With news that Ben Roethlisberger is inactive for this week’s game against the Ravens, Mike Florio wonders if the Steelers can get by with backups until he is healthy again.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Steelers have a shot without Big Ben?
Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse is back under contract with the Seattle Seahawks after signing his restricted free agent tender with the team.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Kearse signed the tender worth $2.356 million on Tuesday. The signing was confirmed by a team spokesman.
Kearse took over as the No.2 wide receiver in Seattle’s offense following the trade of Percy Harvin to the New York Jets last October. He started 14 of 15 games with 38 catches for 537 yards and one touchdown during the regular season.
However, Kearse has been most productive in the playoffs each of the last two years. He caught seven passes for 209 yards in the postseason, including the 35-yard game-winning touchdowns in overtime of the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers.
His 33-yard juggling reception in the Super Bowl helped Seattle to the doorstep of their second straight championship before the ill-fated Malcolm Butler interception at the goal line.
When it comes to employment disputes involving individuals teams, the NFL traditionally stacks the deck in its favor, forcing disgruntled employees to agree to arbitration — with the Commissioner of the league presiding. Last week, the Missouri Supreme Court delivered what could become a fatal blow to the league’s obsession with allowing a non-lawyer to make legal decisions that could be influenced by business interests unrelated to what the law requires.
In a lawsuit filed more than four years ago by former Rams equipment manager Todd Hewitt, the Missouri Supreme Court invalidated the requirement of submitting all claims to arbitration resolved by the Commissioner. The Missouri Supreme Court based its conclusion in part on a fairly simply analysis of three provisions of the league’s Constitution and Bylaws.
First, the Court pointed out that Section 8.3 gives the Commissioner “full, complete, and final jurisdiction and authority to arbitrate . . . [a]ny dispute between any player, coach, and/or other employee of any member of the League and any member club or clubs.” Next, the Court pointed out that Section 8.1 requires the NFL to “select and employ a person of unquestioned integrity to serve as Commissioner of the League and shall determine the period and fix the compensation of his employment.” Then, the Court pointed out that Section 8.2 states that the “Commissioner shall have no financial interest, direct or indirect, in any professional sport.”
The provisions are clearly inconsistent; it’s impossible for the Commissioner to have “no financial interest” in “any professional sport” when he is paid by the league — and when the bulk of his compensation often comes from bonuses tied to the financial success of the league. More importantly, the Missouri Supreme Court concluded that the conflicting provisions and obvious bias of the Commissioner when “required to arbitrate claims against his employers” makes the requirement that employees submit claims to arbitration resolved by the Commissioner unenforceable.
While narrow in application to the State of Missouri (which serves as the home of two NFL teams, the Rams and Chiefs), the ruling provides a blueprint for employees who hope to avoid Commissioner-resolved arbitration in the other 21 states in which the NFL does business. It also gives the NFL Players Association and the NFL Referees Association a potential hammer for challenging in court the ability of the Commissioner to continue to serve as the arbitrator over claims brought by players and game officials, respectively.
While those provisions likely will have greater teeth because they appear in Collective Bargaining Agreements, the three provisions quoted by the Missouri Supreme Court from the NFL’s Constitution and Bylaws lay the foundation for a case-by-case attack on arbitration submitted to the Commissioner based on the inherent bias of the Commissioner.
It’s an obvious problem that has been hiding in plain sight for decades. At some point, the unions, the courts, and/or the NFL itself need to acknowledge that the Commissioner necessarily is incapable of being objective when resolving disputes involving the very teams that hire and pay him, and to come up with a more fair and unbiased procedure for resolving disputes.
The Patriots waived a defensive contributor from early in the 2014 regular season, parting ways with second-year inside linebacker Deontae Skinner on Tuesday.
The transaction was listed in the NFL’s personnel notice.
The 24-year-old Skinner appeared in seven games (one start) for New England last season, making 16 tackles. The Patriots waived him in late October, and he would finish the season on the practice squad. He was signed to the offseason roster after the Super Bowl.
The Patriots also waived long snapper Tyler Ott on Tuesday, leaving rookie Joe Cardona as the lone snapper on the roster.
The Dolphins waived a pair of second-year reserve cornerbacks who saw action for Miami last season on Tuesday, letting go of Lowell Rose and T.J. Heath, the club said. The Dolphins also waived second-year kicker Zach Hocker.
Rose, 25, played in five games in 2014, with the 27-year-old Heath appearing in two games. The Dolphins drafted a pair of cornerbacks in last week’s draft, selecting Bobby McCain (Memphis) and Tony Lippett (Michigan State) in Round Five. The club also added veteran corner Zack Bowman in April.
The 23-year-old Hocker was a seventh-round pick of Washington in 2014, but he was waived at the end of the preseason.
Including drafted rookies, the Dolphins have 74 players on the roster.
The Chargers have added yet another tight end to their roster, successfully claiming Kyle Miller off waivers from Atlanta, the team said Tuesday.
In a corresponding roster move, the club waived second-year defensive lineman Damik Scafe, who was on San Diego’s injured reserve list last season.
The 27-year-old Miller spent the 2014 campaign on the Falcons’ practice squad. He has also had stints with the Jaguars, Colts and Dolphins. He has played in one regular season game in four NFL seasons, suiting up for Indianapolis in 2012 at New England.
The Seahawks waived five veteran backups on Tuesday, including fullback/linebacker Mike Zimmer, defensive end Julius Warmsley and offensive tackle Justin Renfrow, each of whom had stints on the Seattle practice squad last season.
The transactions were announced in the NFL personnel notice.
Zimmer (6-2, 239) has played offense and defense in his NFL career, with Seattle employing him as a practice squad fullback in the latter stages of the 2014 season. Zimmer is not related to Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer.
Warmsley (6-2, 269) was on the Seahawks’ practice squad from September through November 11, when he was placed on practice squad injured reserve.
Renfrow (6-6, 310) was a defensive lineman at Miami (Fla.).
The Seahawks’ online roster currently lists 91 players, which could mean more transactions may have to occur.
And now they’re up to three.
Not long after announcing deals with fifth-round safety Adrian Amos and sixth-round tackle Tayo Fabuluje, the Bears announced a four-year contract with fourth-round running back Jeremy Langford.
It could be that the Bears already have struck deals with most of their draft picks, and that they’ll be bleeding out the announcements every 30 to 60 minutes, throughout the evening.
Langford was the 106th overall choice in the draft. He scored 22 rushing touchdowns in 2014, and added 1,522 rushing yards.
Last month, a jury in Bristol County, Massachusetts convicted former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez of murdering Odin Lloyd. Later this month, a court in Suffolk County, Massachusetts will move closer toward setting a trial date in connection with the allegation that Hernandez killed two men in Boston, 11 months earlier.
Per multiple reports, a status hearing will be held on May 21 for the murder case arising from the shooting deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu. Hernandez will not be present for the hearing.
Presumably, a trial date will be set at that time. The trial at one point was scheduled to begin in late May. An indefinite postponement occurred, in deference to the trial arising from the Lloyd murder.
Hernandez currently is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, subject to appeal of the verdict. In multiple respects, the second case against him is even stronger.
Even with a new coach and a new General Manger, the Chicago Bears continue to do one of the things that has become their signature in recent years: Sign draft picks earlier than anyone.
The Bears have announced four-year contracts with a pair of rookies selected on Saturday. Fifth-round safety Adrian Amos and sixth-round tackle Tayo Fabuluje are under contract.
The Buccaneers signed quarterback Jameis Winston, the first overall pick in the draft, on Friday. The Bears presumably will continue to sign pick after pick until signing all of their class.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Rams typically wait until the end of the offseason program, signing all rookies in one fell swoop.
Regardless, the 2011 labor deal makes it easier than ever to get these deals negotiated quickly.
The Raiders have let go of a recent draft pick, waiving tight end Nick Kasa with a failed physical designation on Tuesday, per the NFL’s personnel notice.
A sixth-round pick in 2013, Kasa played all 16 games as a rookie, catching a nine-yard TD pass in the season finale. However, he missed the 2014 season with an ACL tear suffered in August.
The transactions leave the Raiders with 76 players on the roster, including the team’s 2015 draft picks.
Paul Cornick will continue playing for John Fox and Adam Gase.
Cornick, an offensive lineman who was waived by the Broncos yesterday, was claimed by the Bears today.
Last year Cornick played in 12 games for the Broncos, starting six. Fox coached the Broncos and Gase was their offensive coordinator last year, and now Fox and Gase have those roles in Chicago.
With the Bears, Cornick likely won’t start but provides depth at offensive tackle.
As Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel tries to put a disastrous rookie season behind him, he’s putting Cleveland in his rear-view mirror. Sort of.
Via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Manziel has moved from an apartment in Downtown Cleveland to a suburban community surrounding a golf course.
The lobby of Manziel’s building was the scene of one of the various Manziel-related incidents in 2014 — a scuffle involving a zealous fan and one of Manziel’s associates.
Per Fowler, Manziel has embraced golf as part of his recovery from issues that landed him in rehab for 10 weeks earlier this year. He continues to have a long way to go to become the starter in Cleveland, but it’s clear that he’s making the changes that could lay the foundation for success.
On Thursday night, the Commissioner wasn’t 31 for 32. He was 30 for 32. Which is a great average when it comes to getting on base safely or putting a basketball through the hoop from a line painted 15 feet away.
It’s not a great average when it comes to properly pronouncing the names of the newest NFL employees.
In addition to pronouncing Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota’s name incorrectly (Marioto), Commissioner Roger Goodell said the name of Colts receiver Phillip Dorsett with the emphasis on the first syllable, a la Tony Dorsett before he made the move from Pitt to the Cowboys.
Mariota said Monday that he received a phone call from the Commissioner with an apology. On Tuesday, Dorsett told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio that he didn’t. Dorsett also said he didn’t mind the incorrect announcement of his name. (Mariota didn’t know his name had been butchered until the apology came.)
Dorsett also said he hadn’t heard from the Colts since the Scouting Combine, making their decision to select him even more of a surprise. To hear everything Dorsett had to say, click here and select the “Big Name Guests” tab.
Terrelle Pryor’s tenure with the Chiefs didn’t last long.
Pryor, the former Raiders starter, was cut by the Chiefs today. He’s been with the Chiefs since January.
The Raiders spent a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft on Pryor after his controversial career at Ohio State was cut short. He showed flashes of talent as the Raiders’ top quarterback for most of the 2013 season, but the team ultimately decided he simply wasn’t a good enough passer to make it as an NFL quarterback. He was traded to the Seahawks last year and then cut by Seattle at the end of the preseason.
Now that Pryor has been cut again by the Chiefs, he may be nearing the end of the run. Although he’s a gifted athlete who can make things happen with the ball in his hands, his chance with the Chiefs could have been his last chance.
In the last three seasons, the 49ers have gone from first to second to third place in the four-team NFC West.
Perhaps, then, it is not a surprise to see San Francisco as the longest shot to win the West in 2015 at one notable Nevada sports book.
As of Tuesday, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists the 49ers as 9-to-1 to capture their division. The Cardinals and Rams are given 13-2 chances to win the NFC West behind Seattle, which is an overwhelming favorite at 2-to-7.
The 49ers’ odds seem to reflect the team’s sharp fade at the end of 2014. The club also took a perception hit after the departure of head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was 49-22-1 in four seasons in San Francisco.
While the 49ers are the biggest price to win the NFC West, they are the shortest-priced longest shots in any division, with the Browns (10-to-1), Bears (12-to-1), Jets (12-to-1), Buccaneers (12-to-1), Washington (15-to-1), Jaguars (20-to-1), Titans (25-to-1) and Raiders (25-to-1) all having higher odds.
Here are the SuperBook’s division-winning odds for all 32 teams:
AFC East: Patriots 4-to-9; Dolphins 4-to-1; Bills 5-to-1; Jets 12-to-1.
AFC North: Ravens 8-to-5; Steelers 2-to-1; Bengals 2-to-1; Browns 10-to-1.
AFC South: Colts 1-to-5; Texans 7-to-2; Jaguars 20-to-1; Titans 25-to-1.
AFC West: Broncos 5-to-12; Chiefs 7-to-2; Chargers 9-to-2; Raiders 25-to-1.
NFC East: Cowboys 13-to-10; Eagles 3-to-2; Giants 3-to-1; Washington 15-to-1.
NFC North: Packers 2-to-7; Lions 9-to-2; Vikings 8-to-1; Bears 12-to-1.
NFC South: Panthers 9-to-5; Saints 9-to-5; Falcons 9-to-5; Buccaneers 12-to-1.
NFC West: Seahawks 2-to-7; Cardinals 13-to-2; Rams 13-to-2; 49ers 9-to-1.