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Report: Mark Sanchez hasn’t decided whether to have surgery

AP

When it comes to news about the quarterback position on the New York Jets, nothing is ever straightforward.

So it should come as no surprise that a few hours after news broke that Mark Sanchez had decided to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery, another report emerged to contradict the initial report.

The new report comes from Chris Mortensen of ESPN, who says Sanchez still has not abandoned his goals for rehabilitating his shoulder and has no definite plans for surgery yet. The initial report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network said that while Sanchez might want to give rehab one more try, he knows that surgery is coming.

Regardless of whether Sanchez has actually decided to have surgery or not, what’s clear is this: Sanchez and the Jets are ready to move on from each other. Although it’s still theoretically possible that Sanchez could return for the second half of the season, there’s almost no chance of that happening. The next time we see Sanchez will be in 2014, with some other team.

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John Elway mum on Joe Mixon’s status

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Pre-draft press conferences usually don’t result in much useful draft information, given the competitive and secretive nature of the process. On Monday, Broncos executive V.P. of football operations and General Manager John Elway was extra secretive about the team’s assessment of one of the most controversial prospects in the draft class.

After declining to say whether running back Joe Mixon is or isn’t on the team’s draft board, Elway provided this vague assessment of the team’s evaluation of the former Oklahoma running back’s character: “We’re still evaluating that. Obviously, that’s an issue and it’s something that we’re continuing to look at while getting as much background as we can on Joe to see where he may fall for us.”

Elway also provided a general, and generally positive, assessment of the team’s meeting with Mixon.

“We had a good meeting with him,” Elway said. “There’s no question. I didn’t get a chance to spend a lot of time with him, but I had a meeting with him. We went through the whole process and what happened. I’m sure he had been through it several times. But for us to be able to hear it from him, and what happened — we went through all that.”

Whether any of that makes the Broncos more or less likely to pick Mixon remains to be unseen. Unlike other teams, however, the current ownership situation in Denver gives Elway more leeway than other football executives may have. The Broncos currently don’t have a single owner in the classic sense, with a small committee running the franchise until one of the children of Pat Bowlen emerges as ready and able to take over.

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Mike Maccagnan: Interest in QBs isn’t referendum on Christian Hackenberg

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The Jets used a second-round pick on quarterback Christian Hackenberg last year, but that decision doesn’t appear to have taken quarterbacks off the table for an early pick in this year’s draft.

The Jets have spent time with the top prospects in this year’s class and the sixth pick in the draft leaves them in prime position to add one of them to the roster on Thursday night. General Manager Mike Maccagnan wasn’t tipping his hand in any direction during a press conference on Monday, but he did say that the time the Jets were spending with quarterbacks over the last month was not a sign that they were writing off Hackenberg.

“I know it’s like: If this happens, then this must be the case,” Maccagnan said, via NJ.com. “I don’t think it’s a referendum on one or another player. I think it’s: Until you’re in a position where you feel [good] with where you’re at — and we’re not at that position yet. But we may be. Time will tell.”

Maccagnan’s hardly the first to espouse that philosophy and, as he shared Monday, former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf shared his belief in drafting a quarterback every year while interviewing Maccagnan as a Jets consultant in 2015.

Time will also tell whether the Jets are making the sixth pick or not, of course. They’re reportedly interested in trading down and their spot could move as they try to stockpile picks to reseed a roster that’s in need of help in several spots this offseason.

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Adrian Peterson to Saints doesn’t make much sense, for Peterson

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It’s obvious why the Saints would want Adrian Peterson. It’s not obvious why Adrian Peterson would want the Saints. Unless, of course, no one else wants Peterson.

But even if no other team currently is offering Peterson $3 million or so per year, his likely role (Mark Ingram reportedly would still be the lead back) and the perceived ability of the team to help Peterson finish his career with a Super Bowl win (the Saints have three straight 7-9 seasons in a division that produced the last two NFC champions) suggests that Peterson’s better move would be to watch and to wait. Injuries are inevitable, especially at the tailback position. If a short-list contender loses its starting running back for an extended stretch (like the Vikings did last year in Week Two when Peterson tore a meniscus), Peterson instantly has leverage along with an opportunity to become a key contributor for a team that could be playing in February.

But it’s possible that the Saints have put the hard sell on Peterson, with coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees persuading Peterson that the Saints may be ready to party like it’s 2009, the season that saw New Orleans take down Peterson and the Vikings en route to a Super Bowl victory.

Regardless, the decision seems a little hasty from Peterson’s perspective. While that could be end up being very good for the Saints, it could end up being a mistake for the player.

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Time of testing a factor in assessing credibility of diluted sample excuse

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Every player who attends the Scouting Combine must submit to drug testing. With two of the players who were tested at the Scouting Combine in 2017 generating positive tests via diluted samples, there’s an important point to keep in mind when deciding whether the explanation for the failed drug test passes the smell test.

The samples are collected very early in the morning, with the players often getting the “wakey wakey” business before doing their business into a cup. So the diluted samples either resulted from a player drinking huge amounts of water before going to be and then: (1) failing asleep with a rapidly-filling bladder; and (2) sleeping through the night with a very full bladder, or from a guy waking up early and drinking copious amounts of water in order to ensure that certain substances won’t be detected in the sample.

The statement issued on behalf of former Michigan defensive back Jabrill Peppers accounts for this dynamic by pointing out that the player “was being pumped with fluids, drinking 8-10 bottles of water before he went to bed, because he was the first guy to work out two days for the LBs and DBs.”

Is it possible he actually drank that much water before going to sleep, fell asleep with that much water in his system, and slept through the night without having to get up to unload most of the 8-10 bottles of water before proving a sample that wasn’t dilute? Sure. But it’s also possible that Foster, Peppers, and anyone else who generated a test sufficiently dilute to be regarded as an effort to beat the test deliberately ingested extra water to ensure that any banned substances would be undetectable in a sample of urine that had been overloaded with water.

Either way, teams that pick either guy will have to assume the risk that the players failed their first major football-or-banned-substance test, and that they’ll fail enough of the various future football-or-banned-substance tests to come to result in their inability to play football.

Should it be this way, with teams testing player urine to determine what they’re doing on their own personal time? Nope. But until the rule changes, the players need to be able to pass the test.

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Bills won’t match Mike Gillislee offer sheet from Patriots

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The Patriots have done it to the Bills again, but at least this time Buffalo gets something for it.

The Bills announced they won’t match the restricted free agent offer sheet the Patriots gave running back Mike Gillislee, the second year in a row the Pats have snagged one of their RFAs.

While wide receiver Chris Hogan netted them no compensation, the Bills will get New England’s fifth-round pick (163rd overall) for Gillislee.

The Patriots signed him to a two-year deal with $6.4 million, but the deal was front-loaded to make it harder to match. The Bills could have kept a productive back for the difference of about $1 million with a higher tender offer.

Gillislee averaged 5.7 yards per carry last year and scored eight touchdowns, and he could be the replacement for veteran free agent LeGarrette Blount, who hasn’t signed.

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Steelers pick up the 2018 option for Ryan Shazier

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The Steelers lost one linebacker this offseason, so they’re making sure to hang onto another key part.

According to Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com, Pittsburgh’s picking up the fifth-year option on linebacker Ryan Shazier’s contract.

Shazier has become a key part of their defense, so it was #asexpected that they’d hang onto him.

But after losing Lawrence Timmons to the Dolphins in free agency, having another year of cost-certainty at the position was even more important.

Shazier had 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and three interceptions last season. He also played in a career-high 13 games last season, missing three with a knee problem.

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Report: Adrian Peterson, Saints closing in on deal

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Word came Monday that the Saints and running back Adrian Peterson are still talking about a contract and they reportedly are moving toward doing more than that.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the two sides are “closing in” on a deal that would put Peterson in a Saints uniform for the 2017 season. Per the report, the deal would be for $3 million-plus.

There’s no word on when things may move from closing in to closed, although the draft may provide some impetus to get things done sooner rather than later. The Saints would likely want to know if they need to add a running back at some point this week as they are thin at the spot beyond Mark Ingram and signing a deal now would keep Peterson from losing out on possible landing spots due to how the draft unfolds.

If the Saints do sign Peterson, he’ll see some familiar faces in his first regular season game with his new team as last week’s schedule announcement revealed the Saints and Vikings will square off on the first Monday night of the year.

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Scott Campbell admits Scot McCloughan’s influence on draft board

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At some point after the Senior Bowl and before the Scouting Combine, Washington decided to get rid of G.M. Scot McCloughan. The team didn’t get rid of his work.

“Well, he certainly had influence on it because we all met as we always did the last couple of years and every team does,” Washington director of college scouting Scott Campbell told reporters on Monday. “You meet right after the all-star games before you go to the Combine and kind of get an initial ranking of how you like the guys. Of course, Scot hadn’t been here since, so just like when he was here before, there’s adjustments being made to the board with the new information. We did that with Scot also, so it’s not just like we use that information then we’re done and we’re just sitting around waiting for the draft. There’s still information being done, information added and guys are being moved up and down with the information. Certainly his influence is there from the initial boards.”

The final board won’t be determined with the benefit of McCloughan’s input. But plenty of other people will have their fingerprints on the final configuration of rankings.

“Bruce [Allen] will be involved, definitely, and Jay [Gruden], of course,” Campbell said. “Everyone will be involved in the final Redskin grade at the end of the day. And the goal is to not have panic on draft day. You want to have all that stuff. . . . You don’t want to have a brand new argument break out right there before you’re picking. That’s ridiculous. I’ve never seen that happen in any team I’ve been with. It’s all been worked out, hashed out. The argument’s already been had, because really by then it’s too late.”

It’s definitely too late to erase McCloughan’s influence on the draft class, or to keep him from sharing that influence with other teams, if he so chooses. The smarter move would have been to find a way to keep McCloughan around through the draft, but there isn’t much about how the team handled McCloughan’s situation that objectively could be referred to as “smart.”

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Chargers plan to exercise Jason Verrett’s 2018 option

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Four years from now, we’ll be talking about whether or not teams will exercise their fifth-year options on this year’s first-round picks.

If the Chargers hit on their top pick, they likely won’t be spending much time mulling that question. They feel they hit in the first round in 2014 when they drafted cornerback Jason Verrett and General Manager Tom Telesco said on Monday that the team plans to exercise the 2018 option on his contract.

Any doubt the Chargers might have about exercising the option likely comes from his injury history. Verrett has played at a high level, but has missed 24 games because of injuries. The most recent was a torn ACL in the fourth week of last season and Verrett also missed 10 games as a rookie due to a torn labrum.

His option for 2018 is guaranteed against injury and the Chargers certainly hope that won’t wind up being an issue when the 2017 season comes to an end.

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Joey Bosa at Chargers workouts Monday

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Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco held his pre-draft press conference on Monday and most of the time was spent painting the same broad strokes about the team’s plans for later this week that you hear from every team at this point in the year.

Telesco did provide one newsworthy item about the team’s top pick from last year during the session, however. Telesco said that defensive end Joey Bosa was at the team’s workout on Monday after missing the first few weeks of the voluntary offseason program.

“He was in this morning so I think we’re all good there,” Telesco said.

Bosa was working out on his own the last few weeks and his play last year after missing a much larger period of time while negotiating his contract showed that being away from the team didn’t hold him back too much. That should make his temporary absence this year a distant memory by the time the start of the 2017 season arrives.

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Joe Montana wants street named in his honor to bear Dwight Clark’s name, too

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San Francisco announced on Sunday that 49ers Hall of Famer Joe Montana will have a street named in his honor. But Montana doesn’t want to be alone.

Montana said he wants his receiver Dwight Clark, who caught The Catch from Montana in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, to be honored as well. So at a ceremony recognizing Montana, he asked that “Joe Montana Drive” be named “Montana-Clark Drive” as well.

Clark was recently diagnosed with ALS, but Montana said he knew he wanted to do something to honor Clark before the diagnosis. Montana said that his wife has been telling him that he needs to do something to show how special Clark has been to him.

“She has a great feel and a great sense for these things,” Montana said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “She’s been through my life and through my career. . . . and she knows Dwight was a special guy for me from Day One.”

Still, Montana isn’t above giving his teammate some ribbing.

“When his name goes up on here, they could lower the speed limit,” Montana said. “Because we know Dwight wasn’t very fast.”

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Jerry Jones: Tony Romo situation worked out as well as possible

AP

The Cowboys took their time after the end of the 2016 season before releasing Tony Romo earlier this month and he’ll be moving on to a job in the CBS broadcast booth alongside Jim Nantz.

There was some criticism directed toward Cowboys owner Jerry Jones for the amount of time they took as the process played out, but Romo expressed no animosity toward Jones when he moved on to his new career. Jones is also feeling good about how things wound up.

During a press conference on Monday, Jones said the situation “worked out as well as it possibly could.” Some of that feeling likely comes from Romo moving into a job he could fill for a long time if he proves to be a strong commentator, but Jones also made it clear that he’s happy not to have to play against Romo.

“Yes. I think if he were [playing for someone else] they would be real competition for us this year,” Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News.

The Cowboys will have plenty of competition as they try to build on last year’s success, but it seems that the only threat Romo will pose to them is well-delivered barbs during a couple of their regular season games.

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Seahawks G.M.: “Moved past” Richard Sherman trade talks

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While we’re still waiting to see what Marshawn Lynch decides to do, it appears we’ve reached some degree of finality to the Richard Sherman trade talk.

Seahawks General Manager John Schneider told reporters today that cornerback Richard Sherman was on hand at the team’s facility for offseason workouts, and that any previous trade talks seem to be over.

Right now we’ve kind of moved past it,” Schneider said, via Stephen Cohen of SeattlePI.com. “If someone calls and goes crazy with something, we’ll discuss it.”

The Seahawks were upfront about their willingness to part ways with the cornerback throughout, and Schneider left himself some wiggle room.

But given the drama of their relationship over the last year, it will still be interesting to monitor their next moves, specifically if they draft young corners this week.

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Jabrill Peppers tests positive for a dilute sample

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NFL teams now have more questions about Jabrill Peppers than what position he’ll play.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Michigan hybrid safety tested positive for a dilute sample at the Scouting Combine.

And just like Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, Peppers got out in front of the news by claiming he was overly hydrated in a statement sent out by his agency CAA.

“Peppers went to the combine, the statement read. “He was sick after flying there from San Diego. He has a history of cramping. Peppers was being pumped with fluids, drinking 8-10 bottles of water before he went to bed, because he was the first guy to work out two days for the LBs and DBs. He had to go through that first day, come back on second day, and that was the fear. So Peppers was pounding water and under the weather. He never failed a drug test in his life, nor tested positive before for any substance.”

While that’s very possibly true, it’s also irrelevant in the context of the NFL’s testing program, which treats dilute samples as failed tests.

To what degree it impacts his draft stock remains to be seen.

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Davis Webb has no qualms about letting NFL teams determine his destination

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Quarterback Davis Webb began his college career by choosing Texas Tech. It worked at first, with Webb beating out Baker Mayfield, who opted to transfer to Oklahoma. Then came Patrick Mahomes, who won the starting job at Texas Tech. Webb then opted to transfer to Cal.

So Webb has seen the power of the player at the college level, where the decisions are made by the participants in football and not by the teams. He still has no qualms about the NFL’s system of dividing up talent based not on what the player wants but what the teams want. He expressed his position on the matter during a Monday visit to PFT Live.

Webb said plenty more about his preparation for the NFL, his desire to get to offseason workouts as soon as possible, and his interest in eventually becoming a coach. Through it all, a strong love of the sport came through. Which should make him more attractive to the teams that are considering him.

The Chiefs, Jets, and Seahawks have brought him in for a visit, and the 49ers have worked him out. Webb said that more information about other visits and workouts will be coming later in the week.

Even later in the week, he’ll have his first NFL team. And he’ll quickly get to work for whoever that is.

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