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Alex Smith, Matt Flynn in similar situations

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Last year, both Alex Smith and Matt Flynn hit the open market as unrestricted free agents.  Last year, both Smith and Flynn accepted offers not as valuable as they had expected to receive.

Last year, both entered training camp as the presumptive starting quarterbacks in San Francisco and Seattle.  And while Flynn lost the job to Russell Wilson during training camp, Smith eventually joined Flynn as overpriced clipboard holders after Smith suffered a head injury and Colin Kaepernick left everyone else shaking theirs on a Monday night in November.

Now, both Smith and Flynn are clear-cut backups.  Now, both are scheduled to make dramatically more in 2013 than Kaepernick and Wilson.  Now, their respective teams are considering all options.

The options are simple.  Keep the higher-paid backups at their current salaries.  Keep them at lower rates of pay.  Trade them.  Or cut them.

Last week, 49ers CEO Jed York told PFT that he’d like to keep Kaepernick and Smith.  Seahawks owner Paul Allen can definitely afford to do the same.  And with mobile starters, it makes sense to have competent replacements.

The real questions are whether the lower-paid starters (Kaepernick has at least one more season in that category, and Wilson has at least two) will resent the notion that the guys who aren’t playing are earning millions more to do nothing, and likewise whether the guys earning millions more to do nothing would prefer to be doing more.

In both cases, the outcome could indeed turn on whether trades can be negotiated.  But given that the market for both players was lukewarm a year ago, it’s hard to imagine a land rush breaking out for Smith or Flynn.  Which means that, in the end, the 49ers and the Seahawks will have to decide whether to keep Smith and Flynn, respectively, at a high rate or pay and, possibly, a low willingness to stay.

And chances are that, if one or both teams part ways with their million-dollar understudies, they’ll eventually wish at some point that they still had them around.

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NFL won’t disclose details of Super Bowl bids

19369539-money-bag-with-stacks-of-cash Getty Images

Earlier this week, the NFL parlayed the interest of five cities into three Super Bowls via a process that, as a practical matter, results in the submission of competitive bids. Even with the loose, wink-nod quid pro quo that calls for a city with a new stadium to be included in the currently non-rotating Super Bowl rotation, cities need to bring something more to the table.

Case in point: The “wish list” for Super Bowl LII to be played at the soon-to-be christened venue in Minneapolis. Building the stadium should have been enough to get the game. As uncovered by the Minneapolis Star Tribune in December 2014, however, the NFL wanted a lot more than that. From free police escorts for team owners to 35,000 free parking spaces to presidential suites at no cost in high-end hotels, the league wasn’t bashful about asking for all sorts of stuff in exchange for the privilege of hosting the league’s premier annual event.

So what similar inducements were made by the cities vying for the trifecta of Super Bowls awarded on Tuesday via the submission of formal bids?

“We do not make them public,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via email.

There’s a reason for that. Apparently, the bids include all sorts of extra stuff that could embarrass the league at best and invite scrutiny from relevant outside governmental agencies at worst. For example, one source with knowledge of the bids tells PFT that the failed New Orleans proposal for Super Bowl LIII included a $50,000 per-team credit for ground transportation, parties, and related expenses during Super Bowl week. Given that most teams inevitably will be spending that kind of cash during a week in New Orleans prior to the Super Bowl, it’s essentially a $50,000 gift given to each and every franchise — a total of $1.6 million in free money offered to the league by the New Orleans host committee for giving the city the Super Bowl.

Although every Super Bowl host committee relies on privately-raised funds to offset the costs for staging the games (I wonder whether the folks who donate know exactly how the money is being used), there’s a fine line between reimbursing costs and stuffing the already deep pockets of the league’s owners with more cold, hard cash. For that reason, it would be interesting to see each of the bids that were submitted in connection with Super Bowl LIII, LIV, and LV.

If anyone who has them wants to pass them along with a clear and unwavering commitment of anonymity and full protection, we’re easy to find.

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Jeremy Langford wants to be the leader of the Bears backfield

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 15: Jeremy Langford #33 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 15, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) Getty Images

Running back Jeremy Langford had more than 800 yards of total offense in 2015 and joined Gale Sayers and Walter Payton as the only Bears rookies since 1960 to run for touchdowns in four straight games.

Langford did that work as a complement to Matt Forte in the Bears backfield, but Forte has moved on to the Jets as a free agent. That leaves an opening at the top of the running back depth chart in Chicago and it’s one that Langford says he wants to fill by applying some of what he learned during his year with the veteran back.

“Even last year, I think I prepared a lot, you know, just in case,” Langford said, via ESPN.com. “Playing running back, you never know what can happen. So I prepared a lot to know the whole offense and be the starter if I have to. But this year, it’s really just trying to become more of a leader at the position, being a running back in Chicago. Being more of a leader and really just not being that secondary guy. Acting like more of a veteran and know the whole offense. I learned a lot from Forte, being the guy he was, so you ain’t got to be a hoo-rah guy all the time. Being a young player, it’s just being in the right place at the right time and doing what you got to do. Really helping younger guys coming in, or even the guys following you, being a leader by example.”

The Bears have talked about using a committee of backs from a group including Langford, Ka’Deem Carey, Jacquizz Rodgers and rookie Jordan Howard. Langford says he’s fine with that, calling competition “always a good thing” as he prepares to do whatever he can to win it.

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Devin Hester is not a fan of NFL’s new touchback rule

Devin Hester AP

The NFL refers to kickoff returns as the most dangerous play in the game, and has changed rules to try to minimize them.

To Devin Hester, that’s almost like an unfair restraint of trade.

The Falcons return man said he’s personally never been hurt while returning a kickoff, and since he’s really good at it, he’s naturally skeptical about the change. The league has tweaked rules this year, allowing touchbacks to be placed at the 25 to try to encourage more teams to not return kickoffs.

It’s like taking away a job from people,” Hester said, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “I got a concussion making a block at receiver. But I never got hurt taking hits back on kickoffs.”

Hester’s currently rehabbing a toe injury which apparently wasn’t suffered on a return. He has five career kickoff return touchdowns, and a 92-yarder in the Super Bowl.

So with a 24.9-yard career average on kickoff returns, you’ll pardon him if he’s not interested in a free crack at the 25-yard line.

“If we’re clicking, we can bring it back from pretty much anywhere; real talk,’’ Hester said. “If our return game is doing good, it’s pretty much the green light. The deepest I’ve fielded one [with Falcons] has been 7 or 8 yards in. The normal is about 4 or 5 yards deep.

“As far as how the other team kicks off, it’s all going to depend on one type of returner you have back there. If they believe in their coverage team they are going to try it.’’

Hester’s hoping they do. His job depends on it.

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Sheldon Richardson waiting to hear if he’ll be suspended

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 14:  Defensive end Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 14, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Jets 31-24.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are plenty of big names missing from Jets OTAs this week, but defensive end Sheldon Richardson isn’t among them.

Richardson is taking part in the team’s practices and met with the media after Wednesday’s session, which meant he faced questions about whether he’d be absent from any games during the regular season. Richardson pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in January to resolve an arrest from last summer for driving 143 m.p.h. while evading police with a 12-year-old in the car. Police also reported smelling marijuana, although neither drug possession nor child endangerment charges went forward.

On Wednesday, Richardson said he’s spoken to the league “here and there” but doesn’t know whether he’ll be suspended for any portion of the 2016 season.

“Positive vibes, man,” Richardson said, via ESPN.com. “If I get a letter saying I’m suspended, I’m suspended. I don’t really hang my hat on that. That happened last year, last offseason. [It’s] a new year, you know? I’m past it. I’m ready to play football.”

Richardson dropped 11 pounds from last year’s playing weight while preparing himself to play football in a season that will be factored into any long-term contract talks that might get underway with the Jets. Staying on the field would be a plus for Richardson — who was suspended four games in 2015 for a substance abuse violation — on that front because his off-field indiscretions have been the only thing to give pause about a new deal to this point in his career.

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Wes Welker not sure his “heart and mind” want more football

BALTIMORE, MD - NOVEMBER 22: Wes Welker #19 of the St. Louis Rams carries the ball past Tray Walker #25 of the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Wide receiver Wes Welker was out of football all of last offseason, but always insisted he wanted to continue playing despite the series of concussions he’d suffered over the course of his career.

Welker eventually signed with the Rams in November, although you’d be forgiven for having no memory of his eight games and 13 catches for a team playing out the string on a season and a city. Welker is a free agent once again and said during an appearance on NFL Network that his “heart and mind” are still going back and forth on whether he wants to pursue a 13th season.

“That’s kind of the million dollar question right now in trying to figure that out,” Welker said. “I think I’m weighing my options and really trying to figure out where to go with life next. But there are some days I wake up and I’m like ‘OK, I’m done.’ And other days I wake up and I’m like, ‘Oh, maybe one more year.’ But I’m trying not to rush into any decision but at the same time, know that and prepare myself for not playing.”

Given the lukewarm interest in Welker’s services last year, it’s hard to imagine teams are beating down his doors with offers to play and that could offer the final push that Welker needs to flip the switch from active NFL player to the next stage of life.

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Thursday morning one-liners

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 16:  DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 16, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Bills have a big hole at RT (Wait, can we say that?).

Dolphins DE Mario Williams is upbeat about his new role.

A young WR is standing outside Gillette Stadium asking the Patriots for a tryout (a young lawyer might have a better shot at employment).

Jets DT Sheldon Richardson is prepared to deal with a possible suspension.

Ravens OL John Urshcel made straight As in his four classes at MIT this spring.

Bengals TE Tyler Eifert isn’t the only one on the shelf.

Browns T Joe Thomas never asked for a trade this offseason.

The Steelers are adjusting to a bunch of newcomers on the defensive line.

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins wants to get bigger and stronger.

Joe Philbin is happy to get back to teaching with the Colts

Jaguars C Brandon Linder is adjusting to being in the middle.

The early returns on Titans RB DeMarco Murray are good.

Broncos G Ty Sambrailo is ready for his move inside from T.

Chiefs DT Dontari Poe is doing big-man yoga.

New Raiders LB Bruce Irvin is ready to be a leader walking in the door.

Chargers players dispersed around town to thank fans yesterday.

Cowboys LB Sean Lee hopes missing time now saves some time for him later.

Giants RB Andre Williams is trying to put memories of a bad second season behind him.

Eagles DE Marcus Smith promises to be a new player (which is good since the old one hasn’t done a thing).

Washington QB Kirk Cousins is getting used to being in charge.

The lack of WR Alshon Jeffery at Bears OTAs underscores how thin they are at the position.

Lions president Rod Wood is “very optimistic” after seeing what came in the draft.

Packers LT David Bakhtiari thought it was “smart” to draft his potential replacement.

Vikings RB Adrian Peterson hopes to improve when they’re in the shotgun formation.

The Falcons want to see if LB Courtney Upshaw can be a DE.

Panthers QB Cam Newton managed to work in a visit with Michelle Obama between OTAs.

After missing on the Super Bowl, the Saints aren’t expected to bid to host the NFL Draft.

The Buccaneers signed a former college walk-on.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald should probably keep his day job.

Rams QB Case Keenum knows he’s a temp.

49ers S Eric Reid thinks it’s fair to expect more from him on the field before a new contract.

Some think the Seahawks have the best QB situation in the league.

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Brandon Marshall also appears to be protesting Fitzpatrick situation

Brandon Marshall AP

Amid a report that Jets receiver Eric Decker is skipping Organized Team Activities to make a statement in support of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, it appears that Jets receiver Brandon Marshall is doing the same.

Although Marshall hasn’t said anything about the issue, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News connects the dots and concludes that both Decker and Marshall are skipping OTAs to show solidarity with Fitzpatrick, who remains an unsigned free agent.

It’s widely expected that Fitzpatrick will be the Jets’ starting quarterback this season, but the Jets aren’t offering Fitzpatrick the kind of money he wants, and so far it appears that neither side wants to budge on contract talks. The Jets are waiting until Fitzpatrick brings his price down, while Fitzpatrick is waiting for the Jets to increase their offer. Neither side has a lot of leverage: Fitzpatrick doesn’t have another team willing to make him its starting quarterback, while the Jets don’t want to be stuck with Geno Smith as their starter.

Marshall and Decker don’t want Smith, either. They’re making it clear that they want Fitzpatrick to be their guy, and they’re skipping voluntary workouts to make that point.

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Tony Romo thinks he has at least four or five years left in him

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys sits on the bench late in the fourth quarter as the Washington Redskins beat the Dallas Cowboys 34-23 at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cowboys didn’t exactly draft their quarterback of the future this year, so the quarterback of the present figures he’ll just keep going until they do.

Via Todd Archer of ESPN.com, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said he can see himself playing beyond his current contract, which expires after the 2019 season. He even joked that with advances in modern medicine, perhaps “seven or eight years” is a possibility.

I’m not in my mid-20s anymore, but I do think based on what my situation has been like the last three or four years, I do think this [offseason] is drastically different,” Romo said. “It takes me back five years ago when I was able to do things the way [I had]. I’m not there yet. I still got these months to just get after it, but it’s exciting to actually be able to get after it a little bit. But if everything keeps going the way it’s going, I think it’s going to be exciting going into camp.”

Romo missed most of last season with broken collarbones (the left one, twice). Surgery was performed in March to strengthen the area and he declared it a non-issue. But after back surgeries in 2013 left him limited, he hasn’t been able to prepare like this in some time.

“The further removed I am from surgery — and now it’s been quite a while — I can go a lot longer periods of time doing what I could do before. But for shorter periods of time before, it would just get heavy or I’d need a break or rest,” Romo said. “The torque you put on it, the jolting of stuff, the hits — it all takes a toll over time. When you have multiple back surgeries, you understand the process sometimes that it’s a little different.”

The 36-year-old quarterback hasn’t played a full season since 2012, but there’s still not a viable plan for life after him. The Cowboys failed in an attempt to trade up to get Paxton Lynch during the draft, settling on fourth-rounder Dak Prescott.

So it’s a good thing Romo feels better than ever, because they’re going to need him.

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Drew Brees applies deadline to talks with Saints on a new deal

Drew Brees AP

The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees still haven’t worked out a new deal that reduces his salary-cap number for 2016 below $30 million. There’s now an apparent deadline for getting a deal done.

I don’t like to talk about contracts during the season,” Brees said Wednesday, via the Associated Press. “If you remember in 2011, where it began to drag into the season, three weeks in I was like, ‘I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I want to focus on football, focus on the season.’ That has always been my approach. That’ll be my approach again. There’s a deal to be done now, and if it doesn’t get done now, it’ll be a different deal to get done at the end of the year.”

That’s the closest Brees or his agent have come to pointing out the reality that, if the Saints allow Brees to play out the final year of his five-year, $100 million contract, the circumstances will change, dramatically. They’ll change thanks to the arbitration claim filed by Brees after the Saints applied the franchise tag to him in 2012, which resulted in a ruling that the next application of the tag to Brees will be the third of his career. As a result, he’ll be entitled to a 44-percent increase over his cap number from 2016.

That’s $43.2 million. For one year. For a quarterback who will be 38 in January.

This means that the Saints likely wouldn’t apply the tag to Brees, allowing instead for the market to set his value. Which creates the very real possibility that someone else will offer Brees dramatically more than the Saints will offer. Which, in turn, sets the stage for the possibility of Brees changing teams after what will be his 11th season in New Orleans.

While Brees leaving remains a long shot, teams use the franchise tag to keep key players off the market. When a player has a chance to go to the market (e.g., Ndamukong Suh), anything can happen. And with plenty of teams always searching for franchise quarterbacks, someone out there surely would love to have a Favre-in-Minnesota year or two with Brees.

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Derrick Morgan: Players aren’t surprised by charge of NFL impropriety

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16:   Derrick Morgan #91 of the Tennessee Titans celebrates his sack against the San Diego Chargers in front of Jurrell Casey #99 during the second quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on September 16, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

As the NFL’s “Operation Mom” rolls on, there’s another important demographic they clearly need to spend some time convincing their methods are on the up-and-up.

In the wake of a Congressional report which accused the league of trying to influence government research into CTE, Titans outside linebacker Derrick Morgan said he’s disappointed if what he’s read is true, but not shocked.

“Guys just want to have the knowledge and the information available, and the NFL is supposed to take care of that in the form of research,” Morgan said, via the Tennesseean. “It’s disappointing, but to say it was a surprise, I’d be lying to you.”

That falls in line with the thinking of the players union, which in no way expects the league to be doing the right thing these days.

“We’re the only guys, people that suffer,” Morgan said. “We’re out there laying our bodies on the line, and going through the physical pains of playing football is part of the game. We understand that. We just want to have the knowledge and the information readily available so we can make decisions on our health. . . .

“I think back in February the NFL just admitted the link with CTE and everything. So I think guys, like myself, that hit home and caused me to start doing my own research and trying to find out on my own. We just want the NFL to be responsible and handle their end of the bargain.”

Complaints like those are going to be common among players, and it’s going to be difficult to convince them the league’s being trustworthy, as the relationship between management and labor seems to be getting more contentious with each passing issue.

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Rich McKay expects sideline video to be implemented for 2017

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 14:  Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio holds on to a Microsoft Surface tablet during their game against the St. Louis Rams at O.co Coliseum on August 14, 2015 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL officially tabled a proposal this week at the league meetings in Charlotte to allow access to in-game video on the sidelines for coaches and players.

The league has allowed still photos to be used to show formations and such for years. Recently, the league has transitioned from hard copies of photos printed off on the sidelines to using tablets to view the still shots. Moving to video is likely inevitable at some point in the near future. Competition committee chairman Rich McKay expects the proposal to ultimately be adopted after the upcoming season.

We did an experiment last year in the preseason with video on the sidelines. We’ll go back to the teams that didn’t get to do that experiment and experiment again in this preseason and let them see it and touch it, and then I expect to see it on the field next season, not this coming season, but the season after,” McKay said in an interview with Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “It’s a change that I think – technology is coming. Colleges now are getting ready to introduce it. We’ve got states that have high schools that have introduced iPads on the sidelines. So technology is going to come to the sidelines.”

McKay said there was actually some push back from coaches that wanted to have more time to adapt and prepare for the change before it’s officially implemented.

“That is a big change. Don’t underestimate that change from a coaching perspective,” McKay said. “That’s not something they’re used to. So just like – as happened to us before when we’ve tried to introduce things – I think the coaches, and I don’t blame them for it, I think they’ve put their hand up and said ‘hold it, not so fast, let us just kind of digest how this change is going to impact us, how it’s going to impact the way we operate on the sidelines and operate in the coaching booths upstairs.’ So we tabled it yesterday.”

It shouldn’t take all that long for the coaches to be able to adapt to having a new resource on the sidelines. The 2017 season seems a reasonable expectation for when to see the change put into place for good.

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Report: Peyton Manning won’t sue Al Jazeera

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 17:  Former NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning, huddles with crew chief Greg Ives and the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet crew in their hauler prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

Peyton Manning has plenty of decisions to make, now that he has retired. One of the first decisions he made was a smart one.

Christine Brennan of USA Today reports that Manning won’t be suing Al Jazeera over the report that HGH was delivered to Manning’s wife in 2011, while Manning was dealing with chronic neck problems. Per Brennan, the decision came “after a dozen conference calls with attorneys” prompted Manning to conclude “that he doesn’t want to spend the time and money necessary to file a lawsuit that would make public the personal records and private lives of both he and his wife Ashley.”

That’s precisely what a defamation case would do, especially since truth is the ultimate defense to a claim of libel or slander. A lawsuit would give Al Jazeera license to demand the production of all medical records reflecting treatment received by Peyton or Ashley Manning at the Guyer Institute in Indianapolis, and anywhere else.

Brennan also explains that Manning is watching closely defamation lawsuits filed by baseball players Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Howard against Al Jazeera arising from the same documentary. If/when those cases are dismissed, Manning will know that his case would have been dismissed, too.

Frankly, dismissal would have been the least of Peyton Manning’s problems. If the medical records suggest that Ashley Manning did indeed receive HGH for use by Peyton, that information could then be used by the NFL as part of its own investigation that according to Brennan remains stuck in neutral, five months after the report came to light. With Manning possibly aspiring to run an NFL team in the future, its possible that he’d be disciplined as an executive for violations occurring as a player.

Without litigation or some other court proceeding that will bring the information to light, the NFL has no way of obtaining the documents. Unless, of course, Peyton and Ashley Manning execute the appropriate legal documents authorizing the Guyer Institute to provide that information.

At one point, Peyton Manning suggested that he’d allow the NFL to examine that information. He may have a different feeling on that issue, now that his playing career is over.

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Report: Decker absent from OTAs in protest of Fitzpatrick situation

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Eric Decker #87 of the New York Jets celebrates his touchdown with  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 in the third quarter against the Miami Dolphins on November 29, 2015 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets wide receiver Eric Decker has been absent from the team’s organized team activity (OTA) practices this week, and Brian Costello of the New York Post reported Wednesday night that Decker’s absence is related to the team’s ongoing contract standoff with free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Citing a source, Costello reported that Decker stayed away from the practices because he’s upset with the organization that Fitzpatrick remains unsigned.

The dots there are pretty easy to connect, though there are many reasons players miss OTA practices. With the quarterback market seemingly stagnant, it does seem time that the Jets and Fitzpatrick just do a deal. Whether or not Decker’s reported protest could impact that, we probably won’t ever know. We do know that Decker had a big season with Fitzpatrick throwing to him in 2015, and that Fitzpatrick has said he’d like to get a deal done to return.

These things happen — these absences and these negotiations — and at this point it seems like the Jets and Fitzpatrick will eventually get a deal done. Decker isn’t required to attend OTAs, and the front office obviously has its reasons and its stance in this matter.

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Kendall Fuller gets some OTA work

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 19: Kendall Fuller #11 of the Virginia Tech Hokies makes the tackle on Austin Appleby #12 of the Purdue Boilermakers as he fumbles the football that would be returned for a touchdown at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 19, 2015 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Maybe he’s well ahead of schedule or maybe he’s right on it. Either way, the Redskins have to see having rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller in uniform for organized team activity (OTA) practices as a positive.

Fuller suffered a torn ACL last September that ended his third and final season at Virginia Tech. He was a spectator during rookie minicamp earlier this month but said he would “definitely” be ready for training camp.

Though the Redskins are monitoring him closely, Fuller participated in Wednesday’s OTA practice. Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said the team will be “cautious” and that Fuller will be eased into full work, but Gruden said he’s progressing well.

A healthy Fuller and the late April addition of Josh Norman potentially give the Redskins depth and talent at cornerback they didn’t have last season. Fuller was projected by many as a first-round pick had he been healthy during the pre-draft process; he was drafted by the Redskins in the third round.

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Goodell blames unfamiliarity with Congressional report on travel

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks during the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL’s response to the Congressional report regarding alleged efforts to interfere with a National Institutes of Health study has looked nothing like the scorched-earth approach taken earlier this year when the NFL strenuously objected to an article from the New York Times that accused the league of shoddy concussion research and haphazardly compared pro football to Big Tobacco. As the hours passed on Monday during ESPN’s incessant trumpet-blasting of the report, with public opinion hardening like reinforced concrete, the league remained silent.

On Tuesday, when Commissioner Roger Goodell met the media at the conclusion of the quarterly ownership meetings in Charlotte, Goodell initially downplayed the situation with this response: “I didn’t see the report, we were traveling down here.”

I engaged in a full analysis of the answer during Tuesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. In lieu of me typing it up, you should just listen to it.

Here’s a quick summary: I didn’t like the response very much. If the league plans to devise a winning P.R. strategy to combat the siege mentality arising from the ongoing concussion crisis, the league should start with a more plausible strategy for adopting a dismissive tone regarding one of the more important Congressional reports generated regarding the league in recent years.

For the longer version, click play below.

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