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Team-by-team look at who would/could/should be tagged

Clady AP

On Monday, the two-week window for using the franchise tag opens.  Every team can use the franchise tag (or the rarely-used transition tag) on one player.

Last year, 21 teams took advantage of the franchise tag, which no longer is based on the five highest-paid players at the position but on a far more convoluted (and club friendly) formula.

It’s not a coincidence.  The new formula makes it much cheaper to keep a player off the open market than it would to pay him a multi-year market contract.

Here’s a look at the team-by-team candidates for the 2013 tag, in alphabetical order.

Arizona Cardinals:  The Cardinals need to keep hard-nosed cover corner Greg Toler, but not at anything close to the eight-figure franchise number.  No other pending free agents have the talent or potential to justify franchise money.  Last year, the Cardinals used the tag on defensive end Calais Campbell; they eventually signed him to a long-term deal.

Atlanta Falcons:  Left tackle Sam Baker, drafted in round one the same year as the man whose blind side he protects, has had good years and bad years.  After starting 16 games in 2012, Baker hits the market on a high note.  Still, the glut of tackles in free agency and the draft will make it hard to justify tagging Baker; if he leaves, the Falcons can find a capable replacement after the market softens.  In 2012, the Falcons used the tag on cornerback Brent Grimes, who tore an Achilles tendon in Week One.  Tagging him would cost $12.48 million for 2013.  It would cost nearly half that amount to tag safety William Moore.

Baltimore Ravens:  It’s not a question of if the Ravens will tag quarterback Joe Flacco.  The only remaining unknown is the level of the tag.  And while a lazy look at the situation would lead to conclusively presuming that there’s no way Flacco leaves Baltimore, there’s a chance (slim, but a chance) that the player and the team could be destined for a game of chicken that would result in both cars flying off the cliff.  The Ravens could opt to go non-exclusive, daring Flacco to sign an offer sheet with another team — and assuming that he never would.  Another team with plenty of cap space could easily craft a front-loaded offer sheet that the Ravens wouldn’t be able to match.  It’s not likely, but anyone who thinks there’s no way Flacco leaves the Ravens hasn’t been paying close enough attention to the far crazier things the NFL has seen in recent years.

Buffalo BillsJairus Byrd has become one on the best free safeties in the league.  With George Wilson gone in a cap move, the Bills need to keep Byrd.  Absent a long-term deal, the tag is the only way to make it happen.  If a long-term deal can be negotiated, guard Andy Levitre becomes a candidate for the tag.  The only impediment would be the fact that interior offensive linemen get the same franchise tender as tackles.

Carolina Panthers:  Their list of potential free agents contains no names that cry out for use of the tag, especially since the Panthers are still dealing with the sins of salary caps past.

Chicago Bears:  The Bears need to keep defensive tackle Henry Melton, but they’ve already got plenty of cap space tied up with defensive players like sackmaster Julius Peppers, cornerback Charles Tillman, and linebacker Lance Briggs.  With Melton regarding himself as the best defensive tackle in the league, a long-term deal could be hard to come by.  Despite his name recognition, linebacker Brian Urlacher isn’t a serious candidate for the tag.

Cincinnati Bengals:  The Bengals are extremely careful with money.  On defense, lineman Michael Johnson is the most obvious candidate to be tagged.  It’s just as likely that the Bengals will be content to go bargain shopping (again) for defensive players to replace their bevy of free agents on that side of the ball, and then hope that defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer can whip up another batch of chicken salad.  On offense, the tag could be used to keep Andre Smith, who quietly has overcome his notorious Jello run to develop into an elite right tackle.  Last year, the tag was used on kicker Mike Nugent; tagging him again would cost only $3.48 million.  Which could make him the most likely candidate.

Cleveland Browns:  Kicker Phil Dawson was tagged in 2011 and 2012.  Using it a third time would entitle him to quarterback money.  So if it’s used, it won’t be used on him.  Punter Reggie Hodges is hitting the market after three years with the team.  Though his performance doesn’t cry out “franchise tag,” it could be cheaper to squat on him for a year than to sign a replacement on the open market; that’s why so many punters and kickers have been tagged in recent years.

Dallas Cowboys:  Tagged last year at $10.5 million, linebacker Anthony Spencer still hasn’t had the kind of impact that he should, given that he plays across from DeMarcus Ware.  Spencer isn’t worth $12.4 million for one more year.

Denver Broncos:  V.P. of football operations John Elway has said that the tag will be used on left tackle Ryan Clady, and for good reason.  Last year, Clady turned down a five-year, $50 million deal.

Detroit Lions:  It’ll take $12.4 million to use the tag for a second straight year on defensive end Cliff Avril, and it won’t be easy for the Lions to round up the kind of cap space necessary to keep him around.  Safety Louis Delmas doesn’t like being labeled as injury prone, but he is.  And the Lions will have to decide whether they want to make a long-term or short-term (via the tag) investment in the guy who could be this decade’s Bob Sanders.  Tackle Gosder Cherilus also could be tagged, but in a buyer’s market for tackles it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to do it.

Green Bay Packers:  Receiver Greg Jennings turns 30 in September.  In other words, the Packers won’t be using the tag on Greg Jennings.  The Packers learned while he was injured in 2012 that they can live without him, and they won’t be inclined to invest $10 million in cap space to a guy who plays a position that, with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, is virtually interchangeable.  If the Packers wanted to keep Jennings, they’d be trying to sign him.  They’re not, which likely means he won’t be tagged.

Houston Texans:  Last year, the Texans passed on tagging linebacker Mario Williams because of the exorbitant tender that the final year of his first-overall rookie contract would have generated.  With linebacker Connor Barwin, much less cap space would be consumed.  After seeing former Texans receiver Jacoby Jones deliver an MVP-caliber performance in the Super Bowl, G.M. Rick Smith may be a little less willing to let quality players walk away in 2013.  Another possible (and cheaper) candidate for the tag is punter Donnie Jones.

Indianapolis Colts:  The man with the self-styled boomstick can be kept off the market for the low, low price of the punter/kicker franchise tag ($2.9 million).  Absent a long-term deal, it’s hard to envision the Colts moving forward without punter Pat McAfee.

Jacksonville Jaguars:  A roster thin on star power naturally doesn’t create many franchise-tag candidates, especially with a new G.M. and (another) new coaching staff.  If linebacker Daryl Smith didn’t miss most of the season, he’d be a potential candidate.  Fullback Greg Jones would be a candidate, if fullbacks weren’t lumped in with running backs for franchise tag purposes.

Kansas City Chiefs:  The Chiefs are trying to work out a long-term deal with receiver Dwayne Bowe; if they don’t, it would cost $11.4 million to keep him around for a second season via the tag.  But receivers are more plentiful than competent offensive linemen, and new Chiefs coach Andy Reid witnessed the hard way in 2012 the consequences of not having competent blockers.  This reality makes tackle Branden Albert a more likely candidate to be tagged.  Then there’s punter Dustin Colquitt, who like most punters and kickers could be cheaper to keep via the one-year franchise tag.

Miami Dolphins:  Tackle Jake Long’s rookie deal makes the cap number for tagging him way too high to justify, especially in light of the gradual decline in his play.  With cornerback Sean Smith looking for big money, the best move could be to tag him instead of Long.

Minnesota Vikings:  G.M. Rick Spielman wants to keep road-grading right tackle Phil Loadholt.  With left tackle Matt Kalil tied up via an affordable rookie deal, the Vikings can afford to pay Loadholt a large chunk of money for at least the next two seasons, before Kalil will be looking for his second contract.  Whether that large chunk of money equates to the franchise tag for Loadholt is a decision the Vikings have to make in light of the realities of the tackle market — and within the context of the impact of the use of the tag on the expectations of receiver Percy Harvin.  They’d also like to keep fullback Jerome Felton, but there’s no fullback franchise tag; they’d have to tender him at the running back level.

New England Patriots:  The Patriots have a trio of players who are potential candidates for the tag.  Whether it’s receiver Wes Welker, tackle Sebastian Vollmer, cornerback Aqib Talib, or no one, it won’t be an easy decision.  Welker would command $11.4 million, given that he was tagged in 2012.  It would be a shock if they tag him.  Vollmer has Marcus Cannon behind him on the depth chart, plus plenty of other tackles available in free agency.  The Pats could be inclined to let Vollmer leave if someone else is willing to overpay him.  Talib presents the biggest conundrum, given his positive impact on the team’s so-so defense.  They need him, but he present plenty of risk given his history of off-field incidents.

New Orleans Saints:  Left tackle Jermon Bushrod is the most obvious candidate for the tag.  But the Saints don’t have the cap space to spare.  They easily replaced guard Carl Nicks with Ben Grubbs last year, and the tackle market is far more plentiful in 2013 than the market was for guards last season.  Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis doesn’t project to nose tackle in the team’s new 3-4 defense, but he could be a candidate to play defensive end in Rob Ryan’s defense, if the Saints want to fork over the money necessary to keep him around.  Things would get interesting if the Saints tag Ellis as a tackle despite a desire to move him to end, since there’s a $2.6 million gap between the two tenders.

New York Giants:  But for the likely existence of collusion in the restricted free agency market, the Giants should be thinking about tagging receiver Victor Cruz.  Since teams have abandoned in recent years the pursuit of RFAs, there’s no reason for the Giants to double the compensation they’d get if someone else swipes Cruz.  Left tackle Will Beatty becomes a candidate for the tag, along with safety Kenny Phillips.  The cheapest of all would be tight end Martellus Bennett, who didn’t get the long-term deal he wanted a year ago in free agency, opting instead for a one-year stay in New York and another shot at the market.

New York Jets:  Safety LaRon Landry is the only guy who merits the tag, but his one-year deal from last year expressly prevents the team from using it.  No one else who is due to become a free agent deserves it.

Oakland Raiders:  There’s a major problem with using the franchise tag on punter Shane Lechler, apart from the fact that the Raiders have landed in a salary cap black hole.  While the franchise tag for punters and kickers will be an affordable $2.9 million in 2013, Lechler’s cap number last year was $4.9 million.  Under the CBA, he’s entitled to a 120 percent raise over that number, which translates to a cap number of $5.88 million.  It could be time for the much cheaper Marquette King, a converted receiver who has drawn comparisons to the monster-legged Reggie Roby.  Either way, it’s hard to imagine that the cap-strapped Raiders would pay a punter twice the amount of the base franchise tag for punters.

Philadelphia Eagles:  The Eagles don’t have many looming free agents, which means that they don’t have many candidates for the franchise tag.  Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie would be one, if he was, you know, better.

Pittsburgh Steelers:  The Steelers have said they won’t use the franchise tag.  Which means that receiver Mike Wallace will hit the open market.  Which means that someone will overpay him on the first day of free agency.

San Diego ChargersLook at their free agents.  Though cornerback Quentin Jammer has been a mainstay in San Diego since 2002, he’s not worth what it would cost to keep him via the franchise tag.  No one else with an expiring contract justifies the tag, which is one of the reasons why there’s a new G.M. and head coach.

San Francisco 49ers:  Safety Dashon Goldson doesn’t want to be tagged again, but what he wants and what he gets could be two different things.  Absent a long-term deal, the Niners have to keep Goldson around — even if using the tag for a second time virtually guarantees he’ll hit the market in 2014.  If Goldson gets a new deal, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Niners would use the tag on their second-string but highly versatile tight end, Delanie Walker.

Seattle Seahawks:  The ultra-low kicker tag of $2.9 million could be used to keep the strong-legged Steven Hauschka.

St. Louis Rams:  Receiver Danny Amendola has become one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, but his injury history and the eight-figure franchise tender for wideouts likely will scare the Rams away.  Still, if Amendola hits the market, he won’t be there long.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  The Bucs plans to spend on keeping their own guys.  When it comes to using the tag, it’s a toss-up between tackle Jeremy Trueblood and defensive end Michael Bennett, or neither.

Tennessee Titans:  The Titans reportedly are expected to use the tag on tight end Jared Cook, absent a multi-year deal.  Kicker Rob Bironas also is a possibility, but he had a cap number of $3.675 million in 2012.  Which means that the tag would cost the Titans $4.41 million in 2013, $1.5 million more than the base tag for kickers and punters.

Washington Redskins:  With $18 million in missing cap space, the Redskins can’t afford to use the tag.  Especially since tagging tight end Fred Davis again would bump his 2012 tender by 20 percent — a year after he suffered a torn Achilles tendon.  Punter Sav Rocca is a slim possibility, but even the $2.9 million will be more than the Redskins can justify with their cap situation.

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$43 million in “new money” for Bobby Wagner

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The Seahawks have paid linebacker Bobby Wagner on a four-year deal half of what they will pay Russell Wilson on a four-year deal. And it still makes Wagner the highest-paid middle linebacker in the NFL.

Per a league source, the four-year extension pays out $43 million. That’s a new-money average of $10.75 million per year.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that $22 million of the amount is guaranteed. It’s not yet known how much of that is fully guaranteed at signing.

Adding in the $977,000 Wagner was due to make this year under his rookie deal, it’s a five-year, $43.977 million contract, with a total average of $8.7954 million. But the convention in the NFL is to look at the new money; for Wagner, the average if $10.75 million per year.

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League hasn’t contacted Patriots about email release, yet

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On Friday, the New England Patriots took their concerns about the league office’s handling of the #DeflateGate controversy to the proverbial next level, releasing a chain of email communications expressing displeasure with leaks from the league office and requesting that the Ted Wells investigation include that topic.

In response to one of the most aggressive tactics taken to date by the Patriots, the NFL has not contacted the team. Yet.

Per a league source, the Patriots assume they’ll hear something at some point from 345 Park Avenue. However, it’s also possible that the NFL will ignore the situation in order to avoid making the story bigger than it is.

Or maybe the league office will simply warn the Patriots. You know, the same way the league office warned the Patriots after the Colts complained about the — wait, never mind.

The Patriots declined comment on whether the NFL has contacted the team regarding the situation. The NFL has not responded to repeated requests for comment regarding the team’s decision to release emails exchanged by Patriots general counsel Robyn Glaser and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash.

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Report: Seahawks, Bobby Wagner work out a deal

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On Friday, Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner responded to the news of a new deal for quarterback Russell Wilson by tweeting: “Can’t keep everyone.”

Wagner may be right, but the Seahawks will be keeping him.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Seahawks and Wagner have agreed to terms on a contract extension.

No other details have yet been reported or released. For Seahawks fans, they don’t matter; the team’s two biggest pending free agents as of 48 hours ago now aren’t.

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Von Miller exits substance-abuse program

Cardinals Broncos Football AP

Two years ago, Broncos linebacker Von Miller missed the first six games of the season as part of a negotiated resolution under the substance abuse policy, based on allegations that he conspired with a sample collector to beat drug tests.

Now, Miller has stayed clean long enough to exit the substance-abuse program entirely, according to Mike Klis of KUSA-TV.

Miller’s exit from the program is one of the new wrinkles of the substance-abuse policy as revised in 2014. Previously, a player who landed in Stage 3 of the program remained there for the rest of his career. Now, the player has a path not only out of Stage 3 but also out of the program entirely, if he avoids any violation for 24 months.

The development increases Miller’s marketability, as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. It also means that, like all players not in the program, he faces only one substance-abuse test per year, in a window that ironically opens on 4/20. After that, he won’t be tested against until the next year.

If Miller fails one of the annual tests, he would return to Stage 1 of the program. He’d then be subject to the new formula for determining disciplining: two-game fine, four-game fine, four-game suspension, 10-game suspension, and minimum one-year banishment.

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Eagles trade Brandon Boykin to Steelers

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In an unusual trade at the start of training camp, cornerback Brandon Boykin is heading from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers gave up a conditional 2016 fifth-round pick to get Boykin from the Eagles.

At 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, Boykin was viewed as too small for what the Eagles were trying to do defensively. Still, this trade comes as a surprise, especially considering that Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis had been saying that Boykin was one of his favorite players and could start in the slot.

In Pittsburgh, Boykin joins a secondary where Cortez Allen and William Gay are the likely starting cornerbacks. Pittsburgh also drafted cornerback Senquez Golson in the second round and cornerback Doran Grant in the fourth round.

A 2012 fourth-round pick of the Eagles, the 25-year-old Boykin is heading into the final season of his rookie contract.

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Typo for now: NFL calls San Antonio a “team market”

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When I was a kid, I’d study the back of the cereal box while eating breakfast. In time, it became the baseball box scores from the local newspaper — back when they actually put box scores in the local paper and still had, you know, local newspapers.

Now, I’ve trade the Crunch Berries box and the box scores for the NFL Record & Fact Book. An annual publication I’ve acquired every year since 2000, it’s a great tool for eating with one hand and flipping pages with the other, with virtually stop teaching me something I didn’t already know or giving me an idea for something to share with you.

Here’s something that caught my attention, at page 320 of the 2015 edition, which has Malcolm Butler making an interception and Tom Brady hoisting a trophy on the cover.

At page 320, the book lists the top 100 TV markets for 2015, with NFL team markets in bold. Sandwiched between Columbus at No. 32 (not in bold) and Salt Lake City at No. 34 (not in bold) is San Antonio at (you guessed it) No. 33. In bold.

First thought: Maybe it’s a team market because it’s close enough to Dallas or Houston. So I checked the 2014 version. San Antonio was No. 36, and it didn’t appear in bold print.

It’s surely a typo, with whoever formatted the page accidentally putting San Antonio in bold even though San Antonio isn’t an NFL team market. Still, with the Raiders unable to work out a new stadium deal in Oakland, with the Rams and Chargers hoping to get the two seats in L.A., and with limited temporary locations for a pair of teams to play in Los Angeles while the new stadium is built, San Antonio remains a viable destination for the Raiders, either as a permanent home or as a temporary alternative to L.A., if the Raiders get the green light to return to Southern California.

Ten years ago, San Antonio provided a temporary location for three Saints games after a hurricane ravaged New Orleans. Last year, the Raiders openly flirted with San Antonio. And San Antonio presumably remains interested in bringing the Raiders or another team to town — especially since it’s bigger than five markets that already host NFL teams: Cincinnati (No. 36), Jacksonville (No. 48), New Orleans (No. 51), Buffalo (No. 52), and Green Bay (No. 68).

Again, it undoubtedly was a typo. But the fact that someone who works for the league saw “San Antonio” and mistakenly thought “team market” shows that San Antonio is indeed on the fringes of cities that could lure a team — especially if San Antonio is willing to kick in the kind of taxpayer money that plenty of other cities currently aren’t.

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Hall of Fame softens its stance on Sydney Seau speaking

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Five-year-old policies were made to be modified.

Sydney Seau, daughter of deceased linebacker Junior Seau, will be given opportunities to speak at next week’s Hall of Fame induction activities, according to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com.

She won’t be giving an induction speech in place of her late father. However, Sydney and her three brothers will participate in the unveiling of Seau’s bust, and Sydney will be interviewed on stage after the sheet is removed from the permanent bronze memorial to Junior Seau.

Sydney also will be given an opportunity to make remarks during Thursday night’s “Gold Jacket” ceremony, which will be televised by NFL Network.

“Our goal was to try and keep our policy but also show some compassion and understanding,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker told FOX Sports. “Through all the conversations, Sydney has always been great.”

In 2010, the Hall of Fame adopted a policy preventing speeches to be given on behalf of deceased inductees. Failure to publicize or communicate the policy helped create a controversy regarding whether Sydney Seau was being silenced, due to the family’s pursuit of a lawsuit against the NFL alleging that concussions triggered Junior Seau’s 2012 suicide.

“She will have the opportunity to say whatever she wants to say but we will still maintain our policy,” Baker said. “We want this to be a great day for Sydney and her family. Should she choose not to speak afterward, that should be OK.”

The induction ceremony also will include an extended video presentation on behalf of Seau. At 6.5 minutes, the Seau video exceeds the normal video introduction by three minutes.

Now, here’s hoping that the speeches given by the living inductees will each come in at under 30 minutes. Or 20. Or ten.

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Haslam: Despite what you’ve heard, we still believe in Manziel

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Reports out of Cleveland this offseason that the Browns have given up on Johnny Manziel were unfounded, according to Browns owner Jimmy Haslam.

“Despite what everybody reads and says, we’ve not at all given up on Johnny,” Haslam said, via Cleveland.com. “We think he has the potential to be a good football player. Now, having the potential and doing it are two different things, but I think we’ve said numerous times that you’re not going to win consistently in this league without a good quarterback and we’re trying to make that happen.”

Haslam said the Browns are willing to be patient with Manziel and wait for him to be their starter. Josh McCown is expected to start this year, although Browns coach Mike Pettine has said McCown isn’t just being handed the job.

“I think it’s important — everybody forgets he’s barely 22 years old,” said Haslam. “He’s still young, so I think over the next couple of years we’ve got to see if Johnny can be a legitimate quarterback or not. I don’t want to put too much pressure on him or our coaches to say it has to happen this year.”

Still, if Manziel doesn’t show anything this year, that would be two seasons in which he gave the Browns nothing. That’s not what they thought they were getting when they chose him in the first round of the 2014 draft. At some point, Manziel has to show he can play, or the Browns really will give up on him.

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Report: Devin Smith has punctured lung

Devin Smith AP

With the inevitable launch of training camps comes the inevitable parade of injuries. For the Jets, it turns out that the broken ribs suffered by rookie receiver Devin Smith also include damage to an internal organ.

Via Dom Cosentino of NJ.com, Smith suffered a “slightly” punctured lung as part of the injury that occurred after making a leaping catch at training camp.

His status for the regular-season opener against the Browns remains unknown. He’s expected to at least miss the rest of camp.

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Eli Manning doesn’t care about Russell Wilson’s contract

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Is Eli Manning a better quarterback then Russell Wilson? One way to determine that could be to compare their paychecks.

Eli Manning isn’t interested in that approach.

“No, I’m not into the comparison about how much money you’re making,’’ Manning said Friday, via Zach Braziller of the New York Post. “That’s not my concern.’’

So what is his concern?

“Right now my concern is getting on this practice field for our first practice,” Manning said before the team’s initial session of training camp. “I’m excited about that and just let the business side of it just work itself out.”

Instead, he’s worried about a different set of numbers.

“Our goal is to try to get 27 to 30 points per game,” Manning said.

Another key number is 70. That’s the percentage of passes he hopes to complete. (Last year he connects on 63.1 percent.)

Before any of that happens, Manning and the Giants could indeed work out a new contract. Wherever the process ends, it begins with Aaron Rodgers at $22 million per year in new money, and with Wilson right behind Rodgers at $21.9 million per year in new money.

With $17 million already due in 2015, Manning would need a five-year, $105 million deal to match Rodgers. Anything more than that would make Eli Manning the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL — and highest-paid player in league history.

Until, of course, Philip Rivers signs a new deal. And then until Andrew Luck signs a new deal. And so on, as the cap keeps going up and the best quarterbacks in the game keep signing new contracts.

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Broncos’ Kyle Williams out for season with torn Achilles

Kyle Williams AP

Broncos receiver Kyle Williams suffered a season-ending injury at today’s training camp practice.

Williams has confirmed that he tore his Achilles and won’t play in 2015.

“Unfortunately, today I suffered an injury to my Achilles and will consequently be missing this season,” Williams wrote on Instagram. “It’s hard for me at this point to make sense of all of this but at the end of the day I understand and trust God’s plan for me. My determination to get back and my work ethic will not diminish and I will eventually get back to full strength. I appreciate all those who have reached out and all of those who are praying. You all mean more to me than u know. Thank you.”

Williams’s long injury history makes it questionable whether he’ll be able to make it back to the NFL. His 2013 season ended with a torn ACL, and in 2014 he didn’t play beyond the preseason after suffering a shoulder injury.

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Saturday one-liners

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Bills coach Rex Ryan says he’d do his job for “a heck of a lot less [money]; way, way, way less.”

For the Dolphins, when the pads come on the focus turns to the battle at left guard.

Patriots RB James White starts his second training camp with a “more aggressive approach.”

The Jets may have “personal agendas” interfering with success, based on comments on Friday from former head coach Rex Ryan.

Steve Smith could be the 2015 punt returner for the Ravens.

Browns WR Dwayne Bowe has “no doubt” that Terrelle Pryor will make the roster.

The Steelers are focusing on their kickoff return unit in training camp.

WR Nate Washington could be starting across from DeAndre Hopkins for the Texans.

Here are five priorities for the Colts during training camp.

Jaguars WR Marqise Lee was “noticeably inconsistent” during his first practice of training camp.

Titans NT Sammie Hill says he’ll likely sit out the first week or two of camp due to a sprained knee suffered during offseason workouts.

Broncos DE Malik Jackson strained his left calf on the first day of training camp.

Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson is ready to prove that he still has it.

Raiders WR Michael Crabtree looked like a playmaker in his first practice with the team.

Chargers RB Melvin Gordon is bracing for the speed of training camp.

Cowboys TE Jason Witten isn’t afraid to talk about the team’s goal of winning a Super Bowl.

Giants rookie LT Ereck Flowers says he’s made a lot of progress, and that he hopes to keep progressing.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants a bigger indoor practice facility. (And there’s one of the reasons he’ll potentially cite if/when he tries to finagle a jump to Tennessee after the season.)

A mere 3,341 fans showed up for the first day of training camp practice for Washington.

Bears DE-turned-LB Willie Youngdoesn’t know anything” about his new position, but he’s “ready for whatever”; “I go fishing and the forecast says it isn’t going to rain, but it might rain,” Young said.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell has no concerns about the right tackle situation.

Packers WR Jared Abbrederis suffered a concussion on Thursday.

Vikings DE Everson Griffen has big goals; “I want to be the world. But it’s up to me to put in the consistency and the hard work, starting right now, to get where I want to go. I want to be great, so Hall of Fame, I’ve got to work.”

Falcons RB Antone Smith is healthy and confident heading into camp.

Panthers LB Thomas Davis is adding “Sr.” to his jersey, at his seven-year-old son’s request.

Saints WR Brandin Cooks has no doubt about his ability to become the team’s No. 1 option in the passing game.

Buccaneers WR Mike Evans says last year’s team was “the best 2-14 team ever.” (The 1996 Jets were a Week 17 field goal away from getting into the conversation.)

It’s all systems go for Cardinals QB Carson Palmer.

Rams RB Todd Gurley participated in 15 minutes of individual drills during his first training camp practice.

49ers DL Arik Armstead has made a good impression so far.

Seahawks DE Michael Bennett is focused on becoming a team leader.

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Jets promote Jacqueline Davidson to director of football administration

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Jacqueline Davidson, who has spent nine years working in the NFL, has been promoted by the Jets to the position of director of football administration.

Davidson will replace Rod Graves, who recently left the Jets’ front office to take a position in the league office.

During her tenure with the Jets, Davidson has been the team’s top negotiator on player contracts, and she received credit this offseason when the Jets landed one of the biggest prizes in free agency, Darrelle Reivs. Davidson’s responsibilities also include managing the salary cap and ensuring that the team complies with the Collective Bargaining Agreement and league personnel rules.

“Jackie has served as an integral part of our football administration efforts under Rod Graves this offseason,” Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan said. “She’s bright and talented and she has earned this opportunity.”

The appointment makes Davidson one of the highest-ranking women to work in an NFL front office. Along with the hiring of Jen Welter as a Cardinals assistant, Beth Mowins as the Raiders’ play-by-play voice and Sarah Thomas as an official, this news points to positive progress in the NFL.

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Andy Dalton shrugs at All-Star boos

Dalton Getty Images

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton played in the celebrity softball game held in conjunction with the All-Star Week festivities in Cincinnati. He heard boos. He prefers to focus on the cheers.

They didn’t boo when I hit my two home runs,” Dalton said Friday, via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I think I heard lots of cheers. I think that whole thing, it wasn’t everybody. I think if you look at a video or two it makes it seem like it’s more than it was.

“There’s a lot of loyal fans, a lot of people that have backed me and have supported me. That’s all I’ve heard. So it’s unfortunate that was the reaction, initially, but after hitting a couple home runs it was a lot of cheers.”

In Dalton’s fifth NFL season with no playoff wins, the real question is whether there will be cheers in January — or justifiable boos before then.

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Broncos’ Kyle Williams carted off practice field

Denver Broncos mini camp at Dove Valley Getty Images

Broncos receiver Kyle Williams’s bad luck with injuries has continued.

Williams was carted off the practice field at training camp in Denver today after suffering an apparent right knee injury while returning a punt.

In 2013, Williams suffered a torn ACL in his first game with the Chiefs. In 2014, Williams suffered a shoulder injury in the Chiefs’ final preseason game and didn’t make the regular-season roster.

Williams was once viewed as a promising young receiver and special teams player for the 49ers, but his inability to stay healthy may cut his career short.

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