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Draft review: San Francisco 49ers

Eric Reid AP

After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The San Francisco 49ers.

What they needed: Safety, nose tackle, tight end, running back, cornerback.

Who they got:
Round 1: Eric Reid, S, LSU
Round 2: Cornelius Carradine, DE, Florida State; Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
Round 3: Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn
Round 4: Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech; Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
Round 5: Quinton Dial, DE, Alabama
Round 6: Nick Moody, OLB, Florida State
Round 7: B.J. Daniels, QB, South Florida; Carter Bykowski, T, Iowa State; Marcus Cooper, CB, Rutgers

Where they hit: The 49ers had one major pressing need to fill heading into the draft at the safety position and got the player they wanted with their first selection. San Francisco traded up to select LSU safety Eric Reid to replace the departed Dashon Goldson. A replacement for Delanie Walker was also a necessity and the 49ers traded up again (one spot in front of division rival Seattle) to select Rice right end Vance McDonald. Depth along the defensive line was also needed and the 49ers expended three of their 11 selections on the defensive front.

Where they missed: We felt the 49ers also needed to find a bigger body to replace Isaac Sopoaga at the nose tackle position. Lamar Divens is the only tackle on the roster with the size usually expected of a nose tackle in a 3-4 front. The selections of “Tank” Carradine and Corey Lemonier could give the 49ers flexibility to move others inside. Quinton Dial could get an opportunity there as well. San Francisco also could have chosen to add to the cornerback position earlier than the seventh round.

Impact rookies: Reid should be expected to start from day one alongside Donte Whitner. McDonald should work into the 49ers two tight end sets alongside Vernon Davis. Carradine and receiver Quinton Patton could get opportunities to contribute as well. With most players returning from a Super Bowl appearance last season, there won’t be many chances for the rookie class to find ways onto the field.

Long-term prospects: South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore was a selection with an eye to the future for San Francisco. Frank Gore turns 30 next month and running backs have a history of falling of a cliff when they reach that age. With Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon on the roster as well, the 49ers can stash Lattimore to allow him the time to fully recover from the horrific knee injury suffered last year. They don’t need him to be a factor this year but could be the long-term replacement for Gore. His talent is undeniable. Whether he can fully recover from a second major knee injury is the question.

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Rams extend Tavon Austin’s contract by four years

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 20:  Tavon Austin #11 (C) of the Los Angeles Rams runs out of the tunnel before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Rams don’t have many offensive weapons. One of the few they have will be sticking around for a while.

PFT has confirmed that receiver Tavon Austin, the eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft, has agreed to terms on a four-year extension.

It’s a four-year extension, worth $42 million. Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, Austin’s true guarantee if he’s on the roster next March will be $25 million.

He was due to make $2.14 million this year and $12.2 million next year, under the fifth-year first-round option. In all, it’s a six-year deal worth more than $56 million.

The deal also includes an incentive package that will pay Austin significantly more, if/when he generates the kind of numbers over the course of a full season that he has generated in flashes through his first three seasons.

Can he generate big numbers over the course of a full season? If running back Todd Gurley continues to improve and quarterback Jared Goff is the real deal, it will be easier for the Rams to get more out of Austin. At times last year, the offense consisted primarily of pushing the ball forward with Gurley and finding ways to get the ball in Austin’s hands in space with a collection of average-at-best quarterbacks.

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Connor Shaw suffers broken leg in preseason game

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Connor Shaw #9 of the Cleveland Browns thows a pass in the third quarter of a game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 28, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears backup quarterback Connor Shaw needs surgery after suffering a broken leg in Saturday’s preseason game vs. the Chiefs.

Bears Coach John Fox told reporters the team will know more about the extent of the injury after Shaw has surgery. He was injured when he was hit by Rakeem Nunez-Roches of the Chiefs while making a pass.

The Bears claimed Shaw via waivers earlier this summer — and had company in wanting to secure Shaw’s rights.

Shaw signed with the Browns as an undrafted rookie in 2014 and spent the season on the practice squad before being promoted to start the season finale. He spent last season on injured reserve.

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Terrance Knighton doesn’t play on Friday night

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 13:  Football player Terrance Knighton attends the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Maybe the Patriots will soon be leaking that they’ll be cutting Terrance Knighton, so that they can trade him.

The veteran defensive tackle didn’t play in Friday night’s preseason game against the Panthers. Knighton, who played last year in Washington, didn’t sound happy about the development.

I prepared myself to play,” Knighton said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. “I just didn’t play. I don’t know. You’ve got to ask the coaches. I’m 100 percent healthy. I prepared myself to play a lot of football tonight. It didn’t happen. It is what it is. I’m not asking why or anything. I’m just going to show up to work tomorrow and take it a day at a time.”

If Knighton’s name is included in the reduction of the roster from 90 to 75 (on Tuesday) and then to 53 (by next Saturday), he’ll leave with a $250,000 signing bonus and a workout bonus of more than $100,000. He also would be an unrestricted free agent, able to pick his next destination, if he’s cut.

A trade becomes possible because his salary is only $900,000, with a $300,000 incentive package.

“It’s disappointing because I’ve played a lot of ball in this league, seen a lot of things, but I’m not going to make too much of it,” Knighton said. “It is what it is. Whatever happens, happens. If I’m here, I’m here. If I’m not, I’m not. I’m just taking it a day at a time really.”

He’ll only need to take it another seven days or so before knowing his fate with the Patriots.

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Redskins announce roster cuts

TAMPA, FL - NOVEMBER 25: The helmet of a Washington Redskins player rests on the field during warm ups against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium on November 25, 2007 in Tampa, Florida.  The Bucs won 19-13. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Redskins made 10 roster cuts Saturday as they prepare for two mandatory roster cutdowns this week.

Waived by the team were offensive tackles Al Bond and Cody Booth; linebackers Shiro Davis and Ejiro Ederaine; cornerback Jeremy Harris; linebacker Willie Jefferson; running back Kelsey Young and wide receivers Valdez Showers, Dez Stewart and Jarvis Turner.

All were college free agents who had signed with the Redskins over the last two years.

All teams must trim their rosters to 75 by Aug. 30 and to the regular season size of 53 by next weekend.

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Saturday one-liners

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 18:  Cameron Wake #91 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates after sacking the quarterback during a game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on October 18, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Dolphins defeated the Titans 38-10.  (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

Dolphins DE Cameron Wake accepts his current role as a non-starting pass-rush specialist.

Bills TE Chris Gragg suffered a torn ACL on Friday night against Washington.

Patriots WR Julian Edelman was rusty in his preseason debut.

Jets WR Brandon Marshall says that rookie WR Robbie Anderson “has that wow factor.”

Ravens QB Joe Flacco will play on Saturday for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury in 2015; “I think the big thing about preseason is always getting back out there and getting oiled up and part of that is playing well,” Flacco said. “I think a big part of going into the first game of the season is confidence in what we have and how we’ve done in live games.”

Bengals WR Brandon Tate and WR Alex Erickson may be battling for the same roster spot.

Browns coach Hue Jackson let P Andy Lee hear it for giving a half-hearted effort to make a tackle on a punt return; “We’re out there to play,” Jackson said after the game. “If there’s another guy that has the ball, your job is to go get it.”

Steelers S Shamarko Thomas still talks to Troy Polamalu several times per week; “He is a bigger brother to me,” Thomas said. “A father figure. It is him guiding me and mentoring me. Any question I have he is there for me.”

Texans DL Christian Covington quit Pokemon Go cold turkey when training camp opened.

The decision to work out Stevan Ridley shows that the Colts aren’t thrilled with Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, and Josh Ferguson as the current backups to Frank Gore.

Jaguars DE Yannick Ngakoue is expected to get first-team reps on Sunday night, possibly splitting plays evenly with Dante Fowler.

The competition remains wide open for the No. 3 tailback spot behind DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.

Rookie fifth-rounder Connor McGovern may start Week One at right guard for the Broncos.

The Chiefs continue to discuss the possibility of selling the naming rights to Arrowhead Stadium.

The Raiders are anxious to see what undrafted rookie RB Jalen Richard can do in a preseason game.

Good news? Support for the Chargers stadium bill has increased nine points. Bad news? They’re still 27 points short of the mark.

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott is drawing comparisons to Donovan McNabb. (I guess that would make him Gak Prescott.)

Giants WR Victor Cruz broke out his old No. 3 practice jersey.

The Eagles have developed a package of plays to take advantage of WR Dorial Green-Beckham’s size and ability to jump.

Washington LB Ryan Kerrigan will have an MRI on his injured groin; he has never missed a regular-season game in his career.

The injury to Bears G Kyle Long’s shoulder forced more shuffling of the team’s offensive line.

Packers WR Davante Adams dropped what would have been a long gain on Friday night.

Vikings LB Chad Greenway likes the playing surface at the team’s new stadium.

Falcons CB Desmond Trufant is the brightest spot on the team’s defense, and he keeps pushing to get better.

The Panthers have a fairly long list of banged-up players.

Saints TE Michael Hoomanawanui suffered a lower leg injury against Pittsburgh on Friday.

Lost in the redemption of this year’s second-round pick of the Buccaneers is the fact that last year’s first-round pick keeps getting better and better.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians likes having the team’s training camp at its stadium.

Rams QB Case Keenum has yet to notice any fans at training camp wearing his jersey number.

Anthony Davis played guard for the 49ers on Friday night.

Rookie Tanner McEvoy keeps doing good things for the Seahawks.

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49ers trade cornerback Acker to Chiefs

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Kenneth Acker #20 of the San Francisco 49ers ties to tackle running back Duke Johnson #29 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 13, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns defeated the 49ers 24-10. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 49ers have traded cornerback Kenneth Acker to the Chiefs in exchange for a future draft pick.

The 49ers’ release on the trade noted that Acker must pass a physical before the trade is finalized. ESPN reported that the pick sent to Kansas City was a seventh-round pick in 2018.

Acker was a sixth-round pick of the 49ers in 2014 and started 13 games last season. He spent his entire rookie season on injured reserve.

Acker played in 15 games last season and had three interceptions.

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Dolphins cut 11

Minnesota Vikings v Houston Texans Getty Images

The Dolphins have cut 11 players as they move toward the 75-man roster limit.

The biggest name of the bunch is cornerback Brandon Harris, a 2011 second-round pick of the Texans who has had a disappointing NFL career and still has never started a regular-season game.

Players placed on waivers were linebacker Akil Blount, center/guard Ruben Carter, wide receiver A.J. Cruz, long snapper Ryan DiSalvo, wide receiver Matt Hazel, tight end Gabe Hughes, kicker Marshall Koehn, cornerback Al Louis-Jean, guard Vinston Painter and wide receiver Brandon Shippen.

All 32 teams have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to trim their rosters to 75 players.

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Bears’ offense continues a disappointing preseason

Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson (56) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn) AP

If Week Three of the preseason is the week that most resembles the regular season, the Bears’ offense is not in good shape. Then again, the Bears’ offense didn’t look good in the first two weeks of the preseason either.

In today’s game against the Chiefs, Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler completed just six of his 15 passes, for 45 yards, and was sacked twice for a loss of 20 yards. The Bears didn’t score a point until third-string quarterback Conor Shaw threw a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

Today isn’t the first disappointing preseason performance for the Bears’ offense, which was shut out in a 22-0 loss to the Broncos in the first week of the preseason. The Bears looked a little better in the second preseason game, a 23-22 loss to the Patriots.

Cutler and the starters won’t play next week, so their preseason is over. They’ll have to look a lot better in the regular season or else the Bears are headed for a third consecutive last-place finish.

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Cowboys will quickly find out what Dak Prescott can do

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) looks to pass as Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett (72) blocks Cowboys guard Zack Martin during the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

Through three preseason games, Cowboys rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has passed the eyeball test. The real test comes when opposing defenses have enough evidence to eyeball him.

If starting quarterback Tony Romo will indeed miss 6-10 weeks with a broken bone in his back, Prescott will play enough preseason games to result in the generation of sufficient film to properly break down his game. What does he do well? What does he not do well? What are his tendencies, his tells?

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has mastered the most obvious principle of defensive football: Take away what the other team does well. When opposing defenses figure out what Prescott does well, will he be able to still do those things when the defense is trying to stop him? Will he be able to do things well that he doesn’t like to do?

Usually, it takes 4-6 weeks of games that count to generate enough film to permit astute defensive coordinators to crack the code. The challenge for the Cowboys will be to work diligently to crack the code on their own, anticipating how defenses will adapt to Dak and taking advantage of any ensuing holes in the defense.

Regardless, the injury gives the Cowboys a chance to find out whether Prescott can be the week-in, week-out answer after Romo leaves. If Prescott does well enough, Romo may be leaving before he wants to.

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Eddie Lacy “debating” a haircut after being tackled by dreadlocks

Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy carries the ball as San Francisco 49ers tackle Mike Purcell, right, defends during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar) AP

Packers running back Eddie Lacy might be about to drop even more weight.

After being tackled by his dreadlocks last night, Lacy said he’s strongly considering a haircut to keep future defenders from employing the same move.

I’m debating after that,” Lacy said, via Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “I don’t know how many more of those I’d like to experience. We’re in camp. So I’ve got to wait until I get out of camp, and then I’ll assess it.”

While horse-collar tackles from behind have been banned, grabbing ball-carriers by the hair is totally legal. Maybe not kosher, but legal.

Lacy said he hasn’t cut his hair in a year, and hasn’t been tackled by his hair since he was a junior in high school, which was eight seasons ago. So cutting his signature style isn’t something he’d consider lightly, but 49ers linebacker Gerald Hodges yanking him down from behind on a breakaway run was an eye-opener. He said he’d consider getting a haircut during the bye week next month.

“It definitely hurts,” Lacy said. “The first thought in my mind was a word I can’t really say.”

Lacy has responded to the Packers’ fat-shaming him by losing at least 10 pounds and returning to the form he had shown his first two seasons in the league. In the preseason, he has 20 carries for 114 yards, a strong 5.7-yard average.

And that average would have been longer if not for Hodges yanking him down by his hair.

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Jason Garrett doesn’t rule out Tony Romo for Week One

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett stands on the sideline during the first half of the team's preseason NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear) AP

Notwithstanding a report from PFT (those bastards) that quarterback Tony Romo will miss 6-10 weeks with a broken bone in his back, coach Jason Garrett said Saturday that he won’t rule out Romo for Week One.

Regardless of whether Romo could play that soon (and there’s a very, very, very strong chance he won’t be able to), there’s no reason to rule him out now. The injury-reporting rules, as revised, don’t mandate the attachment of any label to Romo until Friday, September 9. Why should Garrett officially declare before then that Romo won’t play?

Four years ago, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was listed as doubtful for Week One at home against the Giants, and Witten played. In Romo’s case, he technically could be listed as doubtful under the new rules (or even questionable, theoretically), which would keep the Giants guessing up until 90 minutes before kickoff.

The injury creates a separate issue for the Cowboys: Who plays in the preseason finale is rookie Dak Prescott will be in line to start Week One? Jameill Showers could handle the entire game, in theory. The better move could be to acquire another quarterback now, in order to get him ready to serve as the No. 2 to Prescott in Week One, if as expected Romo isn’t ready.

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Source: Tony Romo to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

A fan expresses her support for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo as Cowboys backup quarterback Dak Prescott (4) prepares to take a snap during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks in a preseason NFL football game, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

If that hit on quarterback Tony Romo’s back looked bad, there’s a good reason for it. It was bad.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Romo is expected to miss 6-10 weeks with a broken bone in his back. The team will be announcing the injury; it’s unclear whether the team will put a duration on the absence.

It means that those Cowboys fans who had been clamoring for the Dak Prescott era to begin sooner than later will be getting their wish. For better or worse.

For Romo, the best-case scenario based on the initial estimate means he’d be back by Week Five at the earliest, for a game against the Bengals. Under the worst case, he’d be back in for Week Nine, versus the Browns. Dallas has a Week Seven bye.

Meanwhile, it may be time to reconsider your vote from Friday’s PFT Planet poll question.

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Bears’ Tracy Porter leaves game with apparent head injury

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 15: Tracy Porter #21 of the Chicago Bears celebrates after breaking up a pass in the fourth quarter against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on November 15, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears cornerback Tracy Porter exited today’s game against the Chiefs with what appeared to be a head injury.

Porter, the Bears’ most experienced defensive back, was attempting to tackle Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris when he was accidentally kneed in the back of the head by Bears safety Harold Jones-Quartey. Porter stayed on the ground for a few minutes and was attended to by the medical personnel before eventually getting up and slowly walking to the sideline under his own power. He was then escorted to the locker room. The Bears confirmed that he is being evaluated for a possible concussion.

The head injury will likely put Porter in the NFL’s concussion protocol. His preseason was probably over anyway, as starters rarely play in the fourth preseason game, but the Bears will now have to hope he’s cleared in time for the start of the regular season, two weeks from tomorrow.

The 30-year-old Porter is in his second season in Chicago. He started 13 games for the Bears last year.

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NFL: Players are encouraged but not required to stand for national anthem

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 22:  An American flag covers the field during the National Anthem before the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Twenty years ago, the NBA suspended a player who refused to stand for the national anthem. The NFL will not be doing the same thing.

“Players are encouraged but not required to stand during the playing of the National Anthem,” the NFL said in a statement issued Saturday, in response to the controversy that emerged when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted not to stand during the playing of the national anthem on Friday night in Santa Clara, prior to a game against the Packers.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color,” Kaepernick has since said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The NBA based its suspension of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf on a rule that requires players to stand during the playing of the national anthem. The NFL has no such rule, and the Collective Bargaining Agreement is silent on the subject.

And so Kaepernick and any other player has the right to not stand during the national anthem. Whether other players will follow Kaepernick’s lead remains to be seen.

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Browns want now what they could have gotten for Josh Gordon in 2013

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) celebrates with teammate Andrew Hawkins (16) after catching a 43=yard touchdown pass in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Brent Grimes (24) during the second quarter of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) AP

The Browns may have “no intent” to trade receiver Josh Gordon, but they reportedly will do so in exchange for a second-round draft pick. That’s precisely what they rejected for him in 2013.

As Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer explained two years ago, the Browns turned down during the 2013 season the chance to deal Gordon for a second-round pick. The team (believed at the time to be the 49ers) essentially would have been giving back to the Browns the second-round pick that they used in the 2012 supplemental draft.

Via Cabot, former Browns CEO Joe Banner and former Browns G.M. Mike Lombardi wanted to do the deal, but others (including coach Rob Chudzinski) wanted to keep Gordon.

It was also believed at the time, as PFT consistently has heard, that owner Jimmy Haslam didn’t want to trade Gordon so soon in time after trading running back Trent Richardson to the Colts. Although getting an extra 2014 first-round pick (which eventually was squandered on Johnny Manziel after a trade up to No. 22) ended up being a great move, Browns fans weren’t thrilled with the perception that the team was tanking by trading Richardson. Trading Gordon so soon after that would have only exacerbated the impression that the Browns were giving up on 2013.

In hindsight, they should have taken the second-round pick for Gordon, who missed 11 games in 2014 due to suspensions and then all of 2015. Although his performance on Friday night could increase Gordon’s trade value, it won’t be easy to get a second-round pick now. The real question becomes whether Gordon will do enough when he debuts as of Week Five to finagle a second-round offer for the Browns before the Tuesday after Week Eight.

There’s a chance the price will go up, and it’s clear that the Browns (despite what they say) would like nothing more than to turn current assets into future draft picks, since they surely realize that it makes more sense to build for a brighter future than to tilt at windmills in the present.

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