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Boldin’s chances of staying in Baltimore at 50-50

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The situation surrounding the future of Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin has gone from awkward to strange.

After Alex Marvez of reported that Boldin was facing a Tuesday deadline to take a pay cut or take a hike and Jarrett Bell of USA Today reported that Boldin had rejected the team’s offer and is preparing to go elsewhere, Boldin himself told Adam Schefter of ESPN that Boldin was aware of no effort to restructure his contract.

We’ve confirmed that discussions have indeed occurred, regardless of whether Boldin knew or didn’t know about the communication.  Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Boldin’s chances of staying with the Ravens currently are parked at 50-50.

There’s a suspicion that Boldin’s agent is trying to get Boldin cut, which suggests that the agent may be aware of another team that is willing to pay Boldin more than the $6 million he’s due to earn in 2013.

In the end, Boldin’s status in Baltimore may turn on the question of whether the Ravens are willing to bite the bullet and pay Boldin $6 million this season.  And whether Boldin, once he’s informed of the team’s final offer, is truly willing to walk away from the Ravens in lieu of taking less money.

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Aaron Rodgers hopes Packers aren’t in Hall of Fame Game next year

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Unless the Hall of Fame voters have a collective case of amnesia when it comes time to cast ballots for next year’s class, Brett Favre is going to be among those elected to take their place in Canton.

Given the recent trend of pitting teams with connections to inductees against each other in the Hall of Fame Game, that makes the Packers a good bet to open up the preseason schedule in 2016. Their quarterback would prefer that two other teams get the nod, however.

“We hope we don’t get it,” Aaron Rodgers said, via Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. “But we know it’s going to be tough because No. 4 is going to be going in.”

Rodgers hasn’t been shy about sharing his disdain for summer football. He lamented the loss of Jordy Nelson to a torn ACL in a “meaningless” game last month and told Marvez that he doesn’t think they are a particularly good way of preparing a team for the regular season.

“There are a lot of things that need to get looked at. The number of games is obviously one of them,” Rodgers said. “I don’t think we need four. Two teams have to play five. That’s tough on everybody. Obviously, it’s important for young players to show what they can do. But a lot of times there’s agreements between coaches to maybe not pressure the [quarterback] during a game or do a certain type of coverage, or there are agreements within organizations in game plans that you’re not going to show different plays. How much of a real game are you really simulating? I’d say a lot less than people think.”

Rodgers makes some valid points about the shortcomings of preseason football as have many others, but there doesn’t seem to be much chance of a change as long as NFL owners are collecting money for the tickets, parking and concessions sold at those games. If the Packers are selected, at least Rodgers can take some solace in the fact that he’s about as likely to play in next year’s Hall of Fame Game as he would be if two other teams were selected for the contest.

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Giants sign kicker with Josh Brown hurting

Josh Brown AP

The Giants did better than meet the 75-man roster limit on Tuesday when they went down to 74 players ahead of the deadline.

They’re back up to 75 on Wednesday after re-signing kicker Chris Boswell. Boswell spent time with the team this summer and played in their first preseason game before being released on August 16.

Boswell’s return isn’t tied to dissatisfaction with Josh Brown’s work. It’s about Brown’s health as the veteran suffered a leg injury against the Jaguars in the Giants’ second preseason outing. Brown went on to kick against the Jets last Saturday, which suggests that the injury isn’t a great concern and that Boswell’s stay with the Giants will be limited to their preseason closer against the Patriots on Thursday night.

Boswell didn’t try a field goal or an extra point for the Giants in their game against the Bengals and made two field goals for the Texans during the 2014 preseason.

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Eddie DeBartolo Jr. to be contributor candidate for Hall of Fame vote

DeBartolo AP

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s new contributor category saw both longtime personnel men Ron Wolf and Bill Polian rubber-stamped for induction last year.

The next candidate in that pipeline might face a tougher road.

The Hall announced that the subcommittee of Hall of Fame selectors has forwarded former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. as this year’s contributor candidate. To be inducted, he’d have to receive 80 percent of the votes in a  simple yes-no ballot.

DeBartolo Jr. was a finalist in 2012, 2013 and 2014, but was eliminated from consideration each year during the vote from 15 to 10.

While his success as the owner of the 49ers during their heyday in the 1980s and 1990s is unquestioned (winning five Super Bowls takes care of that), there are also questions about his resume.

After he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of failing to report an extortion attempt during his attempt to acquire a riverboat gambling license in Louisiana, he was suspended for a year by then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue. He never regained control of the team.

DeBartolo has been a regular in Canton, however. When he presented Charles Haley last month, it was the fifth time he took the stage to introduce a Hall of Famer.

The day before next year’s Super Bowl, he’ll find out if he ever gets to join them.

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Seahawks need to find face-saving solution to Chancellor holdout

NFC Championship - Green Bay Packers v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

The importance of safety Kam Chancellor to the Seahawks can’t be disputed. If there was any doubt following the comments of former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson on NFL Network, that doubt should be fully erased given the comments of receiver Doug Baldwin to regarding Chancellor’s role in helping the team get past the loss in Super Bowl XLIX.

Kam was pivotal,” Baldwin said. “He’s like the godfather of the locker room. Any problems, any issues, you go to him.”

So why can’t the Seahawks and Chancellor find a way to settle their differences and get Kam back in the fold? Currently, the two sides remain to be dug in, with no apparent middle ground.

The two sides need to find a way to save face. And it shouldn’t be that hard.

On Tuesday, the Steelers made receiver Antonio Brown happy by simply taking $2 million he was going to make in 2016 and sliding it to 2015.  The Seahawks did a similar thing last year with running back Marshawn Lynch. Why not do something like that with Chancellor?

Chancellor is due to make $4.55 million this year, $5.1 million in 2016, and $6.8 million in 2017. So take $1 million from next year and $1 million from 2017 and move it to 2015.

Alternatively, the Seahawks could give Chancellor more guaranteed money in 2016 and/or 2017, since those seems to be the seasons about which he’s more concerned than 2015.

At some point, the Seahawks have to quit reopening deals. But given Chancellor’s importance to the franchise, he doesn’t seem to be the best guy to start the process with.

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Pylon cameras coming to Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons

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In August, ESPN used pylon cameras in their broadcast of a preseason game between the Bills and Browns.

Unlike many of the players in that game, the cameras have made the cut for the regular season. CBS announced that they will be using the cameras on some of their broadcasts this year. In addition to their slate of Sunday games, CBS will televise nine Thursday night games in concert with NFL Network.

In the release about using the cameras, CBS says they may also be used during the playoffs and during Super Bowl 50 from Santa Clara.

While CBS touts the cameras as a way to give “NFL viewers the most field-level view of critical plays,” the application may go beyond a cool view of a player diving into the end zone. Those cameras could be used as part of the replay review process to determine whether a touchdown has been scored, assuming that no players are blocking the camera’s view and that they can also capture if a runner’s knees are down before the ball crosses into the end zone.

Those issues could limit the cameras’ effectiveness for reviews, but that’s hardly a reason not to see if they make the replay process better in addition to offering networks another angle to use for an entertaining broadcast. If they prove useful this year, it probably won’t be long before the pylon camera is a fixture on all NFL broadcasts.

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Panthers sign Derek Anderson to two-year extension

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Derek Anderson signing a two-year extension with the Carolina Panthers to continue as Cam Newton’s backup, as Anderson did Wednesday, shows the value a competent quarterback has in today’s NFL.

Even a backup quarterback. Even a quarterback with a 20-25 career record as a starter and 71.3 career quarterback rating.

Anderson is 2-0 starting with the Panthers. Both starts were last year, and both came when Cam Newton was injured. The Panthers won the NFC South by a half-game.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Anderson extension is worth $5 million. He’s due to make $1.5 million this season, the final season of his old deal.

Anderson, who’s entering his 11th season, has been with the Panthers since 2011 but did not make a start until last year. He threw three touchdowns and no interceptions in his two starts, both against Tampa Bay.

“Derek adds stability to the quarterback position as the backup, and we have tremendous confidence in him,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in a team statement. “His experience and veteran leadership has been important in the quarterbacks room and with the coaches. We’re securing a veteran player who has been a big part of what we’re building.”

As Newton’s backup, Anderson has both a really good job and one the Panthers see as important.

Anderson was drafted by the Ravens in 2005 and claimed by the Browns after the Ravens tried to stash him on the practice squad. He started the season as a backup in 2007 but went on to win 10 games with the Browns and make the Pro Bowl after throwing for 3,787 yards and 29 touchdowns.

He signed a big-money deal to return to the Browns as a restricted free agent in 2008, but he won just six of 16 starts over the next two seasons. He went 2-7 as Arizona’s starter in 2010 before signing with the Panthers.

“I’m excited about this (extension) for my family,” Anderson said. “To be here with the players, coaches and management we have, everything is top notch. It was a no-brainer for me.”

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Robert Griffin III pledges he’ll “be there” for his teammates

Robert Griffin III AP

They don’t necessarily want him starting at quarterback in Washington, but they still think Robert Griffin III is a swell guy.

During the team’s kickoff luncheon, Griffin was given the team’s military service award. That’s always been one of Griffin’s pet projects, given his Army family background. So it was nice of the team to recognize that.

According to John Keim of, Griffin received a standing ovation from fans and teammates.

“In the military the one thing you have is your word and I gave my word to my teammates and the military that I will be there for them,” Griffin said.

Somewhere, former coach Mike Shanahan is applauding a quality display of passive-aggressiveness, which may eclipse his own installing of Kirk Cousins as a top-10 quarterback, just to get a dig in at his former bosses and quarterback.

Nothing about the way Griffin’s demotion has been handled, from his does-he-or-doesn’t-he-have-a-concussion to the timing to Cousins being declared starter for the year screams buttoned-up-military-operation.

If anything, it sounds like the next phase of posturing, as the two sides try to figure out what to do with the other and how to make the best of a bad situation.

But, Griffin has done many nice things for our armed forces, and that’s nice, and was the point of the award.

We now return you to your normal weirdness there.

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Montee Ball hopes to show Broncos what he can do in final preseason game

Denver Broncos training camp at Dove Valley AP

When the Broncos drafted Montee Ball in the second round of the 2013 draft, the idea was to acquire a running back who would establish himself to the point that playing in the final preseason game of the summer wasn’t a necessary part of the program.

That’s not the case this year. Ball spent the offseason looking like the first guy off the bench behind C.J. Anderson, but his workload and playing time have gone down as the preseason played out. Ball had eight carries the first week and has eight in the two games since then, including last week’s game against the 49ers that saw Juwan Thompson get in the lineup ahead of him. Ronnie Hillman is also ahead of Ball in the pecking order, which Ball admitted caught him “off guard.”

He’s not giving up hope of convincing the Broncos to rethink the depth chart, however.

“It is tough because I feel like I really haven’t had the opportunities in these preseason games, but there’s still one more [preseason game] left and I feel like I’ll have some playing time in this one, and I’ll show them what I can do,” Ball said, via

One factor working against Ball is special teams work since the Broncos want their backup running backs to have a role in that phase of the game. Hillman and Thompson both do and Ball doesn’t, which could make for a tough decision this week in Denver about Ball’s future with the franchise.

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Bills concerned, LeSean McCoy confident for Week 1

LeSean McCoy AP

Bills running back LeSean McCoy has been sitting out the last two weeks with a hamstring injury, but the team has indicated that it’s confident McCoy will be good to go when the regular season starts.

And a league source tells PFT that McCoy himself is confident he’s going to be good to go for Week One.

However, Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the Bills now worry that McCoy won’t be able to go when they open the season on September 13 against the Colts. A source told Anderson that McCoy is “not even close” to full speed and has missed so much work that there’s “no way he can be in great football shape” when the season starts.

“I can’t say for sure he’s going to be with us Week One. I can’t say that at all,” the source said.

If the Bills are concerned about the status of McCoy for Week One, it makes the decision to cut running back Fred Jackson more surprising. The other running backs expected to make the Bills’ 53-player roster are Anthony Dixon, Bryce Brown and Karlos Williams, and they’d all be likely to share carries if McCoy is out.

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Report: Texans trade TE Khari Lee to the Bears

Max Bullough,Khari Lee AP

Tight end Khari Lee will need to brush up on his John Fox impersonation.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans have traded Lee, who got a spotlight on Hard Knocks thanks to his ability to mimic Texans coach Bill O’Brien, to the Bears. McClain reports that the compensation is a 2017 sixth-round pick.

That would be pretty good return for a player that the Texans signed as an undrafted free agent this summer and likely would have been cut on Saturday if not for the trade. Lee wasn’t picked after being named a D-II All-America in his final year at Bowie State and has caught five passes for 71 yards for the Texans in preseason action. The move leaves Houston with Garrett Graham, C.J. Fiedorowicz and Ryan Griffin at tight end.

Lee won’t have much time with the Bears before the start of the regular season, but it’s hard to imagine they would have spent a draft pick to acquire Lee without planning to keep him on the 53-man roster. Martellus Bennett will start at tight end for the Bears, who also have Dante Rosario, Zach Miller and Bear Pascoe as veteran options at the position.

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Randall Cobb on shoulder injury: “I don’t plan on missing a game”

Randall Cobb, Robert McClain, Cameron Gordon AP

When Randall Cobb landed on his right shoulder Saturday against the Eagles, he thought he had broken his collarbone.

So his relief was as tangible as the Packers’ when he found out it was merely a shoulder sprain.

I don’t plan on missing a game,” Cobb said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I’m doing everything in my power to get back before then, but we still don’t know severity. We’ve still got to get a lot of the swelling out. It definitely is a lot better then what we all thought it was in the beginning. . . .

“Obviously, it could’ve been a lot worse. For not being what we thought it could’ve been is definitely a blessing.”

With Jordy Nelson out for the year with a torn ACL, they need him at full strength this year. Cobb wasn’t practicing yesterday, and he won’t play in the preseason finale (such that he would have anyway). And he said that even if he doesn’t practice prior to the Sept. 13 opener against the Bears, he thinks he’ll be fine to play.

“I don’t think it really matters,” he said. “I’m going to go out and play football whenever I’m on the field. I didn’t practice much going into the Bears back in 2013, and I came back after 10 weeks [recovering from a broken fibula]. So I don’t think it really matters.”

While I’m sure his coaches will love the fact their carefully planned practices aren’t necessary, they can at least take comfort in the fact Cobb should be back in the lineup by the time the season starts.

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Seahawks settle on starting offensive line

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Seahawks traded center Max Unger to the Saints last spring, have had multiple players shift positions over the last three weeks and even have a new starter who used to be a defensive lineman. After all that, though, the Seahawks believe they have their offensive line.

“I think we’re kind of settled in as to where we are going,” offensive line coach and assistant head coach Tom Cable said Tuesday.

Those five are, from left to right, Russell Okung, Justin Britt, Drew Nowak, J.R. Sweezy and Garry Gilliam. Britt started all 16 games last year at right tackle but was moved inside after the first preseason game this year, at which point this line began to take shape.

“They’re just getting started,” Cable said.

Nowak is the wildcard. He’s never played on the offensive line during a real NFL game and was on the Seattle practice squad last year as part of his transition from college defensive lineman to center, a transition that started in 2012 with the Jaguars.

He looks terrific for how far he has come,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Nowak. “You really shouldn’t be able to learn [center] that fast, almost. It would be a surprise to most people.

“But he’s doing really well. So we just take it one step at a time, and he is fitting in. Surprised us some, but we felt like we needed a guy to jump up, and he did it.”

Nowak started camp behind Lemuel Jeanpierre at center. Gilliam was moved from backup left tackle to right tackle when Britt was moved to the guard and the spot that was last year held by James Carpenter, who went to the Jets in free agency.

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Report: Arthur Jones needs surgery on torn ankle ligaments

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The Colts defensive line looks like it will be missing a key player for a while.

Earlier this week, word was that defensive tackle Arthur Jones would be seeing an ankle specialist after having an MRI to determine what was wrong after he suffered an injury against the Rams. The word wasn’t what either Jones or the Colts hoped to hear.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Jones has torn ligaments in the ankle that will need to be surgically repaired. Rapoport adds that there may also be joint damage, which will be determined during the operation, and that the best case scenario for Jones this season may be a spot on injured reserve with the designation to return. Should there be joint damage as well, Jones could wind up missing the entire season.

Jones signed a five-year, $33 million contract with the Colts before last season, but missed seven games with a high ankle sprain that limited his contributions to the defense. The hope for this season was that he’d upgrade the team at the point of attack against both the run and the pass, but it seems they’ll have to look elsewhere for much or all of 2015 if they want better results up front.

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PFT Live: Cameron Wake, Marshall Faulk, PFT Planet calls and tweets

Cameron Wake AP

Defensive end Cameron Wake said recently that 2015 will “definitely” be the year that the Dolphins hop off the mediocrity treadmill they’ve occupied for the last three years and make the playoffs, something that’s right in line with the other optimism we’ve heard from Miami this offseason.

On Wednesday, we’ll find out more about why Wake feels that way when he joins Mike Florio as a guest on PFT Live. They’ll discuss what it’s like playing on the same defensive line with Ndamukong Suh, what Wake has seen from quarterback Ryan Tannehill in practice and more about the Dolphins as Week One draws closer and closer.

Marshall Faulk of NFL Network will also join the show to talk about a variety of stories from around the league. We’ll also see who the Hall of Famer thinks will be the standout teams and players in the 2015 season during his visit.

As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time 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 by clicking right here.

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Andrew Luck: Reggie Wayne isn’t a traitor

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When wide receiver Reggie Wayne signed with the Patriots recently, the reaction in Indianapolis was not popular.

Seeing the longtime Colts star sign with a team that has been a frequent playoff opponent and recent vanquisher of the home team lead fans and media members to wonder if Wayne was a traitor for joining up with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, Eisen asked Luck for his feelings on that topic.

“There’s a lot of things said and written about a lot of people, but Reggie will always be one of the great Colts in my mind and a great, great teammate,” Luck said. “You can’t control what people write. It doesn’t really matter what’s fair or not fair, necessarily, but I know Reg is no traitor to me at all.”

Luck’s right, of course. Colts fans may not like seeing Wayne in a Patriots uniform, but that doesn’t make him a traitor to the organization any more than the Colts were traitors to themselves for not making an offer that ensured Wayne would remain in Indianapolis. Both sides made business decisions about what they thought was best for them in 2015, just as the Colts, Texans and Andre Johnson made business decisions that left Johnson in a Colts uniform.

That won’t make it any easier to take should Wayne help the Patriots beat the Colts in October, but that outcome wouldn’t make it any less true either.

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