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75-man roster tracker

NFL teams have until 4 PM EDT on Monday, August 27 to cut their rosters from 90 players to 75 players. We’ll track all the moves that every team makes to get down to 75 players right here.

Arizona Cardinals: Got down to the 75-player limit on Friday by putting LT Levi Brown on injured reserve, waiving fullback Jared Crank and running back Thomas Clayton with the waived-injured designation, and releasing DE Landon Cohen, WR Gino Crump, S Eddie Elder, WR Tre Gray, CB Marshay Green, WR Jaymar Johnson, FB Reagan Maui’a, LB Marcus McGraw, LB Zack Nash, CB James Nixon, K/P Ricky Schmitt and LB Paul Vassalo.

Atlanta Falcons: Got down to the 75-player limit on Saturday by putting tackle Will Svitek on injured reserve, waiving tight end Chase Coffman, linebacker Max Gruder, kicker Erik Folk, running back Richard Medlin, fullback Lee Meisner, defensive end Louis Nzegwu, receiver Kenny Stafford and tight end Aron White and reaching injury settlements with defensive tackle Elisha Joseph and cornerback Darrin Walls.  The Falcons also waived quarterback John Parker Wilson and placed defensive tackle Corey Peters on the reserve/non-football injury list.

Baltimore RavensCut nine on Sunday, including kicker Billy Cundiff, tight end Davon Drew, receiver Devin Goda, offensive lineman Addison Lawrence, cornerback Jordan Maybin, center Cecil Newton (brother of Cam), long snapper Patrick Scales, quarterback Chester Stewart, and receiver Patrick Williams. Finished things up on Monday by placing linebacker Terrell Suggs and wide receiver David Reed on reserve/PUP and placing linebacker Stevie Baggs, linebacker Darryl Blackstock, safety Emanuel Cook and defensive tackle Ryan McBean on injured reserve.

Buffalo Bills: Made 10 moves Sunday to get to the limit. They placed tight end Mike Caussin on reserve/PUP, and released nine players: Wide receiver David Clowney, cornerback Prince Miller, linebacker Danny Batten, defensive end Sean Ferguson, tight end Fendi Onobun, defensive tackle Jay Ross, wide receiver Derek Session, defensive back Nick Sukay and guard Jake Vermiglio.  Batten was waived with the designation “failure to disclose physical condition.”

Carolina Panthers: Started the process of getting down to 75 by cutting their veteran punter and their veteran kicker, Nick Harris and Olindo Mare. They also put promising wide receiver David Gettis on reserve/PUP list, and cornerback Brandon Hogan on IR, and waived wide receivers Darvin Adams, Michael Avila, Brenton Bersin and Rico Wallace (with injury settlement), running backs Josh Vaughan and Lyndon Rowells, tight end Greg Smith, guards Roger Allen and Will Blackwell and linebacker-defensive end Eric Norwood.

Chicago Bears: Made 12 moves Sunday, getting the roster to 76 the day before the deadline. They placed safety Brandon Hardin on IR, receiver Johnny Knox on reserve/PUP, and released veteran defensive tackle John McCargo. They also waived linebacker K.C. Asiodu, quarterback Matt Blanchard, safety Trevor Coston, receiver Terriun Crump, receiver Chris Summers, defensive end Derek Walker, and defensive end Thaddeus Gibson.  They also waived/injured linebacker Adrien Cole and guard Nick Pieschel. The Bears’ final move was cutting former supplemental draft pick Harvey Unga, which got them down to 75.

Cincinnati Bengals: Got down to 76 players on Friday by putting cornerback Brandon Ghee, cornerback Shaun Prater, receiver/cornerback Taveon Rodgers, safety Robert Sands, and guard Travelle Wharton on injured reserve, and releasing defensive end Luke Black, running back Aaron Brown, quarterback Tyler Hansen, and guard Matt Murphy. Wide receiver Kashif Moore was waived on Monday to complete the cuts.

Cleveland BrownsMoved to 80 on Sunday by waiving offensive lineman Jake Anderson, offensive lineman Matt Cleveland, defensive back Emanuel Davis, linebacker JoJo Dickson, punter Spencer Lanning, receiver Carlton Mitchell, receiver Bert Reed, receiver Jermaine Saffold, and receiver Owen SpencerGot to 75 on Monday by waiving with the “injured” designation defensive lineman Marcus Benard, defensive lineman Auston English, and defensive back Antwuan Reed,  placing linebacker Chris Gocong and sixth-round rookie linebacker Emmanuel Acho on injured reserve, and converting defensive lineman Phil Taylor from the active/Physically Unable to Perform list to the reserve/PUP list.

Dallas Cowboys: Dallas got down to 76 players after releasing tackle Levy Adcock, punter Delbert Alvarado, tight end Harry Flaherty, receiver David Little, tackle Tyrone Novikoff, receiver Raymond Radway, running back Javarris Williams and cornerback C.J. Wilson. They also waived/injured receiver Donavon Kemp and linebacker Caleb McSurdy, and put guard/center Kevin Kowalski on the physically unable to perform list. They got to 75 by releasing long snapper Charley Hughlett, who had a partially guaranteed contract.

Denver Broncos: Got down to 75 by cutting veteran long snapper Lonnie Paxton, putting defensive end Jason Hunter on injured reserve and waiving linebacker Elliot Coffey, wide receiver Mark Dell, wide receiver Cameron Kenney, tight end Anthony Miller, defensive end Cyril Obiozor, running back Xavier Omon, safety Anthony Perkins, tackle Mike Remmers, cornerback Ramzee Robinson, fullback Austin Sylvester and guard Austin Wuebbels.

Detroit Lions: The Lions got down to 80 players after waiving fullback James Bryant, receiver Jarett Dillard, running back Stephfon Green, safety Sean Jones, guard Jacques McClendon, linebacker Slade Norris (injured), guard J.C. Oram, defensive tackle Bobby Skinner, kicker Derek Dimke and receiver Terrence Toliver. Running back Jahvid Best’s slow recovery from a concussion landed him on the PUP list where he’ll join cornerback Chris Greenwood. Offensive linemen Jonathan Scott and Bill Nagy were placed on injured reserve and wide receiver Dominique Curry and wide receiver Isaac Madison were released.  Also, an injury settlement was reached with defensive back Don Carey, who had been on injured reserve.

Green Bay Packers: Got down to 75 on Monday by placing linebacker Desmond Bishop, running back Du’ane Bennett, tight end DeMarco Cosby, guard Ray Dominguez, defensive end Johnny Jones and receiver Shaky Smithson on injured reserve. Tight end Andrew Quarless and linebacker Frank Zombo were placed on reserve/physically unable to perform. The Packers also released fullback Jon Hoese and defensive end Jarius Wynn. Green Bay began the cuts on Friday by releasing DE Anthony Hargrove, WR Andrew Brewer, S Micah Pellerin, T Herb Taylor and CB Dion Turner.

Houston Texans: Made their moves Sunday, cutting veteran LB Omar Gaither and WR Bryant Johnson among others. They also put rookie kicker Randy Bullock on injured reserve, and waived-injured nose tackle Sunny Harris and linebacker Greg William. Linebacker Darryl Sharpton was placed on reserve-PUP, and they released the following: Tackle Nick Mondek, center Thomas Austin, punter Brett Hartmann, receiver Mario Lewis, running back Davin Meggett, defensive end Jimmy Saddler-McQueen, fullback Derrell Smith, guard Kasey Studdard and cornerback Torri Williams.

Indianapolis Colts: Got the ball rolling on Sunday by waiving cornerback Chris Rucker, cornerback Cameron Chism, cornerback Terrence Johnson, cornerback Antonio Fenelus, safety Matt Merletti, safety David Caldwell, linebacker Mike Balogun, wide receiver Quan Cosby, running back Alvester Alexander, guard Jason Foster and punter Brian Stahovich. They got to the limit Monday by placing defensive tackle Brandon McKinney and offensive tackle George Foster were placed on injured reserve, along with wide receiver Griff Whalen. Rookie defensive tackle Josh Chapman and guard Justin Anderson were placed on the reserve/PUP list, which will keep them on the shelf for at least the first six weeks.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Cut eight players on Saturday: cornerback Ashton Youboty, quarterback Nathan Enderle, receiver Chastin West, linebacker Nate Bussey, running back DuJuan Harris, cornerback Mike Holmes, tackle Dan Hoch, and linebacker Donovan Richard.  Finished the move to 75 on Monday by placing guard John Estes, guard Drew Nowak, guard/center Jason Spitz, and tight end Matt Veldman on injured reserve.  Also, fullback Brock Bolen was waived with the injured designation, and defensive end John Chick and linebacker Clint Session were shifted from the active/PUP list to the reserve/PUP list.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs cut 14 players Sunday to get to the limit. They released second-year wideout Jeremy Horne, who had yet to record a regular season catch, as well as former Army linebacker Caleb Campbell. Also released were: Fullback Shane Bannon, tight end Tim Biere, wide receivers Brandon Kinnie, Zeke Markshausen and Aaron Weaver, offensive linemen Justin Cheadle and Cam Hollland, defensive end Ethan Johnson (waived for failure to disclose physical condition), linebacker Dexter Heyman, defensive backs Dominique Ellis and Jean Fanor and kicker Matt Szymanski.

Miami Dolphins: Cut Hard Knocks star Les Brown as well as defensive tackle Chas Alecxih, cornerback Marcus Brown, safety Tyrell Johnson, cornerback Trenton Hughes, linebacker Josh Linam, running back Jerome Messam, defensive end Jacquies Smith and cornerback Jonathan Wade. Placed running back Jonas Gray on the physically unable to perform list.

Minnesota Vikings: Got down to 75 players on Saturday by waiving guard Bridger Buche, running back Derrick Coleman, guard Grant Cook, linebacker Soloman Elimimian, defensive back Corey Gatewood, tackle Levi Horn, defensive end Anthony Jacobs, receiver Kamar Jorden, receiver A.J. Love, linebacker Tyler Nielsen, defensive end Ernest Owusu, defensive tackle Tydreke Powell, cornerback Chris Stroud, receiver Kerry Taylor, and receiver Bryan Walters. The Vikings previously waived rookie receiver Greg Childs and rookie defensive back Nicholas Taylor, both of whom reverted to the team’s injured reserve list.

New England Patriots: Cleared out some veteran receivers, including Donte’ Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney. They also released were defensive linemen Gerard Warren and Tim Bulman and safety Ross Ventrone. Defensive back Will Allen, safety Josh Barrett and fullback Spencer Larsen were placed on injured reserve, and tight end Jake Ballard and defensive lineman Myron Pryor were placed on the reserve-PUP. Rookie offensive lineman Markus Zusevics was placed on the reserve-Non Football Injury list. The Patriots also claimed first-year WR Kerry Taylor off waivers from the Vikings.

New Orleans Saints: Beat the storm and made their cuts Monday, releasing veteran defensive tackle Remi Ayodele and quarterback Luke McCown. The Saints also waived the following players: Tight end Jake Byrne (who had a partially guaranteed contract), wide receivers Marques Clark, Kevin Hardy and Derek Moye, offensive linemen Hutch Eckerson, Paul Fenaroli and Brian Folkerts, defensive end Donavan Robinson, defensive tackle Swanson Miller, linebacker Aaron Tevis, cornerbacks Kamaal McIlwain and Cord Parks and safety Johnny Thomas (who had a partially guaranteed contract).

New York Giants: Reached the 75-man limit on Monday by placing tight end Travis Beckum and defensive tackle Chris Canty on reserve/PUP, placing offensive lineman Brandon Mosley on injured reserve, releasing cornerback Antwaun Molden and waiving tight end Ryan Purvis, defensive tackle Carlton Powell, defensive back Chris Horton, wide receiver Julian Talley, wide receiver Brandon Collins, tight end Christian Hopkins, defensive back Brandon Bing, defensive back Jojo Nicolas, running back Joe Martinek, tackle Joel Reinders and defensive tackle Oren Wilson.

New York Jets: Got down to 80 players on Saturday by cutting receiver Dexter Jackson, guard Terrence Campbell, long snapper Derek Chard, defensive tackle Matt Hardison, cornerback LeQuan Lewis, safety Marcus Lott, and receiver Raymond WebberCut to 74 Monday by dumping linebacker Ambrose Damario, receiver Stanley Aruke, receiver Wes Kemp, running back Jeremy Stewart, and kicker Josh Brown, and by waiving fullback/tight end Josh Baker with the “injured” designation.

Oakland Raiders: Made 12 moves Monday to get to the limit. They waived linebacker Korey Bosworth (nephew Brian) along with the following players: Defensive ends Mason Brodine and Wayne Dorsey, safeties Aaron Henry and Chaz Powell, cornerback Terrail Lambert, wide receivers Thomas Mayo and DeAundre Muhammad, quarterback Kyle Newhall-Caballero and fullback Manase Tonga. They also waived-injured fullback Rashawn Jackson and offensive lineman Ed Wang.

Pittsburgh SteelersMoved to 75 on Monday by releasing linebacker Ryan Baker, defensive tackle Mike Blanc, wide receiver Paul Cox, cornerback Andre Freeman, kicker Daniel Hrapmann, offensive lineman Kyle Jolly, long snapper Matt Katula, tight end Jamie McCoy, cornerback Walter McFadden, tight end Justin Peelle, safety Myron Rolle, wide receiver Juamorris Stewart, defensive tackle Kade Weston, and wide receiver Jimmy Young. Also waived linebacker Mortty Ivy with the “injured” designation.  (They’ve since reached an injury settlement with Ivy.)

Philadelphia EaglesCut to 80 on Saturday by releasing receiver Elvis Akpla, safety Wade Bonner, defensive end Xavier Brown, receiver Brian Hernandez (injured), receiver McKay Jacobson, receiver Tiger Jones, guard Alfred McCullough, safety Tom Nelson (injured), cornerback Kevin Thomas, and tackle Thomas Welch.  On Sunday, the Eagles moved to 79, by releasing former Oregon All-American cornerback Cliff Harris. They got down to 75 by placing tackle Jason Peters on the reserve/non-football injury list, defensive tackle Mike Patterson on the reserve/non-football illness list, guard Mike Gibson on injured reserve and waiving wide receiver Jamel Hamler.

San Diego Chargers: Released wide receiver Roscoe Parrish, placed guard Johnnie Troutman on reserve/non-football injury list, placed offensive lineman Brandyn Dombrowski on reserve/non-football illness list and waived wide receivers Jason Barnes, Taylor Embree and Phillip Payne, defensive tackle Eddie Brown, long snapper Nick Guess, running back Michael Hayes, tight end Brad Taylor and offensive tackle Phil Trautwein. The Chargers also reached injury settlements with defensive tackle Garrett Brown and tackle Michael Toudouze to get to 75 players.

San Francisco 49ers: Got to 75 players on Monday by placing linebacker Darius Fleming on the PUP list and running back Jewel Hampton on the reserve/non-football injury list. They also waived tackle Jason Slowey, running back Cameron Bell, linebacker Kourtnei Brown (injured), wide receiver Brian Tyms, safety Cory Nelms, wide receiver Joe Hastings (injured), wide receiver Ben Hannula, kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, defensive tackle Matt Masifilo, cornerback Deante’ Purvis , tight end Joe Sawyer and defensive tackle Patrick Butrym.

St. Louis Rams: Got down to 80 players on Monday by waiving defensive lineman John Gill, linebacker Noah Keller, fullback Todd Anderson, kicker Garrett Lindholm, running back Nicholas Schweiger, wide receiver Charles Gilbert, wide receiver Brandyn Harvey, offensive lineman Kevin Hughes, linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis and running back Calvin Middleton. The Rams got to 75 by waiving-injured wide receiver Danario Alexander, placing defensive tackle Trevor Laws on injured reserve and waiving tight end Brody Eldridge, offensive lineman Ryan McKee and long snapper Travis Tripucka.

Seattle Seahawks: Released on Sunday receiver Terrell Owens, guard Deuce Lutui, tackle Alex Barron, receiver Phil Bates, tackle Edawn Coughman, cornerback Donny Lisowski, cornerback Ron Parker, and running back Tyrell Sutton. Also waived the following players with the “injured” designation: linebacker Jameson Konz, defensive tackle Lazarius Levingston, cornerback Roy Lewis, and tight end Cameron Morrah.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:   Reduced to 75 on Monday by waiving running back De’Anthony Curtis, long snapper Andrew DePaola, receiver Greg Ellingson, tight end Collin Franklin, receiver Ed Gant, punter Eric Guthrie, tackle Mike Ingersoll (injury settlement), linebacker Brian Smith, safety Tramain Thomas, and cornerback Marquese Wheaton.  Also placed guard Davin Joseph on injured reserve and shifted defensive end Da’Quan Bowers to reserve/PUP list.

Tennessee Titans: Got the to 75-man limit Sunday by placing receiver Marc Mariani on IR, safety Markelle Martin on reserve/PUP, and releasing the following players: running back Herb Donaldson, center William Vlachos, quarterback Nick Stephens, kicker Will Batson, tight end Joey Haynos, offensive linemen George Bias and Jonathan Palmer, safety Christian Scott, and receivers Chase Deadder, LaQuinton Evans, and Marcus Harris.

Washington Redskins: Kicker Neil Rackers was let go after losing kicking competition to Graham Gano.  The Redskins also released veteran offensive linemen Tony Moll and James Lee; waived running back Antwon Bailey, offensive lineman Chris Campbell, running back Lennon Creer, quarterback Jonathan Crompton, receiver Samuel Kirkland, linebacker Monte Lewis, guard Nick Martinez, and tight end Beau Reliford; waived receiver Lance Lewis with the injured designation; waived cornerback Morgan Trent with an injury settlement; traded cornerback Kevin Barnes to the Lions; and placed right tackle Jammal Brown on reserve/PUP.

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Report: Fabian Moreau suffered torn pec during pro day

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The pre-draft workout process may have claimed another player’s rookie season.

According to Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com, UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau’s chest injury was apparently quite serious, as he suffered a torn pectoral muscle and has already undergone surgery.

Those are usually four-to-six-month injuries, so it’s conceivable that he could return to the field at some point this season. But it should still be enough to harm the draft stock of a player who might have been a first-round pick.

As injuries go, it’s certainly better than the torn Achilles Washington cornerback Sidney Jones suffered during his pro day. He’s vowed to return to the field at some point this year, but that’s not a decision he’s able to make for himself at this point.

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Replay change still requires approval from 24 owners

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Commissioner Roger Goodell has done enough writing and talking about changes to the replay system to cause many to assume it’s a done deal.

It’s not.

A source with knowledge of the situation has confirmed to PFT that the proposed alterations to the process require the approval of at least 24 of the owners. Which means either that Goodell knows he has the votes, or that he’s using an eleventh-hour media blitz to help deliver votes from those who also employ and pay him.

While it’s unknown how other owners feel about shifting final say over the process from the referee to the league office, multiple league sources consistently have expressed concern about involving anyone not at the game site.

“Who’s in the replay room?” one source asked PFT this morning. “Still nebulous answer. Bad idea.”

Whoever wrote Goodell’s “Dear Fans” letter may be sensitive to the potential criticism of the change in who makes the decision. Consider this key sentence: “Instead of a fixed sideline monitor, we will bring a tablet to the Referee who can review the play in consultation with our officiating headquarters in New York, which has the final decision.”

The most important aspect of the adjustment is tacked onto the end of the sentence, with the subtle use of “has” instead of “will have” or “would now have” or anything else that would highlight that the change is far more significant that the removal of the peep-show booth and the enhancement to Microsoft’s product placement investment.

By early next week, it will be more clear as to whether nine teams or a number close to that oppose the change. Before the end of the week, the change that for now is only a proposal will be an official rule. Unless it isn’t.

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Bengals bringing back running back Cedric Peerman

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The Bengals have seen plenty of players leave this offseason, but they’re hanging onto to one of their own.

According to Zac Jackson of TheAthletic.com (the name’s not familiar, but the face rings a bell), the Bengals are bringing back running back Cedric Peerman.

Peerman’s a solid addition to their special teams, and in the absence of Rex Burkhead could have him take on some degree of role in offense.

They considered him valuable enough to use their designated for return spot on him last year, so they obviously value him around there.

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Celebration violations could be flagged and not fined

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Earlier this morning, I argued that the NFL should handle improper celebrations not with penalties imposed against the team but with fines imposed against the player. And, of course, the opposite is actually what may happen.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFL actually may dump the fines but still throw penalty flags.

That approach would eliminate a large amount of the criticism that the NFL experiences, with the No-Fun-League no longer picking player pockets. Still, moving the kickoff point from the 35 to the 20 could have a major impact on a game. What if there’s a borderline celebration after a go-ahead touchdown late in a Super Bowl, resulting in the team that’s losing getting an enhanced chance at tying the game or winning it? (Under current rules, that should have happened at the end of Super Bowl XLIII.)

Also, a penalty for illegal celebrations essentially guarantees that there will be an extra kickoff return. With the NFL trying to legislate that play out of the game, that’s definitely a reason for penalty flags not to be thrown for celebration violations.

As a practical matter, this approach shifts the focus to the teams, and it gives the teams an even greater incentive to insist on compliance and accountability. With the league no longer punishing the player who celebrates in a manner that draws a flag, maybe the coach will be more willing to do so himself.

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Jerry Richardson skipping owners meetings again

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When NFL owners convene Sunday in Phoenix, Panthers founder Jerry Richardson won’t be with them. Again.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the 80-year-old Richardson will not be in attendance, but the team will send a six-member team of personnel to vote for the team.

Richardson skipped last year’s meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., having scheduled shoulder surgery the same week. Team spokesman Steven Drummond said Richardson’s health was good, but he didn’t feel up to the demands of two cross-country flights. Richardson’s been dealing with knee issues as well. He had a heart transplant in 2009.

Of course, when he was absent last year, they had a team president. But since then, Danny Morrison has resigned, and they haven’t named a replacement.

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Sean Payton reportedly speaking with Johnny Manziel

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If Johnny Manziel returns to the NFL, it could be as the backup to Drew Brees.

That’s the word from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who reports that Saints coach Sean Payton has taken an interest in Manziel and talked to him about a return to football.

In New Orleans, Manziel would have no chance of earning a starting job, but he could earn a spot as a backup to Brees, where he’d learn from a veteran quarterback and perhaps get himself ready to be a starter some day.

Still, talking to Manziel and actually signing him are two very different things. If the Saints were convinced that Manziel was ready to put his personal problems behind him and contribute to a team, they could have signed him already, and they haven’t done so.

After he flamed out in Cleveland, it remains to be seen whether the Saints — or anyone else — will give Manziel a second chance.

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Goodell wants to strip commercialization and promos from game broadcasts

Commissioner Roger Goodell’s well-publicized, and curiously-timed, letter to fans focused on a variety of intriguing topics. On some, he was clear. On one he was vague.

“We . . . know that you feel there are too many elements in the broadcast that aren’t relevant to the play on the field,” Goodell wrote. “With our partners, we will be looking to instead focus on content that is most complementary and compelling to you — whether that is analysis, highlights or stories about our players. All of these changes are meant to give you more of what you want: a competitive game with fewer interruptions and distractions from the action.”

Appearing on Thursday’s Mike & Mike, Goodell elaborated on his point.

“It could be commercial related, it could be an advertisement for selling a jersey, it could be a promo for something that the network’s running that week,” Goodell said. “And frankly, to be blunt about it, it’s like an intrusion on the game. And I sense that. I’ve felt the increased commercialization.”

While I personally can’t recall any in-game “advertisement[s] for selling a jersey” (other than the Nike ad necessarily contained on every jersey) promotions “for something that the network’s running that week” have been part of the game broadcasts for decades. It’s one of the reasons why the networks pay billions-with-a-b for the rights to broadcast the games. Indeed, it’s one of the reasons networks have justified taking a net loss on their NFL deals; they make it back by pumping up the rest of the network’s offerings.

When the game is happening, there are few diversions from the explanation of the play and the reaction to it. Promos happen during the lulls in the action, or when the game returns from a commercial break.

In recent years, the most notable intrusion on the game has been the ongoing effort to wedge the Microsoft tablet into the broadcast. And with the looming changes to the replay system, there will be more — not fewer — shots of the tablet, which the league gets hundreds of millions to promote.

So if “increased commercialization” is a problem, it needs to be scrutinized in all forms. And it presumably rules out for good conclusively potential innovations/intrusions like the inevitable (in the minds of some) expansion of uniform advertisement from the logo of the company that made the jersey.

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NFL should fine, not penalize, celebration violations

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The ongoing debate regarding the issue of player celebrations in the NFL overlooks a key threshold question: If a player goes too far, why should his team be penalized?

In theory, taking away 15 yards of field position creates a strong incentive for coaches to tell players what is and isn’t allowed, and to enforce it. But why should the team be punished for a player crossing in the heat of the moment a line that has nothing to do with the play of the game, and that creates no harm to the opponent?

The NFL consistently has explained that the rule arises from a desire to not invite retaliation from players who feel disrespected by a celebration. If someone crosses the line in that regard, however, the league has tools for dealing with it. Also, when since T.O. stood on the Dallas star did a player ever take matters into his own hands because of a celebration?

Players should be expected to not react to anything that happens on the football field, and chances are that the temptation to retaliate comes more strongly from direct contact that happens between the snap and the whistle. So vague fear of player retaliation shouldn’t be a reason for restricting celebrations — and it definitely doesn’t justify imposing a 15-yard penalty on the player’s team.

Removing the penalty element also makes the celebration violation less of a talking point on the day of the game. By the time the fine is imposed, the fans will be paying attention to something else.

So instead of obsessing over every little nuance about what is and isn’t allowed regarding conduct that may or may not cause 15 percent of the field to shift, why not simply make it a topic no different than the player wearing non-conforming shoes or otherwise doing things that may get them in trouble personally, but that won’t impact the team?

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Patrick Mahomes, Joshua Dobbs had private workouts for Chargers

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The Chargers know that Philip Rivers will be their starting quarterback in 2017 and he’s under contract for a couple more seasons, but they have started thinking about what comes next at the position.

General Manager Tom Telesco didn’t rule out drafting a quarterback early in the draft when asked about the future at quarterback earlier this month and the team got an up-close look at one that’s expected to be off the board fairly in April’s proceedings. Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports that the Chargers held a private workout with Patrick Mahomes in Lubbock, Texas recently.

Head coach Anthony Lynn, who also went to Texas Tech, attended the workout along with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the Chargers also had a private workout with Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who is projected to be a third day pick next month. Getting picked at that point wouldn’t make him the heir apparent for Rivers, but would give the Chargers a prospect to develop as they begin life in Los Angeles.

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Terron Armstead restructures contract

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The Saints have a bit more cap space to play with this year.

Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that left tackle Terron Armstead has agreed to restructure his deal with the team. Armstead’s $5 million roster bonus has been converted into a signing bonus to spread the cap hit out over a deal that runs through the 2021 season.

The immediate impact of the move is that the Saints will have $4 million in cap space available this offseason that wasn’t previously at their disposal.

Any new money added to the Saints’ coffers leads to thoughts that they could apply that to their pursuit of Patriots cornerback and restricted free agent Malcolm Butler. The offer sheet for Butler is only part of the equation, of course, as the Patriots have the right to match and the Saints would have to be OK with giving up the 11th overall pick in the draft if New England doesn’t match.

There’s also a chance the two sides could work out a deal for different compensation, although that can’t happen unless Butler signs his restricted free agent tender or another deal with the Patriots.

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Goodell says he’s “fine” with Trump’s comment on Kaepernick

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President Trump took some credit for Colin Kaepernick’s continued unemployment this week, saying that NFL owners may not want to sign Kaepernick because they don’t want the president to tweet criticism of a team for signing a player who declined to stand for the national anthem. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says Trump is entitled to that point of view.

Asked about Trump’s comment on Mike & Mike, Goodell said, “That’s a comment that he’s going to make and that’s fine.”

Goodell indicated, however, that he thinks teams are evaluating Kaepernick’s on-field abilities.

“Our teams are out there working hard to figure out how they can improve each of their clubs. They’re making the best decisions they can. And they’re going to do what they can to improve their teams and win. That’s what they want to do for the fans. So that’s what they’re focused on and that’s what we’re focused on. Everyone’s going to make other comments, and obviously we’re respectful of those comments, particularly from the president.”

Ultimately, Goodell said, teams build around players they think will help them win.

“I can’t speculate on that,” Goodell said. “The 32 owners, I think their major focus is on winning and whatever it takes to win and they think reflects well on their team, that’s what they’re gonna do. And so I think from their standpoint, they want to win, and they’re putting teams together and trying to find the players and coaches and everyone else who can help create that kind of chemistry that’s going to lead to a winning team.”

It remains to be seen how long Kaepernick will have to wait to find a team that thinks he can help it win.

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NFL plans to speed up Thursday night games

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As NFL ratings declined last year and fans complained that the quality of the game had slipped, Thursday night games drew particular wrath. The league is hoping to fix that.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL is working on improving the quality of Thursday games by reducing the number of commercial breaks.

“I felt the increased commercialization, particularly on Thursday night, where we’re going to have more aggressive changes — we’re going to reduce that,” Goodell said.

Goodell said he didn’t realize how many commercial breaks there were during Thursday games last season and admits there were too many. Goodell seemed to be referring both to commercials from sponsors and to the networks taking time during games to promote their other shows.

“To my surprise last year, we put some more commercialization in there — there were some more spots in that I was not aware of and we saw that and we’re going to get that back out of the game,” Goodell said.
“So many mentions that are not related to the game on the field, we’re going to reduce that, we’re going to take that out.”

Fans will appreciate that. Especially fans who have to get up early for work on Friday morning, and aren’t keen on staying up late on Thursday nights to watch a lot of commercials.

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Roger Goodell: Dean Blandino will have final say on replay reviews

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For the first time ever, the NFL is moving to a rule that will give the league’s head of officiating — not the referee — final say on replay reviews.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on Mike & Mike that under the 2017 rules, the replay review will go to head of officiating Dean Blandino, and although Blandino will consult with the referee on the field, it will be Blandino who makes the final decision. Although the NFL has already implemented the procedures that allow the referee to communicate with the league’s officiating office, in past years it was still the ref who had final say.

“We are going to centralize the replay back here in New York,” Goodell said. “Dean Blandino will have the final decision. We think that will move it much quicker.”

Goodell also said referees will be told to announce the replay decision immediately in the stadium, rather than waiting for the end of a commercial break, so that the ball can be spotted and the teams can be lined up and ready for the next play as soon as the commercial break ends.

“We want to get going. We want to be ready to play,” Goodell said.

The NFL has said that a major priority this season is speeding up games and cutting down on unnecessary delays. Streamlining replay is one way to do that.

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Peyton Manning says he has “no interest” in politics

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We still don’t know what Peyton Manning wants to do with the rest of his life.

But the retired quarterback seemed to cross one potential job off his list, saying during a speech in Las Vegas that he had no interest in politics.

Specifically, his name was linked with the seat of Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, who is mulling retirement rather than running for a fourth term in 2020.

“I don’t know where that came from. Last week I was going to run a team, this week I going to apparently run for Senate, and next week I’ll be an astronaut,” Manning said, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post. “I have no interest in the political world, but would like to continue serving communities.”

Honestly, Manning’s doing pretty well doing the speaking circuit at the moment, but there will always be speculation about him returning to football in some capacity. His name was linked with the Colts this offseason as a potential executive, and television seems to be there for him whenever he wants it.

But at the moment, he seems to be enjoying talking and playing a lot of golf, as he did at the recent AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Of course, that combination makes him uniquely qualified for certain jobs. All he really needs is a Twitter account.

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Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre can still sling it

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At a time when there aren’t nearly enough quarterbacks to fill all the starting roles in the NFL, Brett Favre is throwing again.

Sort of.

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Hall of Fame quarterback took a day off from retirement to throw during a workout with Falcons cornerback Robert Alford.

Alford posted a short video on social media of Favre throwing, and there still seems to be plenty of pop in his right arm.

Of course, if Favre was thinking about doing anything more than tossing it around while wearing a pair of khakis, we’d have heard about it by now. Right?

I mean, he’s only 47, and would likely be an immediate upgrade for a few teams in the league, who either don’t have one, or have the money to burn on draft picks who might never become one.

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