PFT Live: Nike unveils new uniforms

Mike Florio talks about Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, and who will be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Florio thinks RG3’s refusual to work out for the Colts shows he doesn’t want to play in Indianapolis. He also talks about the unveiling of the new Nike uniforms in Brooklyn and whether or not pro prospects should take the wonderlic test at the NFL combine.

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PFT Live: Will football be brought back to L.A.?

L.A. Times columnist Sam Farmer joins PFT Live. With the possibility of a NFL franchise moving to Los Angeles, Farmer talks about where and when a stadium could be built, and more importantly, how much it would cost.

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PFT Live: Relationship between NFL, NFLPA still tense

Mike Florio talks with NFL Network reporter Albert Breer. Florio talks with Breer about the release of the new Nike uniforms and the relationship between the NFL and the NFLPA in the player punishment for the bounty scandal. Breer says the relationship between the NFL and NFLPA is still tense from the lockout.

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Joe Flacco thinks he’s “the best” quarterback in football

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We’ve long believed that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco doesn’t get enough credit for his accomplishments in four years of football.  Still, it was difficult to agree with agent Joe Linta’s argument that Flacco, based on his wins and losses, merits a top-five contract.

It’s even harder to agree with Flacco’s own assessment of his skills.

“I assume everybody thinks they’re a top-five quarterback,” Flacco told WNST in Baltimore, via  “I mean, I think I’m the best.  I don’t think I’m top five, I think I’m the best.  I don’t think I’d be very successful at my job if I didn’t feel that way.  I mean, C’mon?  That’s not really too tough of a question.  But that doesn’t mean that things are gonna work out that way.  It just means that that’s the way it is, that’s the way I feel it is, and that’s the way I feel it should be.”

We understand the attitude, and the importance of confidence.  But like Eli Manning’s characterization of himself as “elite” in August 2011 (you know, before he went out and proved it), the better answer in these situations is something along the lines of, “That’s not for me to decide.  Those labels are determined by others.”

So far, Flacco’s supreme confidence isn’t resulting in a new contract.

“[I]t either gets done or it doesn’t,” Flacco said of the negotiations.  “And I’m not really too involved in the process besides letting him know how I feel and letting him take care of that and letting the Baltimore Ravens take care of their side.  And that’s really my involvement.  It’s not about the money, it’s about what you as a player feel that you deserve.  And at the end of the day, they’ll take care of it and I’ll be waiting.”

But if he thinks he’s the best quarterback, then he necessarily thinks he deserves to be paid more than any other quarterback.

If that’s the case, Flacco will be waiting for a while.

Union paid $44 million for lockout insurance

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Last year, in the midst of the lockout, a report emerged that the NFLPA had purchased “lockout insurance.”

It seemed far-fetched at the time, and few with knowledge of the insurance industry believed that the union could have found someone to underwrite a policy that would have paid out, as it turned out, $200,000 per player in the event the full 2011 season were scrapped.

In the aftermath of the lockout, we reported that the lockout insurance cost nearly $50 million.  Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reports that the union’s tax return for the period ending March 31, 2011 reveals an expenditure of $44 million for lockout insurance.

The premiums took the union from a profit of more than $20 million to a loss of more than $20 million for the fiscal year.

Also, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith earned $2.38 million, far less than the amounts the late Gene Upshaw received in the final years of his tenure.  Also, more than $6 million was paid to outside lawyers.

49ers to host free agent Jason Brown

Adam Caplan reports that free agent offensive lineman Jason Brown has a visit scheduled with the San Francisco 49ers for the upcoming weekend.

Brown is entering his age-29 season and was considered one of the top interior offensive linemen on the 2009 free agent market. The Rams signed him to a five-year, $37.5 million contract that February, but Brown was benched last season and released by St. Louis on March 12.

The 49ers have a need at guard, where Brown played early in his career with the Ravens. He can also play center.

Brown was the No. 84 overall player on the PFT Hot 100.

Even with 13 draft picks, Browns may trade down for more


The bad news in Cleveland is that the Browns have holes at so many positions that rookies could easily make up a quarter of their roster this season. The good news is that they already have enough draft picks to accomplish that — and they may end up with even more.

The Canton Repository reports, citing sources familiar with Browns General Manager Tom Heckert, that the Browns are leaning toward trading out of the fourth pick, although Cleveland isn’t expected to trade down as far or recoup as much as it did last year, when it swapped picks with Atlanta, which coveted Julio Jones.

But any trade down would likely result in the Browns picking up another pick or two in this year’s draft, and the Browns already have a whopping 13, which includes the Falcons’ first- and fourth-round picks through last year’s Jones trade, plus four compensatory selections.

The Browns probably wouldn’t trade out of the No. 4 pick until they’re on the clock on the night of the first round, as any team targeting a player at No. 4 overall ahead of time would be worried that the Vikings would take that player third. But if there’s a good deal to be made by trading down after the Vikings pick, the Browns would be open to making it. And maybe ending up not with 13 picks in this year’s draft, but 14 or 15.

Griffin will turn down all private workout requests

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Colts owner Jim Irsay shouldn’t feel like he’s been singled out.  Although quarterback Robert Griffin III has declined to submit to a private workout with the Colts, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that he will submit to no private workouts.

(As I way typing this up, Adam Schefter was on ESPN saying the same thing.)

Still, there’s a sense that Griffin doesn’t want to go to Indianapolis, and that he prefers playing for the Redskins.  Though Griffin would never say that, the reality is that, with a rookie wage scale, the first overall pick no longer is as significant as it used to be.

Far more significant in the first round than the first contract is the second contract.  With Peyton Manning, the Colts forced him to complete every game of a six-year rookie contract and a seven-year second deal.  This suggests that the Colts will milk the full amount of the five-year deal that the first pick will sign, before applying the franchise tag and/or signing the player to a long-term agreement.

In Washington, where owner Daniel Snyder has never enjoyed a franchise quarterback, chances are that he’d be inclined to extend Griffin with a market-value deal not long after his third NFL season, at which time rookie contracts can now be renegotiated.  Besides, Griffin stands to make much more money via off-field endeavors in D.C., and he’ll be filling the much smaller shoes of Rex Grossman and John Beck.

So while Griffin is saying “no” to everyone, it’s likely that the tactic was aimed at keeping the Colts from saying his name with the first pick in the 2012 draft.

Bus Cook “in shock” about Claiborne test score

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ESPN has confirmed our report that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a four (yes, four) on the 50-question Wonderlic test.

Adam Schefter of ESPN also has gotten a quote from Claiborne’s agent, Bus Cook.

“I haven’t heard a word about it,” Cook said of the score.  “I haven’t talked to anybody about it.  All I know is that [Claiborne] was from a complicated defensive system and he flourished in it.  I’ve never seen any sort of deficiency in him.  I’m sitting here in shock at what you’re telling me.
“And if it is true, how does that get out?  I thought the Commissioner was going to put safeguards on this information and there would be severe discipline if it ever did get out.  I don’t know if he scored a 4 or a 40.  All I know is he’s a great kid, he’s smart, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with everything about him.”
The truth is that Cook shouldn’t be in shock.  With ample samples of the Wonderlic available, Cook and every agent worth his or her commission should know before the kid takes the test the neighborhood in which his score is expected to land.
Moreover, if the sudden assertion elsewhere that Claiborne has a learning disability is true (and that argument would tend to conflict with Cook’s comments), it becomes even more important for Cook to know about it and to take steps aimed at protecting his client from being put into a situation that will result in an unjust outcome.
And so, regardless of why or how Claiborne scored so low, Cook should have known it was coming, and Cook should have either tried to find a way to improve the score — or Cook should have advised Claiborne not to take the test.
That’s a point Dan Patrick has been making for a long time, and it’s a great one.  Incoming rookies routinely decline to run the 40 or participate in certain drills.  If there’s any concern that the score will be low, why not refuse to take the Wonderlic?  The easy explanation for refusing would be that the player doesn’t believe the NFL will maintain the confidentiality of the score.
If the score doesn’t impact draft stock, then refusing to submit to the test shouldn’t matter, either.
The NFL can gnash its teeth all it wants about the fact that the information gets out.  Regardless, the information will continue to get out.  Everything relating to the draft gets out — whether it’s the Wonderlic scores or or stupid/funny things guy said during interviews or which guys failed drug tests at the Scouting Combine (there’s already one fairly high-profile name link to a failed February 2012 drug test).
Since a low Wonderlic score invariably is met with the argument that it won’t affect the player’s draft stock because the score doesn’t matter, the bigger question is why does the NFL keep using the Wonderlic test?

Maybe every player should refuse to take it until the NFL provides a compelling explanation for continuing to insist that they submit to a test that doesn’t say anything about their football ability, especially since the NFL can’t guarantee that the information won’t be disclosed.  Maybe, in the end, that will prompt the NFL to quit using a test that apparently has no correlation to a guy’s ultimate performance.

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PFT Live 04/03: Sam Farmer, Albert Breer

Mike Florio talks with L.A. Times NFL columnist, Sam Farmer about the proposal for a new stadium in Los Angeles. Florio also talks with NFL Network reporter, Albert Breer about the release of the new Nike uniforms and the tense relationship between the NFL and the NFLPA in the recent Bounty player punishment case.





Redskins won’t request private workout with Griffin


On Tuesday morning, Colts owner Jim Irsay disclosed that quarterback Robert Griffin III declined an invitation to conduct a private workout for the team that holds the first pick in the draft.

Griffin won’t get a chance to apply the same treatment to the Redskins, because the Redskins won’t be asking.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Redskins decided against a private workout with Griffin because they saw everything they needed to see on March 21, at his Pro Day workout.

The next question is whether the Redskins will conduct a private workout with Andrew Luck.

League paid Goodell $11.6 million, NFL Network head $12.2 million


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is not the league’s highest-paid employee, but he is doing pretty well for himself.

According to the NFL’s IRS Form 990, which the league is required by law to make public, Goodell made $11,554,000 in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2011. That’s a significant bump from the previous year, when he made $9.69 million.

But it doesn’t make Goodell the highest-paid league employee: That honor still belongs to NFL Network chief Steve Bornstein, who made $12.2 million. The NFL owners apparently approved that salary for Bornstein on the theory that television salaries are high, and they had to offer something competitive to get someone they trust to run their network.

Other details from the NFL’s 990, via Darren Rovell of CNBC, include the league spending $11.37 million to rent its New York City office space on Park Avenue, $2.69 million licensing software from Microsoft and paying $8.58 million to former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, mostly in the form of deferred payment and retirement benefits.

PFT Live: Albert Breer and Sam Farmer

Two NFL insiders join Mike Florio on Tuesday’s edition of PFT Live.

Albert Breer of the NFL Network will be on to discuss the appeals of the penalties handed down to the Saints by commissioner Roger Goodell. They’ll also talk about the negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA about the penalties to players who were part of the bounty program.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times will join Florio to discuss the efforts to build a stadium in Los Angeles.

You can watch it all live at noon ET.

Mikel Leshoure hasn’t rescheduled arraignment

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Mikel Leshoure’s arraignment for a marijuana possession charge has turned into a multi-day story and none of the developments look good for the Lions running back.

When Leshoure missed his arraignment on Monday, reports said that he had spoken to the Lions about it and rescheduled the arraignment for Wednesday. Julie Mack of reports that isn’t true, however, and that Leshoure hasn’t made any arrangements to show up at Berrien County District Court. Gary Ruhl, the chief of the Baroda-Lake Township Police Department, told Mack that he informed a member of the Lions that Leshoure hadn’t rescheduled the arraignment.

“He’s a good running back,” Ruhl said. “He’s not good about staying out of trouble in Berrien County.”

Leshoure is charged with a felony, which means he could be facing jail time. He could also be facing a suspension from the NFL. Given all that, you’d think he’d be trying a little harder to make this go away as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Seahawks unveil their “new age” uniforms

With the NFL formally unveiling its new line of Nike apparel today, the Seahawks were the team everyone was keeping an eye on, after they promised a “new age” look.

Now we’ve seen what the new-age Seahawks look like: The team’s website has posted a full-scale fashion show of the team’s redesigned gear.

Reactions have been mixed. Packers tight end Jermichael Finley loves them, writing on Twitter, “Seahawks has the best looking Jerseys. THEY ARE SICK!”

But Paul Lukas, the obsessive chronicler of sports uniforms, wrote on the Uni Watch Twitter, “It is SERIOUSLY ugly.”

PFT Planet, tell us where you stand.

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