Mike Florio takes call and tweets from PFT Planet who want to know if Mike Shanahan should rest Robert Griffin III after suffering a Grade 1 knee strain. Fans also want to know if the Chiefs have interest in signing Michael Vick or Alex Smith this off-season and if the Bills would be better off drafting a QB instead of combing the free agent market.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Shanahan to give RGIII a break?
Khalif Barnes keeps showing up on the Saints’ transaction wire, but he also keeps returning. The Saints have listed the veteran offensive lineman in their transactions 11 times the past 10 months.
“It was unfamiliar territory, but, as crazy as it sounds, I knew they weren’t really letting me go,” Barnes said, via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Time-Picayune. “It was just their demeanor and how they would do it.
“It was a weird sense of loyalty on both sides.”
Barnes, a second-round pick of the Jaguars in 2005, played four seasons in Jacksonville and seven in Oakland with 117 career starts. He spent a few days with the Saints last season but never played. Barnes went from 358 pounds when he tried out for the Saints last August to 315 pounds for a tryout at the Saints’ rookie minicamp last month.
It was Barnes’ first rookie minicamp since 2005.
Barnes, 35, will compete to fill in for left tackle Terron Armstead, who is expected to miss at least the first six games of the regular season after shoulder surgery. For Barnes, just making the active roster will prove an accomplishment after seeing his name on the waiver wire so many times.
Former Ravens first-round pick Matt Elam was arrested twice this offseason, but he is no longer facing criminal charges in either of those matters.
According to multiple reports, authorities in Florida have dropped drug charges against Elam related to a February arrest. Theft and battery charges stemming from a May incident were dropped last week.
Elam was arrested in Miami-Dade County after a traffic stop on February 26. He was charged with marijuana possession, possession with the intent to sell or deliver and possession of a controlled substance after police found marijuana and oxycodone in the vehicle.
Elam played safety for the Ravens for the last four years, but the team did not pick up their option on his contract for the 2017 season. He became a free agent in March as a result and has not drawn any reported interest, although that could potentially change now that Elam is no longer facing charges.
Jameill Showers still is most well known for being the quarterback Johnny Manziel beat out for the starting job at Texas A&M. Yet, while Manziel is out the NFL, Showers still has a job, albeit at a different position.
Showers will try to make the Cowboys’ active roster at safety after making the move to defense during the 2016 season.
“That was the talk that me and coach [Jason] Garrett had in October whenever he first asked me to move was, we want you to focus on safety because you do well there, and it’ll give you a chance to move up on special teams,” Showers said. “He was like, ‘We don’t want to put you in a position where you’re a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none situation.’ I definitely respect it, and I’m trying to work hard for it.
“I’m excited about it. I think it’ll give me more opportunities to play, especially special teams, things like that. I think it just kind of puts more on my resume as far as a football player, even if things don’t work out here or wherever. Or even if they do, I’ll have more that I can do. That’s what I heard is the more you can do, the longer you stay type of deal.”
Showers spent two seasons on the practice squad, playing multiple positions, including quarterback. He had not played safety since he was a freshman in high school when the Cowboys approached him in the middle of last season about converting to defense full time.
Showers has found the hardest part of the change is not being able “to eat like a quarterback anymore.” He weighed 230 pounds as a quarterback. He needs to get down to 215 to play safety with still a few more pounds to lose.
“I’m really happy with what Showers has done,” Cowboys secondary coach Joe Baker said. “He’s turned his body from a quarterback body into a defensive back body, which looks a lot different. You can tell he looks slimmer. He’s moving a lot better. The whole athleticism part of it is so much different at that position, and so I’m really proud of how he’s worked. He’s still got a ways to go, but movement-wise in terms of his backpedaling, changing direction, all those things we do as defensive backs, he’s really doing a nice job.”
The Cowboys lost two safeties in free agency, with Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox departing. That gives Showers a better chance to make the active roster than what he otherwise would have had, but he still faces an uphill battle with far less experience than his competition.
So while I’m on vacation from PFT Live, I’m not really on vacation. On most weekdays, I’ll post a podcast-only edition of PFT Live.
Monday’s 45-minute, fast-paced tour of the NFL is available now.
If you like it, subscribe to it. Tomorrow, you’ll have another one locked and loaded, typically by lunch time.
Now back to my vacation. Which is basically my usual day-in, day-in existence.
The goal is to induce envy; I think the emotion you’re actually feeling is pity.
The Jets currently aren’t good. And they seem to be embracing the opportunity to be as bad as they possibly could be. And their season-ticket holders don’t seem to have a problem with that.
As explained by Brian Costello the New York Post, a survey of Jets season-ticket holders shows that they have no objection to the team’s apparent tanking.
Question: “What do you think of the Jets’ current plan to get rid of older, expensive players and sacrifice the 2017 season in order to get a high pick in 2018?” Of the 110 who responded, 79 percent approved of the approach. Still, 80 percent of those who responded will still root for the Jets to win.
But that’s not because of the current owner. Fifty-six percent of the season-ticket holders said they don’t approve of the job Woody Johnson is doing. For them, the good news is that his brother, Christopher Wold Johnson, will eventually be doing that job, once Woody becomes the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom.
Some think that could be better for the Jets, putting someone/anyone else in charge of what could be a long-overdue turnaround of the franchise.
Sometimes, Gronk being Gronk isn’t suitable for television.
Via the Boston Globe, last week’s roast of former Red Sox star David Ortiz ended up not being shown on NESN over the weekend due to concerns about the over-the-top nature of many of the jokes. Some of those were told by, or referred to, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Others referred to former (and now deceased) Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
“Anthony [Mackie] played Falcon in Captain America: Civil War. Anthony, you were terrible, dog. It was the worst I’ve seen a Falcon look since the second half of Super Bowl LI,” said Gronkowski regarding the game in which he was unable to participate due to injury. “I don’t even need to play the f–king game, and I’m still going to the Hall of Fame! And that superhero, you know, that Falcon, the superhero. That’s the black guy. You know, who can even fly when he’s not being chased by the cops? That’s his super power.”
That wasn’t the only potentially offensive joke Gronkowski told: “You wanna know why Jews do play football? To get their quarter back, you cheap f–k.”
And then there was this one, possibly from the Christmas album and apparently in reference to Ortiz’s reputation for showing up late to his endorsement appointments: “David, thanks for showing up on time to all the Dunkin Donuts shoots. I had a blast jackin’ off for two hours in your green room every time. Hopefully you never use those pillows on your breaks.”
Hopefully, Gronk will never do standup comedy again.
The Rams are trying to sell fewer tickets this year. And the plan does not include simply showing highlights of the 2016 Rams.
According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Orange County Register, the Rams are trying to cap ticket sales in the 70,000 per game range, to alleviate crowding at concession stands and in parking lots.
The Rams sold more than 70,000 season tickets last year, and made 80,000 or more tickets available to games last year. That’s far from capacity at the Coliseum (93,607), but the Rams heard from their customers that the “fan experience” was compromised by the sheer amount of people.
“The environment in the building was spectacular,”Rams vice president of ticket sales Jake Bye said. “But what we learned was that the tradeoff at times came in ways that sometimes compromised the fan experience. The ability to purchase concessions in a quick orderly manner. Or the challenge of parking around the building, which was strained by putting that many people in the building.
“Now that we have a year’s worth of research in that building and seeing how NFL fans behave and when they arrive and what gates they are going through and what items they are buying at concessions stands, we can really take all that information and be so much smarter in how we approach the building and delivering the best experience in year two compared to year one.”
The Rams drew more than 80,000 for five games, and more than 90,000 for the opener. And they’re keeping the option to sell more tickets for certain opponents (i.e. the ones people want to see).
But trying to rein in the number of tickets available should help keep the supply and demand in control, and also give them a chance to head off talk that a potentially bad product simply isn’t going to bring fans in the gate, since it’s not new and shiny anymore.
The Buccaneers will no longer be a slave to the elements.
According to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, the Bucs are making progress on the construction of their new indoor facility, which is scheduled to open by the start of the regular season.
In recent years, they’ve had to use the nearby indoor baseball stadium, and they used to use a parking garage during their Super Bowl season. But through the years, the unpredictable Florida weather has long been an issue for them, which is why their owners decided to spend $20 million of their own money on the new facility.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has coached in plenty of hot places (Arizona State, Atlanta, Jacksonville), and believes the new building should help his team last.
“And one thing that’s become very apparent, I’ve heard other coaches who coach in the south and the Southeast talk about it, is over the course of a season, the heat does take a toll on your players,” Koetter said. “It takes the elements out. Also, it can help you manage the heat. It gives you a sterile environment when you bring guys in to work out. It gives you a turf field. It’s something that I’ve pushed for. I thank the Glazer family for making it happen.”
The facility will also include 3,500 bleacher seats, which they’ll use during training camp.
More will be known about the fate of Vikings receiver Michael Floyd when we returns to court at 4:30 p.m. ET regarding allegations that he violated the terms of his house arrest. For now, it’s clear that the prosecution is not inclined to cut him any slack.
“He’s in violation and should serve the rest of his jail time,” Caron Close told Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
Floyd received a 120-day jail term after pleading guilty to extreme DUI in Arizona. He served 24 days in custody, and he then was permitted to finish the time on house arrest. Presumably, the prosecutor will be taking the position that the full 96 days that Floyd was due to serve on house arrest should now be spent behind bars.
If that happens, Floyd would unavailable for all of training camp, the preseason, and into the regular season. Though he currently faces a minimum suspension of two games for the DUI guilty plea, he otherwise would be permitted to participate in practices and preseason games.
Floyd admits that he tested positive for alcohol; he claims that he had been drinking kombucha tea, and that he didn’t know it contains alcohol. His BAC was measured at 0.055 percent, which means that it contained a lot of alcohol or that he drank a lot of it.
The Eagles hired Mike Groh as their wide receivers coach this offseason, which set Groh up for a reunion when the Eagles signed wide receiver Alshon Jeffery to a one-year contract as a free agent in March.
Groh was Jeffery’s position coach with the Bears from 2013-15 and Jeffery turned in his two best NFL seasons in the first two years of Groh’s tenure in Chicago. During a recent discussion of Jeffery’s work this offseason, Groh said that the wideout looked the best he has since their first season working together.
“He and I have a history together, so he knows what I think, and I understand the way that he works and goes about his business,” Groh said, via ESPN.com. “I think the spring that he’s had is as good as he’s had since maybe 2013. Pleased with where he is physically, mentally I think he is in a good place. He’s coming in here and learning a new system and working on the chemistry with Carson [Wentz] and everything like that, but it’s been a good spring for him.”
Jeffery had 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013 and followed that up with 85 catches, 1,133 yards and 10 touchdowns the next year. Injuries have limited him to 21 games and 106 catches over the last two seasons and surely played a role in his signing a one-year deal with Philly this offseason.
If getting back together with Groh and a productive offseason lead to a rebound on the field this fall, Jeffery will likely be looking at longer deals if he’s back on the open market in 2018.
Former Packers running back Ahman Green has been arrested in Wisconsin after an allegation of child abuse.
Paul Srubas of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that the Brown County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Green was arrested and taken to the county jail. Per the website for the jail, Green is charged with Child Abuse-Intentionally Cause Harm/Cruelty toward Child.
The authorities also said they are doing further investigation into the matter and did not provide any other details concerning the reasons for Green’s arrest.
Green played for the Packers from 2000-06 and returned to the team in 2009, which was also his final season in the NFL. Green, who also played for the Seahawks and Texans, remains the leading rusher in franchise history.
Two outside candidates are part of the Chiefs General Manager search.
Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer are both on the Chiefs’ radar, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
Cowden is a former Panthers scout who left Carolina last year for a better job in Tennessee. Fitterer has previously interviewed for G.M. openings in San Francisco and Indianapolis.
The Chiefs made the surprising decision to fire G.M. John Dorsey last week and are now looking for someone to replace him.
Giants co-owner John Mara said last week that he wishes his club had a dozen players like wide receiver Odell Beckham, which is a pretty good sign that Mara’s not harboring bad feelings about the wideout’s decision to skip the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason program.
That feeling extends to one of Beckham’s fellow starters on the Giants offense. Left guard Justin Pugh said he’s “good with” Beckham’s approach to the offseason after Beckham returned “in great shape” for mandatory minicamp this month. Pugh also said that he thought too much was made of Beckham’s absence.
“Odell, I’ve been with him for three, four years now. I know how he is,” Pugh said on NFL Network. “It’s gotta be tough being him though. I always try to look at things from his perspective and see what he goes through. I see that, and I’m like, ‘Come in, get ready to work,’ he’s in great shape. I wonder if we could get a list of all the guys that didn’t go to OTAs. I guarantee, put them all together and they didn’t get as much publicity as Odell.”
Pugh doesn’t have to look far for a player who fits exactly what he was saying about the reaction to Beckham’s absence. Defensive end Olivier Vernon didn’t attend the Giants’ voluntary workouts either and it was noted with a sliver of the attention paid to his teammate.
Both were back for mandatory work and both will be there for the Giants in the regular season, which is the time of year when true judgments will be rendered for all the members of the team.
It wasn’t on the practice field during minicamp as coach Ron Rivera suggested was a possibility, and it wasn’t even on a field at all.
But Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is throwing again.
Last week, Newton did some throwing inside the stadium with head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion, his first since undergoing surgery on March 30 on his throwing shoulder.
Newton described the process to Bill Voth of the team’s official website in an exclusive interview/staff meeting.
“Cool, a lot of anticipation,” Newton said. “Obviously, it’s still not 100 percent, but seeing the ball come out of my hand in a throwing motion was good. . . .
“When I say it’s not 100 percent, I’m noting the range of motion part. Like if you sleep with your legs hanging off your bed the whole night, you’re going to wake up and be super stiff. Or like sitting on your hands, or sitting in an awkward position and finally getting up and moving – that’s how I feel.”
Newton acknowledged that waiting so long to have surgery was a difficult decision, since he played the last meaningless month of the season with the injury. But he insisted he stayed on the field at something less than full power because of his commitment to the team.
“I knew something was wrong,” Newton said. “I knew it was going to hurt, continuously hurt. No matter what the treatment was, it takes just one hit or fall and it’s going to inflame again. And it did. Some of it was stubbornness, but I wanted people to know what I’m willing to do for this franchise. At the end of the day, no one could say I quit. . . .
“I figured it would heal on its own. I was trying to get the proper treatment, overtreatment. Get it stretched, get a massage, get the ice, stem, everything. Over time I was like, ‘You know what? It’s just not getting better.’ So when I came back to Charlotte, I got another MRI, and by that time, everything had pretty much cleared up. It wasn’t as swollen as it was during the season so they could see and it showed up as a partially torn rotator cuff.”
Newton said “There’s no doubt” he’d be ready for training camp in a month, saying he should have the kinks worked out in two weeks. It’s an important time for him and the team, as they’re tweaking the offense to make things easier on him, and he’s done little more than watch through the entire offseason.
The Chiefs have been turned down at least once, but they have one known candidate for their vacant General Manager job.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, they’ll interview internal candidate Brett Veach to replace fired G.M. John Dorsey.
Veach has background with coach Andy Reid, which can’t hurt since there’s at least the perception that Reid emerges from the recent upheaval with more power. Their structure has been to have a coach and a G.M. who each report to owner Clark Hunt.
Veach’s name came up in Buffalo, primarily because LeSean McCoy was pumping his candidacy.
But having him around could help the Chiefs navigate what has been a tumultuous time for a team with a good roster and what had been perceived as some stability, at least until this offseason.
Minnesota’s George Paton has turned down a chance to interview, and ESPN’s Louis Riddick disputed reports he was on the list.