Erik Kuselis talks with Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders about Big Ben’s big return this week, who the fastest receiver in the NFL is, and if Mike Tomlin is as serious in the locker room as he seems to be on the sideline.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Sanders embraces being underrated
The Rams don’t have many offensive weapons. One of the few they have will be sticking around for a while.
PFT has confirmed that receiver Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has agreed to terms on a four-year extension.
It’s a four-year extension, worth $42 million. Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, Austin’s true guarantee if he’s on the roster next March will be $25 million.
He was due to make $2.14 million this year and $12.2 million next year, under the fifth-year first-round option. In all, it’s a six-year deal worth more than $56 million.
The deal also includes an incentive package that will pay Austin significantly more, if/when he generates the kind of numbers over the course of a full season that he has generated in flashes through his first three seasons.
Can he generate big numbers over the course of a full season? If running back Todd Gurley continues to improve and quarterback Jared Goff is the real deal, it will be easier for the Rams to get more out of Austin. At times last year, the offense consisted primarily of pushing the ball forward with Gurley and finding ways to get the ball in Austin’s hands in space with a collection of average-at-best quarterbacks.
Bears backup quarterback Connor Shaw needs surgery after suffering a broken leg in Saturday’s preseason game vs. the Chiefs.
Bears Coach John Fox told reporters the team will know more about the extent of the injury after Shaw has surgery. He was injured when he was hit by Rakeem Nunez-Roches of the Chiefs while making a pass.
The Bears claimed Shaw via waivers earlier this summer — and had company in wanting to secure Shaw’s rights.
Shaw signed with the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2014 and spent the season on the practice squad before being promoted to start the season finale. He spent last season on injured reserve.
Maybe the Patriots will soon be leaking that they’ll be cutting Terrance Knighton, so that they can trade him.
The veteran defensive tackle didn’t play in Friday night’s preseason game against the Panthers. Knighton, who played last year in Washington, didn’t sound happy about the development.
“I prepared myself to play,” Knighton said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I just didn’t play. I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the coaches. I’m 100 percent healthy. I prepared myself to play a lot of football tonight. It didn’t happen. It is what it is. I’m not asking why or anything. I’m just going to show up to work tomorrow and take it a day at a time.”
If Knighton’s name is included in the reduction of the roster from 90 to 75 (on Tuesday) and then to 53 (by next Saturday), he’ll leave with a $250,000 signing bonus and a workout bonus of more than $100,000. He also would be an unrestricted free agent, able to pick his next destination, if he’s cut.
A trade becomes possible because his salary is only $900,000, with a $300,000 incentive package.
“It’s disappointing because I’ve played a lot of ball in this league, seen a lot of things, but I’m not going to make too much of it,” Knighton said. “It is what it is. Whatever happens, happens. If I’m here, I’m here. If I’m not, I’m not. I’m just taking it a day at a time really.”
He’ll only need to take it another seven days or so before knowing his fate with the Patriots.
The Redskins made 10 roster cuts Saturday as they prepare for two mandatory roster cutdowns this week.
Waived by the team were offensive tackles Al Bond and Cody Booth; linebackers Shiro Davis and Ejiro Ederaine; cornerback Jeremy Harris; linebacker Willie Jefferson; running back Kelsey Young and wide receivers Valdez Showers, Dez Stewart and Jarvis Turner.
All were college free agents who had signed with the Redskins over the last two years.
All teams must trim their rosters to 75 by Aug. 30 and to the regular season size of 53 by next weekend.
Jets WR Brandon Marshall says that rookie WR Robbie Anderson “has that wow factor.”
Ravens QB Joe Flacco will play on Saturday for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2015; “I think the big thing about preseason is always getting back out there and getting oiled up and part of that is playing well,” Flacco said. “I think a big part of going into the first game of the season is confidence in what we have and how we’ve done in live games.”
Browns coach Hue Jackson let P Andy Lee hear it for giving a half-hearted effort to make a tackle on a punt return; “We’re out there to play,” Jackson said after the game. “If there’s another guy that has the ball, your job is to go get it.”
Steelers S Shamarko Thomas still talks to Troy Polamalu several times per week; “He is a bigger brother to me,” Thomas said. “A father figure. It is him guiding me and mentoring me. Any question I have he is there for me.”
The Chiefs continue to discuss the possibility of selling the naming rights to Arrowhead Stadium.
Good news? Support for the Chargers stadium bill has increased nine points. Bad news? They’re still 27 points short of the mark.
The Panthers have a fairly long list of banged-up players.
Lost in the redemption of this year’s second-round pick of the Buccaneers is the fact that last year’s first-round pick keeps getting better and better.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians likes having the team’s training camp at its stadium.
The 49ers have traded cornerback Kenneth Acker to the Chiefs in exchange for a future draft pick.
The 49ers’ release on the trade noted that Acker must pass a physical before the trade is finalized. ESPN reported that the pick sent to Kansas City was a seventh-round pick in 2018.
Acker was a sixth-round pick of the 49ers in 2014 and started 13 games last season. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve.
Acker played in 15 games last season and had three interceptions.
The Dolphins have cut 11 players as they move toward the 75-man roster limit.
The biggest name of the bunch is cornerback Brandon Harris, a 2011 second-round pick of the Texans who has had a disappointing NFL career and still has never started a regular-season game.
Players placed on waivers were linebacker Akil Blount, center/guard Ruben Carter, wide receiver A.J. Cruz, long snapper Ryan DiSalvo, wide receiver Matt Hazel, tight end Gabe Hughes, kicker Marshall Koehn, cornerback Al Louis-Jean, guard Vinston Painter and wide receiver Brandon Shippen.
All 32 teams have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to trim their rosters to 75 players.
If Week Three of the preseason is the week that most resembles the regular season, the Bears’ offense is not in good shape. Then again, the Bears’ offense didn’t look good in the first two weeks of the preseason either.
In today’s game against the Chiefs, Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler completed just six of his 15 passes, for 45 yards, and was sacked twice for a loss of 20 yards. The Bears didn’t score a point until third-string quarterback Conor Shaw threw a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.
Today isn’t the first disappointing preseason performance for the Bears’ offense, which was shut out in a 22-0 loss to the Broncos in the first week of the preseason. The Bears looked a little better in the second preseason game, a 23-22 loss to the Patriots.
Cutler and the starters won’t play next week, so their preseason is over. They’ll have to look a lot better in the regular season or else the Bears are headed for a third consecutive last-place finish.
Through three preseason games, Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has passed the eyeball test. The real test comes when opposing defenses have enough evidence to eyeball him.
If starting quarterback Tony Romo will indeed miss 6-10 weeks with a broken bone in his back, Prescott will play enough preseason games to result in the generation of sufficient film to properly break down his game. What does he do well? What does he not do well? What are his tendencies, his tells?
Patriots coach Bill Belichick has mastered the most obvious principle of defensive football: Take away what the other team does well. When opposing defenses figure out what Prescott does well, will he be able to still do those things when the defense is trying to stop him? Will he be able to do things well that he doesn’t like to do?
Usually, it takes 4-6 weeks of games that count to generate enough film to permit astute defensive coordinators to crack the code. The challenge for the Cowboys will be to work diligently to crack the code on their own, anticipating how defenses will adapt to Dak and taking advantage of any ensuing holes in the defense.
Regardless, the injury gives the Cowboys a chance to find out whether Prescott can be the week-in, week-out answer after Romo leaves. If Prescott does well enough, Romo may be leaving before he wants to.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy might be about to drop even more weight.
After being tackled by his dreadlocks last night, Lacy said he’s strongly considering a haircut to keep future defenders from employing the same move.
“I’m debating after that,” Lacy said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I don’t know how many more of those I’d like to experience. We’re in camp. So I’ve got to wait until I get out of camp, and then I’ll assess it.”
While horse-collar tackles from behind have been banned, grabbing ball-carriers by the hair is totally legal. Maybe not kosher, but legal.
Lacy said he hasn’t cut his hair in a year, and hasn’t been tackled by his hair since he was a junior in high school, which was eight seasons ago. So cutting his signature style isn’t something he’d consider lightly, but 49ers linebacker Gerald Hodges yanking him down from behind on a breakaway run was an eye-opener. He said he’d consider getting a haircut during the bye week next month.
“It definitely hurts,” Lacy said. “The first thought in my mind was a word I can’t really say.”
Lacy has responded to the Packers’ fat-shaming him by losing at least 10 pounds and returning to the form he had shown his first two seasons in the league. In the preseason, he has 20 carries for 114 yards, a strong 5.7-yard average.
And that average would have been longer if not for Hodges yanking him down by his hair.
Notwithstanding a report from PFT (those bastards) that quarterback Tony Romo will miss 6-10 weeks with a broken bone in his back, coach Jason Garrett said Saturday that he won’t rule out Romo for Week One.
Regardless of whether Romo could play that soon (and there’s a very, very, very strong chance he won’t be able to), there’s no reason to rule him out now. The injury-reporting rules, as revised, don’t mandate the attachment of any label to Romo until Friday, September 9. Why should Garrett officially declare before then that Romo won’t play?
Four years ago, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was listed as doubtful for Week One at home against the Giants, and Witten played. In Romo’s case, he technically could be listed as doubtful under the new rules (or even questionable, theoretically), which would keep the Giants guessing up until 90 minutes before kickoff.
The injury creates a separate issue for the Cowboys: Who plays in the preseason finale is rookie Dak Prescott will be in line to start Week One? Jameill Showers could handle the entire game, in theory. The better move could be to acquire another quarterback now, in order to get him ready to serve as the No. 2 to Prescott in Week One, if as expected Romo isn’t ready.
If that hit on quarterback Tony Romo’s back looked bad, there’s a good reason for it. It was bad.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Romo is expected to miss 6-10 weeks with a broken bone in his back. The team will be announcing the injury; it’s unclear whether the team will put a duration on the absence.
It means that those Cowboys fans who had been clamoring for the Dak Prescott era to begin sooner than later will be getting their wish. For better or worse.
For Romo, the best-case scenario based on the initial estimate means he’d be back by Week Five at the earliest, for a game against the Bengals. Under the worst case, he’d be back in for Week Nine, versus the Browns. Dallas has a Week Seven bye.
Meanwhile, it may be time to reconsider your vote from Friday’s PFT Planet poll question.
Bears cornerback Tracy Porter exited today’s game against the Chiefs with what appeared to be a head injury.
Porter, the Bears’ most experienced defensive back, was attempting to tackle Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris when he was accidentally kneed in the back of the head by Bears safety Harold Jones-Quartey. Porter stayed on the ground for a few minutes and was attended to by the medical personnel before eventually getting up and slowly walking to the sideline under his own power. He was then escorted to the locker room. The Bears confirmed that he is being evaluated for a possible concussion.
The head injury will likely put Porter in the NFL’s concussion protocol. His preseason was probably over anyway, as starters rarely play in the fourth preseason game, but the Bears will now have to hope he’s cleared in time for the start of the regular season, two weeks from tomorrow.
The 30-year-old Porter is in his second season in Chicago. He started 13 games for the Bears last year.
Twenty years ago, the NBA suspended a player who refused to stand for the national anthem. The NFL will not be doing the same thing.
“Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem,” the NFL said in a statement issued Saturday, in response to the controversy that emerged when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted not to stand during the playing of the national anthem on Friday night in Santa Clara, prior to a game against the Packers.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick has since said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The NBA based its suspension of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf on a rule that requires players to stand during the playing of the national anthem. The NFL has no such rule, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement is silent on the subject.
And so Kaepernick and any other player has the right to not stand during the national anthem. Whether other players will follow Kaepernick’s lead remains to be seen.
The Browns may have “no intent” to trade receiver Josh Gordon, but they reportedly will do so in exchange for a second-round draft pick. That’s precisely what they rejected for him in 2013.
As Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explained two years ago, the Browns turned down during the 2013 season the chance to deal Gordon for a second-round pick. The team (believed at the time to be the 49ers) essentially would have been giving back to the Browns the second-round pick that they used in the 2012 supplemental draft.
Via Cabot, former Browns CEO Joe Banner and former Browns G.M. Mike Lombardi wanted to do the deal, but others (including coach Rob Chudzinski) wanted to keep Gordon.
It was also believed at the time, as PFT consistently has heard, that owner Jimmy Haslam didn’t want to trade Gordon so soon in time after trading running back Trent Richardson to the Colts. Although getting an extra 2014 first-round pick (which eventually was squandered on Johnny Manziel after a trade up to No. 22) ended up being a great move, Browns fans weren’t thrilled with the perception that the team was tanking by trading Richardson. Trading Gordon so soon after that would have only exacerbated the impression that the Browns were giving up on 2013.
In hindsight, they should have taken the second-round pick for Gordon, who missed 11 games in 2014 due to suspensions and then all of 2015. Although his performance on Friday night could increase Gordon’s trade value, it won’t be easy to get a second-round pick now. The real question becomes whether Gordon will do enough when he debuts as of Week Five to finagle a second-round offer for the Browns before the Tuesday after Week Eight.
There’s a chance the price will go up, and it’s clear that the Browns (despite what they say) would like nothing more than to turn current assets into future draft picks, since they surely realize that it makes more sense to build for a brighter future than to tilt at windmills in the present.