Skip to content

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.

Permalink 42 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Features, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
yo

Byron Maxwell on benching by Dolphins: “It doesn’t matter.”

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 11:  Wide receiver Tyler Lockett #16 of the Seattle Seahawks can't hold on to a pass under the defense of Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Maxwell #41 at CenturyLink Field on September 11, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cornerback Byron Maxwell being benched was one of several lineup changes the Miami Dolphins elected to make prior to Thursday night’s game with the Cincinnati Bengals.

In Maxwell’s place, the Dolphins started second-year cornerback Tony Lippett instead.

According to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald, Maxwell said he was told early in the week that he would not be starting against the Bengals. He ultimately didn’t end up playing a snap – on defense or special teams – joining Matt Moore and Dallas Thomas as the only Dolphins not to play.

So what was his reaction to the decision?

It doesn’t matter,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said it didn’t matter if he was angry about the decision or not either.

Lippett unsurprisingly struggled against one of the premier wide receivers in the league in A.J. Green.

Green caught 10 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins as Lippett was frequently the target of Cincinnati’s attack.

Miami acquired Maxwell via a trade from the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason and he started the first three games for the team before being sat against the Bengals.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Ryan Tannehill on Dolphins offense: “One of the worst performances I’ve seen.”

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 29:  Will Clarke #93 of the Cincinnati Bengals tackles Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins and causes a fumble during the second quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on September 29, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Miami Dolphins gained 81 yards and scored a touchdown on their first two offensive plays of the night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Their offense then went into hibernation the remainder of the night. They gained just 141 yards the rest of the night, averaging just 3.4 yards per play on their final 41 plays of the game. Ryan Tannehill passed for 189 yards with a touchdown and an interception, and had a lost fumble as well as the Dolphins lost 22-7 to the Bengals.

“One of the worst performances I’ve seen from our offense in a long time,” Tannehill said.

Through four games, the Dolphins are averaging just 17.8 points per game offensively and have a minus-5 turnover ratio. They rank 27th in points per game and 23rd in total offense.

“We have to get it fixed soon and by soon, I mean Monday,” Tannehill said. “It’s gone on too long. There’s no more excuses, no more waiting, it’s got to be important to everyone who steps on that field and we have to get it fixed right now.”

Tannehill is in his fifth season with the Dolphins. And yet, the same type of mistakes and errors show up way too frequently. As Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes, Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns against the Bengals just four days ago in his third career start. And Tannehill, in his fifth season, is still remarkably inconsistent.

The play of Miami’s offensive line certainly didn’t help Thursday night in Cincinnati either. Regardless, the Dolphins have to be much better offensively and have to figure out some way to improve to remain competitive this year.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

C.J. Spiller doesn’t know what his role will be in Seattle, yet

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 20:  C.J. Spiller #28 of the New Orleans Saints is brought down by George Johnson #94 and Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 20, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Running back C.J. Spiller could have taken the balance of his fully-guaranteed $1.7 million salary from the Saints and waited for an inevitable injury to strike at the tailback position for a contending team in, say, late December or early January.

Spilled opted not to delay his return to the NFL, choosing to sign with the Seahawks, who have a short-term need while Thomas Rawls recovers from a leg injury.

Unless the Seahawks are paying Spiller more than $100,000 per week (and if they were, it surely would have been leaked by now), he’s essentially working for free. More importantly, he’s putting himself at risk of injury for no additional compensation.

That’s his right, but it still doesn’t mean it makes much sense. When Rawls heals, Spiller will have a hard time getting on the field — and he won’t be available if someone else with a contending team gets injured. (Unless he gets cut.) Until then, Spiller risks the kind of injury that would make him less attractive to other teams in 2017.

For now, Spiller is getting up to speed in Seattle, where everything is new. It’s so new that he doesn’t know what his role will be.

“I just got here so we haven’t really got into that I’m still swimming I guess you can say,” Spiller told reporters on Thursday. “I’m still trying to get things learned. Places learned, the meeting rooms and all that stuff. So we really haven’t gotten in depth considering I just got here on short notice.”

Seattle may indeed be the right fit for Spiller, and it could work out perfectly for him. At a time, however, when there’s a push to get players to treat football like the business that it is, it wasn’t the best business decision for Spiller to return so quickly, for no more money than he already was going to make from the Saints.

Speaking of the Saints, they’re surely happy about this development. They’ll get a dollar-for-dollar credit for Spiller’s salary in Seattle. From the Saints’ perspective, then, it was a perfect business decision.

Permalink 1 Comment Feed for comments Back to top

Bengals roll over Dolphins, 22-7

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) carries the ball as Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) chases him during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores) AP

The Dolphins scored on their second offensive play Thursday night.

For the rest of the night, the Dolphins got steamrolled.

With wide receiver A.J. Green and the defensive line leading the way, the Bengals overwhelmed the Dolphins and went on to win, 22-7. Mike Nugent kicked five field goals, and the Bengals defense made it so the offense didn’t have to lament settling for those field goals.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills with 9:04 left in the first quarter, and the Dolphins didn’t score again. The Dolphins’ makeshift offensive line was no match for the Bengals defensive front.

It was not one that will go on the Thursday Night Football highlight reel, nor the Dolphins’ highlight reel. Tannehill was 15-of-25 for 189 yards and was sacked five times, twice by Carlos Dunlap. In the fourth quarter Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins basically threw Dolphins guard Jermon Bushrod back into Tannehill for a sack, and that summed up the night.

Eight of the Dolphins’ first nine possessions were four plays or fewer. The Bengals had the ball for 21:36 in the first half and 38:02 for the game.

The Bengals had 362 total yards. The Dolphins had 222.

Green had 10 catches for 173 yards and the game’s only touchdown. He was over 100 yards in the first half. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was 22-of-31 for 296 yards.

The Bengals are 2-2 and are at the Cowboys on Oct. 9. The Dolphins are 1-3 and next host the Titans.

Permalink 20 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Watt’s season likely over after surgery

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 09:  J.J. Watt #99 of the Houston Texans warms up before playing against the Kansas City Chiefs during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at NRG Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Texans Pro Bowl defensive end J.J. Watt underwent back surgery Thursday that’s expected to keep him out for the rest of the season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

The Texans officially placed Watt on injured reserve Wednesday.

Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after having surgery to repair a herniated disc in July.

The Texans are 2-1 and host the Titans Sunday.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dunlap, Bengals defense keeping Dolphins in neutral

Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake (32) carries the ball as Cincinnati Bengals' Clayton Fejedelem pursues during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

Everything has been a struggle for the Dolphins except third down defense.

The Bengals keep kicking field goals and keep feeding A.J. Green, and they lead 19-7 in the third quarter. Mike Nugent has four field goals.

The Bengals think they should have more touchdowns than the one they have, but their defense has made it so they’re comfortably in charge. Andy Dalton keeps feeding Green, who had eight catches for 123 yards in the first half and had another big catch on the Bengals’ first field goal drive of the second half.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 3-of-9 for 83 yards in the first half despite getting 74 on his second throw, a touchdown to Kenny Stills. The Dolphins have moved the ball in the third quarter but the Bengals defense tightened and sacked Tannehill out of field goal range to end the Dolphins’ first drive.

Midway through the third quarter, Carlos Dunlap has two of the Bengals’ three sacks.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Green dominating, Bengals lead 16-7 at halftime

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) runs the ball against Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Gary Landers) AP

The Dolphins have no answer for Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green.

Thanks to some stalled Bengals drives and timely defense, the Dolphins are still in the game. They trail at halftime, 16-7.

Mike Nugent has three field goals for the Bengals, who are angry they didn’t score a touchdown off a Carlos Dunlap strip sack late in the first half.

Green has eight catches for 123 yards. He had five for 80 yards and a touchdown on his first five targets. The Dolphins can’t stop Green but have slowed the Bengals’ run game and forced Andy Dalton to go away from Green on some third downs.

Besides a 74-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills on their second play and third-down defense, not much has gone right. The Bengals had the ball for nearly 22 minutes in the first half and own a huge edge (239-122) in total yardage as well.

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill was just 3-of-9 for 83 yards despite getting 74 on his second throw.

Permalink 9 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

A.J. Green is (still) really, really good

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 12:  A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the football upfield during the game against Minnesota Vikings at Paul Brown Stadium on August 12, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are times that Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green just makes it look easy.

On the second drive Thursday night, for example.

Tightly covered along the sideline by Dolphins rookie Xavien Howard, Green just outjumped him and came down inbounds on a 51-yard gain. Two plays later Green caught a 19-yard pass from Andy Dalton, then two plays after that he caught a short pass, gave Tony Lippett a stiffarm and turned it into a 7-yard touchdown.

That score gave the Bengals a 10-7 lead late in the first quarter. Through 12 minutes, Green has five catches on five targets for 80 yards.

The Dolphins took a 7-3 lead on a 74-yard bomb from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills on their second play from scrimmage.

Permalink 8 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Stills goes deep to give Dolphins early lead

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills (10) catches a pass for a touchdown in front of New England Patriots defensive back Justin Coleman (22) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) AP

A 74-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills has given the Dolphins an early 7-3 lead on the Bengals.

The Bengals were blitzing, and it appeared Stills broke off his designed route to go deep.

The touchdown came on the Dolphins’ second play from scrimmage and marked the first time in their last eight road games that the Dolphins have scored a first quarter touchdown.

The Bengals got the ball first and put together a methodical drive that stalled out in Miami territory. Mike Nugent kicked a 42-yard field goal to open the scoring.

The Bengals announced that running back and special teams player Rex Burkhead suffered a hamstring injury on the opening kickoff. His return is doubtful.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

NFL officially announces Lady Gaga as Super Bowl halftime headliner

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Lady Gaga sings the National Anthem at Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Matt Cowan/Getty Images) Getty Images

The NFL made it official Thursday, announcing that six-time Grammy winner Lady Gaga will headline this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

The news had been previously reported by Sports Business Daily. Super Bowl LI is in Houston on Feb. 5.

A formal announcement that includes an interview with Lady Gaga will air this Sunday, Oct. 2, on FOX’s NFL Sunday pregame show.

Lady Gaga sang the national anthem before last year’s Super Bowl.

Permalink 32 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Gordon tweets “see you soon;” Jackson says Browns support him

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8:  Josh Gordon #12 of the Cleveland Browns catches a pass before a game with the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

Not long after announcing via a team press release that he’d be entering a treatment facility, Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon tweeted that he’s been “under some pressure and stress recently [and] had to take a time out for myself. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you.”

Gordon also thanked the NFL and the Browns. In a separate tweet Gordon wrote, “see you soon.”

The announcement that his return, which could have happened next week, is on hold came late Thursday afternoon. On his Thursday evening radio show, Browns coach Hue Jackson said the Browns “support Gordon 100 percent.”

Jackson said “it’s unfortunate” that the Browns won’t be getting Gordon back in their lineup but said “Josh needs to do what’s best for Josh.”

As part of his conditional reinstatement, Gordon had been at the Browns facility and had been allowed to participate in team meetings while sitting out the first four games of the 2016 season.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tunsil moves out to tackle with Albert inactive

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:   Branden Albert #76 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 29, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Left tackle Branden Albert is one of four Dolphins offensive starters inactive for Thursday night’s game at Cincinnati.

Albert had been listed as questionable with an ankle injury. Also out are tight end Jordan Cameron (concussion), center Mike Pouncey (hip) and running back Arian Foster (hamstring). Pouncey has yet to play this season, and Foster also missed last week’s game.

The Dolphins also announced Damien Williams as the starter at running back. Rookie Laremy Tunsil will move out from guard to start in place of Albert, and Billy Turner will start at Tunsil’s usual spot of left guard.

Two starting linebackers, Koa Misi (neck) and Jelani Jenkins (groin), are also out due to injuries.

Dolphins Coach Adam Gase had hinted at changes to the lineup even before injuries forced at least a few of them. As previously reported, Tony Lippett is replacing Byron Maxwell in the starting lineup at cornerback.

As expected, Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard will start in place of the injured Dre Kirkpatrick. The Bengals also have decided to keep tight end Tyler Eifert out at least another week. They had listed Eifert and Kirkpatrick as doubtful.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Week Four is here; which game is the biggest?

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Jacoby Brissett #7 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Friday’s PFT Live features a question of the day that focuses on the weekend to come. Specifically, which game is the biggest game of the fourth week of the season?

Pick from one of the five selections below, defend your selection in the comments, attack the selections of others, or complain about the decision to omit a contest like Lions-Bears.

You can also correct preemptively everyone who will improperly refer to this weekend as the “quarter pole” of the season.

Guests include Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com, Hall of Famer Kevin Greene, and perhaps someone from the team that wins on Thursday night, when the Dolphins face the Bengals.

The Dolphins, by the way, are 15-3 against Cincinnati since the merger, a fact that is not relevant to Thursday’s game but nevertheless extremely interesting — especially since PFT Live producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera strongly believes it isn’t.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Man arrested for entering Broncos facility, threatening John Elway

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 08:  General Manager John Elway holds the Lombardi Trophy to celebrate the Denver Broncos in win Super Bowl 50 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High before taking on the Carolina Panthers on September 8, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

A great Sunday in Cincinnati for the Broncos was followed by a bizarre Monday morning.

Via KUSA in Denver, a man was arrested on Monday for entering the team’s facility, making strange accusations, and issuing a vague threat to a security officer and G.M. John Elway.

36-year-old Cordell Robinson entered through an unlocked door in the team’s media room at 7:10 a.m. local time, walked to the lobby, and began taking photographs of the trophies. Asked to leave, Robinson allegedly claimed that the Broncos owe him money, and that he owns 20 percent of the franchise.

Asked to leave again, Robinson said to the security officer that Robinson would “get him and Elway.”

Robinson faces charges of second-degree criminal trespass.

Permalink 35 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Dolphins bench Byron Maxwell

Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman, center, is stopped after short gain by Miami Dolphins outside linebacker Jelani Jenkins (53) and defensive back Byron Maxwell (41) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Orlando, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

The Dolphins will bench cornerback Byron Maxwell and start Tony Lippett in his place Thursday night against the Bengals, NFL Network reported.

Maxwell, acquired in a trade with the Eagles last March, has started the first three games. He’s broken up four passes and forced a fumble, but the Dolphins have struggled and the defense has given up too many big plays in the passing game.

The Eagles traded Maxwell a year after signing him to a six-year, $63 million contract.

Lippett is a second-year player who played in nine games as a rookie and has played in all three this season as a backup.

Permalink 28 Comments Feed for comments Back to top