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Rams won’t comment on report Titus Young will be cut

Seattle Seahawks v Detroit Lions Getty Images

The Rams are declining to comment on the odd report that surfaced this morning saying they would release receiver Titus Young today, just 10 days after they claimed him off waivers from the Lions.

PFT reached out to the Rams this morning when the talk of Young being released first surfaced, and the team told us that it has no comment. However, head coach Jeff Fisher is scheduled to appear at a press conference today to formally introduce Tim Walton as the team’s new defensive coordinator, and Fisher is expected to answer questions about Young at that press conference.

The story that Young would be cut began with, of all people, Rob Parker, the commentator who was fired by ESPN for making asinine comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III being a “cornball brother.” Parker is now writing for a website called The Shadow League, and he reported there that Young would be cut and may never play football again. Parker isn’t known for breaking news, but he does live and work in Detroit, so he may have a connection with Young, who has played for the Lions for two years.

We’ll be keeping an eye on St. Louis for official word about Young’s future, or lack thereof, with the Rams.

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Stork tweets that he’s excited to report to Redskins

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Bryan Stork is apparently going to officially be new Redskins center Bryan Stork fairly soon.

Stork tweeted Saturday night that he’s anxious to get the next chapter of his career started.

“I will forever have nothing but great memories at [the Patriots],” Stork tweeted. “Looking forward to making more [with the Redskins].”

The Patriots traded Stork to the Redskins this week. Stork had contemplated retirement, according to reports, and Redskins Coach Jay Gruden told reporters that Stork still had to make “a final decision.”

Stork started 11 games for the Patriots as a rookie in 2014 and six last season. He’s battled concussion issues, but the Redskins see him as a solid insurance policy after their longtime center, Kory Lichtensteiger, was limited to five games last season.

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Offenses sharp in Titans-Raiders game

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 20:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans stands under center during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 20, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Preseason results don’t mean much and are usually quickly forgotten. In Oakland Saturday night, it’s fair to say the offenses beat the defenses.

The Titans got the ball first and scored immediately. A 60-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to rookie Tajae Sharpe set up a short touchdown run by DeMarco Murray. The Raiders came right back and scored on a 6-yard pass from Derek Carr to rookie DeAndre Washington.

Sharpe has been really good throughout camp and has probably won a spot in the opening day starting lineup.

Carr threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper later in the first half, and Derrick Henry ran for another Titans touchdown. The Titans led 20-14 at halftime when Mariota was removed from the game. He was 9-of-16 for 170 yards and looked sharp commanding an offense that mixed in some option plays and plenty of rollout passes.

Veteran Andre Johnson caught three passes for 65 yards for the Titans. Cooper had three catches for 52 yards including the 29-yard touchdown.

Carr threw one pass in the second half before being removed from the game. He finished 12-of-18 for 169 yards.

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David Harris suffers shoulder injury

Denver Broncos v New York Jets Getty Images

Veteran Jets linebacker David Harris suffered a shoulder injury and has been declared out of Saturday night’s Jets-Giants preseason game.

Harris suffered the injury late in the first half. He probably wasn’t going to return to Saturday night’s game anyway, but he’s a key player in the Jets’ defense and the Jets hope he won’t miss any real time.

Harris, 32, is entering his 10th NFL season. He hasn’t missed a start since 2008.

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Mewhort leaves game with knee injury

Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

Colts guard Jack Mewhort suffered a knee injury in the third quarter of Saturday night’s preseason game vs. the Eagles. Mewhort is one of the Colts’ best offensive linemen, and if Mewhort suffered a significant injury it would be a significant blow to the Colts.

The Colts just don’t have much depth across their offensive line, a unit that struggled again vs. the Eagles. At halftime, Colts coach Chuck Pagano said his linemen had “to man up and block their guys.”

Quarterback Andrew Luck didn’t play in the second half Saturday but many of the other starters did, and that’s when Mewhort was injured.

The team announced only that Mewhort would not return to Saturday’s game. Earlier in the game the Colts lost cornerback Darius Butler to an ankle injury, a further blow to another already thin position group.

A second-round pick in 2014, Mewhort has played both guard and tackle in each of his previous two NFL seasons.

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Forte gets involved quickly in Jets debut

New York Giants' Olivier Vernon (54) tackles New York Jets' Matt Forte (22) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) AP

The Jets were patient with running back Matt Forte over the last several weeks. But when Forte made his preseason debut in Saturday night’s game vs. the Giants, the Jets kept Forte busy.

Forte got five touches on the game’s first drive, three by run and two on receptions from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets lined up Forte in the backfield and also as a slot receiver to both sides in different personnel groupings.

He played 11 of 20 snaps in the first quarter and touched the ball on eight of those 11. He ended up carrying 10 times for 28 yards and catching two passes for nine yards before being taken out of the game in the second quarter.

Forte, 30, figures to be the team’s starting running back and a key contributor. He only missed eight games in eight seasons with the Bears, but the Jets know he has some mileage and obviously want to keep him fresh and on the field. A hamstring injury suffered just before camp sidelined Forte, and he’s been eased back into practices over the last two weeks.

Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall was held out of the game, so the Jets still have not played with their whole complement of offensive weapons this preseason.

The Jets led 7-0 at halftime with the only score coming on a Fitzpatrick touchdown pass to Eric Decker. The Giants managed just 47 yards of offense in the first half.

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Leon Hall suffers concussion

Dre Kirkpatrick, Leon Hall AP

Veteran Giants cornerback Leon Hall suffered a concussion during the first quarter of Saturday night’s Jets-Giants preseason game.

Hall signed with the Giants earlier this month. He previously played exclusively for the Bengals, who drafted him in the first round in 2007.

The Giants also announced that rookie linebacker B.J. Goodson was being evaluated for a concussion.

The Jets scored first on a Ryan Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker touchdown pass with 5:20 left in the second quarter. A Darrelle Revis interception set up the 30-yard scoring drive.

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Miserable first half for Luck, Colts

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 07:  quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts speaks with head coach Chuck Pagano prior to a preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on August 7, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Andrew Luck; Chuck Pagano Getty Images

The Colts got shoved around in the first half of Saturday night’s preseason game by the Eagles, who took a 17-3 lead into halftime.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed 13-of-18 passes for 134 yards but was sacked three times. The Colts were able to move the ball but couldn’t sustain drives and scored only in a short-field situation, settling for three points after a Darius Butler interception.

“We didn’t do the job we should have done protecting our quarterback,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said on the team’s preseason broadcast. “Guys have to man up and block their guys.”

The Colts ran the ball nine times for just 13 yards. The Eagles scored on a Josh Huff run and a Sam Bradford fade to Dorial Green-Beckham, who’s playing his first game for the Eagles after being acquired in a trade with the Titans.

The Colts also didn’t score a touchdown with Luck and the starters in last week’s preseason game vs. the Ravens.

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Rams announce Tavon Austin extension

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 17: Tavon Austin #11 of the St. Louis Rams adjusts his helmet prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 17, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) Getty Images

With the Tavon Austin extension official, a debate already has begun regarding whether the Rams are paying the 2013 first-rounder too much.

“Tavon has been an integral part of our offense and special teams since we drafted him in 2013,” coach Jeff Fisher said in the press release announcing the deal. “It is important to our organization to retain players we’ve drafted and invested in, and Tavon is an example of that. We’re excited for him to continue his career with the Rams.

The release points out that Austin and running back Todd Gurley each had 10 touchdowns last year, the first time two members of the Rams have landed in double digits since running back Steven Jackson and receiver Torry Holt in 2006. Austin has 19 touchdowns for his career: nine receiving, seven rushing, and three on punt returns.

The release doesn’t mention Austin’s other stats, possibly because it’s harder to justify a four-year, $42 million extension by pointing to them. He had 473 receiving yards in 2015, 242 in 2014, and 418 in 2013, along with rushing yards of 434 in 2015, 224 in 2014, and 151 in 2013.

That’s an average of 377 receiving yards per season and 269 rushing yards per season. Throwing in 313 average punt-return yards and 144 average kickoff-return yards, Austin has averaged 1,103 all-purpose yards per year in his career. Still, he has only 646 yards from scrimmage each year, on average.

Does that add up to a four-year, $42 million contact? Maybe not, based on the raw numbers. But considering that Austin hasn’t had much help — and that he definitely hasn’t had high-quality quarterback play — the Rams apparently think that the best days are coming for Austin, and that getting him for $10.5 million per year in new money is a lot cheaper than what it would have cost in 2018.

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Another Colts cornerback suffers injury

Darius Butler, Greg Toler AP

Colts cornerback Darius Butler intercepted Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford on the first Eagles possession of Saturday night’s preseason game.

By the second drive, Butler was out with an ankle injury.

Two weeks from the season opener, it’s bad timing for Butler and worse for the Colts. They’re already without starting cornerback Vontae Davis until at least October, and fellow starter Patrick Robinson has been dealing with a groin injury. Butler was one of just four Colts cornerbacks who suited up for Saturday night’s preseason game.

The team announced that Butler is done for the game. There likely won’t be another update on his status until at least later tonight.

Earlier this week, Colts coach Chuck Pagano called his team’s cornerback situation “scary.” The Colts signed veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie this week but he didn’t play vs. the Eagles.

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Ravens lose Ben Watson for season

Ben Watson AP

Veteran Ravens tight end Ben Watson suffered a torn Achilles tendon on the first play of the Ravens-Lions preseason game Saturday night and will miss the 2016 season.

The Ravens signed Watson in March. He played the last three seasons with the Saints and had a career-best 74 receptions last season.

The team announced the injury not long after Watson was taken to the locker room.

Watson, 35, is a veteran of 12 NFL seasons. He’s also played for the Browns and Patriots, who drafted him with the final pick of the first round in 2004.

The Ravens had hoped Watson would catch a bunch of passes once he developed chemistry with quarterback Joe Flacco, who made his preseason debut Saturday night. Flacco is recovering from a torn ACL.

Though Watson was the most experienced and durable tight end on the roster — Watson only missed one game the last four seasons — the Ravens are deep at the position with Crockett Gillmore, Dennis Pitta and Maxx Williams.

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Kelly: Kaepernick’s choice to remain seated doesn’t affect football matters

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick passes warms up for the team's preseason NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey) AP

49ers coach Chip Kelly told reporters Saturday that quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision not to stand for the national anthem does not affect Kaepernick’s place on the depth chart or any other football matters.

Kelly said Kaepernick, who started Friday night’s preseason game, remains in competition with Blaine Gabbert for the team’s starting quarterback job.

Kelly knew questions about Kaepernick were coming when he talked with reporters Saturday. Earlier in the day, Kaepernick told NFL Network he is “not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”

If Kaepernick wants to continue to not stand for the anthem, Kelly won’t try to change his mind.

It’s not my right to tell him not to do something,” Kelly said.

Kaepernick also didn’t stand for the anthem during prior preseason games, and Kelly said “he has the right to express his feelings.”

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NFL hands out $18,231 fines for roughing the passer in preseason

Houston Texans outside linebacker John Simon runs with the ball for a touchdown on a 41-yard fumble recovery during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot) AP

The NFL starts handing out real fines before the players are receiving real paychecks.

The league office has confirmed to PFT two players who have already received $18,231 fines for roughing the passer in the preseason: Kerry Hyder of the Lions and John Simon of the Texans.

Players are paid their base salaries in 17 installments during the regular season, so it’s not until Week One that the money will be taken out of their paychecks.

In the case of Hyder, whose salary this year is $450,000, the fine would represent almost 70 percent of his per-game salary. However, the NFL has an appeals process that allows players to cap any fine at 25 percent of weekly salary. So if Hyder makes the Lions’ roster, his actual fine will be $6,617, which is 25 percent of his weekly salary.

Simon’s base salary is $1.67 million, so he’ll be on the hook for the full fine.

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Rams extend Tavon Austin’s contract by four years

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 20:  Tavon Austin #11 (C) of the Los Angeles Rams runs out of the tunnel before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams don’t have many offensive weapons. One of the few they have will be sticking around for a while.

PFT has confirmed that receiver Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has agreed to terms on a four-year extension.

It’s a four-year extension, worth $42 million. Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, Austin’s true guarantee if he’s on the roster next March will be $25 million.

He was due to make $2.14 million this year and $12.2 million next year, under the fifth-year first-round option. In all, it’s a six-year deal worth more than $56 million.

The deal also includes an incentive package that will pay Austin significantly more, if/when he generates the kind of numbers over the course of a full season that he has generated in flashes through his first three seasons.

Can he generate big numbers over the course of a full season? If running back Todd Gurley continues to improve and quarterback Jared Goff is the real deal, it will be easier for the Rams to get more out of Austin. At times last year, the offense consisted primarily of pushing the ball forward with Gurley and finding ways to get the ball in Austin’s hands in space with a collection of average-at-best quarterbacks.

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Connor Shaw suffers broken leg in preseason game

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Connor Shaw #9 of the Cleveland Browns thows a pass in the third quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears backup quarterback Connor Shaw needs surgery after suffering a broken leg in Saturday’s preseason game vs. the Chiefs.

Bears Coach John Fox told reporters the team will know more about the extent of the injury after Shaw has surgery. He was injured when he was hit by Rakeem Nunez-Roches of the Chiefs while making a pass.

The Bears claimed Shaw via waivers earlier this summer — and had company in wanting to secure Shaw’s rights.

Shaw signed with the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2014 and spent the season on the practice squad before being promoted to start the season finale. He spent last season on injured reserve.

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Terrance Knighton doesn’t play on Friday night

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Football player Terrance Knighton attends the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Maybe the Patriots will soon be leaking that they’ll be cutting Terrance Knighton, so that they can trade him.

The veteran defensive tackle didn’t play in Friday night’s preseason game against the Panthers. Knighton, who played last year in Washington, didn’t sound happy about the development.

I prepared myself to play,” Knighton said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I just didn’t play. I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the coaches. I’m 100 percent healthy. I prepared myself to play a lot of football tonight. It didn’t happen. It is what it is. I’m not asking why or anything. I’m just going to show up to work tomorrow and take it a day at a time.”

If Knighton’s name is included in the reduction of the roster from 90 to 75 (on Tuesday) and then to 53 (by next Saturday), he’ll leave with a $250,000 signing bonus and a workout bonus of more than $100,000. He also would be an unrestricted free agent, able to pick his next destination, if he’s cut.

A trade becomes possible because his salary is only $900,000, with a $300,000 incentive package.

“It’s disappointing because I’ve played a lot of ball in this league, seen a lot of things, but I’m not going to make too much of it,” Knighton said. “It is what it is. Whatever happens, happens. If I’m here, I’m here. If I’m not, I’m not. I’m just taking it a day at a time really.”

He’ll only need to take it another seven days or so before knowing his fate with the Patriots.

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