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Report: Packers consider tagging Greg Jennings

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Cutting defensive back Charles Woodson fits perfectly with the Packers’ approach to the business of football.  Using the franchise tag on receiver Greg Jennings doesn’t.

But that’s what the Packers are considering doing, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.  And that would cost the Packers more than $10 million in real dollars and cap dollars for 2013.

With Jennings turning 30 later this year and missing half of the 2012 regular season, spending that much money doesn’t make much sense, given the way the Packers do business.

Moreover, the Packers have three receivers under contract who, according to one of them, each can generate more than 1,000 yards receiving in 2013.

So we’ll believe that G.M. Ted Thompson will plunk down $10.36 million for an aging luxury when he does it.  Until then, it just doesn’t fit with how the Packers do things.

Even if they do it, it still doesn’t fit.

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Report: Washington working on Brian Orakpo return

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The Redskins used the franchise tag on linebacker Brian Orakpo last year to ensure he would remain in Washington for the 2014 season, but it doesn’t look like they’ll go down that road again this time around.

Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington reports that the team will not tag Orakpo for the second straight year. That’s not a big surprise with Orakpo recovering from a torn pectoral muscle for the third time in his career.

That injury limited Orakpo to seven games and a half-sack last season, although Russini reports that the team is still interested in bringing Orakpo back. They’re reportedly working on reaching agreement on a deal that Orakpo would sign before hitting the open market next week.

The top of the market for edge rushers will be impacted by franchise tags as Justin Houston has been tagged while Jason Pierre-Paul and Jerry Hughes could join him before Monday afternoon’s deadline. Greg Hardy is the biggest name expected to hit March 10 with the ability to sign anywhere he wants with Orakpo, Brandon Graham and Jason Worilds somewhere behind him on the list.

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Report: Brad Jones visited Titans, visiting Eagles on Monday

Matt Forte, Brad Jones AP

Players who have been released by their teams since the end of the season are free to sign with other teams ahead of the start of free agency next week and linebacker Brad Jones is trying to take advantage of that opportunity.

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports that Jones recently visited with the Titans and is scheduled to meet with the Eagles on Monday. Wyatt adds that other teams have shown interest in Jones, who was released by the Packers in February.

Jones played in 76 games at inside linebacker for the Packers over the last six seasons.

The Eagles currently have Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans (recovering from a torn Achilles) and Emmanuel Acho at the position, so Jones could provide depth while taking on the big role on special teams he played with the Packers. The Titans, who have Avery Williamson and Wesley Woodyard among others on the depth chart, showed interest in Jones last year before he re-signed with Green Bay.

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Ravens cut Victor Hampton after DWI arrest

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When a good player gets arrested, the player’s team usually releases a statement saying it is aware of the matter but will have no comment while it waits for due process to play out.

When a mediocre player gets arrested, the player’s team usually cuts him.

Victor Hampton has just found that out the hard way.

Hampton, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated over the weekend, has been released by the Ravens. The Ravens’ entire statement was as follows: “The Baltimore Ravens have waived CB Victor Hampton from their roster, general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome announced Monday afternoon.”

Although Hampton faces a potential two-game suspension from the NFL, that’s probably not going to be an issue. Hampton went undrafted in 2014 largely because of off-field concerns, and after failing to get on the field as a rookie, he’s now been arrested again. Hampton has blown enough second chances that it’s hard to see any team giving Hampton another second chance.

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2015 salary cap set at $143.28 million

Indianapolis Colts v Pittsburgh Steelers

The 2015 NFL salary cap has been set at $143.28 million.

That won’t come as a surprise to either owners or players, but it wasn’t official until today. The final cap number was set today in conjunction with the deadline for teams to make their decisions on franchise player designations.

That doesn’t mean every team will spend $143.28 million. In fact, according to the NFL Players Association, 31 teams are carrying over some unused cap space from last year. The Rams are the only team that is not carrying over any cap space. Teams also have dead money counting against their 2015 caps from prorated signing bonuses of players who are no longer on the roster, and teams can use accounting tricks to spend more than $143.28 million this year by pushing some of the money they pay players to future years’ caps.

But the cap has been set, and the cap number for every team will be $143.28 million.

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Treasure to trash: Bucs trying to unload Anthony Collins

St. Louis Rams v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

When the free agent period opens next week, teams will throw big money at guys they believe to be the answers to all their problems.

And if they’re not, those guys will inevitably be thrown back.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Buccaneers are trying to trade left tackle Anthony Collins, and will cut him if they’re not able to.

That pretty much means they’re going to cut him, as Collins played so poorly last year there won’t be a line of teams eager to take on his contract.

The Bucs signed him to a five-year, $30 million a year ago, hoping he’d shore up a weak offensive line.

Collins was good-not-great for the Bengals, and the Buccaneers clearly overspent out of desperation.

Now, they’re looking elsewhere, and providing a cautionary tale to teams who want to win in March,

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Kendall Langford visiting the defensive tackle-less Lions today

St Louis Rams v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Lions have chosen to hold the door open to their free agent defensive tackles, and today, another is walking in.

According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, former Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford is visiting the Lions today.

The Lions have chosen to not use the franchise tag on Ndamukong Suh (which would have hit them for $27 million for one season).

And a year ago, they elected not to pick up the option year on defensive tackle Nick Fairley, which makes him a free agent next week as well.

The Lions can continue to negotiate with both Suh and Fairley, but bringing in Langord’s also a tacit realization that they might be needing to backfill the position soon.

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Franchise and transition tag numbers are in

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Teams should get final numbers soon on the 2015 salary cap, which is expected to come in around $143 million.

And based on that number, the teams that are playing tag by today’s deadline have a better idea of how much it is going to cost them.

Via Albert Breer of the NFL Network, the projections for the franchise tags are in:

Quarterbacks: $18.51 million

Running backs: $10.93 million

Wide receivers: $12.80 million

Tight ends: $8.33 million

Offensive linemen: $12.92 million

Defensive tackles: $11.17 million

Defensive ends: $14.78 million

Linebackers: $13.17 million

Cornerbacks: $13.05 million

Safeties: $9.60 million

Kickers/punters: $4.12 million.

The numbers are also in for the transition tag, which allows the teams to secure the right to match any deal a free agent finds, but offers no compensation if they don’t.

Quarterbacks: $16.12 million

Running backs: $9.02 million

Wide receivers: $10.95 million

Tight ends: $7.057 million

Offensive linemen: $11.08 million

Defensive tackles: $9.30 million

Defensive ends: $11.94 million

Linebackers: $11.04 million

Cornerbacks: $11.06 million

Safeties: $8.25 million

Kickers/punters: $3.71 million.

Those transition numbers also double as the fifth-year option numbers for the top 10 picks in the 2012 NFL Draft.

The numbers could still bump up a bit if the final cap calculation comes in above $143 million, but those are the numbers teams are working with at the moment.

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Rick Spielman: Open dialogue with Adrian Peterson has been beneficial

Adrian Peterson, Chris Conte AP

Running back Adrian Peterson wasn’t fully reinstated as a result of Judge David Doty’s decision that the NFL is not permitted to punish Peterson under the conditions of the league’s new personal conduct policy, but he was cleared to have contact with the Vikings while he’s on the commissioner’s exempt list pending the NFL’s appeal of Doty’s ruling.

General Manager Rick Spielman said Monday that the team has been in contact with Peterson since the ruling, but didn’t offer any details about what discussions have gone on. Spielman did say the ability to have “open dialogue” has been “beneficial” and reiterated that the team wants Peterson back for the 2015 season.

“We are able to have communication now with Adrian,” Spielman said, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. “We’ll keep all those communications internal. I don’t want to sit here and give you guys a blow-by-blow every day. I think it’s very clearly stated that we want Adrian Peterson back. There’s no question about the talent and he’s a unique talent and he’s under contract with us.”

Peterson didn’t mention anything about his desire to return to the Vikings in the statement he released after Doty’s decision last week, but said in February that he was “still uneasy” about returning to the Vikings after the way they handled his situation during the 2014 season.

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No charges filed against Jarrett Bush after “Big Italian” incident

Packers' Bush reacts after breaking up a pass in their NFL football game against the Vikings in Green Bay Reuters

A week before he’ll become a free agent, Packers cornerback Jarrett Bush got a “get out of jail free” card.

While Bush was booked into the Solano County (Calif.) Jail last night on a charge of disorderly conduct while under the influence, the police have let him go.

Via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, police said this morning that Bush would not be charged with anything, following an incident at a place called Evelyn’s Big Italian Restaurant (some of this stuff you can’t make up).

When police arrived to break up an incident at the bar, they told everyone to leave. Bush didn’t, which led to his being hauled downtown (I don’t know Vacaville well enough to know if it’s actually downtown, but that’s just a cool cop thing to say).

The cops said the 30-year-old Bush was cooperative with police after he was detained, which is usually the best way to avoid more jail time, for what seems to have been a misunderstanding.

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Dwight Freeney says he’ll play this season

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Toward the end of last season, Chargers outside linebacker Dwight Freeney started musing about retirement and said he wasn’t sure if he’d be back in 2015. Now it’s 2015, and Freeney says he’s sure he’ll be back.

“I could retire tomorrow and still be happy with what I’ve done in this league,” Freeney told Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “But I think I have a lot in the tank as well. It’s one of those things where I’m going to wait for the right situation to come across the table. Hopefully it’s with the Chargers. If they are not interested, obviously, you have to [test] the free agent market and see what team is interested.”

The question, then, is not whether Freeney wants to play. He does. The question is whether any team wants to pay Freeney this year.

The answer to that question is not clear. Freeney is 35 years old and had just 3.5 sacks last season, and at this point in his career he’s only a part-time player. If he’s going to play, Freeney is going to have to sign a low-paying contract and prove himself in training camp.

After 13 seasons and 111.5 sacks, Freeney is near the end of the line. But he doesn’t think he’s finished just yet.

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Justin Houston situation is about to get very interesting

Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

The Chiefs finally did what has been expected for months — they’ve applied the franchise tag to linebacker Justin Houston. And as explained over the weekend (when most of you weren’t devoting non-work time to non-work reading of the Internet), it’s much closer to the start of the process than the end of it.

The Chiefs opted for the non-exclusive version of the tag. On one hand, it’s cheaper than the exclusive level of the tag. On the other hand, it allows another team to sign Houston to an offer sheet that, if not matched by the Chiefs, would result in Houston changing hands for a pair of first-round picks.

Per a league source, Houston intends to aggressively pursue an offer sheet from another team, targeting teams that would be giving up a low first-round pick in 2015 and, most likely, a low first-round pick in 2016. Houston also intends to continue to pursue an offer sheet after the draft, when the compensation necessarily will become a first-round pick in 2016 and 2017.

Houston, we’re told, is seriously considering staying away from the Chiefs until the Week 10 deadline for signing the franchise tender. If nothing materializes by then, Houston would sign the tender, finish the season, and hit the market in 2016 — unless the Chiefs plan to tender him again, at a 20-percent raise over the 2015 franchise tender.

That’s a stark change from Houston’s in-season plan to sign the tender right away, gladly accepting the life-transforming $13 million or so for one year of play. That 22-sack season may have been a factor in Houston’s change of plans.

Finally, Houston will consult with the NFLPA to explore the possibility of filing a grievance seeking the defensive end franchise tender, which will be higher than the linebacker tender. Seven years ago, Ravens and Terrell Suggs engaged in a similar fight, with the two sides agreeing to essentially split the difference. For Houston, it could be a bit more challenging because he actually does play a considerable amount of linebacker, dropping into coverage in some passing situations.

Which makes him more versatile, makes his 22 sacks more impressive, and potentially makes him a lot more attractive to a team with a desperate coach and/or G.M. who may not be around to use the future draft picks that would be sacrificed to get Houston now.

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Jacoby Jones slated for visits with Bengals, Titans

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Neither the Bengals nor Titans are expected to use their franchise tag on Monday, leaving them free to work on other matters before the start of the new league year next week.

One thing that’s on tap is a visit with wide receiver/kick returner Jacoby Jones. Jones was released by the Ravens last week, leaving him free to sign with Cincinnati, Tennessee or any other team that’s interested in bringing him on board.

Geoff Hobson of the team’s website reports that Jones is scheduled for a visit with the team. Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun reports the same as well as the visit with the Titans.

Jones had just nine catches for the Ravens last season, but did average 30 yards per kickoff return. That would represent an improvement for each team, although neither team would seem to have a pressing need for Jones’s services on offense given the overall makeup of their receiving groups.

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PFT Live: Panthers/Ravens offseason to-do lists

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Any team that wants to use the franchise tag has until Monday afternoon’s deadline to do so and we’ll take a look at where everything stands during Monday’s edition of PFT Live.

Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston has received the tag and the Lions won’t be using it on defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but there’s still decisions to be made on Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and others. Mike Florio will break them all down during the show.

Florio will also continue our series of offseason to-do lists by looking at the Panthers and Ravens. Neither of those teams are expected to use the tag, although there’s plenty of other things to discuss about both teams.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

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Rosenhaus: Eagles haven’t asked McCoy to alter contract

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With total compensation of $10.25 million and a cap number of $11.95 million for running back LeSean McCoy, many have believed the Eagles eventually will ask McCoy to reduce his cap number, either by restructuring the contract or by taking less money.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus tells PFT that the team has not yet approached him with a request to do either thing.

The fact that it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen.  The new league year doesn’t begin for eight days, and pro football is a deadline-driven business.

For the Eagles, the start of the new league year isn’t really a deadline, because the Eagles aren’t pressed against the cap.  They can carry McCoy on the books until the start of the regular season before his $9.75 million salary becomes fully guaranteed and his $250,000 roster bonus begins being earned one game at a time.

For McCoy and any player, it’s better to be on the market sooner than later.  The earlier the player is on the market, he’ll have more options — and likely more money.

As practical matter, if the Eagles are considering giving McCoy an ultimatum, they’ll likely do it before the offseason program begins, since a fluke season-ending injury while working out at the team facility or engaging in OTA sessions will result in the Eagles owing McCoy his full base salary.  That’s what the Eagles did with receiver DeSean Jackson a year ago, cutting him in April after a failed effort to trade him.

So, basically, no news is no news.  For McCoy, it may eventually be good news.  If it’s going to be bad news, the bad news would be a lot better if it came before March 10.

Meanwhile, here’s McCoy’s entertaining visit to PFT Live at the Super Bowl.  Assuming the boss is otherwise not in position to hear the speakers on your computer.

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Gostkowski more likely to be tagged than McCourty

Gostk Getty Images

It figures that a guy who’d have no problem with the franchise tag may not get it.

Patriots safety Devin McCourty said last week he’d welcome the player-friendly $9.6-million-or-so one-year contract that goes with being tagged.  Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski could end up being the guy sporting the franchise tag.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, a greater likelihood exists that the Patriots will tag their kicker over their top safety.  Casual fans routinely scoff at the notion that a kicker is a “franchise player,” but kickers who get the franchise tag see a much lower one-year contract offer.  For Gostkowski, Reiss estimates that the cash and cap number will be in the range of $4.5 million.

By not tagging McCourty, the Patriots would perhaps set the stage either to pay cornerback Darrelle Revis $20 million to keep him for 2015 (at a cap number of $25 million) or to give Revis a big-money extension.  It’s hard to imagine the Patriots letting McCourty hit the market if they also plan to release Revis before his compensation for 2015 becomes fully guaranteed.

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