ProFootballTalk: Will Bradshaw land on his feet?
The Colts announced Thursday that they’ve agreed to terms with four more members of their 2016 draft class. They signed first-round pick Ryan Kelly on Wednesday.
Thursday, the team finished deals with fourth-round defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, fifth-round offensive tackle Joe Haeg, seventh-round linebacker Trevor Bates and seventh-round center Austin Blythe.
Ridgeway had 3.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries last season at Texas. He was the only defensive line pick in a Colts draft class heavy on offensive linemen. Haeg was a two-time All-American at FCS national champion North Dakota State, while Blythe was a finalist for the Rimington Award and a key member of one of college football’s best offensive lines at Iowa.
Bates had 7.5 sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown last season at Maine.
The Dolphins drafted Doughty in the seventh round last weekend, with pick No. 223. The 6-foot-3 Doughty led the NCAA in passing yards in each of his final two college seasons at Western Kentucky. He’s a native of Davie, Fla., where the Dolphins conduct their day-to-day operations.
Doughty is the first quarterback the Dolphins have selected since drafting Ryan Tannehill in 2012.
Teams across the league have been busy signing draft picks. The Falcons signed their entire draft class Thursday, becoming the first team to do so.
The Falcons have become the first team to sign every member of their 2016 draft class to their rookie contracts.
Atlanta got the ball rolling with safety Keanu Neal on Wednesday and announced on Thursday evening that they have secured deals with their other five picks. At the rate that rookies have been signing around the league, they shouldn’t be the only team with every pick signed for too long.
Second-round linebacker Deion Jones, third-round tight end Austin Hooper, fourth-round linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, sixth-round guard Wes Schweitzer and seventh-round wide receiver Devin Fuller joined Neal as Falcons selections this year.
Jones is slated to play middle linebacker, where he could push aside incumbent starter Paul Worrilow and bring some speed to a defense that needs it. Hooper could also see a lot of playing time early after showing at Stanford that he can make plays as a receiver and can use size to be an effective blocker.
On Thursday, the members of Saints owner Tom Benson’s family who continue to hope to overturn his desire to exclude them from ownership of the Saints or the NBA’s Pelicans claimed that “the truth will come out” about Benson’s health condition, urging that anyone “with relevant information” about Benson’s alleged capacity “should continue to come forward.”
The allegations come thee days after the Louisiana Supreme Court refused to consider an appeal of the latest ruling upholding changes to Tom Benson’s will that froze out his daughter, Renee Benson, and grandchildren Rita and Ryan LeBlanc. Although the challenge to the new will seems to be over, the comments from the family members reveal that hard feelings remain.
Tom Benson has fired back with a statement that further underscores the acrimony among the family members.
“We are in Louisville this week where my wife’s GMB Racing operation will start Mo Tom and Tom’s Ready this Saturday in the running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby,” Tom Benson said in a statement issued by the Saints. “We had the privilege today to discuss potential business relationships with a number of horse farms in the area.
“Gayle and I could not be more excited in our preparations for the Kentucky Derby. And equally so — we are thrilled to bring this excitement to everyone in New Orleans. We are blessed to have a great team of loyal executives and friends. Our three trainers are from New Orleans and our two jockeys come from Louisiana. This is important to me. We are having the time of our lives here in Louisville.
“While certain members of my family continue to harass me with negative threatening statements, I continue to plan for the future. Nevertheless, the ingratitude shown by certain members of my family, despite the vast financial and other benefits I have given them, is very hard to accept.”
Tom Benson issued a statement in February that made similar points regarding his estranged family members.
As it now stands, Gayle Benson will assume control of both the football team and the basketball team after Tom Benson passes. Subject, of course, to further changes to the will. It’s safe to say Tom Benson won’t be changing his will to bring Renee Benson, Rita LeBlance, or Ryan LeBlanc back into the picture.
With the draft over, the only dead spot on the calendar is approaching for the NFL. What better way to fill the void than to devote 10 weeks to a made-for-TV player poll that is sufficiently flawed to fulfill the objective of generating conversation?
NFL Network’s annual “Best Players Of [Same Stuff, Different Year]” poll debuted last night, with the unveiling of No. 91 through 100. Coming in at No. 92 was, somehow, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck fell a full 85 spots from 2015.
The Colts currently intend to make Luck the highest-paid player in the history of the sport, if/when team and player can agree on how much more he should be paid than anyone else ever has been paid. But he’s regarded as the 92nd best player in the NFL.
How does that happen? The explanation is surprisingly simple. Unless NFLN has changed the procedure for compiling the list (and if it ain’t fixed, why break it?), the 100 names came from a stream of players who, while passing through the NFL Media car wash over the past several months, at some point scrawled onto a piece of paper a knee-jerk list of the best 20 players in the NFL.
With Luck out of sight for much of last season due to shoulder, rib, and kidney injuries, he would have been out of mind on most of the ballots. Which resulted in Luck nearly being shunned entirely.
Of course he’s better than No. 92. And of course the fact that he landed there is further evidence that the entire process is a waste of time.
But there’s plenty of time to waste between now and the start of training camp. If the goal is to waste that time with stuff that people notice (even if they notice it for the wrong reasons), there’s only one thing to say: Mission accomplished.
Count the Chargers among the teams that have started signing their draft picks.
Linebacker Jatavis Brown, a fifth-round pick, signed a four-year deal with the Chargers on Thursday.
Brown was not invited to the Scouting Combine last February but was the 2015 Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year at Akron. He set school records last season with 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.
It’s a football career that has induced plenty of cringes in the last 24 months. So it makes sense that the lawyer representing unemployed quarterback Johnny Manziel would offer up a sound bite on Thursday that induced even more cringes.
Asked by reporters to identify the preferred outcome of Manziel’s pending criminal case involving allegations of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, attorney Robert Hinton said he hopes that “[e]verybody would kiss and make up.”
And that wasn’t even the most problematic thing Hinton said. He added that Manziel likely would return to Los Angeles at some point. Which provides further proof that Manziel isn’t willing or able to make the changes he needs to get back to the NFL. Indeed, it shows he still hasn’t recognized that changes are even needed.
The nephew of one of the greatest players ever to play college football at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum will get a chance to play pro football at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Ian Seau, a defensive end who played his college ball at Nevada-Reno, has signed as an undrafted free agent with the Rams. Seau is the nephew of the late Junior Seau, who played at the Coliseum as a star linebacker for USC and then had a Hall of Fame career in the NFL.
The Rams also announced that they’ve signed 18 other undrafted free agents: Texas A&M K Taylor Bertolet, Wake Forest LB Brandon Chubb, Colorado State-Pueblo DE Morgan Fox, Arkansas S Rohan Gaines, TCU RB Aaron Green, Pitt LB Nicholas Grigsby, Vanderbilt LB Darreon Herring, Missouri Western DB Michael Jordan, Washington LB Cory Littleton, Iowa FS Jordan Lomax, Southeast Missouri State WR Paul McRoberts, Northwestern State OL Pace Murphy, Tennessee WR Marquez North, Washington State LB Kache Palacio, Tennessee S Brian Randolf, New Mexico State CB Winston Rose, Colorado WR Nelson Spruce and Kentucky OL Jordan Swindle.
Two tryout players, LS Jeffrey Overbaugh and WR Jimmy Worton, will get a shot to show what they can do at the Rams’ rookie minicamp.
The Buccaneers joined the pick-signing party, reaching deals with a pair of their own.
The team announced they had signed fourth-round defensive back Ryan Smith, and agreed to terms with fifth-round offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch. The Bucs have five more picks to sign, and there’s no reason to think it’ll be complicated.
Smith, from North Carolina Central, was his school’s all-time leaders in tackles and kickoff return average, adding some speed to the Bucs secondary. They plan to try him at safety, and he should have a chance to help on special teams immediately.
Benenoch was a three-year starter at UCLA, and could offer depth at tackle and guard.
After weeks of delay that invited speculation of a desire by Marshawn Lynch to be released, the Seahawks have placed Lynch on the reserve-retired list. It doesn’t mean Lynch is prohibited from changing his mind.
As the football-following world learned in 2008 with Brett Favre’s First Annual Unretirement, a player who wants to return needs simply to file a request for reinstatement with the league office. Once reinstated, he’s back on his prior team’s roster, at the $9 million salary he was due to earn.
The Seahawks, who drafted at last count 17 running backs last week (actually, three), would then have to decide whether to keep him, trade him, or cut him. If he’s cut, Lynch becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team.
But there’s a caveat. If Lynch decides to wait until the regular season unfolds in order to ensure that he’ll land with a contender, unretiring after the trade deadline would result in Lynch being exposed to waivers, if/when he’s released.
This means that, if the Seahawks cut Lynch so that Lynch can, for example, join his hometown team (the Raiders), another team would be able to block that maneuver by claiming Lynch’s contract.
That’s exactly what happened in 2002, when Deion Sanders wanted to unretire and climb aboard the Oakland bandwagon for a Super Bowl run. After Washington released his rights, the Chargers claimed the contract on waivers.
The Chargers made the move because Sanders had retired in 2001 due to a lack of desire to play for Marty Schottenheimer, who had been hired earlier that year. Fired after one season, Schottenheimer was the head coach in San Diego in 2002.
With Lynch, another team likely would be inclined to block him from hand picking his next team not for spite but for strategic reasons. Regardless, Lynch will eliminate that risk if he returns long enough before the trade deadline to ensure that he’d be cut without having to pass through waivers.
Even if he’s not truly ready at that point to join a team, Lynch would be smart to ensure that he has the pieces in place before the trade deadline to make a late-season debut with a team that is on track for the Super Bowl and in need of a difference-maker at tailback.
Unless he’s truly done playing. With Lynch, however, no one ever really knows what he’s going to do. Which makes it even more sensible to keep an eye on all possible outcomes.
The Eagles are the latest team to announce their crop of rookie free agent signings.
The team has brought in 16 players to fill out their 90-man roster, although making room for all of them led to the release of a pair of players who will need to pursue their NFL futures elsewhere. The Eagles waived running back Kevin Monangai and defensive tackle Travis Raciti, both of whom spent time on the practice squad last year.
Among the new Eagles is wide receiver Cayleb Jones, who caught 128 passes for 1,923 yards and 14 touchdowns at Arizona over the last two seasons. According to multiple reports, they also used bigger guarantees than usual to sign San Diego State guard Darrell Greene and Incarnate Word linebacker Myke Tavarres after they went undrafted last weekend.
The rest of the signings are West Virginia long snapper John DePalma, Rutgers linebacker Quentin Gause, LSU tight end Dillon Gordon, Maine center Bruce Johnson, Texas wide receiver Marcus Johnson, Oregon running back Byron Marshall, Valdosta State running back Cedric O’Neal, Utah State wide receiver Hunter Sharp, Stanford defensive tackle Aziz Shittu, North Dakota State cornerback C.J. Smith, Lousiana Tech wide receiver Paul Turner, Washington State defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao and Boston College defensive tackle Connor Wujciak.
Last year, former Bears wide receiver Joe Anderson was spotted outside of the Texans stadium holding up a sign asking for another shot from an NFL team.
Anderson got one a short time later when the Jets signed him to their practice squad in December. He’ll need to either take the sign out of storage or make up a new one for the 2016 season, however.
The Jets announced Thursday that they have waived Anderson from their 90-man roster in the kind of move to clear space for incoming rookies that we’ve seen all around the league this week.
Anderson played nine games for the Bears in 2012 and 2013 seasons without catching a pass, although he did return five kickoffs and see other time on special teams.
The check-listing of rookie contracts is in full effect, and has taken hold in Pittsburgh.
With draft picks descending on Pittsburgh for rookie minicamp this weekend, it was easy enough to get them signed.
Ayers, a wide receiver from Houston, could provide some help on returns this year. Matakevich is a linebacker from Temple, who was the school’s all-time leading tackler and won both the Chuck Bednarik Award and Bronko Nargurski Trophy.
Earlier this week, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider said that the team wanted to place running back Marshawn Lynch on the reserve/retired list before June 1 in order to take the total cap hit remaining from his signing bonus this year rather than split it over the next two.
Schneider proved good to his word on Thursday. The Seahawks announced that they have placed Lynch on the list, which formally removes him from their roster and leaves them with 90 players.
When Schneider commented on the team’s plans, he said that Lynch still had not submitted retirement papers with the league and added that the lack of paperwork from Lynch didn’t preclude the team from making the roster move. Lynch was at CenturyLink Field to speak to participants at a job fair after traveling overseas for much of the last two months, so it’s possible the status of the paperwork has changed.
Coach Pete Carroll said after the draft that Lynch was “committed to retiring” and there hasn’t been any signal from Lynch to contradict that assessment. The Seahawks, who drafted three running backs last week, retain his rights in the event that proves otherwise at some point in the future.
Coming out of Alabama, Chance Warmack was considered one of the best guard prospects in the history of the NFL draft. He’s been a bit of a disappointment in Tennessee, however, demonstrated by the team deciding this week not to pick up his fifth-year option.
But Warmack says he’s disappointed, too, in the quality of the coaching he has received.
Warmack didn’t mention him by name, but he was obviously referring to former Titans offensive line coach Bob Bostad in comments about an ex-coach whose teaching Warmack thinks didn’t provide him much help.
“I had one dude who played D-III football at linebacker. And he’s teaching me how to play offensive line? If there’s nothing wrong with that, you tell me,” Warmack told Pete Prisco of CBS. “I play offensive line. I don’t play linebacker. I definitely didn’t play D-III football. Not knocking D-III schools out there. We’re talking about the highest level of football in the world. And you have a guy who has never put his hand in the dirt teaching me how to block. You don’t think there’s anything wrong with that? I appreciate a coach who is open-minded to questions and comments. They don’t want to hear a question that questions their philosophy. When they are closed-minded, it stunts the growth of the offensive lineman.”
There may be some merit to Warmack’s complaints, and the fact that Bostad is now the tight ends and fullbacks coach at Northern Illinois suggests that he didn’t have any other teams interested in his services as an offensive line coach when the Titans fired him this year.
On the other hand, there are plenty of good NFL coaches who weren’t good enough players to make it to the NFL, and plenty of good position coaches who aren’t coaching the position they played. If Warmack is going to blame his position coach for any struggles he’s had in the past, he’d better have a big year this year. His position coach now is a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, Russ Grimm.