It’s a 50-50 shot Dez Bryant will be done for the remainder of the season with a finger injury. The PFT guys discuss his health and the effect his absence will have on the Cowboys’ playoff chances.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Dez done for year?
It was clear from Victor Cruz’s recent remarks about his departure from the Giants that he wasn’t feeling loved by his old team.
His new one made sure he got the message.
During an appearance on ESPN Radio’s Waddle & Silvy show, the veteran wide receiver said he was greeted with open arms by the Bears.
“I just wanted to hear that I can have an opportunity to play,” Cruz said of the free-agent process. “To come and be a direct impact to a football team. And Chicago showed me a lot of love. . . . Everyone was adamant about how they felt I could contribute to the football team and be a factor immediately coming right in. And not just as a player but as someone who’s been around football a long time and can come in and provide an insight to different teams and different nuances of the game.
“And I think Chicago presented the best opportunity for me.”
The Bears certainly present that, as they lack proven options in the passing game after losing Alshon Jeffery to the Eagles in free agency. With former first-rounder Kevin White yet to make an impact, they needed targets for Mike Glennon or Mitchell Trubisky.
“I looked at that receiver room and I saw a lot of young guys and a lot of talent in there as well,” Cruz said. “A lot of guys that can benefit from just having someone like me in the room, to pick my brain and for me to tell them how I think we can get better.”
The 30-year-old Cruz said he has “a lot left in the tank” after seven seasons in New York, two of which were lost to knee and calf injuries. The Giants cut him in a cap-saving move this offseason, and he said yesterday that the team was trying to hold him down last year to make it easier to release him.
The Baltimore Ravens fully understand its May and they don’t need to see anything from Terrell Suggs on the field at this stage of the offseason.
According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, the Ravens are holding the 34-year old linebacker out of the early stages of OTAs.
“He probably could practice but I’m holding him out,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s in here training every single day and doing a great job on the conditioning part of it.”
Suggs sustained a torn biceps last October. Despite the injury, he missed just one game before returning the field and playing the rest of the season for the Ravens. He finished the year with 35 tackles and a team-high eight sacks.
The Ravens will need Suggs ready to go in September. They don’t need to see him on the field in May.
Last year, excessive contact during offseason workouts resulted in the Falcons losing a week of Organized Team Activities. This year, the Falcons left nothing to chance.
G.M. Thomas Dimitroff, appearing on a special 70-minute special edition of PFT Live, explained that he and coach Dan Quinn traveled to the league office to obtain specific guidance regarding the things that can and can’t be done during non-contact practices. The Falcons engaged in a comprehensive review of their offseason workouts with the NFL in order to determine the limits of the process.
For full details, check out the video. For the full, 70-minute interview with Dimitroff download and subscribe to PFT Live in Apple podcasts, audioBoom, and wherever else podcasts are sold. For free.
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One of the biggest draft busts in recent NFL history has seen his career dealt another blow.
Former Browns cornerback Justin Gilbert, the eighth overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft, has been suspended four games, according to Courtney Fallon of NFL Network. There has been no word on the reason for the suspension.
Of course, a suspension only matters if the player has a team to play for, and Gilbert doesn’t. The Browns got rid of Gilbert after only two seasons, and the Steelers cut him this offseason. He’s been unemployed since.
It remains to be seen whether any team will want to pick Gilbert up now, or in the future. It’s possible that this player with Top 10 talent could be done at age 25.
The Seahawks have agreed to a contract with their top pick from this year’s draft.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team has signed defensive lineman Malik McDowell to a four-year deal. The Seahawks traded down three times before eventually selecting McDowell with the 35th overall pick.
McDowell had 24.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks at Michigan State and disrupted offenses on plenty of occasions during his time in East Lansing. There were also periods where McDowell was a non-factor, leading to critiques of his work ethic during the pre-draft process.
The best of McDowell would make him a good fit in the rotation up front for the Seahawks, who also added Nazair Jones to the mix in the third round.
The Jets continued retooling their secondary on Thursday.
The team announced that they have signed defensive back Corey White to their 90-man roster. They waived/injured wide receiver Brisly Estime in a corresponding move.
White has mainly played corner since entering the league as a fifth-round pick of the Saints in 2012. He spent last season with the Bills and had 30 tackles and two interceptions in 15 games with the Jets’ divisional mates. He’s also played with the Cowboys and Cardinals, although his time in Arizona came after Todd Bowles left to become the Jets’ head coach.
The Buccaneers waited a while before signing their draft picks, but they have made quick work of it since getting the ball rolling.
First-round pick O.J. Howard signed his deal on Monday, three more picks agreed to terms on Tuesday and the team announced on Thursday that second-round safety Justin Evans has signed his contract as well. That leaves third-round wide receiver Chris Godwin as the only remaining unsigned pick in Tampa.
Evans started for Texas A&M the last two years and made an impression as a big hitter in the secondary for the Aggies. He also had four interceptions, so could wind up filling different roles for the Bucs depending on who else is on the field with him.
Sonny Randle, one of the best players in the history of the Cardinals franchise and later a college head coach, has died at the age of 81.
A high school track star, Randle enrolled at the University of Virginia with little football experience and wasn’t even on the team as a freshman. But he made the team as a walk-on during his sophomore year and eventually became a star, leading the ACC in catches, receiving yards, kickoff return yards and all-purpose yards in 1958.
The Chicago Cardinals took early notice of Randle’s talent and used a 19th-round draft pick on him in 1958, even though he still had a year of college ahead of him. In those days, a team could draft a player who wasn’t done playing college football and own his rights until he finished his college career, and the Cardinals were happy to wait until he could sign a pro contract in 1959.
In 1960 the Cardinals moved to St. Louis and Randle became one of the top players in the league, leading the NFL with 15 receiving touchdowns and earning first-team All-Pro recognition. He would have three more Pro Bowl seasons for the Cardinals after that, but injuries began to take their toll, and later in his career he bounced around the league in San Francisco, Dallas and Washington without matching the success he had in St. Louis.
Randle was a natural as a coach, starting while he was still an active player and the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team noticed his speed and asked him to give baseball players instructions on sprinting techniques. Cardinals outfielder Lou Brock, who would go on to lead the National League in stolen bases eight times, said Randle helped him become a faster runner.
In retirement Randle became a college football coach and had a great deal of success early on, leading East Carolina to back-to-back Southern Conference championships. That got him hired at his alma mater, Virginia, but he struggled there and was fired after two losing seasons. He eventually got another shot as a head coach, at Marshall, but there were allegations of mistreatment of players, more losing, and he was fired again.
Randle found success later in life as a broadcaster, including working as a color commentator on Marshall games. He worked in broadcasting into his late 70s, retiring in 2014.
Cornerback Josh Norman is heading into his second season in the NFC East and the league office could be busy if it plays out the way he says it will.
Norman will meet up with old antagonists like Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham and the Redskins corner had some choice words for both of them in an interview with Tyler Dunne of Bleacher Report. Norman said Bryant is “just a guy” and that Beckham is “a big kid” who isn’t as tough as he acts.
Those comments are likely to rile the two wideouts and Norman is predicting ugliness when the teams meet on the field later this year.
“Trust me when I tell you, it’s going to be bad blood this year,” Norman said. “You think the NFC East didn’t like each other before? This year right here? There’s going to be a lot of fines and maybe some suspensions. I’m going to be honest with you: This s–t is going to get really ugly. Because I do have a safety that don’t give a f–k and I definitely don’t. And I know they don’t have that many people on the offense who do on their side.”
Norman was more complimentary of Julio Jones and Antonio Brown, but the main thrust of the interview was Norman’s insistence that he won’t be backing down from any fights this year. He said he wants his legacy to be one of a player that went about his business with “violence and ruthlessness,” which should guarantee a continued relationship with the league’s disciplinary office if nothing else.
A report that Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham would take part in Thursday’s Organized Team Activity was proven incorrect when the wideout failed to make the trip from Los Angeles to New Jersey for the voluntary workout.
Beckham wasn’t at any of the team’s first set of OTAs this week and he wouldn’t give an answer to Kim Jones of NFL Media when she asked if he’ll be at any of the remaining seven on the team’s calendar.
“I love my team and am excited about the season,” Beckham said before offering a no comment on his plans for the rest of voluntary work.
Beckham is heading into the final year of his rookie contract — the Giants have exercised their option for 2018, which is guaranteed against injury only — and that’s the first time when players are eligible to sign an extension with the team that drafted them.
Beckham hasn’t said anything publicly about his deal and isn’t required to be at any Giants practices until their mandatory minicamp in June. He told Jones he will be there for those workouts, which may also present an opportunity to hear his thoughts about a new contract.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is denying a report that he and quarterback Russell Wilson aren’t seeing eye to eye, and that the differences between the two are emblematic of the friction between Seattle’s offense and defense.
Sherman told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the story isn’t true.
“It’s just a bunch of nonsense from ‘anonymous’ sources. Can never put much gravity of things like that,” Sherman said.
While it’s true that much of the detail in the ESPN story comes from anonymous sources, it’s a lot of detail from a lot of sources. It’s hard to believe that all of it is false — especially when it comes on the heels of the Seahawks exploring trading Sherman, something they likely wouldn’t be doing if everything in Seattle were going smoothly.
So while Sherman’s denial isn’t surprising, it also won’t be surprising if in the weeks ahead, more reporting focused on the Seahawks confirms that there really is trouble brewing in Seattle.
An effort to end the federal ban on expanded gambling has begun. The NFL, which consistently has fought against the expansion of gambling, has nothing to say about that.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT that the NFL will decline comment on the fledgling effort to end 25 years of federal prohibition against expanded sports betting at the state level. If successful, each and every state would be able to decide on its own whether to embrace sports wagering.
Some believe the league’s decision to let the Raiders move to Las Vegas represents the first step toward an eventual embrace of gambling, along with an effort to find a way to siphon some of the cash that the league traditionally hasn’t been able to directly touch. It’s a long-term play, but it can’t begin until the federal government changes the law.
The Cardinals opened the day with two unsigned members of their 2017 draft class.
Baker is not taking part in the team’s offseason program right now because NFL rules bar him from practicing until the University of Washington ends the school year on June 9. He did get to travel to Arizona to sign his contract, however.
“It’s definitely been difficult being away from the veteran type of guys,” Baker said, via the team’s website. “I feel like I knew this coming into it, and I’m just trying to stay focused and stay with the task at hand. You can just control what you can control and when I am here, just be ready.”
When Baker is able to fully throw himself into life with the Cardinals, he should compete for a role in a secondary that frequently uses three safeties at the same time.
As one media boycott by Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett ends, another one may be beginning.
In response to a detailed article from Seth Wickersham of ESPN The Magazine regarding the depths of the dysfunction in Seattle, Bennett said via Twitter, “This article is trash and should be on TMZ. It’s all gossip. I’m surprised this came from you.”
Bennett posted another message in response to the notion outlined in the article of resentment toward quarterback Russell Wilson: “I love [Wilson] great teammate and friend and even better human. I was at his house last week and he gave me BBQ ribs.”
Neither Wilson nor Richard Sherman, the primary characters from the Wickersham story, have reacted to the article on Twitter.
Despite Bennett’s protests, Wickersham’s article can’t be described as gossip. He has on-the-record quotes from people like former Seahawks running backs coach Sherman Smith, and Wickersham’s track record suggests that the facts attributed to unnamed sources or something other than #fakenews.
Wickersham will get a chance to react to the reaction, and to further discuss his story, when he appears on Friday’s PFT Live at 7:35 a.m. ET.
The Ravens picked up their option on linebacker C.J. Mosley’s contract for the 2018 season, but that wasn’t the only offseason development of note for their 2014 first-round pick.
Coach John Harbaugh revealed on Thursday, via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, that Mosley had shoulder surgery. He has been in the building and taking part in meetings during the offseason program with Harbaugh adding that the team doesn’t have any long-term concerns about his status for the 2017 season.
Ravens guard Marshal Yanda is also recovering from shoulder surgery and has been held out of practices along with linebacker Terrell Suggs, who had biceps surgery. Joining them on the sideline Wednesday was tight end Maxx Williams, who ended last year on injured reserve and had a knee surgery that Harbaugh said no other football player has had before.
Williams, like all the others, is expected to be ready to go in time for training camp.