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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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The annual PFT draft grades

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Once the draft ends, folks throughout the media apply grades to the picks that were made. Because why? Because click. Click. Click.

It’s a waste of time to write them, and it’s a waste of time to read them. No one knows what any player is going to do at the NFL level until the player gets on the field. In the absence of a crystal ball or a time machine, the grades applied by a given member of the media will reflect the extent to which the team did what the media member would have done with the various picks.

Ultimately, draft grades try to make something that is inherently subjective seem objective, with no way of determining whether the assessment is right or wrong until three or four years have passed. By then, however, no one cares enough to go back and sift through careers compiled by the various picks, compare them among the 32 teams, and devise a fair system for dispensing a representative amount of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s.

There’s only one reliable grading process. As noted by MDS, the decision to exercise or not exercise the fifth-year option provides a simple pass/fail assessment, three years later. By then, however, there’s no appetite for grading draft picks from three years earlier.

That’s the weird irony of the draft. No one really knows enough after it ends to apply a reliable grade. By the time that knowledge is available, no one really cares.

So here are the official PFT draft grades, for the 2016 draft and every draft to come: Incomplete. After that, it’s  time to sit back and wait to see which teams shoot their eyes out.

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NFL: “Inaccurate” to say Laremy Tunsil won’t be in substance abuse program

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 01:  Laremy Tunsil #78 of the Mississippi Rebels scores runs in a touchdown during the second quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 1, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Monday, a report from ESPN indicated that Dolphins rookie tackle Laremy Tunsil would not be placed in the first stage of the league’s substance abuse program as a result of the gas mask bong hit video that surfaced just before the start of the first round of the draft last week.

The NFL, via spokesman Brian McCarthy, says that it is premature to make any assumptions about what Tunsil’s status will be because the program’s advisors have not made an evaluation of Tunsil at this point.

“The reports regarding Laremy Tunsil’s status are inaccurate,” McCarthy wrote in an email to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. “Any incoming player with behavior or conduct involving a substance of abuse will be evaluated by the program’s advisors. Those clinical professionals — not the club, league or union —  will determine whether based on that evaluation the player should be entered into the program. Neither the club nor the league has a role in that process, and are not notified of their decision.”

Tunsil says the video is two years old and has not failed a drug test, but players can be placed in the first stage of the program without a positive test if their “behavior” shows “physical, behavioral, or psychological signs” of drug use. They are given a treatment plan and are subject to testing for up to 90 days and would move to the second stage, which carries suspension as a possible penalty, if not completed successfully.

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Condon: Teams were interested in Peyton Manning for 2016

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It’s now known that Peyton Manning won’t be doing two things in 2016: Playing football or talking about it on TV. It’s unclear how close he came to the latter, but it’s now clear that the former was a more viable option than anyone realized.

Appearing on The Business of Sports with Andrew Brandt, agent Tom Condon said that: (1) Peyton Manning told Condon, “I really like to play”; and (2) teams were interested in having Manning play for them.

It’s unclear why a match wasn’t made between Manning and a new team. Condon, who made it clear that Denver wasn’t a consideration, mentioned the amount of love and respect Manning has for the game, and that Manning doesn’t view himself as a guy who would “hopscotch” from one team to another. Condon also pointed out the physical toll that playing 18 years of pro football has on the body, citing Peyton’s four neck surgeries and the experiences of Peyton’s father, Archie, during his NFL career.

It also could be that no one was willing to clearly commit to Peyton Manning being the unquestioned starter in 2016 and that, in turn, no one was willing to pay him the kind of significant money that reflects the level of respect with which Peyton Manning is accustomed.

Frankly, it sounds a little like the Sam Bradford situation. Bradford wants to play, but he also wants to be “the guy.” Just as no team apparently is willing to make Bradford “the guy” at this point in his career, no team apparently was willing to make that same commitment to Peyton Manning.

Here’s the point where the dog starts chasing its tail. No one was willing to make Peyton Manning “the guy” in 2016 because it was painfully clear in 2015 that he’s not capable of recovering from the week-to-week pounding that the body absorbs when playing against men you seemingly get a little bigger, faster, and stronger with each passing year. So the spirit was still willing, the flesh had become weak, and no NFL team was willing to provide the kind of offer that Peyton couldn’t have refused to play one more year.

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Sexton connection surely helped Adam Gase feel better about Laremy Tunsil

DAVIE, FL - JANUARY 09:  The Miami Dolphins announce Adam Gase as their new head coach at Sunlife Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Davie, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

Often, the dynamic of an agent representing a coach and a player provides folder for rants against the potential conflict of interest that arises. Sometimes, however, the connection can be helpful.

In the case of tackle Laremy Tunsil, the fact that Tunsil and Dolphins coach Adam Gase share an agent surely didn’t hurt. At a time when coaches and General Managers surely were nervous about what they may be getting in Tunsil, agent Jimmy Sexton of CAA was able to talk to a coaching client about a playing client in a way that the coaching client can trust, fully and completely.

While the Dolphins may have taken Tunsil regardless of the agent connection, having that link to Sexton surely hoped — especially in those crazy minutes on Thursday night as teams were on the clock and forced to decide what to do.

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Fifth-year options show everyone’s guessing in the NFL draft

Minnesota Vikings v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

In the days following the NFL draft, we’re inundated with draft report cards who are certain they know which team deserves an ‘A’ and which team deserves an ‘F.’

Here’s the truth: No one knows anything.

For proof of that, look no further than the fifth-year options on the contracts of first-round picks. Those are the options that teams chose this week whether or not to pick up on their 2013 first-round picks, and they basically tell us whether or not the draft pick worked out.

As it turned out, players in the 2013 draft had basically a 50-50 chance of working out: Of the 32 players taken in the first round, 17 had their fifth-year options picked up, 12 had their options declined, one has already been cut, one has already agreed to a new contract and one is currently suspended and has no option to pick up.

The Top 10 of the draft was a little worse than the next 22; five of the top 10 picks didn’t have their options picked up, and Dion Jordan, the third overall pick, is suspended.

NFL teams, which spend several months and millions of dollars evaluating players, just can’t consistently say which college players will pan out and which ones will bust. The rest of us can’t, either. The draft is a lot of fun, but it’s a crap shoot.

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Raiders tight end Clive Walford injures knee in ATV crash

Clive Walford, Jimmy Wilson AP

The injury news seemingly never stops in the NFL, but in the offseason, the injuries become more unusual.

According to Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager of FOX Sports, Raiders tight end Clive Walford suffered a knee injury in an ATV crash and will miss spring practices.

The hope is that Walford will be back on the field by training camp, with one source saying the injury “may not be as bad as originally thought.”

Walford has already had surgery to repair the damage, but word of his condition has been kept under wraps.

The third-round pick from Miami caught 27 passes last year for 329 yards and three touchdowns, showing signs he could be a downfield threat. How this impacts those plans remains to be seen, and probably means that any interest they had in moving tight end Mychal Rivera is over, at least until they know how Walford is and when he’ll be back.

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NFL opposes union’s request for extra time in Brady appeal

Tom Brady AP

In the legal system, lawyers routinely request other lawyers for more time to file certain documents. And lawyers routinely grant those requests.

To no surprise, the NFL is not willing to grant the NFL Players Association’s request for more time to decide whether to file a petition for a rehearing of the appeal in case arising from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game #Deflategate suspension.

CBS Boston has posted the full document. Only four pages in length, the NFL’s response points out that the parties have previously agreed to expedite the appeal and claims that the 14-day period “is a presumptively sufficient amount of time even in ordinary cases that have not been expedited.”

The league seems to think that the union has asked for more time in the hopes of tapping the brakes, so that the case will be resolved as late as possible. But what’s two more weeks at this point, especially in light of the fact that the original investigation and internal appeal process dragged on for months?

If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit doesn’t agree to grant a full rehearing before the entire court, that decision surely will be made before Week One of the 2016 regular season. If the Second Circuit chooses to grant a full rehearing, the ensuing process likely will consume all of the upcoming season.

Should the NFLPA need 14 extra days beyond the initial 14-day period? Probably not. Will it matter to the process if the extra time is granted? Definitely not.

But the NFL has made its point. Now that the league has the upper hand for the first time since the NFL filed the federal lawsuit that started the current litigation process, the league wants to apply that hand to Brady’s throat and squeeze.

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Dana Stubblefield’s lawyer declares his innocence

Former-NFL-player-Dana-Stubblefield-jpg Getty Images

The streak of criminal defense lawyers proclaiming the innocence of their clients continues, unblemished.

Kenneth Rosenfield, who represents former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefied, says that the pending rape charge against Stubblefield is “a false and completely untrue allegation.”

“This is nothing but a money grab, and an attempt to get money and take advantage of his celebrity status,” Rosenfield said, via NBC Bay Area.

Rosenfeld also said that Stubblefield has taken — and passed — a lie-detector test that will “clearly show” the interaction was consensual.

Although polygraph tests continue to be inadmissible in court, they can be effective in the court of public opinion.

Stubblefield is accused of raping a “developmentally delayed” female who had interviewed for a nanny job. The alleged assault occurred in April 2015.

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Philip Rivers expects Hunter Henry to be a “key piece” right away

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - NOVEMBER 21:  Hunter Henry #84 of the Arkansas Razorbacks catches a pass while being defended by Kivon Coman #11 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Razorback Stadium Stadium on November 21, 2015 in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The Bulldogs defeated the Razorbacks 51-50.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chargers picked tight end Hunter Henry in the second round of the draft in a move that the team hopes can kill two birds with one stone.

In the long term, the Chargers would love it if Henry could step into the role that Antonio Gates has played on the offense since joining the team during the 2003 season. In the immediate future, Henry can fill the hole opened when No. 2 tight end Ladarius Green signed with the Steelers.

Henry worked out with quarterback Philip Rivers‘ brother leading into the draft and Rivers said he expects Henry to handle that responsibility right off the bat.

“He’s going to be a guy that we’re going to need to come in and contribute right away and be out on the field on a lot of the stuff we do two tight-end wise,” Rivers said on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego. “I’m assuming he’s a sharp guy and I’ve seen him catch the ball. I don’t think he had a drop last year. I think he runs well enough, but he uses his body, finds ways to get open and catches the football. I think he’s going to be a key piece. He’ll be right in the mix once he gets out here.”

With Henry and free agent Travis Benjamin in the fold, the passing offense should have a different look next season. If all goes right, that duo plus Keenan Allen should be the core of a group that the Chargers hope will close out Rivers’ career on a high note.

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Browns say every QB on the roster is competing to start

Josh McCown AP

No one in Cleveland is promised the starting quarterback position, and no one is ruled out.

That’s the word from Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown, who said this morning on PFT Live that third-round draft pick Cody Kessler will compete with Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Austin Davis and Connor Shaw.

“We’ve got four guys here who are going to have an opportunity to try to lead this team from the quarterback position: Josh, Robert, Austin and Connor, and Cody obviously comes now into the mix and we feel like we want to play the guy who gives us the best chance to win,” Brown said.

Most people assume Griffin will emerge as the winner of the competition, but that’s only the case if Griffin proves he’s the best of the bunch.

“There’s no question with the investment in Robert, we absolutely feel like he has the opportunity to become the starting quarterback,” Brown said. “There’s still a competition there, and we haven’t named a starter yet, and Cody will get into that mix.”

The decision will be coach Hue Jackson’s, and the head coach has made clear that he will give the rookie every opportunity to prove he can play.

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Myles Jack: “Humiliating” draft slide is “all motivation” for future

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Myles Jack #30 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after a UCLA interception on a fake punt against the USC Trojans at Rose Bowl on November 28, 2014 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

Among the reasons that people have high hopes for the Jaguars in the coming season is the fact that they came away with cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack in the first two rounds of the draft.

The Jaguars were thrilled to get Jack in the second round and Jack calls it a “dream come true” to play on the same team with Ramsey, but the way he wound up in Jacksonville was less than ideal. Jack was projected to be one of the first players picked in this year’s draft, but negative reports about the long-term health of his knee helped keep him on the board much longer than expected.

During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Jack called it “kinda sour” that the medical information went public before the draft and it sounds like sour would be an understatement to describe how Jack felt during a slide no one prepared him for last Thursday night.

“It was, honestly, humiliating,” Jack said. “It was embarrassing having to sit there, and afterwards walking out, having my girl to my left, my mom to my right, my grandmother to the right of her and having to look at them, it was a tough feeling. It wasn’t a good night, truthfully.”

Jack, who said his knee is 100 percent right now, pointed to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as a player who wound up in the second round because of health questions before putting the doubts to rest on the field and said the decision by teams to pass on him is “all motivation” for 2016 and beyond. If that motivation fuels the kind of pro success most people predicted for Jack during his college career, he’ll join Gronkowski as a reason for teams to think a little harder about the risk/reward ratio involved with drafting talented players with injury concerns.

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Titans start front office shakeup, two scouts let go

Recently hired Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, right, and head coach Mike Mularkey, left, answer questions at a news conference, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Mularkey was previously the team's interim head coach and Robinson was the director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

New Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is trying to remake his roster on the field, and that means some changes off the field as well.

The traditional new-guy-gets-rid-of-old-guys dance has begun in Tennessee, as the team has started making changes in the front office.

According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, the Titans have let scouts Mike Yowarsky and Marv Sunderland go after the draft. Yowarsky has been with the Titans the last three years. Sunderland has been in the league for 39 years, the last nine with the Titans.

“It is the ugly part of the game, but new leadership has the prerogative to make changes,” Sunderland said. “The Titans will be much better next fall and are headed in the right direction. Would I prefer to be there to watch Marcus [Mariota] and the team flourish? Absolutely. But Jon has control of the football part of it and I’m sure he wants his own people.

“He ran a good draft and the new draft picks should represent themselves very well.”

Some degree of change is almost inevitable when a new G.M. takes over, and shuffling of scouting staffs is a rite of the post-draft spring.

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Giants still looking for corners, checking out Leon Hall

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 29:  Leon Hall #29 of the Cincinnati Bengals heads up the field during the game against the St. Louis Rams at Paul Brown Stadium on November 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants signed an expensive free agent, and used their top draft pick on a cornerback.

But they still need help there, so they’re still looking.

Via Mike Garafolo of FOXSports.com, the Giants are hosting veteran corner Leon Hall today.

The Giants threw a pile of money at Janoris Jenkins as part of their defensive splurge, and then turned the 10th pick in the draft into Eli Apple.

But other than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Giants don’t have much else of substance there.

Hall has visited the Cardinals and Cowboys this offseason, but hasn’t found work yet. The 31-year-old is recovering from back surgery this offseason, which has likely delayed his employment, since he’s played well for the Bengals in the slot when he’s well.

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Arthur Blank expects Falcons to be a playoff team this year

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 03:  Team owner Arthur Blank walks on the field prior to the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome on January 3, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons squandered a 6-1 start last season, and not even being the only team to beat the Panthers in the regular season was enough to keep an 8-8 season from being disappointing.

But owner Arthur Blank definitely sees improvement, and expects it from his team this year.

“Yes, I do — because of the added talent and knowing the existing roster’s players, and them knowing the schemes better,” Blank said when asked if he thought they were a playoff team, via Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think that will be evidenced on both sides of the ball. So my view is, yes – we will have a better team next year and we definitely should have a competitive team in the playoffs.”

Blank stopped short of suggesting that the season would be a mandate on the futures of General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn, however.

“I wouldn’t use that word,” he said. “I’m optimistic and hopeful that would be the case, but I wouldn’t say there’s a mandate. The flip side of that answer has connotations to it that I’m not comfortable with.

“We expect to see progression in every way. We expect progression from our coaches and our players, and as a result of progression we expect to see a better result. I feel like the roster is better. I feel like the players on both sides of the ball understand more specifically what coach Quinn wants and they’ll have a better understanding of the concepts and the execution.”

Of course, the Falcons have gone three straight years without a playoff appearance, so there’s pressure there whether the owner acknowledges it or not. But after another aggressive offseason, the Falcons have given themselves a chance to compete, if not catch the Panthers for more than one game.

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Broncos add 21 undrafted free agents

MEMPHIS, TN - OCTOBER 17:  Mose Frazier #5 of the Memphis Tigers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Ole Miss Rebels at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Memphis, Tennessee.  The Tigers defeated the Rebels 37-24.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos released a pair of players on Monday, but their roster spots weren’t vacant for long.

The Broncos announced the signing of 21 undrafted rookie free agents who will begin vying for spots on the team’s 53-man roster or 10-man practice squad at the team’s rookie minicamp.

Memphis wide receiver Mose Frazier is part of the group and he should be able to get a few looks from quarterback Paxton Lynch during those workouts after catching passes from Lynch in their college days.

Louisiana Tech defensive end Vontarrius Dora, Georgia Southern safety Antonio Glover, Sacramento State tackle Lars Hanson, Miami defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou, Shepherd defensive end Shaneil Jenkins, Iowa tight end Henry Krieger Coble, Utah State defensive lineman David Moala, Oklahoma wide receiver Durron Neal, Eastern Washington guard Aaron Neary, Duke linebacker Dwayne Norman, Southern Utah tight end Anthony Norris, Oregon State nose tackle Kyle Peko, Holy Cross wide receiver Kalif Raymond, Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon, Portland State linebacker Sadat Sulleyan, Georgia long snapper Nathan Theus, Sioux Falls cornerback John Tidwell, Wyoming defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, Oregon wide receiver Bralon Addison and Cincinnati tackle Justin Murray are the other new faces on the Broncos.

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