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Chargers lose fifth-round corner Steve Williams for season

San Diego Chargers' Williams breaks-up a touchdown pass to Seattle Seahawks' Swain during their pre-season NFL football game in San Diego Reuters

The Chargers suffered yet another injury to a member of their receiving corps when Eddie Royal went down at practice on Saturday, but that’s not the only spot on the field where they’re dealing with aches and pains.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego reports that rookie cornerback Steve Williams will miss the entire season after tearing his pectoral muscle in Thursday night’s game. Williams was the team’s fifth-round pick in April after posting an impressive combine performance following the end of his career at Cal.

Williams was one of the team’s top four cornerbacks and spent time working both inside and outside in the San Diego defense. There’s not much in the way of experienced or intriguing options behind him on the depth chart as Greg Gatson, Marcus Cromartie and William Middleton are all undrafted free agents who have played two NFL games between them.

With Derek Cox, Shareece Wright and Johnny Patrick looking like the top three corners for the Chargers, things were pretty thin to begin with at the position. Williams’ loss could lead the Chargers to keep an eye on corners who lose jobs elsewhere in the coming weeks.

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Doug Baldwin is “most certain” Marshawn Lynch isn’t coming back

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 29:  Doug Baldwin #89 and  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrate after Lynch scored a fourth quarter touchdown against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on September 29, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

Now that running back Marshawn Lynch is retired, plenty of speculation has emerged as to whether he will unretire. Only days after Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said he won’t predict what the always-unpredictable Lynch will do, Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is willing to go out on a limb, at least as it relates to Lynch’s most recent team.

I’m most certain that he’s not coming back,” Baldwin said regarding Lynch during a Friday appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

If Baldwin is talking about Lynch not coming back to the Seahawks, Baldwin should bet the farm on it. Even if Lynch unretires, there’s no way the Seahawks will want to carry his $9 million salary, especially after taking a $5 million cap hit due to the pre-June 1 processing of his retirement.

That doesn’t mean Lynch won’t decide to return and play for another team, and most speculation has centered on Lynch joining forces with his on-the-upswing hometown Raiders. If the team is indeed leaving Oakland, Lynch could help give the fans something to really remember.

The safest course with Lynch is to expect anything, because no one ever really knows what he’s going to do. There’s a good chance that, at this point on the calendar, even he doesn’t know.

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Peyton Manning was “pretty close” to picking Titans in 2012

BRISTOL, TN - APRIL 17:  Former NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning stands on the grid prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 17, 2016 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images) Getty Images

The late Bud Adams made no secret of the fact that he wanted Peyton Manning to sign with the Titans when Manning was a free agent in 2012 and the failure to land him reportedly contributed to the franchise’s founder and owner’s decision to fire General Manager Mike Reinfeldt after that season came to a close.

Manning wound up signing with the Broncos, of course, and went to two Super Bowls with Denver before retiring in the wake of their Super Bowl win earlier this year. The Titans haven’t had anything close to that kind of success in the last four years, which will likely have some of their fans wondering what might have been after Manning revisited that pursuit at the Middle Tennessee Sports Awards in Nashville on Thursday night.

“I was pretty close,” Manning said of joining the Titans, via the Tennessean.

That decision would have led to a lot of other what ifs around the league including what things would look like for the Titans, Broncos, Texans, Marcus Mariota and others had Manning made a different decision. Those what ifs don’t make for much other than conversation topics to while away an afternoon, but long holiday weekends usually offer an opportunity to do just that.

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Dont’a Hightower wants to “get better,” not talk contract

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 25:  Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots reacts after recovering a fumble during the first quarter against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on October 25, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cornerback Malcolm Butler is reportedly planning a push for a new contract with the Patriots and he’s not the only member of the defense who will be dealing with issues on that front in the near future.

Linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower are heading into the final year of their contracts, leaving the Patriots with some work to do to keep everyone on hand beyond the 2016 season. For now, though, Hightower says that he’s only focusing on on-field matters.

“I don’t have anything to do with any of that,” Hightower said, via the Providence Journal. “I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”

Reporters pointed out to Hightower that he does have something to do with whether he remains with the Patriots, which he conceded before adding that “there’s a time and place for everything” and repeated that this is the time to get better.

The only real negative about Hightower’s last two seasons have been injuries that kept him from playing in eight games, but his contributions when healthy have made him an integral defensive piece in New England. That would make it a surprise if a deal doesn’t get worked out when the appropriate time and place present themselves.

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Jets, Giants planning to bid on another Super Bowl

012214-8-NFL-MetLife-Stadium-snow-OB-PI.vadapt.664.high.53 Getty Images

The NFL made a lucky roll of the dice two-plus years ago when it staged an outdoor Super Bowl in New Jersey in early February. With the league apparently getting ready to cozy up to Las Vegas, the league may be ready to gamble once again with the crown jewel event of the year.

According to Gary Myers of the New York Daily News, the Jets and Giants have informed the NFL of interest in hosting one of the next two games that will be awarded, in 2018: Super Bowl LVI and LVII, to be played in 2022 and 2023, respectively.

“We have informed them of our interest in both games,” Giants co-owner John Mara told Myers. “We hope to pursue another Super Bowl. We’re not sure yet of the date.”

The last time the NFL awarded a Super Bowl to New York/New Jersey, a blizzard struck the area the morning after the game. Even without snow on game day, organizers erroneously estimated the use of public transportation, resulting in massive crowds trying to get to and from the game.

There’s a long way to go before the folks in New Jersey need to crystallize plans for adding a lot more trains. For now, the potential interest could be more about ensuring that places like Tampa and New Orleans in 2018, when the owners award a pair of championship games. If, as expected, Dallas returns to the table and New York/New Jersey does the same, there will be four cities jockeying for two games, at a minimum.

Then, if Tampa and New Orleans get the games, the Cowboys, Jets, and Giants will get personalized letters telling them to keep trying.

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Sunday morning one-liners

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 01:   Alshon Jeffery #17 of the Chicago Bears receives an 11 yard pass in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on November 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jerry Hughes says he’s happy moving back to linebacker with the Bills.

Dolphins coach Adam Gase likes what he’s seen from CB Byron Maxwell.

A look at how QB Jimmy Garoppolo has fared in Patriots OTAs.

A Ron Burgundy quote gets applied to the standoff between the Jets and QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Three takeaways from the first week of Ravens OTAs.

Why didn’t Bengals TE Tyler Eifert have surgery earlier in the offseason?

Bernie Kosar spoke to Browns rookies last week.

Steelers rookies spent some time at the Mel Blount Youth Home.

A social media campaign helped Texans LB Whitney Mercilus find his lost dogs.

Who will join Robert Mathis as pass rushers for the Colts?

TE Nic Jacobs returned to the Jaguars 15 pounds lighter than he was last season.

Titans receivers know they are facing extra scrutiny.

Former Broncos QB Jake Plummer shares his thoughts on the current team.

Chiefs CB Marcus Peters won’t rest on accolades from his rookie season.

LB Bruce Irvin says Raiders rookie S Karl Joseph plays bigger than he is.

Position coach Ollie Watson breaks down the Chargers running backs.

RB Darren McFadden is helping rookie Ezekiel Elliott adjust to life with the Cowboys.

What role or roles will Will Johnson play for the Giants?

WR Chris Givens hopes his speed earns him a spot in the Eagles offense.

Could RB Pierre Thomas return to the Redskins?

WR Alshon Jeffery hasn’t been at Bears workouts, but he sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Saturday’s Cubs game.

Rookie Anthony Zettel is learning from the veterans on the Lions defensive line.

The Packers have given their defense several new pieces to work with this season.

A few things to look for in Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s third season.

S Ricardo Allen hopes to put knowledge gained last year into action in the Falcons secondary.

Panthers QB Cam Newton is getting his own mobile game.

Saints WR Michael Thomas explains what drew him to Ohio State.

Said Buccaneers K Roberto Aguayo, “Pressure is built from inside. I’m competitive. I want to make every kick. At the end of the day it’s your kick. So I just [say] it internally; ‘I have to make this kick, this is what I have to do.'”

Cardinals DE Chandler Jones needs a more desert-appropriate wardrobe.

Offensive coordinator Rob Boras shares some thoughts on the Rams offense.

WR Bruce Ellington is identified as a possible breakout player for the 49ers.

Seahawks rookie OL Germain Ifedi threw out the first pitch at a Mariners game.

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John Harbaugh: “All good” with Dennis Pitta

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 07: Tight end Dennis Pitta #88 of the Baltimore Ravens is tackled by middle linebacker Vincent Rey #57 of the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on September 7, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Cincinnati Bengals won, 23-16. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

We checked in with one Ravens pass catcher returning from an injury last week and wide receiver Breshad Perriman said he was feeling strong in his return from the knee injury that kept him from playing at all last season.

Tight end Dennis Pitta has been out of the lineup even longer. Pitta last played in a game on September 21, 2014 and has been trying to return from a second dislocated hip since that point. That comeback attempt is playing out in Baltimore’s practices this offseason and Pitta said the on-field activity has been “very encouraging.”

Coach John Harbaugh seems to agree with that assessment.

“He looks like Dennis Pitta to me,” Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. “If you’re asking for a comparison to what he was when when he was playing to what he was now, he’s removed from football for a couple of years and we’re in — this is nothing. As far as the stability of the hip, how he feels about it, running around, making catches, looking like a football player, it’s all good.”

Pitta will be in for different tests in training camp and especially preseason games when he’s taking hits to the hip that’s caused him so much trouble in the last three years. His body’s response to that will determine how far he goes in his return to the field.

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Malcolm Butler wants a new contract

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 24:  Emmanuel Sanders #10 of the Denver Broncos makes a catch for a first down over Malcolm Butler #21 of the New England Patriots in the first quarter in the AFC Championship game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 24, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler is heading into the third and final year of the contract he signed as an undrafted rookie in 2014, and he’d like to be paid more like the Super Bowl hero and Pro Bowler that he is than like an undrafted free agent.

Mike Reiss of ESPN reports that Butler has told teammates and friends that he plans to push for a new contract before the start of the regular season.

Under his current deal, Butler is slated to make $600,000 this year and then become a restricted free agent next year, when the Patriots could keep him with a relatively low-cost tender offer. So he doesn’t have a lot of leverage, with the Patriots able to keep him for the next two years.

The one way Butler could get some leverage is by not coming in to work. Butler did not attend Thursday’s Organized Team Activities, although it’s unclear whether his contract had anything to do with that.

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Goodell urges Tampa to keep bidding for Super Bowls, too

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Five cities competed this week for a trio of Super Bowls. The two losing cities got the NFL’s equivalent of a participation ribbon: A personal letter from Commissioner Roger Goodell urging them to keep bidding for future Super Bowl.

In addition to New Orleans, Tampa also has received a “good job/nice try/get ’em next time” missive from the Commish, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times.

“It is clear the Tampa Bay region will be in excellent position to contend for Super Bowls in the years to come,” Goodell wrote. “Thank you for your leadership and many contributions to the success of the league. Our office and the Super Bowl Advisory Committee will continue to support your efforts.”

Of course it will; the NFL needs to constantly have more cities bidding on Super Bowls than it has Super Bowls to award. Otherwise, the NFL won’t get the kind of competitive offers that include free presidential suites for owners and $50,000 in per-team “credits” for expenses teams inevitably will incur. Once the supply of viable candidates to host the games matches the demand, the jig will be up for the NFL.

Which is why the NFL needs to constantly encourage the losing cities to keep trying — and why the owners of every team need to cajole the local politicians and business leaders into aspiring to host the game. The more cities at the table, the more free stuff for the people in each city who already can afford to buy their own stuff, over and over again.

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Winston eating better, estimates he’s lost 18 pounds

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 01:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throws a pass outside the pocket during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Georgia Dome on November 1, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

Four weeks after teammate Johnathan Banks said he went from “fat” to “looking like a defensive back,” Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston shared some details of how he’s dropped an estimated 18 pounds over the last three months.

Winston told ESPN.com he’s focused on portion control in his diet, has avoided late-night snacks and has tried to make the most of high-intensity workouts with renowned trainer Tim Grover, to whom Winston reached out early in the offseason.

“I heard from around the league that most rookies that come in, if they have a great year, they don’t have a plan for the offseason,” Winston said. “I had never handled an actual offseason before.”

Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft, played baseball in the spring during his college career at Florida State. He first had to convince Grover he would be committed to getting in better shape, then had to make some adjustments to follow Grover’s diet plan.

“He’s a special individual from a knowledge standpoint,” Grover said. “He just didn’t know it. He’s gone so long on natural talent, he didn’t know how to take care of his body, what to eat, what to drink or how to get his rest.”

Winston said he started in the “upper 240s” and that Grover developed a exercise and diet plan with an ideal weight range of 225-229 in mind. The Bucs list Winston at 231 pounds.

“My body feels much better,” Winston said. “When you’re working out consistently and staying in shape, you never have to get in shape. That’s the biggest thing.”

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Teammates seeing more leadership from Geno Smith

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: Geno Smith #7 of the New York Jets warms up before playing against the Houston Texans on November 22, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets are expected to agree eventually on a contract that will make Fitzpatrick the starting quarterback. But until that gets done, Geno Smith is running the first-string offense. And teammates think he’s showing the kind of leadership qualities they need to see.

Jets receiver Brandon Marshall has previously said Smith is acting like more of a professional recently, and safety Calvin Pryor has seen the same thing.

“I definitely agree,” Pryor told NJ.com. “He’s always on time. He’s always doing the right things. At first [in previous years], I saw that Geno really didn’t talk to too many people. But now he speaks and he goes about things the right way. That’s what you have to do when you want guys to believe in you. You have to make sure you talk with everyone. You have to have everybody’s trust, everybody believing in you. Because we’re only going to go as far as you’re going to take us, along with this defense. Every great team, you have to see great quarterback play.”

That Smith is getting praise for being on time isn’t exactly a huge endorsement, but Smith seems to have more faith in the locker room than he did last year, when he lost the starting job when teammate IK Enemkpali punched him and broke his jaw. Pryor says the Jets now believe they can win with Smith.

“I do,” Pryor said. “He has to believe that as well. I think he’s very confident. Before the [Enemkpali] incident happened last year, I think he was having a great camp. I think he was buying guys in. In this locker room, guys were believing in him. I’m pretty sure everything happens for a reason. He learned from that moment. And I think he’s better. Guys are confident that he can get the job done. He just has to be confident in himself, and I think he is. So far, I’m happy with the results.”

As the Jets leak details of their contract order to Fitzpatrick in an attempt to gain leverage in the ongoing negotiations, these comments could also help the Jets on that front. Everyone wants Fitzpatrick to return as the Jets’ starter, but some are saying that if Fitzpatrick doesn’t return, Smith is up to the task.

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Haloti Ngata ready to be a veteran leader in Year 2 in Detroit

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 25: Devin Taylor #98 and Haloti Ngata #92 of the Detroit Lions celebrate a tackle agist the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at Ford Field on October 25, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Getty Images

When Haloti Ngata was traded from the Ravens to the Lions last offseason, he stayed in Baltimore for much of the summer, his family still lived there, and it took him a few months before he was really a fit in the Lions’ defense.

This year, however, Ngata signed a new contract, moved his family to Detroit, and he is a full participant in voluntary offseason work.

This is totally different,” Ngata told the Detroit Free Press at Organized Team Activities. “I’m here, family’s here so I don’t really have to worry about trying to find a house or where we’re going to stay, traveling back and forth. I’ve been here all off-season and it’s just been great.”

The 32-year-old Ngata said he “definitely” views himself as a team leader, to a greater extent than he was last year.

“I’m really the oldest guy now,” Ngata said.

A five-time Pro Bowler with the Ravens, Ngata is out to show he still has something left — and to show the younger players in Detroit how its done.

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Saturday one-liners

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They’re already calling 5-6 Dolphins WR Jakeem GrantMighty Mouse.” (Don’t tell UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.)

Here’s a closer look at the Bills’ nepotism-free coaching staff.

Patriots CB Darryl Roberts hopes to rekindle those Malcolm Butler comparisons.

It’s another click-harvest from NJ.com; this one somehow turns the Geno Smith or Bryce Petty roster-spot question into 10 of them.

Former Ravens LB Brandon Copeland now plays for Detroit, but relishes the chance to give back to Baltimore.

Bengals LT Andrew Whitworth is willing to play guard again, if that’s what the team eventually wants.

QB Bruce Gradkowski calls it a “blessing” to be back with the Steelers.

Can the new Browns regime get anything out of CB Justin Gilbert.

Texans QB Tom Savage says he’s “healthy and ready to roll.” (Right out of town?)

Ryan Davis is now a “Lotto” in the Jaguars defense, which means parts Leo (weak-side DE), part Otto (strong-side LB). (He’d probably rather be a Liger, since they are bred for their skills and magic.)

Colts QB Andrew Luck and WR T.Y. Hilton will attend the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500.

Titans TE Delanie Walker says he doesn’t get to know any rookies until they make the team.

Is WR Emmanuel Sanders ready to become the offensive leader the Broncos need?

Criticized after drafting WR Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs met this week with representatives from six Kansas City-area domestic violence groups.

Chargers RB Chris Swain missed OTAs this week to graduate from the Naval Academy.

Here’s a look at the sound from the first weeks of Raiders OTAs.

How much longer can Cowboys TE Jason Witten continue to perform at a high level?

Giants RB Andre Williams, on the team’s plan to use a quartet of tailbacks in 2015: “I don’t think the four-headed monster was very scary.”

Washington TE Vernon Davis says that TE Jordan Reed “runs routes better than the best wide receiver in the league.”

Chip Kelly is gone from Eagles practices — and so is the non-stop music.

Bears WR Kieran Duncan hopes to show there’s more to him than 4.32 speed.

Lions WR Marvin Jones has a little Marvin Gaye in him.

Get to know Packers third-round LB Kyle Fackrell.

Vikings Hall of Fame DE Carl Eller spoke to the team’s rookies this week.

Falcons special-team coordinator Keith Armstrong said the team’s unit was average last year.

Panthers WR Ted Ginn said he doesn’t know what “lose a step” means. (Father Time eventually will explain it to him.)

Some aren’t surprised that Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan eventually sounded off about his time in New Orleans.

Here’s a recap of the first week of OTAs with the Buccaneers.

LB Ray-Ray Armstrong is competing for a starting job with the 49ers.

Here’s a list of five players to watch during Seahawks OTAs.

Cardinals K Chandler Catanzaro is working with special-teams coordinator Amos Jones to determine whether to kick off short in light of the new touchback rule.

Here’s a look at some old Rams billboards. (Which confirms that today’s PFT billboard would declare, “Slow news day.”)

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Broncos’ Brandon Marshall at OTAs without a contract

HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 22:   Brandon Marshall #54 of the Denver Broncos waits on the field before the start of their game against the Houston Texans at  NRG Stadium on August 22, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Brandon Marshall who plays for the Jets is skipping Organized Team Activities even though he’s under contract, but the Brandon Marshall who plays for the Broncos is at OTAs even though he doesn’t have a contract.

Marshall, a starting inside linebacker in Denver, is a restricted free agent who has not signed his one-year, $2.533 million tender offer. But he says he’s comfortable enough in Denver that he feels OK about practicing now and worrying about his contract later.

“I love it here. I love it here, man,” Marshall told ESPN. “Ever since I got here, in 2013, they’ve treated me like family, even when I was on the practice squad. It just shows, I’m really all about ball, getting better and being with the team. . . . To stay away, that’s not me. I feel comfortable being here.”

Broncos G.M. John Elway has said he wants to get a long-term deal done with Marshall, and Marshall wants one as well. In the mean time, Marshall isn’t letting the lack of a contract hold him back.

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The Jets are finding willing media participants for their Fitzpatrick P.R. push

HOUSTON, TX - NOVEMBER 22: D'Brickashaw Ferguson #60 of the New York Jets helps up Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the New York Jets after Fitzpatrick scored a touchdown against the Houston Texans in the second half on November 22, 2015 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. Texans won 24 to 17. (Photo by Thomas Shea/Getty Images) Getty Images

On Friday, reports began to surface that the Jets offered weeks ago to free-agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a three-year contract that would pay out $12 million in the first year. Curiously omitted from those reports were the rest of the details regarding the offer — details that would say plenty about its overall quality.

Let’s set aside for now the question whether Fitzpatrick deserves more than $12 million per year in light of: (1) the market for starting quarterbacks; (2) recent increases in the salary cap that haven’t sparked a similar spike in the starting quarterback market; and (3) the franchise-record 31 touchdown passes from Fitzpatrick’s first and only season with the franchise. The far more intriguing aspect of the latest Fitz-related developments is that some in the media have flat-out whiffed in their assessment of the information leaked by the team. (And of course it was leaked by the team.)

The biggest offender, from the perspective of the size and reach of the organization, has been the Associated Press. Consider this key portion of the AP article: “A person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press on Friday night that the Jets made a three-year offer to the quarterback in March that includes $12 million guaranteed in the first year. . . . The New York Post first reported the terms of the offer, which is higher than the previously reported amounts that were closer to $7 million per year. However, total guarantees and contract structure of the Jets’ standing offer are uncertain.”

That tail-on-the-donkey “however” doesn’t alter the characterization appearing immediately before it. Instead, it makes the overall message even more confounding.

Without knowing the structure of the full deal, it’s impossible to say that a $12 million payout in 2016 results in a three-year average that exceeds $7 million per year. If, for example, the offer pays out $9 million in 2017 and 2018, the three-year average is still $7 million.

For weeks, PFT  has heard that the problem isn’t the Year One payout but the rest of the deal. Without specific information about the rest of the deal, it’s impossible to characterize it in comparison to prior reports that the deal is worth $7 million annually.

Whether inadvertent or deliberate (the fact that the article later claims that Fitzpatrick “apparently” wants $18 million per year suggests the latter), the AP has helped the Jets’ not-so-subtle effort to overstate the value of the offer that Fitzpatrick has yet to accept as part of a P.R. push aimed at persuading unsettled Jets fans that the team is being reasonable and/or that Fitzpatrick isn’t. The better approach continues to be trying to find a middle ground, but the Jets apparently aren’t willing to yield in their position.

The John Elway take-it-or-leave-it approach works best when there’s a freshly-minted Lombardi in the lobby. Four years ago, before the team went to a pair of Super Bowls, Elway didn’t lowball an aging and rickety Peyton Manning. With neither Peyton Manning in his prime nor any other franchise quarterbacks walking through the door for the Jets, the best play would be to find a fair middle ground between whatever the Jets want to pay and whatever Fitzpatrick wants.

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Native American activists criticize Washington Post poll

mascotGettyImages Getty Images

The Washington Post poll that supporters of the local NFL team’s name believed would end the debate has potentially reinvigorated it — along with sparking a new debate over whether there should even be a debate about the propriety of the name.

On Friday, a group of Native American leaders and activists (i.e., not “white liberal journalists”) held a conference call aimed at further criticizing the poll.

Via the Associated Press, California State San Bernardino sociology professor James Fenelon called the poll “immoral.” He also echoed concerns that the poll was not representative of Native American communities. Likewise, Amanda Blackhorse, who serves as the lead plaintiff in the case attacking the team’s federal trademark protection, called the poll “misguided,” adding that it won’t diminish attacks against the name.

“This issue is not about polling,” National Congress of American Indians executive director Jackie Pata added. “This issue is about human rights.”

Some would say that these voices carry much more weight that 450 unverified self-identifying Native American adults who said in response to a series of questions about the name that the name doesn’t bother them. Moving forward, those voices need to find ways to get their message across in an effective and meaningful way.

As worthy as the cause may be, the opposition to the name has been at times disorganized, ebbing and flowing and all too often operating on a reactive instead of proactive basis. The movement would benefit greatly from a skilled and experienced P.R. professional who would launch a sustained assault on the name featuring, for example, conference calls occurring at a time other than the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. No matter how compelling the quotes, the messages sent Friday will rarely register on the national radar screen.

To launch the kind of P.R. push needed to impose pressure not on the team or the league but their sponsors, the movement first needs money. Stockpile enough of it through donations from those who believe that the name should go, and the Native American groups opposed to the name will have the foundation for devising ways to persuade Native Americans who oppose the name and non-Natives who agree with them to take the case to those truly in a position to compel a change.

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