Five on Friday displays the the top five things that have been on my mind this week! It could be book-related, but it may be music, movies, TV, personal life, food, etc.
Pretty soon I’ll just have to write a post like “True Life: I’m Addicted to Football.” I’ve talked about it quite often around the blog, but it’s really frightening how obsessive I get about this damn sport. I strongly urge you to skip over this section if you don’t care about football at all!
How can you still obsess over football when they’re not even playing right now?
Even in the offseason, there’s so much to focus on! After the end of regular season, you have Black Monday, where coaches get the slip and/or move on to other teams if they did a shitty job. You have the Combine, which involves college players trying to work hard enough to inevitably get drafted. Then you have Free Agency, which started this week.
Why does free agency happen?
When you’re a football player and sign a contract with a team, they have stipulations on the length of the contract. It could sound something like they signed a “four year, $40 million contract.” Essentially, like all contracts, that means the player is going to get lots of bucks and play there for a certain amount of time. When that time comes to an end, the team can either re-sign them before the free agency period, put on a franchise tag, OR let them go be a free agent.
How do you stop someone from becoming a free agent?
If the team can afford to sign the player to the team again with a new contract, and they still want the player, they’ll give them another deal like the one they previously signed. The NFL has a “salary cap” that basically limits how much money teams have and can spend on these players. Each team must keep all players under that limit. The salaries of the players currently under contract + the new players they want to add = the salary cap. Depending on how many big money players the team has, they have more or less money leftover to spend on new players and/or new contracts.
Each team is also allowed to put a “franchise tag” on one player per year. This essentially means that they want to keep the player for another year, but are unable to come together on a long-term contract. You can slap the tag on one soon-to-be free agent before free agency begins. Basically this means you want to keep them and no one else can have them, without having to ink a new deal yet.
So what happens if they become a free agent?
Any team can snag them! The new free agency period began this year on Tuesday at 4:00pm. Any player that did not sign a new deal or get a franchise tag before that time becomes up for grabs. Lots of big, talented players will draw interest from other teams. Some players will get traded. Lots of players sign with different teams. Some players who are older decide to retire. Anyone left over without new deals ends up with no more football, unfortunately. IT’S MADNESS!
Why does free agency make you so crazy, Lauren?
MY TEAM IS THE WORST. Last year they let go my absolute favorite player and didn’t re-sign ANYONE that made the team so great. I know that it was mostly a numbers issue, but I was still very mad at them. The entire offensive line and wide receiver core was gone during free agency, because they all were able to get lots more money elsewhere. And, unlike most teams, they don’t make any “splashy” moves like signing big players from other teams. It’s boring! Everyone else does crazy shit while the Panthers sit on their butts. This year, they re-signed some good players (thank god) and let go of some bad ones (looking at you, Byron Bell). They added three new players, one of which was let go during last year’s free agency. Wooo! Still, though, they piss me off. They never make headlines. It’s dumb. My assumption and hope is that they’re saving money to give my baby Cam Newton a big ass contract next year, since his rookie one will be up. They also signed Michael Oher, who was the player from the movie The Blind Side! Overall the Panthers have a tendency to play things safe. You never hear of them going after huge players like Demarco Murray or Jimmy Graham. They must be doing something right if they’ve been to the playoffs the last two years in a row… so let’s see what happens this year! On top of MY team making me crazy, I also half-root for the Raiders and Cowboys because they’re my parents’ favorite teams. The Raiders are so damn stupid during free agency because they spend too much money on old players even though they have a LOT of money and could make splashy moves if they just TRIED. C’mon guys, do you wanna suck for the millionth season in a row?!
I’ve been finally hitting a stride at work. As everyone knows, I’m not a big fan of my job. I don’t like recruiting, even though I can be pretty good at it, and don’t do as much marketing as I was promised when I took this job out of college. My boss and I had a good talk this week over lunch and it was a nice kick in the butt for me to get focused, make some placements, and have more marketing tasks (hopefully). Although I don’t think I can ever be 100% happy with this company or with my job here, this is a really good start for me. Things have been busy and hectic this week, which makes me feel good!
Cooking is not my strong suit. I like experimenting but don’t do it enough. Over the past week or two I’ve been a little more creative in the kitchen. I used to make tacos, hamburgers, steak, or basic chicken… pretty much every week. I wasn’t creative at all. Lately, I’ve been looking at recipes and making my own up. Last night we had Dorito chicken and mashed potatoes (so good and doesn’t taste like you’re just eating chips! It’s almost like a breadcrumb.) I’ve also made my easy Shepherd’s Pie, buffalo chicken lettuce wraps, and some other fancy recipes. I’m hoping to get more creative as time goes on and keep cooking from my Pinterest!
I’ve decided to reduce my Goodreads Challenge from 200 books to 175 books. Maybe it still seems like a lot (or not!), but this is really going to help me take the stress out of reading. Before my blog last year, I set my goal at 20 books. I ended up with 90+ books read from July to December. I decided to challenge myself with 200 books, because I usually average 2-4 books a week and 2-4 audiobooks per month. With some challenges like Bout of Books and some weeks where I read a lot more, I thought 200 was doable. And really, it is! I know I could do it still if I wanted. My issue was that I was forcing myself to read during ALL of my free time. I didn’t want to do it that way. I review 2-3 books per week on the blog, which would mean that I’d have SO MANY BOOK REVIEWS that would be scheduled into next year. Too many! What’s the point? I want to enjoy reading and take my time IF that’s what I want to do. Reading is a hobby. Blogging is a hobby. I need to keep it that way.
March is Women’s History Month and this past weekend was International Women’s Day! I celebrated by littering Twitter with quotes about feminism. I almost posted some articles on Facebook but didn’t feel like dealing with the idiots who think feminism means something it isn’t. For those who are looking for some data and information about the state of women around the world, check out this site curated by Hilary Clinton and some other people I love. I think it’s important for people to reflect on what feminism really means and the goals of different gender movements. Emma Watson has been a recent major supporter of feminism and listening to any of her speeches is a great way to convince the men in your life to get involved.