Packers WR James Jones joins PFT to preview Green Bay’s wild card rematch against Minnesota. Jones also discusses his relationship with QB Aaron Rodgers, how players answer questions about Brett Favre, and much more.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: One-on-one with James Jones
Tuesday brought word that Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory has checked himself into a treatment facility and that he faces an additional suspension from the league on top of the four-game ban he’s set to serve at the start of this season.
A second suspension could keep Gregory out for an additional 10 games, which would make 2016 essentially a lost season and leave the Cowboys with little to show for the 2015 second-round pick they used to select Gregory. On Wednesday, however, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the team’s disappointment in the turn of events is of less concern than Gregory finding a better path in life.
“There’s no question he needs the kind of help and care he’s getting right now,” Jones said, via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “We have no official notification from league. We are first and foremost interested in how he can address his addiction and get to where he can function in society first and look to be a football player second.”
Part of the reason why Gregory dropped to the Cowboys in 2014 was because teams were concerned that off-field issues would keep him from realizing his on-field potential. That’s certainly the way things have played out to this point and it’s impossible to predict another outcome until Gregory finds another way to live his life away from the football field.
Back in May, Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins responded to a question about the prospect of playing out the year on the franchise tag by saying that he didn’t feel he deserved a long-term deal if he doesn’t play well during the 2016 season.
That prospect is now the reality for Cousins, who didn’t sign a multi-year deal before the July 15 deadline to get one done. During an interview with Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday, via the Washington Post, Cousins talked about the situation again and reiterated that he’s comfortable and even looking forward to the chance to prove his worth this season.
“If I wasn’t wanted here, the team would not have franchise-tagged me,” Cousins said. “It’s been well documented that it’s a good amount of money, so the franchise tag showed that I am wanted. Now, maybe not beyond this year, but for this year I am wanted and, frankly, that’s all you really have in this league. You don’t have much more than the next game, this coming season, you’ve got to prove it. Whether I was on a long-term deal or a one-year deal, if I didn’t play well this season, it wasn’t going to matter. I feel good about having this one season to go prove myself and see what I can do. I’ve always been at times a little underrated, a little overlooked and that’s okay. That’s part of my story. I think I do relish the opportunity to prove to people that I’m capable of playing well and being here for a long time. Having that opportunity to prove yourself is really all you can ask for in this league.”
Cousins has that opportunity and making the most of it will lead to another round of negotiating with the Redskins that could include the use of another franchise tag. That would boost Cousins’ salary to $24 million in 2017 and set the bar for a long-term deal even higher than it was this time around.
One of the knocks on cornerback Josh Norman’s jump from Carolina to Washington is that Norman won’t be as effective because the front seven of his new team isn’t nearly as good as the front seven of his old team. A member of the front seven of Norman’s new team prefers to flip that around.
“[Y]ou definitely take that personally and of course Carolina does have a very good front seven with guys like Short and Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, guys like that but we feel like we like the guys we have in Washington,” Kerrigan said on Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “Chris Baker, myself, Preston Smith, Will Compton, Perry Riley, guys like that. We feel like we can, especially with Norman’s addition, become an even better front seven. So we look forward to hopefully improving not just in the front seven but as a defense as a whole.”
Kerrigan sees no difference at all in the Josh Norman of 2015 and the Josh Norman of 2016 as a player. As a person, Norman wasn’t what Kerrigan had expected.
“He’s exactly what you saw from a playing standpoint with Carolina last year he was athletic, fast, really good breaking on the football,” Kerrigan said. “What was surprising to me was if you watch him on TV last year you know he’s jawing with Odell Beckham and all this stuff but then he’s actually one of the more calm and more chill guys I’ve ever been around. I kind of was expecting a little bit of a of a wildcat when he came in but he’s been far from it. He’s just been a guy who’s come in and wanted to do his work and wanted to improve and help the team.”
The wildcat in Norman will return from time to time — twice against Beckham and the Giants, twice against Dez Bryant and the Cowboys, and maybe more often. Washington could use a little of that fight as it tries to win a second straight division, and to progress even deeper into the postseason.
For the full visit from Kerrigan, taped Tuesday and played on Wednesday, click the thing in the thing below.
The Bengals cut two players and placed several players on the physically unable to perform list Tuesday, and Wednesday they added a defensive end to their preseason roster.
The team signed undrafted rookie Jack Gangwish, who started nine games as a senior at Nebraska last fall. The Bengals are looking for additional depth and developmental players at defensive end, so Gangwish should get a chance to prove himself during training camp.
The Bengals open camp Friday.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened things up today with a reasonable revealing — for him — assessment of his quarterback situation.
Of course, he’s going to be without starter Tom Brady for the first four games because of his #DeflateGate suspension, but Belichick admitted what was already clear, that Jimmy Garoppolo had to get himself ready to start four games.
“We had, finally, some definition with Tom’s situation, so our priority now is to get Jimmy ready for the start of the season, for the Arizona game [Sept. 11],” Belichick said, via Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. “That will be, obviously, a comprehensive process.
“Tom will return as the starting quarterback when he comes back, but in the meantime, we have to prioritize the first part of our schedule and that will be to get Jimmy ready to go.”
So there you have it: Belichick eliminated the possibility of a quarterback controversy when Brady returns, and didn’t allude to a competition between Garoppolo and rookie Jacoby Brissett for the interim job.
While that seems obvious, it’s rare for Belichick to admit anything beyond the current condition.
The Patriots are adding tight end Bear Pascoe and offensive lineman Jon Halapio, Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters Wednesday.
Pascoe, 30, was most recently with the Lions. He saw his most extensive time with the Giants early in his career and has also spent time with the Falcons and Bears. Pascoe has 40 career receptions in 85 games.
Halapio, 25, was a Patriots sixth-round pick in 2014. He was cut during his first training camp and has spent time with the Broncos and Cardinals.
The Jets signing Bernard Pierce seemed a bit unusual at first, considering they have pretty good depth at the position.
But they’re not quite as deep as they were earlier this offseason.
Stacy had surgery to repair a broken left ankle last November, and apparently wasn’t ready to contribute.
They still have Matt Forte and Bilal Powell atop their depth chart, but apparently had a short-term need for Pierce. He’s suspended the first two regular season games, but is eligible to participate in training camp and the preseason.
With Tom Brady suspended for the first four games of the season, the Patriots will turn to the inexperienced backup Jimmy Garoppolo. Fortunately for New England, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says Garoppolo isn’t as inexperienced as he seems.
McDaniels says that as Garoppolo heads into his third season since the Patriots chose him in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, the team is confident that Garoppolo has learned a lot through working on the practice field and the meeting room.
“He’s worked extremely hard,” McDaniels said. “He’s had a lot of opportunities in his first two-plus years here, in practice and in spring football. This will be his third opportunity at training camp. He’s got a great work ethic, a great approach, he tries to get better and improve every day, and he’s made progress. We’re a long way from where we want to be in terms of the finished product with him and a lot of guys on our team. There’s nobody that’s as good as we can make them. We’re excited to work with all those guys and try to improve every way we can.”
Garoppolo has thrown just 31 regular-season passes in his NFL career, most of them in a meaningless Week 17 loss to the Bills in 2014. He hasn’t shown much so far — except in the Patriots’ facility, where McDaniels likes what he sees.
After running back Jamaal Charles did some on-field work during Chiefs minicamp, coach Andy Reid said that the team would “see day-by-day” about the running back’s practice schedule once they got to training camp.
The first of those reviews has led the team to place Charles on the physically unable to perform list for the start of camp. Charles, who tore his ACL last October, cannot take part in practices with the team while on the PUP list, but can be activated to full status at any point.
Reid said Wednesday that Charles remains “on track” and that the decision to put him on the list at this point was made to help ensure that remains the case.
Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware will likely get the tailback reps with the first team with Charles on the PUP list and could be the primary runners during the preseason if the Chiefs opt for continued caution with Charles.
Despite extensive flood damage in June, the Saints have indeed returned to West Virginia for training camp, at The Greenbrier resort. The team’s commitment to the state means a lot.
“More important than you’ll know,” said Greenbrier owner (and West Virginia gubernatorial candidate) Jim Justice, via FOX 8. “The reason for that is, when you’re hurting, and someone takes a bold step to step out and say we’re there for you, and we’re coming. We’re coming no matter what, we’re coming. It was really, really, meaningful.”
It’s the third and final year of the team’s arrangement in West Virginia, where the late July/early August days are much cooler and less humid than they are in Louisiana. An extension of the deal remains possible; in 2015, an extension apparently was almost reached.
“Well, last year there was a bunch of conversations about that when they were here,” Justice said. “We were just about to conclude on all that, and then I don’t know exactly what happened and everything, but we just drifted away from the heat of the moment to get it done, get it finalized and get the extension in place. I would love the Saints to be here for forevermore. I love the organization, I love the people. If it doesn’t work for them, I completely understand that. Because there will be five other NFL teams that would love to be here, that’s not an issue.”
Last year, the Cardinals spent a week practicing at The Greenbrier between games at Detroit and Pittsburgh. It’s unclear which teams would choose to replace the Saints as the team that spends training camp at The Greenbrier. In today’s NFL, not many venture away from their regular practice facilities.
Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was arrested in Miami on Miami for allegedly punching a hotel employee in the face during a dispute over the speed of the service the employee was providing to Bradham’s group and coach Doug Pederson faced questions about potential impact on his spot with the team on Wednesday.
Pederson said, via Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, that he doesn’t foresee the Eagles releasing Bradham as a result of the arrest. Bradham is expected to be part of the team’s starting defense as he reunites with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who coached Bradham when both men were in Buffalo in 2014.
Pederson also said that he had a “great conversation” with Bradham, but said that he otherwise wouldn’t discuss what remains an ongoing legal process.
McLane reports that sources told him Bradham hit the worker, who was a beach attendant at a hotel, three times after the worker swung at Bradham and hit Bradham’s girlfriend when the swing went awry.
As they prepare to open camp, the Jets are finally adding the veteran piece to their offense.
No, not that one.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Jets are signing former Ravens and Jaguars running back Bernard Pierce.
Pierce has been suspended the first two games of the regular season, after cutting a plea deal to avoid a DUI conviction. But he’s eligible to participate in training camp and the preseason.
The Jets brought in Matt Forte this offseason to go along with Bilal Powell and Khiry Robinson, so it’s not as if they’re looking for a front-line player, but can now kick the tires on a player with experience.
Pierce only got six carries last year with the Jaguars, but was a solid contributor for the Ravens prior to that.
When Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers appeared recently on HBO’s Bill Simmons venture, Rodgers faced no questions about comments made by his brother, Jordan, on ABC’s The Bachelorette. More recently, Aaron Rodgers addressed such questions in an interview with a local ABC affiliate.
“As far as those kinds of things go, I’ve always found that it’s a little inappropriate to talk publicly about some family matters, so I’m just — I’m not going to speak on those things, but I wish him well in the competition,” Rodgers said of his younger brother, via WISN-TV.
Jordan Rodgers feels differently about airing out family laundry.
“I have a great relationship with my brother Luke,” Jordan Rodgers said on the show. “Me and Aaron don’t really have that much of a relationship. It’s just kind of the way he’s chosen to do life. I choose to stay close with my family and my parents and my brother. It’s not ideal. I love him and I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in his shoes and the pressure he has, the demands from people that he has. Don’t have hard feelings against him, it’s just how things go right now.”
None of it matters to Aaron Rodgers’ ability to play quarterback, but the profile of Aaron as an NFL quarterback and Jordan as a failed-NFL-quarterback-turned-reality-star makes these matters relevant. At least a little bit. To someone. Possibly.
Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has a base salary of $6.25 million for the 2016 season, which puts him below receivers like Kendall Wright, Michael Floyd and others who have been less productive over recent years.
Brown’s desire for a bump in pay led to a brief absence from Steelers offseason work in 2015, but there was no replay this year as Brown worked with the team following his time on “Dancing With the Stars.” That fits with the Steelers’ expectation that he’ll honor his contract without issue, but doesn’t mean Brown has given up hope of a sweetened deal.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Brown is “hopeful and confident” that the team will address his contract before the start of the regular season. That could come by way of an extension, although Brown’s deal won’t be up until after the 2017 season, or it could come by some other arrangement that boosts Brown’s pay in 2016. That’s something the Steelers did last year by taking $2 million of his 2016 salary and moving it forward, so they could take a similar approach while leaving full extension talks for the future.
With his deal running another season, that may be the likeliest outcome but the good news for the Steelers is that Brown will be on the field while things work themselves out on the contract front.
There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about the possibility of a contract extension for Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, but he isn’t the only member of the club entering the final year of his rookie deal.
Wide receiver Michael Floyd is in the same boat as he prepares for the fifth year of the contract he signed with the Cardinals as a first-round pick in 2012. Floyd is coming off a year that saw him make 52 catches for 849 yards and six touchdowns, but closed the year with five 100-yard outings in his final eight games after a preseason hand injury healed.
Floyd put up similar numbers in 2014 and the Cardinals exercised their option on his contract for this season, but Floyd knows that doesn’t mean they’ll definitely be looking to extend the relationship.
“You still got to go out there and perform,” Floyd said, via ESPN.com. “That’s what I expect myself to do — just going out there and doing the best that I can to put myself in a position to stay here in Arizona, which I want to. I love this place and the organization treats me well. Basically the ball’s in my court. How I perform is all up to me.”
Larry Fitzgerald is also in the final year of his pact and, assuming Fitzgerald keeps playing, that will leave the Cardinals with some decisions to make about the future of a receiving corps that also includes John Brown, Jaron Brown and J.J. Nelson. A big year from Floyd might not make those decisions any easier, but it will leave Floyd in a good position for a nice payday somewhere.