Mike Florio talks with NFL agent, Joe Linta about the Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco’s contract. then, Florio talks with former NFL tight end, Anthony Becht about the needs for his former teams (Jets, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Rams, Chiefs).
Mike Florio talks with NFL agent, Joe Linta about the Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco’s contract. then, Florio talks with former NFL tight end, Anthony Becht about the needs for his former teams (Jets, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Rams, Chiefs).
The decision of the Patriots to post a lengthy retort to the Ted Wells report triggered speculation that the Patriots possibly violated the NFL Constitution & Bylaws. Last week’s strong statements from owner Robert Kraft followed by the team’s decision to release email communications with the league office regarding leaks and the NFL’s failure to investigate them has raised once again the question of whether the Patriots will face separate discipline for criticizing the league.
Article 9.1(C)(4) of the Constitution & Bylaws states that no team may “[p]ublicly criticize any member club or its management, personnel, employees, or coaches and/or any football official employed by the league.” The provision then requires that “[a]ll complaints or criticism in respect to the foregoing shall be made to the Commissioner only and shall not be publicized directly or indirectly.”
As explained in May, Athis language doesn’t encompass a (supposedly) independent investigator. But does it apply to criticism of the NFL itself?
Maybe. While the language primarily focuses on public criticism of other teams, it also prohibits criticism of “any football official employed by the league.”
At first blush, that encompasses game officials, the folks in the black and white stripes. But the language is broad enough to cover front-office employees — football officials who don’t actually enter the field of play.
So far, the only specific target of the assault from the Patriots has been NFL general counsel Jeff Pash, who arguably is not a football official. But he hasn’t been criticized by the Patriots; instead, the team has merely released emails sent to and received from him.
The Patriots haven’t specifically criticized any football officials by name. But that won’t necessarily stop the I-do-what-I-want mindset from twisting the team’s generalized comments into a finding that they have violated the rule that requires criticism on football matters to be directed privately to the Commissioner and not publicly articulated.
The question is whether the NFL wants to further escalate the situation by pushing back against the Patriots, or whether the league is willing to let the team vent — to an extent. As PFT reported over the weekend, the Patriots have yet to hear from the league in response to the email disclosure, but the Patriots assume that, eventually, a message will arrive.
The league has not yet responded to a request for comment from PFT on the Patriots’ decision to release the emails. The NFL has spoken, however, on a separate provision of the NFL Constitution & Bylaws that many are citing as proof of a violation by the league office.
Here’s Article 9.3(B): “No owner or person holding any interest in a member club, nor any officer, stockholder, director, or partner thereof, nor any officer or employee of the League or a member club thereof, shall enter the dressing room of a game official.”
Under the plain language of this provision, no League employee may enter the dressing room of a league employee. Thus, Article 9.3(B) seems to clearly prevent what happened in this case; as explained at page 66 of the Ted Wells Report, league employees Alberto Riveron, Dan Grossi, Troy Vincent, and Mike Kensil entered the “dressing room of the game officials” for the purposes of testing 11 Patriots footballs and four Colts footballs at halftime of the AFC Championship.
On one level, it’s a technicality. The testing of the footballs needed to be done somewhere; the locker room assigned to the officials made the most sense.
At a deeper level, the message could be that there should be none of these ad hoc investigations or inquiries sparked by league employees while a game is being played. If there are concerns raised by a team during a game, it’s for the game officials — and no one else — to handle it. And if the NFL, via 95 years of never considering what happens inside the bladder of a football under varying temperatures and other weather conditions, suddenly becomes curious about that topic, the way to address it isn’t to have a posse of league employees barge into the locker room of the officials to launch an investigation at halftime but to take the appropriate measures apart from the fragile and finite confines of a given game.
From the league’s perspective, there’s no violation at all — based not on the plain language of the provision but based on the way it has been applied.
“The interpretation has always been that no one should enter the game officials locker room unless on official business,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT by email on Monday morning. “League, club, and security people enter the officials locker rooms at every game to assist them with various functions. It is standard procedure. If the officials have an issue with anyone entering their locker room inappropriately, they would report it to security people at the site or to the head of officiating.
“This isn’t anything new or different. Various people with official game day functions enter the room. For example, your SNF crew goes into officials’ locker room for the standard 90-minute meeting before the game. The meeting includes someone from the broadcasting crew, the officials, officiating observer, the home and away PR reps, green hat, orange sleeves. This happens at every NFL game.”
The explanation makes sense, but the first paragraph invites curiosity regarding how game officials felt about a sudden investigation being launched not by the game officials but by the NFL, during the limited period of time that the game officials have to relax and regroup for the next 30 minutes of game action. Besides, if any of the game officials had deemed the intrusion by league employees “inappropriate,” would any of them have felt comfortable saying so?
Regardless, the Constitution & Bylaws currently aren’t an issue for the Patriots or for the NFL in the #DeflateGate controversy. And, unless and until the Patriots begin criticizing specific football officials by name, they likely never will be.
Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey was in the Packers front office when the team drafted defensive lineman Jerel Worthy in the second round of the 2012 draft and that likely helped Worthy land a spot on the team’s roster this offseason.
That connection won’t help Worthy stick around into the second week of training camp, however. The Chiefs announced on Monday that they have waived Worthy.
Worthy played 14 games and made four starts for the Packers as a rookie, recording 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble before tearing his ACL in the final week of the regular season. He made it back for two games in 2013 and was traded to the Patriots last August, but didn’t make the team out of camp.
Worthy is just 25, but playing two games and passing through three teams since the start of the 2013 season doesn’t bode very well for his chances of a lasting NFL career.
The Buccaneers were supposed to have a public workout yesterday, but heavy rains in Central Florida forced them to delay and eventually move it.
They might not have to for long, as the team is finally building an indoor facility at One Buc Place.
“We actually are working on that right now,’’ co-chairman Bryan Glazer said, via Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. “The architects are drawing that up. It’s a work in progress but that is going to happen. As soon as we get the drawings done we’ll give you further details.’’
In the past, the Bucs have had to use Tropicana Field or the University of South Florida’s building if weather forced them off their own practice fields, an inconvenience for the football staff.
“Our owners are always trying to make it easier for us to improve our ball club,’’ head coach Lovie Smith said “The weather won’t affect us at all [once the indoor field is built], so it will be big once we do get it.’’
Glazer said he hoped the facility would be in place by training camp next year, as part of a larger renovation of Raymond James Stadium.
The Seahawks gave Bobby Wagner a four-year contract extension worth a total of $43 million over the weekend and that deal likely caught the eye of a few other linebackers who don’t make their biggest impact rushing the passer.
Players like Lavonte David of the Buccaneers, Luke Kuechly of the Panthers and DeAndre Levy of the Lions all fall into that category and all of them are in the market for new deals of their own. Not all of the deals will come in the same range, but Wagner’s contract could be used as a fencepost on the way to their own contracts.
On Sunday, however, Levy said that he’s not paying that much attention to what his peers get in their contracts.
“I try to focus on what I can do and not have what I do dictated on whether another guy gets paid,” Levy said, via the Detroit Free Press. “I mean, [he and Lavonte David] both deserve it. … I didn’t know what he got but I just saw on TV that he got a deal and they’re both more than deserving.”
Levy has turned in two excellent seasons in a row for the Lions and the two sides have started talking about a contract. Levy said it will be up to his agent if those talks continue into the season since he’ll be concentrating on on-field matters.
There’s still no word on when Jason Pierre-Paul will sign his one-year contract with the Giants, and no word on whether he’ll be healthy enough to play when he does. But the two sides are at least talking.
The Giants had no contact at all with Pierre-Paul from his Fourth of July fireworks injury into the beginning of August, but on Sunday Giants G.M. Jerry Reese finally talked to Pierre-Paul, Giants owner John Mara said today on 660 AM in New York.
Pierre-Paul is the Giants’ franchise player, which means he has few options: He can either sign a one-year contract to play with the Giants this year or not sign anywhere at all. So eventually he’s going to be with the Giants this year.
But if he’s not healthy enough to play, the Giants will put him on the non-football injury list, which means they won’t have to pay him. Pierre-Paul suffered serious hand injuries, including the loss of an index finger, in the fireworks accident. At this point, no one seems to know when or if he’ll be able to play this year.
Before Pierre-Paul can play, he needs to report to the Giants. Talking to Reese may be the first step toward that happening.
The Colts placed linebacker Robert Mathis on the physically unable to perform list at the start of camp because he’s continuing to work his way back from last year’s torn Achilles.
That’s hardly unexpected and you could say the same about Mathis’s push to be ready for the first week of the regular season, but coach Chuck Pagano said Sunday that the team isn’t operating under the same timeline. Given Mathis’s age and the severity of the injury, Pagano says that the Colts are taking the long view when it comes to Mathis’s availability.
“I think we would be foolish to not consider all those things … It would be stupid on our part to say, ‘Ok, you’re healthy, you’re good,'” Pagano said, via the Indianapolis Star. “We just have to stick to the process and be patient. Everybody’s champing at the bit. You guys are champing at the bit. He’s champing at the bit. We’re champing at the bit. The position coach is champing at the bit. Slow down. We’ve got a long way to go. It’s a long season.”
Linebackers coach Jeff FitzGerald cited Jonathan Newsome and Trent Cole as two players that make it easier for the Colts to be patient with Mathis during the summer and into the season and the approach could pay off for the Colts if it means a fresher and more effective Mathis coming off the edge down the stretch this season.
Browns wide receiver conversion project Terrelle Pryor is confident he’s going to make it, and the fact he spent part of the offseason working with a legendary veteran receiver like Randy Moss and some contemporaries was a good first step.
But after a short time watching the former quarterback ply his new trade, the Browns sound increasingly optimistic about his chances.
Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns receivers coach Joker Phillips said Pryor has made a good first impression, and has the thing that makes hard work worthwhile.
“It’s hard to say right now,” Phillips said. “I’m not going to put that kind of pressure on him or myself. I can tell you this, he’s very, very — and I’ll say it two times — very, very talented. There’s no question about that. The guy’s talented, and talent wins ball games. Now, we’ve got to challenge that talent with the techniques that we have and give him a chance to be successful out wide.”
Phillips said he’s been impressed with the time Pryor is spending working on becoming a wideout, saying he was “all in” and “starving to be taught the techniques.”
If he can learn them, it gives him a good chance to stand out in a Browns receiving group that lacks weapons, or his kind of size.
“He doesn’t look out of place,” head coach Mike Pettine said. “It’s still very early, too early to tell, but he does not look out of place. He does some good things. He is just behind from the learning standpoint and the subtleties of playing receiver. If you had asked where he would be at this point, I would think we would all agree he is ahead of where we thought he would be.”
The preseason will be an important indicator of his progress, as his ability to get open isn’t the only thing he has to learn. There are also blocking and special teams responsibilities, and since he didn’t do much of that at Ohio State (or with the Raiders, Seahawks, Chiefs or Bengals) he lacks experience.
But at least the early indications are good, which is enough for the Browns at the moment.
Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that the former 49er has been the early “star” of camp for the Raiders.
There’s a long way to go until Crabtree becomes a star during games that count. Drops and limited opportunities punctuated his last season in San Francisco, which ended with 68 catches for 698 yards.
In six seasons with the 49ers, the 2009 top-10 pick had only one 1,000 yard receiving season, cracking the barrier with 1,105 in 2012. Once he became a free agent, Crabtree generated little interest, eventually signing a one-year, $3.2 million contract with the Raiders.
It could end up being the best money the Raiders have spent in free agency in a long, long time.
Dropped passes in practice earned the ire of Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Clancy Barone has settled into his role as the Broncos offensive line coach.
The Chiefs will have their first full-contact practice on Monday.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett wants his team to cut down on “sloppy” play.
The Giants closed a musical Sunday practice with a punt catching competition between their offensive and defensive linemen.
The Buccaneers will build an indoor practice facility.
How long will it be before the Cardinals are healthy at tight end?
Rams camp will feature a battle for playing time at cornerback.
The 49ers were back on the Levi’s Stadium field Sunday after a rocky Saturday night on the grass.
Agent Russell Okung has his work cut out for him, if his goal is to keep his client in Seattle.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com has a sobering stat for the week, relating to the Seahawks. He shows that the franchise has nearly $100 million per year tied up in only 10 guys. That leaves roughly $50 million (in 2015) for paying the other 43 guys on the 53-man roster, along with all the other extra players who need to be signed as members of the active roster land on injured reserve.
Five of those players now have eight-figure annual averages, up from three only three days ago. Quarterback Russell Wilson’s average burden increased by an order of magnitude (nerd), from $1.542 million to $17.82 million. Cornerback Richard Sherman remains at $14 million per year, running back Marshawn Lynch moves to $10.8 million for 2015, linebacker Bobby Wagner has increased to $10.75 million (another order-of-magnitude move), and safety Earl Thomas remains at $10 million even.
Behind them are tight end Jimmy Graham ($9 million), defensive end Cliff Avril ($7.13 million), defensive end Michael Bennett ($7.13 million), safety Kam Chancellor ($7 million), and linebacker K.J. Wright ($6.75 million).
Bennett skipped much of the offseason program in an effort to get more money, and Chancellor was a surprise holdout for the start of training camp. Three days in, the holdout continues.
And that’s where team goals and individual needs conflict. Players always should go for every last dollar during careers of limited duration, even if the pursuit of every last dollar could land the player (or some of his teammates, like Tony McDaniel) elsewhere.
“You’ve only got so much [cap room],” Sherman said Sunday, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “If it was like baseball we’d have quite a team.”
They still have quite a team. The challenge will be holding that team all together as guys clamor to get compensation that better reflects their perceived value, commitment, and sacrifice.
“He has taken a stand and I support him,” Sherman said regarding Chancellor. “He’s like a brother to me and when you take a stand like this, you don’t get a lot of support from the fans about honoring contracts. But we understand the things he goes through week in and week out and the trauma he puts his body through and the sacrifices he makes.”
Sherman pointed out that players constantly face very real risk of injury, and that Chancellor played in the Super Bowl with an MCL that was “80 percent torn.”
“It’s a 100 percent injury rate, as they have said so eloquently time after time,” Sherman said. “But that’s what you play for, guys play to win because we obviously play to win. The compensation is just something that comes with it and guys appreciate compensation, guys appreciate being taken care of.
“But there is always more. Kam is making $4.5 million this year. I mean, you can go down the list of guys making more than Kam Chancellor this year that are not better than Kam Chancellor in any way, stretch or form. But that’s unfortunate. So hopefully they can come together on some number.”
If they do, it’ll reduce the number available for the other 43 guys who make the 53-man roster. Which will force the Seahawks to rely on plenty of younger guys with low fixed incomes via the rookie wage scale, who eventually will be in position to earn more money from the Seahawks or someone else after putting in three or four years of high-level performance.
Of course, if/when that happens there’s a chance that the Seahawks will choose the younger stars over some of the 10 players currently accounting for nearly $100 million in cap space.
While Sam Bradford was limited at practice this offseason because of his continued recovery from a torn ACL, the Eagles talked about having Bradford and Mark Sanchez compete for the starting quarterback job.
Bradford has been fully cleared for training camp and the first day of 11-on-11 work on Sunday suggested that he’s the likelier starter come September. Bradford, wearing a rubber sleeve on his knee rather than a brace, got the bulk of the first-team reps during his first full-team drills since tearing his ACL last August. Bradford wasn’t thrilled with his performance, but said progressing to this step was the important part of the day.
“Obviously, getting adjusted to the speed of it again [is tough] … ” Bradford said, via the Philadelphia Daily News. “It’s huge for me just to get out there and get to run the offense. There’s only so much you can do in 7-on-7, there’s only so much you can learn in meetings. … I learn best on the field, getting reps. Just to be out there playing with those guys, getting to know how they feel the game, how they feel space, creating that chemistry with our wide receivers and running backs, I think that’s what I’m most excited about during this camp.”
Neither Bradford nor Sanchez knows if the snaps will continue to be divvied up the same way, but Kelly said Bradford will start the preseason opener unless there’s a setback in the next two weeks.
Linebacker Junior Galette didn’t have to wait long to land a new job after being released by the Saints, which came as something of a surprise since his off-field behavior was a big part of his departure from New Orleans and could lead to league discipline that makes Galette unavailable for a portion of the 2015 season.
Redskins General Manager Scot McCloughan said the team was “willing to take that chance” after a two-hour conversation with Galette and said that the team interviewed more than 20 people about Galette before deciding to add him to the roster.
“[He’s] not a bad guy. All players have issues,” McCloughan said, via CSNWashington.com. “We all have some kind of issues. We’ve all made mistakes. I don’t repeat offenders. I don’t want the guy that I know is not going to be a good guy to bring into our locker room. What you always read in the media and hear in the media is not always accurate. We did our investigation. We were thorough, thorough, thorough. [We talked] to the league office, other players and coaches in the league. This guy we feel very comfortable with going forward. Very comfortable.”
McCloughan said he asked Galette about the video that appears to show him hitting a woman and that he’s fine after getting “the real story” from Galette. That conversation helped convince McCloughan that Galette isn’t the kind of bad guy that he promised not to bring into the organization, although Galette’s 22 sacks over the last two seasons probably didn’t hurt too much either.
According to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun, the Ravens are still waiting for full results of an MRI, but they’re “not counting on Elam to play this season.”
That likely means he suffered a full tear, which would require surgery and months of rehabilitation.
“I haven’t heard on the MRI yet, but I’m not real optimistic right now,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I haven’t heard a final word, but it wasn’t very optimistic [Saturday] talking to the doctors. He was reaching, the receiver ran by him and kind of reached for him and caught him.”
Elam hadn’t shown the Ravens much in his first two seasons, but had impressed coaches after being challenged this offseason.
“I’m sure it’s very disappointing for him, and he told me that,” Harbaugh said. “Here’s a guy who came back with a renewed attitude. He had a better approach than he’d had the first two years. He just had grown up a lot. He’s very serious and he was in tremendous shape, and then he gets a fluke injury. That’s disappointing.”
If he’s going to make an impact for the Ravens now, it’s going to take even more work.
The five-year, $70 million contract that the Cowboys gave wide receiver Dez Bryant last month made it clear that he will remain a focus of the team’s offense in 2015 and beyond.
The focus extends beyond just pass catching. Bryant got into a scuffle with cornerback Tyler Patmon during Sunday’s practice and rather than downplay it as an inevitable part of intense training camp practices, the Cowboys are highlighting video of the scrap on their website.
You can see the two men lock up during a play, the helmets come off and both men throw punches that don’t connect, including a sweeping left from Bryant. They get pulled apart, but the video shows Bryant making his way back toward Patmon to stoke the flames after things have initially been broken up. Eventually, cooler heads prevailed.
“It’s two great competitors,” Bryant said. “We’re going back and forth. I was giving him a little bit of mouth, just talking a whole bunch of stuff to him. He was taking back to me, it just escalated over to the next play. At the end of the day, he wasn’t going to back down and I wasn’t going to back down. At the end of the day, you see us, we shook hands, we hugged and we respect one another.”
Owner Jerry Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News, that the fight was “good stuff,” although you could probably have guessed his approval by the placement of the video on the website.
Panthers special teams coach Bruce DeHaven took a leave of absence from the team this spring, and for good reason.
But even though his time with them may be limited, he decided the lure of coaching was too strong to walk away from.
DeHaven told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that a doctor told him in May he had prostate cancer, and might have three to five years left to live. That caused him to step away and consider his options, but ultimately, the longtime assistant chose to come back to work.
“I just figured that I am determined to beat this,” DeHaven said. “And I hope I can beat it. I hope I can outlast it. I’m so busy that I don’t even think of it unless someone brings it up. But I think I figured that, if I quit, 20 years from now I’d ask myself, ‘Why’d you walk away from a job you love doing so much?’”
The Panthers are working closely with DeHaven, and brought in longtime assistant Russ Purnell to help him. But DeHaven insisted on coming back for a 29th NFL season, one which has saw him work with legends of the game and win a Super Bowl.
“Look,” he said, “I love coaching. I just do. I love teaching football. There’s a story I need to tell you. I grew up in Kansas, a farm kid. And I got to be a high school coach, and in 1976, the team I coached in Wichita went to Kansas City and won the state championship. So we’re headed home to Wichita after the game on a yellow school bus, and everyone’s so happy, and I’m happy we won, of course. But part of me was so sad. The season’s over. I don’t get to coach these kids I love to coach on Monday. It’s over. So it’s the coaching, the teaching, the process. That’s what I love.
“From life on the farm to the NFL … I mean, are you kidding me? Coaching in the Super Bowl? With Hall of Fame coaches? Marv Levy, Bill Parcells. My gosh, I understand what Lou Gehrig said. I honestly feel it. I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
DeHaven is undergoing treatments for the disease, and by all appearances seems to be coaching as he ever has. And hopefully, he’s able to do what he loves for many years to come.