Handicapping the NFC South race 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:30
AM ET
Cam NewtonDerick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsThe Panthers and Saints are locked in a fight to the finish in the NFC South title hunt.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

Something that has perhaps flown under the radar is that Jason Pierre-Paul will be a free agent this offseason. Do you think the New York Giants will let him test the market? Where could he go?

He has had a very strong year, being an elite run defender. There aren’t many, if any, defensive ends who have stopped the run as well as he has. And for that, he is going to want to be rewarded. My sense is that Jason Pierre-Paul will be looking for the big payday that he believes he deserves, and as much as he would like to stay with the Giants, he will make a business decision that is best for him and his family. The Giants would like to keep him, but at the right price. And when Pierre-Paul gets to the open market, with the salary cap going up, the Giants are going to be at major risk of losing him.

How would you handicap the NFC South right now?

Last week they asked a group of ESPN analysts to use one word to describe the NFC South. The words used were “mess”, “quagmire”, “disappointment”, and many more.

The NFL's most impressive rookies 

December, 11, 2014
Dec 11
10:00
AM ET
Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr.Getty ImagesRookie wide receivers Mike Evans and Odell Beckham Jr. have had standout seasons.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.


Do you think the Denver Broncos are concerned with the lack of a passing attack recently?

They look like they're shifting their offense, trying to run the ball more and become more ground-oriented. So much has ridden on Peyton Manning's shoulders for so long that it looks like the Broncos are trying to make life a little easier for him down the stretch. Manning can't do everything -- and lately, he hasn't. When Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas get healthy, if Denver happens to play indoors or in better weather conditions, it would be a surprise if we were still talking about Denver's lack of a passing attack.

Which rookies have impressed coaches around the league the most this season?

It's hard to go against so many of the rookie wide receivers,

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

HoyerTimothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY SportsWith Johnny Manziel waiting in the wings, is Brian Hoyer on his way out of Cleveland?
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

What are Brian Hoyer's long-term prospects with the Cleveland Browns?

Johnny Manziel is the Browns' quarterback of the future.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Can Denver keep both Thomases? 

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20
10:45
AM ET
Demaryius ThomasAP Photo/Jack DempseyCan the Broncos hang onto both Demaryius Thomas and his teammate Julius Thomas?
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

Do you think the Denver Broncos can keep both Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas? What are you hearing?

That is going to be challenging, and it will be the story of the Broncos’ offseason. My belief is there’s no way that Denver lets Demaryius Thomas get away, and then it will work on Julius Thomas.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

How hot is Marc Trestman's seat? 

November, 13, 2014
Nov 13
3:07
PM ET
videoESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

How far do you think the Arizona Cardinals can go with Carson Palmer now out for the whole season?

This team showed something on Sunday: Down four points, losing its star quarterback in the fourth quarter, it still found a way to win the game. If Arizona can do that during one game, there’s no reason it can’t continue building off that. It will be tougher for this team to win with the same frequency, as the Cardinals simply aren’t as good without Palmer. But they already have overcome a ton. They can overcome more. The challenge of getting where they wanted (becoming the first team to host a Super Bowl) just got even more difficult.

What are the chances Marc Trestman gets fired before the end of the season? The Chicago Bears have looked pathetic the past two weeks, albeit against very good offenses.

Let’s be clear:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

What happened to Carolina's defense? 

November, 6, 2014
Nov 6
11:52
AM ET
Luke Kuechly Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesDespite Luke Kuechly's exceptional play, the Panthers' run defense has struggled this season.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here

What’s happened to the Carolina Panthers defense this season? That unit has been dreadful.

Yes, it has. It has been one of the biggest surprises of the NFL season. Much of it has to do with the loss of Greg Hardy, who was the team’s best defensive lineman. He helped generate a ferocious pass rush last year that has been absent this year. But Carolina’s decline cannot all be attributed to Hardy’s absence. Plenty has to do with the poor play of the Panthers’ run defense. Carolina is ranked 26th in the league in rush defense It's hard to imagine that a defense with as much talent as the Panthers, and with a player as good as Luke Kuechly, could be struggling as much as it is against the run. But it is.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Will Mike Smith be back next season? 

October, 30, 2014
Oct 30
11:58
AM ET
Dimitroff/SmithTodd Kirkland/Getty ImagesHead coach Mike Smith (right) is feeling the heat after the Falcons' poor start.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

How hot is Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith’s seat? Can he survive the season?

Pretty warm, although it's worth noting that no person is solely responsible for the Falcons' issues.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Saints still have good NFC South shot 

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23
10:48
AM ET
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

What do you think the chances are the Detroit Lions trade Ndamukong Suh, since he’s going to be a free agent and has stated that he doesn’t want to return to Detroit?

No reason to do that now, as much as they might be able to get in trade for him. The Lions are tied for first place in the NFC North. Their defense has been playing at a top level -- and Suh has been one of the centerpieces of it. Sure, the Lions might be able to get a premium draft pick back for Suh, but his value would be diminished because he is on an expiring contract, so Detroit wouldn't be able to get back as much. And for whatever the Lions could get back, is it worth sacrificing the success that they are striving for this season? Very likely not.

Was that the nail in the coffin for the New Orleans Saints' season Sunday, or are they still a serious contender in the NFC?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Biggest concern for the Seahawks? 

October, 17, 2014
Oct 17
6:00
AM ET
DeMarco MurrayAP Photo/Elaine ThompsonThe Seattle Seahawks' defense has uncharacteristically struggled this season.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

What’s the biggest concern for the Seattle Seahawks right now? Are they getting Percy Harvin enough touches?

It’s interesting that the usually vaunted Seahawks defense hasn’t been so vaunted this season -- not in a lot of areas. For starters, Dallas was able to control the ball and the clock against Seattle’s defense, something teams almost never do.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Jim HarbaughAP Photo/Marcio Jose SanchezJim Harbaugh has had a tumultuous relationship with 49ers management.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.



Who has been the most impressive player to you over the first five weeks of the season?

On the offensive side of the football, it's hard to argue against DeMarco Murray. The running back has been a machine. He's run the football, caught the football and, unfortunately, also fumbled the football. If he can hold on to the football and keep up this pace, he could compete for the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Murray has been very impressive. Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Watt and Le'Veon Bell also come to mind. Other than Murray, Bell has been the league’s top running back. But nobody has been more impressive than Murray, who is one of the biggest reasons Dallas is where it is today.

What are your sources telling you about the future of Jim Harbaugh? Do you think he’ll be the coach of the San Francisco 49ers next season?

There’s still a lot of season left now

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Mark DavisKirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsCan Raiders owner Mark Davis lure Jon Gruden back to Oakland?
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

What should be the level of concern in New England over this team? If the Patriots lose Sunday to Cincinnati, they will be under .500.

Right now, it should be fairly high. The Patriots have looked vulnerable in many areas, most notably up front. It sure looks as if this team misses its former offensive line coach, the legendary Dante Scarnecchia. The unit has not functioned the same, Tom Brady has not had time to set up in the pocket, and the Patriots have not looked explosive on offense. At all. The good part for them is that they play in the AFC East, a division in which there isn't another team that is going to run away with the title. So they can struggle some, improve as the year goes on, and potentially still win the division.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

How big is Danny Woodhead's injury? 

September, 26, 2014
Sep 26
11:12
AM ET
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys are clearly disappointed in Morris Claiborne's performance since drafting him. Is there any market to trade him?

We've seen trades like that before, with a first-round disappointment changing teams. And Claiborne, in the right scheme, one such as the New York Jets', would be able to help. The issue is, if Dallas traded him this season it would have to accelerate about $9 million against its cap. That’s a lot of money.

How big a loss do you think Danny Woodhead is for the San Diego Chargers? He seemed like Philip Rivers' safety blanket and converted so many third downs for that team.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Should RG III start when he returns? 

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
9:53
AM ET
Kirk CousinsRob Carr/Getty ImagesKirk Cousins has an extended audition for the Washington Redskins this season.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

How concerned should the Cincinnati Bengals be regarding A.J. Green’s toe injury? They’ve played very well the first two games, and he is the key to that offense.

There is no doubt that he is the key to that offense. Green is battling a case of turf toe, which is a lot more painful than it sounds. He didn’t practice Wednesday; the Bengals had him working with their physical therapists. They're trying to do what's best for Green to get him ready, but this is an injury that could linger. Still, Green is expected to play Sunday and perform to his usual level -- which is being one of the game's most dynamic players.

Is the Washington offense actually better off with Kirk Cousins? Do you think Robert Griffin III will return this season? If so, should he start when he’s healthy?

Here's the thing:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Redskins playing to RG III's strengths? 

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
8:34
AM ET
Jay GrudenThomas B. Shea/Getty ImagesJay Gruden and Robert Griffin III didn't have the Redskins offense clicking in Week 1.
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league, once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

The New York Giants offense looked just as bad in Week 1 as it did during this preseason. How concerned should Giants fans be about Eli Manning and his weapons?

This all started last year. Manning never looked comfortable in the pocket; he looked rattled. It has continued into this season mostly because the offensive line hasn’t given him the time he needs. The issue starts up front, which is where the Giants put so much of their offseason focus, signing and drafting linemen. But so far, it hasn’t made a big difference. Part of the struggles undoubtedly has to do with installing and learning a new offense, which takes time. But if the Giants want their offense to get back on track, it starts with blocking better.

Are the Washington Redskins making a mistake by trying to keep Robert Griffin III in the pocket? Isn’t that taking away his athleticism, which is one of his biggest assets?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

What Smith's deal means for Cam Newton 

September, 5, 2014
Sep 5
4:57
PM ET
NewtonAP Photo/Bob LeveroneIs Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton worth more than $20 million per year?
ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league, once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.

Q: What did you think of the Alex Smith deal for Kansas City? Is he worth it? How much will that dictate Cam Newton’s new deal?

A: Back when I covered the Broncos for the Rocky Mountain News, Denver signed former Oilers offensive tackle Don Maggs to a huge deal at the time. I remember asking the great agent, Jack Mills, whether Maggs was worth it. Mills said, "If someone is willing to pay it, he's worth it." The Chiefs were willing to pay Smith because he was worth it. What other options did they have? None as good as Smith.

People forget that Smith had the lowest interception percentage in football the past three seasons, and only Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have had better touchdown-to-interception ratios during that time. So yes, Smith was worth it. And Cam will be in a similar situation. He's proved to be a stellar quarterback and, more importantly, what other options do the Panthers have? They have to pay him. The question is, will it be at or north of that $20 million-a-year threshold?

Q: How long do you think Brian Hoyer’s leash is in Cleveland?

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES