NFL VP of Football Operations Ray Anderson says expanding the season to 18 games is “still on the table.” The PFT crew is pretty unanimous when saying this is not a good idea.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: 18-game season topic won’t go away
The Raiders have officially let go of one of their homegrown defensive starters.
Branch was due $5.5 million in salary in 2015, according to the NFLPA.
An eight-year pro from Connecticut, Branch has played his entire career with the Raiders, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2008 draft. His market could be tied to whether he can convince clubs that any durability concerns are a thing of the past. He does not turn 29 until December, which could play in his favor.
Branch started the 2014 season on a tear, notching 30 tackles in his first three games. However, a broken foot suffered in the Raiders’ Week Three loss at New England ended his season. The previous year, Branch had been limited to just two games with a broken leg.
Trent Cole is on the way out of Philadelphia.
The Eagles had been hoping to get Cole to take a pay cut, but that hasn’t happened. Now Cole is expected to be released within the next 24 hours, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.
Cole is a good pass rusher who has 14.5 sacks in the last two seasons, but with his cap number scheduled to be $11.6 million this season, it’s no surprise that the Eagles felt like that was more than they could justify spending.
Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who has been given full control of all personnel decisions, clearly wants to get rid of the aging and expensive veterans on the roster. Todd Herremans and Cary Williams have all been sent packing, and now Cole is on the way out as well.
Kelly is clearing plenty of cap space. He may have plans to make a splash when free agency begins next week.
Last week, the NFL said that defensive end Greg Hardy can’t be reinstated to active duty because he hasn’t been disciplined under the league’s personal conduct policy and therefore can’t be reinstated from a suspension.
That’s true, but it’s not quite the entire story. Hardy remains on the commissioner’s exempt list while the league looks into last year’s arrest on domestic violence charges, however, and would like to have that rectified with free agency starting on March 10.
Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports that Hardy will have a meeting with the league in New York on Wednesday in an effort to do that. While the Panthers have reportedly made the decision to move on without Hardy, there will surely be other teams interested in his services and a clear idea of his availability will just as surely impact the offers they make to secure his services.
A judge found Hardy guilty last July, but Hardy appealed and the case against him was dismissed when his accuser failed to appear for a jury trial last month. The NFL requested court files from the bench trial as part of their own investigation, but were rebuffed and they would need to get the transcript of the trial directly from Hardy’s attorney.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s no stranger to near-misses lately.
But after suffering two broken bones in his back in a car wreck in downtown Charlotte late last season, he was close to another potential tragedy over the weekend.
According to WSOC in Charlotte, Newton was on stage in a downtown nightclub moments before shots were fired Saturday night.
Newton was at the nightclub Label (and was photographed with Young Jeezy) moments before gunfire rang out during a party which coincided with the CIAA basketball tournament.
Newton was on stage during the private party, but quickly ducked for cover when the shots inside the club were heard.
Two people suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting, and no arrests have been made.
A former Bengals and Ravens running back is headed to the Canadian Football League.
The 30-year-old Scott rushed for 1,059 yards and five touchdowns on 249 carries in his stints with the Bengals (2009-2012) and Ravens (2013).
In defensive tackle Tom Johnson’s first three NFL seasons, he picked up five sacks while playing a rotational role on the Saints defensive line.
Johnson signed with the Vikings last offseason and Minnesota was rewarded with a more productive effort in the pass rush. Johnson had 6.5 sacks in 444 defensive snaps for the Vikings and now he’s looking to get rewarded with a long-term deal. Johnson’s agent Bardia Ghahremani told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press what the impending free agent is looking for in his next contract.
“Tom knows what he is and the value he brings to the table,” Ghahremani said. “We’re not looking for another, ‘Come in for another one-year deal.’ We want to find him a home for the rest of his career, a three- or four-year deal in the right situation and right system … If the Vikings make a fair offer, absolutely I would say the Vikings are his first choice.”
Johnson saw time in the Arena League and CFL before making the Saints and he turns 31 in August, which may make it hard for him to find a contract of the desired length. He was also arrested on disorderly conduct charges last fall and rejected a plea deal in December, which may be a factor for teams considering signing him. There’s a court date scheduled for March 30 on that matter.
Even with those caveats, Johnson’s strong season as a pass rusher should position him for a bump from last year’s $645,000 base salary whether he’s in Minnesota or elsewhere.
The Cowboys don’t necessarily have to top every other team’s offer if they want to keep soon-to-be free agent running back DeMarco Murray.
In fact, as long as the Cowboys come close to what other teams are offering, Murray will stay in Dallas, according to Ed Werder of ESPN.
In other words, Murray is willing to give the Cowboys a hometown discount. But it would only be a small hometown discount: If some other team is offering significantly more money, Murray will jump. If other teams’ offers are only a little more than the Cowboys’ offer, that’s when Murray would decide to stay in Dallas.
It’s unclear how much money Murray can command in free agency, as the running back position has been seriously devalued in recent years. But Murray is the reigning Offensive Player of the Year in the NFL, and all it takes is one team willing to break the bank for him.
If some team will break the bank, Murray will go. But if the best offer gets is only a little better than the offer the Cowboys make, then Murray will stay put.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team has asked cornerback Lardarius Webb to slash his salary before the start of the 2015 season. Webb is set to make $8 million in the fourth year of a six-year contract he signed with the team in 2012 and carries a $12 million cap charge.
Per Rapoport, it’s unclear what the Ravens will do if Webb doesn’t agree. These cases tend to be pay cut or get cut, but it may not be the case this time.
Complicating things for the Ravens a bit is that they don’t get a great deal of relief from cutting Webb. Doing it outright would save them $2 million while designating him as a post-June 1 cut would mean waiting for the additional cap room until the top replacement options in free agency are off the board.
Webb missed three of the first four games last season with a back injury, but was healthy the rest of the way. That was unusual for a Ravens corner in 2014, although Webb’s play wasn’t at a high enough level that a pay cut request comes as a great surprise.
When defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said in December that his agent will choose his next team, I assumed Suh meant his football agent, Jimmy Sexton. If that’s the case, Sexton likely will select on Suh’s behalf the offer that entails the most money, since the football agent gets paid based on how much money a football player makes playing football.
But what if the agent to whom Suh was referring isn’t his football agent but Suh’s marketing agent, Jay Z? In that case, the marketing agent would be less concerned about football-related revenue and more concerned about off-field earning opportunities, since the marketing agent gets paid based on how much money the player makes away from playing football.
If it’s the latter, a large market like Jay Z’s hometown of New York makes a lot of sense. Coincidentally (or not), Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports that the Giants are considering making a run at Suh.
It would make a ton of sense from a football standpoint, since the Giants won their two championships since 2007 based on the strength of the pass rush — with an emphasis (especially against the Patriots) on creating pressure up the middle of the line of scrimmage. Ultimately, however, the Giants will have to compete with teams that view Suh as a player who can spark a Reggie White-style transformation of a franchise, making an irrelevant or long-suffering franchise suddenly interesting and potentially competitive.
Without question, Suh is the most significant defensive free agent since White picked the Packers in 1993. Former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf recently told PFT Live that White chose Green Bay because of the money the Packers offered, notwithstanding White’s claims of divine intervention. For Suh, the size of the football contract must be compared to the magnitude of the non-football cash possibilities, along with the kind of notoriety that will knock Alex Rodriguez from the back pages of the tabloids.
Whether it’s practical or not, the addition of the Giants to the pursuit of Suh makes a fascinating situation even more intriguing.
The Jets took a nosedive in 2014, but their season ticket prices are holding level.
The team announced that they won’t be changing the cost of attending a Jets game for the 2015 season after raising prices last year. The team will expand the use of variable pricing, but tickets for non-club seats to the game will still cost between $50 and $162.50.
“After considering many factors, we determined to keep season ticket prices unchanged for the 2015 season,” team president Neil Glat said, via the Associated Press.
In an email to season ticket holders, owner Woody Johnson said he wants MetLife Stadium “to be a fearsome place to play.” The Jets’ home slate for 2015 consists of their AFC East rivals, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Washington. If the 2015 season plays out anything like last year for the Jets and most of their opponents, fearsome might not prove to be the right word for the slate.
With two days to go until the window closes for securing sufficient nominations to land on the ballot for NFLPA executive director, three challengers to DeMaurice Smith has qualified for placement on the official ballot. Others may soon join them.
As PFT previously reported, Sean Gilbert and Andrew Smith secured the requisite three nominations from voting player representatives to obtain a spot in the election. PFT has confirmed that John Stufflebeam has obtained the three nominations as well.
Anyone else interested in running for the position (including declared candidates Sean Morey and James Acho) have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, March 5 to arrange the sufficient nominations.
Ultimately, the candidate who obtains on March 15 the votes of at least 17 player representatives will get the job. Those who make it to the final ballot will have an opportunity to make their cases to the folks who’ll be doing the voting.
The Dolphins held onto tight end Charles Clay via the transition tag, but they’ve been taking the scalpel to other members of the receiving corps.
Wide receivers Brian Hartline and Brandon Gibson are both gone and the team hasn’t said what they plan to do about Mike Wallace, who will count $12.1 million against the cap after a year that ended with him on the bench after a spat with the coaching staff. That unhappiness with role or prominence in the offense has been a persistent storyline through Wallace’s two years in Miami with talk often roaming to his relationship with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Tannehill said Tuesday that he has no idea what the Dolphins will do with Wallace, but said he had a “great” conversation with the receiver recently that left him looking forward to a third year with the wideout.
“We’ve done it in the past, and the more time we spend together the more the relationship will grow. I’m excited to see what this year holds for us,” Tannehill said, via the Palm Beach Post. “Mike’s a talented player. We’ve all seen what he can do and the element he adds to our offense. Like I said, if he comes back, we’re going to make it work with him, and let him be the playmaker he is.”
Reports out of Miami last week were that Wallace wasn’t willing to take a pay cut, although there’s been no action or comment from the team in any direction.
The Cowboys have reached agreement on a multi-year deal with one of their wide receivers.
No, not that one.
It’s Cole Beasley who has signed his name to a new contract with the team. Beasley was set to become a restricted free agent this offseason, but the team has gone further than that to secure his services.
According to multiple reports, Beasley has agreed to a four-year, $13.6 million deal with $7 million guaranteed. Incentives can push the total money in the deal up another $1.5 million and Beasley will reportedly get a $4 million signing bonus.
Beasley had 37 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns this season with 21 catches and all the scores coming as Dallas went 5-1 down the stretch. He had seven more catches in the playoffs and should continue to be a frequent presence in the slot alongside Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams next season.
A lot of the things that made Marc Trestman an interesting/admirable human being might have not been conducive to winning football games.
But such that the locker room seating chart is one of those things, the Bears are going back to a more traditional way of doing business.
The team’s official website noted that the locker room at Halas Hall was reconfigured, and players will again sit and dress next to players from their same position groups.
Because most people tend to gravitate toward people with whom we share traits, a locker room can become a place bordering on segregated, in more ways than one. Trestman tried to shake that up, to make a receiver sit next to a lineman or a cornerback next to a kicker in hopes of fostering a greater bond of brotherhood. Or something. Who knows. It seemed like sort of a hippie social-engineering experiment, and those are usually better ideas on paper. Or anyplace other than a football locker room, really.
If there was any bad reaction to it, it probably had more to do with inertia than anything else, as not many people enjoy moving their stuff around. Does it help to sit next to guys who do the same job as you? Who knows.
Now, the Bears’ biggest challenge might be finding a quarterback who’s willing to sit next to Jay Cutler.
The player widely regarded as the top cornerback in free agency has reportedly changed agents just before he can begin to start officially talking contract with other clubs.
Per NFLPA regulations, Maxwell cannot hire an agent until this weekend, ESPN reported.
Teams can begin to negotiate with free agents on Friday, making the timing of the change less-than-optimal for Maxwell, who is PFT’s 16th-ranked free agent.
With Seattle having considerable resources tied up in its secondary, Maxwell is expected to sign elsewhere in free agency, and it would not be a surprise if he were among the first wave of signees. The question now is whether the representation change will affect Maxwell’s ability to start laying the early groundwork for a deal.