Sports Illustrated’s legal analyst Michael McCann gives his take on the Aaron Hernandez charges. Cases move fast in Bristol according to McCann.
ProFootballTalk: McCann on Hernandez case
Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul does more than talk about fireworks safety in his new public service announcement — he shows what can happen.
The safety PSA he made with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which debuted this morning on ABC’s “Good Morning America” can be viewed in full here.
Pierre-Paul lost a large portion of his right hand including his entire index finger last July 4th when an explosive went off in his hand before he could get rid of it.
“In a split second it blew off my whole hand,” Pierre-Paul said. “All I could do was think about my son and was I going to make it. Now I’m truly blessed to be alive. Now when I look at fireworks I think about safety.”
The image of what’s left of his hand ought to serve as a visceral reminder, especially as the nation’s amateur pyrotechnicians emerge for their biggest annual celebration.
When negotiating quarterback Andrew Luck’s deal, the Colts surely said plenty of things. Here’s one thing they didn’t say: He stunk in 2015.
“We never even suggested it as leverage,” owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “It wasn’t, ‘Well, what about the slow start? Or what happened against Buffalo [in Week One]?’ The injuries — we didn’t go there. We went along the lines of, and I think both us realizing that we’re very blessed to have us and he’s very excited to be a Colt.”
Of course, the Colts didn’t need to tell Luck that he didn’t play well last year, even when he was healthy. Luck has freely admitted it.
Apart from that, it would have been idiotic for the Colts to quibble over past performance. Luck’s six-year, $139.125 million contract arose from the fact that Luck could have made more than $110 million over the next four years by opting to play one year at a time under the franchise tag — and from the reality that if any other team ever had a chance to pilfer Luck for a pair of first-round picks under the non-exclusive tag, at least one other team surely would have tried to do it.
Telling Luck’s agent-uncle/uncle-agent that the team that once sucked for Luck has since decided that Luck sucks would have done nothing to help get a deal done. If anything, it could have inflamed the situation, prompting Luck to opt for a one-year-at-a-time approach until he forced his way to the open market.
Which would have required the Colts to find a new quarterback. To get the next Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck, the Colts would have had to once again bottom out in a year when a great quarterback was poised to emerge at the top of the draft.
The Packers declined to exercise their option for the 2017 season on 2013 first-round pick Datone Jones‘ contract, leaving Jones on track to become a free agent next offseason.
Jones’ bid for a new job will involve a new position. Jones went from playing exclusively defensive line to taking snaps standing up on the edge as a linebacker in the second half of last season and had two sacks against the Vikings in his first game in his new role. The team spent the offseason getting him more acclimated to the position, something teammate Mike Daniels calls a “natural” for Jones’ skills.
“I’m loving it,” Jones said, via the team’s website. “A situation happens like this, you can jump in there and boom — you could fill a role and play it. Now, I’m excited because I actually do get a full season to learn coverages, learn how to cover tight ends and running backs. Just rush from different angles.”
With Clay Matthews moving back outside to join Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Jayrone Elliott and third-round pick Kyler Fackrell, Jones will have some work to do to earn a steady diet of snaps this season. If he can get those snaps and do something with them, he’ll be able to sell his versatility in his bid for a new contract next year.
Bills coach Rex Ryan and his brother-assistant Rob already had made it clear that they plan to honor the family name with the team’s performance in 2016. Following the passing of their father, Buddy, the sense of urgency has increased.
“This season means a hell of a lot to us,” Rex told Jenny Vrentas of TheMMQB.com while driving to Kentucky for Buddy’s funeral. “Our name, our legacy, means a hell of a lot. Our dad is recognized as being one of the great defensive coaches, probably arguably the best, in the history of the game. You can’t say he’s not in the top five, certainly. And we’ve been pretty successful through the years ourselves, but nothing like we want to be. We have won five Super Bowls as a family, but we want to win our sixth at some point. And I want to win it as a head coach, because that has never been done in our family. Obviously, it’s not like these teams are going to roll down for us. We have to earn everything we get, and we’re a long-ass way away from it. It’s going to take a ton of work. But I really like my team.”
In 1985, Buddy Ryan designed and implemented a defense unlike anyone else ever has. Along the way, he did something no coach ever has done: He became a household name (at least for football fans) despite not being a head coach.
Back in the 1980s, little attention was paid on a national basis to assistant coaches. Ryan was the first one to gain widespread attention, possibly setting the stage for the media and fans to pay much closer attention to talented assistant coaches before they become head coaches.
There were reports earlier this week that presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump had lined up a trip of sports legends to speak for him at the Republican National Convention.
Perhaps he should have checked with legendary Bears coach Mike Ditka first, before reports that had the Hall of Famer alongside Mike Tyson and Bobby Knight.
“No one’s ever talked to me about it. I have no idea where it’s coming from,” Ditka told Kim Janssen of the Chicago Tribune. Later in the day, he said Trump called him, but he declined the offer to give a speech in Cleveland.
While he still supports Trump in the election, Ditka’s assessment of the party was rather, well, Ditka.
“The Republican Party has its head up its a–,” Ditka said. “If he’s the candidate, you’ve got to get behind him. It does the party no good. They’re a bunch of a–holes.”
And lest you think Ditka is just talking out of his, he said his endorsement of Trump stands.
If you want good things to happen you can vote for him, and if you don’t, you don’t,” Ditka said. “But don’t b—- about it after the fact. . . .
“America’s pretty resilient. We’ve survived the last seven years, haven’t we?”
With lines like that, it’s no wonder Trump wanted to bring Ditka on stage.
Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips lost a couple of starters from last year’s defense in free agency when defensive lineman Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan signed with other teams.
Phillips called both of those players “key guys for us,” but didn’t sound like he’s going to spend much time lamenting their absence. During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn, Phillips said that both players missed time here and there after getting dinged and “we did pretty well when they weren’t in there.”
Stepping in for a handful of plays or even a couple of games is different than doing it over the long haul, although Phillips could be forgiven if he’s more concerned about another potential absence. Linebacker Von Miller still has to sort out his contractual situation, a topic that the often chatty Phillips wasn’t saying much about on Wednesday.
“I coach whoever’s there, obviously,” Phillips said. “I don’t have any control over all of the other things and I really don’t know much about it. And they told me not to say anything about it anyway, so that’s my spiel.”
The Broncos have good depth at outside linebacker in Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett and Phillips has built enough effective defenses to be confident he can do it with those players. All things being equal, though, it’s hard to imagine that’s a route anyone in Denver wants to travel.
The Dolphins donated $5 million to a local cancer center.
An early projection at the Patriots 53-man roster.
The Browns are installing five new artificial turf fields for local schools.
New Broncos NT Phil Taylor could reboot his career in Denver.
The Chiefs’ perpetual search for a No. 2 WR may not be that big of a deal.
A look at whether the Chargers can go from worst to first in the AFC West.
Eagles players remembered Buddy Ryan’s loyalty.
Taking a look at who might be the biggest threat to Washington in the NFC East this year.
A look at the Xs and Os of the Bears’ famed 46 defense.
The Packers are going to get an early taste of the Florida heat and humidity.
The Falcons want to be more aggressive on defense (I’m still waiting for the defense which wants to be passive).
The Buccaneers are expecting production from some free agent signings this offseason.
A look at the Rams potential playmakers on offense.
Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman believes you build an NFL team by drafting well and keeping your own players, not by signing players away from other teams.
Roseman said on 94 WIP that the Eagles’ problems last year stemmed from going too hard after free agents who didn’t produce.
“When you look at it, some of the mistakes we’ve made have been going out and spending a lot of money,” Roseman said, via USA Today. “A lot of those mistakes were on guys that aren’t our own. They were guys that we’ve brought from another organization, and we thought we knew.”
Roseman didn’t name names but was obviously referring to DeMarco Murray and Byron Maxwell, two players whom Chip Kelly signed to expensive contracts last year, only to see them turn in disappointing seasons. Roseman traded both Murray and Maxwell away quickly after Kelly was fired and Roseman re-gained control over the Eagles’ personnel.
Kelly as a G.M. was a disaster for the Eagles. Now it’s Roseman’s turn to prove he can build the Eagles his way.
The NFL used to be virtually unbeatable in court. In recent years, that has changed. This week, the league was back to its slam-dunking ways.
Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, a judge in Texas dismissed all remaining claims in the lawsuit filed by Tony Romo’s National Fantasy Football Convention against the NFL.
Kaplan explains that Judge Carl Ginsburg provided no reasoning for the decision to throw out 13 total claims made as a result of the 2015 cancellation of a convention that had been planned for Las Vegas, after the NFL allegedly threatened players scheduled to appear at the convention with suspension due to the fact that the event was scheduled to occur at a convention center owned by a casino.
The group recently scrapped plans to hold a convention in Pasadena, pointing to allegedly ongoing interference by the NFL. It’s unknown whether that will spark separate litigation against the league, whether the event will be rescheduled, or whether it ever actually will occur.
Players have always been leery about the idea of lengthening the regular season, so it’s no surprise their union opposes any such plan.
But it’s also good to know people find us funny here at PFT.
In the wake of Packers president Mark Murphy’s suggestion that the future could include a 17th game (so each team could play one internationally without anyone giving up a home game), NFLPA assistant executive director of external affairs George Atallah had a response that was new-age in terms of technology but old-school in theme.
Atallah went on to put it in more conventional terms, saying: “Nothing says ‘committed to player health and safety’ like wanting to add more contact to the offseason and a 17th regular season game abroad.”
Players would have to approve any extension to the regular season, and it’s clear that the NFL is going to have to offer them something really good in exchange for them to consider it. And with the league putting so much emphasis on adding international inventory, they better be serious when they open the discussions with the union.
But mostly, we’re glad Atallah didn’t use the smiling poop emoji while retweeting us.
The Chargers push to secure a new stadium in San Diego may have a run into a sizeable problem due to the California Supreme Court.
According to David Garrick of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the court blocked an earlier appellate court ruling that the initiative to increase taxes to fund the stadium project needed a simple majority vote to pass instead of a two-thirds majority.
The state Supreme Court has elected to review the ruling of the lower court to determine the legality in regards to the vote threshold needed to pass a tax increase brought through public initiative.
The problem the ruling creates for the Chargers is two-fold. One, the two-thirds majority would obviously cause a much higher threshold of voter support to be required to pass the proposed funding package for the stadium project. Second, the review – even if upheld by the Supreme Court – could take significantly longer than necessary to impact the vote.
As the article states, even a hastened review process for the Supreme Court would still make it unlikely the matter would be decided in time for the scheduled November vote on the Chargers’ initiative.
For now, the two-thirds majority requirement is needed for the initiative to pass. The difference between 50 and 67 percent could ultimately determine whether the Chargers remain in San Diego or join the Rams in Los Angeles.
Andrew Luck became the NFL’s highest-paid player on Wednesday, but the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 wasn’t the first quarterback from his draft class to really cash in.
Luck’s mega-extension seemed a good occasion to revisit the 2012 draft’s quarterbacks, their contract situations and current places of employment. Though the on-field results have been mixed and at least a couple members of that class are basically starting over, many of them have done very well from a financial standpoint.
The full list…
Pick No. 2, Robert Griffin III: Griffin got off to a good start with the Redskins before he got hurt and things went south. Griffin is now on a short-term, prove-it deal with the Browns. He hasn’t played in a game since 2014.
Pick No. 8, Ryan Tannehill: The Dolphins gave Tannehill a big-money extension last year, but he’s yet to post a winning season. Tannehill got an $11.5 million signing bonus and his 2016 base salary is more than $9 million.
Pick No. 22, Brandon Weeden: Weeden started immediately for the Browns but was cut after two seasons. After a stint as a backup with the Cowboys, he’s now a backup with the Texans.
Pick No. 57, Brock Osweiler: Got his first real action subbing for Peyton Manning last year. Though Osweiler was eventually benched in the regular-season finale as the Broncos went on to win the Super Bowl, he cashed in with the Texans in March and has high expectations surrounding his first chance to be a true starter.
Pick No. 75, Russell Wilson: Immediately won the starting job in Seattle and hasn’t been bad for a third-round pick. He won a Super Bowl and got rewarded for it last year with a contract that’s in the neighborhood of Luck’s with a $31 million signing bonus. Wilson has thrown 106 career touchdown passes vs. 34 interceptions.
Pick No. 88, Nick Foles: Currently awaiting a trade or his release from the Rams, Foles went to the Pro Bowl with the Eagles in 2013 but got hurt the next year, then traded to the Rams. He struggled last season and will be a backup wherever he lands next.
Pick No. 102, Kirk Cousins: Started as Griffin’s backup and played in nine games over his first three seasons. Won the starting job last season and threw 29 touchdown passes, helping the Redskins to the playoffs. For now, he’s set to play 2016 under the franchise tag — and make almost $20 million doing it — and could play his way into a long-term deal from someone next March.
Pick No. 185, Ryan Lindley: After almost three seasons and some emergency duty with the Cardinals, Lindley was signed by the Colts late last season and played in one game. He’s made 10 career appearances and six starts with limited success.
Neither B.J. Coleman (pick No. 243) nor Chandler Harnish (pick No. 253) ever played in a game.
Although it was a much-discussed proposal a couple years ago, NFL executives have recently stayed relatively quiet about the possibility of lengthening the regular season. But Packers President Mark Murphy had something to say about the topic recently.
Asked about playing more games overseas, Murphy said one way to facilitate that could be expanding the regular season to 17 games, with each team playing eight games at home, eight on the road and one outside the United States.
“As you look ahead, if we’re going to have more and more international games, something’s got to give at some point,” Murphy said, via ESPN. “One thought that’s been discussed is to go to 17 [regular-season games] and three [preseason] and then everybody would have an international game. So nobody would have to give up a home game then.”
As we’ve noted when this proposal has come up before, NFL players have largely opposed the possibility of making the regular season longer, and the owners can’t expand the regular season without the approval of the NFL Players Association. With the NFL’s insistence that player safety is its top priority, it might be hard to justify exposing players to more hits and potentially more injuries.
However, if the NFL can convince the players that those international games are going to make a lot of money — an influx of money that will result in a higher salary cap and more money in the players’ pockets — it’s possible that the players could buy into Murphy’s proposal.
The Colts locked up their rights to quarterback Andrew Luck through the 2021 season on Wednesday, which means he’ll be 32 when he’s next scheduled to become a free agent.
Owner Jim Irsay said Wednesday that was something the team considered when putting together the six-year, $140 million pact. Irsay said, via Kevin Bowen of the team’s website, that the team factored in the rising salary cap and that they feel there are no “out of whack” cap numbers over the life of Luck’s deal.
That includes 2021, when Luck will be due an $11 million base salary and a $10 million roster bonus should the current deal remain in place. Irsay said that was designed to make using the franchise tag a possibility should the team need to go that route.
“It works with the cap,” Irsay said. “It works with tagging in the last year. I think both sides accomplished everything we wanted to do.”
The current CBA runs through 2020, so there may be changes to the franchise tag system by the time Luck’s status becomes an issue. Of more urgency will be the question of what the Colts do with the space provided by a deal they consider cap-friendly and whether it is enough to get Luck to the Super Bowl while he’s being paid at the top of the ladder for quarterbacks.
Former Stanford players have been cashing in this week.
One day before former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck signed his six-year, $139.125 million contract, former Stanford receiver Doug Baldwin inked a five-year, $47.5 million deal in Seattle. PFT has obtained Baldwin’s contract, and the full details appear below.
He receives a signing bonus of $7 million, but the cash isn’t due until April 1, 2017.
Baldwin also earns a $4 million roster bonus on Monday, July 4, 2016, half of which will be paid by July 11, 2016 and the other half of which will be paid by August 15, 2016.
Baldwin has a fully-guaranteed $1 million salary for 2016, and a $7.75 million base salary in 2017. The 2017 salary is guaranteed for injury at signing, and it becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2017 waiver period.
Baldwin will earn a salary of $8.25 million for 2018, $4.5 million of which is guaranteed for injury at signing. The $4.5 million becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 waiver period.
Baldwin has a non-guaranteed base salary of $9.25 million in 2018, and a non-guaranteed base salary of $10.25 million in 2019.
He also can earn per-game roster bonuses totaling $500,000 in 2016, $500,000 in 2017, $750,000 in 2018, and $750,000 in 2019. In all, $2.5 million is tied to his ability to suit up and play.
It adds up to a base five-year value of $47.5 million ($9.5 million average). Up to $50 million is available when considering per-game roster bonuses. With Baldwin already due to make $4.8 million in 2016 under his prior deal, he has a new-money average of $10.675 million per year on the base amount.
Also, $12 million is fully guaranteed, as a practical matter, at signing. Another $12.25 million is guaranteed for injury only at signing.