The PFT guys preview the NFC matchup between the Packers and 49ers and wonder if Green Bay is ready to face a versatile QB like Colin Kaepernick. They also discuss field conditions in San Francisco and predict who will come out on top.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Previewing Packers at 49ers
When the rookie wage scale grossly restricted the money earned by players taken at the top of the 2011 draft, a theory emerged that once players became eligible for new contracts after their third NFL seasons, plenty of the men who became quality players would hold out until receiving the money they didn’t get upon entering the league in order to prevent busts from being unduly overpaid.
So far, that theory has busted. No members of the 2011 draft class are poised to hold out, even though none of the first-round picks has received a second contract.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, a fifth-round pick that year, has gotten a massive payday. But he’s the rare exception. First-rounders like Cam Newton, A.J. Green, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones, Tyron Smith, and J.J. Watt (pictured) are waiting — and they’re waiting very patiently.
In fact, only one 2011 draft pick has taken a stand this offseason. Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston boycotted the offseason program and a mandatory minicamp. He’s still expected to report this week for Chiefs’ training camp, especially since he is only a season away from free agency, unlike the first-rounders whose hands are tied by the fifth-year option.
The situation will further bolster the idea that the NFL won big in the last CBA, even though the truth remains that the NFLPA got the best deal it could given a rank-and-file that didn’t want to miss a paycheck. As a result, the paychecks will continue to smaller for for all rookies drafted from 2011 through the end of the decade, whether superstar or half-a-star.
The Browns might not have wide receiver Josh Gordon for part or all of the 2014 season, but that doesn’t mean the club will be severing his employment.
Head coach Mike Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club doesn’t intend to release Gordon, who was arrested on a DWI charge in early July. The 23-year-old Pro Bowl wide receiver, under contract for two more seasons, was already facing a potential suspension under the NFL’s substance abuse policy.
“Josh is a Cleveland Brown. We want to do what’s best for him,” Pettine told the Beacon Journal‘s Nate Ulrich in a story published Monday. “We have a player that potentially needs help. Whether it’s him or whether it’s anybody else that wears the uniform, if we can help, we’ll help. We want to make our decisions always, what’s best for the player, and you try to marry it with what’s best for the team.
“So that’s why I don’t think that cutting him, while it may have worked for some other people, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the best option here. It might be the worst option for both — for us and for him. We’re going to wait and see what happens and then act accordingly.”
Pettine told the Beacon Journal the club expects some clarity on Gordon’s disciplinary status in the next two weeks. The wide receiver reportedly could be in line for a yearlong ban.
“I’ve heard everything, all the possibilities, so it’s just gotten to the point where it is what it is. We’ve planned for everything, and we’re ready to go,” the Browns’ head coach told the newspaper.
In the longer term, though, an ideal Cleveland offense would have Gordon as the go-to target for a clear-cut starting quarterback. But those are just hopes for now.
According to coach Mike Pettine, we’ll have a winner of the Browns’ QB derby in about a month.
In a Q&A published Monday, Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal the club will pick a starting quarterback by Cleveland’s August 23 preseason game vs. St. Louis.
“I don’t know if I’ll set a date and kind of paint ourselves into a date, but it will be sooner than the third preseason game,” Pettine told Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal.
Teams typically play their starters more in the third exhibition game than in any of the other preseason contests, so if the Browns stick to the plan, the No. 1 quarterback will get an extended stint with the first-team offense in an important dress rehearsal for Cleveland.
Hoyer, a sixth-year pro who attended high school in Cleveland, will try to hold off the rookie Manziel, a first-round pick and the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.
The Bengals’ list of players on the non-football injury list surprisingly included receiver Marvin Jones, with an ankle injury.
Per a league source, Jones is day-to-day due to a tweaking of the ankle that happened at the post-OTA passing camp arranged by quarterback Andy Dalton. Jones had an issue with the ankle in 2013.
It’s a minor injury, and Jones currently is expected to practice this week. Which is great news for the Bengals, especially in light of the significant potential that Jones flashed at times in 2013 as a complement to A.J. Green.
Teams that play in the Hall of Fame game get to open camp a week or so earlier than most other teams. Which gives the teams that play in the Hall of Fame game extra practice time.
Which, when coming before other teams have opened camp, makes those teams the center of media attention. Which, when one of their hottest young players gets injured, sets Twitter ablaze.
On Monday, Bills rookie receiver Sammy Watkins, based on simultaneous tweets from roughly a dozen or more media accounts, caught a ball in traffic and emerged with an injury. Some said he was dazed. Others said he appeared to have a cut on his forehead or eye.
After practice, coach Doug Marrone told reporters that Watkins had been poked in the eye. It’s one of the risks of football practice, especially when a guy is willing to go over the middle.
“He shows that,” Marrone said regarding Watkins’ fearlessness. “He’s made a very good career for himself, in college, being able to go over the middle. That’s always a big test when you get to this level to make sure you can come over the middle. He’s a fearless player and, again, at the same time you have to be smart when you do that.”
Luck is also a factor. On Monday, Watkins and the Bills got lucky.
It’s good to be the defending NFL champions.
The Seattle Seahawks have announced that all tickets for the 2014 regular season have been sold, thanks in large part to a franchise-record 99-percent renewal rate on season tickets.
The team capped season tickets at 63,000. Another 12,000 members of the 12th man have joined the Blue Pride season-ticket waiting list.
It’s hardly a surprise, given the passion of the fan base, the performance of the team in 2013, and the potential for the Seahawks to become the first team in a decade to win back-to-back Super Bowl crowns.
With stalwart guard Chris Snee electing to retire, the Giants added to their numbers at the position on Monday, signing John Sullen, a first-year pro from Auburn. The signing of Sullen was disclosed in the NFL’s daily personnel notice.
Sullen (6-6, 340) signed with the Bengals after the 2013 NFL Draft. He appeared in three preseason games with Cincinnati before being waived on August 31.
Sullen will take the roster spot of the 32-year-old Snee, who officially was released with a failed physical designation. The 11th-year guard has hip and elbow injuries.
In another roster move Monday, the Giants waived wide receiver Kris Adams from the reserve/physically unable to perform list after he failed a physical. Adams suffered a broken leg last year.
Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said recently that Brett Favre has not committed to a jersey retirement ceremony at Lambeau Field in part because “He wouldn’t want to come back to be booed.” But Favre says that’s not the case.
“I’ve heard that was a concern of mine, and I’m here to tell you I’m not,” Favre said on ESPN 1000. “I’m not worried about that. I’m well aware that you can’t please everyone. Not everyone’s going to like you regardless, and you know what, so be it. But I think the 16 years that I had in Green Bay speaks for itself.”
Favre was booed off the field the last time he played at Lambeau with the Vikings, but he thinks he’d be cheered if he returned to have his green and gold No. 4 jersey retired.
“I have played with other teams, but I will be remembered as a Packer,” Favre said. “I feel that. I think the true Packer backers, which there are tons out there, feel the same way. I’m not the first player to play for other teams or rivals. . . . As time goes by, that’s how I will be remembered, as a Packer, and that’s how I want to be remembered.”
Favre believes that most Packers fans remember him fondly, even if they didn’t much like the way he left.
Eagles safety Keelan Johnson has been arrested after an altercation with police at a bar in Tempe, Arizona.
Johnson was charged with assaulting a police officer, passively resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, according to Arizona news station KTAR.
Police say Johnson was standing in front of a bar at 2 a.m. after an acquaintance was involved in a fight. As police detained Johnson’s acquaintance, Johnson shouted at officers. He was told to step back and then, according to police, when an officer tried to move him back, Johnson shoved the officer and a scuffle ensued. The report said Johnson appeared to be intoxicated.
The 24-year-old Johnson signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State last year, then signed with the Eagles when the Dolphins cut him at the end of the preseason. Johnson played in two games for the Eagles last season.
The Patriots lost defensive tackle Tommy Kelly to a torn ACL early last season and it looks like they’ll wait a little bit longer before letting him cut loose in a full training camp practice.
Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com reports that Kelly is one of five players who will start training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson, whose return from foot surgery was generating optimism he’d be ready on day one, is also headed to the list along with cornerback Alfonzo Dennard, special teams ace Matt Slater and rookie wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.
You’ll likely notice that neither tight end Rob Gronkowski nor defensive tackle Vince Wilfork are on that list, although they could still be given the designation at any point before taking part in a practice.
Yates also reports that first-round pick Dominique Easley will start his first camp on the Non-Football Injury list after tearing his ACL at Florida last season. Running back Roy Finch, linebacker Deontae Skinner and tackle Chris Martin are also headed to the NFL list. Those players and the ones on the PUP list can be activated at any point in camp.
Any time a team has multiple picks in the first three rounds, it’s a chance to restock their roster with cheap, high-end talent.
The Texans now have nothing left from the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Williams missed all of his rookie season after microfracture surgery, and it appears the Texans aren’t going to wait for him to get well any longer.
Along with former LSU defensive end Sam Montgomery (who was cut last year, reportedly for smoking marijuana the night before a game), the Texans have nothing to show from the 89th and 95th picks.
The Patriots signed rookie defensive lineman Eathyn Manumaleuna on Monday, the club said.
In a corresponding roster move, New England waived rookie Seali’i Epenesa, a defensive lineman from UCLA.
This is the second NFL stint for the 25-year-old Manumaleuna, who signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in May. The Giants waived him on June 19.
Manumaleuna (6-2, 305) notched 144 tackles (17 for loss) in 56 collegiate games for BYU. In New England, it’s possible he could get looks as a 4-3 defensive tackle and as a 3-4 defensive end.
For a team with lots of pending medical questions entering training camp, only one is going to keep a guy off the field from the start of Giants training camp.
Beason is coming off a foot injury, and there’s no clear word on his timetable. But he didn’t need surgery, which leaves the door open for him to return for the regular season opener.
The Cowboys have signed a wide receiver who’s flashed some playmaking ability in his NFL career.
A Dallas-area native, the 24-year-old Briscoe was with Washington last summer. The club waived-injured him with a shoulder ailment in August.
Briscoe has had NFL stints with Cincinnati (2010), Tampa Bay (2010-2012) and Washington (2012-2013). His best season came in 2011, when he caught 35 passes for 387 yards and six TDs for the Buccaneers.
Briscoe will compete for a reserve role with Dallas, which had 10 receivers before bringing him into the fold. The Cowboys begin training camp on Wednesday.
Maybe it would have been easier for the Bengals to list the players they haven’t put on the Physically Unable to Perform or Non-Football Injury lists.
As the team that has gone to the playoffs three straight times prepares to defend its AFC North crown, the Bengals will not have the services of 12 players who have been placed on the PUP or NFI list.
On PUP, which means they can’t pass a physical because of a past football injury while in the NFL, are defensive tackle Geno Atkins (knee), guard Clint Boling (knee), linebacker Marquis Flowers (hamstring), cornerback Leon Hall (Achilles), punter Kevin Huber (neck), receiver Colin Lockett (hamstring), defensive tackle Zach Minter (back), defensive tackle Devon Still (back), and receiver Ryan Whalen (hamstring).
Jones, who participated in the offseason program, apparently injured the ankle during the down time after OTAs. It’s unclear how long any of the 12 players will be unavailable to practice in advance of the 2014 season.