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PFT’s Week Two picks

Seahawks AP

Yes, MDS finagled a one-game win in Week One, getting 12 of 16 right while I hit on 11 of the games.

After four years of doing this, however, I finally dropped the proverbial hole in one, picking the exact score of the Bears-Bengals game.

And under the new rules of the PFT Picks contest, revised by me this morning, a hole in one counts for three wins.

OK, it doesn’t.  So I’ll have to try to erase the gap by being right on the two games on which MDS and I disagree.  The full list of our picks appears below.

Jets at Patriots

MDS’s take: The Jets looked better than I expected on Sunday, and the Patriots looked worse than I expected Sunday. That has me thinking the Jets will be more competitive in this game than most people expect. Just not competitive enough to win.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 24, Jets 20.

Florio’s take:  Rex Ryan started 3-2 against Bill Belichick.  Since then, Rex is 0-4.  Make that 0-5 as a team that fell into a win in Week One walks into a buzz saw during what likely will be Rex’s last trip to New England.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 30, Jets 17.

Rams at Falcons

MDS’s take: After losing to their toughest division rival in Week One, the Falcons definitely don’t want to fall into an 0-2 hole in Week Two. I don’t think they will, as the Falcons’ defense will make life tough on Sam Bradford.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 28, Rams 10.

Florio’s take:  An old NFC West rivalry gets rekindled, and Steven Jackson gets an early crack at the only other team for which he’s ever played.  With receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones injured, Atlanta will need a big day from Jackson.  Even then, it may not be enough.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 23, Rams 20.

Browns at Ravens

MDS’s take: The Ravens gave up seven touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in Week One. I feel reasonably confident saying they will not give up seven touchdown passes to Brandon Weeden in Week Two. The Browns’ offense looked pretty bad in the opener and will continue to look pretty bad in the second game of the season.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 21, Browns 7.

Florio’s take:  Brandon Weeden is no Peyton Manning.  He’s also no Eli Manning.  And he may be no Cooper Manning.  Besides, with 10 days to prepare and a superior team on both sides of the ball, the old Browns will get to .500 as the new Browns stake out more familiar territory at 0-2.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 34, Browns 17.

Panthers at Bills

MDS’s take: Both teams played well in losses to good opponents in Week One. In Week Two, I think the Panthers are going to get their offense moving and earn a road win.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 34, Bills 21.

Florio’s take:  Each team blew a chance to secure an eye-opening win in Week One.  The Bills seem to be the better team at more positions, but where the Panthers have the edge, it’s a big one.  Flip a coin.  And then go for two-of-three, three-of-five, four-of-seven, or whatever it takes for the home team to prevail.

Florio’s pick:  Bills 21, Panthers 17.

Vikings at Bears

MDS’s take: A playoff team a year ago, the Vikings are at risk of starting 0-2, with both losses in the division. That’s a deep hole for a team to dig itself in the first two weeks of the season, and that’s the hole the Vikings are going to dig, as the Bears’ defense is going to force Christian Ponder into multiple turnovers.

MDS’s pick: Bears 20, Vikings 10.

Florio’s take:  A Minnesota native who never got a chance to coach the local team gets a chance to beat the local team in his second game as an NFL head coach.  It helps that Marc Trestman has a legitimate passing attack, and that the Vikings don’t.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 31, Vikings 20.

Redskins at Packers

MDS’s take: Speaking of playoff teams from a year ago digging 0-2 holes for themselves, that’s where the loser of this game will be. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will keep Green Bay from that fate with a big game against Washington’s defense.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  With the Packers spending their offseason focused on stopping mobile quarterbacks, Robert Griffin III will have to do what Colin Kaepernick did in order to outscore the Packers.  I don’t think he can, not in Green Bay’s building.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 30, Redskins 23.

Titans at Texans

MDS’s take: The Titans’ defense looked great in the opener, but I have a feeling that by the end of the season we’ll say Week One was an indication more that the Steelers’ offense is terrible than that Tennessee’s D is strong. The Texans are rolling after their comeback win on Monday night and will keep rolling when the team formerly known as the Oilers returns to Houston.

MDS’s pick: Texans 27, Titans 21.

Florio’s take:  While Tennessee’s accomplishments in Pittsburgh shouldn’t be disregarded, the Steelers are a far cry from the Texans, who got a valuable lift from the biggest come-from-behind win in team history.  It’ll be a rude welcome back to Houston for the franchise that used to play there.  Mittens off for Bud Adams, everybody!

Florio’s pick:  Texans 30, Titans 16.

Dolphins at Colts

MDS’s take: Reggie Wayne looked ageless against the Raiders in Week One, catching all eight of the passes Andrew Luck threw his way. I see Wayne having another eight catches or so as the Colts eke out another close win.

MDS’s pick: Colts 17, Dolphins 16.

Florio’s take:  Jim Irsay demands better protection for Andrew Luck.  Irsay would be better off demanding a second serving of pudding.  The Dolphins have the horses up front to harass Luck far worse than the Raiders did.  While the Colts still should win, Luck won’t be operating from a clean pocket.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Dolphins 20.

Cowboys at Chiefs

MDS’s take: Can the Chiefs match their win total from 2012 in the first two weeks of 2013? They can if they avoid turnovers against the Cowboys, and I think that’s what they’ll do, as Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles lead an efficient and effective offense and the Chiefs improve to 2-0.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 21, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  The first time Andy Reid faced the Cowboys as coach of the Eagles, Philly was 0-4 and fading fast.  This time, Reid’s Chiefs are 1-0 and conjuring talk of a playoff run.  For the franchise that used to be in Dallas and the coach who compiled a 17-11 regular-season record against the Cowboys in 14 years, it’s time to move to 2-0 — and 18-11.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Cowboys 21.

Chargers at Eagles

MDS’s take: The Chargers’ depth on defense is going to be seriously tested by the fast-paced Eagles offense, and I don’t see how the Chargers keep up. This one could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 37, Chargers 14.

Florio’s take:  Six days after blowing a 21-point lead, the Chargers likely will find themselves on the wrong end of a similar margin.  The only question is whether the Eagles can deliver the knockout punch with pedal on metal.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 34, Chargers 23.

Lions at Cardinals

MDS’s take: This is probably the toughest game of the bunch to call. The Lions are the better team, but they’re also a team that makes so many stupid mistakes that they can lose to anyone on the wrong day. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald can make plays against the Lions’ secondary, but I expect Reggie Bush to have his second consecutive big game as the Lions win.

MDS’s pick: Lions 31, Cardinals 28.

Florio’s take:  Last year, the Cardinals were ultimately horrible despite starting 4-0.  This year, they look to be much better, but could be destined to start 0-4.  Meanwhile, there’s still time to get on the newest model from Detroit — the Honolulu Blue Bandwagon.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 34, Cardinals 24.

Saints at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: The Saints made a big statement that they’re the favorites in the NFC South with their Week One win over the Falcons. They’ll make another big statement by moving to 2-0 in the division with an easy win in Tampa Bay.

MDS’s pick: Saints 24, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  The Bucs are in disarray, and the Saints have picked up an early surge from holding the Falcons to 17 points.  New Orleans continues its effort to put together a record stout enough to force the road to an open-air Super Bowl through the climate-controlled Superdome.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 35, Buccaneers 27.

Broncos at Giants

MDS’s take: In the Manning Bowl, I trust the Broncos’ secondary to keep Eli in check more than I trust the Giants’ secondary to keep Peyton in check.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 34, Giants 24.

Florio’s take:  Peyton and Eli may be brothers, but when it comes to playing against each other, Peyton is still Eli’s daddy.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Giants 27.

Jaguars at Raiders

MDS’s take: Before Week One, I thought these were the two worst teams in the NFL. The Raiders looked better than I expected in a surprisingly close loss to the Colts, while the Jaguars looked even worse than I expected in a surprisingly lopsided loss to the Chiefs. The Raiders get the win and the Jaguars get a step closer to choosing between Teddy Bridgewater and Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in next year’s draft.

MDS’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  The worst teams of 2012 continue their early-season round robin, with Terrelle Pryor poised to make something happen against a team that doesn’t look as bad as many thought it would be.  The Jags look even worse.

Florio’s pick:  Raiders 24, Jaguars 9.

49ers at Seahawks

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one, which is my pick for the best game of the week. I believe the 49ers are the slightly better team right now, but the Seahawks’ crowd will be rocking, and the home-field advantage will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, 49ers 24.

Florio’s take:  The Seahawks need to hold serve at home; the 49ers need to show they can hang with a team that tattooed the Niners last December in Seattle.  Look for Richard Sherman to blanket Anquan Boldin — and for Boldin to still find a way to catch the ball.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Seahawks 21.

Steelers at Bengals

MDS’s take: Everyone in the AFC North started the season 0-1, but the Bengals had a much better showing in Week One than the Steelers. Given Pittsburgh’s poor performance and season-ending injuries to center Maurkice Pouncey, linebacker Larry Foote and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling, it’s tough to see things turning around for the Steelers any time soon.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 20, Steelers 10.

Florio’s take:  The new bullies of the AFC North get a chance to rough up a team that spent plenty of time over the years roughing up the Bengals.  With James Harrison bent on making the Steelers regret letting him go and the Steelers having little punch on offense, this one could get ugly.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 28, Steelers 13.

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Bucs not concerned about Winston giving up football for baseball

Winston AP

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have plenty of reasons to potentially be concerned about quarterback Jameis Winston.  But they continue not to be, in large part because they’ve done their homework on him.

One potential area of concern comes from the possibility that, if discouraged by the difficulty of adjusting to the next level of football, Winston will trade in the pigskin for the horsehide, leaving the NFL and embarking on a baseball career.  That’s a possibility the Buccaneers have considered, and they’re confident it won’t happen.

It always has been my dream, but I’m just playing football right now,” Winston said in February, leaving the door slightly ajar for the possibility of playing baseball and football professionally.

For the Buccaneers, who wasted the first overall pick 29 years ago on a running back who opted for baseball (Bo Jackson), the nightmare scenario would entail Winston deciding that football at the NFL level is much harder than he thought it would be, and opting instead to give baseball a try.  For that reason, Tampa Bay’s research on Winston has included getting a frank assessment of his baseball prospects.  While a role as a major-league relief pitcher wouldn’t be impossible for Winston, it wouldn’t be automatic, either.  In turn, it wouldn’t provide the kind of quick-fix that could tempt a guy to trade NFL football for Major League Baseball.

The Bucs realize that nothing can be completely ruled out, but as they stand poised to make him the first overall pick in the draft, they’re confident that this Bo will know to stick with football.

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Report: Nike reaches deals with Mariota, Winston, three other top prospects

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptkxnmjimgjin2ixnjbiywvlodrkm2m5ztniymq4odzk AP

If it’s draft season, then it’s time for apparel companies to strike deals with some of the top incoming NFL prospects.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Nike has signed Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Georgia running back Todd Gurley, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon to endorsement contracts.

News of the Nike deal with Winston comes as he faces a civil lawsuit regarding a sexual assault allegation levied by a Florida State student in 2012. Winston was never charged criminally in connection with the allegation.

“Jameis has stated his innocence regarding serious charges made against him. We’ll continue to monitor the situation,” a Nike spokesperson told ESPN.com.

Winston, Mariota, Gurley and Cooper played for schools that sported Nike-branded uniforms. Gordon, meanwhile, wore an Adidas-branded uniform at Wisconsin.

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Raiders show interest in Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

If the Vikings are going to trade Adrian Peterson, the Cowboys won’t be the only team interested.

The Raiders have also shown interest in Peterson, NFL Network reports.

In one important respect, the Raiders actually make more sense than the Cowboys: The Raiders have about $12 million more in cap space available than the Cowboys do. Peterson’s enormous cap hit would be tough for the Cowboys to squeeze in, but it would be doable for the Raiders.

But the Raiders aren’t exactly a team that’s one star player away from a championship, and adding an expensive veteran wouldn’t necessarily make a lot of sense. This move feels like a long shot.

For their part, the Vikings say they expect Peterson to play for them this year. It remains to be seen whether Peterson will try to force his way out, and whether some other team will offer a lucrative deal that makes the Vikings willing to part with their biggest star.

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Packers re-sign S Chris Banjo

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Packers reserve safety Chris Banjo has signed his exclusive rights contract offer from the club, according to the NFL’s Friday transactions.

Banjo, 25, was active for Green Bay’s final three regular season games and both of its postseason games in 2014. He spent most of the season on the practice squad. The previous season, Banjo appeared in every game for the Packers, earning a role on special teams.

Banjo is likely to compete for one of the backup safety spots behind Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in 2015.

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Raiders work out Vic Beasley in South Carolina

Discover Orange Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Getty Images

The Raiders took linebacker Khalil Mack with the fifth pick in last year’s draft and it looks like they got a cornerstone for their defense to build around in the coming years.

That wasn’t enough to lift them past the fourth pick in this year’s draft, which they may use on a player to help Mack on that side of the ball. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. and other Raiders coaches travelled to South Carolina on Friday to work out Clemson’s all-time sack leader Vic Beasley.

The team sent linebackers coach Sal Sunseri and defensive line coach Jethro Franklin to the workout as they try to sort out how Beasley would best fit into their 4-3 scheme. Wherever they might line him up, Beasley has the kind of speed off the edge that the Raiders Defense could use as they try to drop to a lower draft position in 2016.

Rapoport adds that the Jaguars have also sent defensive line coach Todd Wash for another look at Beasley, which could leave the Raiders looking in another direction come the end of the month.

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49ers working on new deal for Michael Wilhoite

Aldon Smith AP

In early March, there were reports that the 49ers were shopping inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite to other teams.

Patrick Willis and Chris Borland announced their retirements a short time later, which bumped Wilhoite into a more prominent position with the team. It looks like he’s on track to get a contract to match that new status.

General Manager Trent Baalke said Friday that the team is working on a new deal for Wilhoite, who is an exclusive rights free agent. He hasn’t signed that tender, which would pay him $660,000 a year after he started all 16 games while Navorro Bowman and Willis missed time with injuries.

“We’re working on something with him as we speak … He’s kind of in a unique situation. He was kind of caught in a numbers deal,” Baalke said, via the San Francisco Chronicle.

If Wilhoite played out the year on his ERFA tender, he’d be in line to become a restricted free agent next year. With the change in circumstances for the 49ers, Wilhoite may not be going down that path.

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Tony Boselli’s son commits to Florida State

Boselli Getty Images

The son of Tony Boselli could be on his way to the NFL.

Via USA Today, Andrew Boselli has committed to Florida State.  A junior at Episcopal High School in Jacksonville, Boselli will be a member of the class of 2016.

“Coach [Rick] Trickett is just an offensive line coach — a technician — that knows how to teach,” Boselli said after visiting the school in February. “And they run a pro-style offense.  It’s a place that, if you want to go to the NFL, it a place you want to go.  They’ll teach you how to do it.”

Indeed they will.  With 18 players drafted in 2013 and 2014 combined, coach Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles are 10 draft picks in 2015 away from tying the three-year record for any school.

Elite high school football players play in college not because they want to but because they have to.  League rules, as validated by the NFLPA, prevent players from entering the draft until three years after the graduation of their high school class.  So the only choice is to play in college, and at college the players necessarily are majoring in football.

Why not select a school that is more likely to get the football player ready to play in the NFL? When the only compensation is the wholesale cost of an education (and snacks!), the least a college football program can do is prepare the player for the next level.

Tony Boselli played at USC, and he was the second overall pick in the 1995 draft.  A five-time Pro Bowler and three-time All Pro, Boselli was elected to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 1990s.

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Bruce Miller not attending 49ers offseason workouts

Bruce Miller AP

Last season, the 49ers drew criticism for their decision to allow defensive tackle Ray McDonald to keep playing after an August arrest on domestic violence charges.

Things are playing out a bit differently with fullback Bruce Miller following his March arrest on suspicion of spousal abuse. General Manager Trent Baalke said Friday that Miller isn’t taking part in the team’s offseason workouts and said the team will revisit his status as the case moves forward.

“Yeah, once again, they don’t have to be here at this stage in the season,” Baalke said, via CSNBayArea.com. “We sat down with Bruce and feel it’s very important for him to handle this situation and once it’s handled, we’ll move on from there.”

No charges have been filed in the Miller case at this time. The only mandatory practices before training camp come during the team’s June minicamp.

McDonald wasn’t charged in the domestic violence case, but wound up being released later in the season after being investigated for sexual assault.

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Tim Shaw: ALS weakens my body, not “my heart and mind”

Tim Shaw AP

Former NFL linebacker Tim Shaw, who announced in August he had been diagnosed with ALS, released a message Friday giving an update on how he was coping with the disease.

Shaw, who said he learned of his diagnosis one year ago Friday, signaled that while the disease had taken a toll on him, his resolve remained in tact.

“Today, tho my body struggles, my heart and mind grow stronger,” Shaw wrote on his Twitter account, posting a picture of him lifting a weight with his right arm.

The 32-year-old Shaw played seven NFL seasons, with his most extensive work with Tennessee from 2010 through 2012. Born in Exeter, England, Shaw played collegiately at Penn State.

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Dorial Green-Beckham visited Bengals, 49ers

2015 NFL Scouting Combine Getty Images

If draft prospects were judged on talent alone, wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham might be taken high in the first round.

The potential for off-field trouble is another factor, however, and Green-Beckham carries a lot of baggage. He was dismissed from the Missouri team after two drug arrests and a domestic violence allegation and then transferred to Oklahoma, but never played a game for the Sooners before declaring for the draft this year.

That makes it much harder to peg where Green-Beckham will land, but he’s drawing interest around the league. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Green-Beckham visited the Bengals on Thursday and also had a recent visit with the 49ers. They join the Vikings and Ravens as teams that have spent time with the wideout.

All of those teams could use a receiver of Green-Beckham’s ability, even if it might remain raw after two years of college experience. There are plenty of other teams in the same boat and one of them may make a bet that the ability outweighs the risk before the first night of the draft comes to an end.

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Ravens re-sign TE Phillip Supernaw

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

The Ravens have re-signed one of their reserve tight ends.

Phillip Supernaw, an exclusive-rights free agent, has signed his tender with the club, the team’s website said Friday.

The 25-year-old Supernaw appeared in six games for Baltimore in 2014, catching two passes for 27 yards. He previously had stints with Kansas City (2014) and Houston (2013).

Tight end could be a position the Ravens address in the draft after losing Owen Daniels to Denver and with Dennis Pitta coming off a second significant hip injury. If Pitta cannot recapture his best form, second-year pro Crockett Gillmore could be the top target at the position.

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NFL declines to clarify website article tampering exception

Adrian Getty Images

On Thursday, the Cowboys posted on their official website an article explaining why the team should be interested in Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.  Some wondered whether statements of interest in a player under contract with another team violates the tampering rules.

At first blush, it seemed clear that there was no violation, based on this language from the Anti-Tampering Policy:  “Articles that appear on the website of a club that identify prospective free agents that the team might be interested in, or that rate prospective free agents, shall not be considered violations of the Anti-Tampering Policy unless they include a direct quote or expression of interest by an employee of the club (other than the author of the article) about a specific player.”

But as multiple readers quickly pointed out, Peterson isn’t a “prospective free agent”; he’s under contract with the Vikings for three more years.  So PFT asked the NFL for clarification on the question of whether the website article exception to the tampering policy encompasses Peterson, who won’t be a free agent for three years.

“We do not have a comment,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email.

Absent clarification from the league, it remains unclear whether a team-owned website may write articles expressing interest in players under contract with other teams who are not “prospective free agents,” and it remains unclear what constitutes a “prospective free agent.”

For those of you who think this is part of an anti-Cowboys vendetta (because some of the fans of any team we scrutinize in any way automatically assume we’re motivated solely by hatred of said team), the Cowboys aren’t alone in this boat.  Last month the Cardinals’ website had an article containing quotes from receiver Larry Fitzgerald regarding the potential addition of Peterson.

We can already hear the “why do you hate the Cardinals?” emails being typed.

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After losing Gore, 49ers talk up Hunter and Hyde

Kendall Hunter AP

Before the start of free agency, the 49ers thought they would keep running back Frank Gore. As it turned out, Gore left to sign with the Colts.

But the 49ers feel good about two running backs who have stayed in San Francisco.

San Francisco General Manager Trent Baalke has talked up running backs Kendall Hunter and Carlos Hyde as both looking ready to play a big part in the 49ers’ offense this season. Hunter missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in training camp, but Baalke said Hunter has worked hard to get ready to go for this year’s camp.

He has progressed very well,” Baalke said, via NBCBayArea.com. “Talk about a guy that works. . . . He’s a grinder.”

And Baalke told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that Hyde has slimmed down to his lowest weight since he was an underclassman at Ohio State. Baalke described Hyde as looking “extremely good.”

If Hyde and Hunter are as good as Baalke thinks, and if Reggie Bush has something left, the 49ers may be in good shape at running back. Even after losing one of the best they’ve ever had in Gore.

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Which quarterback will take the most snaps for the Browns this year?

Browns AP

The Browns will be wearing new uniforms this year, but it’s still unclear which quarterback will be taking the snaps when the real games start.

So which quarterback will take the most snaps this year?  That’s the subject for today’s Pro Football Talk on NBCSN poll question.

Answer the question and then dial us up at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, which will take a closer look at the news of the day and also ponder the draft plans of the Patriots and the Seahawks.

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Report: Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall had foot surgery

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Getty Images

The Broncos re-signed linebacker Brandon Marshall as an exclusive rights free agent last week, which was an easy decision for them after Marshall put together a strong 2014 season while starting 13 games.

The time Marshall missed came late in the season when he was diagnosed with a foot sprain. He returned for the playoff loss to the Colts, but it appears that the foot issue wasn’t totally resolved.

Vic Lombardi of CBS4 in Denver reports that Marshall had foot surgery last month. Lombardi adds that Marshall should be ready for training camp, although missing time this offseason could impact how quickly he’ll be able to make the move from outside linebacker in last year’s 4-3 look to playing on the inside of Wade Phillips’s defense.

He’ll be playing next to Danny Trevathan, who is coming off an injury-wrecked season thanks to three knee injuries that limited him to three games. He says, via the team’s website, he’s back to 100 percent now, however, and plans on the 2015 season being “a big comeback for me.”

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