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For the Super Bowl winner, the right to host the first regular game of the season on the Thursday night of Week One is viewed as an honor. But for the team that has to go on the road to play the Super Bowl winner, it’s not necessarily a good thing.
That’s the word from Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman, whose team will travel to Denver for a Super Bowl 50 rematch in Week One. Gettleman said this morning on PFT Live that he’d rather have a full week of work after final roster cuts, like the other 30 teams get.
“To me, playing in the opening game, on that Thursday night, is a little bit of a competitive disadvantage to those teams, compared to the other 30, because of the way the 53 cut is set up. You’ve got to have a practice and you don’t have your practice squad players,” Gettleman said. “It’s kind of a competitive disadvantage. We’ve got to play them at some point and I’m sure that when the ball’s teed up we’ll both be ready to go.”
Gettleman is right that he and John Elway will have less time to finish their 53-player rosters than the NFL’s other 32 GMs. On the other hand, starting Week One early means they’ll have extra rest before Week Two. In the end, the competitive disadvantage is a fairly small one.
The Packers have three undrafted cornerbacks on their current roster, including starter Sam Shields, and they added three more on Friday with the announcement of 19 undrafted rookie signings.
Makinton Dorleant of Northern Iowa, Josh Hawkins of East Carolina and Randall Jette of UMass are the three who got contracts from the team after the draft concluded. If Hawkins should make the club, the familiarity with overcoming long odds he gained while moving from walk-on to starter in college will probably be part of the reason.
The Packers also signed Lousiana Tech safety Kentrell Brice, Mississippi State linebacker Beniquez Brown, Arizona linebacker Reggie Gilbert, Idaho State defensive tackle Tyler Kuder, BYU linebacker Manoa Pikula and Texas-San Antonio defensive tackle Brian Price on the defensive side of the ball.
On offense, Green Bay signed Illinois wide receiver Geronimo Allison, Wesley quarterback Joe Callahan, Dartmouth center Jacob Flores, N.C. State tight end David Grinnage, Nevada running back Don Jackson, Carroll tackle Josh James, Rice wide receiver Dennis Parks, Utah State wide receiver Devonte Robinson and Miami wide receiver Herb Waters. Minnesota punter Peter Mortell filled out the group.
As the Vikings launch into their rookie minicamp, all rookie draft picks have signed contracts, except one. The one who hasn’t been signed was the first one they picked.
Receiver Laquon Treadwell does not yet have a contract; the teams other seven selections do.
Under contract are second-round cornerback Mackensie Alexander, fourth-round guard Willie Beavers, fifth-round linebacker Kentrell Brothers, sixth-round tight end David Morgan, sixth-round receiver Moritz Boehringer, seventh-round defensive end Stephen Weatherly, and seventh-round safety Jayron Kearse.
As noted by Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Treadwell has signed an injury-protection letter that allows him to participate in minicamp and offseason workouts without a contract.
Whatever the hangup, Treadwell should refuse to practice until the deal is done — as should every draft pick who is expected to show up and work without a deal in place.
The Ravens announced the signings of six draft picks on Friday, including the previously reported agreement with fifth-round linebacker Matt Judon.
The others who have agreed to deals are second-round outside linebacker Kamalei Correa, fourth-round offensive tackle Alex Lewis, fourth-round wide receiver Chris Moore, fourth-round defensive tackle Willie Henry and fourth-round running back Kenneth Dixon. All the players got four-year deals with the Ravens, who drafted 11 players overall over the seven rounds of the draft.
The Ravens have also signed the same number of undrafted free agents. Those players are Baylor guard Jarell Broxton, Florida Atlantic defensive tackle Trevon Coley, Harvard offensive lineman Anthony Fabino, Middle Tennessee State linebacker Cavellis Luckett, Georgia State punter/kicker Will Lutz, Colorado tackle Stephane Nembot, Stony Brook linebacker Victor Ochi, Michigan linebacker Mario Ojemuda, Portland State linebacker Patrick Onwuasaor, Samford defensive tackle Michael Pierce and Duke center Matt Skura.
With all of the new faces hitting the roster, the Ravens had to make some room. They did so by waiving running back Terrence McGee and wide receiver Chuck Jacobs.
On Thursday, one of the lawyers representing unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel said that the preferred solution to his pending charge of assaulting an ex-girlfriend would be for both sides to “kiss and make up.” Many regarded that comment as unfortunate — including the other lawyer representing Manziel.
Said Manziel lawyer Jim Darnell (pictured with Manziel), regarding the comment from Manziel lawyer Robert Hinton: “Mr. Hinton certainly misspoke and his comment does not reflect either the feelings of Mr. Manziel or his legal team. I assure you we all recognize the seriousness of the situation.”
The lawyers may recognize the seriousness of the situation, but Manziel’s recent deleted tweet regarding his non-shirtless mugshot suggests otherwise.
Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards was placed on injured reserve late in his rookie year because of a neck injury that created some uncertainty about his future in the NFL.
Edwards’ injury was described by coach Jack Del Rio as “significant” at the time he was shut down for the season and Del Rio said a few months ago that the team was still hoping for a good outcome while waiting to find out if Edwards would be cleared to return to action. It appears they got that outcome.
Edwards posted an update to his Instagram account Friday announcing that he “got the final clearance I needed to return back to the game I love.”
Edwards played 14 games as a rookie and made 10 straight starts before he hit injured reserve. He had 42 tackles, two sacks and three forced fumbles up front for the Raiders and should resume a prominent role up front in Oakland as long as he remains healthy.
With rookie deals becoming rote, more and more teams are announcing their signings in bulk.
The Giants are the latest, announcing they’ve gotten four of their six picks under contract already.
Either way, it allows Apple and Shepard in particular the chance to hit the ground running, since both are going to have to play big roles immediately. While Apple will be another part to their defensive makeover, Shepard gives them the kind of game-breaking receiver they need, in case Victor Cruz isn’t able to come back to his previous form.
The Dolphins on Friday announced the signings of 12 undrafted rookie free agents.
The 12 are linebackers Akil Blount, Tyler Gray and James Burgess; kicker Marshall Koehn; offensive lineman Ruben Carter; long snapper Ryan DiSalvo; wide receivers Rashawn Scott and Brandon Shippen; cornerback Lafayette Pitts; tight end Gabe Hughes; safety A.J. Hendy and defensive end Farrington Huguenin.
Blount is the son of Steelers Hall of Famer Mel Blount. Akil Blount was a three-year starter at Florida A&M.
The 6-foot-1 Scott played college football at Miami (Fla.) and had a big senior season, recording 52 receptions for 695 yards and five touchdowns. He was invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in February but probably went undrafted due to injury and character concerns stemming from his up-and-down college career.
Gray reportedly chose the Dolphins over contract offers from four other teams.
The names have been floating around for the last couple of days, but the Lions formally announced their list of 12 undrafted free agent signings on Friday.
Among the names on the list is Ohio State offensive lineman Chase Farris, who got $20,000 in guaranteed money to sign with the team. Farris is listed as a guard by the Lions after playing tackle in Columbus and former NFL center LeCharles Bentley told MLive.com that he thinks the Lions may have gotten “one of the Jason Peters-like surprises of this draft class” with the signing.
The Lions also signed tight end Cole Wick from the University of The Incarnate Word. He joins Eagles signee Myke Tavarres as the first two players to make it to the NFL from the school, which started its football program in 2009.
The rest of the group is made up of Louisiana Tech cornerback Adairius Barnes, Baylor wide receiver Jay Lee, Southern Illinois tight end Adam Fuehne, Maryland guard Andrew Zeller, Fresno State cornerback Charles Washington, North Carolina wide receiver Quinshad Davis, Northwestern defensive end Deonte Gibson, Georgia defensive end James DeLoach, Eastern Oregon wide receiver Jace Billingsly and Ohio University cornerback Ian Wells.
Vernon Hargreaves signed his first contract before his first practice with the Buccaneers.
The team announced the 11th overall pick had signed his rookie deal, making him their third draft choice to get a deal done, and continuing the trend of early signings. Like all first-rounders, it is a four-year deal with an option for a fourth.
Hargreaves can now get to work improving a Bucs secondary which can certainly use it. They also added Brent Grimes in free agency, giving them a pair of high-profile additions, which should help solidify things.
Eight days after sliding down the draft board to No. 13, tackle Laremy Tunsil is getting paid. But not nearly as much as he could have gotten paid.
Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports that the Dolphins have signed tackle Laremy Tunsil to a contract.
It will be, as all first-round contracts now are, a four-year deal with a team-held option for a fifth season. Last year’s 13th overall pick, Saints tackle Andrus Peat, received a four-year, $11.4 million deal.
That’s $7.2 million less than the Jets paid No. 6 overall pick defensive lineman Leonard Williams last year. And that’s reportedly where Tunsil would have been picked this year but for the gas-mask-and-bong video that showed up on Tunsil’s Twitter account not long before the start of the draft.
As the Bengals gather for their annual rookie minicamp, they’ve announced the arrival of 13 undrafted free agents.
One of them is a member of the family (even though no NFL team is truly a family, from the perspective of the players); former Wisconsin receiver Darius Hillary is the son of former Bengals receiver Ira Hillary, who played for the Bengals from 1987 through 1989.
The other dozen new Bengals are Mississippi State defensive end Ryan Brown, Texas A&M running back Tra Carson, Houston guard/center Alex Cooper, Virginia defensive tackle David Dean, Wisconsin receiver Alex Ericsson, Western Kentucky receiver Antwane Grant, Michigan State linebacker Darien Harris, Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson, Eastern Kentucky running back Dy’Shawn Mobley, UCLA guard/center Alex Redmond, Toledo receiver Alonzo Russell, and Montana State tackle John Widenaar.
The rookie minicamp runs from Friday through Sunday.
Amendola was set to make $5 million this season and was on the books for a $6 million salary in 2017, numbers that led to some discussion that he could find himself a cap casualty. As he did last year, Amendola has traded in some of that money.
Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that Amendola signed a new deal that will pay him $7.35 million over the next two seasons with $750,000 more available through roster bonuses and catch incentives.
Making less money should help Amendola’s job security, but the Patriots have added several receivers in free agency and the draft that could change the makeup of the receiving corps by the time September rolls around. Chris Hogan, Nate Washington and fourth-round pick Malcolm Mitchell join holdovers Keshawn Martin and Aaron Dobson as other options to go with Julian Edelman in New England.
The Eagles and quarterback Sam Bradford remain at an impasse.
The team, which committed $22 million in fully-guaranteed money to Bradford under a two-year deal, envisions Bradford to be the Week One starter. Bradford, who accepted the two-year deal without a gun or other weapon pressed to his head but who now believes he’ll be getting the hook sooner than later, wants to be traded. The other 31 teams are bemused, at best, by his availability.
So what happens with Bradford? Via PhillyInfluencer.com, Reuben Frank of CSN Philly thinks Bradford will retire.
It could end up being the only way out of the corner into which Bradford has painted himself. But it would be expensive; he’d immediately forfeit the $11 million signing bonus he received earlier this year from the Eagles if he retires.
Still, there’s a potential Carson-Palmer-in-2011 appeal to a retirement decision. Like the former Bengals quarterback did five years ago, Bradford could call it quits (losing the signing bonus but avoiding the fines and forfeitures that would arise from holding out while under contract) and wait for another quarterback to tear an ACL or pop an Achilles or (like former Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell did two days before the trade deadline in 2011) break a collarbone.
Bradford would simply sit and wait until a trade opportunity arises, whether it happens later this year or next year. If the opportunity never arises, he’d simply never play again.
With no one currently clamoring to make Bradford “the guy” and with Bradford unwilling to be “a guy” in Philadelphia, this is the only approach that makes sense — costly as it may be.
When Chip Kelly’s three-year run as the head coach of the Eagles came crashing to an end late last season, it wasn’t easy to find players raving about playing for him.
Things are a bit different for his charges with the 49ers at this point in his tenure with the team, at least the ones on the offensive side of the ball. The 49ers have been learning Kelly’s up-tempo system and getting used to the hand signals that help keep the pace up, something wide receiver Torrey Smith calls “very organized and very detailed.” Tight end Garrett Celek likes the simplicity of the offense compared to what the 49ers were running in the past.
“In the past we had a lot of delay-of-games because either we’re not getting the play in time from upstairs or it’s just taking the quarterback too long to read the whole play out,” Celek said, via CSNBayArea.com. “Where now, it’s a lot quicker. We have hand signals, so you can’t have 15 words through hand signals, stuff like that. It’s got to be boom, boom, boom. So when you got less verbiage, it’s easier to remember. It’s kind of genius.”
There was plenty of positivity about Kelly’s system when he first got to Philadelphia as well, but the warm feelings wore off as time went on. Personnel issues had something to do with that, however, so we’ll see if moving back to just coaching makes for more sustained good feelings in Santa Clara.