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Slauson on Tebow: “That option is not an option”

Tim Tebow, Matt Slauson AP

With all the talk about when/if the Jets will switch from quarterback Mark Sanchez to quarterback Tim Tebow, a fairly important constituency has been overlooked.

The other players on the team.

One of them, guard Matt Slauson, says that the idea of a change in quarterbacks and the offensive overhaul resulting from it won’t work.

That isn’t our offense,” Slauson said, per Bob Glauber of Newsday. “I have no idea what we’d have to do.  But to us in this room, that option is not an option.”

Slauson said that’s not a slap against Tebow.  “I like Tim and he’s a hell of a player,” Slauson said.  “But Mark is our quarterback.  No. 6 is our guy. . . .

“He’s a conventional quarterback, he’s extremely smart, he can throw it extremely well, and that’s just what our offense is built around.”

The real question is whether Slauson’s comments were intended for the media, or whether it’s a broader message to the guy who has the ultimate ability to tell the coaching staff to set their clocks to Tebow time:  owner Woody Johnson.

Regardless, unless Sanchez starts playing better and until the Jets win games, the criticism will continue and the pressure will mount.

Maybe, in the end, that’s the best way to get the most out of Sanchez, who seems to be at his best when there’s a genuine sense of urgency.

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Lions add Andre Caldwell

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As the Lions try to prepare for life after Calvin Johnson, they’ve added another receiver to the depth chart.

Per a league source, Detroit has signed former Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell to a one-year deal.

Caldwell, who actually is older than Calvin Johnson, arrives after four seasons in Denver and four before that in Cincinnati.

His best season came in 2009, when Caldwell caught 51 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. Last year, Caldwell caught only 10 passes for 72 yards and a pair of scores in the regular season. He also added three catches for 36 yards in the postseason, including a 22-yard reception in Super Bowl 50.

The catch and run came on a third down during the opening drive of the game, which resulted in a field goal.

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Drew Nowak among five waived by Seahawks

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 20:  Center Drew Nowak #62 of the Seattle Seahawks during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 20, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Seahawks 27-17.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Drew Nowak opened last season as the Seahawks’ starting center, but he lost his spot to Patrick Lewis during the regular season.

Now he’s lost his spot on the roster altogether. The Seahawks made Nowak one of five cuts from the roster on Wednesday as they made changes to accommodate their incoming group of rookies.

Nowak made seven starts in the first eight weeks of the 2015 season, but was benched as the Seahawks tried to find a more productive offensive line group after a rocky start to the season. The offensive line remained a concern and continues to be a weak spot for the team, but the offense and quarterback Russell Wilson in particular took off over the final eight games.

Nowak ended the year on the practice squad after being waived from the active roster in December and signed a futures deal with the Seahawks early in the offseason. Running back Cameron Marshall, tight end Ronnie Shields, defensive end Josh Shirley and wide receiver Tyler Slavin were also let go.

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Dave Caldwell says Myles Jack currently is “full go”

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The NFL wants its new players to be as healthy as possible. Before the NFL pounds them to smithereens.

One of this year’s most debated cases of damaged goods was former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack. Appearing on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, G.M. Dave Caldwell discussed the thought process that resulted in a trade up in round two to get Jack — and the prognosis for his knee.

“As we started to get to the late 20s [in round one] I was relatively surprised because we still had [Jack] in our top five players,” Caldwell said. “So we were looking at him as a possible trade back in to the first round. I didn’t really want to give up the fourth-round pick [to trade into round one] because I knew there would still be good defensive players on the board.

“After we slept on it, I reached out to a few teams picking in front of us and I just said, ‘Hey, if our guy’s there, it’ll be a fifth-round pick if guys are willing to do it,’ and Baltimore graciously was willing to do it. They did a nice job, too, because they then parlayed it into another trade-back scenario.”

So what about the concern that Jack may need microfracture surgery at some point?

“I think there’s a lot of information out there, and all the information out there is not accurate,” Caldwell said. “We feel really good about the research that our doctors have done, our medical staff, our trainers. We’ve consulted some of the best cartilage specialists in the country, and we have a plan for him.”

The plan for now is to let Jack, who tore a meniscus last season, get ready for his rookie season.

“Right now, he’s full go,” Caldwell said. “If he was in spring ball, he’d be able to participating at UCLA’s practice, according to his operating surgeon. We look forward to getting him out here and practicing and if something does arise we do have a good plan for it. I don’t think the plan involves microfracture [surgery]. I feel confident with the kind of people we’ve consulted and our medical staff. I don’t think he’s a candidate for that from what I’ve been told, but there may be need to be a procedure somewhere down the line. As of right now he looks good, he feels good, and he’s ready to go.”

Caldwell also pointed out that the Jaguars don’t need Jack to become a major contributor right out of the gates, thanks to the presence of Paul Posluszny and Telvin Smith.

“We would like [Jack] too but if something were to arise it’s not like our cupboard’s bare there,” Caldwell said. “So we look forward to having him come in and compete, and we think that with his skill set . . . he’ll come in and help us.”

So the Jaguars were willing to roll the dice on Myles Jack. If it works out, Jack could end up making a huge difference for the Jaguars as the team tries to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2007.

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Cowboys’ team doctor is confident in Jaylon Smith’s knee

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 06:  Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates a tackle for a loss against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 6, 2014 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 31-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys took a big chance when they took linebacker Jaylon Smith in the second round of the NFL draft, as Smith is recovering from a very serious knee injury.

Except that the surgeon who performed Smith’s surgery also happens to be the Cowboys’ head team physician, and he’s very confident that Smith will heal completely.

The Cowboys’ website reported that Cooper was a major part of the decision to draft Smith, and Cowboys Executive V.P. Stephen Jones said today on Mike & Mike that Cooper gave Smith a positive prognosis, leading the football people to get on board with the idea that he’s worth a second-round pick — even if he won’t play until 2017.

Dr. Cooper sat us down and walked us through other injuries where the nerve didn’t fire right away and then ultimately it did and ultimately they made a full recovery to be the player they had been before the injury,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Cooper is staking his reputation on his belief that Smith will return to full speed and get on the field in a year. And the Cowboys believe in their team doctor.

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Cardinals cut Aussie import Joel Wilkinson, three others

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 06:  Joel Wilkinson of the Suns runs with the ball during the round 15 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns at The Gabba on July 6, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia.  (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cardinals drafted six players last week and they agreed to terms with 16 undrafted free agents, leaving them with more players than they had room for on their 90-man roster.

They began remedying that problem on Wednesday by parting ways with four players. They’ll need to make one more move in order to have room for all the rookies as the undrafted signings don’t count against the roster until they officially sign their contracts with the team at the start of rookie minicamp on Thursday.

Three of the players the Cardinals dispatched are listed as cornerbacks, including Joel Wilkinson. Wilkinson is an Australian Rules Football player who was trying to make the same jump that running back Jarryd Hayne made with the 49ers. Kevin White and Tyrequek Zimmerman were also cut after their chances of making the team took a hit when the Cardinals drafted a pair of corners.

Arizona also drafted center Evan Boehm in the fourth round, which likely helped them decide to waive center Valeran Ume-Ezeoke.

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Broncos release journeyman tight end Richard Gordon

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 3: Richard Gordon #89 of the Kansas City Chiefs makes a catch against Bryce Hager #54 of the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter during a pre-season game at the Edward Jones Dome on September 3, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos didn’t draft any tight ends last weekend, but they deemed one expendable Wednesday anyway.

The team announced they had waived tight end Richard Gordon, who made a cameo appearance for them last season when they were short at the position.

Gordon’s a blocker by trade, who will turn 29. He’s spent time with six different organizations, with stints with the Raiders, Steelers, Chiefs, Titans, Chiefs again, Broncos, Ravens and Broncos again. He has four career receptions, none since 2013.

He played five snaps in the one game he appeared in last year, before being cut when they needed safety help. He was re-signed this offseason, but they parted ways today.

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NFL V.P. of security Jeffrey Miller resigns

15940746-mmmain-1 Getty Images

The man who has been charge of NFL Security for nearly a decade is moving on.

Per multiple sources, NFL V.P. of security Jeffrey Miller has resigned. The NFL has confirmed that Miller is leaving.

“He informed the league last month that he was going to take a job on the West Coast with a private security firm,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “He worked the draft, will work at the league meeting and subsequent training session. He will leave the NFL next month.”

As one source put it, the move has nothing to do with performance, and it wasn’t initiated by the league. “This guy is awesome, really competent,” the source said.

Miller has taken a position that will allow him to move to the West Coast. He joined the league in 2008, after serving as Pennsylvania’s state police commissioner.

Plenty of scrutiny came Miller’s way in 2014, after the Ray Rice elevator video surfaced the day after the regular-season opener. The Associated Press reported in September 2014 that the video had been sent to Miller before it surfaced at TMZ.com. An independent investigation found no evidence that Miller or anyone else had received the video.

The NFL has not decided on a replacement, according to one source with knowledge of the situation.

For clarity, the Jeffrey Miller who is leaving the NFL runs security. The Jeff Miller who serves as executive V.P. of player health and safety remains on the job.

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Falcons, first-rounder Keanu Neal agree to terms

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Four 2016 draft picks are now under contract. Only one was a first-round pick.

Falcons safety Keanu Neal, the 17th overall selection in the draft, has agreed to terms on the standard four-year deal, with a fifth year option to be exercised by May 3, 2019. The contract will be signed Thursday.

Per a league source, Neal told the Falcons he wanted to focus on getting ready to play football and not on negotiating a contract. So the two sides got the deal done quickly, and Neal is now under contract for all offseason activities.

The move proves that all draft picks can — and should — be signed before they report for offseason workouts. Otherwise, they’re working out for free.

Neal played college football at Florida, entered the draft after three seasons of college football. At age 20, he’s one of the youngest players in the entire draft class.

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Vikings get Mackensie Alexander under contract

COLUMBIA, SC - NOVEMBER 28:  Mackensie Alexander #2 of the Clemson Tigers reacts after breaking up a pass against the South Carolina Gamecocks during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Vikings were the first team to sign its entire draft class in 2015 and they are pushing to finish first in 2016 as well.

The latest pick to agree to terms is cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who, per multiple reports, will formally sign his contract with the Vikings on Thursday. Seventh-round defensive end Stephen Weatherly is also expected to sign Thursday and the team has already agreed to deals with their other seventh-rounder and both of their sixth-round picks.

With those five players done, the Vikings only have to wrap up deals with first-round wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, fourth-round offensive lineman Willie Beavers and fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers to have the entire class under contract.

Alexander got some buzz as a potential first-round pick after wrapping up his career at Clemson, where he played with Vikings seventh-round pick Jayron Kearse. He lasted until the 54th overall pick, however, and the Vikings are expected to start him out as a backup to slot corner Captain Munnerlyn. Munnerlyn can be a free agent after the season, which should leave Alexander wit the job if he earns the staff’s trust as a rookie.

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Teammate says Blaine Gabbert is taking control of 49ers’ offense

SANTA CLARA, CA - NOVEMBER 08:  Blaine Gabbert #2 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after being tackled close to the goal line during the first half of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi's Stadium on November 8, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. The ball was ruled down on the 1-yard line and the 49ers scored on the next play.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick is throwing again in the 49ers’ offseason program, but that doesn’t mean he’s the guy running the show in the offense.

Instead, it’s Blaine Gabbert, who usurped Kaepernick as the 49ers’ starting quarterback last season, who has taken charge.

He’s definitely taking control,” tight end Garrett Celek said of Gabbert, via CSNBayArea.com. “Whoever’s at quarterback needs to take control and be our leader out there. And he’s definitely doing that. He’s making good decisions on the field. I think he’s definitely developing more and more as the days go on. But, right now, we’re all in the same boat learning this offense.”

Despite widespread talk of a Kaepernick trade, from all appearances he will remain in San Francisco and compete with Gabbert for the starting job. Last year Gabbert finished the season ahead of Kaepernick on the depth chart, and while Kaepernick eases back into work following multiple offseason surgeries, he may have a hard time moving back ahead of Gabbert and into the starting job.

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Manziel’s college coach sees lack of contact as “a little unnerving”

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Some have suggested that quarterback Johnny Manziel’s best chance of getting back into the NFL would happen only if his former coach at Texas A&M, Kevin Sumlin, were to jump to the next level. But Manziel could be burning that bridge, too.

Sumlin recently told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM in Phoenix that he has been unable to contact Manziel.

“I had texted him a couple of times and given him a call but haven’t got a return back,” Sumlin said. “So from that standpoint it’s a little unnerving. But there’s gonna come a time where he’s ready to communicate. . . . Our concern is for his well-being, and has nothing to do with football and has everything to do with life. It’s important that he knows that.”

Sumlin said he last saw Manziel at former Aggies teammate Mike Evans‘ wedding, in February.

Manziel has, by all appearances, changed nothing since being cut by the Browns and then fired by agent Drew Rosenhaus. Last Friday night, Manziel fired off a defiant rant on Twitter, making it clear that he has no intent to make the changes that many close to him believe are necessary.

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Rams draft pick Tyler Higbee scheduled to be arraigned Thursday

BOWLING GREEN, KY - DECEMBER 5:  Tyler Higbee #82 of the WKU Hilltoppers catches a pass while being defended in the first half by Devonta Foster #15 of the Souther Miss Golden Eagle at Houchens-Smith Stadium on December 5, 2015 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams will open their rookie minicamp on Friday, but one of their draft picks has a little business to conduct in a Kentucky courtroom on Thursday before getting on the field with his new team.

Tight end Tyler Higbee had his name called in the fourth round last Saturday despite an arrest earlier in April on second-degree assault, second-degree evading police and public intoxication charges. Higbee is set to be arraigned on those charges Thursday and his lawyer Brian Lowder told USA Today that his client will be pleading not guilty.

“He’s in good spirits and is excited about the opportunity to play with the Rams,” Lowder said.

Higbee, who went to Western Kentucky, struck Nawaf Alsaleh outside a Bowling Green club on April 10 and knocked him unconscious. Higbee admitted hitting the man, but, per the police report, said “the victim had been getting close to his girlfriend and getting close to him and stuck his head in Higbee’s face.”

Higbee’s lawyer has said they plan to argue self-defense and also denied that his client used racial taunts before striking the other man, although he told police he said “watch out, Haji” after hitting Alsaleh.

After the team picked Higbee, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, via ESPN.com, that the team researched the incident and wouldn’t have picked Higbee if “we had some concerns that it was going to be a problem down the line.”

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Linebacker Michael Wilhoite re-ups with 49ers for another year

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 18:  Fullback Kyle Juszczyk #44 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite #57 of the San Francisco 49ers after a five-yard catch during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on October 18, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 49ers might have plenty of uncertainty at quarterback, but they’ve quietly put together a very solid defensive front seven, and they got part of that group under contract.

The team announced that restricted free agent linebacker Michael Wilhoite had signed his one-year contract.

The 49ers found him playing for the Omaha Nighthawks of the UFL in 2011, and he’s gradually worked his way up from the practice squad to have become a regular part of the rotation, breaking into the lineup because of injuries but performing well once he got the chance.

With first-rounders spent on linemen Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the last two years, they’re building a solid group up front on defense.

Of course, now that they’re playing for Chip Kelly, they’re going to have to be deep, as they’re going to play a lot more snaps than they have in the past.

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McCloughan: Vernon Davis is still an “explosive,” “genetic freak”

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One of the more overlooked moves of free agency came when one of the more overlooked veteran players reunited with the guy who was involved in drafting him a decade ago.

Former 49ers (and Broncos) tight end Vernon Davis signed with Washington, where former 49ers V.P. of player personnel Scot McCloughan now serves as General Manager. Appearing earlier this week on PFT Live, McCloughan explained the thought process behind adding Davis to the team’s offense.

“I brought him in to sit down and just talk with him,” McCloughan said. “Make sure he still had the passion and the energy to play. I wish you could see him on the practice field because Phase Two [of the offseason program] started [Monday]. He’s the same guy, he’s explosive as all get out, he’s smiling, he’s gonna be all right and he’s back home. He’s from here he’s very excited. He’s a genetic freak. He’s one of those guys that’s never been hurt, he’s 32 and he looks like when I drafted him, the same guy. I mean, he’s ripped. It’s amazing. He’s got his speed and quickness still. People downplay it, but he’s a good blocker, too.”

With ascending young tight end Jordan Reed on the roster (who seems to be open on almost every play) Davis will give the Washington offense a powerful extra piece if he plays like he did during his best days with the 49ers.

Still, McCloughan’s assessment of Davis makes his disappearing act in Denver even more confusing. He had one catch on December 20 against the Steelers and, thereafter, not a single reception through the final gun of Super Bowl 50.

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Cardinals coach Bruce Arians: “This will be my last job”

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - APRIL 09:  NFL coach Bruce Arians (L) and NFL player Larry Firzgerald attend Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XXII at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa on April 8, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night) Getty Images

Part of the reason Bruce Arians seems to be enjoying himself so much is that he’s been liberated from worrying about the future.

Having been through so many moves and coaching changes in his career, the 63-year-old Arians has a rare sense of self-awareness about his current situation, which allows him to appreciate the moment he’s in.

“You never know how long this will last,” Arians told Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. “There’s the old saying, there’s two kinds of coaches, ones that are fired and others who are going to get fired. You just enjoy every day. Right now, it’s the highlight of it.

“There will be lowlights, we know that. But I’m enjoying every single day. This will be my last job.”

Arians could probably retire to Vegas and do two shows a night whenever he feels the urge, but for now, he’s enjoying the work that got him to this point, which cranks back up with a rookie minicamp this weekend.

“I love this weekend because there’s going to be two or three surprises of undrafted rookies or guys we invited for a tryout,” Arians said. “Last year, we signed three guys who were tryout guys. [Quarterback] Phillip Sims made it all the way to almost our football team. That part’s really fun. Then slide them in with the vets next week.

“It seems like we just stepped off the practice field. But, man, there is a different sense of purpose in watching our players come to work every day. We’ve always had great participation. We’ve always had fun doing it, but there’s a sense of purpose, in the weight room, the meeting room. Even Buddy Morris, our strength coach, said, “something’s different.” You can feel it.”

Arians’ own “cool uncle” style is doubtless part of the reason they’ve been able to create that feeling, but the wins on the field have helped turn around a franchise that’s now among the most stable in the league.

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