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Josh Brent back in jail after another failed drug test

Josh Brent AP

The Cowboys have tried to support defensive tackle Josh Brent after he was charged with intoxication manslaughter for a drunken car crash that killed a teammate.

But Brent is making it harder and harder to justify that support.

According to NBC 5 in Dallas, Brent is back behind bars, after failing a second test for marijuana.

Brent reportedly tested positive earlier this month as well, while he’s out on bond awaiting trial for the death of teammate Jerry Brown.

Brown’s own mother has urged forgiveness, and the Cowboys have reportedly been inclined to hang onto him for his football potential.

But at a time when the Patriots immediately released Aaron Hernandez and the Browns washed their hands of Ausur Walcott immediately after charges were filed, the Cowboys’ decision looks more and more unusual, and their faith poorly placed.

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Antonio Brown, Steelers agree on new deal

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 25:  Antonio Brown #84 of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on December 25, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) Getty Images

Word early on Monday was that the Steelers and wide receiver Antonio Brown were making good progress toward an agreement on a new contract.

They’ve found that agreement. Brown has shared a picture on Twitter captioned “Steelers for life” with what looks like a contract in agent Drew Rosenhaus’ hand. The Steelers announced that it is a five-year deal.

PFT has learned, via a league source, that it is a four-year extension to Brown’s current deal that is worth up to $68 million. He’ll make $17 million a year over those four years and $18.5 million a year over the first three years, which is more than Calvin Johnson received in his last deal with the Lions and more than any other wideout in the league is making on their current deals.

Brown’s spot at the top of the list of best-paid receivers isn’t surprising given how much he has produced for the Steelers. He’s caught at least 106 passes for 1,284 yards in each of the last four seasons while catching 43 touchdowns.

The Steelers have other irons in the fire — they used the franchise tag on running back Le’Veon Bell Monday — but that didn’t stop them from locking up their best receiver well ahead of the end of his current contract.

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Exclusive tag for Le’Veon Bell will cost the same as non-exclusive tag

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled by inside linebacker Ramik Wilson #53 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Getty Images

The official announcement doesn’t specify whether the franchise tag that the Steelers placed on running back Le’Veon Bell is exclusive or non-exclusive. PFT has confirmed that it’s the exclusive tag.

As explained last week, the exclusive version of the tag will cost no more than the non-exclusive version, given the formula used for determining the amounts. The non-exclusive tag is derived from a five-year average salary-cap percentage consumed by the non-exclusive tag at the position; the exclusive tag will be driven by the average of the five highest cap numbers at the position for 2017.

Even with Adrian Peterson’s $18 million cap number for 2017, the average of the five top running back salary cap number falls far below the 7.257-percent chunk of the total cap (between $166 million to $169 million) that applies to the running back position.

So if it’s going to cost more than $12 million with or without exclusivity, why not remove from the equation the possibility of Bell meeting with other teams? As it stands, he remains bound to the Steelers, either at a one-year contract in excess of $12 million or a long-term deal, if one can be negotiated by July 15.

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Giants tag JPP, two years after tagging him the first time

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 20:  Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants celebrates after a sack against the Chicago Bears during the second half at MetLife Stadium on November 20, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

Two years ago, the Giants applied the franchise tag to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. They’ve done it again.

Per a league source, the Giants have slapped the franchise tag onto a player who recovered from a fireworks mishaps that disfigured his right hand to have a very strong 2016 season.

It’s the non-exclusive tag, and it entitles Pierre-Paul to a one-year tender worth 10.14 percent of the total salary cap. At $166 million (the number isn’t finalized yet), that would be $16.83 million.

Last year, Pierre-Paul signed a one-year deal to stay with the Giants. He has said he now wants a multi-year deal. He’ll have until July 15 to negotiate one with the Giants. In theory, he also could negotiate one with another team — if that team is willing to give up two first-round picks, in the event the Giants choose not to match it.

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Chiefs, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif finalizing five-year extension

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 15:  Tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif #76 of the Kansas City Chiefs before the pre-season NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 15, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. The Chiefs defeated the Cardinals 34-19.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has gone from a little-known sixth-round pick out of Montreal’s McGill University in 2014 to a starter in Kansas City the last two years. And now he’s about to get paid like not just a starter, but one of the best in the league.

Duvernay-Tardif and the Chiefs are finalizing a five-year contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. The value of the extension is reportedly $41.25 million, but there’s no word on the structure of the contract or how much of that is guaranteed.

The 26-year-old Duvernay-Tardif is currently slated to make a $690,000 base salary in 2017.

Duvernay-Tardif studies medicine in the offseasons and plans to become a doctor when he retires. This deal should ensure that he won’t be hurting for money when it’s time for him to go into medicine.

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49ers tender a pair of exclusive rights free agents

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 04:   Mike Purcell #64 and  Joe Staley #74 of the San Francisco 49ers walks toward the locker room at the conclusion of the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 4, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Bears defeat the San Francisco 49ers 26-6.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

The 49ers signed a pair of outside free agents in recent days with cornerback K’Waun Williams and defensive tackle Earl Mitchell representing a bigger dip into the market than they took all of last season.

We’ll see if new General Manager John Lynch keeps that up when the new league year opens on March 9, but the 49ers have taken a brief break from bringing in new faces to make sure they hold onto a couple of players from the 2016 roster. The 49ers announced on Monday that they have extended exclusive rights free agent tenders to linebacker Carl Bradford and nose tackle Mike Purcell.

Exclusive rights free agents are ineligible to jump to another team once their current team extends a tender, so Bradford and Purcell will both be in the mix for roster spots unless they opt to stop playing altogether.

Bradford was a fourth-round pick by the Packers in 2014 and played two games with the Niners after being claimed on waivers last year. Purcell first signed with the 49ers as an undrafted rookie in 2013 and made his regular season debut the next year. He had 26 tackles and a forced fumble in 15 games last season.

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Le’Veon Bell gets franchise tag from Steelers

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers walks off of the field after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Steelers weren’t expected to let running back Le’Veon Bell hit the open market when the new league year gets underway next month so it comes as no surprise that he’s the latest player to receive a franchise tag.

The Steelers have placed a franchise tag on Bell and, per multiple reports, it is the exclusive variety. That gives them until July 15 to work out a long-term contract before Bell would be left with the choice of playing out the year on the franchise tender, working out a different one-year deal or sitting out.

The franchise tender for Bell should come in at somewhere over $12.3 million. Because the Steelers went the exclusive route, Bell cannot be signed by another team even if they were willing to pony up the required two first-round picks as compensation.

Bell’s always been productive when he’s been on the field for the Steelers since they made him the 48th pick of the 2013 draft. Injuries and suspensions have kept him off the field at times over that span and those absences could create some concern on the team’s end about an extended deal.

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Report: Dwight Freeney wants to play in 2017

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 02:  Dwight Freeney #93 of the Atlanta Falcons reacts to a question during the Super Bowl LI press conference on February 2, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) Getty Images

Before Super Bowl LI, defensive end Dwight Freeney said that he would take some time after the Falcons played the Patriots before deciding if he wanted to play another NFL season.

Freeney said he wanted “to take all that emotion out and make that decision when it comes” rather than doing something fueled by the result of the game. It’s been a few weeks since that game ended with the Patriots storming back for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history and it seems that’s been enough time for Freeney to make up his mind.

Tom Pelissero of USA Today reports that Freeney has decided that he wants to play a 16th season. His contract with the Falcons came to an end after the Super Bowl, so Freeney is set to become a free agent on March 9.

Freeney had three sacks in 15 games for the Falcons in the regular season and had another one in the Super Bowl.

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Chiefs owner backs Alex Smith as his starting quarterback

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 09:  Head Coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs and Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt during the first half at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 9, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs have come up as a possible destination for quarterback Tony Romo, once he’s a former Cowboy.

But Chiefs owner Clark Hunt seems to be just fine sticking with Alex Smith under center.

According to Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, Hunt said he was on board with coach Andy Reid, and that they were comfortable moving forward with Smith.

“I would just reiterate what Andy has said several times throughout the offseason, which is he’s very happy with Alex and Alex is going to be our starter going into 2017,” Hunt said.

There’s a growing perception that the Chiefs have gone as far as Smith can take them, much in the way the 49ers had when they replaced him with Colin Kaepernick (which seems like forever ago).

At the same time, plenty can go wrong with any plan at quarterback if it centers on Romo, as the Cowboys found out two years ago before Dak Prescott bailed them out last season.

Smith has some clear faults, but he’s also efficient and smart and the Chiefs have gone 41-20 with him as the starter the last four years. While it’s tempting to dream of an upgrade, someone who is more of a threat downfield, the Chiefs apparently aren’t prepared to do anything rash to replace him.

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Browns still don’t plan to tag Terrelle Pryor

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 24:  Terrelle Pryor #11 of the Cleveland Browns warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) Getty Images

The cap-rich, talent-starved Browns apparently will assume the risk that receiver Terrelle Pryor will leave via free agency.

Via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the team hasn’t changed its position that the franchise tag won’t be applied to Pryor. This year, the receiver version of the tag will consume 9.39 percent of the total salary cap. At the low end of the currently-expected range of $166 million, that’s $15.58 million.

Pryor, drafted six years ago as a quarterback, converted to receiver after all of his options at his initial position dried up. He caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in his first full season as a receiver.

The Browns have until 4:00 p.m. ET to decide whether to tag Pryor. The transition tag also is available, at 7.939 percent of the cap ($13.1 million); it would give the Browns a right to match but no compensation if he leaves.

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Colts add a 2016 49ers draft pick to offensive line mix

OXFORD, MS - OCTOBER 4: Fahn Cooper #77 of the Ole Miss Rebels blocks against Ryan Anderson #7 of the Alabama Crimson Tide on October 4, 2014 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Colts are expected to continue looking for ways to improve their offensive line play this offseason and they’ve added another player to the mix ahead of the start of free agency.

The team announced Monday that they have signed tackle Fahn Cooper to their 90-man roster.

Cooper was a fifth-round pick by the 49ers last season and failed to make the team out of the summer. He was re-signed to the practice squad and remained there all season, but did not sign on again with the 49ers following the end of the regular season.

Cooper started 26 games at Ole Miss. Most of his time was at right tackle, but he saw time on the left side when Dolphins first-round pick Laremy Tunsil was serving a suspension.

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Panthers put franchise tag on defensive tackle Kawann Short

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 25:  Kawann Short #99 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates a sack against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Panthers continued the sudden trend of #asexpected applications of the franchise tag, putting it on defensive tackle Kawann Short.

They have until July 15 to do a long-term deal with Short, but they’ve been working on that for over a year.

The difference in opinion on his value could make it an interesting negotiation.

Short had 6.0 sacks last season, still good but well off the 11.0 he had in 2015, when it became apparent he was going to get very rich.

Now we just have to see if things proceed amicably, unlike last year when they yanked the tag from cornerback Josh Norman, allowing him to go to Washington.

It also helps keep their line together, after they’ve re-signed defensive ends Mario Addison and Wes Horton to new deals.

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The annual Hot 100 Free Agents list has been posted

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15:  Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tosses the ball forward after gaining a first down against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) Getty Images

Before the spending begins, let the arguing begin.

The annual PFT Hot 100 Free Agents list has been posted. We know most of the top players — starting with No. 1 Le’Veon Bell — won’t be allowed to come near the open market, but we still ranked them among players at all positions who stand to get paid, handsomely, sometime in the next couple of weeks.

The list includes all sorts of players, young and old, who figure to make a bunch of money if they actually hit the open market next week. Because a lot can and will change between now and then and then certainly throughout March when the market actually opens, we’ll update the list as teams pass on contract options and roster bonuses and release other players to make way for their new and expensive acquisitions.

The status of each player will be noted as he receives a tag, signs an offer sheet or signs a contract, and the ranking order can change as more players become free when the movement begins. It wouldn’t be a terrible idea to bookmark the list for reference or even for argument’s sake.

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Tim Tebow shows up for Mets training camp

PEORIA, AZ - OCTOBER 13:  Tim Tebow #15 (New York Mets) of the Scottsdale Scorpions watches from the dugout during the Arizona Fall League game against the Peoria Javelinas at Peoria Stadium on October 13, 2016 in Peoria, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Tim Tebow One-Man Fantasy Camp continues.

Via HardBallTalk.com, the former NFL quarterback and would-be baseball player has arrived at New York Mets training camp. He received a non-roster invitation, and he’ll be around long enough to move merchandise and otherwise demonstrate that he’ll only play in the Majors if they expand the National League and American League dramatically.

The development comes nearly five years after the New York Jets traded for Tebow, after the Peyton Manning acquisition made Tebow expendable in Denver. He barely played in 2012 for the Jets, and he never made it to another team’s regular-season roster after that.

And while we’ve got no issue with a guy pursuing a dream, Tebow’s baseball ability and age demonstrate that it’s not a realistic dream. But if he can make a little money and the Mets can too, what’s the harm in it?

So meet the Mets. Meet the Mets. Step right up, and greet the Mets. Bring your kiddies. Bring your wife. Guaranteed to have the time of your life. Because the Mets are really sockin’ the ball, and running smack dab into a wall. Or something.

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Patriots find tight ends coach from a familiar source

New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

The Patriots have filled a vacancy on their coaching staff from within.

The team announced it had promoted Nick Caley to tight ends coach. He had been a coaching assistant the last two years, after working a number of college jobs on the defensive side of the ball.

He has the right pedigree, having graduated from and coached at John Carroll (it’s practically the Rutgers of their coaching staff).

That’s the alma mater of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels,  director of player personnel Nick Caserio (‘99) and others on staff. Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco and Jaguars G.M. Dave Caldwell also graduated from the Division III school in Ohio, along with Bill Polian’s sons Chris and Brian.

He replaces Brian Daboll, who left to become offensive coordinator at Alabama.

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PFT’s Free Agent Hot 100

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 27:  Lamar Miller #26 of the Houston Texans holds off Melvin Ingram #54 of the San Diego Chargers as he rushes with the ball in the second half at NRG Stadium on November 27, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The following are PFT’s top 100 free agents for the start of the 2017 league year. The rankings include prospective unrestricted and restricted free agents, as well as released players. Players expected to be released won’t be added until the transaction is official, and the list will be updated as events warrant, with signings, tags and re-signings denoted when announced and/or reported.

1. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell (got the franchise tag from the Steelers on Feb. 27)

2. Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins

3. Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram

4. Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short (got the franchise tag from the Panthers on Feb. 27)

5. Chiefs safety Eric Berry

6. Cardinals outside linebacker Chandler Jones (got the franchise tag from the Cardinals on Feb. 27)

7. Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (got the franchise tag)

8. Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye

9. Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower

10. Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell

11. Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler

12. Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery

13. Washington wide receiver DeSean Jackson

14. Cardinals safety Tony Jefferson

15. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams

16. Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore

17. Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson

18. Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor

19. Packers guard T.J. Lang

20. Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth

21. Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons

22. Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe

23. Packers outside linebacker Nick Perry

24. Ravens offensive tackle Rick Wagner

25. Cowboys guard Ronald Leary

26. Lions guard Larry Warford

27. Patriots safety Duron Harmon

28. Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan

29. Washington defensive end Chris Baker

30. Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett

31. Jaguars cornerback Prince Amukamara

32. Lions offensive tackle Riley Reiff

33. Packers safety Micah Hyde

34. Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills

35. Patriots outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard

36. Packers offensive lineman J.C. Tretter

37. Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon

38. Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger

39. Cowboys safety Barry Church

40. Broncos offensive tackle Russell Okung

41. Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne

42. Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick

43. Cardinals linebacker Kevin Minter

44. Texans outside linebacker John Simon

45. Eagles defensive tackle Bennie Logan

46. Saints defensive tackle Nick Fairley

47. Bills linebacker Zach Brown

48. Giants defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins

49. Washington wide receiver Pierre Garcon

50. Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso (restricted)

51. Jets offensive tackle Ryan Clady

52. Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware

53. Jaguars safety Jonathan Cyprien

54. Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer

55. Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander

56. Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn

57. Raiders running back Latavius Murray

58. Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson

59. 49ers linebacker Gerald Hodges

60. Patriots defensive tackle Alan Branch

61. Jaguars offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum

62. Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (restricted)

63. Packers running back Eddie Lacy

64. Rams safety T.J. McDonald

65. Colts tight end Jack Doyle

66. Eagles offensive lineman Stefen Wisnieswki

67. Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison

68. Ravens fullback Kyle Juszczyk

69. Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones

70. Packers tight end Jared Cook

71. Buccaneers safety Bradley McDougald

72. Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (restricted)

73. Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt

74. Ex-Buccaneers cornerback Alterraun Verner

75. Rams defensive tackle Dominique Easley (restricted)

76. Cowboys defensive end Jack Crawford

77. Titans tight end Anthony Fasano

78. Washington center John Sullivan

79. Colts outside linebacker Erik Walden

80. Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson

81. Dolphins tight end Dion Sims

82. Packers outside linebacker Julius Peppers

83. Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox

84. Texans tight end Ryan Griffin

85. Seahawks linebacker Michael Morgan

86. Ex-Jets center Nick Mangold

87. Vikings offensive tackle Andre Smith

88. Browns offensive lineman Austin Pasztor

89. Ravens defensive end Lawrence Guy

90. Raiders outside linebacker Perry Riley

91. Ex-Jaguars defensive tackle Jared Odrick

92. Chargers safety Jahleel Addae

93. Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr

94. Buccaneers center Joe Hawley

95. Packers outside linebacker Datone Jones

96. Seahawks tight end Luke Willson

97. Packers outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott (restricted)

98. Ravens running back Terrance West (restricted)

99. Colts safety Mike Adams

100. Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken

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