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PFT on NBC Sports Network returns at 5 p.m. ET

Washington Redskins' Griffin III scrambles away from Dallas Cowboys' Spears during their NFL football game in Arlington Reuters

Christmas Day was a day off for the TV side of Pro Football Talk, but we make no such accommodations for Boxing Day.

That means PFT will be back on NBC Sports Network Wednesday for an hour packed with everything you need to know as we make our way through the final week of the regular season.

As always, we’ll start with all the biggest news from around the league and then move onto more detailed look at some of the week’s most significant games. Erik Kuselias, Mike Florio, Ross Tucker and Pete Najarian will be on hand to talk about Cowboys-Redskins, Giants-Eagles and Packers-Vikings, to name three games with playoff implications in the NFC. There will be questions from PFT Planet via Twitter and much more.

You can watch it all happen live at 5 p.m. ET.


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PFT Live: Seahawks talk with Bob Condotta, NFL draft review

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It was a busy weekend all over the world of sports with the NFL draft ranking near the top of the list of events drawing attention around the country.

We’ll take a look back at the three days of picks during Monday’s edition of PFT Live. Mike Florio will catch us up on all the biggest developments, riskiest picks and best moves from Chicago.

Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times will join Florio to discuss the Seahawks’ selections as well as the push for a new Russell Wilson contract and linebacker Bruce Irvin’s status with the team.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

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Report: Winston tapped brakes on ESPN interview

Winston AP

With Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, it’s always something.  For multiple reasons.

At times, it’s always something because there’s always something he’s doing that attracts scrutiny.  At other times, it’s always something because the media scrutinizes him more closely than other young players.  Regardless, anything Winston does that is remotely controversial will now become a headline.

Case in point:  Something Winston did on Thursday night became the top item for Richard Deitsch’s weekly sports media column.  As explained by Deitsch, Winston deliberately circumvented a ping-pong arrangement between NFL Network and ESPN regarding dibs on interviewing the first pick in the draft.

This year, it was ESPN’s turn to go first.  But Winston decided not to let ESPN go first.

According to Deitsch, Winston’s camp “was upset at the network’s overall coverage of the top pick prior to the draft.”  Winston’s agent predictably told Deitsch that “it was simply our preference that his first interview be with NFL Network”; however, there’s no reason to dispute Deitsch’s reporting that Winston and company retaliated, at least a little, against the four-letter network.

Winston’s agent downplayed the snub, explaining that ESPN got its interview a “few seconds later.”  But the damage was done.  Deitsch explains that, by the time ESPN got the interview, the draft had progressed several picks beyond Winston.  So the interview wasn’t played by ESPN until after the first round ended.

On one hand, it’s Winston’s right to choose NFL Network over ESPN.  On the other hand, why alienate a network with much greater reach and influence than NFL Network at the front end of Winston’s career?  Plenty of discretion will be exercised over the coming months and years by producers, analysts, and anchors regarding Winston.  Moving forward, will ESPN be more inclined to pull punches with Winston — or will they be more inclined to go for a knockout?

While Winston’s decision doesn’t carry the same stink of sexism as the Floyd Mayweather passive-aggressive credential stunt with Rachel Nichols and Michelle Beadle, attempting to influence coverage by declining or delaying interviews is always a bad idea, especially when doing it to a network that employs a small army of NFL reporters that can (and possibly will) hold anything Winston says or does against him.

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Falcons turning focus to Julio Jones extension

Atlanta Falcons v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

The Falcons have wide receiver Julio Jones under contract for the 2015 season and they could make use of the franchise tag to keep Jones on hand in 2016, but General Manager Thomas Dimitroff says that the team would prefer to work something out that locks Jones up for years to come.

No contract talks have been held between the team and Jones’s camp at this point, but Dimitroff says that the end of the draft means that now is the time to turn attention toward a long-term extension for the talented wideout.

“There is no question that our focus in the future will be on Julio Jones and where we are,” Dimitroff said, via Vaughn McClure of “I don’t want to get into specifics about the timing of that, obviously. But now that the draft is over and we continue to build this football team, we understand that Julio is a very important part of our building and evolving as a championship-type team.”

Dimitroff said that Jones’s history of foot injuries wasn’t a concern after Jones rebounded from 2013’s extended absence to set a franchise record for receiving yards in a single season. A franchise tag for 2016 would be in the neighborhood of $13 million, which probably provides a pretty good jumping off point for contract talks.

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Some Colts players not happy with decision to draft Dorsett

Dorsett Getty Images

The folks running the football operations in Indy are getting public pressure from above.  They’re also getting private pressure from below.

Per a league source, multiple Colts players aren’t happy with the team’s draft strategy, specifically with the decision to use a first-round pick on receiver Phillip Dorsett.

The thinking is that the Colts should have taken a safety like Landon Collins or a tackle (defensive or offensive) with the 29th overall pick in the draft.  A receiver could have been taken later than round one, and he would have arrived with less of a presumption that:  (1) he’ll be on the field; and (2) he’ll have the ball thrown his way plenty.

With receiver T.Y. Hilton, tight end Coby Fleener, and tight end Dwayne Allen entering contract years and 2014 rookie Donte Moncrief coming into his own and veteran Andre Johnson trying to prove the Texans wrong and the Colts intent on developing a running game, the Colts don’t currently need another pass catcher with a pedigree that implies he’ll be a contributor, right out of the gates.

Over time, the Colts could be vindicated for sticking to their draft board; Dorsett could become the next Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne.  For 2015, however, he won’t do much to narrow the 38-point gap between the Colts and the Patriota.

With all NFL teams looking to win now and with a head coach in a contract year, the decision to load up on a position of strength at the expense of plenty of positions of weakness seems very confusing to those on the outside — and to some of those on the inside.

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Cardinals plan same role for Andre Ellington

Arizona Cardinals v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

During the weeks leading up to the draft, the Cardinals were often mentioned as a potential trade destination for Adrian Peterson.

It made sense as a landing spot because the Cardinals struggled to run the ball effectively last season and because they’re good enough elsewhere that they might think a big move for Peterson would put them over the top. The Cardinals didn’t discuss Peterson, but coach Bruce Arians did allow that the team was looking for a back who relished contact in the draft to complement the shiftier Andre Ellington in the backfield.

The draft has come and gone and the Cardinals have neither Peterson nor the banger that Arians talked about. David Johnson, who was drafted in the third round, brings a bigger frame with him from Northern Iowa but he wasn’t grinding yards out after breaking tackles. He’s a pretty similar back to Ellington, actually, and thrives in the passing game, which helps explain why coach Bruce Arians says Ellington’s role isn’t changing.

“I think Andre will continue his same role,” Arians said, via “We’ll keep him healthy and let him continue to develop as a player, but the nice thing David can do is he can do everything Andre does, so you don’t have to change if there was an injury.”

Arians also said that Johnson could be the team’s kickoff returner next season, which supports the notion that he’s in town to provide insurance for Ellington as opposed to an alternate option as the leader of the running game.

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Sean Payton: Joe Morgan “deserved” another chance with team

Joe Morgan AP

Saints wide receiver Joe Morgan had issues on and off the field before he was released last season, but Saints coach Sean Payton said he thought Morgan “deserved” a chance to come back.

Since the post-draft press conference was the first chance for Payton to address it since Morgan was re-signed in April, the Saints coach said Morgan “took a number of initiatives to do some things to work on getting an opportunity to come back.”

It was a handful of things that were really just between us and the player,” Payton added, via Mike Triplett of

Morgan flashed talent, but had just five touches last year (including a 67-yard rush). But he  was also a headache, as he was suspended two games early last year for undisclosed reasons, and then cut late in the season. He was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving in 2013 as well.

“We had a long visit with him, sat down and spent some time with him,” Payton said. “He’s someone that I feel like I know real well, and I know Mickey [Loomis] feels the same way. And we felt comfortable with bringing him back on the roster. He’s someone that’s really developed.

“We’ve got a lot of time on task with Joe as a receiver, and I feel like we’ve got a lot of time on task with him as a person.”

You’d think he’d have a better opportunity to hang around this year, after the Saints got rid of Kenny Stills, and didn’t make any significant adds in free agency or the draft.

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Bucs don’t pick up Doug Martin option

Martin Getty Images

Three years ago, the man dubbed the Muscle Hamster became one of the hot young players in the NFL.  Now, running back Doug Martin is just another guy.

The Buccaneers have confirmed that notion by not picking up Martin’s fifth-year option, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Martin rushed for 1,454 yards in 16 starts as a rookie, but he has been under 500 yards in each of his two seasons since then.  His average also has plunged from 4.6 yards per attempt in 2012 to 3.6 and 3.7 in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Martin was the subject of trade rumors last year, before an ankle injury right before the trade deadline.

The Buccaneers drafted no running backs in 2015, but that they also have Charles Sims, Bobby Rainey, and Mike James under contract.

With Martin now in a contract year, maybe he’ll become the Muscle Hamster again.  That approach definitely worked in 2014 for the Saints and Mark Ingram.

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As expected, Charles Haley endorses Cowboys pick Randy Gregory

Charles Haley AP

The Cowboys keep signing or picking talented-but-troubled pass-rushers, using Charles Haley as justification.

So it stands to reason that Haley himself would endorse the moves.

As he did when the Cowboys signed free agent Greg Hardy, the Hall of Fame defensive end said he thought using a second-rounder on Nebraska’s Randy Gregory was a good move.

Haley was in Chicago for the draft, and said he’s already met Gregory, and told him he’d be there for support and counsel.

“He’s got an owner that’s not only going to stand with him, but stand in front of him and take some of the blows,” Haley said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “And Jerry [Jones] is not alone. He has a family of ex-players that love the Dallas Cowboys and are willing to come back and help.”

Haley, who struggled with his own demons as a player, said getting a player of Gregory’s caliber at that point in the draft was incredible value.

“The film that I saw, hey, the guy can get it done,” Haley said. “I just can’t believe that they got him in the second round. The Cowboys got a steal. You can’t have enough pass rushers.

“The guy should come in with a chip on his shoulder from being a second-rounder. Just like a lot of those guys that got drafted later, you come here with an attitude ready to work, because most guys come in as a first rounder and they think they already got it. He’s got something to prove. . . .

“The best pass rushers are those that don’t have fear. When I watched this kid play, he’s not afraid to stick his nose in there. He’s not afraid to be great.”

The playing part isn’t what they’re worried about, however. Keeping him eligible, and keeping him focused on football is the job, and that’s something Haley could certainly teach the kid if he’s willing to listen.

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Washington takes a flier on Connor Halliday

Halliday AP

Good news, Robert Griffin III — your team didn’t draft a quarterback.  Bad news (possibly), Robert Griffin III — your team may have nevertheless added your eventual replacement.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, whose final college season was marred by a broken ankle, has agreed to terms with Washington after going undrafted, PFT has confirmed.

G.M. Scot McCloughan attended Halliday’s Pro Day workout last month, making clear the team’s interest in the man who threw a whopping 714 in 13 games during the 2013 season.  That’s an average of more than 54 passes per game.

Often described as a “system” quarterback, Halliday now has a chance to learn coach Jay Gruden’s system.  If Robert Griffin III doesn’t, maybe Halliday eventually gets a chance to throw something less than 54 passes per game in the NFL.

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Monday morning one-liners

John Fox AP

Former Bills P Brian Moorman has built a foundation that helps families grieving after the loss of a child.

The Dolphins got younger during the draft, but did they get better?

What position battles loom for the Patriots after the draft?

A good review of Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan’s first draft.

Cornerback remains an area of need for the Ravens.

Running through the best and worst of the Bengals draft.

Did the Browns draft decisions show commitment to QB Johnny Manziel?

The Steelers are looking to linebacker for the foundation of their defense.

WR Jaelen Strong will wear No. 11 with the Texans to remind him that 10 receivers were drafted before he came off the board.

There should be a lot of competition at receiver with the Colts.

A dive inside the Jaguars’ draft process.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota isn’t too nice, according to Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost.

The Broncos addressed their offensive line needs over the weekend.

Mitch Morse could be the starting center for the Chiefs as a rookie.

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio called third-round pick Clive Walford “a complete tight end.”

CB Craig Mager had to deal with a lot of loss on his way to becoming a Chargers third-round pick.

The Cowboys passed on quarterbacks for another draft.

Giants S Landon Collins is primed to prove doubters wrong after dropping to the second round.

The Eagles opted not to draft any offensive linemen.

Five veteran Redskins who will be pushed by rookie arrivals.

Bears coach John Fox was fine with a draft class that focused on offensive help.

The Lions are showing they’re serious about boosting their run game.

LB Jake Ryan hopes to make an immediate impression on the Packers.

One of T T.J. Clemmings’s coaches from Pitt thinks the Vikings got a steal when they took him in the fourth round.

The Falcons waived TE Kyle Miller, who was on their practice squad last year.

A Panthers fan group is expanding nationwide.

A review of the reviews of the Saints’ work in the draft.

The new members of the Buccaneers will get their first work with the team during minicamp.

Said Cardinals T D.J. Humphries, “My pride won’t let me be a bust. I’m a pretty prideful guy and I want to be the best. And that’s all I ever wanted to be.”

The Rams appear set to have a callow offensive line group in 2015.

It looks like size mattered to the 49ers in the draft.

The Seahawks will be trying sixth-round pick Kristjan Sokoli at center during their rookie minicamp.

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Patriots long snapper unsure if Navy will let him join team

Reese's Senior Bowl Getty Images

If there was a perfectly Bill Belichick pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, it was when he used a fifth-rounder on Navy long snapper Joe Cardona.

Now, they just have to see when he’s able to join them.

Picking a specialist with ties to his father’s old school (who also plays lacrosse) checks off a lot of Belichick boxes, but Cardona said he’s not sure when he’ll be cleared to join the team because of the service commitment that comes with his degree.

The decision is out of my hands,” Cardona said, via Adam Kurkjian of the Boston Herald. “Right now I’m prepared to be the best football player I can be for the New England Patriots and the best naval officer I can be. Whatever duty I’m doing at the time, I’m doing it. I’m just prepared to do my best.”

Cardona’s the first Navy graduate to be drafted since the Packers took Bob Kuberski in the seventh round of the 1993 draft. Three others, tackle Max Lane (sixth round, 1994), tight end Kevin Hickman (Detroit Lions, sixth round, 1995) and offensive lineman Mike Wahle (Packers, second round of supplemental draft, 1998) did not graduate from the Academy.

Kuberski served two years in the Navy before joining the Packers. The Patriots also signed former Navy running back Eric Kettani as an undrafted rookie in 2009. He made their practice squad in 2011, but was recalled by the Navy, before bouncing through stops in Washington, Kansas City and Jacksonville.

Of course, Roger Staubach served a five-year commitment after being chosen by the Cowboys in the 1964 draft, eventually joining the team in 1969.

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Bruce Irvin vents over non-exercise of fifth-year option

Bruce Irvin AP

The Seahawks “expect” to have linebacker Bruce Irvin on the team for a long time, but they won’t be ensuring a fifth year at this point via the exercise of the automatic option that would extend his rookie deal.  And while coach Pete Carroll said over the weekend that he met with Irvin to explain the situation and it “went very well,” it didn’t go as well last night on Twitter.

“Faced way tougher adversity getting outta them streets coming up!” Irvin said on Twitter, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.  “That’s sh-t is nothing!  F–K THAT OPTION!”

He also declared, “I am a Seahawk!”  And he expressed a desire to prove his worth.

“Worked for everything I got in my life this sh-t will b no different!” Irvin said.  “I earns my keeps!”

Irvin later apologized, sort of.

“I’m a very blunt person and that won’t ever change sorry if u dislike it,” he said.

Players prefer (or at least should prefer) not to have their fifth-year option exercised, since it means they’ll have a shot at free agency a year sooner — and a chance to gauge their value on the open market.  The Seahawks apparently believe that, come 2016, Irvin won’t be worth the $7.8 million he was due to earn under the option.

On the other hand, the decision not to pick up a player’s option represents a commentary on the player’s perceived worth, which will tend to create some ruffled feathers in the short term.

The Seahawks have not formally announced that Irvin’s option won’t be exercised.  Based on Irvin’s tweets following his meeting with Carroll, it apparently hasn’t been.

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Garrett on Hardy: Distinguish yourself with play, not what you say

Dallas Cowboys v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

When someone on Twitter referred to Panthers receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess as the Twin Towers, Cowboys defensive end and former Panther Greg Hardy angered some people when he responded by saying “didn’t the twin towers get blown up lol.”

Hardy apologized the next day for mentioning “an event where no reference 2humor is ever ok” and Cowboys coach Jason Garrett also weighed in over the weekend when asked about Hardy’s comment. Garrett said that social media use is something that the team talks to players about and that they try to illustrate how to use it the right way.

“We try to emphasize that to our guys. ‘Distinguish yourself with your play, not with what you say,’ is something we talk about all the time,” Garrett said, via “That’s just another medium that we have to address. Some guys just need reinforcement one way or the other when they reach out and do some of those things. It’s all a learning process. None of us are perfect so we’re just trying to address it as these things come up. I think in general we have a policy of just use good restraint when you’re involved in all that kind of stuff. Think about the implication of your words.”

It looks like the Cowboys may not need to worry about Hardy on Twitter any longer as he tweeted an apparent farewell to his followers on Sunday night.

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Brandon Carr: I’m here until I’m told otherwise

Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers AP

The Cowboys took cornerback Byron Jones with their first round pick last Thursday, a move that came after several weeks of speculation about whether the team would try to get veteran corner Brandon Carr to take a pay cut from his scheduled $8 million salary.

Carr’s agent has said that his client won’t take a pay cut to remain in Dallas, but the cornerback himself was less forthcoming over the weekend. Carr said that his contract falls into the category of things he won’t discuss in public, adding that he is looking forward to working with Jones and that he doesn’t relate the rookie’s arrival to his contract situation.

“I say we’ve got a young guy, drafted a guy, a defensive back and they thought highly of him,” Carr said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I’m looking forward to having him in the room with us and grooming him to get ready to play. I’m still here. I’m here until told otherwise. That’s my philosophy. At the end of the day, if I’m playing football then I’m going to give my all for whoever I’m playing for.”

Ultimately, any decision about a pay cut is going to come down to whether Carr and his camp believe that they can sign elsewhere for more money than the Cowboys are offering him for the coming season. At this point in the offseason, there aren’t a lot of teams looking to splash cash on veteran free agents and that may wind up playing into Dallas’s hands if things come to a head in the coming days or weeks.

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Browns to DeVante Parker’s mom: Nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah, nyah

DeVante Parker AP

New Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker was relieved that the Browns decided to pass on him at No. 12.

Or at least his mother was.

We didn’t want him going to Cleveland,” Raneca Parker told Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, after the Dolphins took him with the 14th pick. “They don’t have a team, really, or a quarterback. I knew I didn’t want the Cleveland Browns.

“I know the teams the teams he could go to and the teams he couldn’t go to. We were happy with the Miami Dolphins. He was very ecstatic. We’re happy, we love the weather.”

As much as that might sting, the Browns replied, albeit indirectly, that they didn’t like Parker either.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns passed on him because “they felt he wasn’t tough enough and didn’t love the game enough.”

At least DeVante knows his mother loves him and — since he’s a receiver who might need a quarterback some day — has his best interests at heart.

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