not easy!

Stu (New York)

As of today, Giants or Pats?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

NYG

Grant (ALA)

Do you think the Ravens will get rid of Cundiff? (Ravens fan in Bama, i know) If so do you think that they will see if they can get either Garret Hartley or John Kasay from New Orleans? The Saints don't need both

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

I don't think they get rid of Cundiff. He was a Pro Bowler last year! I realize much of why he went to the Pro Bowl was his kickoffs, and that skilled is no longer as coveted. He struggled kicking on the road in 2012, but you could do MUCH worse than Cundiff.

T (Boston)

Taking all things into consideration (player's ability vs the cost to obtain them), rank the the following young QB's (understanding that Luck and Griffin would be 1-2): Tannehill, MFlynn, BHoyer, RMallett. In other words, if you're not getting Luck/Griffin, and you need a QB of the future, who would you go after?

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I need to do more homework on Tennehill, but I do like what I have seen so far. Of those others, I think Flynn and Hoyer are real similar in skill sets. But there is less risk with Flynn-we have just seen more of him. But if I am operating a big time downfield passing attack and I don't ask my QB to move a lot (rollouts, etc), then I go with Mallett. Overall, I would be very hesitant to overspend on a guy like Flynn or Hoyer.

Dave (Charlotte)

How can Justin Tuck stand there with a straight face and say no one is giving them a chance??? They have been the hottest team in football the last month and half, their front 4 can't be stopped, their wideouts will be a disaster for the Pats weak secondary. I know they use it for motivation but c'mon Matt!

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Didn't know he said that....but athletes say such things all the time. Just a form of self-motivation. Talk is cheap.

Brian Billick (NFL Network studios)

Hey Matt why I am I not in the mix for any of these head coach jobs. I mean I am a perfect fit for Tampa. Whats the deal?

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

Not sure what is up with that and I have thought about this quite a bit. I would guess that you can pick and chose where you want to go at this point and don't have to rush into anything. To me, Billick is just about an equal candidate to J Fisher, who everyone was so ga ga over.

Ryan (san diego)

What is the biggest need the Bengals need to fill via the draft or free agency? #2 WR? CB? Safety?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

Gotta worry about J Simpson going forward, but they have Gresham, Caldwell, Shipley. I think OG is a huge need for them. RB as well with Benson up for free agency. Nelson was decent at FS, but SS is a need for sure. CB depth or a 2nd starter would be great too. What is nice is that these are not particularly difficult spots to fill-and of course, the Bengals have a lot of picks at their disposal.

Rick (Andover)

Last year after the Pats loss to the Jets in the playoffs, the Patriots came out and said Brady had been playing with cracked ribs for a month. He looked awful on Sunday. Any rumors as to his health right now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

I mentioned this on Monday on the podcast. He did miss time last week leading up to that game with a shoulder. Could certainly be in the equation. I am not making excuses for his performance, but he did struggle to really drive the ball. And you never know what kind of info to trust coming out of Pats' Camp on injuries.

Kris (CO)

If Kalil is not there at #3, who should the Vikings target? And if someone wants RG3 what price is worth trading down if you were Speilman?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

I very much believe that the draft will go: 1. Luck 2. RG3 to someone other than STL. But if it doesn't, Minny should do cartwheels, as I think CLEV & WASH would still be in the market to move up to secure RG3. I guess Claiborne would be worst case scenario for MINN...which isn't bad at all considering their CB situation.

Belanger (boston)

Is there anything NE can do to slow down Nicks, Cruz and Manningham?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Gonna be tough-real tough. And I don't think they will be real successful. Huge reason why I am picking NYG. But, they can certainly get to Eli. The Giants' OL is junk.

Rob (San Antonio)

Do you see the Steelers biggest needs as d-line and o-line?

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

Yes. Could see several prominent free agent DL being released. OL as well of course, but most namely OG.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Is there any chance the Pack franchises Flynn and Finley becomes a FA? He would be a hot commodity...

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

Either would be/will be a hot commodity. But if they Franchise Flynn, it would only be to trade him. I would rather be sure that Finley doesn't leave rather than getting an early 2nd round pick (like the Cassel deal) for Flynn. Other factors at play, but that is how I see it overall.

Keith (NYC)

I think Finley would be a great pickup for the NYG.

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

For sure, although Beckum has begun to show signs of life.

Mike (Brooklyn)

MW, thoughts on Eli's performance last week? Shows how worthless passer rating is. If NYG and SF switched QBs I bet SF wins by 10-14 pts.

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

No doubt about it. The Niners' D was FANTASTIC. Would have been a blow out if you switched QBs. But still, that wouldn't have helped SF's WRs get open, which they simply don't do.

Stephan (Oakland)

Do you think the Raiders would pursue Jermichael Finley if he became a FA?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Seems like a perfect fit. They obviously will know way more about him than most teams....guess that could be good or bad.

Nick (St. Louis)

What's a realistic trade for the Rams #2 pick? 2 1st and a 3rd?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Probably more-much more. But depends where in the round. If they just move down a few spots with the Browns, I would think a 1st and 2nd.

Keith (NYC)

Too early to say that Crabtree is a bust?

Matt Williamson
  (12:19 PM)

Yes. Too early. Had a pretty solid year actually. Just isn't close to the prospect that many made him out to be coming out of Texas Tech.

Nick (St. Louis)

How good is Sam Bradford? Was this year a write-off?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Good way of putting it. Write off. Injuries. Poor weapons. And just awful protection. Hopefully it didn't do permanent damage to his growth though.

Aggie (TX)

If 49ers intercept those Eli passes or Ed Hochuli doesn't stop the play on Bradshaw's fumble we would be having a different conversation.

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

Might be right. SF did break up two of their own possible INTs. But SF got some bounces that went their way too.

Sam (Hoboken)

Where do you think Vincent Jackson ends up?

Matt Williamson
  (12:21 PM)

SF? MIA? JAX? NENG? CHI? Actually a LOT of teams could use a legit starting WR.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Who's better - Cliff Avril or the hot FA DE from last year - Charles Johnson?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

I would rather have Johnson. Better vs. run. Less around him when he excelled-and he didn't drop off much in 2011

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, what do you have playing on the iPod today?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Just on a huge shuffle right now..."Communication Breakdown" Live now...hard to argue with that

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

So do you think the Browns are most likely to fit the Rams' trade needs? They have that extra number one, could maybe put off the number two 'til next year. Oh, and they're in a different conference...

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

All excellent points-so, yes. But, WASH might give up the farm.

B (NC)

1) You have to actually MAKE plays, not just be in position to make plays.2) His forward progress was stopped, the whistle blew, THEN the ball came out. It was a good call. If you want to see bad calls, watch the NYG-GB divisional game.

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

Also excellent points...

ESCO (NH)

Would Mario Williams be a good fit in New England?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

He is really a good fit anywhere! But sure, would be a fantastic Patriot-could be a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB with them.

Fredo (Staten Island)

So what happened to Ochocinco in New England?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

Terrible fit. Too untrustworthy with his routes. Doesn't adjust well on option routes. Declining player who doesn't like to get hit. Not a deep threat-which is what they need.

Rick (Kansas)

So you don't see the Chiefs trading up for St. Louis pick? Or in the Payton Manning mix?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

#18 to KC? Hmmm...I guess crazier things have happened. They have a pension for bringing in older QBs that had great careers before arriving in KC. Then trade Cassel for say a 4th rounder. Perhaps.

Blueman (Indy)

With the way the defense played without him and the huge price tag would the money it would take to re-sign Mario be better used on a #2 WR and secondary help?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Would be tough to see him walk away, but I am with you. Mario might be a luxury item for HOUS. Foster is a free agent too I think.

Jeremy (NYC)

Starting a team from scratch for the next 5 years, you have the #1 pick but it can't be a QB. Is there anyone you take over Calvin?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Prob Not. Would not be super excited to build my team around a WR, but he is can't-miss and would make any QB look much better. How about JPP? Revis is still young.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Better in 5 years - Aldon Smith or Von Miller?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Both are awesome. Super tough call. Miller's production really only fell off once he broke his thumb and had to play with a club on his hand. Will stick with Miller-trust him more vs. the run and in coverage.

Steve (Bangor, PA)

How effective would Cliff Avril be as an OLB in a 3-4 scheme?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

He prob could do it, esp in a scheme like Houston's, but if you are going to invest THAT much $ on a free agent, I would rather be safe than sorry. Position changes are frightening.

Dan (DC)

Any particular reason why this "unstoppable" Giants team lost 7 games this year, including two to the Redskins?

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

They weren't unstoppable back then.

alan (chicago)

who looks best in a bears uni next to peppers? avril, mario williams, Mathis or someone else?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

All sound wonderful, but if I am the Bears I am dedicating my $ more to OL and WR. Safety wouldn't hurt either. Yes, it would be fantastic to land one of those guys though.

Aggie (TX)

So who upgrades the Cowboys front seven more? Calais Campbell as DE or Mario Williams at OLB?

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Campbell is fantastic and exactly what Dallas needs. Nothing against Mario, but he is coming off an injury. Campbell in DAL is very enticing.

Nick (St. Louis)

Can you win a Super Bowl with Alex Smith?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

As Chris Rock says, "You can drive a car with your feet, but that doesn't make it a good idea"...Smith can win a Super Bowl, sure, but he isn't the ideal guy for the job.

Nathan (DC)

Tell Dan the Redskins aren't all that bad. Good D.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Good D for sure. Time to rebuild the passing game.

Tim (NH)

Brady was "awful" against Balt? Granted he threw 2 picks but awful? Converted some huge third downs and had two huge QB sneaks. Scoreboard.

Matt Williamson
  (12:33 PM)

Did I say "Awful"? If so, that was too harsh. He wasn't up to his normal standards.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Pats D no so terrible now or have they just played bad offenses?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

I have argued with Pod Vader all year that most were too harsh on NEng's D. They allow yardage, not tons of points. And they adjust well as the game goes along. But they are healthy now and have seemed to have found roles for everyone better than at any point of the season. I now think they have improved to a middle of the road NFL D.

Nathan (DC)

Do you think Joe Flacco did enough to cause his critics to back off a bit?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

In that game, yes, very much so. But for the 2011 season? No. I will say that his O Coordinator and WRs have not helped him much if at all this year. It also bothers me that he cares so much what the media's opinion of him is.

Keith (NYC)

If Evans caught held on the TD, Flacco would suddenly have many less critics.

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

It was a perfect throw

Joe (NY)

who are the culprits on the Giants o-line?? Deihl? Snee? Mckenzie?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

EVERYone. Amazingly, Snee has really struggled. McKenzie was very good before this year, but might now might be the beginning of the end. Baas consistently got whipped on Sunday. Diehl is not a LT. This is a BAD OL.

Damian (NYC)

Pats have 15 sacks in their last 4 games, more to come vs Eli?

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

More to come vs. Eli indeed

Person (DC)

Who was/is better suited to stop the NY pass rush, SF or NE?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Oh NEng....by far. The Pats have a very good OL. Excellent set of OGs. Well above average at OT.

Gus (Boston)

If the Pats O-line can hold up against the Giants pass rush, how does the Giants back 7 hold up against Gronk/Hernandez/Welker?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Well, they are a massive challenge for EVERY D. But I don't think NYG blitzes hardly at all-which allows a lot of bodies to be dedicated to coverage. That is a good thing obviously.

Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)

You were talking about QB prospects earlier. Have you started to do more scouting/prep for the draft?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

Some, but I am far from an expert on the subject right now. Quite busy pumping stuff out for our Super Bowl coverage.

Larry (Buffalo)

St. Louis franchise B Lloyd or does he follow Josh to NE?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Tough, since it was a previous regime that acquired Lloyd. When STL made that trade, I just assumed they had every intention of keeping Lloyd around-possibly via the Franchise Tag. I would still Franchise him if I were Fisher since they need an established vet to throw to, but we shall see.

Joe (NY)

Patriots don't have anywhere near the front 7 of the 49ers

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

Not even close.

Joe (NY)

better defense 49ers or Texans?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

SF. BALT still is in that convo too. They are the top 3.

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

...but the Giants are playing at that level on D too now.

Ben (Ireland)

can you see the patriots splashing out on a big name WR in FA?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

Wouldn't surprise me one bit. D Jackson? V Jackson? Michael Jackson? Janet Jackson? Tom Jackson?

Steve (Irvine)

Best QB/WR over the next five years is -

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Pretty tough to argue with Stafford/Calvin J. That Rodgers guy is a pretty good player though-and Jennings isn't a slouch. Eli/Nicks could be in that convo too. I will go with the Lions though.

Mike (Brooklyn)

Pats have to re-sign/franchise Welker, which should be a pretty penny too.

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

They sure do, but I see that as a situation that is just ideal for Player and Team-can't imagine him playing anywhere else.

Mike (Boca Raton)

action jackson?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Nice one! Samuel L?

Hooty Hoo (Hawaii)

Is the Ravens' OL their biggest off-season need?

Matt Williamson
  (12:46 PM)

They have a lot of work to do, but OL is at the top of the list. Will have to invest heavy in R Rice and most likely Flacco. WR is certainly a need. I don't trust McKinnie at all, Grubbs is a free agent and Birk is quite old...need 3 OL starters? At least two. ILB has to be a need too.

John (LA)

Is gronk really hurt?? word is he has torn ligaments in his ankle

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Have heard that too...but my guess is that we will never get solid info on that subject.

Rob (San Antonio)

Carl Weathers!

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

He is still always Apollo Creed to me though.

Al (Wausau, WI)

I think Janet Jackson will end up with the Vikings. She can play CB - and is likely good enough to start there!

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

She's Nasty

Prince Fielder (Detroit, MI)

I'm RICH, sucka!!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Wrong Chat Big Guy

Harry (Babylon, NY)

Is this Giants team built to be a perennial playoff team as long as Eli & JPP are on it?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Have a real good foundation. Again, the OL needs a ton of work though. MLB might be a nice addition too.

Sam (Santa Clara, Ca)

how about the niners getting Peyton Manning and Desean Jackson? does that make them the favorite next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Seems unrealistic, but yes, if you added Jackson (DeSean, not Reggie or Andrew) and Peyton while subtracting A Smith, I would call SF the leader in the club house to raise Lombardi next year...assuming Manning's neck can hold up....which might be a lot to assume.

thom (UK)

Matt, NFC west...is it wide open next year? Most open division I reakon.

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

Yeah, I really like what SEA and ZONA did to finish out the season and they have serious pieces in place. But they are still legitimately behind SF to me. But what if SEA adds a QB?

Mike (San Diego)

M-Dub, even with the outstanding year Jim Harbaugh had with the niners, I'm thinking he peaked way too early. A year of tape on the niners offense, and I doubt they even win the division next year. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

But they will also dedicate the entire off season to improving the O-and Harbaugh is an excellent O coach. Won't sit stagnant.

G (CT)

AFC west is wide open as i recall no one finished above .500

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

WIDE OPEN...not necessarily a good thing

Smeagol (fishing)

About Manning's neck--I'm beginning to think Rob Lowe might have been right. He was cleared for contact in December, but right now is apparently only sixty percent.

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

None of this sounds good to me for Manning-but I don't pretend to be a doctor here My Precious

Chip (Boulder)

How short is the leash on Tebow next year?

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

It SHOULD be VERY short. But he will have an off season to improve...and hopefully some QB competition in the form of a guy like Henne or Campbell.

Corey (D.C.)

Isnt Finley the TE version of Brandon Marshall, only not as good? Sure he is a physical freak, but he drops soooo many passes, and still hasnt earned Rodger's trust after 4 yrs. I love Finley, dont get me wrong, but how many more underacheiving seasons does he need to have before our perception changes? Fair?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

Fair. But Marshall is still a Top 10 WR! Still get a LOT of good with the inconsistencies. Also, Finley scares D Coordinators. His presence really opens up room for others.

Kenny (MA)

Just to clarify about Gronk's ankle, anytime you sprain an ankle there's a good chance you tear ligaments too. Not really a big surprise.

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Maybe that would explain why mine hasn't healed yet since a July basketball injury-driving me insane! Me and Gronk have a lot in common you know

James (San Jose)

Is Tarrell Brown for the 49ers underrated? He had a great year for that defense, didn't see him get beat too often

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Yeah, I think that is safe to say. His great supporting cast hasn't hurt his cause either, but I think Brown has progressed nicely.

Matt Williamson
  (12:58 PM)

Folks, that is a wrap for me. Stop back next week and we will really dig into the Super Bowl matchups. Take care all!