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Special Monday 10-pack: Winners and losers in free agency

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Only six days ago, the free-agent market opened.  One of the biggest classes of veteran players, with some of the biggest names, landed on the market.

Apart from the Peyton chase, much of the dust has settled.

And so now we’re required by the laws of football analysis to tell you who won and who lost, even though we won’t really know the answer until they start playing games.

Which, you know, will feature winners and losers.

1. Winner:  Eagles.

Last year, with a compressed offseason and a new defensive coordinator who had been an offensive line coach for 14 prior seasons, the Eagles foolishly embarked on a spending spree, bringing in a bunch of big-name players and setting the stage for a Wonderlic pick-sixer blurting out the dreaded “Dream Team” label.

Apart from the challenge of getting a bunch of new employees on the same page quickly, the move surely caused some of the men already under contract to wonder why they weren’t getting a share of the free-agency windfall.

This year, the Eagles have focused on taking care of their own, which is a much better way to ensure that a true spirit of team will take over the locker room.

Perhaps most importantly, the Eagles have set the stage for receiver DeSean Jackson to turn back the clock to 2009, when he wasn’t concerned about staying healthy and/or getting paid.  The Eagles have addressed those concerns via a long-term deal that, in comparison to some of the too-heavy contracts given to lesser receivers and in light of Jackson’s rocky recent history, looks like a win-win.

Maybe that means “win” will be a more common term in the term’s vocabulary this season.

2.  Winner:  Packers.

G.M. Ted Thompson rarely makes a big splash in free agency.  The biggest exception came in 2006, when at the very public urging of quarterback Brett Favre the team signed cornerback Charles Woodson.

Other than that, the Packers under Thompson take a very conservative approach, building through the draft and using free agency on a limited basis, with low-cost talent addressing specific needs.

It’s not sexy this time of year.  But this isn’t the time of year when championships are won.  Unlike downtrodden organizations (such as the Packers themselves in 1993, when Reggie White chose Green Bay from a long list of suitors), the Packers don’t need to do anything to fire up the fan base or breathe life into the franchise.

It’s the right approach for this specific team.  The Packers have won, once again, by doing nothing.

3.  Winner:  Bills.

Speaking of downtrodden organizations, no team needed a big-ticket free agent like Mario Williams more than the Bills.  And they went all in, pulling out all the stops and persuading Williams to spend two nights in town and eventually getting the job done.

It gives Buffalo and the Bills a major boost, igniting intense local interest and legitimate national attention.  It also makes good football sense; defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt now has a player around whom the team’s new 4-3 defense can be built.

It wasn’t cheap, and it may prove to be a mistake.  But it was a risk the Bills needed to make if they ever hope to become relevant again.

4.  Winner:  Patriots.

At first, it looked like the Pats would follow the Pack’s “closed for business” approach to the early days of free agency.  But with needs at receiver, they’ve added a player in Brandon Lloyd who’ll have a far bigger impact than Chad Ochocinco (then again, the bar is low), and they’ve given Wes Welker a little cause for concern by landing a candidate to play slot receiver in Anthony Gonzalez.

They’ve also addressed an area of need on defense, adding the once-promising Trevor Scott to the rotation of recently underachieving pass rushers.

The Pats could still use a true deep threat to clear out all the underneath traffic.  But even if Lloyd is the biggest addition, the team that nearly won the Super Bowl in 2011 will be contending again in 2012.

5.  Winner:  Chiefs.

Yes, they were denied admission to the Peyton chase.  But let’s not forget that, despite all the dysfunction and key injuries of 2011, the Chiefs weren’t far away from winning the weakest division in the NFL.

Unlike most teams, the Chiefs found bargains even before the market softened, adding running back Peyton Hillis to a one-year, fire-under-butt-lighting $2.6 million contract, tight end Kevin Boss for three years and $9 million, right tackle Eric Winston, and backup quarterback Brady Quinn.

Hillis and Quinn played for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll in Cleveland, adding some familiarity to the new Romeo Crennel regime.  Winston addresses a key area of need, and Boss gives the Chiefs a second pass-catching tight end, which apparently is now a mandatory requirement for any team that hopes to be highly successful in the passing game.

Next up, don’t be surprised if Crennel lures another former Brown to Kansas City, with linebacker Kamerion Wimbley on the market.

6.  Loser:  Dolphins.

Peter King of SI.com chronicles a decade of bizarre personnel moves by the Dolphins, but the organization is now developing another troubling reputation:  anyone with options won’t opt for Miami.

It began last year with owner Stephen Ross clumsily pursuing coach Jim Harbaugh, which painted a vivid picture of disloyalty to coach Tony Sparano.  It continued in 2012 when Ross tried, and failed, to lure coach Jeff Fisher to town.  And it spread to the ranks of players in 2012, with Peyton Manning showing tepid interest at best in joining the team (even though some believed it was a done deal that he’d be a Dolphin).  Then, Matt Flynn’s decision to play for the Seahawks instead of former Packers coordinator/Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin did more than raise eyebrows — especially when followed by Steelers safety Ryan Clark proclaiming that “no one” wants to play for the Dolphins.

It’s possible that Philbin simply wasn’t all that interested in Flynn, and that Philbin knows  Flynn’s pair of high-end performances (one in 2010 and one in 2011) won’t translate to being an effective week-in, week-out starter, once opposing defenses have a chance to study enough of his film and figure him out.  If that’s the case, the Dolphins shouldn’t have even brought him to town for a visit.  By doing so, it creates the impression that they wanted him — and that yet again they failed to get their man.

Correct or not, there’s now a perception that no one of significant consequence wants to work for the Dolphins.  And the harder Ross tries to turn the page by making a “big splash,” the more likely it is that he’ll continue to swing the bat and hit himself in the face with it.

7.  Loser:  Saints.

With Bountygate lingering, the Saints had even more reason to work out a new, long-term deal with Drew Brees.  And yet the Saints continue to fail to find a middle ground with their franchise quarterback.

There’s a chance Brees simply wants too much.  But here’s the problem:  He deserves it.  The best NFL quarterback of the last six years, if he wants to max out his contract, then he should.

And as to the idea that he needs to leave some money behind so that the Saints can field a competitive team given the salary cap, here’s one important point:  It never stopped the Colts from being competitive when Peyton got every last dollar he could.

And while it’s good that the Saints kept receiver Marques Colston, they lost Robert Meachem.  And while it’s good that they lured Ben Grubbs away from Baltimore, the lost Carl Nicks.

More importantly, they’ve yet to do anything to address needs on defense, which could become even more significant once the suspensions come down.

8.  Loser:  Vikings.

Good teams can afford to sit on the sidelines in the early days of free agency.  The Vikings are not a good team.

With plenty of cap room and a tenuous stadium situation and a fan base that may choose to do things other than attend or watch Vikings games this season, the franchise needed to make a splash.  Not a Mario Williams cannonball; but something more significant than a John Carlson dog paddle.

It’s doesn’t mean the Vikings should go hog wild.  But they should have made it a priority to land one big-name player, even if it meant overpaying a little.

The offseason is about selling hope.  Teams like the Packers, Patriots, Giants, and Steelers can afford to do nothing in March; the hope is implied.  For teams that have fallen, March is an opportunity to prove that they’re at least trying to get up.

9.  Loser:  Ravens.

The Ravens had four players in the PFT Hot 100 free-agency list.  Three already have bolted for greener pastures:  defensive end Cory Redding, linebacker Jarret Johnson, and guard Ben Grubbs.

To make matters worse, guard Evan Mathis opted to stay with the Dream Team in lieu of joining a team that, on paper, seems to have a better chance of making its dreams come true.

Then there’s the lingering possibility that someone will make restricted free agent cornerback Lardarius Webb an offer the Ravens can’t afford to match.

Though there’s a long way to go before September, it’s hard not to think that, at least for now, the Ravens have faded a bit closer to the pack in the AFC.

10.  Loser:  Bengals.

By capping 2011 with an unlikely playoff berth, it can’t be said that Paul Brown Stadium routinely was less than full due to the fact that the team was bad.  Instead, the fan base is fed up with owner Mike Brown.

Even though the team is laying a solid foundation of youthful players, Bengals fans think it’s not because of Brown but in spite of him.  And with a huge cap surplus for 2012, the Bengals haven’t done much to persuade anyone that they’re willing to spend.

The good news is that, after several days of inaction, the Bengals have gone bargain shopping, adding offensive lineman Travelle Wharton and defensive back Jason Allen.  They also managed to keep free-agent safety Reggie Nelson, who had attracted an offer from the Jets.

But this is the one playoff team that needed to at least chase a marquee free agent.  They didn’t have to land the guy.  Mike Brown simply needed to show that he’s willing to move from the nickel slot machines over to the no-limit poker table.

The Bengals may once again be competitive in 2012.  The fans won’t embrace the franchise they way they should, however, until they see large chunks of their money being reinvested in players who can help the team compete for a championship.

11.  Loser/Winner:  Redskins.

I know.  I said there would be only 10 winners and losers.  But I didn’t say anything about the team that lands in both categories.

The $36 million in unexpected cap charges for treated the uncapped year too literally makes the Redskins losers.  Their refusal to shrug their shoulders when they did nothing wrong makes them winners.

Their ability to still find a way to spend money makes them winners.  Their decision to give so much money to the likes of Pierre Garçon and Josh Morgan makes them losers.

Their willingness to move up to No. 2 and get the franchise’s first true franchise quarterback since Sammy Baugh possibly will make them winners.  Mortgaging the future by giving up three first-round draft picks and a second-round pick possibly will make them losers.

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Rams rookie Cooper will miss time with shoulder injury

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Pharoh Cooper (10) makes a catch as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) AP

Rams Coach Jeff Fisher told reporters Sunday that Rams rookie wide receiver Pharoh Cooper has a shoulder injury and “will miss a few weeks.”

With two weeks until the season opener, that probably means Cooper will miss at least some time in the regular season. Cooper was injured during the Rams’ preseason game Saturday night in Denver.

Cooper has two catches for 30 yards and a touchdown this preseason. An early entry to the 2016 draft, Cooper went to the Rams in the fourth round, at pick No. 117.

Fisher also said cornerback E.J. Gaines has a quad strain and is likely to miss some time.

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A.J. Green says he’s “fine,” just upset he had to leave game

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A.J. Green gave the Bengals and Bengals fans a scare in the first quarter of Sunday night’s preseason game in Jacksonville when the Pro Bowl wide receiver limped off with what appeared to be a non-contact knee injury.

Trainers looked at Green’s right knee, but the Bengals quickly announced the injury was nothing major and that Green could have returned if it had been a regular season game.

In the third quarter, Green did a sideline interview with NBC’s Michelle Tafoya and said he’s not worried about the knee.

“I think I came down on it…just banged knees,” he said. “I’m fine. It sucks because I wanted to play a little bit longer.

“It’s not serious at all. I’m fine now.”

The Bengals have had a miserable preseason on the injury front. It’s highly unlikely any of the team’s starters will play in the preseason finale as the Bengals try to get healthy — and keep their starters away from further potential harm.

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Cedric Peerman becomes latest Bengals player to suffer injury

Cedric Peerman AP

Bengals running back Cedric Peerman immediately left the game and was treated on the sideline after being dragged down by his left arm by Jaguars cornerback Davon House in the second quarter of Sunday night’s game.

Trainers placed an air cast on Peerman’s arm.

Peerman went to the Pro Bowl as a special teams player last season. He’s been with the Bengals since 2010 and hasn’t missed a game in three seasons.

Earlier in the game the Bengals removed wide receiver A.J. Green after he came up limping after making a catch along the sideline. It’s been a brutal preseason for the Bengals on the injury front.

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PFT Live question of the day for Monday: Garoppolo or Prescott?

New England Patriots' Jimmy Garoppolo (10) is hit by Carolina Panthers' Daryl Worley (26) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Aug. 26, 2016. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone) AP

Monday’s PFT Live gets rolling, as it always does, at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio. Then, as it now does, the show slides to NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET.

As part of the enhanced exposure, we’re trying to give the audience a question to ponder every day. With Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks, here’s Monday’s question.

Which quarterback do you have more faith in as a short-term quarterback replacement: Jimmy Garoppolo or Dak Prescott?

Garropolo, in the event you’ve been out of the country for the past several months, will start the first four games of the season in place of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Answer the poll question below, drop a comment or two below that, and then tune in on Monday. Guests include former 49ers assistant (and former Browns and Jets head coach) Eric Mangini, Rodney Harrison of NBC’s Football Night in America, and NBC Sports Medicine Analyst Mike Ryan.

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How will teams represented on Competition Committee handle new touchback rule?

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At a time when plenty of coaches and other league personnel believe that the new touchback rule will result in more, not fewer, kickoff returns, a separate question arises regarding the manner in which teams whose coaches, General Managers, and/or owners have spots on the Competition Committee will adjust.

The committee currently consists of Falcons president Rich McKay, Giants co-owner John Mara, Cowboys executive V.P. Stephen Jones, Packers president Mark Murphy, Ravens G.M. Ozzie Newsome, Texans G.M. Rick Smith, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, Broncos G.M. John Elway, and NFL senior adviser Tom Coughlin (awkward, given Mara’s presence on the committee).

Already, Jones has admitted that he’ll have the “conversation” with coach Jason Garrett about ensuring that the adjustment of the touchback from to 20 to the 25 has the desired effect. And the Bengals, led by Lewis, have been kicking it deep on Sunday night in Jacksonville.

When the games that count begin, it’ll be interesting to see how the Falcons, Giants, Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Texans, Bengals, Cardinals, and Broncos handle both kicking off and opting to take a knee. If the rule change boomerangs, it ultimately makes the committee look bad for believing that the change would reduce the so-called “most dangerous play” in the game. The most dangerous play becomes a little less dangerous if the teams with representatives on the Competition Committee deliberately ignore the question of whether it makes more sense to kick it short and/or to try to run it out from the front of the end zone.

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A.J. Green, Adam Jones sustain injuries in Jacksonville

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 12:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the football upfield during the game against Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The top priority for preseason play continues to be this: Stay healthy enough to play in the regular season.

On Sunday night in Jacksonville, a pair of key Bengals failed to stay healthy.

Cornerback Adam Jones and receiver A.J. Green each have suffered leg injuries in the team’s Week Three preseason game against the Jaguars. The injury to Jones happened prior to the start of the game, in a innocuous-looking drill near the sideline. After backpedaling, Jones came up limping. He is out of uniform and not playing.

Green suffered a leg injury during the game itself. He tried to keep playing after developing a noticeable limp, before exiting the game.

The Bengals say Green’s injury isn’t serious, and that he’d stay in the game if it were a game that counts. Then again, Tony Romo’s injury supposedly wasn’t serious, either.

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Bernard gets quick score for Bengals

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The Bengals only needed three plays to turn a turnover into a touchdown in Sunday night’s preseason game vs. the Jaguars.

After Vincent Rey recovered a fumble by T.J. Yeldon on the game’s first series, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw a screen pass to running back Giovani Bernard that went for a 19-yard touchdown.

Bernard picked up blocks from Clint Boling and C.J. Uzomah, cut inside and basically waltzed into the end zone.

The Bengals have dominated on both sides early. They moved into Jaguars territory on their second series too before stalling due to penalties.

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Chiefs announce eight roster cuts

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 16: Detailed view of Kansas City Chiefs helmets on the sidelines before the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 16, 2012 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 15-0. Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs made eight roster cuts Sunday as they move towards Tuesday’s deadline to trim their roster to 75 players.

Waived by the team Sunday were wide receivers Seantavius Jones and Kashif Moore; defensive backs Bryce Cheek and Malcolm Jackson; defensive lineman Niko Davis; linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi and offensive linemen Drew Nowak and Curtis Feigt.

Massaquoi was a fifth-round pick of the Falcons in 2012 and has played in 39 career games. Nowak has prior experience with the Seahawks and Jaguars, and Jones played in three games for the Saints last season.

Final cuts to the regular season roster size of 53 are due by Sept. 3.

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Bill O’Brien “pleased” with where Brock Osweiler is right now

Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) AP

The Texans are a couple of weeks away from their first regular season game with Brock Osweiler at quarterback and the team is happy with the way things have gone in the preseason.

Assuming he sits on Thursday, Osweiler closed out the exhibition season by going 11-of-13 for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals in a 34-24 victory. One of the incompletions was a drop by rookie wide receiver Will Fuller, who had a good day otherwise with three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown.

Osweiler also had success throwing to Braxton Miller and DeAndre Hopkins before handing the offense over to Tom Savage in a game that left coach Bill O’Brien feeling good about the man the Texans signed to run his offense.

“I thought Brock went in there and managed the offense well,” O’Brien said. “Made some good throws. I was pleased. He’s made a lot of progress. Improved every day. Easy guy to coach. Pleased with where he is right now.”

Osweiler’s done better each week during the preseason and said after the game that his confidence is growing every time out, which is the kind of trajectory you’d expect to see from a player gaining a better understanding of the offense. Should that trend continue, the Texans will like their chances of opening the year with a home win over the Bears.

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Report: 49ers likely to jettison Kaepernick, for football reasons

San Francisco 49ers quarterbacks Colin Kaepernick, left, and Blaine Gabbert stand on the sideline during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay won 21-10. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) AP

Colin Kaepernick has suddenly become the most controversial player in the NFL because of his refusal to stand for the national anthem. But there may be another issue that could cost him his job in San Francisco: He’s not a very good quarterback.

Jay Glazer said on FOX that the 49ers are deeply concerned with Kaepernick’s decline as a player, which started last season when he struggled before getting benched, then got even worse this offseason when he lost significant muscle mass when he couldn’t work out following multiple surgeries.

“Regardless of politics or not, he has a very, very big uphill battle to make this team,” Glazer said. “I’d be shocked if he’s on the 49ers by the time this season ends. It has nothing to do with political views whatsoever. He lost a ton of weight this offseason, had three surgeries, couldn’t work out, lost that double threat, that size-speed ratio. No political views, he just hasn’t been effective. He’s regressing as a player. I’d be shocked if he’s on this roster by the end of this year. He may not be on it in the next two weeks.”

Kaepernick’s contract guarantees him an $11.9 million salary this season, and ordinarily a player with an $11.9 million guaranteed salary isn’t going to get cut. But if the 49ers really think Kaepernick has regressed to the point where they’d be better off with Blaine Gabbert starting and Christian Ponder and Jeff Driskel backing Gabbert up, then they can save a little money by cutting Kaepernick and hoping he signs with another team, as they would be able to reduce that $11.9 million by the amount of Kaepernick’s salary with a new team.

So there are football reasons that the 49ers might want to get rid of Kaepernick. At this point, they probably wish they had done so before this weekend’s non-football controversy.

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Rueben Randle, Chris Givens headline first wave of Eagles cuts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - AUGUST 27: Frankie Williams #46 of the Indianapolis Colts makes a tackle against Rueben Randle #82 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the third quarter of a preseason NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium on August 27, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Wide receiver Rueben Randle said last week that he feels he gets “read wrong because I do a lot of things naturally and it doesn’t seem like I’m giving much effort.”

He’ll need to prove his effort level somewhere other than Philadelphia. Randle, whose inconsistency and perceived inattention to detail were problems during his years with the Giants, was among the players cut from the Eagles roster on Sunday as they dropped to 73 players.

He wasn’t the only veteran receiver bounced in the cutdown. Chris Givens was also given a pink slip, leaving both veterans out of work months after signing with the Eagles. Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff, Dorial Green-Beckham, Nelson Agholor and Paul Turner are among the nine wideouts still on the roster.

The Eagles also parted ways with long snapper John DePalma, cornerback Randall Evans, offensive lineman Andrew Gardner, defensive tackle Mike Martin, safety Nick Perry and cornerback Denzel Rice. Linebacker Joe Walker and defensive end Alex McCalister were both placed on injured reserve.

All teams have to be down to 75 players by Tuesday’s deadline, leaving the Eagles in position to add players while other teams are dropping them in the next couple of days.

 

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Kaepernick: Liberty, freedom and justice are not happening for all

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, left, greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the end of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. Green Bay won 21-10. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) AP

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand during the playing of the national anthem before games this year was the main topic in the 49ers locker room on Sunday as Kaepernick provided further explanation for that decision.

Kaepernick pointed to police brutality against people of color and said people are “not being held accountable” for their actions. He also criticized both of the major party candidates for president — “You have Hillary [Clinton] who’s called black kids, black teens ‘super predators.’ You have [Donald] Trump who’s openly racist” — while speaking for about 20 minutes on Sunday.

“Ultimately it’s to bring awareness and make people realize what’s really going on in this country,” Kaepernick said, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust, people aren’t being held accountable for, that’s something that needs to change. That’s something, that, this country stands for liberty, freedom, justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now. … I’ll continue to sit. I’m continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me this is something that has to change, and when there’s significant change and I feel that that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent and this country is representing people in the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”

Kaepernick also addressed one of the frequent criticisms of his stand by saying that his decision to sit during the anthem is not a sign of disrespect for those that have served the United States in the military.

“I have great respect for our men and women that fought for this country,” Kaepernick said. “I have family, I have friends that have fought for this country. And they fight for freedom. They fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. And that’s not happening. I mean, people are dying in vain because this country is not holding its end of the bargain up as far as giving freedom and justice and liberty to everybody. It’s something that’s not happening. I’ve seen videos, I’ve seen circumstances, where men and women that have been in the military have come back and been treated unjustly by the country they fought for, and have been murdered by the country they fought for. On our land. That’s not right.”

Kaepernick’s meeting with the media came after 49ers players held a meeting that saw Kaepernick address his teammates. Center Daniel Kilgore said he “took offense” to Kaepernick’s actions before Friday’s game, but after listening to his teammate said “I do stand with Kap when he says enough is enough against crime, violence, discrimination and racism.”

Others are sure to continue to share their disagreements with Kaepernick’s point of view as they have over the last few days, which is their right just as it is Kaepernick’s to be on the other side of the issue. That’s something worth appreciating about this country wherever you might fall on the spectrum.

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Devon Still facing likely fine for knocking off Carson Palmer’s helmet

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) throws against the Houston Texans during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) AP

In Sunday’s Cardinals-Texans game, Houston linebacker John Simon made an athletic play on a screen pass, tipping the ball, catching it, and exploding for a long return to the end zone for a score. The more significant moment from a play in an otherwise insignificant preseason game came immediately after the interception.

Texans defensive lineman Devon Still, drafted by the Bengals months after Palmer decided he no longer was playing for the team, applied a helmet-to-helmet hit on Palmer as he lunged to make the tackle of Simon. The hit sent Palmer’s helmet flying.

(A current Bengal would say Palmer simply should have just run his ass back to the sideline.)

Even when a quarterback decides to try to make a tackle after a turnover, he can’t be hit in the head or neck area or with the helmet. The move, which didn’t draw a penalty flag on Still, will likely nevertheless result in a fine being imposed.

Palmer’s sideline demeanor suggested that he chipped a tooth on the play. Coupled with a pair of interceptions in limited work, Palmer’s 2016 isn’t starting much differently than his 2015 ended.

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Devin Smith to reserve/PUP, Jets cut 11 other guys

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 04:  Eric Decker #87 of the New York Jets celebrates with Devin Smith #19 of the New York Jets as he scores their second touchdown during the game against Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium on October 4, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jets stashed wide receiver Devin Smith on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, and cut 11 guys to get their roster down to 78 prior to Tuesday’s deadline to get to 75.

Smith wasn’t ready after tearing his ACL last December, but he didn’t look ready before then, either. The 2015 second-rounder only caught nine passes as a rookie.

Smith will miss the first six weeks of the regular season before he can be activated.

The Jets also released linebacker Deion Barnes, tackle Jesse Davis, center Kyle Friend, defensive lineman Shelby Harris, guard Jarvis Harrison, kicker Ross Martin, defensive lineman Helva Matungulu, running back Lache Seastrunk, tight end Jason Vander Laan, wide receiver Kyle Williams and running back Terry Williams.

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Carson Palmer done for day after two picks, hit to head

SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 19:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks from the sidelines during the game with the San Diego Chargers during preseason at Qualcomm Stadium on August 19, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Getty Images

The good news for the Cardinals starting offense on Sunday is that they found the end zone for the first time in the preseason.

The bad news is that David Johnson’s touchdown run was sandwiched between a pair of Carson Palmer interceptions. Vince Wilfork tipped a ball that wound up in Andre Hal’s hands to end the first Arizona possession of the game and set up a Houston touchdown.

Interception No. 2 came on a great play by Texans linebacker John Simon to tip an attempted screen into the air before corralling it and rumbling 59 yards for a touchdown. That poor outcome was made worse when Palmer was drilled by Texans defensive lineman Devon Still after a futile attempt to stop Simon. The hit to the head left Palmer without a helmet and members of the Texans medical staff were looking at Palmer on the bench after Drew Stanton took over at quarterback on the next possession.

That’s likely the last that we’ll see of Palmer this preseason. If so, he’ll end the exhibition season 12-of-22 for 139 yards with three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. That line doesn’t wipe out memories of the NFC title game as opening night against the Patriots draws closer.

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