Erik Kuselias and Peter King examine Sean Payton’s free agent contract situation and discuss whether or not Payton will hold out for more money from the Saints or for the possible Cowboys’ gig.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: How much leverage does Payton have?
“He doesn’t play a whole lot so he’s not gonna be much of a threat for us,” linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s gonna be a fun game. Both teams, we want to win the game and K-2, he likes to talk. We understand that, but in all seriousness, the guys who are gonna be on the field, we worry about those guys.”
Jackson, who played three years with Winslow in Cleveland, said more about Winslow’s lack of playing time and abundance of talking time.
“It’s no secret K-2 likes to run his mouth a lot and I’m happy he’s with a team and he’s doing well but we’ve game planned towards the guys who are going to be on the field,” Jackson said. “He doesn’t play a whole lot so I’m not going to get caught up in a guy that’s watching the game for most of the time that his offense is out there on the field so I’m not worried about K-2. That’s the type of personality that he is. Him and I are good friends and I knew something was gonna come out this week from him at some point so I’m sure I’ll see him during out pregame warm ups and we’ll talk but I’m used to K-2 and his ways.”
Safety Tashaun Gipson said Winslow’s words different even register with the locker room.
“If Calvin Johnson said it, that’s different,” Gipson said. “[Winslow] can say what he wants to say. He’s still got to go out there and perform and what he does Sunday I guess will tell it all. . . . You’re supposed to have that confidence. I respect him for speaking up and saying something like that. If you want to stay successful, you’ve got to have that kind of confidence so I tip my hat off to him, even having the courage to say that.”
Winslow has had the courage to say plenty of things during his career, starting with his “I’m a f–king soldier” rant at the University of Miami. And he’s had the courage to do plenty of things, culminating in motorcycle tricks that wrecked his knee and derailed a potential Hall of Fame career nearly nine years ago.
As we prepare to change the calendar from 2013 to 2014, the NFL will eventually catch up with the rest of us in March.
The league announced Friday that the new league year will begin on Tuesday, March 11, 2014, at 4:00 p.m. ET.
At that point, free agency opens and each team must be in compliance with the 2014 salary cap. Owners recently were told that the cap will be in the range of $126.3 million per team; we’ve reported that it’s more likely to exceed $127.5 million.
For the second consecutive year, clubs will be permitted to contact the agents who represent impending free agents as of 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 8, at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Preceding free agency will be the usual two-week period for application of the franchise tag. This year, the window opens on February 17. It closes on March 3.
“I would have to give it to Earl,” Sherman told Seahawks.com. “I think Earl is having a fantastic year. He’s flying around, tackling everywhere, forcing fumbles, getting interceptions. I don’t think there’s anybody out there playing better defense and I think our defense is No. 1 in the league. So usually the best quarterback with the best receivers isn’t punished for that, so don’t punish one of the best players on the best defense. So I think he should get it.”
Some would say Sherman himself should be defensive player of the year, an idea that Sherman does not oppose.
“If there’s anywhere the defensive player of the year should be it should be in Seattle,” Sherman said. “Whether it’s myself or Earl.”
In a year when the defensive player award seems to be wide open (Robert Mathis, Robert Quinn, Luke Kuechly, Vontaze Burfict and J.J. Watt will also get consideration), Sherman and Thomas are both strong candidates who may end up taking votes away from each other. Seattle is fortunate to have two defensive player of the year candidates playing together in the same secondary.
Over the course of the week, there are a lot of posts about the most prominent injured players but we know that you might not see all of them and that some others may fall through the cracks. As a result, we’ll comb through all the injury reports every Friday afternoon so that there’s one stop for all the news from every team playing on Sunday.
Dolphins at Bills
Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (ankle) is questionable, but Miami appears set to have all their defensive backs available after losing several to injury last weekend. Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel (knee) is out and wide receiver Stevie Johnson won’t play as he attends to matters in California after his mother’s death. Safety Aaron Williams (ribs) has also been ruled out by Buffalo.
Saints at Panthers
Both sides are pretty healthy heading into their clash for the NFC South. Safety Rafael Bush (ankle) is doubtful to be in the Saints’ lineup while linebacker Keyunta Dawson (calf) and tight end Josh Hill (hamstring) are questionable. Running back Jonathan Stewart (knee) is out and the Panthers’ injury report is otherwise made up of players expected to be in the lineup on Sunday.
Vikings at Bengals
The Vikings ruled out cornerback Xavier Rhodes (ankle) and it’s doubtful that tight end John Carlson (concussion) will play on Sunday. Running back Adrian Peterson (groin, foot) is expected to play despite a questionable tag with Toby Gerhart (hamstring) looking set to return to the lineup as well. It’s doubtful that Bengals cornerback Terence Newman (knee) will play and defensive end Carlos Dunlap, linebacker James Harrison and offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth are all questionable after suffering a concussion.
Broncos at Texans
The Broncos may not have wide receiver Wes Welker (concussion) back before the playoffs, but cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) plans to give it a go this week. Cornerback Kayvon Webster (thumb) and defensive end Derek Wolfe (illness) are both out for Denver as well. Quarterback Case Keenum (right thumb) and wide receiver DeVier Posey (ankle) are both out for the Texans. Tight end Garrett Graham (hamstring) is questionable and 15 players are listed as probable.
Titans at Jaguars
Defensive tackle Mike Martin (ankle) and tackle David Stewart (shoulder) are both questionable for the Titans. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) has the same designation with the Jaguars while wide receiver Jeremy Ebert (ankle) has been ruled out.
Colts at Chiefs
No one’s been ruled out by the Colts, but safety Sergio Brown (groin), defensive tackle Montori Hughes (knee), defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois (foot), tackle Jeff Linkenbach (quadricep) and guard Joe Reitz (concussion) are all listed as doubtful. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (shoulder) is questionable after limited participation in Friday’s practice. Tackle Branden Albert (knee) and linebacker Justin Houston (elbow) are questionable to return to the lineup for the Chiefs. Wide receiver Dexter McCluster (ankle) is probable after missing last week’s game.
Browns at Jets
Browns cornerback Joe Haden (hip) will be a game-time decision, but tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion) and guard John Greco (knee) won’t be in the lineup. The Jets list 13 players as probable on their injury report. We’ll see if that’s a lucky number come Sunday.
Buccaneers at Rams
The Bucs won’t get guard Carl Nicks (MRSA) back this season and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (knee) has been ruled out as well. Safety Mark Barron (hamstring) is questionable. Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (ankle) missed practice all week, landing him a questionable designation.
Cowboys at Redskins
It will be another week without linebacker Sean Lee (neck) for the Cowboys. Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) said he’s out this week, although the Cowboys listed him as doubtful, and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring) will also miss the game. Wide receiver Terrance Williams (hamstring) is questionable for Dallas. There are just three players on the Redskins injury report. Fullback Darrel Young (hamstring) is questionable and the only one whose status is in doubt.
Giants at Lions
The Giants have ruled out running back Peyton Hillis (concussion), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder) and safety Cooper Taylor (hamstring). Guard James Brewer (ankle) is questionable, guard David Diehl (knee) is doubtful and Eli Manning is looking forward to a less injury-prone offensive line next year. The Lions won’t have tight end Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) and cornerback Darius Slay (knee) is doubtful. Cornerback Chris Houston (toe), wide receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), linebacker DeAndre Levy (foot) and cornerback Rashean Mathis (illness) are all questionable for the home team.
Cardinals at Seahawks
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (concussion) and quarterback Carson Palmer (elbow, ankle) are both questionable for the Cardinals, who are unlikely to have safety Rashad Johnson (ankle). Wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip), guard J.R. Sweezy (concussion) and linebacker K.J. Wright (foot) are out for the Seahawks, whose injury report is otherwise made up of probable players.
Patriots at Ravens
The Patriots ruled out wide receiver Josh Boyce (ankle) and listed Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) and Aaron Dobson (foot) as questionable. Tackle Nate Solder is also questionable after his second concussion in as many weeks. Quarterback Joe Flacco (knee), running back Ray Rice (thigh) and linebacker Elvis Dumervil (ankle) are all listed as questionable for the Ravens. Cornerback Asa Jackson (thigh) is doubtful.
Steelers at Packers
The Steelers have eight players on their injury report and all are probable. The Packers would love to be in such a situation. Alas, they’ve already ruled out quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone). Tight end Brandon Bostick (foot) is also out.
Raiders at Chargers
It looks like the Raiders will have running back Darren McFadden (knee, ankle) back in the lineup, but running back Jeremy Stewart (ankle, knee) remains out. Linebacker Miles Burris (ankle) and defensive tackle Vance Walker (concussion) are both questionable. Chargers running back Le’Ron McClain (hamstring) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) are also questionable.
Bears at Eagles
The Bears are hopeful that linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) can make it back after seven games on the sideline. Safeties Colt Anderson (knee) and Kurt Coleman (hamstring) were both ruled out for the Eagles, but cornerback Brandon Boykin (concussion) is probable to help the secondary contend with Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.
The NFL has fined Wimbley $10,000 for roughing the passer, saying that Wimbley illegally struck Palmer in the knee area.
The hit was costly for the Titans on the field, as the personal foul penalty set the Cardinals up with first-and-goal. They scored a touchdown on the next play.
Palmer hurt his ankle on the hit and is listed as questionable this week but is expected to play on Sunday at Seattle.
Champ Bailey has tried coming back from his preseason foot injury twice before.
This time, the Broncos cornerback hopes to get through a game.
Bailey’s expected to play Sunday against the Texans, hoping to shore up a secondary that will be without Kayvon Webster.
“I feel good about what I can do,” Bailey said, via Lindsay Jones of USA Today. “I think now it’s just being smart about how I go about doing it, and making sure I don’t have any setbacks, and I don’t wear myself down or anything like that. The good thing is I’m fresh, and I’m ready to go.”
He ought to be fresh, having played eight quarters. The 35-year-old Bailey said he’s hoping to work his way back now, so he can make up for a rough playoff performance last year.
“Just make sure I’m ready — physically, mentally, emotionally, everything,” Bailey said. “It’s just not a physical game, but the mental part is a big part of it. I just have to make sure I’m completely ready.”
The Broncos might not need it to close out the regular season against weak competition with a playoff berth secured, but they need him ready for the games against better competition that’s coming soon.
There was no Thursday appetizer to sate us this week, so we’ll be plenty hungry for football by the time Sunday rolls around.
Good thing there’s a 15-game feast coming our way. There are a few games between teams that have already started thinking about 2014, but most have at least one team that’s still alive in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Friday’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN will focus on getting you up to speed on everything you need to know about those games. We’ll break down all of the biggest storylines for the weekend’s biggest games, like the Saints’ attempt to change their luck on the road against the Panthers and the Packers’ attempt to remain in control of their own destiny with Matt Flynn at the reins once more.
It all gets started at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
As Jerry Jones tries to build a consistent winner, he has taken the position that it’s harder to consistently win than ever before.
“The first night I got a chance to talk about being the new owner of the Cowboys, I said, ‘We’ve got to win, winning is the name of the game,’” Jones said during his weekly Friday appearance on 105.3 The Fan Dallas/Ft. Worth, via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “That’s really what it’s all about at the end of the day, winning the football game. It never occurred to me that we would have the challenges that we have, winning the football games. I didn’t anticipate this league that we’re in. I’m not critical of it, but boy, is it a balanced league.”
In a roundabout way, Jones is saying it wasn’t quite so hard when former coach Jimmy Johnson built a team that won three Super Bowls in four years, the third of which came with Barry Switzer as the head coach. While it may not have been any easier back then to build a championship team, it was a lot easier to keep a championship team together before free agency got rolling in 1994. Marginal contributors and role players on glory teams always before more attractive to other teams, even if other teams are merely hoping to weaken a glory team.
Free agency and the salary cap have smoothed out the talent in the NFL, closing the gap between the best and worst teams and allowing teams to get better as a given season goes on. Teams consistently get hot late in the year, sneak into the playoffs with a so-so record, and make noise in January.
“When you’re sitting here seeing the teams that are about where we are at 50-50 in that range, and you see the teams that right today could easily be the world champions that have records like that, then you realize how competitive it is,” Jones said.
Those remarks reconfirm his belief that his team can be the team that becomes the team in January.
First, his team has to get to January. And that’s something his team hasn’t been able to do since 2009.
Ravens defensive end Elvis Dumervil missed Week 14 with an ankle injury and was listed as questionable before returning to the lineup for last week’s game against the Lions.
That seemed to be the end of concern for Dumervil’s status since he wasn’t listed on the team’s injury report at all on Wednesday or Thursday this week. He’s back again on Friday, however.
Dumervil was listed as questionable for Sunday’s date with the Patriots after limited participation in practice because of an ankle injury. Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn’t give much insight into Dumervil’s chances of playing. He didn’t have much to say about whether running back Ray Rice’s thigh injury is related to his earlier hip issue, either.
“I’m not going to get into all of that,” Harbaugh said, via the team’s website. “He’s on the injury report — that’s what it is. What the injury report says it is, it is.”
Quarterback Joe Flacco is also questionable, leaving the Ravens with a little more uncertainty than they’d like heading into a game with big playoff implications.
The Patriots spent part of today watching film, but it wasn’t all of the Ravens.
According to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald, coach Bill Belichick juggled his schedule to take his players to the movies.
They saw the new movie “Lone Survivor,” which is actually about a group of under-siege Navy SEALs, and not, as you might think, about Tom Brady’s receiving corps.
Their last field trip was also to see another Mark Wahlberg movie, “The Fighter.” Such trips are more common during training camp, but breaking the routine can help keep players focused as the regular season draws to a close.
Joe Flacco’s bizarre week continues.
Four days ago, he took a helmet to the knee. It gave Flacco, the team, and its fans a major scare.
After the game, Flacco said he was fine. So fine that ESPN reported he wouldn’t need an MRI.
But then we heard he’d take it easy for a few days. Then the team said he’d wear a knee brace, and that he’d be limited in practice. And then ESPN reported that Flacco had the MRI that ESPN had reported Flacco didn’t need.
Now, Flacco officially is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Patriots. Flacco was limited in practice all week with an MCL sprain.
Despite the designation, it’s believed Flacco will play. But with “probable” necessarily meaning there’s a virtual certainty the player will be available for normal duty, the Ravens may have opted for the next level down, which means transforms the player’s status into a 50-50 proposition.
It would still be a major surprise if Flacco doesn’t play. A postseason berth is on the line, and the Ravens will be playing a team they’ve faced six other times since 2009.
It’s a Festivus miracle.
With an extended extension for selling enough tickets to allow the Week 16 game against the Vikings to be televised locally, the Bengals have pulled it off. The team has announced that the contest will indeed be broadcast.
Of course, many believe that the mere granting of an extension means that enough tickets will be sold, since many believe that an extension won’t be granted by the NFL absent a commitment by the team seeking it to purchase any remaining tickets at 34 cents on the dollar, an amount which represents the league-wide visiting team’s share of ticket sales.
Maybe that’s why the NFL really opposes the FCC’s efforts to scuttle the blackout policy. Without the blackout policy, the franchises that consistently sell out wouldn’t be able to tax those teams that periodically don’t.
The Bengals are in danger of missing the playoffs, but they can still capture the No. 2 seed by winning their final two games (both at home), if the Patriots lose only once.
Army continues to look through the ranks of NFL assistants for its head coaching vacancy.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Jets special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica will interview for the job this weekend. Presumably, that means Saturday, since he’s kind of busy with his day job on Sunday.
Kotwica was a three-year starter at linebacker for Army, and led them to a 10-2 record in 1996. He then spent seven years in the service, earning a Bronze Star
Buccaneers offensive coordinator, also a West Point graduate, is also on the interview list.
The Dolphins added two cornerbacks off waiver claims this week, moves that seemed to be directly related to the fact that they finished their win over the Patriots with the football equivalent of duct tape holding things together.
That duct tape worked out very well — safety Michael Thomas was named the AFC defensive player of the week — but the Dolphins would still prefer to have their frontline players available for Sunday’s game with the Bills. After all, a playoff spot is theirs if they can just win their next two games.
Friday’s injury report brought good news. The only player who is listed as anything other than probable is running back Daniel Thomas, who is questionable after aggravating an ankle injury last weekend.
Cornerbacks Nolan Carroll and Brent Grimes both appear to be good to go, as do safeties Chris Clemons and Reshad Jones, and that’s a positive for the Dolphins. They won’t have to worry about Stevie Johnson as the Bills ruled out the wideout after he spent the week in California following the death of his mother, leaving Thad Lewis to throw to T.J. Graham, Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods.
The Chargers have one home blackout on their ledger already this season, but they won’t add a second against the Raiders this weekend.
Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports that the blackout has been lifted a day after the Chargers received a 24-hour extension to sell enough seats to allow the game to be televised locally. Such a development was expected, as it is any time a team is granted an extension by the league, because teams usually have secured a commitment to move any remaining seats for 34 cents on the dollar.
The Chargers may not be able to avoid a blackout next weekend, however. Gehlken reports that nearly 5,000 seats remain unsold for next weekend’s regular season finale against the Chiefs.
Hopes of selling those seats would improve if the Chargers have a chance to make the playoffs. That would require a San Diego win and losses by Baltimore and Miami, so this may be the final Chargers home game on San Diego television this season.