Mike Florio talks with Tom Curran of CSN New England about Rob Gronkowski’s broken forearm and how it will affect the Patriots going forward during their playoff hunt. They discuss the judgment surrounding the decision to put Gronk on the field for an extra point when the Patriots were already winning big and how much the Patriots will miss their monstrous tight end.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: How much will the Pats miss Gronk?
The Buccaneers joined the pick-signing party, reaching deals with a pair of their own.
The team announced they had signed fourth-round defensive back Ryan Smith, and agreed to terms with fifth-round offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch. The Bucs have five more picks to sign, and there’s no reason to think it’ll be complicated.
Smith, from North Carolina Central, was his school’s all-time leaders in tackles and kickoff return average, adding some speed to the Bucs secondary. They plan to try him at safety, and he should have a chance to help on special teams immediately.
Benenoch was a three-year starter at UCLA, and could offer depth at tackle and guard.
After weeks of delay that invited speculation of a desire by Marshawn Lynch to be released, the Seahawks have placed Lynch on the reserve-retired list. It doesn’t mean Lynch is prohibited from changing his mind.
As the football-following world learned in 2008 with Brett Favre’s First Annual Unretirement, a player who wants to return needs simply to file a request for reinstatement with the league office. Once reinstated, he’s back on his prior team’s roster, at the $9 million salary he was due to earn.
The Seahawks, who drafted at last count 17 running backs last week (actually, three), would then have to decide whether to keep him, trade him, or cut him. If he’s cut, Lynch becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team.
But there’s a caveat. If Lynch decides to wait until the regular season unfolds in order to ensure that he’ll land with a contender, unretiring after the trade deadline would result in Lynch being exposed to waivers, if/when he’s released.
This means that, if the Seahawks cut Lynch so that Lynch can, for example, join his hometown team (the Raiders), another team would be able to block that maneuver by claiming Lynch’s contract.
That’s exactly what happened in 2002, when Deion Sanders wanted to unretire and climb aboard the Oakland bandwagon for a Super Bowl run. After Washington released his rights, the Chargers claimed the contract on waivers.
The Chargers made the move because Sanders had retired in 2001 due to a lack of desire to play for Marty Schottenheimer, who had been hired earlier that year. Fired after one season, Schottenheimer was the head coach in San Diego in 2002.
With Lynch, another team likely would be inclined to block him from hand picking his next team not for spite but for strategic reasons. Regardless, Lynch will eliminate that risk if he returns long enough before the trade deadline to ensure that he’d be cut without having to pass through waivers.
Even if he’s not truly ready at that point to join a team, Lynch would be smart to ensure that he has the pieces in place before the trade deadline to make a late-season debut with a team that is on track for the Super Bowl and in need of a difference-maker at tailback.
Unless he’s truly done playing. With Lynch, however, no one ever really knows what he’s going to do. Which makes it even more sensible to keep an eye on all possible outcomes.
The Eagles are the latest team to announce their crop of rookie free agent signings.
The team has brought in 16 players to fill out their 90-man roster, although making room for all of them led to the release of a pair of players who will need to pursue their NFL futures elsewhere. The Eagles waived running back Kevin Monangai and defensive tackle Travis Raciti, both of whom spent time on the practice squad last year.
Among the new Eagles is wide receiver Cayleb Jones, who caught 128 passes for 1,923 yards and 14 touchdowns at Arizona over the last two seasons. According to multiple reports, they also used bigger guarantees than usual to sign San Diego State guard Darrell Greene and Incarnate Word linebacker Myke Tavarres after they went undrafted last weekend.
The rest of the signings are West Virginia long snapper John DePalma, Rutgers linebacker Quentin Gause, LSU tight end Dillon Gordon, Maine center Bruce Johnson, Texas wide receiver Marcus Johnson, Oregon running back Byron Marshall, Valdosta State running back Cedric O’Neal, Utah State wide receiver Hunter Sharp, Stanford defensive tackle Aziz Shittu, North Dakota State cornerback C.J. Smith, Lousiana Tech wide receiver Paul Turner, Washington State defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao and Boston College defensive tackle Connor Wujciak.
Last year, former Bears wide receiver Joe Anderson was spotted outside of the Texans stadium holding up a sign asking for another shot from an NFL team.
Anderson got one a short time later when the Jets signed him to their practice squad in December. He’ll need to either take the sign out of storage or make up a new one for the 2016 season, however.
The Jets announced Thursday that they have waived Anderson from their 90-man roster in the kind of move to clear space for incoming rookies that we’ve seen all around the league this week.
Anderson played nine games for the Bears in 2012 and 2013 seasons without catching a pass, although he did return five kickoffs and see other time on special teams.
The check-listing of rookie contracts is in full effect, and has taken hold in Pittsburgh.
With draft picks descending on Pittsburgh for rookie minicamp this weekend, it was easy enough to get them signed.
Ayers, a wide receiver from Houston, could provide some help on returns this year. Matakevich is a linebacker from Temple, who was the school’s all-time leading tackler and won both the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nargurski Trophy.
Earlier this week, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said that the team wanted to place running back Marshawn Lynch on the reserve/retired list before June 1 in order to take the total cap hit remaining from his signing bonus this year rather than split it over the next two.
Schneider proved good to his word on Thursday. The Seahawks announced that they have placed Lynch on the list, which formally removes him from their roster and leaves them with 90 players.
When Schneider commented on the team’s plans, he said that Lynch still had not submitted retirement papers with the league and added that the lack of paperwork from Lynch didn’t preclude the team from making the roster move. Lynch was at CenturyLink Field to speak to participants at a job fair after traveling overseas for much of the last two months, so it’s possible the status of the paperwork has changed.
Coach Pete Carroll said after the draft that Lynch was “committed to retiring” and there hasn’t been any signal from Lynch to contradict that assessment. The Seahawks, who drafted three running backs last week, retain his rights in the event that proves otherwise at some point in the future.
Coming out of Alabama, Chance Warmack was considered one of the best guard prospects in the history of the NFL draft. He’s been a bit of a disappointment in Tennessee, however, demonstrated by the team deciding this week not to pick up his fifth-year option.
But Warmack says he’s disappointed, too, in the quality of the coaching he has received.
Warmack didn’t mention him by name, but he was obviously referring to former Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad in comments about an ex-coach whose teaching Warmack thinks didn’t provide him much help.
“I had one dude who played D-III football at linebacker. And he’s teaching me how to play offensive line? If there’s nothing wrong with that, you tell me,” Warmack told Pete Prisco of CBS. “I play offensive line. I don’t play linebacker. I definitely didn’t play D-III football. Not knocking D-III schools out there. We’re talking about the highest level of football in the world. And you have a guy who has never put his hand in the dirt teaching me how to block. You don’t think there’s anything wrong with that? I appreciate a coach who is open-minded to questions and comments. They don’t want to hear a question that questions their philosophy. When they are closed-minded, it stunts the growth of the offensive lineman.”
There may be some merit to Warmack’s complaints, and the fact that Bostad is now the tight ends and fullbacks coach at Northern Illinois suggests that he didn’t have any other teams interested in his services as an offensive line coach when the Titans fired him this year.
On the other hand, there are plenty of good NFL coaches who weren’t good enough players to make it to the NFL, and plenty of good position coaches who aren’t coaching the position they played. If Warmack is going to blame his position coach for any struggles he’s had in the past, he’d better have a big year this year. His position coach now is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Russ Grimm.
Big Shield needs a lot of polish. And thus another key employee has been hired to help keep the tarnish away. Or at least to distract us from it.
In addition to Joe Lockhart, the relatively new in-house P.R. czar, the NFL has now hired Natalie Ravitz to serve as senior V.P. of communications, via Politico.com.
Ravitz spent three years, from 2012 through 2015, as Rupert Murdoch’s Chief of Staff at News Corp. She will report to Lockhart.
The move brings more political experience to the league office, which suggests that the NFL has decided based on a variety of P.R. problems in recent years to rely on the expertise crafted by folks who operate in an industry that entails constant P.R. challenges.
The new approach recently was demonstrated in very aggressive detail as Lockhart engineered a free-for-all against the New York Times based on a report citing flawed concussion research and specious links to Big Tobacco.
Big Shield isn’t Big Tobacco. Still, with some of the best P.R. talent in America now on the payroll, Big Shield will be getting even bigger.
The Jaguars didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on 2013 No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel’s contract. But that doesn’t mean Joeckel is a short-timer in Jacksonville.
On Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio, Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell suggested that Joeckel remains in the team’s long-term plans.
“[It] really nothing to do with Luke but more so . . . our cap situation,” Caldwell said. “We have plenty of cap space going into next year. We’ll have more next year than we will this year and we just didn’t need to do it. Luke, we expect him to be here for a long period of time. I talked to him. Luke did play good football this year for the most part. He had a couple games that he struggled with and he knows that but for the most part he’s a good football player and we’d like him to be part of this moving forward. But we just didn’t feel like we needed to pick up the option. If he plays great we’ll pay him like a great player and we have the capability to do that.”
Picking up the option would have given Joeckel an $11.9 million salary for 2017, guaranteed for injury only until March 2017, at which time it would have been guaranteed fully. Apart from avoiding the risk that Joeckel will suffer an injury that carries into next year, the Jaguars can keep him with a deal based on his market value, if the market value is less than $11.9 million for 2017.
The only risk that the Jaguars assume is that Joeckel will have a year so strong that they’d have to consider using the franchise tag to keep him around. Next year, that number will be north of $14 million, making it a gamble of roughly $3 million.
But here’s the thing. If the Jaguars are forced to pay the extra $3 million, it means that Joeckel has finally lived up to the potential that made him a player they envisioned eventually giving an enormous contract. So that would be a good problem to have.
Actually, it wouldn’t be a good problem. It would simply be a good development, since they have the cash and cap space to keep him under the franchise tag if he becomes a player who merits that kind of pay.
If Joeckel doesn’t, the Jaguars will be able to either keep him with a much lower investment or let him walk away, leaving millions available to address the offensive line with free agents from other teams.
Earlier on Thursday, we shared Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ comments about his confidence that Ravens wide receiver Keenan Reynolds will be able to both play football and fulfill his commitment to the Navy in the coming year.
It’s something that Patriots long snapper Joe Cardona was able to do during his rookie season in 2015. During the same interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Mabus said that he wasn’t sure if things would work out the same way for Cardona during the 2016 season.
“We’ve got Joe Cardona, long snapper for the Patriots,” Mabus said. “He played last year for the Patriots. While he was on active duty because he was able to work them both out. He’s been assigned to a ship and he’s going to report to that ship. So he may have to leave the Patriots for the year to go fulfill that role.”
Cardona’s duties have kept him from taking part in the team’s offseason activities. The Patriots recently signed former Browns long snapper Christian Yount, a move which may have been predicated by Cardona’s possible absence.
The Patriots had to wait a while before making their first pick in the 2016 draft, but there’s no reason to delay signing those picks so the team’s gotten several of their new additions under contract.
According to multiple reports, second-round cornerback Cyrus Jones, third-round guard Joe Thuney, fourth-round wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, sixth-round linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and seventh-round wide receiver Devin Lucien have all agreed to their four-year deals with the team.
Jones was the 60th overall pick and the first the Patriots made after sitting out the first round after their pick was taken away by the league as a Deflategate penalty. He could play early as a slot corner and was a dynamic punt returner at Alabama. Mitchell will join a receiving corps that added Chris Hogan and Nate Washington as free agents. He’ll also join a book club run by Reese Witherspoon after writing his own children’s book while he was at Georgia.
The Lions could use the franchise tag in 2018 to ensure Ansah sticks around, which might explain why Ansah says he’s “not really paying attention” to things like the $85 million deal that Olivier Vernon signed with the Giants as a free agent at the moment. Ansah, who has 30 sacks in his first three seasons, said there will be time for that down the road.
“As of right now, I think you’ve got to take it step by step,” Ansah said, via the Detroit Free Press. “You’ve got to see how this season goes, and I’m just looking forward as far as having a great season for the team.”
Pass rushers aren’t going to stop getting paid at a high level in the next two years, so Ansah will be in line for a major payday from the Lions or someone else as long as he remains healthy and productive.
Tight end Jordan Reed signed an extension that vaults him to the top of the pay scale at his position, a deal that came a few months after the end of a season that saw him play like one of the best at the position.
Reed had 87 catches for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Redskins in the regular season before posting a big game in their playoff loss to the Packers. Production like that will be well worth the $46.5 million that he’s scheduled to make over the life of the five-year deal.
Reed’s injury history — he’s missed 14 games in three seasons — didn’t get in the way of the team’s desire to make the deal and Reed said it wouldn’t stop him from making it pay off.
“It means a lot that the Redskins invested that kind of money in me,” Reed said, via John Keim of ESPN.com. “I’ll show them that they made a good investment and I’ll prove them right in making me one of the highest paid [tight ends] in the league.”
With Reed signed for the long-term and wide receiver Josh Doctson arriving as a first-round pick, the Redskins have figured out two pieces of their passing game for the future. The 2016 season will sort out Kirk Cousins‘ place in that future and having Reed should help his bid for a long-term contract as well.
The Browns announced 11 undrafted rookie signings on Thursday.
The list is headlined by former Oklahoma linebacker Dominique Alexander, an All-Big 12 pick who went undrafted after giving up his senior season, and former Texas A&M center Mike Matthews, the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. It was previously reported that the Browns gave Matthews a partial guarantee in 2016 as part of a three-year deal.
The Browns also signed former Maryland kicker Brad Craddock, who won the Lou Groza Award as the nation’s best kicker in 2014.
The other signings announced by the Browns were former Missouri defensive back Kenya Dennis, former Georgia Tech fullback Patrick Skov, former Pitt tight end J.P. Holtz, former Miami (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard, former Sam Houston State defensive back Mikell Everette, former Florida State defensive lineman Nile Lawrence-Stample, former West Virginia defensive lineman Kyle Rose and former Kentucky defensive back A.J. Stamps.
With 11 undrafted free agent signings and 14 draft picks, the Browns will have a crowded rookie minicamp next weekend.
With the new rookie salary scale, negotiating contracts has become easier than ever.
And at least one draft pick is choosing to save the 3 percent commission by doing it himself.
Unlike Broncos tackle Russell Okung, Brissett doesn’t have to worry about marketing himself to multiple suitors.
And while contracts have become increasingly boilerplate, the third round falls in the strange middle ground where it’s not always just league minimum base salaries and a signing bonus like late-rounders, or the slotted maximums like first-rounders, so there’s some wiggle room.
But Brissett has navigated changing colleges, so figuring out his own worth shouldn’t be that difficult. And the structure in place should prevent him from selling himself short, as Okung did when he decided to represent himself this spring.