Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune joins Mike Florio to discuss the latest news coming out of New Orleans. What exactly does Paul Tagliabue’s ruling mean for the players? What does it mean for the coaches? How difficult was Tagliabue’s decision? Did he undermine Roger Goodell’s power as commissioner?
PFT Live: Where do Saints players go from here?
While it’s unclear whether it’s happening at the behest of the team or the player, Chargers rookie linebacker Manti Te’o has escaped, to date, the reach of the media assembled at the team’s offseason workouts.
Yes, the guy who sat with Jeremy Schaap and Katie Couric in the immediate aftermath of the fake-dead-girlfriend-who-turned-out-to-be-a-dude scandal in January has been ducking the media, now that he’s in the NFL and the Lennay Kukua debacle has faded considerably from view.
Matt Calkins of U-T San Diego addresses the situation, arguing that Te’o should deal with the media sooner rather than later. And Calkins is right. The interactions can be delayed, but they can’t be prevented.
Te’o has been made available to the press once, after the team’s initial rookie minicamp workout earlier this month. Since then, reporters have had no access to Te’o.
Talking to the media goes with the territory. The league wants teams and players to cooperate with the media because media coverage creates the best kind of marketing — organic and free. And the money Manti will make under his rookie deal comes in large part from the machine into which the media helps shovel coal.
If Te’o has gotten to the point where he can show up at the party commemorating a list of the world’s 100 hottest women that includes Kukua, Te’o can handle the media.
Even if he can’t, he’ll have to. Like it or not, it’s part of the price of playing pro football.
The first rookie drafted this year by the Jets was also the first rookie drafted by the Jets to hire a new agent.
Cornerback Dee Milliner, who fired Tony Fleming and Mitch Frankel last week, has hired Pat Dye and Bill Johnson, per multiple reports. The move comes at a time when quarterback Geno Smith has gone nearly three weeks without hiring a new agent.
It was believed that Milliner would hire Dye from the moment the ninth overall pick in the draft moved on from Fleming and Frankel.
Per at least one report, Milliner made the move because he wasn’t taken in the top five. A source with knowledge of the situation has told PFT that Milliner’s draft position was not the reason for the change.
It shouldn’t have been. Unlike Smith, whom at least one reporter declared to be a top-five lock in the days prior to the draft, Milliner didn’t plunge to No. 39. Instead, Milliner went in the top 10.
Given the rookie wage scale, the financial difference between No. 5 and No. 9 isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Moreover, if Milliner ends up being a great player, he’ll have more off-field earning opportunities in New York.
With a fourth arm surgery looming on Monday, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski made the decision that millions have made when choosing their pre-surgical activities.
Gronk decided not to go to Las Vegas.
Originally, he was going, on what a jet-sharing service that will get no more free publicity here called via mass emails sent Friday afternoon a “once in a lifetime opportunity to spend time with a living Patriots legend,” with four seats in the cabin of a private jet.
The jet-sharing service that will get no more free publicity here tweeted that Gronkowski canceled the trip. It’s the second smartest thing Gronkowski has done during his three years in the NFL, behind his sell-high-in-hindsight decision to sign a long-term deal after only two NFL seasons.
Gronkowski will undergo forearm surgery on Monday, and it’s regarded as probable that back surgery will occur three or four weeks from now. So there’s still time for a another pre-op jaunt to Sin City.
Regarded as this year’s possible small-school sleeper, running back Miguel Maysonet won’t end up being a steal for the Eagles.
We’ve confirmed that the Eagles will waive Maysonet, a standout at Stony Brook who signed with Philly as an undrafted free agent.
The move has sparked speculation of a possible disconnect between coach Chip Kelly and G.M. Howie Roseman, given that it’s believed Maysonet received a five-figure signing bonus to pick the Eagles. While arguably premature, there’s even more reason to keep an eye on how the Kelly-Roseman relationship unfolds.
The move also underscores the importance of offseason workouts. Despite reduced physicality and intensity under the 2011 CBA, the things a player does or doesn’t do in the early days of OTAs can prompt a coach to pull the plug on a player who presumed he’d at least get a chance to prove himself during training camp and the preseason.
For Maysonet, if it happens, it’ll happen somewhere else.
The Vikings’ attempt to re-sign cornerback Antoine Winfield to a more cap-friendly contract failed when Winfield went to Seattle, but one of the cornerbacks who remains in Minnesota doesn’t think the team will miss him too much.
“I definitely don’t see that being the case this year. We’ve got a lot of young, hungry guys. We put in a lot of extra time and we communicate very well and we spend a lot of time together bonding,” cornerback Chris Cook said, via Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com. ”I don’t think we’ll be what people think we’ll be. I think we’ll be probably, most definitely a top secondary this year.”
It’s shaping up to be a big season for Cook. The former second-round pick has shown talent over the years, but he’s only played in 22 games over his first three seasons because of injuries and a suspension in 2011 after a domestic violence arrest. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, Cook has plenty of motivation to both play well and stay on the field. The Vikings’ chances of having a top secondary will be much better if the man making the prediction can do those two things.
With Xavier Rhodes coming to the team in the first round last month, the Vikings now have a pair of big corners to throw out against the likes of Calvin Johnson and Brandon Marshall in the NFC North. That’s brought with it talk of increased press coverage, which would give Cook plenty of chances to show he can lead the kind of secondary he thinks the Vikings have in 2013.
The Mt. Rushmore nomination process migrates to the AFC West, and starts with the two-time defending division champs in Denver.
Nominate your favorite all-time Broncos for the list of 10-12 finalists, from which four will eventually be culled.
John Elway, check.
After that, it’s not so easy. Rod Smith, Floyd Little. Terrell Davis, Shannon Sharpe. Randy Gradishar. Steve Atwater. Champ Bailey. Pat Bowlen.
For now, just make your nominations. The hard part for the Broncos (and plenty of other multiple Super Bowl-winning teams) comes later.
One of the Bills’ two second-round picks, Woods joins a receiving corps that has a clear go-to target in Stevie Johnson. Woods, Marquise Goodwin and T.J. Graham are among the contenders for playing time opposite of Johnson.
The 21-year-old Woods was exceptionally productive at Southern Cal, catching 252 passes for 2,930 yards and 32 touchdowns in three seasons. He declared for the draft with one season of eligibility left.
According to Walker, Woods is expected to sign the deal in the coming days.
On Friday morning, we reported that Peyton Manning’s supposedly “renegotiated” contract resulted in no actual renegotiation. The deal merely was tweaked to reflect that the Broncos had purchased $10 million of insurance, aimed at protecting the Broncos against the possibility of paying Manning $20 million in 2014 for not playing due to a non-neck injury suffered in 2013.
A source with knowledge of the situation has reiterated to PFT that, despite reports elsewhere to the contrary, the deal did not change. However, the NFL’s interpretation of it did.
Manning’s original deal contains a $5 million salary advance of 2013 pay and a $5 million salary advance for 2014 compensation. The league initially didn’t treat the advances as signing bonuses, which gets prorated.
The new deal, which didn’t change the payments or the structure of the deal, prompted the NFL to treat the payments differently. As a result, the league has applied the $10 million in salary advances in $2.5 million equal chunks over the final four years of the contract. The cap numbers for 2013 and 2014 have dropped from $20 million to $17.5 million, and the cap numbers for 2015 and 2016 have jumped from $19 million to $21.5 million.
To illustrate the league’s adjusted valuation of the deal, Manning’s initial contract included a $6 million salary advance in 2012, but the NFL didn’t spread that amount over the five years of the contract when the deal was processed. Instead, the salary advance was included within the $18 million base salary/cap number for 2012.
So the deal in no way changed. But the league’s new treatment of it gives the Broncos some unexpected cap relief in 2013 and 2014.
Texans linebacker Brooks Reed is “100 percent” after January groin surgery and was able to work out ahead of the beginning of the club’s organized team practice activities, Reed told Dave Zangaro of CSNHouston on Sunday.
Reed told CSNHouston.com he has been lifting weights and running in the last three weeks.
“It shouldn’t be anything to worry about,” Reed said. “It happened in the past and got over it. Worked hard rehabbing it so we’re at 100 percent right now and looking to improve during OTAs.”
That Reed had some sort of surgery came to light recently when Wade Phillips disclosed it during an interview with 610 AM in Houston. However, we didn’t know the nature of the procedure.
Now we do. And as Reed tells it, all is well as the Texans prepare to begin OTAs Monday.
Geno Smith is learning, and in a hurry.
And that has only partially to do with football, but everything to do with how he deals with the attention he’s going to be getting as a Jets quarterback.
Smith said reports about his immature behavior before and after the draft were “inaccurate,” during an interview with Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
“It’s just eye-opening. It allows you to see exactly what business you’re in,” Smith said. “I understand it’s part of my job to handle that. I’m going to take it in stride and do all the things that are necessary to make me and my team look good.”
Good luck with that.
From reports about his draft weekend travel plans, to the criticism he’s taken for switching agents, Smith thinks he’s been unfairly portrayed.
“From the standpoint of me being a diva, you talk to my teammates and coaches from Little League. Nobody will say that,” Smith said. “From the standpoint that I switched agents because of where I fell in the draft, I’m not naive. I understand an agent can’t get you selected higher or lower. It’s based on what teams need and the decisions they make in the front office.
“Just the whole draft experience and everything that went down, I was supposed to be leaving the draft and all that stuff, that was inaccurate again. There were a lot of things that were said that were anonymous and inaccurate. But all that comes with [the territory]. I’m built for it, so I’m not really worried about it.”
Given the Jets’ recent dysfunction, he has an opportunity to not only win a starting job, but to make himself look good in the process simply by being the new guy. He’s prematurely predicted playoffs, but he’s never butt fumbled, which gets him off to a good start.
But to succeed, he’s going to have to prove he can handle both responsibility and criticism, because both are coming.
On Monday, the Broncos will practice for the first time as a team since capping a stellar regular season with an epic postseason collapse, thanks to a 70-yard touchdown pass that allowed the Ravens to force overtime.
The throw from Joe Flacco landed in the hands of Jacoby Jones because Denver safety Rahim Moore jumped too soon and flailed clumsily at the ball. After, of course, Moore allowed Jones to run right past the safety.
But the Broncos are still sticking with Moore. From coaches to players, Moore has been absolved of responsibility.
“I think he’s over it; I think we’re all over it, you know,” Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio told the Associated Press. “I think we all look back and see things that we could have done better.”
Linebacker Von Miller take responsibility for not getting to Flacco before he could launch the desperation pass.
“Rahim made a few key tackles that day. He was all over the place. It was just a football folly,” Miller said. “I don’t blame Rahim. I blame me and Elvis [Dumervil]: 70 yards to go, we know they’re going to pass the ball. That’s why they bring me and Elvis to close the game out and neither of us got to the quarterback. I took it hard.”
Coach John Fox and executive V.P. of football operations John Elway both believe that Moore’s better days are in front of him.
“Rahim’s focus is on getting better from a year ago,” Fox said. “And there wasn’t one play. It was a whole season. He made great, great progress a year ago from his rookie year and we anticipate him to do that again. He’s a very talented young man.”
“[H]e made tremendous strides from Year One to Year Two,” executive V.P. of football operations John Elway said. “And I think hopefully he makes those same strides. He really had a good year last year and we want to watch him to continue to grow. Safety-wise, we feel pretty good.”
But not good enough to resist kicking the tires of Charles Woodson.
While there’s no reason for the Broncos to bail on a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Moore’s ability to forget after having months to stew will be critical to whether he can continue to play at a high level — and to keep getting better.
If he does, last year’s gaffe will become a distant memory. A very bad, awful memory, but distant nonetheless.
In news that will no doubt please NFL fans eager for the regular season to just get here already, the vast majority of teams will be holding on-field workouts this week.
The 29 teams slated to conduct organized team practice activities (OTAs) are the Bears, Bengals, Bills, Broncos, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Cowboys, Dolphins, Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Jaguars, Jets, Lions, Packers, Panthers, Patriots, Raiders, Rams, Ravens, Redskins, Saints, Seahawks, Steelers and Texans.
Only the Falcons, Titans and Vikings do not have any official voluntary workouts scheduled for this week. Those three teams will all conduct OTAs in the week after Memorial Day, however.
Here’s a primer on OTA rules for those needing to polish up on the guidelines that teams must follow during these workouts. Also, for specific workout dates for all 32 teams, check out PFT’s offseason workout schedule.
This means that Woodson would be interested in playing for the Lions, if the Lions are interested in paying him what he wants.
“If I make it out of my visit with Oakland, like I just made it out of the visit with Denver, then I’m open,” Woodson recently said, via Angeliqu S. Chengelis of the Detroit News. “Here’s the thing about the Lions, the Lions have players. What the Lions haven’t been able to do is put it together. That winning attitude and to be able to start those winning ways, it has to start somewhere. So, would I be open? Sure.”
Woodson has returned to Michigan for a weekend fundraiser at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, to which Woodson contributed $2 million in 2009.
That number could be the operative number this time around. We could see a team being willing to pay Woodson $2 million for a one-year deal, but Woodson wanting more than that.
There’s no reason for Woodson to accept a lowball offer in May. If he’s going to eventually settle for whatever he can get, he may as well wait until after training camp to take it.
Woodson was cut earlier this year by the Packers, who have shown no interest in bringing him back at a reduced salary. The 49ers hosted him in March, but barring injury will be out of the mix given the arrival of Craig Dahl via free agency and the drafting of Eric Reid in round one.
The Broncos and Raiders currently are the primary candidates to land him, with the Giants reportedly having some interest.
As Dwight Freeney recently learned, all it takes is one injury to push the market to a level where it currently isn’t. That’s the risk any team pursuing Woodson currently is taking by not closing the deal.
The pages of PFT are filled with all kinds of stories and far too many of them are about football players and/or teams behaving badly.
So it’s nice when we get a chance to feature the other side of things. One such opportunity presented itself Saturday when the Patriots went to Newtown, Connecticut to hold a football clinic for hundreds of kids between the ages of 6 and 14. Patriots owner Robert Kraft owns a company in Newtown, which was the site of the horrific murders of 20 children and six adults last December.
“As a part of the New England community, I think all of us were devastated when we saw what happened here and if it can happen in the town of Newtown, it could happen in any city or town in America,” Kraft said.
Around 30 current and former Patriots players, coaches and cheerleaders took part in the clinic, which saw more than 500 participants pre-register and more register on the day of the event. The Connecticut Post reports that Kraft got involved as well, playing cornerback against a youngster trying to catch a pass from tight end Rob Gronkowski and drawing calls for a pass interference flag when the receiver tripped over Kraft’s feet.
“Out of bad things, good things can happen, and the good here is to see the resilience and the mental toughness and support this community gave to one another,” Kraft said. ”We saw it in Boston right after the horrible events on Patriots’ Day, the same way the community came together.”
One name on PFT’s All-Unemployed Team sticks out like a sore thumb:
With Dwight Freeney joining San Diego on Saturday, Abraham is the best pass rusher left on the market. His primary skill is a valuable one, and I would suspect someone is going to ante up to get him in the fold. The 35-year-old Abraham wants to be a full-time starter, which is the big hang-up keeping a player who had 10 sacks in 2012 from landing a new gig.
However, Abraham’s leverage is not hurt with organized team practice activities (OTAs) getting into full swing around the league. Perhaps a team doesn’t like what it is seeing from its defensive ends in workouts, or perhaps an injury occurs. Melvin Ingram’s torn ACL early in OTAs suddenly put the Chargers in real need of pass-rush help.
Enter Freeney, and exit one of the best players left in free agency.
Now we wait to see what happens with Abraham. Similarly, it will be interesting to see where another solid veteran defensive end, Israel Idonije, lands. Idonije, who recorded 7.5 sacks for the Bears in 2012, is a recent addition to the All-Unemployed Team. Another new member is Bradie James, who notched 77 tackles for Houston last season. He replaces Karlos Dansby, who signed with Arizona.
Finally, the special teams portion of the All-Unemployed lineup has a new look with punter Chris Kluwe and returner Josh Cribbs moving on to Oakland. Mat McBriar, last of Philadelphia, takes over for Kluwe, while Stefan Logan replaces Cribbs. Logan most recently played for Detroit.
We will continue to update the team as needed. And with so much activity this week, another departure or two wouldn’t be surprising.
Then again, we’re almost two-thirds through spring and John Abraham is still unsigned. And we didn’t see that coming.