The PFT crew breaks down everything you need to know about the NFL’s franchise tag. Based off the 2012 season, which players have the best chance of being tagged by their respective teams?This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
ProFootballTalk: Who gets the tag?
Raiders coach Dennis Allen says his decision to name Derek Carr the team’s starting quarterback was a simple matter of believing that Carr is the quarterback who gives his team the best chance to win.
Allen has said all offseason that Matt Schaub would be the team’s starter, but Allen now believes that Carr is the right man for Week One and beyond.
“Derek is the starting quarterback and we feel very good and very confident about where he’s at and his ability to go out and lead us to victory,” Allen said.
Allen acknowledged that Schaub isn’t happy to lose a starting job that he was told is his.
“Well, he’s disappointed,” Allen said. “I think any competitor would be. But he’s handled it like a pro and, listen, it’s not an easy situation to be in, but he’s a real pro. He’s been around football for a long time. He understands how things operate. He’s going to continue to go out and work and compete and he’ll be ready when his number is called.”
The Raiders hope they won’t have to call Schaub’s number. In Oakland, everyone hopes Carr is leading the team to victory for a long time.
Other teams have tried to use the run-around backup quarterback as a change of pace.
“The thing about it, New York tried to do that with Tim Tebow a little bit,” Polamalu said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But Tebow’s a guy you have to just play and play and grind out the entire game. I don’t think Johnny is that type of guy. I think if Johnny came into the game, he would make some splashes, he doesn’t need to get into a rhythm.”
Of course, the Steelers are going to be prepping for Brian Hoyer to start and play most of the game, but that’s not as daunting as whatever curveball might get thrown.
“Regardless who’s in there, you want to go out and beat them, you want to make sure you’re playing sound football,” defensive end Brett Keisel. “I know sometimes you see someone come in and you go ‘ahhhhh’ and freak out a little bit. We need to just maintain our job, maintain the things we’ve got to do during that play call and execute.”
Now they just have to come up with a way to stop it, better than they did against Tebow in the playoffs.
Jon Beason was back on the field Monday for the first time in three months, which is the best news the team could get.
Unless he played offense, of course.
The veteran linebacker was back from an offseason toe injury, and said he was ready to play the opener.
Beason was a revelation since coming over from Carolina in a trade last season (since his job was usurped by Luke Kuechly), and they rewarded him with a three-year contract extension in March.
But his injury kept him off the field since June, and he knows it’s hard to lead from the training room.
“You can’t lead if you are not in the fire with guys,” he said. “How can I tell you what to do when I am over here hanging out, drinking Gatorade with a hat on?”
“I think that they trust that I am going to be there. Obviously they are going to be smart. [But] by the end of the week, I think they will feel pretty confident that I can go out and contribute on whatever level they deem OK.”
Anything will help, especially since the defense is going to have to carry them early, while the Giants offense finds its way.
Jets General Manager John Idzik was asked Monday if he wished he had signed a legitimate corner.
Of course, since then, Patterson went AWOL, claimed the Jets lied about it, and was released, leaving them in the same spot as if they hadn’t pursued such a legitimate corner.
“We don’t look back,” Idzik said Monday. “There’s no regrets. . . .
“The team comes first in everything we do. In the end, we felt like we did what is best for the New York Jets in releasing him.”
Of course, it doesn’t help that they also are missing Dee Milliner to a high ankle sprain and rookie Dexter McDougle tore his ACL. That leaves Walls, Allen, Kyle Wlison and recent picks from the discard pile Leon McFadden and Phillip Adams to go into the season.
The only good news is they get to face Raiders rookie Derek Carr in the opener. But they better get Milliner well soon, since the next six weeks bring Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the following six weeks.
The Houston Texans and defensive end J.J. Watt have reportedly reached an agreement on a long-term contract extension that will keep Watt in Houston for the foreseeable future.
According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans and Watt agreed in principle to a deal on Monday night.
Despite having two years remaining on his rookie contract, the two sides were able to come together on terms of a contract extension.
McClain reports the deal is a six-year extension worth $100 million with $51.876 million guaranteed. It’s the largest amount of guaranteed money ever given to a defensive player, surpassing the $50 million given to Mario Williams by the Buffalo Bills.
Watt has been arguably the best defensive player in football the last two seasons. Watt has amassed 161 tackles and 31 sacks with 23 passes defended and eight forced fumbles over that span. He earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2012 after posting 20.5 sacks on the year.
Watt was scheduled to make just $1.9 million in base salary this season. It’s a fairly safe assumption to believe he’s now going to make significantly more this season and into the future.
Per McClain, receiver Andre Johnson is the only other Texans player to get a new contract with two years left on his current contract.
According to the Associated Press, Boone passed his physical with the team Monday. The 49ers requested a roster exemption to allow Boone to get up to speed with the team without costing them a capable player in the interim. San Francisco will likely get the exemption from the league. Players coming off suspension get similar roster exemptions as well.
The 49ers will need to make a roster move eventually to add Boone to their 53-man roster before he will be eligible to play.
San Francisco’s first-string offense struggled throughout the preseason, which surely gave Boone some added leverage in negotiations. The 49ers open the season against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Since winning the Super Bowl to cap the 2010 season, the Packers have made it back to the playoffs three straight years. But they haven’t made it past the divisional round.
The ability to consistently contend is a testament to franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The inability to get with a game of the Super Bowl is an indictment of the defense. Whether Titletown’s can get close to the title game again hinges on a few questions.
How about five of them?
Yeah, five will be good.
1. Will Aaron Rodgers stay healthy?
For his first five years as a starter, Rodgers missed only one game, due to a concussion. Last year, a broken collarbone derailed the team’s season and nearly cost the Packers a playoff berth.
This year, Rodgers needs to avoid a similar outcome. Which may not be easy, with the team breaking in a new center. The rest of the line has shown signs of encouragement, however, the Packers effectively can replace Evan Dietrich-Smith, Rodgers’ safety will depend more heavily on his ability to protect himself. (With starting center J.C. Tretter gone for multiple weeks with a knee injury, that’ll be a challenge, at least early in the season.)
If he can, the Packers can shake things up in the NFC, starting with the first game of the regular season at Seattle. If he can’t, they’ll need Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn to do far better than Rodgers’ backups did in 2013.
2. How big of a contract year will Randall Cobb have?
Receiver Jordy Nelson got his big contract. Receiver Randall Cobb hasn’t. He has said he wants to earn it.
So will he?
Cobb definitely has the incentive to put up big numbers. A lot of it depends on whether defenses shade coverage to Nelson or to Cobb, and whether Cobb can stay healthy, a year after missing 10 games due to injury.
3. Is Eddie Lacy ready for stardom?
The truly great running backs in the NFL hand can be listed on one hand. Even if that hand has been partially reconfigured by a table saw.
The Packers believe Eddie Lacy can join them. And he possibly can, given the manner in which he performed last year, especially after Rodgers was injured.
Much of Lacy’s ultimate production will hinge on the run-pass mix. With the Packers inclined to throw the ball a lot, Lacy simply may not get the touches necessary to rack up the kind of yards that would allow him to join the likes of Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, and . . . and . . . .
OK, that hand can lose three fingers.
4. How much will they miss Jermichael Finley?
Lacy could get more opportunities because the passing game will be missing a key component in 2014. Tight end Jermichael Finley is gone, and in recent weeks there has been no talk of a return, to Green Bay or elsewhere.
It’s possible that Finley has fallen quiet because his camp is pursuing that $10 million tax-free disability policy. If/when it appears that Finley won’t be getting the money because his injury ultimately wasn’t career ending, he may decide to play. Which doesn’t mean the Packers will decide to embrace the risk of further injury.
Regardless, they need someone to fill the void. Currently, they simply don’t have anyone who clearly will fill Finley’s shoes.
5. Can Julius Peppers make a difference on defense?
Last year, in his final season with the Bears, Peppers looked like something other than what he has been when he’s been at his best. This year, the Packers are confident Peppers will be much more than he was in 2013, even though it’s his first foray in the 3-4.
The defense desperately needs it, given the loss of B.J. Raji for the year. Peppers on one side and Clay Matthews on the other need to create mayhem in the backfield, which will help the rest of the defense be something other than it has been when it’s been at its best.
Which has been a while.
The Seahawks have re-signed a player whom they waived in their final cuts.
The club announced Monday it had brought back wide receiver Bryan Walters, a fifth-year pro from Cornell.
With Walters coming back, the Seahawks waived third-year wide receiver Phil Bates.
The 26-year-old Walters appeared in four games for Seattle in 2013. He also played four games for San Diego in 2011. Walters hauled in four passes for 73 yards and one touchdown in the 2014 exhibition slate for the Seahawks.
Seattle has seven receivers on its 53-player roster.
As the first game of the 2014 regular season approaches, the notion that Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will make a major step forward in his third NFL season seems to be catching plenty of momentum, especially in light of his performance in the preseason.
Two of his high-profile teammates definitely believe in Russell. As do Wilson’s two most important coaches.
“I think he’s being incredibly decisive this year,” cornerback Richard Sherman told reporters on Monday. “He knows who he is, he knows what he wants to do and he’s doing it. He’s not wondering what he’s going to do going into plays. I think he goes into plays anticipating what he’s going to do, dictating what the defense does, and executing. I think that precision is going to take him a long way and take our offense very far. I think he’s come into his own in that respect.”
Sherman described Wilson in one word: “Dynamic.”
“With our offense, it’s unique in how many things they can do,” Sherman said. “You can run the fly sweep with Percy [Harvin], run it down their throat with Marshawn, you can take them deep with any number of our receivers. There’s so many unique qualities about our offense. It’s a combination of the West Coast, Zone Read, the Read Option, but it also has the bubble screen. It’s so many different things that it allows him to be dynamic. It’s hard to put him in a cookie-cutter mode. So he’s out of the pocket, he’s a roll-out quarterback, but he also sits in there and throws it. He’s doing a great job of doing that this year.”
“The sky is the limit for that guy,” Harvin said of Wilson. “Anybody that has been watching the preseason, he’s been lights out. He’s been controlling the ball, he’s had the offense at a great tempo making sure the linemen get to the ball, making sure the receivers get to the line, get the calls right so we can get up and go in a timely fashion. All the keys he wanted to work on this offseason, I think he’s done a heck of a job.”
Coach Pete Caroll offered similar praise of his starting quarterback.
“He’s in great control of what’s going on,” Carroll said. “He’s very, very comfortable. He’s playing faster than he has at any time. He understands better of what we want. He really can play on the expectations of getting the ball out of his hands quickly and making sure that he can control rushing that regard. He’s in tune with that better than ever. We have a large package of stuff that we can bring into a game plan that we’ve feel like we have command of. We will see, and he’s had a near perfect preseason. Preparation and the way he has worked, we almost scored every time.”
Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell explained that Wilson’s drive to excel has been a key ingredient in his growth.
“Every time he comes out he tries to improve on the whole game,” Bevell said. “There’s little subtle things that he’s working on himself, but just his overall understanding. Every time you run a play, you understand it a little bit deeper. There’s some new things that we’re asking him to do so he wants to be able to master those. Just the overall understanding of the offense, knowing where to go, when and why so that he’s able to play fast and free.”
But Wilson still has some improving to do to get to the top of the league. When talking about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Sherman said, “He’s arguably the best quarterback in this football league. I’d say it’s between him and Peyton Manning.”
That’s hardly a hot take. It’s reality. But if Wilson can do all year long the things that he’s been doing in the preseason, Sherman and everyone else will be including Wilson in the short list of best quarterbacks in the league.
The first time the Seahawks force the Packers to punt on Thursday night, one of the best defensive players in the NFL won’t leave the field.
Instead, safety Earl Thomas will drop a little deeper than usual and wait to catch the ball. Then run with it.
Coach Pete Carroll made the disclosure to reporters on Monday, with a simple, one-word answer to the question of whether Thomas will return punts.
“Yeah,” Carroll said.
That was it. No elaboration, no follow-up questions regarding the calculated risk of exposing Thomas to a heightened injury risk.
Maybe no explanation or questions are needed. The risk is obvious. And the message may be that the Seahawks have a high level of comfort that, if Thomas is injured, the next man up will get it done.
At the punt return position, the next man up is Richard Sherman.
The Redskins have finished up their 10-man practice squad by bringing back a safety they waived on Sunday.
Akeem Davis has rejoined the club after being dropped from the 53-man roster to make room for Duke Ihenacho. Davis is the second safety to return to the team via the practice squad, joining 2013 fourth-round pick Phillip Thomas as players trying to work themselves into the secondary mix in Washington.
The only member of the practice squad that wasn’t in camp with the team is linebacker Chaz Sutton. He was waived by the Buccaneers last week and had three sacks as a starter for South Carolina last season.
Cornerback Richard Crawford, cornerback Chase Minnifield, tight end Ted Bolser, running back Chris Thompson, offensive lineman Tevita Stevens, defensive lineman Robert Thomas and wide receiver Nick Williams round out the practice squad.
The Jets have added their second cornerback in as many days.
Leon McFadden was claimed off of waivers on Sunday and the team announced Monday that they have signed Phillip Adams. Adams was released by the Seahawks on Saturday and spent the last two seasons playing in 31 games for the Raiders. The Jets are the fifth team that he’s played for since 2010, which says a lot about how well he’s played as well as how constant the need for cornerback help is in the current NFL.
It’s particularly acute with the Jets these days, so Adams should make a run at playing time alongside McFadden and anyone else who they might bring in this season.
The Jets also announced that they have claimed wide receiver Walter Powell off of waivers from the Cardinals. Powell was a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and saw time as a receiver and returner for Arizona in the preseason.
His arrival coincides with the departure of a wideout the Jets drafted in the sixth round. Quincy Enunwa and linebacker Jeremiah George were let go to make room for the newcomers while cornerback Ellis Lankster was dropped so the team could bring back linebacker A.J. Edds.
Six days before meeting the Dolphins in the regular season opener, the Patriots have added an ex-Miami defensive back.
The 24-year-old Jones notched a team-best 11 special teams tackles in 2013 for Miami, according to club statistics. An Arkansas State product, Jones was a seventh-round pick of the Dolphins in 2013.
Jones’ addition gives the Patriots six safeties. He is listed as a third-stringer behind Duron Harmon on the club’s depth chart. And, of course, Jones brings an intimate knowledge of the Dolphins to Foxborough.
In a corresponding roster move, the Patriots waived second-year offensive lineman Chris Barker.
Buccaneers offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford recently underwent an undisclosed medical procedure. His return date is similarly unknown.
Via JoeBucsFan.com, Tedford wasn’t at practice on Monday. Head coach Lovie Smith said a decision regarding Tedford’s status for the regular-season opener has not yet been made.
“He’s getting better,” Smith said, via Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “He stopped through this weekend. We’re taking our time with him. He’s getting better each day. When he’ll be back here full-time, I don’t know. When he’ll be available full-time, whether he’ll be available for the game this week and all those questions, we don’t have answered right now. He’s getting better and we’ll see how all that plays out.”
Replacing Tedford will continue to be a group effort.
“In the meantime, the rest of our offensive staff will pick up for Jeff, similar to how we did it last week, with all of the guys really pitching in,” Smith said.
The Buccaneers host the Panthers on Sunday, with kickoff coming at 4:25 p.m. ET. We continue to extend our best wishes to Tedford.
The Raiders are going with a rookie at quarterback to begin the regular season.
According to Glazer, players have been informed of the decision.
The call to go with Carr comes after the second-round pick from Fresno State completed 11-of-13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns in the preseason finale vs. Seattle. Schaub sat out the game with elbow soreness.
Schaub, whom the Raiders acquired from Houston in the offseason, was just 24-of-47 passing for 218 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in exhibition play. He was sacked three times.