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Stevie Brown signs tender to remain with Giants

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As a restricted free agent, Stevie Brown had the opportunity to seek offers from other teams that would be interested in his services. Brown had until April 19 to sign an offer sheet with another team. Instead, Brown decided he wanted to return to the New York Giants and signed his restricted free agent tender on Tuesday.

Brown tweeted a picture of himself signing the deal with a message to Giants fans as well.

Brown was given a second-round tender by the Giants that will pay him $2.02 million this season. If another team had signed Brown to an offer sheet, the Giants would have had the opportunity to match the deal. If they chose not to, they would have received a second round pick from the team in compensation.

Brown appeared in all 16 games, with 11 starts, for New York last season. Brown racked up 76 tackles, two forced fumbles and eight interceptions for the Giants last season. His eight picks were tied with Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks for second most in the league with only Tim Jennings of the Chicago Bears having more with nine.

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Hue Jackson: Browns haven’t discussed Colin Kaepernick

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The Brows are searching for their franchise quarterback, but that search has not included Colin Kaepernick.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said today that the Browns haven’t discussed signing Kaepernick, although he didn’t rule it out in the future.

“We haven’t really discussed Colin,” Jackson said. “There’s other players at this point that we’ve had a lot of conversations about to see if we can put them on our team. Not saying it won’t come up later on. You have to exhaust everything. But at this point he hasn’t come up.”

Jackson said that in 2011, when he was head coach of the Raiders, he would have liked to have drafted Kaepernick, who went to the 49ers in the second round that year.

“Yes, I did. When I was in Oakland I did, no question,” Jackson said when asked if he liked Kaepernick coming out of college. “And I’m not saying I don’t now. I just think the situation we’re in right now, the players we’ve evaluated thus far to this point, those are the guys we’re going to spend our time with first. If that doesn’t fall right, there’s still other players.”

That’s not exactly shutting the door on Kaepernick, but it sure doesn’t sound like the Browns are particularly interested, either.

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Chris Long signs with Eagles

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After winning the Super Bowl with the Patriots, defensive end Chris Long said that he wouldn’t be returning to New England for a second season.

Long cited a desire to play a more prominent role on defense than he did down the stretch for the Patriots as the reason for moving on and we now know where he’ll be vying for that kind of playing time. Mike Garafolo of NFL Media reports that Long has agreed to a contract with the Eagles.

Long will likely take on a fair number of the snaps that Connor Barwin played at defensive end last season. Barwin was released earlier this offseason and wound up signing with the Rams, who once employed Long although their defensive scheme has changed and will allow Barwin to move back to outside linebacker.

Long had 35 tackles and four sacks for the Patriots in the regular season last year.

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Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota out of boot, expects to be ready for camp

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Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota is out of the walking boot, and planning on being 100 percent by the time training camp starts.

Mariota told KHON2 in Hawaii that going home to work on his rehab (as well as doing part of the work in Oregon) has been beneficial to him as he recovers from last year’s broken leg.

“The opportunity to come home, to relax, to see family, to hang out with friends, to enjoy some of the sun and the beach, it really rejuvenates me,” Mariota said, via the Tennessean. “It gives me an opportunity to get healthy mentally along with getting healthy physically. With all the eyes and ears that I’ve kind of had around me, this process has been really good and I’m in a good spot.”

Mariota said his recovery from the Dec. 24 injury was a bit ahead of schedule, and that he’s been running on the beach.

He said he planned to return to Tennessee in late May, at which point he’ll decide if he’ll be able to take part in any of the OTAs.

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It’s time to fix the overtime rule (and not by chopping it to 10 minutes)

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As the league’s owners gather in Arizona to consider potential rule changes, one proposal that will soon be on the table would reduce overtime in the regular season for 15 minutes to 10.

Here’s some free advice for the owners (money-back guarantee): Don’t do it.

It definitely will result in more ties, and that’s the last thing fans want. Yes, it’s important to reduce the total number of snaps, and a 10-minute overtime would do that. But an uptick in ties will be good for no one.

Fans (and coaches and players) want resolution. Investing more than 3.5 hours and ending up with an 0-0-1 on the regular-season record of two teams won’t provide it.

So here’s the proposal that the owners should adopt, in a nutshell: A two-point conversion contest.

One offense and defense goes to one end of the field, and the other offense and defense go to the other end of the field. A two-point conversion attempt occurs at each end of the field, three times per team, with either two points or zero points being scored. To keep things moving along, the snaps occur 25 seconds apart. (The officiating crew would be split, with four on one end of the field and four on the other end.)

If the game is tied after each team has three chances to score, the teams go back and forth, one chance each, until there’s no tie after both teams have had their chance to score.

It would be exciting, frenetic, compelling, and it would involve as few as six extra snaps. And we’ve yet to hear a good argument against it.

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Report: Jason Witten agrees to four-year extension with Cowboys

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In February, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said he wasn’t sure how much longer he wanted to continue playing and that he thought the best approach was to “just go into it and look at it one year at a time.”

Witten’s view appears to have changed pretty dramatically over the last few weeks. Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports that Witten has agreed to a four-year extension with the Cowboys that will keep him under contract through the 2021 season.

The desire for the Cowboys to have Witten on hand beyond 2017 comes as little surprise given how much he’s meant to the team’s offense. The length of the deal for a player who turns 35 in May does more to raise the eyebrows, although the details of the pact will be enlightening as to its impact on the team’s overall salary cap picture.

In the short term, it will likely lower Witten’s 2017 cap hit from the current $12.262 million, giving them a bit more to spend elsewhere as they build for the coming season.

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NFL says Raiders vote not a message to Buffalo about stadium

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Last June, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that the Bills “have to stay up with” other teams in the league in terms of their stadium in what seemed like a suggestion that it was time for the team to move forward with a push for a stadium to replace New Era Field.

Giants co-owner John Mara sent similar vibes earlier in 2016 when he said the Bills would need a new stadium to keep pace financially with others in the league. It didn’t take much to remember both sets of comments as 31 of the league’s owners (including Terry and Kim Pegula) voted to approve the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. That adds up to three teams moving in a relatively short span of time after failing to secure new stadiums, but NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman said there was no message for Buffalo to take away from the vote, however.

“This certainly is not intended to send any message and I don’t believe anyone should take any message in it,” Grubman said. “Buffalo’s fans are legendary and ranked right up there with the greatest fans in the NFL. Ownership there is evaluating their options and those options are very long-term in nature. I don’t want to speak for them, but I think you can see, by virtue of the fact that they’re not waiting and have done work on the stadium already, that they care about their fans and they care about Buffalo.”

Direct message or not, the stadium issue has been on the table in Buffalo for several years now and the team is going to step up the push for a new building sooner or later. Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News quotes a league source that says the Pegulas “want the team to have some success” before putting out their palms for public money, but the team’s current lease is up in 2022 so the conversation is coming.

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Jim Irsay: “Wrong to assume” it is win or else for Chuck Pagano

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The Colts made a change at General Manager after the 2016 season by dispatching Ryan Grigson and bringing in Chris Ballard to run the personnel side of things in his place.

Coach Chuck Pagano remains in his job, but Ballard’s arrival and two straight years out of the playoffs would seem to put him in the crosshairs should the team decide to make another change heading into the 2018 season. During a media session at the owners meetings in Arizona on Monday, Colts owner Jim Irsay said that any decision on that front won’t be based solely on the team’s record.

Irsay talked about the need to build around young players who will be with the team for several years and broached the possibility of trading down in the draft to stockpile picks, both of which could be seen as signs of a patient approach in Indianapolis. His comments about Pagano send the same message.

“I think it is wrong to assume, particularly coming from me, the owner, that, ‘Hey, Chuck, you better win or else. … This year, you’ve got to get it done,'” Irsay said, via the Indianapolis Star. “Honestly, I think it’s really about seeing how we are getting the best players on the field and really doing the type of smart things that really make you sit back and say, ‘Hey, I don’t know if Chuck would have done that three or four years ago. I see growth there.'”

Improvement in terms of the team’s record is black and white, but the progress that Irsay is talking about can be a bit harder to quantify. That’s especially true if the focus on developing younger players coincides with a downturn in the standings that upsets a fanbase that likely expected to be in a different place at this stage of quarterback Andrew Luck’s career.

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Tuesday morning one-liners

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Making a case for the Bills drafting Pittsburgh QB Nathan Peterman.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has been a big donor to the University of Michigan and would love to see the team draft some players from Ann Arbor.

The addition of WR Brandin Cooks and CB Stephon Gilmore excites Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of UCLA basketball star Lonzo Ball, went to camp trying to make the Jets a couple of times in the 1990s.

The Ravens may be done adding free agents until after the draft.

Would the Bengals take a wide receiver with the ninth pick in the draft?

Browns owner Jimmy Haslam termed the team’s offer to WR Terrelle Pryor before he left an “extremely fair” one.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin identified the team’s defensive needs as cornerback and outside linebacker.

It seemed obvious, but Texans owner Bob McNair confirmed the team will look to add a quarterback to the roster.

The Colts’ work to upgrade their pass rush got some positive recognition.

Will this year’s free agency haul work out better for the Jaguars on the field than past ones?

The path of Titans QB Marcus Mariota’s recovery from a broken leg continues to be a positive one.

Broncos S Justin Simmons made a huge play last year by jumping the line on an extra point attempt and isn’t in favor of losing the option to do it again.

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said it was a sad day when the team released RB Jamaal Charles.

A range of reactions to the news that the Raiders are going to Las Vegas.

The Chargers announced the dates for their offseason work.

LB Jaylon Smith’s return to the field is something the Cowboys still hope to see.

Giants WR Brandon Marshall will join QB Eli Manning at Duke for workouts in early April.

Should the Eagles trade WR Jordan Matthews?

Will coach Jay Gruden have a bigger role in Redskins personnel decisions?

Bears G.M. Ryan Pace meets the media on Tuesday.

The Lions expect to have contract talks with DE Ziggy Ansah.

Said Packers G.M. Ted Thompson of TE Martellus Bennett, “We like what he brings to the equation. He seems to be excited about being there, so we’re happy to have him.”

A list of prospects who have met with the Vikings leading up to the draft.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn is still working on getting past the Super Bowl loss.

Have the Panthers improved the most in the NFC South this offseason?

Former Saints RB Deuce McAllister is consulting with a high school athletic department.

Buccaneers G.M. Jason Licht said he doesn’t think he’ll ever be risk averse in the draft.

Will the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas impact the Cardinals?

Rams COO Kevin Demoff is full of optimism about the team’s second year in Los Angeles.

RB DuJuan Harris became the second player to re-sign with the 49ers after hitting free agency.

Trevone Boykin’s arrest could lead to a change at backup quarterback for the Seahawks.

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Bills bring in former ESPN exec to work on public image

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After the Bills fired Rex Ryan and benched quarterback Tyrod Taylor late last season, General Manager Doug Whaley held a press conference that left many feeling the franchise was being run in a dysfunctional manner.

Owner Terry Pegula took issue with that characterization at the time and it appears that the team is taking further steps to make sure that future dealings with the public don’t leave that impression.

Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports that the team has hired Gerry Matalon as a consultant to work with members of the organization. Matalon was a longtime talent executive at ESPN who worked on developing on-air personalities and will be meeting with Bills executives at the league meetings in Arizona this week.

He will work with coach Sean McDermott and his role “might also expand” to advising Whaley, although recent reports have pegged Whaley’s job security as tenuous. The team has also hired a new head of communications this offseason, so they seem equipped to put up a better front should those reports foreshadow Whaley’s departure in the near future.

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Texans will talk to Bill O’Brien about an extension next offseason

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Bill O’Brien has kept the Texans competitive without what you’d call a stable quarterback situation, or a quarterback, for the last three years.

But if he wants a new contract, he’s going to have to wait.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, Texans owner Bob McNair said he’d talk to O’Brien about an extension after this season, which will be the fourth of the five-year deal he signed when he took over the team.

“We’ll talk to him about it at the end of this year,” McNair said. “That’s typically when we do that sort of thing. . . .

“We’ll sit down and see what he’s [O’Brien] happy with and if he wants to be extended and see how we feel.”

Whether he wants to is a reasonable question, after reports that he might have been on his way out last year. But O’Brien did the best he could to quell the speculation then.

The reality is, if he’s not in Houston, he’d be somewhere else soon. He’s 27-21, posted winning records each of his three seasons, and done so with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, and Brock Osweiler as his quarterbacks.

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John Mara on Odell Beckham: He’s the last guy I’m worried about

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In the aftermath of the final game of the Giants’ season, wide receiver Odell Beckham punched a hole in a Lambeau Field wall in an expression of the emotions he was feeling after his team was blown out by the Packers.

That led a variety of people from the team, including General Manager Jerry Reese, to say that it was time for Beckham to grow up after a couple of years filled with emotional outbursts that sometimes detracted from Beckham’s production on the field. On Monday, co-owner John Mara took a different track.

He joked that he offered the Packers $100 to fix the hole in the wall and said that Beckham is “the last guy on our team that I’m worried about.”

“He’s an emotional player,” Mara said, via NJ.com. “I think he’s going to mature over time, but I’m not losing any sleep worrying about him. He’s a prideful, motivated young man who competes at 100 percent all the time. I think he’ll mature over time.”

Beckham is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which means he’s eligible for both an extension and a fifth-year team option. Picking up the latter seems inevitable, but Mara said no talks have taken place about a longer deal.

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NFL stadiums have received an estimated $6.7 billion from taxpayers

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With Nevada kicking in $750 million to build the Raiders a new stadium, NFL teams have now received nearly $7 billion in tax money to build stadiums over the last two decades.

According to an analysis from ESPN, the total price tag to taxpayers for building new stadiums and renovating old ones has been $6.7 billion since 1997. That includes 19 new stadiums and three major renovation projects.

Not every team has received public money. The stadium the Jets and Giants share in New Jersey was financed privately, and the stadium the Rams and Chargers will share in Los Angeles is being financed privately as well.

The NFL still makes most of its money from its television contracts. But there may not be enough attention paid to how much money the NFL makes from state and local leaders who are eager to attract teams or keep teams in place, and willing to pay a lot of taxpayer money on stadiums.

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Lions G.M. on Matthew Stafford extension: We’re working on it

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Lions G.M. Bob Quinn says he has his franchise quarterback in place, and now wants to keep him in place for years to come.

Quinn said on PFT Live that Matthew Stafford, who has one year and a $16.5 million salary left on his current contract, is due for an extension.

“We’ve begun a few discussions with his representatives. These things take time. These things don’t usually happen early in April or May, but we’re working towards that,” Quinn said.

Quinn indicated that he has no doubts that Stafford is the right man to lead the Lions for years to come.

“I have a great deal of respect for Matt,” Quinn said. “I think he’s a very good quarterback that has all the leadership and off the field traits that we look for in the quarterback position, and his on-field ability I think is well-documented. His arm strength, his mobility, which he used more of this year. I think he has all those things and we need to do a better job and I need to do a better of putting more pieces around him so we have a better team around him so he doesn’t have to carry the entire load.”

The 29-year-old Stafford probably has several more good years left in him. Quinn wants those years to be in Detroit.

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Thomas Dimitroff would like both teams to get a chance in overtime

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Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff lost the Super Bowl in overtime last month, so it’s understandable if he’s a little sore about sudden death.

Dimitroff said on PFT Live that he’d like to see the NFL explore an overtime format that guarantees each team a possession, as opposed to the current format, which allows a team to win the coin toss, receive the opening kickoff and win the game with a touchdown without the other team ever possessing the ball.

“I would like to have a chance, of course, but that’s not where we are right now and I’m a big league guy so I’m supportive of where we are right now,” Dimitroff said. “Personally I’d like us to continue to discuss that. I understand coin flips. I understand when Tom Brady flipped the coin — when it flipped in his favor in the middle of the field, there’s a guy who’s incredibly special when the game’s on the line, so that’s a difficult situation. . . . We would like to have an opportunity.”

The only overtime proposal the NFL is considering at this week’s league meeting is one that would shorten overtime in the preseason and regular season to 10 minutes. But the league is constantly talking about ways to improve overtime, and it wouldn’t be surprising if another change comes at some point, one that would get rid of the sudden death format. Too late for the Falcons.

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Report: Kaepernick wants a chance to start, and $9-10 million

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Is Colin Kaepernick still unemployed because his asking price is too high?

That’s the suggestion in a report from Dan Graziano of ESPN, who cites multiple sources as saying that Kaepernick won’t settle for just any job.

According to the report, Kaepernick wants to go to a place that will give him a chance to start, and pay him a salary in the range of $9 million to $10 million a year. That would mean he expects a better deal than the ones free agent quarterbacks Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer got this month.

That would also mean some teams that could make sense for Kaepernick as a backup, like the Seahawks and Panthers, wouldn’t be attractive to Kaepernick because he wouldn’t have a chance to start.

Realistically, there aren’t many places where Kaepernick would get a chance to start. So if he’s limiting himself to those places, there are few options available to him.

One person we haven’t heard from is Kaepernick himself. Although he is active on social media, he rarely tweets about football and has not said anything about how much money he wants or what kind of opportunity he’s seeking. If he’s willing to be a backup and play for backup money, saying so publicly might help him get such an offer. If he’s not willing to be a backup and play for backup money, he may remain unemployed for a while.

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