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PFT’s Week Six picks

Robert Griffin III,  Jonathan Massaquoi,  Jonathan Babineaux AP

Last week, the “mild” concussion to RG3 prevented me from taking a “major” lead over MDS in the picks contest.

Robert Griffin III exited, the Redskins lost, and what would have been a two-game win for the week turned into a push, with both of us going 10-4.

This week, Robert Griffin III is back, and his team’s game against the Vikings once again will decide whether someone gets a two-game swing, or whether we tie once again.

For the year, there’s still no tie.  I’m leading the way at 49-28, and MDS is 47-30.

Steelers at Titans

MDS’s take: The Titans have been blown out in four of their five games this season, and I see this as the fifth. The Steelers have their problems, especially with age and injuries on defense, but Chris Johnson and Co. aren’t the team to exploit those problems.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 28, Titans 10.

Florio’s take:  Four years ago, former Titans running back Lendale White desecrated a Terrible Towel at the tail end of a regular-season game that secured home-field advantage in the playoffs for Tennessee.  Since then, the Titans haven’t been the same.  And the difference will never be as obvious as when the Steelers return to Nashville.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 24, Titans 9.

Raiders at Falcons

MDS’s take: Sunday’s biggest mismatch will take place in Atlanta, where the Falcons will have far too much for the Raiders to handle. The undefeated Falcons have had a couple close calls in the last couple weeks, but not this time.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 35, Raiders 13.

Florio’s take:  Could it be that the Falcons are 5-0 because they’ve already played three members of the AFC East?  After they move to 6-0 by beating the fourth member of the AFC West, it’ll be team to consider whether the Falcons can keep it up against teams from slightly more successful divisions.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 38, Raiders 20.

Cowboys at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens’ offense was surprisingly flaccid (that’s what she said) against the Chiefs, but at home against the Cowboys, the Ravens should move the ball effectively. Ray Rice will have a big day as the Ravens win.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 24, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  The team that closed down Texas Stadium by spanking the Cowboys will welcome them to a slightly more hostile environment with a similar result, thanks to superior talent on both sides of the ball.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 28, Cowboys 17.

Bengals at Browns

MDS’s take: The Browns are a better team than their 0-5 record suggests: They’ve played competitively against good teams. They’ll play competitively in the battle for Ohio, too, but they’ll come up short again.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 21, Browns 20.

Florio’s take:  This could be the Browns’ best chance to get a win before their Week 10 bye.  It also could be the Bengals’ best chance to restore their confidence before a three-game home stand against the Steelers, Broncos, and Giants.  The Browns have been competitive.  When in doubt, however, go with the team that isn’t 0-5.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Browns 23.

Rams at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Hardly anyone has noticed it, but the Dolphins’ defense is actually quite good. Miami will put a lot of pressure on Sam Bradford and win a low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 14, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  Arguably the best game of the weekend, Rams coach Jeff Fisher gets a shot at the team he spurned.  With tough defenses and underrated offenses, the Miami offense should be able to do more against the St. Louis defense than vice-versa, given the absence of Danny Amendola.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 14, Rams 12.

Colts at Jets

MDS’s take: I was impressed with how well the Jets’ defense played against a good Houston passing game on Monday night: This defense looks a lot better without Darrelle Revis than I expected. I think they’ll give Andrew Luck enough trouble to eke out a close win.

MDS’s pick: Jets 19, Colts 17.

Florio’s take:  What once appeared to be a cream puff after a pair of sledgehammers won’t be nearly as easy for the Jets.  While the Colts will be better than expected, expecting them to go on the road and beat the Jets seems to be a little much, especially since the Jets are becoming increasingly desperate.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 20, Colts 14.

Lions at Eagles

MDS’s take: If the Lions’ defensive linemen were playing as well as their reputations (and their paychecks) say they should, I’d pick Detroit to force a bunch of Michael Vick turnovers and win this game. But the Lions just aren’t getting the kind of pressure you have to get to make Vick make mistakes, and so the Eagles will take this one.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The Lions think they can recapture last year’s attitude simply by wanting to.  It’s not that easy, especially when the team remains flawed on both sides of the ball.  The Eagles have more talent — enough to overcome Mike Vick’s inevitable mistakes.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 24, Lions 17.

Chiefs at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: I’m not sure if Matt Cassel’s concussion makes the Chiefs more or less likely to win on Sunday, but either way I don’t see it happening: Tampa Bay’s run defense is good enough to contain Jamaal Charles and win this game.

MDS’s pick: Bucs 17, Chiefs 10.

Florio’s take:  This pair of potential playoff teams has been disappointing so far.  Those Chiefs fans who have been waiting for Brady Quinn to get a chance to play may be feeling regret, along with other negative emotions, before this one is over.

Florio’s pick:  Buccaneers 13, Chiefs 9.

Bills at Cardinals

MDS’s take: I’m permanently off the Bills bandwagon. The Cardinals’ offense isn’t very good, but it doesn’t need to be to move the ball on this Bills unit. For all the money the Bills’ defensive front is making, you’d think they’d have one of the best pass rushes in the league, but you’d be wrong.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, Bills 10.

Florio’s take:  Yeah, the Cardinals aren’t as good as the Pats or the 49ers.  But they’re good enough to find a way to overcome a Buffalo team that has plenty of flaws on both sides of the ball — including an offensive line that’s currently even worse than Arizona’s.  Which is saying a lot.  Or not much at all.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 20, Bills 16.

Patriots at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’m having a hard time getting a read on either of these teams. Are the Patriots the team that turned in a disappointing effort at home against the Cardinals, or the team whose offense has been all but unstoppable against the Bills and Broncos? Are the Seahawks the team that dominated Dallas or the team whose offense could hardly move the ball at all in their other four games? I don’t know, but I think the Patriots’ offense is good enough to put a lot of points on the board against a good Seattle defense.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 28, Seahawks 14.

Florio’s take:  After the Seahawks beat the Cowboys by 20, I said I’d never pick against the Seahawks at home again.  But I hadn’t looked at the schedule.  The Pats won there in 2008, without Tom Brady.  With him, the Pats will run their all-time record at CenturyLink Field to 2-0.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 27, Seahawks 17.

Giants at 49ers

MDS’s take: Tom Coughlin says no one is giving his team a chance in this game. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say the Giants don’t have a chance, but I would say the way the 49ers have played the last couple weeks, on both sides of the ball, I have a hard time seeing the Giants’ path to a win.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 31, Giants 17.

Florio’s take:  This is precisely the kind of game the Giants ordinarily win.  And if they hadn’t won in San Francisco in January en route to a Super Bowl victory, the Giants would win.  No amount of Rodney Dangerfield cliches from coach Tom Coughlin will overcome the fact that the 49ers are hungrier and, for now, better.  There’s a chance it will get ugly.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 31, Giants 24.

Vikings at Redskins

MDS’s take: Florio foolishly picked the Redskins last week, allowing me to escape with a tie in our Week Five picks. I hope he does it again this time.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Redskins 13.

Florio’s takeAdrian Peterson returns to the scene of his serious knee injury, and Robert Griffin returns to the scene of his “mild” concussion.  The Redskins have lost eight in a row at FedEx Field, and the Vikings have won three straight there.  With the talent gap between these two teams fairly narrow, it just feels like it’s time for both trends to end.

Florio’s pick:  Redskins 27, Vikings 21.

Packers at Texans

MDS’s take: I never would have believed 10 months ago, when the Packers were on a 20-game winning streak, that they’d lose six of their next 10 games. But Green Bay will be 4-6 in its last 10 after losing to the Texans on Sunday night.

MDS’s pick: Texans 24, Packers 14.

Florio’s take:  Anyone who says this is a “must” win for the Packers hasn’t looked at their upcoming schedule.  They’ll bottom out at 2-4, and then the rebound will begin.

Florio’s pick:  Texans 27, Packers 20.

Broncos at Chargers

MDS’s take: In the battle for first place in the AFC West, I like Peyton Manning to step up with a big game and the Broncos to outscore the Chargers.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Chargers 31.

Florio’s take:  The Chargers consistently have bedeviled Peyton Manning, and that was when Manning had a much better supporting cast.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 27, Broncos 23.

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Typo for now: NFL calls San Antonio a “team market”

SanAntonio Getty Images

When I was a kid, I’d study the back of the cereal box while eating breakfast. In time, it became the baseball box scores from the local newspaper — back when they actually put box scores in the local paper and still had, you know, local newspapers.

Now, I’ve trade the Crunch Berries box and the box scores for the NFL Record & Fact Book. An annual publication I’ve acquired every year since 2000, it’s a great tool for eating with one hand and flipping pages with the other, with virtually stop teaching me something I didn’t already know or giving me an idea for something to share with you.

Here’s something that caught my attention, at page 320 of the 2015 edition, which has Malcolm Butler making an interception and Tom Brady hoisting a trophy on the cover.

At page 320, the book lists the top 100 TV markets for 2015, with NFL team markets in bold. Sandwiched between Columbus at No. 32 (not in bold) and Salt Lake City at No. 34 (not in bold) is San Antonio at (you guessed it) No. 33. In bold.

First thought: Maybe it’s a team market because it’s close enough to Dallas or Houston. So I checked the 2014 version. San Antonio was No. 36, and it didn’t appear in bold print.

It’s surely a typo, with whoever formatted the page accidentally putting San Antonio in bold even though San Antonio isn’t an NFL team market. Still, with the Raiders unable to work out a new stadium deal in Oakland, with the Rams and Chargers hoping to get the two seats in L.A., and with limited temporary locations for a pair of teams to play in Los Angeles while the new stadium is built, San Antonio remains a viable destination for the Raiders, either as a permanent home or as a temporary alternative to L.A., if the Raiders get the green light to return to Southern California.

Ten years ago, San Antonio provided a temporary location for three Saints games after a hurricane ravaged New Orleans. Last year, the Raiders openly flirted with San Antonio. And San Antonio presumably remains interested in bringing the Raiders or another team to town — especially since it’s bigger than five markets that already host NFL teams: Cincinnati (No. 36), Jacksonville (No. 48), New Orleans (No. 51), Buffalo (No. 52), and Green Bay (No. 68).

Again, it undoubtedly was a typo. But the fact that someone who works for the league saw “San Antonio” and mistakenly thought “team market” shows that San Antonio is indeed on the fringes of cities that could lure a team — especially if San Antonio is willing to kick in the kind of taxpayer money that plenty of other cities currently aren’t.

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Hall of Fame softens its stance on Sydney Seau speaking

Seau Getty Images

Five-year-old policies were made to be modified.

Sydney Seau, daughter of deceased linebacker Junior Seau, will be given opportunities to speak at next week’s Hall of Fame induction activities, according to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com.

She won’t be giving an induction speech in place of her late father. However, Sydney and her three brothers will participate in the unveiling of Seau’s bust, and Sydney will be interviewed on stage after the sheet is removed from the permanent bronze memorial to Junior Seau.

Sydney also will be given an opportunity to make remarks during Thursday night’s “Gold Jacket” ceremony, which will be televised by NFL Network.

“Our goal was to try and keep our policy but also show some compassion and understanding,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker told FOX Sports. “Through all the conversations, Sydney has always been great.”

In 2010, the Hall of Fame adopted a policy preventing speeches to be given on behalf of deceased inductees. Failure to publicize or communicate the policy helped create a controversy regarding whether Sydney Seau was being silenced, due to the family’s pursuit of a lawsuit against the NFL alleging that concussions triggered Junior Seau’s 2012 suicide.

“She will have the opportunity to say whatever she wants to say but we will still maintain our policy,” Baker said. “We want this to be a great day for Sydney and her family. Should she choose not to speak afterward, that should be OK.”

The induction ceremony also will include an extended video presentation on behalf of Seau. At 6.5 minutes, the Seau video exceeds the normal video introduction by three minutes.

Now, here’s hoping that the speeches given by the living inductees will each come in at under 30 minutes. Or 20. Or ten.

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Haslam: Despite what you’ve heard, we still believe in Manziel

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Getty Images

Reports out of Cleveland this offseason that the Browns have given up on Johnny Manziel were unfounded, according to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

“Despite what everybody reads and says, we’ve not at all given up on Johnny,” Haslam said, via Cleveland.com. “We think he has the potential to be a good football player. Now, having the potential and doing it are two different things, but I think we’ve said numerous times that you’re not going to win consistently in this league without a good quarterback and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Haslam said the Browns are willing to be patient with Manziel and wait for him to be their starter. Josh McCown is expected to start this year, although Browns coach Mike Pettine has said McCown isn’t just being handed the job.

“I think it’s important — everybody forgets he’s barely 22 years old,” said Haslam. “He’s still young, so I think over the next couple of years we’ve got to see if Johnny can be a legitimate quarterback or not. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him or our coaches to say it has to happen this year.”

Still, if Manziel doesn’t show anything this year, that would be two seasons in which he gave the Browns nothing. That’s not what they thought they were getting when they chose him in the first round of the 2014 draft. At some point, Manziel has to show he can play, or the Browns really will give up on him.

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Report: Devin Smith has punctured lung

Devin Smith AP

With the inevitable launch of training camps comes the inevitable parade of injuries. For the Jets, it turns out that the broken ribs suffered by rookie receiver Devin Smith also include damage to an internal organ.

Via Dom Cosentino of NJ.com, Smith suffered a “slightly” punctured lung as part of the injury that occurred after making a leaping catch at training camp.

His status for the regular-season opener against the Browns remains unknown. He’s expected to at least miss the rest of camp.

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Eli Manning doesn’t care about Russell Wilson’s contract

Eli Getty Images

Is Eli Manning a better quarterback then Russell Wilson? One way to determine that could be to compare their paychecks.

Eli Manning isn’t interested in that approach.

“No, I’m not into the comparison about how much money you’re making,’’ Manning said Friday, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “That’s not my concern.’’

So what is his concern?

“Right now my concern is getting on this practice field for our first practice,” Manning said before the team’s initial session of training camp. “I’m excited about that and just let the business side of it just work itself out.”

Instead, he’s worried about a different set of numbers.

“Our goal is to try to get 27 to 30 points per game,” Manning said.

Another key number is 70. That’s the percentage of passes he hopes to complete. (Last year he connects on 63.1 percent.)

Before any of that happens, Manning and the Giants could indeed work out a new contract. Wherever the process ends, it begins with Aaron Rodgers at $22 million per year in new money, and with Wilson right behind Rodgers at $21.9 million per year in new money.

With $17 million already due in 2015, Manning would need a five-year, $105 million deal to match Rodgers. Anything more than that would make Eli Manning the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL — and highest-paid player in league history.

Until, of course, Philip Rivers signs a new deal. And then until Andrew Luck signs a new deal. And so on, as the cap keeps going up and the best quarterbacks in the game keep signing new contracts.

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Broncos’ Kyle Williams out for season with torn Achilles

Kyle Williams AP

Broncos receiver Kyle Williams suffered a season-ending injury at today’s training camp practice.

Williams has confirmed that he tore his Achilles and won’t play in 2015.

“Unfortunately, today I suffered an injury to my Achilles and will consequently be missing this season,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “It’s hard for me at this point to make sense of all of this but at the end of the day I understand and trust God’s plan for me. My determination to get back and my work ethic will not diminish and I will eventually get back to full strength. I appreciate all those who have reached out and all of those who are praying. You all mean more to me than u know. Thank you.”

Williams’s long injury history makes it questionable whether he’ll be able to make it back to the NFL. His 2013 season ended with a torn ACL, and in 2014 he didn’t play beyond the preseason after suffering a shoulder injury.

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Saturday one-liners

Rex AP

Bills coach Rex Ryan says he’d do his job for “a heck of a lot less [money]; way, way, way less.”

For the Dolphins, when the pads come on the focus turns to the battle at left guard.

Patriots RB James White starts his second training camp with a “more aggressive approach.”

The Jets may have “personal agendas” interfering with success, based on comments on Friday from former head coach Rex Ryan.

Steve Smith could be the 2015 punt returner for the Ravens.

Browns WR Dwayne Bowe has “no doubt” that Terrelle Pryor will make the roster.

The Steelers are focusing on their kickoff return unit in training camp.

WR Nate Washington could be starting across from DeAndre Hopkins for the Texans.

Here are five priorities for the Colts during training camp.

Jaguars WR Marqise Lee was “noticeably inconsistent” during his first practice of training camp.

Titans NT Sammie Hill says he’ll likely sit out the first week or two of camp due to a sprained knee suffered during offseason workouts.

Broncos DE Malik Jackson strained his left calf on the first day of training camp.

Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson is ready to prove that he still has it.

Raiders WR Michael Crabtree looked like a playmaker in his first practice with the team.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon is bracing for the speed of training camp.

Cowboys TE Jason Witten isn’t afraid to talk about the team’s goal of winning a Super Bowl.

Giants rookie LT Ereck Flowers says he’s made a lot of progress, and that he hopes to keep progressing.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants a bigger indoor practice facility. (And there’s one of the reasons he’ll potentially cite if/when he tries to finagle a jump to Tennessee after the season.)

A mere 3,341 fans showed up for the first day of training camp practice for Washington.

Bears DE-turned-LB Willie Youngdoesn’t know anything” about his new position, but he’s “ready for whatever”; “I go fishing and the forecast says it isn’t going to rain, but it might rain,” Young said.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell has no concerns about the right tackle situation.

Packers WR Jared Abbrederis suffered a concussion on Thursday.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen has big goals; “I want to be the world. But it’s up to me to put in the consistency and the hard work, starting right now, to get where I want to go. I want to be great, so Hall of Fame, I’ve got to work.”

Falcons RB Antone Smith is healthy and confident heading into camp.

Panthers LB Thomas Davis is adding “Sr.” to his jersey, at his seven-year-old son’s request.

Saints WR Brandin Cooks has no doubt about his ability to become the team’s No. 1 option in the passing game.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans says last year’s team was “the best 2-14 team ever.” (The 1996 Jets were a Week 17 field goal away from getting into the conversation.)

It’s all systems go for Cardinals QB Carson Palmer.

Rams RB Todd Gurley participated in 15 minutes of individual drills during his first training camp practice.

49ers DL Arik Armstead has made a good impression so far.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett is focused on becoming a team leader.

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Jets promote Jacqueline Davidson to director of football administration

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Jacqueline Davidson, who has spent nine years working in the NFL, has been promoted by the Jets to the position of director of football administration.

Davidson will replace Rod Graves, who recently left the Jets’ front office to take a position in the league office.

During her tenure with the Jets, Davidson has been the team’s top negotiator on player contracts, and she received credit this offseason when the Jets landed one of the biggest prizes in free agency, Darrelle Reivs. Davidson’s responsibilities also include managing the salary cap and ensuring that the team complies with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and league personnel rules.

“Jackie has served as an integral part of our football administration efforts under Rod Graves this offseason,” Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan said. “She’s bright and talented and she has earned this opportunity.”

The appointment makes Davidson one of the highest-ranking women to work in an NFL front office. Along with the hiring of Jen Welter as a Cardinals assistant, Beth Mowins as the Raiders’ play-by-play voice and Sarah Thomas as an official, this news points to positive progress in the NFL.

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Andy Dalton shrugs at All-Star boos

Dalton Getty Images

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton played in the celebrity softball game held in conjunction with the All-Star Week festivities in Cincinnati. He heard boos. He prefers to focus on the cheers.

They didn’t boo when I hit my two home runs,” Dalton said Friday, via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I think I heard lots of cheers. I think that whole thing, it wasn’t everybody. I think if you look at a video or two it makes it seem like it’s more than it was.

“There’s a lot of loyal fans, a lot of people that have backed me and have supported me. That’s all I’ve heard. So it’s unfortunate that was the reaction, initially, but after hitting a couple home runs it was a lot of cheers.”

In Dalton’s fifth NFL season with no playoff wins, the real question is whether there will be cheers in January — or justifiable boos before then.

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Broncos’ Kyle Williams carted off practice field

Denver Broncos mini camp at Dove Valley Getty Images

Broncos receiver Kyle Williams’s bad luck with injuries has continued.

Williams was carted off the practice field at training camp in Denver today after suffering an apparent right knee injury while returning a punt.

In 2013, Williams suffered a torn ACL in his first game with the Chiefs. In 2014, Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the Chiefs’ final preseason game and didn’t make the regular-season roster.

Williams was once viewed as a promising young receiver and special teams player for the 49ers, but his inability to stay healthy may cut his career short.

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Bernard Pollard: I don’t like Tom Brady, but he shouldn’t be suspended

T. Brady B. Pollard AP

Bernard Pollard and Tom Brady aren’t exactly simpatico. It was Pollard who ended Brady’s 2008 season with a Week One shot to the knee, and Pollard and Brady have clashed in other games as well.

But when it comes down to Brady vs. Roger Goodell, Pollard takes Brady’s side.

“I do not like Tom Brady as a competitor, somebody that’s playing against him because he is a competitive player. I respect the piss out of him because the guy knows how to win. The guy, you can say whatever you want about him, but he is a true champion,” Pollard said on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Pollard says he suspects that other quarterbacks have thrown deflated footballs and just haven’t been caught, and Pollard doesn’t believe a four-game suspension is appropriate.

“Do I feel that he should be suspended four games? I’m going to tell you, no,” he said. “This dude is a competitor, man. I don’t think he should’ve been suspended for four games. But I’m not the commissioner, I’m not on that committee that suspended him, and I know he’s going to fight tooth and nail like he does on the field to get back on the field with his team.”

Brady isn’t done fighting to get back on the field. And even some of the opponents who don’t like him are rooting for him to win his fight against Goodell.

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Russell Wilson’s full guarantee at signing? $31.7 million

Wilson

In the aftermath of the news that the Seahawks had signed quarterback Russell Wilson to a new deal, many said, “I knew it. The Seahawks won’t never let Wilson get away.” This implies that the Seahawks blinked, making Wilson the highest-paid player in the NFL and/or paying him as if he were already a free agent and/or fully guaranteeing an enormous percentage of the contract.

The Seahawks didn’t blink.

Apart from the fact that the Seahawks will pay Wilson considerably less now than they would have paid Wilson if he had gotten to February healthy and effective (and possibly with another Super Bowl appearance or win), the Seahawks won convincingly on the much-discussed topic of guaranteed money.

Like many big-dollar contracts without big amounts of fully-guaranteed money, initial reports mentioned Wilson’s guaranteed payout of $60 million without specifying how much of it is fully guaranteed at signing, beyond the signing bonus and the first-year base salary. In this case, that’s because none of the amount is fully-guaranteed beyond the signing bonus and the first-year base salary.

Per a source with knowledge of the terms, the $31 million signing bonus and the $700,000 base salary for 2014 are fully guaranteed. The rest of the guaranteed money is guaranteed for injury only.

Which makes it not really “guaranteed.”

On the fifth day of the 2016 waiver period, Wilson’s $12.342 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. On the fifth day of the 2017 waiver period, Wilson’s $12.6 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed. On the fifth day of the 2018 waiver period, $4.9 million of Wilson’s base salary of $15.5 million becomes fully-guaranteed.

It means that $31.7 million is fully guaranteed at signing, and that another $29.842 million is guaranteed only for injury at signing. It also means that Seahawks owner Paul Allen won’t have to place any portion of the future injury-guaranteed money into escrow.

For Wilson, he swapped a $1.542 million base salary for 2015 and the possibility of getting a lot more later for a fairly large bird in the hand now. Whether it’s viewed as $21.9 million per year in new money or $17.8 million per year in total value, it’s a lot more than Wilson has made in three NFL seasons. And it was the smart and prudent choice to make.

Besides, if he’d decided to finish the rookie contract and push for more in 2016, at some point he would have risked alienating fans who may have perceived him as selfish. Even though players should grab every last dollar they can while they can, it remains a team sport. And if a player is going to work hard (i.e., “Go ‘Hawks!”) to create the impression that he puts the team above himself, it becomes awkward if it appears that he’s putting himself above the team.

As to the guaranteed money, the reality is that franchise quarterbacks typically cash every check of their contracts, regardless of whether the money is fully guaranteed. Barring developments unforeseen and unlikely, Wilson will be with the Seahawks through 2019 — and probably beyond.

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Orson Charles suspended one game for 2014 road rage incident

Charles Getty Images

It’s unclear whether tight end Orson Charles will make the opening-day roster with the Saints. If he does, he won’t be playing in Week One.

Via the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the NFL has suspended Charles one game for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.

The suspension arises from a March 2014 incident, in which Charles pointed a gun (three times, allegedly) at another driver who had made an obscene gesture. Charles was under contract with the Bengals at the time; they cut him in August, and Charles then joined the New Orleans practice squad.

He received probation after pleading guilty in February to wanton endangerment.

Because the incident happened before the NFL revised the Personal Conduct Policy, the punishment possibly was less than it would have been if the incident had occurred after the policy changed.

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Judge Berman takes full control of Brady case

Judge Getty Images

Some judges don’t get directly involved in trying to settle a case. Some do.

And some of the judges who get directly involved in the efforts to settle a case make it very clear to the parties that the judge is determined to settle the case. When that happens, the case usually settles.

In 18 years of practicing law, I never saw an order like the one Judge Richard M. Berman issued to the NFL and the NFLPA on Friday. Below, I’ll explain how I would interpret it, if I was representing either the NFL or the NFLPA in this case.

Posted on Twitter by Raffi Melkonian, a Texas lawyer who has been posting various court filings to date in the case, the full order reads as follows:

“Thank you for your letter, dated July 31, 2015. I found it helpful. It is ‘OK’ to file a public version of the answer and counterclaim as you request. I always have considerable difficulty approving any sealed documents, given the keen public interest in these matters and the public’s right to know. It’s up to you whether to file any sealed motions or sealed document applications at this time.

“I have two further suggestions. First, because I already have a good understanding of your positions from your submissions to date, you need only each file a 15 page double spaced memo (further supporting your positions) by August 7, 2015. In the nature of a reply brief, perhaps.

“Second, I am scheduling a status/settlement conference for Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 11:00 a.m., with your principals (including, without limitation, Mr. Goodell and Mr. Brady). Let’s see what we can accomplish at that conference and if there is a need for more written submissions, the August 14, 2015 submission date you propose is fine.

“I am also scheduling a status/settlement/oral argument conference for Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 10:00 a.m., again with your principals (including, without limitation, Mr. Goodell and Mr. Brady). Please jointly confirm all dates by 3:00 p.m. on Monday, August 3, 2015. . . .

“Lastly, I request that you all engage in comprehensive, good-faith settlement discussions prior to the conference on August 12, 2015. Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, IV is available to assist you if you wish.”

First, it’s clear that the judge has been studying the case and knows the issues. He probably already has an idea regarding how he would rule on the case; there’s really not much either side can do to change his mind in only 15, double-spaced pages.

Second, he’s determined to get the case settled. By directing the two sides to engage in “comprehensive, good-faith settlement discussions” before the first of not one but two settlement conferences with Judge Berman presiding, he expects the parties to arrive at the first conference with their latest settlement positions clearly established (e.g., NFL at a two-game suspension and an acknowledgement of guilt and Brady at a two-game fine and no acknowledgement of guilt). At that point, Judge Berman will then have two opportunities to pressure the side that needs to be pressured the most (and it possibly will be both sides that need pressure) to resolve the case before he issues a ruling.

Third, the invitation to utilize the services of Magistrate Judge James C. Francis IV to assist in any settlement talks before August 12 isn’t an invitation. If they don’t take Judge Berman up on the offer, he won’t be happy — unless they can settle the case without using Judge Francis as the facilitator/mediator of settlement discussions over the next 11 days.

Fourth, and as surmised on Friday, Judge Berman expects Goodell and Brady to appear in court for both conferences on August 12 and 19. Whoever resists showing up on either of those days does so at his own peril.

For Brady, it will mean missing two days of work. Although the team’s training-camp schedule hasn’t been announced beyond August 3, August 12 comes one day before the preseason opener against the Packers, at Gillette Stadium. On August 19, the Patriots will be in the middle of a three-day visit to West Virginia, for joint practices with the Saints.

For Goodell, it will mean shuffling whatever schedule he already has in place for those days. The NFL’s lawyers will likely tell him that nothing is more important than showing up for the conferences with Judge Berman.

Fifth, it’s clear that Judge Berman won’t be inclined to keep any documents under seal, based on this sentence: “I always have considerable difficulty approving any sealed documents, given the keen public interest in these matters and the public’s right to know.” In other words, the full transcript of the Tom Brady appeal hearing eventually will be released, if the case isn’t settled.

That’s a win for the NFLPA and Brady. Although the NFL would say that the parties agreed to seal the transcript, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the NFLPA agreed to seal the transcript at the insistence of the NFL.

The best way to keep the transcript from ever being released to the public (barring a leak) would be to settle the case before the judge has to decide whether to approve the filing of the transcript under seal. And Judge Berman knows that. And now the NFL and NFLPA know that he knows that.

I’m tempted to think the case could settle this week, without Goodell and Brady having to appear before Judge Berman. But if the two sides are at an impasse over whether a settlement would include a suspension of any duration, it won’t be easy to break that log jam without getting an idea of how Judge Berman feels about what amounts to an all-or-nothing proposition in court.

Eventually, Judge Berman may have to privately inform the side against which he’s inclined to rule that it will either accept the best deal it can get, or it will get nothing and like it.

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Despite DeMarco’s departure, Cowboys committed to the run

Joseph Randle AP

The Cowboys ran the ball more than 30 times a game last season, and DeMarco Murray got most of the work, with an NFL-high 392 carries for 1,845 yards. With Murray now in Philadelphia, will the Cowboys’ commitment to the run change?

Not according to offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who says one player — even a player as good as Murray — wasn’t the reason the Cowboys ran the ball so often last year.

“Yeah, that’s not going to change,” Linehan said on KRLD, via the Dallas Morning News. “And that was by design – we talked about it extensively, Jason [Garrett] and I did . . . wanted to get back to a little bit of the ‘old’ Cowboys. . . . DeMarco had a lot to do with that. Obviously, we have a tremendous offensive line, tight end group, and the support group around him, but it will be a really fun challenge for us to duplicate that.”

If Linehan is really as committed to the run as he was a year ago, then Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden are going to get a lot of carries this year. Behind the Cowboys’ offensive line, they may be as effective as Murray.

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