In the latest edition of PFT Live, Mike Florio breaks down trending topics around the NFL such as when we will see the elite crop of young players hold out, the NFL facing potential legislation eliminating blackouts from stadiums funded by taxpayers and Dan Snyder refusing to change the Redskins’ name.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
PFT Live: Several holdouts on the horizon?
Often, the dynamic of an agent representing a coach and a player provides folder for rants against the potential conflict of interest that arises. Sometimes, however, the connection can be helpful.
In the case of tackle Laremy Tunsil, the fact that Tunsil and Dolphins coach Adam Gase share an agent surely didn’t hurt. At a time when coaches and General Managers surely were nervous about what they may be getting in Tunsil, agent Jimmy Sexton of CAA was able to talk to a coaching client about a playing client in a way that the coaching client can trust, fully and completely.
While the Dolphins may have taken Tunsil regardless of the agent connection, having that link to Sexton surely hoped — especially in those crazy minutes on Thursday night as teams were on the clock and forced to decide what to do.
In the days following the NFL draft, we’re inundated with draft report cards who are certain they know which team deserves an ‘A’ and which team deserves an ‘F.’
Here’s the truth: No one knows anything.
For proof of that, look no further than the fifth-year options on the contracts of first-round picks. Those are the options that teams chose this week whether or not to pick up on their 2013 first-round picks, and they basically tell us whether or not the draft pick worked out.
As it turned out, players in the 2013 draft had basically a 50-50 chance of working out: Of the 32 players taken in the first round, 17 had their fifth-year options picked up, 12 had their options declined, one has already been cut, one has already agreed to a new contract and one is currently suspended and has no option to pick up.
The Top 10 of the draft was a little worse than the next 22; five of the top 10 picks didn’t have their options picked up, and Dion Jordan, the third overall pick, is suspended.
NFL teams, which spend several months and millions of dollars evaluating players, just can’t consistently say which college players will pan out and which ones will bust. The rest of us can’t, either. The draft is a lot of fun, but it’s a crap shoot.
The injury news seemingly never stops in the NFL, but in the offseason, the injuries become more unusual.
According to Mike Garafolo and Peter Schrager of FOX Sports, Raiders tight end Clive Walford suffered a knee injury in an ATV crash and will miss spring practices.
The hope is that Walford will be back on the field by training camp, with one source saying the injury “may not be as bad as originally thought.”
Walford has already had surgery to repair the damage, but word of his condition has been kept under wraps.
The third-round pick from Miami caught 27 passes last year for 329 yards and three touchdowns, showing signs he could be a downfield threat. How this impacts those plans remains to be seen, and probably means that any interest they had in moving tight end Mychal Rivera is over, at least until they know how Walford is and when he’ll be back.
In the legal system, lawyers routinely request other lawyers for more time to file certain documents. And lawyers routinely grant those requests.
To no surprise, the NFL is not willing to grant the NFL Players Association’s request for more time to decide whether to file a petition for a rehearing of the appeal in case arising from Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game #Deflategate suspension.
CBS Boston has posted the full document. Only four pages in length, the NFL’s response points out that the parties have previously agreed to expedite the appeal and claims that the 14-day period “is a presumptively sufficient amount of time even in ordinary cases that have not been expedited.”
The league seems to think that the union has asked for more time in the hopes of tapping the brakes, so that the case will be resolved as late as possible. But what’s two more weeks at this point, especially in light of the fact that the original investigation and internal appeal process dragged on for months?
If the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit doesn’t agree to grant a full rehearing before the entire court, that decision surely will be made before Week One of the 2016 regular season. If the Second Circuit chooses to grant a full rehearing, the ensuing process likely will consume all of the upcoming season.
Should the NFLPA need 14 extra days beyond the initial 14-day period? Probably not. Will it matter to the process if the extra time is granted? Definitely not.
But the NFL has made its point. Now that the league has the upper hand for the first time since the NFL filed the federal lawsuit that started the current litigation process, the league wants to apply that hand to Brady’s throat and squeeze.
The streak of criminal defense lawyers proclaiming the innocence of their clients continues, unblemished.
Kenneth Rosenfield, who represents former NFL defensive lineman Dana Stubblefied, says that the pending rape charge against Stubblefield is “a false and completely untrue allegation.”
“This is nothing but a money grab, and an attempt to get money and take advantage of his celebrity status,” Rosenfield said, via NBC Bay Area.
Rosenfeld also said that Stubblefield has taken — and passed — a lie-detector test that will “clearly show” the interaction was consensual.
Although polygraph tests continue to be inadmissible in court, they can be effective in the court of public opinion.
Stubblefield is accused of raping a “developmentally delayed” female who had interviewed for a nanny job. The alleged assault occurred in April 2015.
The Chargers picked tight end Hunter Henry in the second round of the draft in a move that the team hopes can kill two birds with one stone.
In the long term, the Chargers would love it if Henry could step into the role that Antonio Gates has played on the offense since joining the team during the 2003 season. In the immediate future, Henry can fill the hole opened when No. 2 tight end Ladarius Green signed with the Steelers.
Henry worked out with quarterback Philip Rivers‘ brother leading into the draft and Rivers said he expects Henry to handle that responsibility right off the bat.
“He’s going to be a guy that we’re going to need to come in and contribute right away and be out on the field on a lot of the stuff we do two tight-end wise,” Rivers said on The Mighty 1090 in San Diego. “I’m assuming he’s a sharp guy and I’ve seen him catch the ball. I don’t think he had a drop last year. I think he runs well enough, but he uses his body, finds ways to get open and catches the football. I think he’s going to be a key piece. He’ll be right in the mix once he gets out here.”
With Henry and free agent Travis Benjamin in the fold, the passing offense should have a different look next season. If all goes right, that duo plus Keenan Allen should be the core of a group that the Chargers hope will close out Rivers’ career on a high note.
No one in Cleveland is promised the starting quarterback position, and no one is ruled out.
That’s the word from Browns head of football operations Sashi Brown, who said this morning on PFT Live that third-round draft pick Cody Kessler will compete with Robert Griffin III, Josh McCown, Austin Davis and Connor Shaw.
“We’ve got four guys here who are going to have an opportunity to try to lead this team from the quarterback position: Josh, Robert, Austin and Connor, and Cody obviously comes now into the mix and we feel like we want to play the guy who gives us the best chance to win,” Brown said.
Most people assume Griffin will emerge as the winner of the competition, but that’s only the case if Griffin proves he’s the best of the bunch.
“There’s no question with the investment in Robert, we absolutely feel like he has the opportunity to become the starting quarterback,” Brown said. “There’s still a competition there, and we haven’t named a starter yet, and Cody will get into that mix.”
The decision will be coach Hue Jackson’s. Jackson said after the draft not to sleep on Kessler, suggesting that the head coach will give the rookie every opportunity to prove he can play.
Among the reasons that people have high hopes for the Jaguars in the coming season is the fact that they came away with cornerback Jalen Ramsey and linebacker Myles Jack in the first two rounds of the draft.
The Jaguars were thrilled to get Jack in the second round and Jack calls it a “dream come true” to play on the same team with Ramsey, but the way he wound up in Jacksonville was less than ideal. Jack was projected to be one of the first players picked in this year’s draft, but negative reports about the long-term health of his knee helped keep him on the board much longer than expected.
During an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Jack called it “kinda sour” that the medical information went public before the draft and it sounds like sour would be an understatement to describe how Jack felt during a slide no one prepared him for last Thursday night.
“It was, honestly, humiliating,” Jack said. “It was embarrassing having to sit there, and afterwards walking out, having my girl to my left, my mom to my right, my grandmother to the right of her and having to look at them, it was a tough feeling. It wasn’t a good night, truthfully.”
Jack, who said his knee is 100 percent right now, pointed to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski as a player who wound up in the second round because of health questions before putting the doubts to rest on the field and said the decision by teams to pass on him is “all motivation” for 2016 and beyond. If that motivation fuels the kind of pro success most people predicted for Jack during his college career, he’ll join Gronkowski as a reason for teams to think a little harder about the risk/reward ratio involved with drafting talented players with injury concerns.
New Titans General Manager Jon Robinson is trying to remake his roster on the field, and that means some changes off the field as well.
The traditional new-guy-gets-rid-of-old-guys dance has begun in Tennessee, as the team has started making changes in the front office.
According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com, the Titans have let scouts Mike Yowarsky and Marv Sunderland go after the draft. Yowarsky has been with the Titans the last three years. Sunderland has been in the league for 39 years, the last nine with the Titans.
“It is the ugly part of the game, but new leadership has the prerogative to make changes,” Sunderland said. “The Titans will be much better next fall and are headed in the right direction. Would I prefer to be there to watch Marcus [Mariota] and the team flourish? Absolutely. But Jon has control of the football part of it and I’m sure he wants his own people.
“He ran a good draft and the new draft picks should represent themselves very well.”
Some degree of change is almost inevitable when a new G.M. takes over, and shuffling of scouting staffs is a rite of the post-draft spring.
The Giants signed an expensive free agent, and used their top draft pick on a cornerback.
But they still need help there, so they’re still looking.
But other than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the Giants don’t have much else of substance there.
Hall has visited the Cardinals and Cowboys this offseason, but hasn’t found work yet. The 31-year-old is recovering from back surgery this offseason, which has likely delayed his employment, since he’s played well for the Bengals in the slot when he’s well.
The Falcons squandered a 6-1 start last season, and not even being the only team to beat the Panthers in the regular season was enough to keep an 8-8 season from being disappointing.
But owner Arthur Blank definitely sees improvement, and expects it from his team this year.
“Yes, I do — because of the added talent and knowing the existing roster’s players, and them knowing the schemes better,” Blank said when asked if he thought they were a playoff team, via Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I think that will be evidenced on both sides of the ball. So my view is, yes – we will have a better team next year and we definitely should have a competitive team in the playoffs.”
Blank stopped short of suggesting that the season would be a mandate on the futures of General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and Dan Quinn, however.
“I wouldn’t use that word,” he said. “I’m optimistic and hopeful that would be the case, but I wouldn’t say there’s a mandate. The flip side of that answer has connotations to it that I’m not comfortable with.
“We expect to see progression in every way. We expect progression from our coaches and our players, and as a result of progression we expect to see a better result. I feel like the roster is better. I feel like the players on both sides of the ball understand more specifically what coach Quinn wants and they’ll have a better understanding of the concepts and the execution.”
Of course, the Falcons have gone three straight years without a playoff appearance, so there’s pressure there whether the owner acknowledges it or not. But after another aggressive offseason, the Falcons have given themselves a chance to compete, if not catch the Panthers for more than one game.
The Broncos released a pair of players on Monday, but their roster spots weren’t vacant for long.
The Broncos announced the signing of 21 undrafted rookie free agents who will begin vying for spots on the team’s 53-man roster or 10-man practice squad at the team’s rookie minicamp.
Memphis wide receiver Mose Frazier is part of the group and he should be able to get a few looks from quarterback Paxton Lynch during those workouts after catching passes from Lynch in their college days.
Louisiana Tech defensive end Vontarrius Dora, Georgia Southern safety Antonio Glover, Sacramento State tackle Lars Hanson, Miami defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou, Shepherd defensive end Shaneil Jenkins, Iowa tight end Henry Krieger Coble, Utah State defensive lineman David Moala, Oklahoma wide receiver Durron Neal, Eastern Washington guard Aaron Neary, Duke linebacker Dwayne Norman, Southern Utah tight end Anthony Norris, Oregon State nose tackle Kyle Peko, Holy Cross wide receiver Kalif Raymond, Oklahoma linebacker Frank Shannon, Portland State linebacker Sadat Sulleyan, Georgia long snapper Nathan Theus, Sioux Falls cornerback John Tidwell, Wyoming defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, Oregon wide receiver Bralon Addison and Cincinnati tackle Justin Murray are the other new faces on the Broncos.
Trent Dilfer is likely to leave ESPN. If/when he does, he won’t be heading to the 49ers.
More accurately, he has no current plan to join the 49ers.
“I have no intention of joining the 49ers,” Dilfer told Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News. “I have never been talking with the 49ers about this and I’m focused on continuing my broadcasting opportunities.”
The phrase “no intention” often provides cover for a change of intentions later. And with Dilfer counting 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke as one of Dilfer’s closest friends, whenever Dilfer changes his intentions, the door could swing open.
For now, Dilfer remains employed by ESPN. By saying that he is “focused on continuing my broadcasting opportunities,” Dilfer has essentially confirmed that his eight-year run in Bristol will indeed be ending.
And if those other “broadcasting opportunities” don’t materialize, Dilfer’s intentions could quickly change.
The fourth round of the draft had Ravens coach John Harbaugh thinking about Star Trek.
Bengals CB William Jackson’s new teammates took him out for dinner after he was drafted in the first round.
The Browns appear to be going with the status quo at running back.
The Steelers have moved into the second phase of their offseason workouts.
Running through the draft additions on offense for the Colts.
The draft has raised the expectations for the Jaguars.
A look at the impact the Titans draft will have on five positions.
They’re getting ready for a quarterback competition with the Broncos.
Sifting through the backup quarterback options for the Chiefs.
What roster battles will highlight the Bears offseason?
Pac-12 players were on the Packers’ draft radar this year.
Said Vikings WR Moritz Boehringer, “My ultimate goal is to be the Dirk Nowitzki of the NFL, but it’s a process. I’ve got to make the team.”
Rookie Deion Jones is headed to middle linebacker for the Falcons.
One Cardinals fan found out the team’s first round pick before it went public.
An assault arrest wasn’t enough to sour the Rams on TE Tyler Higbee.
The Seahawks plan to start Germain Ifedi out as a guard.
The Jaguars emerged from the draft with positive reviews about the work they did to continue strengthening their defense after focusing on the unit during free agency as well.
Those moves have generated some hope that this might be the year that the Jaguars find their way back to a winning record for the first time since 2007. Linebacker Telvin Smith thinks that kind of change of fortune requires more than just a few new players on defense.
Smith called a meeting with his teammates after one of their recent offseason workouts to discuss refusing “to settle for what’s been happening” in Jacksonville in recent years.
“I’ve always said I’m not a loser and I refuse to be a loser,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “So you cannot do this on your own and you have to make sure everybody’s on the same mindset. And that’s the biggest thing, making sure everybody’s on the same mindset. … Let everybody voice their opinion and know that I want the same thing that you want so that when I say something it’s out of love. But words are only something. Actions are the biggest thing and that’s what we want to get from that meeting. Keep building from the meeting: actions.”
Actions, it’s said, speak louder than words and the Jaguars could say a lot by getting wins to open the season. They are 1-10 in September and 2-10 in October over the last three years, digging holes that reinforce the idea that the team can’t win just as the season is getting underway. Avoiding that would be a sign that the same old Jaguars won’t be on the field in 2016.