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
It’s becoming more and more clear that the days of delayed draft-pick contract negotiations and possible holdouts are over.
The 49ers have announced that defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, the seventh overall pick in the 2016 draft, has agreed to terms. It’s a slotted four-year deal, with a fifth-year option.
Also under contract are fourth-round cornerback Rashard Robinson, fifth-round defensive end Ronald Blair, fifth-round tackle John Theus, fifth-round tackle Fahn Cooper, sixth-round quarterback Jeff Driskel, sixth-round running back Kelvin Taylor, sixth-round receiver Aaron Burbridge, and seventh-round cornerback Prince Charles Iworah. All non-first-round deals cover four years.
Some teams are carpet-bombing their draft pick signings, getting most of them done at once. The Steelers are picking theirs off Sgt. Alvin York-style, one at a time from the back to the front.
The Steelers announced today that sixth-rounder Travis Feeney had signed his rookie deal.
He’s their third pick to sign, after they got their seventh-rounders taken care of yesterday.
Feeney, an outside linebacker from Washington, had 8.0 sacks last season. He figures to add depth and a special teams presence this year.
The Texans have joined the draft pick signing fun to close out the week.
The team announced the first three agreements with members of their 2016 draft class. The Texans started from the back, signing fourth-round running back Tyler Ervin, fifth-round safety K.J. Dillon and fifth-round nose tackle D.J. Reader, leaving their first three picks, including first-round wideout Will Fuller, unsigned.
Ervin was a productive kickoff returner at San Jose State and could earn early playing time in that role while vying for snaps behind Lamar Miller in the backfield.
The Texans also announced the signing of 15 undrafted free agents. They are Cal tight end Stephen Anderson, UCLA Ka’imi Fairbairn, Michigan State defensive end Joel Heath, Memphis wide receiver Tevin Jones, Miami defensive end Ufomba Kamalu, South Florida linebacker Eric Lee, Florida International cornerback Richard Leonard, Alabama wide receiver Richard Mullaney, North Carolina linebacker Shakeel Rashad, Stanford linebacker Brennan Scarlett, Texas cornerback Duke Thomas, Tulane tackle Arturo Uzdavinis, USC fullback Soma Vainuku, San Jose State cornerback Cleveland Wallace III and Cumberlands wide receiver Wendall Williams.
The Redskins made wide receiver Josh Doctson their first-round pick last Thursday and they added three more rookie wide receivers to the roster with the announcement of their group of undrafted free agent signings on Friday.
Reggie Diggs joins the team after playing his college ball a short distance away at Richmond. He had 66 catches for 901 yards and five touchdowns during his final year at the school while Maurice Harris had 40 catches, 558 yards and six touchdowns to wrap up his career playing with first overall pick Jared Goff at Cal. The third wideout is Valdez Showers, who moved from defensive back to wideout while at Florida.
East Central tackle Kevin Bowen, Utah safety Tevin Carter, Indiana tight end Michael Cooper, Texas linebacker Shiro Davis, Fresno State Ejiro Ederaine, Clemson tackle Joe Gore, Tulane running back Robert Kelley, Michigan fullback Joe Kerridge and Alabama A&M defensive end Anthony Lanier fill out the group.
Gone are the days of long contract negotiations for NFL rookies, and we can add the Lions to the list of teams who are getting their draft picks’ contracts done in a hurry.
The Lions announced today that first-round pick Taylor Decker and eight other drafted rookies have signed. The only rookie who hasn’t signed yet is A’Shawn Robinson, a second-round defensive tackle out of Alabama. There’s no word on why Robinson hasn’t signed yet, but it’s unlikely that there will be any significant holdup for Robinson, or for any NFL rookie.
Decker is a 6-foot-7, 310-pound offensive lineman from Ohio State who is expected to earn the starting right tackle spot on the Lions.
Detroit’s other draft picks are Washington State offensive lineman Joe Dahl, Michigan center Graham Glasgow, Southern Utah safety Miles Killebrew, Baylor long snapper Jimmy Landes, Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock, Washington running back Dwayne Washington, Georgia Southern linebacker Antwione Williams and Penn State defensive lineman Anthony Zettel.
Heading into the draft, there were plenty of opinions offered about quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
They broke down into two general camps. One was that Hackenberg turned in two poor years at Penn State that provided little reason to believe he’d be a good NFL quarterback and the other was that Hackenberg’s poor play was a byproduct of bad teammates and a coaching change that left him in a system that didn’t fit his skills.
The Jets fell into the latter camp and picked Hackenberg with the 51st overall selection last Friday, something that Hackenberg called a “fresh start” this Friday. Hackenberg said he “kind of buried” criticism of his college performance, which he believes will help him be a better player in the NFL.
“I think you’re defined by how you react to adversity and how you’re able to get back up,” Hackenberg said, via NJ.com. “So I think ultimately, having to go through that at a young age and doing it through college is only going to help me in the long run. That’s how I’ve compartmentalized that, and that’s how it’s really been a stepping stone for me moving forward. I think it’s only going to help.”
Hackenberg did have plenty of experience getting back up while at Penn State after being sacked more than 100 times and the pounding he took joined his inaccuracy as concerns from the less enthusiastic observers of his play. Those observations helped Hackenberg wind up with the Jets rather than any of the league’s other teams, but they won’t matter if Hackenberg is correct about how the future will play out.
The Colts continued to check off boxes, signing yet another of their draft picks.
The team announced they had signed fourth-round linebacker Antonio Morrison.
Morrison was a four-year starter at Florida, and has a chance to lend some depth to a defense that certainly needs the help.
The Colts have already signed first-rounder Ryan Kelly, and have six of their eight picks under contract already.
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.