Falcons WR Roddy White said after Sunday’s loss to the Saints that the Falcons beat themselves. No, Roddy, the Saints beat the Falcons. That’s what happened, and that is how plenty of fans saw it, too, shown by their responses in this Wendy’s Rapid Reactions segment.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: The Falcons beat themselves? Uh…no
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 decision 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.
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.
The Seattle Seahawks are currently without both of their All-Pro safeties for the start of training camp.
While Kam Chancellor is holding out in hopes of leveraging a new contract, free safety Earl Thomas was among six players placed on the physically unable to perform and non-football injury/illness lists by the Seahawks on Friday.
Thomas is still recovering from offseason surgery to repair the torn labrum suffered in the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
“We’re going to be really patient at this time of year,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “Not jump to a decision. He’s working hard, making great progress. We’ll wait and see how long it takes to be safe and secure before he goes out. He plays with such reckless abandon that he’s got to be ready to go 100 percent.”
In addition, the team placed receiver Paul Richardson, and cornerbacks Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon were also placed on the physically unable to perform list. Safety Dion Bailey was placed on the non-football injury list with a hamstring issue and defensive tackle was placed on the non-football illness list as he recovers from kidney cancer.
Richardson tore his ACL against the Carolina Panthers in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Lane tore his ACL three weeks later in the Super Bowl and also suffered a broken arm that is still problematic as well.
Richardson is ahead of schedule with his recovery. However, Lane isn’t nearly as far along.
Simon has a shoulder injury but is expected to be able to take part in the preseason.
Players can be activated from the PUP and NFI lists at any time during the preseason.
While Wilson’s contract eats up a sizable portion of Seattle’s remaining salary cap for this season, head coach Pete Carroll was adamant that it doesn’t preclude the Seahawks from signing Wagner to an extension as well.
“We’re still working, got big stuff to do today. We’re still working. We’re not finished, in case you were wondering,” Carroll said.
“We’re on it. Whoever thought that we were done with that thing that was not right. We’re on it and we’re going to keep competing to get that done. We have planned for this for a long time and nothing has changed in all that. Our guys are working at it by the hour here.”
Wagner expressed support for Wilson in his new contract, saying he was “proud and happy” for Wilson. However, Wagner appeared sufficiently upset that he was still without a new deal himself.
“It could be done, it could not be done. When I have something to sign than it will be done,” Wagner said.
Wilson and agent Mark Rodgers set a Friday deadline for negotiations for his new deal. Does Wagner have a deadline of his own in mind?
“Now. That’s my deadline,” he said.
Per the NFLPA, the Seahawks had $9.2 million in cap space before Wilson’s contract was done. Wilson’s new deal lowers Seattle’s cap room to just under $4 million. That alone could be enough to get a deal done with Wagner.
However, the salary cap is only calculated off the Top 51 contracts in the offseason. In-season, it counts all 53 active roster players, practice squad, injured reserve, PUP/NFI, etc. So effectively, the Seahawks don’t have that much usable cap space.
If Seattle were to get Wagner done, it could necessitate the need to part with other veteran players to get under the salary cap before Week 1.
New York Giants fans eager to seek the autograph of budding superstar receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Friday almost led to potentially dangerous situation arising after practice.
According to Tom Rock of Newsday, the large crowd seeking Beckham’s signature led to chaos with several children “brought to tears” while being pinned to the barricades keeping them in line. A woman also had a seizure during the wait, only to have fans just step over and around her. She was treated and released on-site, per the Giants.
Another teenage girl in a body brace was also crying in pain while getting shoved in her broken back.
The bleachers where the fans were standing then buckled and caved several inches. Beckham and others were then taken away from the chaos and the bleachers were cleared of fans.
Everyone appears to be OK, which is the most important thing. But the excitement around the sophomore season of Beckham is clearly palpable in the Big Apple and everyone wants a piece of their new star.
Jets rookie receiver Devin Smith suffered broken ribs today at training camp, and the injury was serious enough that he needed to be hospitalized.
The Jets announced that Smith will stay at a local hospital overnight and is expected to miss most if not all of the rest of training camp. He suffered the broken ribs on a leaping catch in practice.
A second-round draft pick out of Ohio State, Smith was expected to compete as a rookie to be the Jets’ third receiver, behind Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. Missing training camp will make that a lot tougher.
Judge Richard M. Berman has told the NFL and the NFLPA to tone it down regarding the Tom Brady case. That directive apparently doesn’t apply to the Patriots.
The website created by the team in response to the 243-pages-and-nearly-as-many-flaws Ted Wells report has added a new story. It’s dubbed, “League failure to correct misinformation.”
The item consists of a chain of emails between Patriots general counsel Robyn Glaser and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash. The Patriots explain that it is “presented to illustrate the attempts by the Patriots to ask the NFL to correct initial misinformation being reported by the media and to investigate sources of such misinformation, which could only have been league personnel.”
The communications in question began on February 17, when ESPN’s Kelly Naqi reported that the Patriots tried to introduce an unapproved kicking ball into the AFC title game against the Colts. (PFT later reported what actually occurred.) The report from Naqi also contradicted, to a certain extent, the original report from Mortensen.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James complained to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello that “we have ANOTHER leak . . . resulting in a report providing details that no one else would possibly have in a story that tries to implicate a day of game employee.” James also mentioned in his email the NFL’s ongoing refusal to release the accurate PSI measurements, despite the original ESPN report that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs were two pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum.
“I cannot comprehend how withholding the range of PSIs measured in the game is beneficial to the NFL or the Patriots,” James wrote. “I can only assume, based on the scientific evidence that has been provided to us by multiple independent scientists that the PSI numbers will be within the scientific range. If we had been provided this data within days of the original report, we could have changed the narrative of this story before it led all national news and the damage was done. It has been over 4 weeks and we still can’t get a simple detail that I assume was available the night of the AFC Championship Game!”
The next morning, Glaser forwarded the Stacey James email to Pash, reiterating the team’s earlier request that “the scope of Ted Wells’ independent investigation be expanded to include a review of actions by League personnel.” Glaser said that Pash had promised to “consult with the Commissioner” about the request, but that Pash never responded after that.
Pash replied within 30 minutes, saying that “I have no reason to think [the latest ESPN story] came from our office but I certainly do not condone leaks which I do not serve [sic] anyone’s interest.”
Glaser argued in response that “the leaks would only come from the League office as it would not serve anyone else’s purpose” and urging Pash “to bring your staff and office under control.”
“We have cooperated fully and expediently with Attorney Wells and are now seriously starting to question whether we should do that while our public image and brand continues to be unnecessarily and irreparably tarnished by the League,” Glaser wrote.
Pash later told Glaser that he has “doubts that piecemeal disclosures are likely to accomplish much,” and that “[i]f anything, I would think they are likely to prompt additional questions, additional stories, and additional irresponsible speculation and commentary.”
And then Glaser had enough.
After calling Pash’s responses “pretty disingenuous,” Glaser explained that “if the League is disclosing information that is correcting inaccuracies and misinformation that are currently are hammering away at our brand, we WELCOME the additional stories and commentary.”
“Jeff, you need to step up,” Glaser wrote. “I can’t tell you the number of times you’ve told me that you and your office work for us member clubs. It has been made resoundingly clear to us that your words are just a front. They have no substance at all. If you worked for us, you would already have released today a statement to the effect of, [‘]ESPN, you’ve got it wrong. You do not have full information, you are irresponsibly reporting information that is untrue and you need to stop. Furthermore, as you now know and report reporting yourselves, your original story that 11 of 12 balls were 2 pounds below the minimum allowable psi was just blatantly wrong, we know that because we have the information and here it is…[‘]
“I would appreciate it if you would please tell me everything you are doing, and will continue to do, to stop leaks from occurring. This is information we do not have. We know of not one thing you are doing internally to investigate the sources of the leaks and/or to curtail them. We do know that the one thing we’ve asked you to do — include the League leaks as part of the scope of the Wells investigation — has been rejected by you. So do you blame us for wondering just what the heck you mean when you said, ‘I will continue to do what I can to stop leaks from occurring’?”
The last message in the chain comes from Pash, who called Glaser’s message “personal and accusatory.” He also declined to provide a point-by-point reply, acknowledging that he works for all teams, not just the Patriots.
“Sometimes that creates tension, as it apparently has here,” Pash said.
Still, the messages make it obvious that the Patriots repeatedly asked the NFL to direct Wells to explore the leaks as part of his investigation, and that the NFL refused to do so.
That directly contradicts comments from Commissioner Roger Goodell at a press conference in May. Pressed by Tom Curran of CSNNE.com on whether Ted Wells was asked to investigate leaks (including the original 11-of-12-balls debacle), Goodell said that Ted Wells “had the opportunity to evaluate that.”
Apparently, he didn’t. But that doesn’t make it too late for Wells or someone else to make another million or so finding out who in the league office turned #DeflateGate from an act of gamesmanship at worst into the crime of the century, all by leaking blatantly false information to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
On Thursday, Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer and his son pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery charges stemming from an incident in which both Kromers were accused of hitting minors during a dispute over beach chairs in Florida earlier this month.
There was another court date set for both Kromers in September, but it won’t be necessary. Bill Eddins, the State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit in Florida, announced in a press release, via Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, Friday that the charges have been dropped against both men.
Per the release, the charges were dropped at the request of the parents of the two minor children allegedly struck during the incident. The parents said injuries sustained by their children were minor and that they didn’t wish to have their lives disrupted any further. The release also references an “amicable resolution” had been reached between the parties.
Kromer was placed on paid leave after his arrest and Bills coach Rex Ryan said before the charges were dropped on Friday that he had no update on Kromer’s status. Presumably the decision to drop the charges will lead the Bills to make a decision about whether Kromer will be back with the team this season.
On Friday, the NFL and NFLPA requested an expedited schedule for the resolution of the case involving Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s suspension with the goal of having the matter wrapped up by September 4.
Judge Richard Berman has offered a reply that suggests he’s amenable to that timeline. Berman told the two sides Friday, via the Associated Press, that the has scheduled conferences for August 12 and August 19 involving the “principles” on both sides. That would include both Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who upheld Brady’s suspension after an appeal.
Berman also requested that the two sides “engage in comprehensive, good-faith settlement discussions prior to the conference on August 12.” Brady and the NFLPA said this week that they made a settlement offer to the NFL that was not countered by the league and there were several reports about settlement talks in the case before Goodell offered his decision.
Berman’s response suggests there’s a good chance of resolving the lengthy affair before the start of the season and that could mean Brady is on the field against the Steelers to start the season.
“New money” has become one of the great fictions in the assessment of NFL contracts. But, you know, when in Rome.
For Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, the headline is that he signed a four-year, $87.6 million extension, with a new-money average of $21.9 million. The truth is that the last year of his current contract, at a base salary of $1.542 million, has been ripped up and replaced with a new five-year, $89.1 million deal.
But since the average of the total five-year deal is $17.8 million, it won’t be characterized that way when it comes to deciding whose is bigger.
For Wilson, the details of the five-year, $89.1 million deal have begun to emerge. With one important key metric still missing.
The signing bonus, per multiple reports, is $31 million. The total guarantee, per multiple reports, is $60 million. The amount fully guaranteed of the remaining $29 million in guarantees remains unknown.
It’s a key point because the Seahawks and Wilson’s agent had been squabbling about the portion of the contract that will be fully guaranteed at signing, since future fully-guaranteed payments must be placed into escrow now. (To raise the money, Gantt could have organized a bake sale for owner Paul Allen.)
The Dolphins fully guaranteed $60 million of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh’s contract. For Wilson, the question is whether and to what extent he has fully-guaranteed payments beyond the $31 million signing bonus.
The base salaries are, via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, $700,000 in 2015, $12.34 million in 2016, $12.6 million in 2017, $15.5 million in 2018, and $17 million in 2019.
This makes the cap numbers $6.9 million in 2015 (plus any remaining bonus proration from his rookie deal), $18.54 million in 2016, $18.8 million in 2017, $21.7 million in 2018, and $23.2 million in 2019.
As the salary cap continues to climb, Wilson won’t last long as the second highest-paid player in the NFL. From Eli Manning to Philip Rivers to Andrew Luck to other young quarterbacks who become stars, the bar soon will be pushed to $23 million, $25 million, and beyond.
By 2019, Wilson’s salary of $17 million will be middle-of-the-pack at best. Before then, if he keeps playing like he has, Wilson likely will have another new deal.
Tom Brady refused to let the NFL see his cell phone as part of the Deflategate investigation, but Browns General Manager Ray Farmer took a different approach when he was investigated in Textgate.
Farmer, who is suspended for the first four games of the season for texting members of the Browns’ coaching staff during games, says he allowed the NFL to view his phone as part of its investigation.
“I turned over my cell phone,” Farmer said, via Cleveland.com. “Again, I made the mistake. I made the admission. It is what it is. I’ll deal with any penalty I got. If they saw fit to be lenient, than that was their call; it wasn’t mine.”
There are several differences between Farmer’s case and Brady’s. The phone was central to the violation in the case of Farmer; the texts themselves were his violations, whereas in Deflategate the NFL only thought Brady’s calls or texts might have included information about rules violations. Brady is a member of a union that has a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL; Farmer is not in a labor union. And Farmer has admitted breaking the rules, whereas Brady has denied any wrongdoing.
Farmer and Brady also approached the NFL’s investigation differently. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said when suspending Farmer that he had been cooperative and that his suspension was lessened as a result, whereas Goodell criticized Brady for his lack of cooperation.
We can now consider training camp season to be officially open, as we’ve had our first mention of the dreaded cart.
NBC 4 had video of the spill, showing a non-contact situation, where Breeland’s knee collapsed as he tried to break with a receiver.
That makes this a really bad day for the second-year corner, since he was suspended one game by the league for a marijuana possession charge last year.
While there’s no official word, they can only hope that’s all the time he misses.
Patience hasn’t been a word frequently associated with Robert Griffin III during his NFL career.
Whether it was immediately entering the starting lineup after going No. 2 in the 2012 draft or making the start in the 2013 season opener after a knee injury in the playoffs earlier that year, instant gratification was the goal since Griffin joined the Redskins. Coach Jay Gruden told Albert Breer of NFL Media that he’s trying a different path.
Gruden wanted Griffin to earn his spot as the starter last season and benched him during the season when Griffin failed to meet expectations, but has installed him as the starter this year with a plan to let Griffin ride out rough patches in hopes of improving.
“Let’s see what he can do, and give him some time,” Gruden said.
For the plan to succeed, Gruden believes his willingness to be patient has to be met by the same willingness from Griffin. The coach says that he’s seen signs of it from the quarterback this offseason.
“He’s not used to failure. He’s very competitive,” Gruden said. “It has an effect on him. He wants to be the best, and he’s got a long way to go to be that. But he still has the confidence and still [has] the swagger where he thinks he can be, and he’s starting to realize he has to put the work in and he has a lot to learn.”
Gruden also pointed to the need for the team to play better across the board to help Griffin succeed, but the patience is only going to extend so far. The Redskins picked up Griffin’s 2016 option, but it’s guaranteed for injury only and they aren’t likely to pay him $16.2 million if he doesn’t look closer to the quarterback they want by the time the season comes to an end.
Davis didn’t get that new deal, didn’t have a good 2014 season and didn’t make any waves this offseason. On Friday, he said that he’s come up with a new approach that included firing the financial advisor who encouraged him to stay away from the team because that unnamed person “worships money.” Davis insists that he’s not laying down in front of that altar.
“That’s not who I am. That’s not what I stand for. I don’t do anything for money,” Davis said, via the Sacramento Bee. “I don’t let money represent me. That’s just not me. I play for the love of the game. And that’s the beauty of this sport — it’s that about the love, the teammates, your coaches.”
Davis says he feels “great overall” as training camp gets underway and the 49ers offense could certainly use the kind of production he provided before last season if they’re going to bounce back from last year’s showing.
Giants co-owner John Mara said yesterday he wasn’t quite sure how many fingers Jason Pierre-Paul had at the moment.
And while none of us can be sure, the first photos of the Giants defensive end since he lost a finger in a fireworks accident don’t look good.
The New York Daily News has photos of Pierre-Paul taken in Florida, showing him in a sling with a gigantic bandage covering his right hand.
It’s hard to tell much, other than it looks like he has a boxing glove on, and doesn’t look like a guy who’ll be participating in football any time soon. We already knew he lost his right index finger, but the way he’s wrapped, it’s unclear what else is going on under there.
“We don’t know how extensive the damage is. That’s the problem,” Mara said yesterday. “I don’t know how many fingers he has.”
But at least there’s something to look at now.