Jets owner Woody Johnson wants Greg McElroy to start. GM Mike Tannenbaum and OC Tony Sparano want Mark Sanchez to start. But the man that holds the decision, Rex Ryan, still hasn’t made up his mind yet.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Who will Rex start?
With the Sports Authority liquidating and the company’s naming rights deal at Mile High Stadium up in the air, the Broncos are beating the bushes in the event that the balance of the pending contract will have to be sold.
According to Alicia Wallace of the Denver Post, the Broncos are speaking to at least a dozen companies about purchasing the ability to attach their name to the contract.
“We think it’s a great opportunity for a company to partner with us,” Broncos senior vice president of business development Mac Freeman told the Post. “Our brand’s connection to this market is incredibly special. On top of it, this city is in a really special time.”
The current arrangement runs through 2020, but the Broncos would like something longer in duration, if the rights are sold to a new partner. Currently, the Sports Authority agreement brings in roughly $20 million per year in revenue.
In the wake of the new contract signed by Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, plenty of questions have been asked about the ramifications for the team that picked a pair of quarterbacks the same year in which Luck landed in Indy.
With 2012 second overall pick Robert Griffin III long gone and 2012 fourth-round pick Kirk Cousins operating under the franchise tag for 2016, does Luck’s new six-year, $139.125 million deal have any relevance to Cousins? The short answer is no.
Here’s a longer answer, because otherwise this would be a pretty short blurb.
Under the franchise tag, Cousins already has $19.95 million for 2016 in the bank. If Washington tags him again in 2017, he’ll get a 20-percent raise. That pushes the tag to $23.94 million, for a total of $43.89 million over two years. If Washington tags Cousins a third time, his pay for 2018 would increase by 44 percent, to $34.47 million.
In all, that’s a three-year haul of $78.36 million over three years — which is more than the $75 million that Luck will make over the next three years.
Of course, whether Washington would tag Cousins again in 2017 and once again in 2018 remains to be seen; the decisions will be driven in large part by how Cousins performs this year and next year. But if Washington ever would choose not to tag Cousins, who completed 69.8 percent of his passes with 34 total touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2015, he’d hit the open market, and his value would be determined there.
That could result in a significant payday from a team desperate for a potential franchise quarterback, as evidenced by the money that was thrown around early in free agency four months ago for still-unproven players like Brock Osweiler, Olivier Vernon, and Janoris Jenkins.
So Cousins will get $78.36 million over the next three years under the tag or finagle the ultimate wild card of hitting the open market on the first day of free agency, unless Washington gives him a reason to trade in that either/or proposition. Whether Andrew Luck emerged with an average value of $23.18 million or $25 million or $30 million on his new deal, the only question relevant to Cousins is what he will take in exchange for three-years/$78.36 million or a shot at the open market — and what Washington will offer in order to get him to do it.
Jets wide receiver Devin Smith knows he’d have to beat the clock and the odds in his rehab from a major knee injury to avoid PUP and be available for the start of the 2016 season.
So, Smith isn’t putting a date on anything but he is optimistic about his rehab and his chances of helping the Jets this season.
“I feel great with everything I’m doing,” Smith told PFT Friday, after his hometown youth football camp. “I’m starting to run a lot more, doing a lot more cutting and really trying to push. I have a much better idea of what I can do and can’t do right now with my running and my rehab, and that’s a good sign.”
A training camp injury cost Smith, a second-round pick in 2015, valuable time last summer, then he tore his ACL in December. He worked with trainers while his teammates were on the field through the spring, and Jets coach Todd Bowles has said he’s unsure when Smith will be back.
Smith’s answer? As soon as possible.
“Physically, I feel great,” he said. “My weight is up. I feel healthy. The trainers have pushed me in the right direction. The trainers at the Jets have been great. I feel totally comfortable that they’ll have me back when the right time comes. They watch me closely and we have great communication.
“It’s one day at a time. I really do feel better most days than I did the day before, the week before. They haven’t told me much about a timetable because the focus is just on me getting better. I know when camp starts, [how much time] we have, and I’m just glad I’m making the progress I’m making now. Hopefully we keep going in the right direction.”
Smith was college football’s best deep threat in 2014 — and for much of his four-year Ohio State career actually — but he struggled as a rookie with the Jets.
He ended up with nine catches and one touchdown in 10 games. Smith had his battles with drops and with catching on, and he never really seemed comfortable after suffering a punctured lung and broken ribs while making a catch in an early training camp practice last summer.
“Just a freak injury,” he said. “And it set me back from the mental side. I never missed a camp ever. I felt like I was doing great and then I missed a bunch of time. Not only was I in pain and in the hospital, I was just behind. It’s not making an excuse. I had a lot to catch up on, a lot to learn. So this year I’m taking care of the knee and I’m going to be much better knowing how to split my time with the playbook, with my rest, when to be in the trainer’s room and when to put in that extra time in the meeting room.
“For me, I knew I needed to bulk up, put some more mass on my body. And I just had to adjust to the pro game. It’s not just the playbook. One of the biggest things about going from the college game to the pros is taking care of your body. It’s knowing your body, putting the right things in your body, getting your rest but still staying in that playbook.
“It’s the NFL, man. Every year, every guy has a lot to prove. I have a lot to prove. I have to use all these experiences and end up being better.”
Smith will almost certainly begin training camp on PUP. If he starts the regular season on PUP, he’ll miss at least the first six games before he can be activated.
Keo pleaded guilty today to a misdemeanor DUI charge, TMZ reports.
He was sentenced to one year of probation, a suspended license, a $952.50 fine and community service in the form of speaking at eight high schools. If he does all that, the conviction will be expunged from his record.
Keo could now be subject to NFL discipline.
Former Cowboys cornerback C.J. Spillman was sentenced to five years in prison today after a jury found him guilty of sexual assault.
A judge in Fort Worth, Texas, ordered Spillman to be taken into custody immediately after he was sentenced.
A woman accused Spillman of sexually assaulting her in a team hotel used by the Cowboys in Grapevine, Texas, on September 20, 2014. Spillman wasn’t actually charged until June 30, 2015, and played the rest of the 2014 season for the Cowboys.
According to the New York Daily News, Spillman was also accused of attempted rape in December of 2013, when he played for the 49ers. He was not charged in that incident. According to the Star-Telegram, Spillman’s ex-girlfriend, who is the mother of his three children, got a restraining order against him after he pulled a gun on her.
Spillman played six seasons in the NFL, from 2009 to 2014, with the Chargers, 49ers and Cowboys.
On July 1, 2009, the flip was switched on the partnership between NBC and PFT. It wasn’t a purchase; it was a partnership. Seven years to the day later, the partnership remains as strong as ever.
It’s been a great arrangement for PFT, even if my initial reaction when NBC exec Rick Cordella approached me about the possibility was to resist it. I enjoyed PFT’s independence, and I didn’t want to lose that. While the process of becoming mainstream necessarily entails a certain softening of (some) rough edges, PFT has for the most part continued to cover the league in a frank, candid, informative, and hopefully entertaining way.
Our main goal continues to be enhancing the experience of being an NFL fan, giving people accurate information, thought-provoking analysis, and ongoing ideas for improving the game, the league, and everything associated with it.
Some interpret PFT’s periodic criticism of the NFL as a dislike of the NFL. I love the NFL, and I have for more than 40 years. But that doesn’t mean the current stewards of the game get a blank check to do whatever they want without scrutiny. The much-discussed “integrity of the game” hinges more on ensuring true competitive balance among the 32 franchises and less on P.R.-driven investigations and punishments that ignore the broader culture of the sport. Otherwise, teams improperly have their otherwise fair chance at contending taken away from them.
Our content ranges from big-picture issues to relative mundane transactions, and everything in between. It’s a constantly-updated, comprehensive companion for the zealous football fan who cares deeply about the sport and, typically, one specific team in the league (along with a smattering of players on a given fantasy team). We’re going to keep doing it this way indefinitely, and definitely for at least seven more years with NBC.
If you have any ideas or suggestions as to how we can improve or expand what we do, feel free to mention them in the comments. And feel free to keep coming back on a regular basis, because when it comes to all of our content, “free” has been the operative word from November 1, 2001 through July 1, 2009 through today — and hopefully for many years to come.
Now that Las Vegas has the attention of the NFL and the Raiders, the question becomes whether Las Vegas will do enough to turn flirtation into something much more than that.
That question could largely be determined by a special session of the Nevada legislature, which could happen later this summer.
As one source with knowledge of the dynamics in Nevada recently explained it to PFT, Governor Brian Sandoval (who has the authority to call a special session) and other politicians are strongly opposed to the proposed $750 million contribution, wanting that number to be $200 million or more lower than that.
Ultimately, the question becomes how badly Nevada wants an NFL team, and whether it can still lure a team like the Raiders (or the Chargers) with $550 million instead of $750 million in public contributions.
With the Chargers now looking less likely to get a stadium built in San Diego, Nevada has an opportunity to pit the Raiders and Chargers against each other, perhaps luring the Chargers for $550 million in lieu of getting the Raiders for $750 million — or possibly squeezing the Raiders down to $550 million.
The NFL, which usually is the one squeezing multiple potential partners in order to get the best possible deal for the league, won’t be thrilled with being on the inside of the vise. But with little or no public money available in most American cities, Las Vegas should be able to get one team or the other for a lot less than $750 million.
The Chicago Bears have claimed quarterback Connor Shaw via waivers.
It was just a simple Friday transaction — except that the Saints put in a claim on Shaw, too, and apparently thought they had added him. Per Peter Schrager of FOX Sports, the Saints jumped the gun on thinking they’d claimed Shaw and let that info leak.
The Bears, who were a spot ahead of the Saints in the waiver order, got Shaw. In what Schrager called “a clerical error,” the Saints had sent an email about claiming Shaw to the entire league instead of just the NFL personnel department.
As proof that someone told something prematurely, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the Saints had waived tight end Jack Tabb to make room on the roster for Shaw. He later clarified that the Bears actually claimed Shaw.
Well, now Tabb knows he’s the 90th man on the Saints’ offseason roster.
Shaw was waived by the Browns on Thursday. The Browns went through the spring with five quarterbacks, and the new administration chose to move on from the former undrafted free agent brought in by the previous regime.
Shaw played in one game during his time with the Browns, the 2014 season finale. He performed well given the circumstances; he’d spent the first 16 weeks of his rookie season on the practice squad as the Brian Hoyer–Johnny Manziel saga drug on. Now Shaw is reunited with Hoyer in the Bears’ quarterbacks room.
A preseason thumb injury forced Shaw to spend all of last season on injured-reserve.
It’s July 1, which means that supplemental draft fever is rising across this great land of ours.
The big day for players who have had a change of circumstance in their collegiate careers since the early-entry deadline for the NFL draft is July 14 and six players are eligible to be selected. That group includes Purdue defensive lineman Ra’Zahn Howard, whose presence in the draft pool was reported last month.
Per NFL Media, Ole Miss cornerback Tee Shepard is also eligible after leaving the team last season. Shepard has a hearing loss and took issue with the way the school’s coaching staff pointed to that publicly as the reason for struggles on the field without talking to him first.
Virginia Tech long snapper Eddie D’Antuono, Sam Houston State running back Jalen Overstreet, University of Calgary wide receiver Rashaun Simonise and Concordia defensive end Cameron Walton are the others eligible for the supplemental draft. If a team should pick any of the six, they’ll forfeit their pick in the same round during the 2017 draft.
The NFL had shifted the Friday-afternoon-before-three-day-July-4th-weekend bad news dump to Thursday. But apparently there was more bad news than one afternoon could hold.
The league has announced that Ravens tight end/receiver Darren Waller has been suspended the first four games of the season for violating the substance-abuse policy.
Waller had two catches for 18 yards last season, in six games.
The bigger question is whether Waller is the first suspension to be announced on Friday afternoon, or the last.
The immediate reaction to the news that Commissioner Roger Goodell’s compensation for 2015 dipped by seven percent to $31.74 million was obvious: Goodell took a hit, but not a huge one, in the first full year after the Ray Rice mess of September 2014.
But 2015 also was the year of #Deflategate, and Goodell’s pay shows that one of the three men who determine what Goodell gets — Patriots owner Robert Kraft — wasn’t all that miffed at Goodell over a scandal that made Kraft as made at the league office as he ever has been.
Meanwhile, and as reported by Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, NFL general counsel Jeff Pash saw his total pay for 2015 drop 13 percent, to $6.5 million. It’s widely believed that Kraft and the Patriots emerged from #Deflategate with very strong feelings regarding Pash’s role in the investigation and ultimate conclusions.
Plenty of people would gladly take far less money to have their bosses far more upset with them. Moving forward, no one will know how much Goodell or Pash or anyone else at 345 Park Avenue is making, regardless of how happy or otherwise the folks who determine how much they make may be.
The Chiefs already plan to horn in on St. Louis turf vacated by the Rams. The Bears will be trying to invade the city that lost its second NFL team since 1987, too.
Via Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KTVI will televise Chicago Bears preseason games. Previously, KTVI carried Rams exhibitions games.
KMOV in St. Louis will show Chiefs games, giving folks in St. Louis twice the inventory of preseason games to enjoy. And one of those Kansas City games features a matchup against the Rams in Los Angeles.
Caesar also points out that folks in St. Louis will get extra regular-season games on local TV, due to the quirky rules that apply when a city’s team is playing at home.
None of it will matter if St. Louis eventually lures another team to town. After the Cardinals left in the 1980s, the Rams arrived in 1995.
Former Seahawks, Vikings and Bills quarterback Tarvaris Jackson made more than $12 million in his NFL career, but now he says he’s so broke that he can’t even afford a lawyer to defend him against charges that he threatened to kill his wife.
Jackson requested a public defender because he can’t afford an attorney, TMZ reports.
In court documents, Jackson says he has no income, savings or investments. His only asset is a car worth $100,000.
The judge overseeing Jackson’s case denied the request for the public defender, perhaps reasoning that after he made $1.5 million with the Seahawks last year and found a way to buy that car, Jackson can find a way to pay a lawyer, too.
The 33-year-old Jackson was a second-round draft pick of the Vikins in 2006 and has been in the NFL since. He is not currently under contract, and given the legal issues hanging over his head, his NFL career is probably over.
A fuller police report from the night that Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib was shot in the right leg has been made available, but it doesn’t offer much new insight into what led to Talib’s wound.
There were reports at the time that Talib told police that he didn’t know who shot him as well as reports that he accidentally shot himself, although the Dallas police said they were investigating it as an aggravated assault. The report, obtained by Ian Rapoport of NFL Media and Lindsay Jones of USA Today, confirms that Talib said he didn’t know who shot him and that an “unknown suspect” shot Talib.
The police report quotes a witness that was part of a group of people in a park and heard a single gunshot followed by seeing Talib lying on the ground. The report also says police found a gram of marijuana, but makes no mention of who it belonged to.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told Jones that the NFL is continuing an investigation into what happened and the Dallas police consider it an open investigation as well.
Talib is expected to make a full recovery in time for the regular season.
When last we heard from Raiders owner Mark Davis, he reiterated that he is serious about moving the team to Las Vegas if the city can put together a plan to build a new stadium.
Nothing has changed on that front in the last few weeks. Las Vegas Sands senior vice president Ron Reese said that Davis has been to the city “a half-dozen times” in the last couple of months and that his company is continuing to work on putting together that stadium plan.
“It’s a major investment,” Reese said, via USA Today. “The NFL has expressed a strong desire for a public-private partnership. Our organization is taking the lead, working with the Raiders to create public-private support for this.”
The question of the public end of that partnership remains unanswered. There have been proposals calling for contributions of $500 or $750 million raised from hotel room taxes. In the meantime, work is being done to settle on a site for the stadium in Las Vegas.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week that four sites are under consideration by the Raiders, the Sands and Majestic Realty, which comprise the private half of the partnership.
“We’re much further along in looking at sites than people realize,” Las Vegas Sands exec Andy Abboud said. “We want to be somewhere along the resort corridor along the Las Vegas Strip. I think we can get that resolved by the end of July. We may go forward after July with two potential sites and determine the best one.”
Oakland is still pushing for a plan that could keep the Raiders from moving, although the prospect of the Raiders landing in Vegas may have become more likely this offseason.