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Tom Coughlin shuts down retirement talk

New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin walks away after beating the Carolina Panthers during a NFL football game in Charlotte AP

Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas recently said that he thought head coach Tom Coughlin had one more year left in him on the sideline.

Coughlin met the media on Friday in Indianapolis and got the expected questions about his future. Coughlin said that he has two years left on his contract and has no plans not to honor those years.

“I don’t even know how a young man would come to that statement,” Coughlin said, via the New York Post. “I approach each year the way I’ve always approached them. The energy’s flowing good. I’m excited about it, and I’m looking forward to this offseason and getting our football team together again. Maybe at some point, I’ll get the message. But it certainly isn’t right now.”

When Coughlin gets his football team together, a few members of it will be recovering from surgery. Coughlin confirmed his right guard and son-in-law Chris Snee will miss offseason work, but said he expects him to recover in time for the season. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks had arthroscopic knee surgery and center David Baas also had an operation “on his body,” according to the coach. We’ll assume his aura’s perfectly fine, just as we assumed Coughlin would plan on seeing his contract to completion.

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Broncos begin process of rebuilding defensive line

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 27:  Bobby Richardson #78 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates an interception during the second quarter of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 27, 2015 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Denver’s looking for defensive line help, and they’re dealing in bulk.

The Broncos announced they are signing former Saints defensive end Bobby Richardson.

He started 11 games for the Saints in 2015 after making the team as an undrafted rookie, but bounced from practice squads in Washington and Kansas City.

The Broncos also brought former Dolphins defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, and are still awaiting word on that possible acquisition, as they add depth to a group that was hit hard with injuries last year.

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Are Vikings fans ready to move on from Adrian Peterson?

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 20: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball against the Detroit Lions during the game on August 20, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Lions 26-16. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Vikings have yet to offer running back Adrian Peterson a contract that would pay him less than the $18 million he is due to earn in 2017. It’s unclear whether they will.

From a P.R. standpoint, there’s a good reason for the Vikings to make Peterson an offer, even if it’s an offer he wouldn’t accept. Cutting him loose is one thing; extending what appears to be a fair offer on a revised deal and having him reject it is another.

This approach presumes that the fan base wants to continue to relationship, and that the fans will place blame based on how and why it ends. What if the fans are ready to move on from Peterson?

Paul Allen of KFAN and the Vikings Radio Network appeared on Friday’s PFT Live to discuss the team’s offseason priorities. He senses that there wouldn’t be an outcry if the team decides to put an end to Peterson’s 10-year run with the team.

Besides, the team can do plenty with the $18 million that otherwise would go to Peterson in 2017. Most fans are smart enough to notice it.

Paul said plenty more about the Vikings’ priorities for the coming year. To hear everything he had to say, check out the video.

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Add Washington to the list of non-talkers at the Scouting Combine

Jay Gruden AP

Each year, most of the coaches and General Managers around the NFL will speak to the assembled media at the Scouting Combine.

This year, there’s a new abstainer on the list of the usual suspects.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, Saints coach Sean Payton and Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis generally do not participate, but at the moment, no one from Washington is on the schedule provided by the league.

While coach Jay Gruden has taken to the podium in the past, he’s not scheduled to speak this year, and G.M. Scot McCloughan isn’t either. Then again, McCloughan isn’t being allowed to talk to anyone else either, so that probably shouldn’t come as a surprise.

There’s plenty to talk about there, considering the Kirk Cousins decisions being made, but those searching for answers are going to have to work the hallways and corridors of Indianapolis rather than having them provided.

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Tom Coughlin: QB improvement starts with improved protection

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 18:  Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars is sacked by Jadeveon Clowney #90 of the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Jaguars have a new head of football operations in Tom Coughlin and Coughlin didn’t wait for the start of the league year to start making moves in hopes of improving the team’s fortunes in 2017.

Coughlin spoke to the Dolphins about a pair of trades this week that would send tight end Julius Thomas to Miami with left tackle Branden Albert making the move to Jacksonville. The acquisition of Albert is something that Coughlin believes will help address one of the biggest needs for the team.

That would be improvement from quarterback Blake Bortles. During a Friday press conference, Coughlin said that there’s plenty for Bortles (and everyone else on the team) to improve in their own games, but said that any big jump will require better work on the offensive line.

I think to improve the quarterback we have to improve the protection,” Coughlin said. 

Coughlin also said that he doesn’t think the team is helping Bortles “at all” if they can’t run the ball and noted that the team needs more than they got from the T.J. Yeldon/Chris Ivory backfield combo last year. He said there have been discussions about adding a fullback to the offensive mix, something that fit with his general theme of building a tougher Jaguars team in his first season back in Jacksonville.

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Will the Bills keep Tyrod Taylor despite upcoming payday?

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 27:  Tyrod Taylor #5 of the Buffalo Bills looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the Bills signed quarterback Tyrod Taylor to a contract extension, the goal was to give the player a short-term raise and possible long-term security while also protecting the team against a possible Kirk Cousins-style game of tag. If Taylor had played really well or really poorly last year, the decision would be easy.

But Taylor’s 2016 performance falls somewhere between not good enough to make giving him $27.5 million for 2017 and not bad enough to make cutting him a no-brainer. So what will the Bills do?

The decision to bench him late in the 2016 regular season operated as a fairly clear indication that they wouldn’t be bringing him back, because they didn’t want him to suffer an injury that would have tied their hands as to the $27.5 million. The more accurate interpretation of that decision could be that the Bills wanted to give the next coaching staff maximum flexibility as to the question of whether Taylor would or wouldn’t be kept around.

The hiring of former Broncos offensive coordinator Rick Dennison made the situation more intriguing, given that the Broncos (where Dennison most recently worked) were interested in Taylor when he became a free agent two years ago. He opted for Buffalo and a starting job over joining a depth chart that featured Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler.

Albert Breer of recently said it’s his “sense” that Dennison would like to keep Taylor. The question becomes the financial commitment. With $27.5 million due this year and another $13 million owed to Taylor in 2018, that’s a $40.5 million proposition over the next two seasons.

Ideally, the Bills and Taylor would negotiate an arrangement that allows him to continue to be the starter at a more realistic salary. But Taylor reportedly won’t re-do the deal. Which makes it an all-or-nothing proposition for the Bills.

And the clock is ticking.

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Report: Giants agree to new deal with Zak DeOssie

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 28:   Zak DeOssie #51 of the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium on October 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Giants have reached a deal to bring back veteran long snapper Zak DeOssie, the Houston Chronicle reported Friday.

DeOssie would have been a free agent had he not signed before the start of the new league year on March 9. A two-time Pro Bowler, DeOssie has spent his entire 10-year career with the Giants and has only missed four games during that time, all in 2015 due to a wrist injury.

Per the report, DeOssie will sign a two-year deal.

DeOssie, 32, and Eli Manning are the longest-tenured Giants players and the only remaining players from the Giants’ most recent Super Bowl teams. The Giants drafted DeOssie in the fourth round in 2007.

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Rob Gronkowski has “no doubt” about playing this year, wants to continue

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 16:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots celebrates his touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 16, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Even though he’s had more surgeries than Super Bowls and Pro Bowls combined, Rob Gronkowski has no intention to stop playing football.

The Patriots tight end is coming off his eighth surgery, and the third on his problematic back, but told ESPN there was “no doubt” he’d be ready for the start of the 2017 season.

And if this one has made him contemplate his future in the game, it’s hard to tell.

“I’m not really sure,” he said when asked how long he wants to play. “I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I can possibly play. My mindset is to keep on going.”

Gronkowski only played eight games last year, and he’s only played 16 games twice in his seven NFL seasons. His back problems were a concern for many teams when he was coming out in the 2010 NFL Draft, and he had two previous surgeries to repair herniated disks (in 2009 and 2013).

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Josh Doctson doing football drills

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Washington Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson, 18, works out during NFL football rookie minicamp in Ashburn, Va. Doctson is inching his way back from an Achilles tendon injury, though the Washington Redskins still don’t know when the wide receiver will be ready to practice with the team, let alone play in a game. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File) AP

In a late January update on wide receiver Josh Doctson’s recovery from an Achilles injury, Redskins coach Jay Gruden said that the 2016 first-round pick had “not really” made significant progress and that February would be an important month for him on the rehab front.

It looks like there have been some positive steps on that front. Doctson posted a Snapchat video of himself, via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post, going through football drills at the team’s headquarters on Friday.

It’s hard to gauge just where a player is while running drills in a helmet and shorts against air, but Doctson was only running in a pool when Gruden spoke last month. That suggests an upward trajectory that should create some optimism that Doctson will be able to contribute in his second season.

That would be a big plus for the Redskins as both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are free agents who are expected to hit the open market next month.

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Chiefs sign C.J. Spiller

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Running back C.J. Spiller #28 of the Seattle Seahawks rushes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs have added a veteran to their backfield.

The team announced on Friday that they have signed C.J. Spiller. Spiller is eligible to sign a contract as a free agent now because he was released by the Jets in December and never signed with another team.

Spiller’s Jets stint was a brief one as he saw action in four games. He also played two games for the Seahawks after being released by the Saints in September. Spiller signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Saints in 2015, but flopped in 13 appearances with the team before getting dropped from the roster altogether.

Spiller is now well removed from his best days with the Bills in 2012 and 2013 so it is a stretch to bank on him being a contributor for Kansas City. A more immediate question may be whether his arrival spells the end of Jamaal Charles‘ time in Kansas City. Charles has a cap number of over $6.1 million and the Chiefs would get it all back if they move on from a player who has played just eight games over the last two seasons due to knee problems.

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Trent Cole wants to sign with a team that will let him off the leash

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 13:   Trent Cole #58 of the Indianapolis Colts hits the arm of  Blake Bortles #5 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on December 13, 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) Getty Images

Soon-to-be free agent pass rusher Trent Cole wants to make it clear that he’s not done playing.

Cole took to Twitter today and said he will keep playing, emphasizing that he wants to sign with a team that will let him loose to go after the quarterback.

“No retirement happening here to make things clear,” Cole said. “It’s just time for somebody let me off the leash.”

Cole may be implying that he thinks the Colts didn’t let him off the leash. Cole finished last season with a career-low 2.0 sacks.

Of course, that’s in large part because Cole missed most of last season with a back injury. Some teams may question whether the 34-year-old Cole will ever be able to make it through a season healthy and return to his prior form. But he’s confident that he still has some football left in him.

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Nine days in, no franchise tags yet

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Outside linebacker Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals in action during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

When the franchise-tag window opened nine days ago, I pointed out that no one would be using the franchise tag any time soon. And, of course, I assumed that three or four tags would end up being applied that same day.

It hasn’t happened. And for good reason. The NFL is, and always will be, a deadline-driven business. It’s not about procrastination; it’s about not doing anything until the time comes for doing it.

That said, there’s a chance that the time will be coming as soon as today for a tag or two to be applied. With teams switching into Scouting Combine-mode next week, they may want to make a final decision and act on it before they begin to focus on taking a very close look at the next wave of incoming draft picks.

Even if no tags happen today, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see tags be applied on Monday or Tuesday, if for no reason other than to avoid an unfortunate snafu that would result in the tag not officially attaching before the window closes at 4:00 p.m. ET.

The players most likely to be tagged this year include Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones, Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, Chiefs safety Eric Berry, and Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short. Time permitting (and if I don’t forget), I may cobble together over the weekend a team-by-team look at who could get tagged.

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Rob Gronkowski: Patriots fans will keep Roger Goodell out of the stadium

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and New England Patriots' Tom Brady with the Pete Rozelle MVP Trophy during the Super Bowl Winner and MVP press conference on February 6, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has some advice for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: Don’t come to New England.

Gronkowski told ESPN that Patriots fans are so angry about Goodell suspending Tom Brady that he believes it would be physically impossible for Goodell to get inside Gillette Stadium. Gronkowski was asked directly if Goodell can go to Foxboro, and Gronkowski said no.

“To tell you the truth, I really don’t think so,” Gronkowski said. “The fans are nuts, they’re wild, and they have the Patriots’ back no matter what. They have Tom’s back. I’m telling you, he won’t get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don’t even think he can even land in the airport in Boston because Patriot fans are the best fans, they’re the most loyal fans. I’m telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn’t even get to the stadium in Foxboro if he landed in Boston.”

Goodell has avoided New England since Deflategate broke two years ago. Although he has said he would return to New England if invited, the reality is the commissioner doesn’t need an invitation to attend an NFL game. The reason Goodell hasn’t attended a Patriots game is that he knows what kind of reception he’d receive.

Except Gronkowski thinks the reception would be even worse than Goodell realizes.

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Mike Pereira: Putting a chip in the football wouldn’t help with spotting

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - APRIL 04:  A veterinary nurse holds a dog micro-chip at the PDSA hospital on April 4, 2016 in Wolverhampton, England. From 6th April 2016 it will  become law, in the UK, that all dogs should be microchipped and recorded in the National Canine Database. Many owners are unaware of the new legislation and it is estimated that more than 1 million dogs have still not been micro-chipped leaving owners facing fines.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) Getty Images

Fans who get frustrated by bad spots from the officials, bad spots that can cost a team a first down or a touchdown, sometimes argue that the NFL should put a chip in every football that can show the precise spot where the ball is at all times. But former NFL head of officiating Mike Pereira says that wouldn’t work.

Pereira said on Peter King’s podcast that when officials miss a spot, it’s less about not seeing the ball than about not seeing where the ball carrier’s knee hit the ground.

“You can put a chip in the ball, but then you better put a chip in the guy’s knee, too,” Pereira said. “The ball is one thing, but it’s not over until the knee hits the ball or the shoulder hits the ground. So how accurate is that going to be?”

NFL V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino said last year on PFT Live: The NFL experimented with putting chips in footballs to measure how close field goals and extra points were to the uprights, to determine how big a difference narrower goal posts would make. But Blandino said that spotting the ball is far more complex than that, and the NFL is a long way from being able to use that kind of technology in that way.

Some in the NFL may have another objection: They’re old-fashioned traditionalists. Pereira acknowledged that’s part of his objection to using chips to spot the ball as well.

“You could set up lasers to replace the chain crews, but I love the tradition of some old guys running out there with a chain,” Pereira said.

That’s not a good reason not to use technology: If the technology can improve spotting the ball, the technology should be used. Tradition be damned.

But Blandino and Pereira are right that for now, anyway, a chip in the football simply wouldn’t solve the problem of missed spots.

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Josh McCown thinks Jay Cutler can play at a very high level

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 1: Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery #17 and quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears talk with quarterback Josh McCown #13 of the Cleveland Browns prior to a preseason game at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

There are no shortage of questions swirling around the league with free agency looming on the horizon and Jay Cutler’s place in the NFL for the 2017 season is among them.

No one thinks Cutler will be back with the Bears as they are reportedly trying to trade him and are expected to cut him when and if that effort fails. The possibility of retirement has also been floated recently, but one of Cutler’s former backups hopes that won’t be the case.

Josh McCown has remained friends with Cutler since they played together with the Bears and shared that hope during an interview with Ross Tucker and Greg McElroy of SiriusXM NFL Radio. He also shared an opinion that runs counter to most when he said he believes Cutler can “play at a very high level.”

“I know he’ll make the best decision he can for him and his family,” McCown said. “I root for him either way it goes. As a friend, and a football fan, and as a guy who appreciates quarterbacks, I hope he continues to play and finds a good spot where he can play good football because I believe that is still in his future.”

McCown thinks a team in a “quarterback-driven” NFL will give Cutler the opportunity to play that kind of football and it shouldn’t be too long before we have a clearer picture of where that opportunity is going to come.

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Vikings G.M. has taken a long look at how he’s acquired linemen


The Vikings have skill position problems, sure. But last year was also enough of a mess that General Manager Rick Spielman is thinking about changing the way he evaluates other positions.

According to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Vikings G.M. acknowledged their offensive line issues last season, and studied other rosters to see if they were drafting them incorrectly.

Spielman looked at the correlation between draft placement and NFL success — and surprisingly found that guys drafted higher were usually better. He admitted that a “much lower percentage” of linemen taken after the third round were productive blockers. In the last 10 drafts, he’s only taken two linemen before the fourth round.

“There’s different ways that I had to look back and see, ‘What are we doing right or wrong with this offensive line and how do we get it addressed?'” Spielman said. “That was a whole focal point on a lot of the studies and a lot of the analytics that I have been doing since the end of the season.”

Of course, one of those high picks he’s used on a lineman may be about to walk out the door. Left tackle Matt Kalil will be an unrestricted free agent. Last year, both he and right tackle Andre Smith (also a free agent) ended up on injured reserve (along with some of their replacements), creating a revolving door that prevented anything resembling stability on offense.

Of course, they have plenty of other issues there, beginning with the admitted short-term nature of quarterback Sam Bradford and the uncertainty over what to do with running back Adrian Peterson.

But if they can’t create time and space for them, it might not matter who is occupying the skill positions.

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