Mike Florio talks about the Seahawks scoring 50-plus points in their last two games and if Russell Wilson’s impressive rookie year can end with a Super Bowl victory. Florio also discusses the NFC and AFC playoff picture and if the Patriots should start to worry.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Can Seahawks make a Super Bowl push?
Twelve days ago, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer made during< em>PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio the pitch he’d present to running back Adrian Peterson, if Zimmer had the chance to do so. On Wednesday, Zimmer finally gets that chance.
Via Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Zimmer and G.M. Rick Spielman will fly to Houston on Wednesday to meet with Peterson. Last week’s ruling in Peterson’s federal-court challenge to his suspension, coupled with the league’s decision to return Peterson to the Commissioner-Exempt list, authorizes the face-to-face meeting.
On Monday, Spielman told reporters that the Vikings have been in contact with Peterson.
Peterson has expressed lingering concern about returning to Minnesota. His father, Nelson, recently confirmed reports that Peterson believes Vikings executive Kevin Warren worked with the NFL to keep Adrian away from the field in the 2014 season, even after Peterson resolved his criminal child-abuse case by pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges.
Ultimately, money will become a major factor, with the Vikings presumably willing and able to pay Peterson more than anyone else would — especially since a new team also would have to compensate the Vikings. The more Peterson is worth financially, the more he’s presumably worth in trade.
Zimmer’s PFT Live appearance from Indy, including the pitch he’d make to Peterson, appears below.
As news broke that Buffalo had a deal in place to acquire Eagles running back LeSean McCoy for linebacker Kiko Alonso, Bills running back C.J. Spiller was at NFL Network studios. And as Spiller related on Tuesday’s “NFL Total Access,” NFLN analyst Willie McGinest was the first to tell him of the trade.
Soon enough, though, the Bills were on the phone with Spiller to tell him they had made the deal — a move that all but ends Spiller’s career with Buffalo.
“[McGinest] walked in and said, ‘Did ya’ll hear that Kiko’s getting traded to the Eagles for Shady?’ ” Spiller said. “And to me, I thought he was joking, like just trying to play a joke on me, because he’s a Patriot, and I was a former Bill.
“But then, he put it on TV, and I seen it, and then probably about five minutes later, management called me and told me that they (were) going in that direction, and pretty much giving me a ‘Thank you for your services.’ ”
Spiller was then asked how he felt about the prospect of going into free agency in search of a new team.
“My feeling is still the same. Nothing’s changed,” Spiller said. “The gameplan’s still the same. The only thing is that I won’t be returning to Buffalo.”
Spiller indicated he was open to returning to the Bills, but the sixth-year pro said he understood players often have to change teams.
“Very few guys get to play (their) whole career at one team, but you know, unfortunately, that don’t happen in this business, and I found out today that that don’t happen in this business,” the 27-year-old Spiller said, smiling as he finished his thought and handling the moment about as well as anyone possibly could, given the circumstances.
“I just spoke with the Eagles organization and there is no trade for LeSean at this time,” Rosenhaus said on Twitter. “There have been discussions but nothing finalized.”
Nothing can be finalized until Tuesday, March 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET. So the information the Eagles provided to Rosenhaus is correct, even if the two teams have struck a deal in principle.
Even if an agreement has been reached between the two teams, either side can back out. If McCoy makes it clear that he’s not on board with the deal, the Bills may not want him. So, basically, stay tuned.
As it turns out, the Eagles didn’t approach running back LeSean McCoy regarding a possible pay cut because the Eagles had other plans for McCoy. Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Eagles will trade McCoy to the Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
The agreement can’t be finalized until the start of the new league year, next Tuesday. In theory, either side can back out until the clock strikes 4:00 p.m. ET on March 10 and the paperwork is submitted.
It’s unclear whether other compensation will be involved. For now, it appears to be a straight-up deal, player for player.
McCoy is due to earn $10.25 million in 2015. Alonso, a second-round pick in 2013 who missed all of 2014 due to an offseason ACL tear, is due to earn a base salary of only $745,000.
Despite a slow start last season, McCoy rushed for 1,319 yards. It’s unclear whether the Bills will attempt to restructure or extend his contract. It’s also unclear whether McCoy will welcome the change of scenery from Philly to Buffalo.
The move underscores the willingness of the Bills to spend big in an effort to parlay their 9-7 finish in 2014 into the team’s first playoff appearance since 1999. From Philly’s perspective, the trade makes it abundantly clear that coach Chip Kelly runs the show — and that there are no sacred cows. Last year, DeSean Jackson got the heave-ho; this year, LeSean McCoy gets a one-way ticket out of town.
It also reunites Alonso with the man who recruited him to Oregon. Which will serve only to fuel speculation that Kelly plans to do whatever it takes to get the quarterback he recruited to Oregon.
The Titans are taking a flyer on a pass rush prospect.
A fourth-year pro from Troy, Massaquoi recorded 70 tackles and six sacks in his first three seasons with Atlanta. He’s under contract for one more season at $660,000 in salary, per NFLPA records.
All things considered, the 26-year-old Massaquoi couldn’t have landed in a much better spot even if he had picked it. The Titans are not deep at outside linebacker, and starter Derrick Morgan is slated to test unrestricted free agency.
The Raiders have officially let go of one of their homegrown defensive starters.
Branch was due $5.5 million in salary in 2015, according to the NFLPA.
An eight-year pro from Connecticut, Branch has played his entire career with the Raiders, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. His market could be tied to whether he can convince clubs that any durability concerns are a thing of the past. He does not turn 29 until December, which could play in his favor.
Branch started the 2014 season on a tear, notching 30 tackles in his first three games. However, a broken foot suffered in the Raiders’ Week Three loss at New England ended his season. The previous year, Branch had been limited to just two games with a broken leg.
Trent Cole is on the way out of Philadelphia.
The Eagles had been hoping to get Cole to take a pay cut, but that hasn’t happened. Now Cole is expected to be released within the next 24 hours, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.
Cole is a good pass rusher who has 14.5 sacks in the last two seasons, but with his cap number scheduled to be $11.6 million this season, it’s no surprise that the Eagles felt like that was more than they could justify spending.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who has been given full control of all personnel decisions, clearly wants to get rid of the aging and expensive veterans on the roster. Todd Herremans and Cary Williams have all been sent packing, and now Cole is on the way out as well.
Kelly is clearing plenty of cap space. He may have plans to make a splash when free agency begins next week.
Last week, the NFL said that defensive end Greg Hardy can’t be reinstated to active duty because he hasn’t been disciplined under the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore can’t be reinstated from a suspension.
That’s true, but it’s not quite the entire story. Hardy remains on the commissioner’s exempt list while the league looks into last year’s arrest on domestic violence charges, however, and would like to have that rectified with free agency starting on March 10.
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that Hardy will have a meeting with the league in New York on Wednesday in an effort to do that. While the Panthers have reportedly made the decision to move on without Hardy, there will surely be other teams interested in his services and a clear idea of his availability will just as surely impact the offers they make to secure his services.
A judge found Hardy guilty last July, but Hardy appealed and the case against him was dismissed when his accuser failed to appear for a jury trial last month. The NFL requested court files from the bench trial as part of their own investigation, but were rebuffed and they would need to get the transcript of the trial directly from Hardy’s attorney.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s no stranger to near-misses lately.
But after suffering two broken bones in his back in a car wreck in downtown Charlotte late last season, he was close to another potential tragedy over the weekend.
According to WSOC in Charlotte, Newton was on stage in a downtown nightclub moments before shots were fired Saturday night.
Newton was at the nightclub Label (and was photographed with Young Jeezy) moments before gunfire rang out during a party which coincided with the CIAA basketball tournament.
Newton was on stage during the private party, but quickly ducked for cover when the shots inside the club were heard.
Two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting, and no arrests have been made.
A former Bengals and Ravens running back is headed to the Canadian Football League.
The 30-year-old Scott rushed for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns on 249 carries in his stints with the Bengals (2009-2012) and Ravens (2013).
In defensive tackle Tom Johnson’s first three NFL seasons, he picked up five sacks while playing a rotational role on the Saints defensive line.
Johnson signed with the Vikings last offseason and Minnesota was rewarded with a more productive effort in the pass rush. Johnson had 6.5 sacks in 444 defensive snaps for the Vikings and now he’s looking to get rewarded with a long-term deal. Johnson’s agent Bardia Ghahremani told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press what the impending free agent is looking for in his next contract.
“Tom knows what he is and the value he brings to the table,” Ghahremani said. “We’re not looking for another, ‘Come in for another one-year deal.’ We want to find him a home for the rest of his career, a three- or four-year deal in the right situation and right system … If the Vikings make a fair offer, absolutely I would say the Vikings are his first choice.”
Johnson saw time in the Arena League and CFL before making the Saints and he turns 31 in August, which may make it hard for him to find a contract of the desired length. He was also arrested on disorderly conduct charges last fall and rejected a plea deal in December, which may be a factor for teams considering signing him. There’s a court date scheduled for March 30 on that matter.
Even with those caveats, Johnson’s strong season as a pass rusher should position him for a bump from last year’s $645,000 base salary whether he’s in Minnesota or elsewhere.
The Cowboys don’t necessarily have to top every other team’s offer if they want to keep soon-to-be free agent running back DeMarco Murray.
In fact, as long as the Cowboys come close to what other teams are offering, Murray will stay in Dallas, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.
In other words, Murray is willing to give the Cowboys a hometown discount. But it would only be a small hometown discount: If some other team is offering significantly more money, Murray will jump. If other teams’ offers are only a little more than the Cowboys’ offer, that’s when Murray would decide to stay in Dallas.
It’s unclear how much money Murray can command in free agency, as the running back position has been seriously devalued in recent years. But Murray is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year in the NFL, and all it takes is one team willing to break the bank for him.
If some team will break the bank, Murray will go. But if the best offer gets is only a little better than the offer the Cowboys make, then Murray will stay put.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has asked cornerback Lardarius Webb to slash his salary before the start of the 2015 season. Webb is set to make $8 million in the fourth year of a six-year contract he signed with the team in 2012 and carries a $12 million cap charge.
Per Rapoport, it’s unclear what the Ravens will do if Webb doesn’t agree. These cases tend to be pay cut or get cut, but it may not be the case this time.
Complicating things for the Ravens a bit is that they don’t get a great deal of relief from cutting Webb. Doing it outright would save them $2 million while designating him as a post-June 1 cut would mean waiting for the additional cap room until the top replacement options in free agency are off the board.
Webb missed three of the first four games last season with a back injury, but was healthy the rest of the way. That was unusual for a Ravens corner in 2014, although Webb’s play wasn’t at a high enough level that a pay cut request comes as a great surprise.
When defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said in December that his agent will choose his next team, I assumed Suh meant his football agent, Jimmy Sexton. If that’s the case, Sexton likely will select on Suh’s behalf the offer that entails the most money, since the football agent gets paid based on how much money a football player makes playing football.
But what if the agent to whom Suh was referring isn’t his football agent but Suh’s marketing agent, Jay Z? In that case, the marketing agent would be less concerned about football-related revenue and more concerned about off-field earning opportunities, since the marketing agent gets paid based on how much money the player makes away from playing football.
If it’s the latter, a large market like Jay Z’s hometown of New York makes a lot of sense. Coincidentally (or not), Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that the Giants are considering making a run at Suh.
It would make a ton of sense from a football standpoint, since the Giants won their two championships since 2007 based on the strength of the pass rush — with an emphasis (especially against the Patriots) on creating pressure up the middle of the line of scrimmage. Ultimately, however, the Giants will have to compete with teams that view Suh as a player who can spark a Reggie White-style transformation of a franchise, making an irrelevant or long-suffering franchise suddenly interesting and potentially competitive.
Without question, Suh is the most significant defensive free agent since White picked the Packers in 1993. Former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf recently told PFT Live that White chose Green Bay because of the money the Packers offered, notwithstanding White’s claims of divine intervention. For Suh, the size of the football contract must be compared to the magnitude of the non-football cash possibilities, along with the kind of notoriety that will knock Alex Rodriguez from the back pages of the tabloids.
Whether it’s practical or not, the addition of the Giants to the pursuit of Suh makes a fascinating situation even more intriguing.
The Jets took a nosedive in 2014, but their season ticket prices are holding level.
The team announced that they won’t be changing the cost of attending a Jets game for the 2015 season after raising prices last year. The team will expand the use of variable pricing, but tickets for non-club seats to the game will still cost between $50 and $162.50.
“After considering many factors, we determined to keep season ticket prices unchanged for the 2015 season,” team president Neil Glat said, via the Associated Press.
In an email to season ticket holders, owner Woody Johnson said he wants MetLife Stadium “to be a fearsome place to play.” The Jets’ home slate for 2015 consists of their AFC East rivals, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Washington. If the 2015 season plays out anything like last year for the Jets and most of their opponents, fearsome might not prove to be the right word for the slate.