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Keim, Cardinals negotiating


Eight days in to the 2013 offseason, and no new General Managers have been hired.

That could change soon.

Albert Breer of NFL Network reports that the Cardinals and director of player personnel Steve Keim currently are negotiating a deal that would make Keim the in-house successor to Rod Graves.

It has been widely believed that Keim would ascend to the top job in Arizona, where the Cardinals also are in the process of hiring a new head coach.  Keim also is believed to be a finalist for the G.M. job in Jacksonville.

The other teams currently searching for new General Managers are the Jets, Chiefs, Chargers, Panthers, and Browns.

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Former NFLPA executive director Ed Garvey dies at 76

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 30:  Lonnie Bunch, Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, speaks during an NFLPA press conference prior to Super Bowl XLVIII on January 30, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images) Getty Images

One of the leading figures of the National Football League Players Association in the 1970s has died.

Ed Garvey, who was the union’s first executive director, died on Wednesday morning in Verona, Wisconsin. His death was first reported by Dave Zweifel of the Capital Times.

Garvey was a labor lawyer for a Minneapolis firm representing the NFLPA in the late 1960s and was named the group’s first executive director in 1970 after working alongside union president John Mackey. Garvey remained in the role through 1982 when he was succeeded by Gene Upshaw.

There were a pair of strikes during Garvey’s tenure in 1974 and 1982, although only the latter strike cost the league any regular season games. His stint as executive director also saw the union win a lawsuit invalidating the Rozelle Rule, which limited players’ ability to move by giving then-commissioner Pete Rozelle the right to assign compensation to any team losing a free agent. The court ruling did not eliminate the compensatory element, but wrote the formula for determining it into the CBA rather than a ruling by the commissioner.

Garvey later worked in the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office and made a pair of unsuccessful runs for Senate twice.

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Eddie Lacy posts workout video with free agency approaching

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 25:  Eddie Lacy #27 of the Green Bay Packers runs against the Detroit Lions
at Lambeau Field on September 25, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 34-27.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Social media has played a role in the football world in a variety of ways in recent years with one of the most frequent being the posting of videos by players rehabbing from injuries.

Players who are headed toward free agency are often among those sharing such glimpses into what’s going on in their lives and Packers running back Eddie Lacy joined the fun this week. Lacy posted a video of himself working out in a pool as he continues his recovery from a season-ending ankle injury and surgery.

There’s not much to glean from the video about where Lacy stands in the rehab process nor is there much of a hint about what kind of shape he’s in outside of the ankle. Lacy’s weight has been an issue for the Packers over the last couple of years and will likely be one for any suitors in free agency next month as well.

Due to the injury and a lackluster 2015 campaign, Lacy may be looking at signing a one-year deal in hopes of proving he’s worthy of a bigger investment at this point in 2018. That opportunity could come with the Packers, who currently have only converted wideout Ty Montgomery under contract at running back for next season.

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Joe Mixon’s draft chances hinge on an owner’s approval

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02:  Joe Mixon #25 of the Oklahoma Sooners is tackled by Joshua Holsey #15 of the Auburn Tigers during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) Getty Images

The team that drafts former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon will be getting a very talented player. That team will also be getting a public relations nightmare, as the local TV news in Mixon’s new NFL city will surely feature plenty of footage of Mixon punching a woman, breaking bones in her face.

There’s no doubt that NFL personnel people will like what they’ve seen of Mixon, but will an NFL owner sign off on the possibility that Mixon will tarnish the team’s reputation? That’s the question that will determine where Mixon is drafted — or if he’s drafted at all.

That’s the word from Mike Mayock, who said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he has talked to “a bunch” of NFL teams and they’ve all told him the same thing: Evaluating Mixon isn’t so much about the football people determining how good he is as about the owner deciding whether he wants to take a PR hit. Mayock said every team he’s talked to about Mixon has told him it will be an “ownership decision.”

The Mixon video is similar to that of Ray Rice, whose career was ended by the video of him punching his wife. So it’s conceivable that all 32 teams will take a pass on Mixon, just as all 32 teams have taken a pass on Rice.

However, Rice was already on the downside of his career when that video surfaced. Mixon is a very promising player who’s just 20 years old. It’s likely that some team will take a shot on Mixon. Just as long as the owner is OK with it.

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Tag-and-trade hinges on Kirk Cousins long-term contract

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins walks off of the field after the Green Bay Packers defeated the Washington Redskins 35-18 during the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at FedExField on January 10, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s gradually becoming a foregone conclusion that Washington will apply the franchise tag to quarterback Kirk Cousins for a second time. Whether that means Cousins definitely will be with the team is a different issue.

Once it became obvious that the 49ers would hire coach Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers became an obvious potential destination for Cousins. So what would it take to make that happen? (Glad you asked, even if you didn’t.)

The first step will be setting trade compensation. The No. 2 overall pick in the draft arguably is too much; the teams could flip-flop the second and 17th picks for starters, with maybe something more (for example, the 49ers’ second-round pick) to get it done.

The harder part will be working out a contract with Cousins.

Since he’d have to be tagged before he’s traded, Cousins will be entitled to $23.94 million for 2017 prior to any contract being done with the 49ers. With the franchise tag and its 44-percent raise highly unlikely for 2018, Washington at most would apply the transition tag next year, which would increase the $23.05 million by another 20 percent — to $28.78 million. And so Cousins likely would want more than $52 million fully guaranteed over the first two years as part of a long-term deal to stay in Washington.

So here’s the real question: Would Cousins accept a deal that pays out less than $52 million over the first two years as part of a trade to San Francisco? He previously has made it clear he won’t take a hometown discount in Washington; would he extend a hometown discount to a new hometown that is ready and willing to give him the kind of long-term security that Washington has refused to provide?

If yes, then a tag-and-trade becomes more likely. If no, then he gets traded to the 49ers only if the 49ers will give Cousins the same deal he wants in Washington, if/when he’s tagged again.

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Adam Vinatieri on Pat McAfee: I just miss him

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 22: Adam Vinatieri #4 celebrates with Pat McAfee #1 of the Indianapolis Colts after kicking the game winning field goal during the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on November 22, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Punter Pat McAfee made a surprising announcement during Super Bowl week when he retired from the NFL at the age of 29.

McAfee cited repeated surgeries on his right knee as a reason for his decision and he tweeted out a picture of himself prepped for another operation on Wednesday. That would seem to be further sign that McAfee’s on a different path, although one of his Colts teammates still wants to be certain that McAfee’s punting days are done.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri will have to work with a new holder with McAfee out of the picture and said that he tried to talk the punter out of calling it quits when McAfee first broached the subject of moving into the media world during the season. He told Alex Marvez and Bill Polian of SiriusXM NFL Radio that he’s still “begging him to come back,” but sounds more resigned to moving forward without his partner for the last eight years.

“I tried to talk him out of it,” Vinatieri said. “I said, ‘Man, do both. You’re so good at punting. We need you. I need you.’ That was selfish of me to even say that because whatever he wants to do, and I know he’s going to be so successful at this, I’m excited for him. I just miss him. I talked to him and I was like, ‘Man, are you sure? It’s not the same without you, buddy.'”

When he does turn away from lobbying for McAfee’s return, Vinatieri said it will be “interesting” to see who the Colts get to do the holding in place of McAfee for the 2017 season.

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Donald Penn: Derek Carr is “almost 100 percent”

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 02:  Quarterback Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders is checked on by tackle Donald Penn #72 after being sacked against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 2, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Raiders 30-24.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Less than two months ago, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken leg. His rehab apparently is going well.

Teammate Donald Penn appeared Tuesday on NFL Network and passed along some important information regarding Carr’s health.

“I texted Derek two days ago and asked how he was doing, checking in, and he said ‘I’m almost 100 percent,'” Penn said, via Carr’s brother, David, removed the “almost.”

“He’s going to be great,” David Carr said. “He’s good. Walking around already, stretching it out. He can’t do a lot for the bone, but he’s going to be back. He’ll get a whole full offseason in, and that’s going to be the best part.”

That’s the best news for the Raiders; when the offseason program opens, Derek Carr should be good to go. And the better he is for the offseason, the better off the Raiders will be in 2017, as they try to get back to the postseason and advance beyond the opening round.

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Patrick Mahomes II received second-round grade from NFL’s College Advisory Committee

MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 07:  Patrick Mahomes #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders drops back to pass under pressure in the first half during the game West Virginia Mountaineers on November 7, 2015 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Before Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes II decided to give up his remaining eligibility at the college level, he gathered plenty of information. One relevant piece of data came from the NFL’s College Advisory Committee.

In an interview with PFT Live that will be broadcast on Thursday, Mahomes says he received a second-round grade from the panel that tries to help players with lingering eligibility decide whether to stay in college or go to the NFL.

Mahomes, whose father played Major League Baseball and who until a year ago played college baseball, threw for more than 5,000 yards last season — including 734 in a 66-59 loss to Oklahoma. He plans to throw at next week’s Scouting Combine.

For the full interview, tune in to Thursday’s PFT Live, which starts on NBC Sports Radio at 6:00 a.m. ET and moves to NBCSN at 7:00 a.m. ET.

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Bills’ clearance of Tyrod Taylor sets stage for possible grievance

ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills looks to throw against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half at New Era Field on December 11, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Getty Images

It was no accident that someone from the Bills (cough . . . Russ Brandon . . . cough) told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that quarterback Tyrod Taylor has received medical clearance following surgery to repair a groin/hernia/core muscle/whatever they’re calling it now. When the Bills benched Taylor late in the year, the team’s intention became clear: With $27.5 million guaranteed for injury until March 11, when it becomes fully guaranteed, the Bills wanted to be sure he could pass a physical before they pass on paying him ridiculous money.

Even though the Bills have now gotten the word out that Taylor is fine, the question becomes whether Taylor agrees. If he believes he’s not cleared now or, more importantly, on March 11, he can file a grievance challenging the assessment. It would set the stage for a battle of medical experts with a whole lot of money riding on the outcome.

This doesn’t change the fact that, without a major restructuring, the Bills will cut Taylor. And Taylor will surely find another team, with any money he makes elsewhere reducing Buffalo’s potential obligation. However, with Taylor highly unlikely to fully replace what Buffalo would have paid (or to even come close to it), there will be several million reasons for Taylor to take issue with the team’s assessment of his current health via the devices available under the CBA.

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Bears hire Brandon Staley to coach outside linebackers

Bears Lions Football AP

The Bears are hiring Brandon Staley as their new outside linebackers coach, ESPN’s Adam Caplan reported.

Staley coached last season as defensive coordinator at Div. III John Carroll University in Cleveland, the alma mater of Hall of Fame coach Don Shula and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

Staley had been hired for the same role at Tennessee-Chattanooga when ex-John Carroll coach Tom Arth was hired there in December. Arth had a stint as a quarterback with the Colts in the early 2000s.

Though most coaching openings across the league have been filled, the Bears have been busy this week filling out their staff. Zach Azzanni will be the team’s new wide receivers coach, and Derius Swinton will return as assistant special teams coach after he was the 49ers’ special teams coach last season.

Staley replaces Clint Hurtt, who is now the Seahawks’ defensive line coach.

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Mike Zimmer: Maybe I didn’t do enough last offseason

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JANUARY 1: Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer on field before the game against the Chicago Bears on January 1, 2017 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Vikings slipped from a division title in 2015 and 5-0 start to the 2016 season to an 8-8 finish that left them outside of the postseason.

That’s left coach Mike Zimmer and the rest of his staff with a clear goal for the 2017 season and the coach said in an interview with the team’s website that they are already “grinding” to put together a team that can achieve better results this time around. Zimmer also said that he’s wondered if “maybe I didn’t do enough” at this time last year when pondering the disappointing record.

One way he’s working to combat that feeling is by spending more time in offensive meetings than he has in the past to learn about what the team’s offensive coaches think about both their unit and the defenses that are trying to stop them from putting points on the board. Zimmer said his meetings with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and company left him with the feeling that “the heart of the problem” was a poor running game.

The team has already made one move related to that shortcoming by releasing guard Brandon Fusco and there are pending decisions on left tackle Matt Kalil and running back Adrian Peterson that will further shape the look of next season’s Vikings offense.

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After Cooley questioned McCloughan’s drinking, team’s silence speaks volumes

Chris Cooley AP

Last week, former Washington tight end Chris Cooley, who works for the team and for a Dan Snyder-owned radio station, questioned on the air whether General Manager Scot McCloughan has been drinking. The team declined to comment.

But declining to comment doesn’t make a story go away, and a column today in the Washington Post suggests that the team’s silence speaks volumes. Columnist Jerry Brewer suggests that Cooley’s speculation about McCloughan’s drinking may have been planted by the team in an effort to reduce McCloughan’s popularity.

McCloughan has been open about his problems with alcohol in the past. For his employer to use that in an attempt to discredit him would be disturbing.

That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, however, and the Washington Post column features that possibility in a broader picture of a power struggle in Washington in which President Bruce Allen is really calling the shots, and McCloughan is being put in his place. It can’t be a comfortable position for McCloughan to be in, but he’s been muzzled by the team, and we apparently won’t hear his side of it any time soon.

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Bears hire Zach Azzanni as wide receivers coach

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 31:  Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Chicago Bears celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on October 31, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Curtis Johnson left the Bears to return for a second stint on Sean Payton’s coaching staff in New Orleans, which means that the Bears were in the market for their third wide receivers coach in the last three seasons.

They found one in the college ranks. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that the team hired Zach Azzanni to fill the opening on John Fox’s staff. Azzanni is the third new offensive position coach in Chicago this year.

Azzanni spent the last four seasons at the University of Tennessee and coached the wideouts at Wisconsin in 2012 before moving to the Volunteers. He also worked at Central Michigan from 2007-09 and helped Steelers star Antonio Brown develop into a player who would be selected in the sixth round of the draft before rising to the top of the position.

The Bears would love to see Azzanni have the same kind of impact on their receiving corps, which could move on without Alshon Jeffery as he’s set for free agency next month.

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Garoppolo has some say in his immediate future, too

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the New England Patriots come out on to the field prior to the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo shrugs at questions about his future by saying “your guess is good as mine,” the truth is that he has slightly more say than the rest of us regarding what will happen. No matter how things play out, what Garoppolo wants will be a major factor.

What’s that, you say? The Patriots can trade him whenever and wherever they want? That’s true, but if Garoppolo supposedly will be fetching a first-round selection plus more for the Patriots, it’s unlikely that the team giving up the picks will do so without Garoppolo agreeing to extend a contract that expires after the coming season. Otherwise, that team could end up playing the Kirk Cousins-style franchise tag game with Garoppolo in 2018 and 2019, coughing up a lot more money then than it would take to get him under contract for the next several years now.

But Garoppolo can flatly refuse to do a new contract with another team, which would make him far less attractive in trade. Let’s say the Browns want him, and that he doesn’t want to be the next name on back of the Shirt of Slapd–ks. If he says (through his agent), “I’m not interested in playing for you and I will never sign a long-term contract,” why would the Browns do the deal?

So, yes, Garoppolo has plenty of say. The fact that he’s not saying that shows he’s currently committed to the Patriot Way — and that it ultimately could be the Patriots with whom he signs a second contract, waiting patiently for Tom Brady to retire.

What’s that, you say? No one knows when Tom Brady will retire. His agent likely has an idea, and Garoppolo is represented by the same firm. So, yes, Garoppolo not only has plenty of say but also has an idea when the job will become available in New England.

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New Jersey man sentenced to five years in prison for Giants ticket scam

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 26:  A general view of the exterior of MetLife Stadium is seen before the New York Jets take on the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on October 26, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

A scheme to scam 16 people out of money they thought was going toward personal seat licenses for Giants season tickets has led to a five-year prison sentence for the man who was running the con. reports that John Gorman has been sentenced to that jail term by Ocean County Superior Court Judge Patricia B. Roe and has also been ordered to repay $116,550 to his victims. Gorman, who was once a Giants season ticket holder, advertised the fraudulent PSLs on Craigslist starting in 2008 but never delivered when MetLife Stadium opened for business in 2010.

Gorman’s scam was helped by the fact that he shares the same name as the Giants’ director of ticketing, which bolstered his online claims to be an employee of the team when convincing his victims to part with their money. An employee of the team claiming to sell PSLs out the back door apparently didn’t tip anyone off until Gorman failed to produce PSLs, but should probably be a red flag to anyone who might find themselves being pitched in the future.

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Bills say Tyrod Taylor is medically cleared

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 20:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills is tackled by Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on November 20, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills say quarterback Tyrod Taylor is healthy enough to play — and potentially healthy enough to get cut.

A team source told Adam Schefter that Taylor has been medically cleared from his January groin surgery.

It’s significant that this is coming from a team source, rather than directly from Taylor. The Bills can cut Taylor by March 11 and not have to pay his $27.5 million guarantee, but only if he can pass a physical. If the Bills choose not to pick up Taylor’s guarantee, it’s still possible that Taylor could file a grievance and claim he isn’t yet healthy.

If the Bills cut Taylor, he becomes an unrestricted free agent. If he’s still on the team after March 11, that means the Bills are committed to him as their quarterback.

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