Mike Florio is joined by BenJarvus Green-Ellis of the Cincinnati Bengals to discuss his decision to leave New England after four successful years, if he can pinpoint a reason why the Bengals have disappointed in recent seasons, if he is intrigued by the idea of going home to play a Super Bowl in New Orleans, and more.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: The Law Firm on his first season in Cincy
Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder stepped up to cover the funeral expenses of one of the team’s biggest supporters.
According to Carol Maloney of NBC 4 in Washington D.C., Snyder was the anonymous donor that paid for the funeral of Zema Williams, a.k.a. “Chief Zee.”
Williams, who passed away earlier this month, would attend games in full Native American-style headdresses while decked out in team colors.
Snyder isn’t exactly the most revered figure in the D.C. sports scene. The Redskins have won just one playoff games since Snyder assumed ownership of the franchise in 1999. He’s meddled with personnel decisions, had eight different head coaches in 17 years and been involved in several questionable lawsuits during his ownership of the team.
However, the gesture to cover the funeral costs of one of the team’s most visible fans is a nice one to make.
With the Chiefs not signing safety Eric Berry to a long-term deal before July 15, the franchise-tagged player remains without a contract. Under the terms of the tender, he can show up just a few days before the start of the regular season and still get the full amount of his $10.8 million salary.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Berry may do just that, skipping most if not all of training camp and the preseason, losing no money to fines but still getting the full $10.8 million salary.
The sole risk comes from the team’s ability to rescind the tag — something Chiefs coach Andy Reid did not once but twice during his time with the Eagles. Doing so would make Berry a free agent, and he would be hard pressed to get a deal on the open market that averages $10.8 million per year.
Under prior Collective Bargaining Agreements, the franchise tag for a given position was driven by the average of the five highest cap numbers in the prior year. Under the 2011 CBA, the tag is determined by the five-year average percentage of the overall cap that the franchise tag has consumed. With the growth of the cap outpacing in recent years the growth of the market at most positions, some franchise-tagged players — like Berry — instantly become the highest paid player at his position, albeit for only one year.
If the Chiefs would remove the tender, would another team pay Berry $10.8 million for 2016, or a multi-year deal averaging that much? Probably not.
It would be an unpopular move, to be sure. Berry has become a national inspiration given his recovery from cancer and his performance last season. But with Berry due to make more than any other safety and with the prospect of Berry showing up not fully prepared for Week One while still making $10.8 million, the Chiefs have to at least consider doing what Reid previously did with linebacker Jeremiah Trotter and defensive tackle Corey Simon.
Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Armonty Bryant pleaded guilty on Wednesday to lesser charges stemming from an arrest last December.
According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Bryant pleaded guilty to attempted drug possession – a first-degree misdemeanor – after being initially indicted on two charges of felony drug possession.
Bryant had pleaded not guilty to the prior two charges back in February.
Bryant has already been suspended for the first four games of the season due to violations of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Further discipline could be levied from the league for his guilty plea in this case. Per Ulrich, a league spokesman said the incident “will be reviewed under our policies.”
Bryant appeared in 14 games for Cleveland last season and finished the year with 5.5 sacks.
With the dust settled on his record-setting six-year, $114.5 million contract, Broncos linebacker Von Miller met with reporters on Wednesday in conjunction with the opening of training camp. Less than two weeks after the protracted negotiations ended, Miller provided an assessment of the situation.
“It’s back to normal,” Miller said, via comments distributed by the team. “I’m ready to go. I’m ready to go play football. I talked to John [Elway] this morning and I told him that I get to play with [receiver Demaryius Thomas] for about nine years. I get to play with [cornerback] Chris [Harris Jr.] for 9-10 years so that’s some of the stuff that I’m excited about. I’m aware of the expectations, but we have high expectations for all of us. I’m ready to get back to work and contribute to the locker room, the same stuff that I’ve been doing.”
On several occasions, Miller reiterated his sentiment from the day the contract was signed — that he’s a Bronco “for life.” But it’s really not a “for life” arrangement. Even under the interpretation of Miller’s deal from those who negotiated it, the commitment may be as little as four years. The Broncos think the minimum duration is only three years.
Miller has played five years; unless he plans to retire after only eight or nine seasons, there’s a chance he’ll eventually be playing somewhere else.
For now, though, all is well.
“Everything is great,” Miller said of his relationship with Elway, whose negotiating tactics at times privately angered Miller. “Everybody know the type of respect that I have for Mr. Elway. I was his first draft pick here. We’ve always had talks. Not only this year, but my first year, my third year, my fourth year; all of the way up until this point. I don’t expect anything to change.”
Will Miller be in shape after skipping the entire offseason program?
“I never got too far away from working out or grinding,” Miller said. “I worked the same as I would during the season or during the offseason. I just had a lot of stuff in between to do, but I feel that I’m in shape. We got a great strength and conditioning staff with Luke Richesson. I’m going to follow their lead. They got me to this point to where I am now. I feel totally confident in my ability to get back on the football field.”
Despite a contract that makes him the highest paid player on the team by far, Miller resisted the notion that he’s the face of the franchise.
“I feel like our locker room should be the face of this franchise,” Miller said. “We got a great locker room. There’s not a locker room like this in the National Football League. Talking to the guys in the locker room that have come from other teams, that’s the first thing they say, that, this locker room is ‘second-to-none’ type of camaraderie that we have in the locker room. The leadership that we have, you just don’t get in the National Football League so that will be the strength of our football team and I’m a part of that.”
Miller definitely will be part of that for at least the next three or four years. And the pressure will be on him more than any other player to chase down and secure about Lombardi Trophy or two.
The NFL has not scheduled an interview with Steelers linebacker James Harrison regarding the Al Jazeera report accusing him of using performance-enhancing drugs, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.
Harrison had posted a letter on social media from the NFL last month that informed him an interview would take place July 28, the first day the Steelers report to training camp. But the Post-Gazette story quotes NFLPA spokesman Carl Francis as saying no interview is scheduled to take place.
Earlier this month Harrison provided a sworn affidavit in which he denied any wrongdoing and any charges brought about by the Al Jazeera report.
The NFL had said it still wanted to talk with Harrison and other players named in the report, and Harrison originally said he’d love to talk with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell — if Goodell came to Harrison’s house for the interview.
Retired quarterback Peyton Manning, one of the players named in the report, cooperated with investigators and was recently cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Bears signed cornerback Brandon Boykin and wide receiver B.J. Daniels on Wednesday.
Boykin played for the Steelers last season after being traded by the Eagles. The Panthers signed Boykin in March but cut him in May. He’s since worked out for several teams and has denied that injury issues have threatened his career.
Daniels has been both a quarterback and a wide receiver in his NFL career. A seventh-round pick of the 49ers in 2013, Daniels played in eight games last year — two with the Texans and six with the Seahawks — as a backup wide receiver, gadget player and special teamer. The Texans waived him in April, and the Giants waived him in June.
The moves bring the Bears’ roster to the preseason max of 90 players.
Yes, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell has vowed to not miss any games after reportedly missing several drug tests. No, no one beyond a very small circle should have even known about the potential suspension until the appeal process had concluded.
Regardless, the cat has escaped from the bag — and based on information PFT has gathered there’s a strong sense Bell won’t be escaping the suspension.
Even with neutral arbitration now available in suspensions arising under the substance-abuse policy and the PED policy, none in the know believe Bell has a strong chance to win the appeal.
It’s been suggested that Bell changed phones and didn’t receive notice of the tests. If that’s his defense, it’s hard to imagine it flying. For a guy in the program, surely an obligation exists to notify all appropriate persons of a change in cell service. Otherwise, a guy could avoid testing simply by buying a new phone.
Bell’s appeal possibly will be finalized before Week One. For now, the smartest move for the Steelers will be to assume that DeAngelo Williams will once again carry the load early in the season after Bell makes his exit following the fourth preseason game.
At times, the drama reminded me of George Costanza’s house in the Hamptons. He knew it was fake. The parents of his dead fiancée knew it was fake. He knew they knew it was fake. They knew he knew it was fake. But they continued the ruse as George drove two hours toward the place with two solariums and horses named Snoopy and Prickly Pete because neither side was willing to say what both knew each other knew.
The Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finally realized that, even in the absence of a hard deadline to get a deal done, the practical deadline had arrived. If Fitzpatrick was going to start for the team in 2016, he needed to be ready. With Fitzpatrick already missing the offseason program, the two sides needed to do what they could have done weeks ago — compromise toward a deal.
The Jets definitely compromised. They were willing to pay Fitzpatrick $12 million in 2016, but as part of a three-year deal with lower salaries on the back end and a much lower cap number in 2016. Instead, the Jets are paying $12 million, carrying the full amount on the cap (unless there’s a phony second or third year that automatically voids, which is entirely possible), including incentives that could bump the value to $15 million, and not retaining the ability to keep him around beyond this season.
Fitzpatrick compromised, too, perhaps realizing that his market value as to the other 31 teams was a lot lower than what the Jets were willing to pay him. So even if he had much more value to the Jets than to any other team, his options were to take the money from the Jets or to sit.
In the end, the Jets needed Fitzpatrick and Fitzpatrick needed the Jets and with camp opening they needed to get it done to part ways. They finally got it done.
Maybe it was my “pinch-or-get-off-the-pot” line that did it. Probably not, but as I’ve learned during the current political season that doesn’t prevent me from believing it did.
The Jets and their starting quarterback finally have a deal.
Ryan Fitzpatrick has signed a one-year, $12 million deal to return to the Jets for the 2016 season, according to multiple reports.
This ends a long negotiation that spanned the entire offseason and got contentious at times, with Fitzpatrick seemingly upset that the Jets weren’t willing to give him the kind of money that quarterbacks who had lesser seasons last year — like Brock Osweiler and Sam Bradford — received.
In the end, however, they’ve come to an agreement that will bring Fitzpatrick back, and put back together a passing game that was surprisingly effective in 2016. The Jets think they can compete for a playoff spot this season, and now they have their leader.
As the Saints arrived in West Virginia for training camp Wednesday, general manager Mickey Loomis told reporters that the sides “have not made any progress” an a potential contract extension for veteran quarterback Drew Brees.
Though Loomis going on the record with that means it’s news, it’s no surprise to those who have followed the story. Brees recently said he hasn’t heard from the team regarding a possible extension in three months.
Considering Brees set a deadline of the start of the regular season for cutting off talks, this thing could get sticky.
Loomis said he doesn’t think the situation will become a distraction for the team, and Brees has been a good soldier. But the Saints have been hurting for salary-cap space, and getting a deal done earlier could have lessened the $30 million cap number Brees is carrying and helped the team in areas besides goodwill with its most important player.
Because Brees has already been given the franchise tag twice in his career, the Saints would have to guarantee him a 44 percent raise to franchise him next year, which would mean a franchise tag of $43.2 million. That’s not going to happen, so the Saints have to get a deal done in the next five weeks or risk losing Brees next March.
Warren Sapp is now even for biting his ex-girlfriend.
According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle was bitten by a shark Wednesday.
“It’s simple,” charter captain Jack Carlson said via text. “He was lobstering with me and a shark bit Sapp while he was grabbing the lobster. He’s OK.”
Carlson posted a photo of the bite on Instagram, writing: “Warren Sapp attacked by a shark while lobstering. #epicbattle. . . .
“The shark wanted the lobster just as bad as Sapp. Sapp got the lobster and the Shark got his lick in too.”
Sapp apparently hung up when Auman tried to ask about the incident.
The shark was unavailable for comment, though he’s probably considering going vegan.
The Ravens handled some pre-camp business as players reported for training camp Wednesday, and in the process they signed wide receiver Dobson Collins and linebacker Kavell Conner.
Collins, 29, has played the last five years in the Canadian Football League. He previously spent time with the 49ers and Eagles.
The Ravens had previously announced that wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman would start camp on the physically unable to perform list, and Mike Wallace did not pass his conditioning test Wednesday, so Collins should be in line for reps at the start of camp.
Conner, also 29, played the last two seasons with the Chargers and previously played four seasons with the Colts. He’s played in 78 career games, starting 46, and has three career fumble recoveries and two sacks.
Conner was a seventh-round pick of the Colts in 2010.
Their signings put the team’s roster at the preseason max of 90 players.
Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s recovery from last year’s torn ACL and MCL has gone well enough that Flacco avoided the PUP list to start training camp and all indications from the offseason are that he’s right on track for a return to the lineup in Week One.
It’s less clear whether he’ll be doing much in the team’s preseason games. Flacco met the media on Wednesday and said his focus is on the team’s September 11 opener against the Bills rather than on getting his feet wet during the exhibition season.
“The goal is to make sure I’m as healthy as possible, regular season, Game 1,” Flacco said. “I’m not ridiculously worried about playing a ton in the preseason.”
One plus to preseason action would be a chance to see how he responds to taking hits as that’s not something that will happen during Ravens practices this summer. The flip side of that is the risk of what taking the wrong hit could do to his health, so the Ravens will have to balance both before making a call. Whether his next game action comes in August or in the regular season, Flacco will take the field wearing a brace on his left knee.
“If it helps a little bit, that’s huge,” Flacco said. “I’m not going to leave it up to risk and then have something happen and say, ‘What if?’ I’m going to wear it. There’s no reason not to.”
Flacco said his knee has felt “really good” in the workouts he’s done with rookies and injured veterans over the last few days. Whatever he needs to do in regards to braces and preseason playing time to keep it that way will likely be just fine with the Ravens.
Hakeem Nicks is heading to New Orleans.
The veteran receiver is signing with the Saints, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Nicks worked out for the Saints in May, but there’s been little talk about him since then.
New Orleans has a very young and inexperienced receiving corps, so Nicks may provide some veteran leadership. But it’s fair to wonder whether the 28-year-old has much left: Last year he managed just seven catches for 54 yards in six games.
Overall, Nicks has played seven NFL seasons and caught 356 passes for 5,081 yards and 31 touchdowns.
The Ravens haven’t officially signed tackle Jake Long yet because he wasn’t able to pass a physical and he’s not the only member of the team whose fitness was found to be lacking as the team gets set for training camp.
The team announced Wednesday that wide receiver Mike Wallace, who signed with the team as a free agent following his departure from the Vikings, failed to pass his conditioning test. Wallace will need to pass that test before he’ll be permitted to practice with the team.
There doesn’t appear to be a major issue keeping Wallace from passing the test. The Ravens’ tweet announcing his failure said that they expect him to pass it in the next few days and coach John Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun, that Wallace passed five of the six benchmarks required by the team.
It’s not the best first step, but it should be forgotten fairly soon if Wallace is on the field soon and making plays down the field once games start.