Mark Sanchez’s future in New York is up in the air, but Mike Florio explains why, if the Jets choose to cut him, they’ll take a cap hit even larger than Sanchez’s salary due in 2013.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Cap ramifications if Jets cut Sanchez
The Broncos hired John Benton as their assistant offensive line coach shortly after hiring Vance Joseph as their new head coach, but Benton’s tenure turned out to be a brief one.
The Broncos granted a 49ers request to interview Benton for their offensive line coach opening and Benton got the job, leaving Denver again in need of someone to work with offensive line coach Jeff Davidson. Mike Klis of KUSA reports that they’ve settled on someone for that spot.
Klis reports that Chris Strausser will leave his job as the University of Washington’s offensive line coach in order to come to Denver. Strausser worked with Washington coach Chris Petersen at Boise State, which means his arrival in Denver will allow him to reunite with one of his former players.
Broncos center Matt Paradis played for Strausser in Boise and will be back in the middle of the line for the Broncos once he’s recovered from a pair of offseason hip surgeries.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy created a stir on social media with a tweet that “Buffalo was so special . . . thanks for everything.” Many are saying (sad!) that this is a farewell from McCoy, which in turn means that McCoy has been cut.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, McCoy hasn’t been cut. The message relates to an appearance (specifically, an autograph signing) that occurred in Buffalo on Saturday.
McCoy has a salary of $6 million and a cap number of $8.875 million in 2017. Those numbers have sparked speculation that the next coaching staff may decide to move on from him. Cutting him would result in a cap charge of $7.875 million; that amount could be spread over two years with a post-June 1 release.
Two years ago, the Eagles decided to move on from McCoy, ostensibly because his east-west style didn’t mesh with Chip Kelly’s one-cut zone running scheme. New offensive coordinator Rick Dennison uses a system that employs one-cut zone running. (Last year, McCoy thrived once Anthony Lynn became the offensive coordinator, installing running plays that gave McCoy options to hit an inside hole or bounce outside.)
So while Sunday’s tweet isn’t a goodbye, there’s still a chance that farewell is coming. If it happens, plenty of other teams will be line up to give McCoy an enthusiastic hello.
The Raiders returned to the playoffs in 2016 with the help of 12 touchdowns from running back Latavius Murray, but they reportedly aren’t planning on having him be part of the effort for a repeat trip to the postseason.
Murray is set to become a free agent next month and Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the team expects he will sign with another team. Per Anderson, the team’s main focus on the contract front is on reaching extensions with quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Khalil Mack as they head into their fourth seasons.
Murray picked up 1,066 yards on 266 carries in 2015 and ran 195 times for 788 yards and those 12 touchdowns last season.
Anderson reports the Raiders will leave the door open for a return after Murray sees what’s available to him on the open market. Rookie Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington had success out of the backfield in complementary roles last year and the Raiders could look to this year’s draft for a bigger back to take Murray’s place in the mix.
With the Trump administration strongly hinting that federal law banning marijuana use will be enforced in states where recreational use has been legalized, the NFL Players Association sees no issue regarding its current effort to loosen the league’s current marijuana prohibition.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah described the situation as “a CBA issue, not a law-enforcement issue” in a comment to the Denver Post.
“We are talking about how players get treatment under our jointly agreed upon drug policies, not any advocacy for federal vs. state statutes,” Atallah said.
Technically, he’s right. But the proliferation of state laws allowing marijuana use for medical or recreational reasons has created the perception that the NFL is out of touch and drifting from the mainstream on the issue. If, for example, the federal government were to remove marijuana from the list of banned substances, the NFL instantly would be under immense pressure to ditch the outdated Big Shield banishment of conduct that almost always happens away from work, often during the various months when players are left to their own devices.
If the White House stops the current legalization trend and whacks the seven states where recreational use is now legal, the NFL will remain justified to fold its arms tightly and insist on significant concessions to change the current rules. Which will make it harder for the NFLPA to nudge the league to change.
As a practical matter, no change at all is needed for the vast majority of NFL players. The smart ones who smoke marijuana know that they should stop smoking roughly a month before the opening of the annual window for the once-per-year drug test (PED testing can occur at any time) and quit until that one test happens. After that, the players can smoke at will until the following March — as long as they don’t get arrested or have a bag of weed fall out of their jackets and land on the shoes of the Commissioner.
In late January, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that he’d “like to agree” to a contract extension with the team because he thinks it would put “everybody’s mind at ease going forward for their futures.”
It’s now late February and the two sides haven’t agreed on a deal that would keep Lewis under contract beyond the 2017 season. Lewis still thinks a fourth extension in as many years would add a sense of security, but downplayed its importance coming off a year that saw the Bengals miss the playoffs for the first time in six years.
“I don’t think it’s critical or crucial,” Lewis said, via the team’s website. “If things work out we would look to do that. I think some people are sometimes more at ease with that. Maybe that’s not where we need to be. Maybe that’s not the right place for us to be right now … everybody is year-to-year, right?”
Going into next season with an expiring contract would certainly create a sense of urgency in Cincinnati, although one imagines that sense would exist under any circumstance as the Bengals close in on 30 years since their last postseason victory.
Technically, Matt Elam is still a Baltimore Raven. But in 11 days, he won’t be.
Elam, who was arrested on drug charges early this morning in Miami, becomes a free agent on March 9. And the Ravens issued a statement following his arrest making clear that they will not re-sign him.
“We are aware of the arrest of Matt Elam. Matt is not in our plans for the 2017 Ravens,” the statement says.
This morning’s arrest may be the reason the Ravens released that statement, but it’s far from the only reason the Ravens are finished with Elam. Their 2013 first-round draft pick, Elam has been a major disappointment. The team didn’t pick up his fifth-year option and probably wouldn’t have re-signed him at any price even if he had no off-field issues.
Elam might be able to sign on with some team if he’s willing to take a minimum-salary deal. But it’s possible that he has played his last game, thanks to problems both on the field and off.
Three weeks ago today, the 2016 NFL season ended. In just three days, one of the three major offseason tentpole events arrives.
It’s the Scouting Combine, and PFT Live will be broadcasting from Indianapolis on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. As usual, we’ll be on from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 ET on NBC Sports Radio, with a re-air from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ET. The final two hours of the live show, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. ET, will be simulcast on NBCSN.
Every hour of every show also becomes a podcast, which can be downloaded at iTunes or audioBoom. (Subscribe now. Subscribe now. Subscribe now.) Also, most if not all of the face-to-face interviews eventually will be posted at PFT.
The guest list is still being negotiated and finalized; the confirmed roster includes Falcons coach Dan Quinn, Panthers coach Ron Rivera, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, Rams coach Sean McVay, Broncos coach Vance Joseph, Bills coach Sean McDermott, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, Broncos G.M. John Elway, Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff, Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman, Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman, and Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell.
That’s 14 for now, and others will be added once the arrangements are nailed down. It’s a fluid process that often has coaches and General Managers pop in; chances are that we’ll end up with between 25 and 30 by the time the dust settles.
Thanks in advance to those teams who choose to make their coaches and General Managers available for conversations with PFT Live. For those who have declined this time around, we hope to persuade you to join us at the league meetings next month in Arizona or at some other point in the future.
For those who always decline, we’ll keep on asking. Because you miss 100 percent of the shots where the puck is going to be. Or something.
Free agency hasn’t even begun yet, but the 2017 49ers are making their mark. How much of a mark have they made? Already, more than they did in all of 2016.
Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com points out that the 49ers under new G.M. John Lynch already have spent more in free agency than G.M. Trent Baalke did a year ago. Just this week, the 49ers signed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell (formerly of the Dolphins) and cornerback K’Waun Williams (formerly of the Browns).
In 2016, the 49ers added one veteran free agent: Offensive lineman Zane Beadles.
Because both Mitchell and Williams were released by their respective teams, their arrivals won’t count toward the formula that will determine the 2018 compensatory draft picks. (Beadles had been released a year ago, too; the 49ers ended up with an extra fourth-round pick in 2017 due to the departure of guard Alex Boone.)
With $38.7 million in cap space carried over from 2016, the 49ers will have plenty more money to spend as they try to improve on a 2-14 debacle of a year ago. But spending money on newcomers is just one piece of a team-building puzzle that for most successful franchises continues to be based on drafting and developing their own young players.
The Jets made headlines by releasing center Nick Mangold on Saturday, but that wasn’t only decision they made regarding a veteran’s future with the franchise.
According to multiple reports, the Jets have decided not to pick up the option on linebacker Erin Henderson’s contract for the 2017 season. That will make Henderson an unrestricted free agent next month.
Henderson only played in five games last season before being placed on the non-football injury list for reasons that weren’t publicly disclosed. He played all 16 games for the team in 2015 and spent six years with the Vikings before missing the entire 2014 season following his release in the wake of a DUI arrest.
A couple of guards that could interest the Dolphins in the draft.
Pass rushing remains an area the Steelers would like to improve.
A review of the Texans wide receivers.
One player can’t fix the Colts, but nailing their first-round pick would still help.
Will the Jaguars consider a running back in the first round?
Setting the stage for the Broncos ahead of the combine.
Running through some mock draft predictions for the Chiefs.
Which needs will the Chargers address in the draft?
Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson celebrated the 25th anniversary of a Cowboys Super Bowl title together.
Alabama TE O.J. Howard pops up on a list of draft prospects for the Giants to ponder.
A look at what the Eagles may do at safety this offseason.
Linebackers for the Redskins to watch at the combine.
The Lions have cap space to make moves in free agency.
The oversight board for the Vikings stadium is at full strength after new additions.
Extensions will keep a couple of potential Falcons free agents off the market.
Will the Saints pay up for a pass rusher in free agency?
The Buccaneers need to find some new playmakers.
A special teams primer for the Cardinals.
The Rams may not have a first-round pick, but they still have plenty to do at the combine.
Free agency hasn’t opened, but the 49ers have already been busier than they were in last year’s session.
Offensive line isn’t the only area the Seahawks need to address this offseason.
When the NFL banned Barstool Sports from covering Super Bowl week events, PFT made an issue of it because we think independent media should be able to cover the sport without constraints from the league. Now the NBA has provided an example of what can happen when a sports league gets too heavy-handed with the media, and the media lacks the will to push back.
Bleacher Report has deleted a tweet joking about Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks shooting an airball, not because there was anything wrong with the tweet, but because Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told them to, and they didn’t have the guts to stand up to Cuban’s bullying.
It started on Friday night, when Bleacher Report tweeted a short video clip of Nowitzki’s airball with the caption, “DIRK FOREVER.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. We frequently laugh about players making mistakes. Bloopers are some of the most popular sports highlights.
Cuban, for some reason, took offense. And instead of shooting back at Bleacher Report with a tweet of his own and being done with it, Cuban decided to flex his muscles, perhaps knowing that Bleacher Report wouldn’t have the stomach for a fight with him. Cuban sent a profane email to Turner President David Levy (Turner is Bleacher Report’s parent company) and copied NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, ordering Bleacher Report to take the tweet down. Cuban made a vague threat that he would “communicate with the millenials [sic]” if Bleacher Report didn’t comply.
If Bleacher Report had any integrity, Levy would have told Cuban that independent media outlets don’t take orders from the people they cover, and that would have been the end of it. Amazingly, Bleacher Report followed Cuban’s orders, deleted the tweet and put up a fawning tweet about what a legend Nowitzki is.
Earlier today we deleted a tweet about Dirk Nowitzki. Dirk is an NBA legend in our eyes and will be forever.—
Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 25, 2017
That is a shocking capitulation and raises some ugly questions about Bleacher Report. We know about this time that Bleacher Report backed down to a powerful owner because this particular powerful owner chose to publicize it. What we don’t know is this: How many other times has Bleacher Report quietly backed down to owners or leagues? How many critical stories have Bleacher Report writers worked on, only to have the higher-ups put the kibosh on them when an owner or commissioner caught wind of it? If Bleacher Report is too spineless to stand up for itself on something as innocuous as a tweet about an airball, how quickly does Bleacher Report fold when there’s a complaint about something really serious?
And it relates to the NFL because, we’re happy to say, we’ve never encountered anything like this in the football world. We hear from NFL owners, teams, league executives, players and coaches who are unhappy with something we publish from time to time, but a demand from an owner to delete a tweet, coupled with a veiled threat, is something we haven’t experienced.
If we did, we’d stand up for ourselves. If we get something wrong we of course correct the record, but we don’t change what we publish simply because a thin-skinned owner doesn’t like it.
It’s important to have independent media outlets that aren’t afraid to step on a few toes, and won’t kowtow to the establishment. That’s why we thought the NFL stepped wrong when it banned Barstool Sports: Once a league starts picking and choosing which outlets can cover it, it begins to go down a dangerous path toward the league is dictating the coverage.
That’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. With the NBA and Bleacher Report, it’s a line that has already been crossed.
Ravens safety Matt Elam has been arrested on drug charges in Miami.
According to Miami-Dade police records, Elam was booked at 3:45 a.m. today on charges of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis, possession of cannabis with the intent to sell or deliver, and possession of a controlled substance.
Police say they initially pulled Elam over for reckless driving and found 126 grams of marijuana and three grams of oxycodone in his vehicle.
The 25-year-old Elam was the Ravens’ first-round draft pick in 2013. The Ravens did not pick up Elam’s fifth-year option, so he becomes a free agent next month.
Julius Thomas is on the way out in Jacksonville, just two years into a five-year contract. A big part of the reason for that is he never became the receiving threat for the Jaguars that he had been for the Broncos.
But another part of it is that the Jaguars grew tired of Thomas’s limitations as a blocker, and the effect that had on the Jaguars’ offense.
“His blocking was non-existent,” a source told the Florida Times-Union. “If he was on the field, he was the second tight end and that meant a receiver came off the field and the team speed went down. And if he was on the field with Robinson, Hurns and Lee, it was a clear giveaway to defenses that it was a pass or a run away from him because he couldn’t be at the point of attack.”
Thomas will now go to Miami, where head coach Adam Gase, who previously coached Thomas in Denver, apparently thinks he can make it work with a tight end who is a liability on running plays.
The Cowboys celebrated on Saturday night the 25th anniversary of their 1992 Super Bowl championship team. Looming over the franchise continues to be the immediate future of the best quarterback in franchise history to not win a Super Bowl.
His future is undecided, according to the man who will eventually decide it.
It’s believed that Romo wants to be released. The Cowboys presumably want to get something in return for him. It won’t be nearly as easy as flipping a switch; if the Cowboys intend to trade Romo to a place where he doesn’t want to play, the new team may not be all that enthused about finalizing the transaction.
When Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian paid a visit to PFT Live during Super Bowl week, he was wearing a large sling on his left arm after surgery to repair his AC joint. The sling has now been shed.
Siemian gave Troy Renck of Denver7 an update regarding his status.
“I am out of the sling and everything is going really well so far,” Siemian said. “I should be good for OTAs but we’ll see. I’ll touch base with the [doctor] at the end of March and see how I am doing.”
Whether Siemian is available for the offseason program should go a long way toward determining whether he’ll be a viable contender to remain the starter. With a new coaching staff and a new offensive system, second-year first-rounder Paxton Lynch could get a leg up if Siemian’s left arm keeps him from getting reps during Organized Team Activities.
Regardless of which quarterbacks are taking the reps in the offseason, Siemian’s chances of playing in September will be boosted if he’s able to practice in April, May, and June.