Skip to content

PFT’s Week One picks

Getty Images

With the start of the NFL regular season comes the start of a new picks competition.  This year, MDS will pit his prognostication skills against the proprietor of this portal.  At least I can proudly say I’m currently tied for the lead at 0-0.

And given that we disagree on only one game, I’m guaranteed to be no more than one game back after one week.

Cowboys at Giants

Florio’s take:  That Dallas playoff win by the Giants in 2007 not only fueled a Super Bowl run but also sparked the first of seven wins by New York in nine games against their NFC East rivals.  Underestimated by many (not me) as they try to become the first team to repeat in nearly a decade, the Giants should be able to continue the string of eight straight defending champs who launch the ensuing season with a win.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 30, Cowboys 24.

MDS’s take: I’m tempted to pick the upset in an attempt to put some distance between myself and Florio right off the bat, but this looks like a tough game for the Cowboys to win. The Giants’ pass rush is going to give Tony Romo fits, and Romo likely won’t have his favorite target, tight end Jason Witten. The Super Bowl champions will begin the 2012 regular season the way they ended the 2011 regular season, by beating the Cowboys.

MDS’s pick: Giants 24, Cowboys 14.

Colts at Bears

Florio’s take:  In 1961, a far less heralded rookie quarterback who would become a Hall of Famer launched his career with the Vikings (and the life of an expansion team) with a win over the Bears.  Though the Colts in many ways feel like a first-year franchise, lightning likely won’t be striking again, 51 years later.  Andrew Luck looks to be the real thing, but he’ll have to wait for a Week Two visit from the Vikings to get his first NFL win.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 27, Colts 13.

MDS’s take: Andrew Luck has looked outstanding in the preseason, but I’m not falling into the trap of thinking a new franchise quarterback means the Colts are going to pick up right where they left off when Peyton Manning was healthy. Even if Luck is outstanding when the games count for real, the Colts have all kinds of problems on defense, and I like Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, and Matt Forte to have big games on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Colts 17.

Eagles at Browns

Florio’s take:  A reunion of the Green Bay mafia will be conducted on Sunday, with various branches of the Mike Holmgren tree coming together in Cleveland.  But the Factory of Sadness will likely continue to churn out chagrin for the denizens of the Dawg Pound.  Though Mike Vick may not be able to stay healthy all season, he’ll be ready go to in Week One.  And so will the rest of his teammates.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 35, Browns 20.

MDS’s take: I’m not sold on the Eagles, but I am sold on the Browns — sold on the idea that they’re the worst team in the league this year. It’s going to be a rough season in Cleveland.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 17, Browns 7.

Rams at Lions

Florio’s take:  Even when the Rams won the Super Bowl, they couldn’t win in Detroit.  Now that the Lions are moving closer to a Super Bowl berth of their own, this one could get ugly.  Quickly.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Rams 10.

MDS’s take: Jeff Fisher is going to turn the Rams around, and they’re going to be a much better team this season than they were last season. An upset over the team coached by Fisher’s old protege Jim Schwartz wouldn’t surprise me, but I’ll pick Detroit in a nail-biter.

MDS’s pick: Lions 21, Rams 20.

Dolphins at Texans

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins won’t truly experience Hard Knocks until they get a look at the Texans’ defense.  I rarely predict a shutout.  It’s not really all that much of a stretch on this one.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 20, Dolphins 0.

MDS’s take: This looks like Week One’s biggest mismatch. Ryan Tannehill will have a steep learning curve adjusting to the NFL, while Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and the Texans’ offense will be in midseason form. This is a beatdown.

MDS’s pick: Texans 34, Dolphins 7.

Falcons at Chiefs

Florio’s take:  Last year, I had a feeling that the much-hyped Falcons wouldn’t fare well on a Week One trip to the Midwest, against the Bears.  This year, the Falcons are on the road to the Heartland again, against the Chiefs.  But they’ve got too much firepower, notwithstanding the firewater-influenced fanatics at Arrowhead.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 28, Chiefs 24.

MDS’s take: Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel has expressed disappointment with his team’s performance in the preseason, and with good reason.  The Chiefs have looked shaky on both sides of the ball. Kansas City
got off to a very rough start last season and never recovered, and the start of this season could be rough as well.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Chiefs 10.

Jaguars at Vikings

Florio’s take:  The battle for Matt Barkley would have been a hell of a lot more compelling in Week 17.  When the talent level is equally suspect, the home team gets the edge.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 20, Jaguars 17.

MDS’s take: Who’s more likely to play and play well in this one, Maurice Jones-Drew or Adrian Peterson? Jones-Drew is healthy and says he’s been staying in shape, but one week isn’t enough to completely learn an offense after a lengthy holdout, and I see Jones-Drew struggling early this season in much the same way Chris Johnson did last season. Peterson didn’t play at all in the preseason, but from all accounts he has recovered from last year’s season-ending torn ACL, and I like him to have a big game in Week One.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 23, Jaguars 16.

Redskins at Saints

Florio’s take:  In a May appearance on PFT Live, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan joked that he hoped Saints quarterback Drew Brees would be suspended for Week One.  That would have been Washington’s only chance to steal a win in a Superdome that will be rocking almost as loud as it was the night they reopened the place in 2006.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 38, Redskins 22.

MDS’s take: The Saints feel like they have a point to prove, and they’ll be motivated, and the Superdome will be a hostile environment for Robert Griffin III. I think the Redskins’ offense is going to be better than most people expect, and they’ll put some points on the board against the Saints, but Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense will score more.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Redskins 24.

Bills at Jets

Florio’s take:  Lost in the hand-wringing regarding the Jets’ offense is the fact that the defense is still pretty good.  Good enough to outscore a Bills team that, while improving, isn’t ready to steal one on the road to start the season.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 15, Bills 10.

MDS’s take: This looks to me like one of the most interesting matchups of Week One, because the Jets are desperate to show that their terrible offensive showing in the preseason didn’t mean anything. Unfortunately for the Jets, I think the Bills, bolstered by the addition of Mario Williams, have exactly the kind of defense that can pressure Mark Sanchez and force him into a multiple-turnover game. The
chants for Tim Tebow be deafening by the end of this game.

MDS’s pick: Bills 10, Jets 3.

Patriots at Titans

Florio’s take:  The last time these two teams got together, the Patriots scored 59, and the Titans scored nothing.  While much has changed in Tennessee since 2009, enough players are still there to remind the teammates and the coaches of that day.  And it would matter if the Titans had the horses of defense to keep up with New England’s offense.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 35, Titans 26.

MDS’s take: The consistency of the Patriots in the salary-cap era in the NFL is nothing short of remarkable. The Patriots look, once again, like one of the best teams in the NFL, and Bill Belichick’s defense will give fits to Titans quarterback Jake Locker, making his first NFL start.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 31, Titans 17.

Seahawks at Cardinals

Florio’s take:  The Cardinals didn’t have a shot at quarterback Russell Wilson, given that they sent their second-round pick to Philadelphia for a quarterback who is now second string.  But coach Ken Whisenhunt may be wishing that the team had traded up six spots to get the Seahawks’ new starter; Wilson looks to be better than anything the Cardinals have at the position, which may be enough to pull off a Week One division road win.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 24, Cardinals 21.

MDS’s take: Russell Wilson emerged as the starter in Seattle after one of the most impressive performances in the NFL preseason, while John Skelton became the starter by default in Arizona because Kevin Kolb was one of the least impressive players in the NFL preseason. Advantage: Seattle.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Cardinals 20.

49ers at Packers

Florio’s take:  When one of the best offenses meets one of the best defenses, the game will turn on how the other offense fares against the other defense.  The Packers defense has improved just enough to hold serve at Lambeau Field in the season opener.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, 49ers 27.

MDS’s take: The NFL schedule makers gave us a potential NFC Championship Game preview in Week One, and I see the Packers’ offense picking right up where they left off last year — and the Packers’ defense looking better.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, 49ers 14.

Panthers at Buccaneers

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are laying the foundation for a very good team.  The Panthers are on the brink of being a very good team.  Cam Newton will be out to prove last year was no fluke, and an improved defense will keep it from turning into a shootout.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 31, Buccaneers 21.

MDS’s take: Cam Newton won’t have a sophomore slump — he’ll be every bit the player this year that he as a rookie, and the Panthers will have a better team around him. Greg Schiano will turn the Bucs around, but there are going to be growing pains along the way, and they’ll struggle against the Panthers’ offense. This will be the Panthers’ first statement that they’re a team to be reckoned with in the NFC.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 30, Buccaneers 14.

Steelers at Broncos

Florio’s take:  Some say this could be the highest-rated regular-season game in NFL history.  Though the 1985 Bears-Dolphins game ultimately may keep the crown, the return of Peyton Manning could set the high-water mark for the entire 2012 season.  He wouldn’t have come back if he couldn’t get it done, and the Steelers have too many issues to come out of the gates with a road win.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

MDS’s take: This is a rematch of last year’s playoff meeting, but it’s a very different game with Peyton Manning at the helm in Denver and Tim Tebow off running the wildcat with the Jets. The result, however, will be similar: In a close, competitive game, the Broncos’ offense will get a late score to win it.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 24, Steelers 17.

Bengals at Ravens

Florio’s take:  Cincinnati gets its first chance in 2012 to win a game that it shouldn’t.  Though in time those wins will come, the Ravens have too much talent on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 31, Bengals 24.

MDS’s take: The Bengals took a big step forward last year with the emergence of a young offense led by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. This is an opportunity for them to make a very big statement about re-ordering the AFC North, but I see the Ravens’ defense making a big statement that they’re not going to let their young rivals get the best of them just yet.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 16, Bengals 13.

Chargers at Raiders

Florio’s take:  Oakland is taking a step back in the hopes of eventually taking a giant leap forward.  The Chargers are trying to finally put the pieces together.  For now, advantage Chargers.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

MDS’s take: In the game that will have those in the Eastern time zone drinking coffee late into Monday night and showing up to work bleary-eyed on Tuesday morning, the Chargers will get a big game from Philip Rivers and get a leg up on the Raiders in the AFC West.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 27, Raiders 21.

Permalink 84 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Still using a crutch, Mike Pouncey had stem-cell procedure

Getty Images

Dolphins center Mike Pouncey continues to have trouble with his hip, as evidenced by one obvious fact: He attended the funeral of former college teammate Aaron Hernandez on Monday while using a crutch.

According to multiple reports, Pouncey had a stem-cell procedure on the injured hip in an effort to accelerate its healing. Pouncey reportedly has had no setbacks.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the procedure was a normal part of the rehab process.

The Dolphins have said Pouncey will be ready by Week One of the 2017 regular season. How far in advance of that he’ll be ready to go remains to be seen.

Pouncey missed 11 regular-season games and a postseason context in 2016. He last appeared in every game of the season in 2016.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

John Lynch admits he’ll consider a quarterback at No. 2

Getty Images

49ers G.M. John Lynch threw water on the report that the team is strongly considering taking a quarterback with the second overall pick in the draft during a Monday pre-draft press conference. And then Lynch essentially confirmed the report.

“I use the word ‘assumptions,'” Lynch said regarding the NFL Network report regarding the very real possibility that the 49ers will go for a quarterback at No. 2. “It’s what people do. They try to gather, but I know that, I don’t know obviously, but like I said I think the discipline out of this building’s been excellent. And so, I think that’s what they are, they’re assumptions rather than, I think in each situation it says ‘sources.’ I don’t know who those sources are because there’s only a few people that know and so we feel real good about that.”

But then the ultimate source in San Francisco acknowledged that, yes, a quarterback could be taken in that spot.

“I think we’ve stated from the beginning that a franchise quarterback is something we believe is essential to winning in this league,” Lynch said. “We hope that [Brian] Hoyer and [Matt] Barkley come in, and they were both brought in for a reason, but we feel like we’ll continue, always continue, to try to improve ourselves at that position. And so I think the answer is yes.”

Regardless of which guy the 49ers take, Lynch said they’re narrowed their selection down to two or three guys, and that he and coach Kyle Shanahan will make the final decision. One potential decision remains a trade out of the No. 2 spot to a lower position.

“What we’ve said, and the truth of the matter is, we’re willing to listen,” Lynch said. “But we’re very comfortable that we can get to the point where there’s a direction we can go where we’ll be ecstatic and we’ll be passionate about that player.”

They’ll be even more passionate if they can get the player they’d take at No. 2 and also land another pick or two for sliding down. Despite more than 20 new additions to a team that went 2-14 a year ago, the 49ers have plenty of needs — and they could use as many draft picks as they can get.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

First college games at new Falcons stadium will have roof closed

Getty Images

Atlanta’s new stadium has a roof that is supposed to open and close with the flip of a switch. Until further notice, the switch will be in the “off” position.

Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the college football games due to be played on Labor Day weekend at the new venue will proceed with the roof closed. The stated reason for the decision is to “eliminate the variable of weather.”

Of course, the main purpose for having a roof that opens and closes on demand is to allow it to open when the weather is going to be favorable and to close when the weather will be inclement. The advance decision to go with a closed roof underscores the lingering challenges arising from the complex roof of the futuristic structure.

Gary Stokan, president and CEO of the company responsible for the Chik-fil-A Kickoff claimed that the Alabama-Florida State and Georgia Tech-Tennessee games will have a closed roof for reasons unrelated to construction delays that are currently pushing the stadium’s opening right up against the preseason games the Falcons will be hosting in late August. Stokan says he didn’t even ask whether the roof could have been open.

“I had concluded we were going to keep it closed, anyway, so I never even asked if we would be able to open it,” Stokan said. “I know when it’s closed everything is going to go well. The air conditioning will be fine. . . . I think whenever you put on an event the less things you need to be concerned about, the better. And I know with the roof closed it’ll be a great atmosphere and experience.”

It would be an even better atmosphere if the roof were open, and having the flexibility to make that decision as close to kickoff as possible is one of the benefits of having a roof that opens and closes. With plenty of rumors swirling that the roof isn’t working the way it should (and there are some concerns it may not work the way it should during the 2017 season, or ever), this development justifies curiosity that the new stadium will be like that convertible with the top that won’t swing open, no matter how warm or sunny it may be.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: NFL teams holding missed bowl game against Jabrill Peppers

Getty Images

Michigan safety Jabrill Peppers was one of a handful of draft prospects who didn’t play in his team’s bowl game. And now that may be costing him in the eyes of NFL teams.

Adam Schefter reported today on ESPN that there are teams with concerns that Peppers didn’t play in his bowl game. Those teams apparently worry that by sitting out Michigan’s Orange Bowl contest against Florida State, he showed a lack of commitment to his team.

Why should that affect Peppers’ draft stock when it hasn’t seemed to affect the stock of LSU running back Leonard Fournette and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, both of whom also sat out their teams’ bowl games? Apparently because Peppers didn’t reveal he wasn’t playing until the day of the Orange Bowl, whereas both Fournette and McCaffrey addressed their decisions with their coaches and teammates well in advance of their bowl games.

However, it’s a little odd that this report is coming from Schefter today, because on the day of the bowl game, Schefter reported that Peppers had legitimately suffered a hamstring injury and wanted to play but physically couldn’t.

A few NFL decision-makers, including Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, have said they would be concerned about a player who sat out his bowl game. But this is the first report we’ve heard a report that a specific player is actually dropping on draft boards for that decision.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Albert Wilson signs RFA tender with Chiefs

Getty Images

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign with other teams has come and gone, which leaves players yet to sign their tenders with little reason not to do so.

Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson is among the latest to come to that conclusion. The NFL’s transaction wire brings word that Wilson has signed his tender, which leaves him set to make $1.797 million in Kansas City this season.

Wilson has spent the last three years with the Chiefs and made five starts last season. He caught 31 passes for 279 yards and two touchdowns and also had a 55-yard touchdown run while playing the third-most snaps at wideout behind Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley.

The Chiefs didn’t add any free agents to the group, which also includes 2016 rookie standout Tyreek Hill. An addition in the draft this week and a bigger role for Hill could lead to a different one for Wilson come September.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

John Elway mum on Joe Mixon’s status

Getty Images

Pre-draft press conferences usually don’t result in much useful draft information, given the competitive and secretive nature of the process. On Monday, Broncos executive V.P. of football operations and General Manager John Elway was extra secretive about the team’s assessment of one of the most controversial prospects in the draft class.

After declining to say whether running back Joe Mixon is or isn’t on the team’s draft board, Elway provided this vague assessment of the team’s evaluation of the former Oklahoma running back’s character: “We’re still evaluating that. Obviously, that’s an issue and it’s something that we’re continuing to look at while getting as much background as we can on Joe to see where he may fall for us.”

Elway also provided a general, and generally positive, assessment of the team’s meeting with Mixon.

“We had a good meeting with him,” Elway said. “There’s no question. I didn’t get a chance to spend a lot of time with him, but I had a meeting with him. We went through the whole process and what happened. I’m sure he had been through it several times. But for us to be able to hear it from him, and what happened — we went through all that.”

Whether any of that makes the Broncos more or less likely to pick Mixon remains to be unseen. Unlike other teams, however, the current ownership situation in Denver gives Elway more leeway than other football executives may have. The Broncos currently don’t have a single owner in the classic sense, with a small committee running the franchise until one of the children of Pat Bowlen emerges as ready and able to take over.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Mike Maccagnan: Interest in QBs isn’t referendum on Christian Hackenberg

Getty Images

The Jets used a second-round pick on quarterback Christian Hackenberg last year, but that decision doesn’t appear to have taken quarterbacks off the table for an early pick in this year’s draft.

The Jets have spent time with the top prospects in this year’s class and the sixth pick in the draft leaves them in prime position to add one of them to the roster on Thursday night. General Manager Mike Maccagnan wasn’t tipping his hand in any direction during a press conference on Monday, but he did say that the time the Jets were spending with quarterbacks over the last month was not a sign that they were writing off Hackenberg.

“I know it’s like: If this happens, then this must be the case,” Maccagnan said, via NJ.com. “I don’t think it’s a referendum on one or another player. I think it’s: Until you’re in a position where you feel [good] with where you’re at — and we’re not at that position yet. But we may be. Time will tell.”

Maccagnan’s hardly the first to espouse that philosophy and, as he shared Monday, former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf shared his belief in drafting a quarterback every year while interviewing Maccagnan as a Jets consultant in 2015.

Time will also tell whether the Jets are making the sixth pick or not, of course. They’re reportedly interested in trading down and their spot could move as they try to stockpile picks to reseed a roster that’s in need of help in several spots this offseason.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Adrian Peterson to Saints doesn’t make much sense, for Peterson

Getty Images

It’s obvious why the Saints would want Adrian Peterson. It’s not obvious why Adrian Peterson would want the Saints. Unless, of course, no one else wants Peterson.

But even if no other team currently is offering Peterson $3 million or so per year, his likely role (Mark Ingram reportedly would still be the lead back) and the perceived ability of the team to help Peterson finish his career with a Super Bowl win (the Saints have three straight 7-9 seasons in a division that produced the last two NFC champions) suggests that Peterson’s better move would be to watch and to wait. Injuries are inevitable, especially at the tailback position. If a short-list contender loses its starting running back for an extended stretch (like the Vikings did last year in Week Two when Peterson tore a meniscus), Peterson instantly has leverage along with an opportunity to become a key contributor for a team that could be playing in February.

But it’s possible that the Saints have put the hard sell on Peterson, with coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees persuading Peterson that the Saints may be ready to party like it’s 2009, the season that saw New Orleans take down Peterson and the Vikings en route to a Super Bowl victory.

Regardless, the decision seems a little hasty from Peterson’s perspective. While that could be end up being very good for the Saints, it could end up being a mistake for the player.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Time of testing a factor in assessing credibility of diluted sample excuse

Getty Images

Every player who attends the Scouting Combine must submit to drug testing. With two of the players who were tested at the Scouting Combine in 2017 generating positive tests via diluted samples, there’s an important point to keep in mind when deciding whether the explanation for the failed drug test passes the smell test.

The samples are collected very early in the morning, with the players often getting the “wakey wakey” business before doing their business into a cup. So the diluted samples either resulted from a player drinking huge amounts of water before going to be and then: (1) failing asleep with a rapidly-filling bladder; and (2) sleeping through the night with a very full bladder, or from a guy waking up early and drinking copious amounts of water in order to ensure that certain substances won’t be detected in the sample.

The statement issued on behalf of former Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers accounts for this dynamic by pointing out that the player “was being pumped with fluids, drinking 8-10 bottles of water before he went to bed, because he was the first guy to work out two days for the LBs and DBs.”

Is it possible he actually drank that much water before going to sleep, fell asleep with that much water in his system, and slept through the night without having to get up to unload most of the 8-10 bottles of water before proving a sample that wasn’t dilute? Sure. But it’s also possible that Foster, Peppers, and anyone else who generated a test sufficiently dilute to be regarded as an effort to beat the test deliberately ingested extra water to ensure that any banned substances would be undetectable in a sample of urine that had been overloaded with water.

Either way, teams that pick either guy will have to assume the risk that the players failed their first major football-or-banned-substance test, and that they’ll fail enough of the various future football-or-banned-substance tests to come to result in their inability to play football.

Should it be this way, with teams testing player urine to determine what they’re doing on their own personal time? Nope. But until the rule changes, the players need to be able to pass the test.

Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Bills won’t match Mike Gillislee offer sheet from Patriots

Getty Images

The Patriots have done it to the Bills again, but at least this time Buffalo gets something for it.

The Bills announced they won’t match the restricted free agent offer sheet the Patriots gave running back Mike Gillislee, the second year in a row the Pats have snagged one of their RFAs.

While wide receiver Chris Hogan netted them no compensation, the Bills will get New England’s fifth-round pick (163rd overall) for Gillislee.

The Patriots signed him to a two-year deal with $6.4 million, but the deal was front-loaded to make it harder to match. The Bills could have kept a productive back for the difference of about $1 million with a higher tender offer.

Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards per carry last year and scored eight touchdowns, and he could be the replacement for veteran free agent LeGarrette Blount, who hasn’t signed.

Permalink 47 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Steelers pick up the 2018 option for Ryan Shazier

Getty Images

The Steelers lost one linebacker this offseason, so they’re making sure to hang onto another key part.

According to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com, Pittsburgh’s picking up the fifth-year option on linebacker Ryan Shazier’s contract.

Shazier has become a key part of their defense, so it was #asexpected that they’d hang onto him.

But after losing Lawrence Timmons to the Dolphins in free agency, having another year of cost-certainty at the position was even more important.

Shazier had 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions last season. He also played in a career-high 13 games last season, missing three with a knee problem.

Permalink 4 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Adrian Peterson, Saints closing in on deal

Getty Images

Word came Monday that the Saints and running back Adrian Peterson are still talking about a contract and they reportedly are moving toward doing more than that.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the two sides are “closing in” on a deal that would put Peterson in a Saints uniform for the 2017 season. Per the report, the deal would be for $3 million-plus.

There’s no word on when things may move from closing in to closed, although the draft may provide some impetus to get things done sooner rather than later. The Saints would likely want to know if they need to add a running back at some point this week as they are thin at the spot beyond Mark Ingram and signing a deal now would keep Peterson from losing out on possible landing spots due to how the draft unfolds.

If the Saints do sign Peterson, he’ll see some familiar faces in his first regular season game with his new team as last week’s schedule announcement revealed the Saints and Vikings will square off on the first Monday night of the year.

Permalink 60 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Scott Campbell admits Scot McCloughan’s influence on draft board

Getty Images

At some point after the Senior Bowl and before the Scouting Combine, Washington decided to get rid of G.M. Scot McCloughan. The team didn’t get rid of his work.

“Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does,” Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell told reporters on Monday. “You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the Combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course, Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information. We did that with Scot also, so it’s not just like we use that information then we’re done and we’re just sitting around waiting for the draft. There’s still information being done, information added and guys are being moved up and down with the information. Certainly his influence is there from the initial boards.”

The final board won’t be determined with the benefit of McCloughan’s input. But plenty of other people will have their fingerprints on the final configuration of rankings.

“Bruce [Allen] will be involved, definitely, and Jay [Gruden], of course,” Campbell said. “Everyone will be involved in the final Redskin grade at the end of the day. And the goal is to not have panic on draft day. You want to have all that stuff. . . . You don’t want to have a brand new argument break out right there before you’re picking. That’s ridiculous. I’ve never seen that happen in any team I’ve been with. It’s all been worked out, hashed out. The argument’s already been had, because really by then it’s too late.”

It’s definitely too late to erase McCloughan’s influence on the draft class, or to keep him from sharing that influence with other teams, if he so chooses. The smarter move would have been to find a way to keep McCloughan around through the draft, but there isn’t much about how the team handled McCloughan’s situation that objectively could be referred to as “smart.”

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Chargers plan to exercise Jason Verrett’s 2018 option

Getty Images

Four years from now, we’ll be talking about whether or not teams will exercise their fifth-year options on this year’s first-round picks.

If the Chargers hit on their top pick, they likely won’t be spending much time mulling that question. They feel they hit in the first round in 2014 when they drafted cornerback Jason Verrett and General Manager Tom Telesco said on Monday that the team plans to exercise the 2018 option on his contract.

Any doubt the Chargers might have about exercising the option likely comes from his injury history. Verrett has played at a high level, but has missed 24 games because of injuries. The most recent was a torn ACL in the fourth week of last season and Verrett also missed 10 games as a rookie due to a torn labrum.

His option for 2018 is guaranteed against injury and the Chargers certainly hope that won’t wind up being an issue when the 2017 season comes to an end.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Joey Bosa at Chargers workouts Monday

Getty Images

Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco held his pre-draft press conference on Monday and most of the time was spent painting the same broad strokes about the team’s plans for later this week that you hear from every team at this point in the year.

Telesco did provide one newsworthy item about the team’s top pick from last year during the session, however. Telesco said that defensive end Joey Bosa was at the team’s workout on Monday after missing the first few weeks of the voluntary offseason program.

“He was in this morning so I think we’re all good there,” Telesco said.

Bosa was working out on his own the last few weeks and his play last year after missing a much larger period of time while negotiating his contract showed that being away from the team didn’t hold him back too much. That should make his temporary absence this year a distant memory by the time the start of the 2017 season arrives.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top