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ProFootballTalk: Is Asomugha on the chopping block?
Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo has taken another step toward becoming former Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo.
Via JoeBucsFan.com, the second-year, second-round pick missed “at least three” of four field goal tries during a Tuesday OTA session. The good news is that the goal posts were narrower than normal. The bad news is that recently-signed veteran Nick Folk went four-for-four on the same narrow posts.
As noted by JoeBucsFan.com, practice “went silent” after Aguayo missed for the third time: “Ninety players plus coaches, many just BSing and drinking water during the kicking period, were quiet.”
For a position that ultimately will be counted on to perform under pressure, failing to perform under the pressure of the first open practice with Folk on the field won’t help Aguayo convince the Bucs to keep him around.
When the Bears signed quarterback Mike Glennon to a three-year deal as a free agent this offseason, most people assumed that he’d be getting most of that time as the starter in Chicago with a chance for a longer run if he played well.
That outlook changed when the Bears traded up to the No. 2 pick so they could select Mitchell Trubisky in last month’s draft. Now the questions aren’t about whether Glennon is the long-term answer at the position but about how long it will be before the Bears turn to Trubisky.
Glennon said Tuesday that the team has told him it is his team this year and that he’s not thinking about anything beyond that as a result.
“This year is my year and I’m not going to worry about the future,” Glennon said, via Zach Zaidman of the team’s radio network.
Glennon also said that he would have still signed with the Bears even if he knew Trubisky was going to be the pick, which may sound like a stretch but Glennon signed a deal that the Bears that offered the team an easy out after this season so he was going to have to play well to keep his job under any circumstances. If he does, he’ll get a shot in Chicago or somewhere else and that’s more than enough reason to keep focus on himself rather than the rookie waiting in the wings.
Panthers tackle Michael Oher wasn’t with his teammates Tuesday, but he’s expecting to be there soon, and to play this season.
While Oher didn’t report for the start of the Panthers Organized Team Activities Tuesday amid reports he’s not in the best of shape, in addition to coming off a concussion which kept him out of all but three games last season.
According to David Newton of ESPN.com, Oher plans to show up for a mandatory minicamp in mid-June, and also plans to play this year if he’s cleared through the concussion protocol.
Oher’s still working out, and team officials have praised his comeback efforts.
But they’re also planning for life without him, in case he doesn’t.
After a blowout loss to the Patriots late last season, Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson said then-teammate Brandon Marshall should be “embarrassed” in comments that were related to words Marshall had for his teammates at halftime of the game.
It wasn’t the first time that Richardson and Marshall locked horns during a dismal season on and off the field for the Jets. It appears Marshall’s departure this offseason hasn’t led Richardson to let sleeping dogs lie.
Richardson spoke to reporters after the start of Organized Team Activities and made a pointed reference to the Jets’ former No. 15 when discussing why the locker room is a better place this year.
“Let’s just say there are 15 reasons why it’s better,” Richardson said, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.
The locker room may be a more pleasant place for Richardson these days, but there’s only so much impact that will have on the season to come. Marshall’s play was a leading reason why the Jets won 10 games in 2015 and Richardson’s would have a hard time convincing people that his poor play last season can be written off because he didn’t get along with one of his teammates.
The football world received some sad news from Florida on Tuesday.
The Orlando Police Department announced that Pro Football Hall of Famer Cortez Kennedy has died at the age of 48. A cause of death has not been announced, but a member of the Orlando Police Department told the Blytheville Courier News in Arkansas, Kennedy’s home state, that there is nothing suspicious at this point.
“We can confirm his passing and at this time there is nothing suspicious to report but we are conducting an investigation regarding his unattended passing,” Sgt. Wanda Miglio said.
Kennedy went to the Seahawks with the third pick of the 1990 NFL Draft after completing a stellar career at the University of Miami and made his first Pro Bowl the next year. Kennedy would go on to be named first-team All-Pro three times, win the defensive player of the year award in 1992 and take a spot on the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1990s. He retired after the 2000 season and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012.
Our condolences go out to Kennedy’s family and friends on their loss.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has officially informed players that the league is backing off its heavy-handed approach to penalizing celebrations.
In a letter to players, Goodell wrote that previously penalized celebrations, including making snow angels, using the ball as a prop and engaging in group demonstrations, will now be legal.
“Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: we are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays,” Goodell wrote. “We know that you love the spontaneous displays of emotion that come after a spectacular touchdown. And players have told us they want more freedom to be able to express themselves and celebrate their athletic achievements.”
The league will still penalize some celebrations, including “offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and those directed at an opponent.”
That’s just common sense. Last year the league went way too far in policing celebrations. This year players will be encouraged to have a little fun.
The Bills may not be done tweaking their wide receiver corps.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team is visiting with Rod Streater on Tuesday. The visit comes with Sammy Watkins continuing to rehab from foot surgery and a week after the team announced second-round pick Zay Jones is dealing with a knee injury.
Streater spent last season with the 49ers and saw action in all 16 games after playing in just four games for the Raiders over the previous two seasons. He had 18 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns for the Niners.
Those numbers aren’t anything that will bowl anyone over, but the Bills aren’t overloaded with strong options at receiver at the moment. Philly Brown, Andre Holmes, Walter Powell and Jeremy Butler make up the rungs on the depth chart below Watkins and Jones.
NFL owners did not take PFT’s generously offered advice.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, owners voted to shorten overtime from 15 minutes to 10.
The effort was presented as a player safety issue, as an extra five minutes of football after 70 can generally be considered to be too much.
If last year had been played under such rules, the playoffs would have looked different, as Tampa Bay’s late loss to the Raiders would have ended in a tie, and would have put the Bucs in the postseason instead of the Lions.
Three other games were won in the final five minutes of overtime, with the Steelers beating the Browns, the Dolphins beating the Bills, and the Chiefs overcoming the Broncos.
The Cowboys dealt with suspensions for a pair of defensive ends at the start of last season and another member of the position group may be in that position this year.
Mike Fisher of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas reports that Irving is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Fisher adds that Irving is expected to appeal a suspension that Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports was triggered by the use of a supplement made by a company that signed him to a marketing deal.
Irving joined the Cowboys in 2015 after breaking into the NFL with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent. He played 12 games for the team that year and played 15 games last year, including a Week Six win over the Packers that saw Irving force three fumbles. He had four sacks and four forced fumbles overall on the year.
Teams hit by injuries (which would be all of them) now have a little more flexibility.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, owners approved a measure which would add a second player per team to return from injured reserve.
The designated-for-return device gives teams options for guys who could miss a few months, but not the entire year.
And now, they’ll be able to double their use of it. Last year, for instance, the Cardinals had to decide whether to bring back safety Tyvon Branch or running back Chris Johnson after both went on IR the same day with hernias, ultimately bringing Branch back and shelving Johnson for the rest of the season.
Now, teams won’t have to choose.
The stakes won’t be the same as the two times they met in the Super Bowl, but Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick will have their teams on the same field again this summer.
Discussions about joint practices leading up to the preseason game between the Jaguars and Patriots on August 10 have resulted in an agreement. The two teams will practice together on August 7 and 8 in Foxborough before facing off at Gillette Stadium.
“Having the opportunity to practice with the defending world champions to begin our preseason schedule will be beneficial for our football team,” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “We appreciate Coach Belichick extending the invitation to our organization.”
The Jaguars announced that both practices will be open to the public. The Patriots have also talked to the Texans about joint practices, but nothing has been made official at this point.
There are about to be more bodies available for those all-important fourth preseason games.
According to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com, owners have just voted to abolish the roster cuts to 75.
Those cuts, a step between the 90-man offseason roster and the 53-man regular season roster, came between the third and fourth exhibition games.
And since most teams won’t use starters in the final tune-up, that left a handful of players to play the majority of the most meaningless of the meaningless games. That gives the guys on the fringe one more game of tape to show prospective employers.
It will also make the week before the start of the regular season rather more chaotic.
Now, 1,184 players will enter the workforce at the same moment, creating a land rush for waiver claims and practice squad signings in the days leading up to the opener.
The rules of the franchise tag create a strong disincentive against using it for a third time. It may not be enough to keep Washington from doing that in order to hold quarterback Kirk Cousins in place.
Vis CSNMidAtlantic.com, team president Bruce Allen acknowledged on Monday that Cousins could end up being on the wrong end of the franchise tag for three straight years: 2016, 2017, and 2018.
“In the Collective Bargaining Agreement, we really have one year and an option that we can do at the end of next season if we don’t get a contract,” Allen said.
There are two problems with this approach. First, the CBA guarantees Cousins a 44-percent raise over his 2017 salary of $23.94 million. That’s $34.47 million. Which is way too much for Cousins to count against the salary cap for a single season.
Second, the comment from Allen will make it even harder to get a long-term deal done before the looming July 15 deadline. It’s currently believed that the Cousins camp calculates his long-term deal based on the player making $23.94 million in 2017 and getting only a 20-percent raise under the transition tag in 2018 (i.e., $28.72 million). That’s $52.66 million fully guaranteed at signing, over the first two years. With Allen treating the franchise tag as a real possibility, that changes the value of the long-term deal to $58.41 million fully guaranteed at signing over the first two years.
The difference may not matter, given that Washington doesn’t seem to be inclined to offer even the lower amount. So it’s likely that Cousins will, for the second straight year, operate on a one-year deal.
A third franchise tag, while highly unlikely, isn’t an impossibility. If Cousins plays well and Washington goes deep into the postseason, Washington may have no choice but to pay the $34.47 million for one more year with Cousins.
Regardless, Cousins can’t lose. He will have made nearly $44 million over two years, and he’ll get $34.47 million or $28.78 million for 2018, or a long-term deal from Washington or someone else.
Washington lost two years ago, by not putting good-but-not-great money on the table in 2015, while Cousins still carried injury risk under his rookie deal and had never gotten a big-money contract. They could have had him for considerably less than $43.89 million over two years — and definitely a lot less than $72.67 million or $78.36 million over three years.
They’re now locked in to the former, and they may eventually pay out at much as $78.36 million over three years, an average of $26.12 million per year.
They didn’t pick up Pryor’s fifth-year option, but coach Todd Bowles said that there was a place for Pryor in packages that feature three safeties on the field at the same time. Bowles also said that if Pryor is afraid of competing for playing time, he didn’t “need to be here.”
Pryor may have taken that to heart. According to multiple reports from the Jets’ beat, Pryor is not at the start of the team’s Organized Team Activities on Tuesday.
If the Jets are going to cut Pryor, he’d probably prefer it happen sooner rather than later so he has more time to spend with a new team before the start of the regular season. That may account for his approach to OTAs, but there’s not much pressure for the Jets to make that call at this point and Pryor extending his absence through mandatory minicamp next month would put him at risk of fines.
NFL owners tabled a vote on relaxing celebration penalties during their March meeting, in part because they were listening to feedback from players.
It appears at least one person is listening.
According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to propose a major loosening of the celebration rules, which would allow using the ball as a prop, group celebrations, and going to the ground along with making snow angels.
Certain acts, such as those mimicking weapons, offensive gestures and sexually suggestive dances are still expected to be banned.
While there’s no word as to whether there’s a pump limit standard for those suggestive dances, it’s obvious that meetings with players has caused the league to change its stance.
Now the interesting part will be whether owners — a group which skews rather older than players — are willing to go along.
Either way, there’s a clear recognition that the perception of the “No Fun League” wasn’t popular among the workforce. And if that means fewer flags, it will likely prove popular with the paying customers as well.