J. Michael joins Mike Florio on PFT Live to discuss the Ravens’ take on the Media Day circus. While John Harbaugh will tell the public his team is happy to take part in Media Day, behind the scenes some players are starting to get fed up with the shenanigans. Michael also discusses if Joe Flacco will see more pressure in the pocket, and if he’s a $100 million man.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Flacco the next $100 million man?
Purdue defensive tackle Ra’Zahn Howard will enter the supplemental draft, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Friday.
Citing a source, Schefter reported that Howard is leaving school for academic reasons. Players who have a change of circumstance after the early-entry deadline for the draft can apply for the supplemental draft.
Howard was suspended in January and announced his intention to transfer. He was a three-year starter at Purdue.
Purdue listed Howard at 6-foot-3, 325, so NFL teams will at least give Howard a look. The supplemental draft is held in July, and Schefter reported that Howard will hold a pro day workout in New Jersey on July 8.
A team that selects a player in the supplemental draft gives up its corresponding pick in the following year’s draft. Five players have been selected in the supplemental draft in the last six years, most recently offensive tackle Isaiah Battle by the Rams last year and most notably wide receiver Josh Gordon with a second-round pick by the Browns in 2012.
Very little about the NFL escapes public scrutiny these days with the notable exception of the financial records of the 31 privately held teams under no obligation to share that information.
The Packers are not privately held, however, and their annual report gives us an idea about how things are faring in bank accounts around the league. You won’t be surprised to hear that business is good.
The Packers reported a franchise-record $408.7 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended on March 31 along with a record $48.9 million in net income and $75 million in profit from operations. Those last two numbers represented 68 percent and 91 percent jumps from the previous year.
Packers president Mark Murphy attributed an 11 percent increase in local revenue to $186.2 million to the success of business at the Lambeau Field atrium and strong sales/marketing programs. National revenues — money shared equally by the league’s teams — went up six percent to $222.6 million, which provides part of the picture of the financial outlook for the rest of the teams in the league.
Part of the reason for the rise in the team’s profits this year was a drop in expenses that the team attributed to “a league assessment related to debt refinancing” and the previous year’s spending on the Titletown project near Lambeau Field. Murphy said he did not expect to see the same profit margin next season as player expenses appear set to rise.
“We have a number of core players with contracts ending,” Murphy said. “We could have a number of signings next year, and the biggest thing there [on the balance sheet] is the signing bonuses.”
Even so, it’s a good bet that the professional football business will remain a financially rewarding one for the Packers.
After the Broncos visited the White House on Monday, June 6, someone (the Broncos) leaked to the media the terms of an offer that the team had made to linebacker Von Miller — and that had expired on Tuesday evening, June 7. Since that time, the two sides haven’t talked much, if at all.
Rosina Anderson of ESPN.com reports that the Broncos and Miller have had no conversations since early June.
As of last Friday, PFT learned that neither side had contacted the other in the aftermath of the contract signed by defensive tackle Fletcher Cox in Philadelphia.
Even when the two sides were communicating, they weren’t actually negotiating. Instead, they traded proposals without the kind of in-depth back and forth that can bridge the gap on key terms.
If/when player and team truly negotiate, they should be able to work something out. For now, there’s no reason to talk. The team’s attempt to apply artificial deadlines didn’t get a deal done. The real deadline arrives on July 15.
At this point, it would be a surprise if the two sides resume discussions before Monday, July 11. If a deal is going to get done, it’ll likely happen not long before 4:00 p.m. ET on Friday, July 15. Assuming the fax machines are working, of course.
Cornerback Kyle Wilson has never lived up to the potential that made him a first-round pick of the Jets in 2010. He won’t get a chance to in 2016.
The Saints have placed Wilson on injured reserve.
The nature of the injury wasn’t disclosed, and it’s not known specifically when it happened. With no obligation to disclose injuries during the offseason, that’s no surprise.
After five years with the Jets, Wilson joined the Saints in 2015. He appeared in 15 games with four starts.
The Saints have replaced Wilson on the roster with defensive tackle C.J. Wilson. A seventh-round pick of the Packers in 2010, Wilson spent four years with the Packers, 2014 with the Raiders, and 2015 with the Raiders and Lions.
Former Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall is among the growing number of former players who want the NFL to take a closer look at medicinal (if not recreational) marijuana.
But that’s easier for former players than current ones, and Marshall thinks current advocate Eugene Monroe could suffer for it.
The Ravens said they cut the veteran left tackle for football reasons only, but Marshall said it’s hard to imagine that Monroe’s advocacy for marijuana research wasn’t a contributing factor.
Asked by Kalyn Kahler of TheMMQB.com if he thought Monroe was taking a risk by being so outspoken, Marshall replied: “We’ve seen that it already has been a risk, he’s been released by the Ravens.”
And when asked if other teams might be hesitant to sign Monroe because he’s outspoken, Marshall suggested there could easily be some blackballing.
“Yes, no doubt,” Marshall said. “I mean that’s the way things are. Are you part of the solution or are you part of the problem? This is a clear case where if you are a guy who is attempting to fight the establishment, you will be made the odd man out.
There are teams that have shown interest in Monroe (specifically the Giants), but so far, none of them have been willing to sign him. And if they don’t, Marshall has a good idea why they didn’t.
In his first year of retirement, Peyton Manning will have a lot of favorite teams. One will be the Texans.
Manning said today at the Manning Passing Academy that he’ll be rooting for Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler, his old teammate in Denver, to have a big year in his first season as a franchise quarterback after four years as Manning’s understudy.
“I look forward to this year being a fan of a lot of teams and people I have connections with,” Manning said. “I’ll be pulling for Brock. I know he’s going to have a great year.”
Manning said he’ll also root for his two former teams, the Broncos and Colts, as well as the Giants (his brother’s team), the Lions (his former Colts coach Jim Caldwell’s team) and the Dolphins (his former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase’s team).
Manning didn’t say which team will be his favorite. We imagine him spending his Sundays with multiple TVs in his living room, watching the Texans, Broncos, Colts, Lions and Dolphins’ games simultaneously.
The Browns had plenty of picks during the 2016 draft and now they have all but one of them signed.
The team announced Friday that they have signed fourth-round linebacker Joe Schobert. Like all players drafted after the first round, Schobert agreed to a four-year deal.
Schobert started 28 games at Wisconsin after joining the team as a walk on following a stint at the University of North Dakota. Schobert had 9.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for losses and was named a second-team All-America by the Associated Press after the 2015 season. He also did well on special teams, which will be a path to early playing time for Schobert in Cleveland.
With Schobert signed, the Browns now have 13 of their 14 draft picks under contract. Third-round defensive end Carl Nassib is the only one unsigned in Cleveland and one of the few draft picks around the league yet to sign a deal.
As one of the premier organizations in the NFL, the Denver Broncos could be aloof, distant, and uncooperative with the media. They’re the exact opposite.
The team’s P.R. staff, led by Patrick Smyth, has won this year’s Pete Rozelle Award. Bestowed by the Professional Football Writers Association, the prize acknowledges a consistent effort to strive for excellence in the team’s dealings and relationships with the media.
Other nominees were the Cardinals, Bengals, Dolphins, and Giants.
The award is well deserved, based on PFT’s dealings with the Broncos. Many other teams are worthy of acknowledgement; PFT’s nominees for the award based on the past year would have included the Dolphins, Jaguars, Cardinals, Vikings, Falcons, and Panthers.
Yes, the NFL plans to interview multiple players regarding allegations of PED use arising from an Al Jazeera report. No, the players aren’t the ones dragging their feet.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the players in question — Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, James Harrison, and Mike Neal — are and have been willing to submit to interviews, along with free-agent Mike Neal. The delay arises from an inability of the NFL and NFL Players Association to reach an agreement on the scope of the interviews and other factors relevant to the process.
The NFLPA understandably is concerned about the precedent this could set, given the questions that have emerged regarding the credibility of the Al Jazeera report. If interviews proceed based on the information reported by Al Jazeera, what else could spark an investigation? A claim on social media that a player used steroids? An anonymous tip to the league office that a player bought HGH?
As a result, the union is pushing back on behalf of all players, even though the players currently involved insist that they have no concerns about the issue and, likewise, nothing to hide.
When training camps open, the NFL plans to interview Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Steelers linebacker James Harrison about allegations that they used performance-enhancing drugs.
Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that the league informed the players’ union that officials will be there on the first day of training camp to question the three players, who were named in an Al-Jazeera America documentary about PEDs. An interview with free agent Mike Neal, also named in the documentary, is also expected to take place within the next four weeks. But the biggest name in the documentary, Peyton Manning, was not named in a letter from NFL V.P. Adolpho Birch to the players’ union.
“On January 11, 2016, the league notified Messrs. Peppers, Neal, Matthews and Harrison that it had initiated an investigation following the airing of the Al-Jazeera America documentary, which raised serious issues concerning their possible violation of the NFL/NFLPA Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances,” Birch’s letter said. “The players were further advised that, with their full and timely cooperation, the investigation would be conducted expeditiously and with minimal disruption.
“While the investigation has proceeded, we have yet to interview the players. We have attempted since early April to work through the NFLPA to schedule them, but despite multiple requests the NFLPA has failed to respond, except to seek reconsideration of the basis for the investigation. This continuing delay and avoidance has obstructed our ability to conduct and conclude the investigation.
“In fairness to all, including the players involved, we must move forward with the interviews. Accordingly, this will advise that the interviews of Messrs. Peppers, Matthews and Harrison will be scheduled for the first day of their respective training camps, and the interview of Mr. Neal (free agent) will take place on or before July 22. The players will be advised of the specific scheduling details by separate correspondence on which the NFLPA will be copied, and of course an NFLPA representative may attend each interview should the player so request.”
The NFL is also investigating the allegations against Manning, although any league discipline would be meaningless now that he’s retired. If the NFL finds that Peppers, Matthews, Harrison or Neal violated the league’s PED policy, that could result in suspensions even if they’ve never failed a drug test. It is unknown whether the four players plan to answer all of the NFL’s questions — and whether the league would discipline the players if they don’t fully cooperate.
The plug previously was pulled on its inaugural season. Now, Major League Football faces the end of the road — before the journey even actually began.
Via the Bradenton Herald, Major League Football faces an eviction notice as part of a lawsuit aimed at recovering unpaid rent at its headquarters since March. The group allegedly agreed to pay $11,918 per month for nearly 10,000 square feet in office space.
But there’s still a flicker of hope, based on representations made by Major League Football to its landlord.
“We have gotten a lot of optimistic replies from them,” attorney Dan Perka said. “They have sent us a copy of a letter from a funding group in the Far East, pledging $20 million and saying the money will be wired. We are trying to work with Major League Football to keep their plan going, but felt that we needed to protect ourselves.”
Even with $20 million, there’s no reason to believe Major League Football or any other alternative to the NFL will thrive. Others have tried, all have failed. Currently, Major League Football is close to failing. It would be a surprise if it doesn’t, sooner than later.
The Dolphins didn’t want to keep Dan Campbell around as head coach after his stint as interim last year, but plenty of other teams wanted him on staff.
So Saints coach Sean Payton had to go back to a college tactic to land Campbell as his tight ends coach.
“In his case, it was a little bit of a recruitment,” Payton said, via Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.
The Dolphins expressed some interest in keeping Campbell, but he wasn’t comfortable with staying as an assistant after having been head coach, even if it was just for three months. The Cowboys and Vikings were also interested in Campbell, but Payton had the advantage of having coached Campbell when he was playing for the Giants, Cowboys and Saints.
That and an assistant head coach title was enough.
“To me, it was a pretty easy sell,” Campbell said. “And the biggest factor was Coach Payton. I know who he is, I know what he’s about. And hey, man, he’s proven himself as a coach. I’d be lying if I didn’t say [the title] had something to do with. At the same time, I’m just happy to be here. And I was happy to get the opportunity to coach under Coach Payton and be part of the Saints again because it’s a winning organization.
“Anybody can say what you want; the last couple years haven’t been the way everybody wants. But I know where this team is headed and I know who’s at the top, and that was the biggest deciding factor.”
Payton said he was happy to add someone with Campbell’s ability as a teacher, and Campbell’s passion has been often cited. But while it was borderline cartoonish when he was an interim coach in Miami (running Oklahoma drills with professionals earned him immediate skepticism), it has been embraced in New Orleans, where they could use a little spark.
Everyone is trying make sense of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union. That includes the NFL.
“We are monitoring and have been in contact with our UK office,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email. “We head into the 2016 season in strong shape with the 3 UK games already nearing sell outs again — a testament to the strong and passionate fan base there — and all key media, sponsorship and licensing partnerships locked in.”
For the NFL, the bigger question becomes the viability of the British experiment beyond 2016. With Prime Minister David Cameron already resigning, major changes seem to be coming to United Kingdom. At some point, those changes could make the league’s ongoing relationship with the nation not viable.
At a minimum, any talk of a team moving to England will surely subside until more is known about the future of the UK following the vote to leave the EU.
When Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham suffered a knee injury in last year’s Hall of Fame Game, attention immediately turned to the turf at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Now that Suisham has been released by the Steelers, more questions should be raised about that turf.
Suisham released a statement after the Steelers cut him suggesting that the injury will prove to be career-ending.
“Unfortunately, the injury I sustained in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game last preseason was catastrophic and has proven to be critical to continuing to my career. My journey in the NFL has come to a crossroads,” Suisham wrote. “I will mis the challenge of game day and the preparation that is required. Change is hard, but I’m comfortable with where I am in life as a husband and father.”
Although Suisham did not actually say he’s retiring, the statement came across as a retirement announcement. Suisham did not say whether he plans to take legal action against the Steelers, the NFL or the Hall of Fame in order to recoup the millions of dollars of lost future income that a forced retirement will cost him.
Whether Suisham sues or not, it’s incumbent on the NFL to ensure that every stadium where football is played — the 31 home stadiums as well as stadiums that host preseason games, International Series games and the Pro Bowl — is safe. If the Hall of Fame Stadium can’t install turf that’s up to the standards that NFL players demand, then the Hall of Fame Stadium shouldn’t host NFL games.
After actor and Patriots fan Ben Affleck appeared on HBO’s Any Given Wednesday with a demeanor suggesting that he possibly had ingested a shot of every given liquor, many became keenly interested in learning more about what happened.
Officially, there’s not anything to learn. In additional to the “nothing to see here” tweet from Bill Simmons, Affleck has offered a pair of messages on Twitter that make no reference to his overall condition when talking about the #Deflategate controversy.
‘For those of you keeping score at home, I gave exactly 18 f*cks about my Pats,” Affleck said in reference to the frequency with which he used the word that Ralphie used when the lug nuts went flying. “Upon reflection, 12 probably would have been sufficient.”
He added, “We Boston fans have always been known for our subtlety. One of my favorite interviews; hope you get to see the entire episode.”
Many (including me) agree with much of the substance of Affleck’s remarks. However, there was no effort by Affleck to explain a delivery that was unusual, to say the least. He’s not compelled to do so, but the absence of any attempt to address what everyone who saw the segment is thinking will tend to make people think that, whatever it was, Affleck would prefer that everyone simply forget about it and move on.
Which is what many would like to do at this point about #Deflategate generally.