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PFT’s Week Five picks

Luck AP

The gap has been narrowed from three games to two, thanks to 10-5 showing last week.  The good news for MDS, who went a mere 9-6, was that he had his first hole in one of the year, picking the Seahawks to beat the Texans by the score of 23-20.  (I’d be really impressed if he also predicted overtime.)

For the year, MDS leads with a mark of 43-20, or 68.2 percent.  I’m closing in on him with a 41-22 mark, which equates to 65 percent.

This week, we disagree on 21.4 percent of the games.  Read on for our takes and our picks.

Bills at Browns

MDS’s take: Browns fever is sweeping the nation! OK, that’s a slight overstatement, but this team is playing very well, especially on defense, where new coordinator Ray Horton deserves an enormous amount of credit. Cleveland will beat Buffalo and improve to 3-0 since allegedly giving up on the season by trading Trent Richardson.

MDS’s pick: Browns 17, Bills 14.

Florio’s take:  The Bills are too banged up and the Browns, two weeks after they supposedly abandoned their season, are too strong on defense and sufficiently competent on offense to lose.  With two home wins only four days apart, they’ll soon have to call it the Factory of Gladness.

Florio’s pick:  Browns 20, Bills 14.

Saints at Bears

MDS’s take: The Bears’ defense is missing Henry Melton and struggled against Detroit’s offense last week. This week an even better New Orleans offense is heading to Chicago, and the Bears’ defense will struggle again.

MDS’s pick: Saints 28, Bears 24.

Florio’s take:  The Saints are much improved, but they’re still not the same team when they exit the Superdome.  The winless Bucs nearly beat them in Tampa; the much better Bears will finish the job on the choppy turf of Soldier Field.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 24, Saints 21.

Patriots at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Patriots will miss Vince Wilfork’s presence on the defensive line. Look for Bengals running back Giovani Bernard to have a big day as the Patriots suffer their first loss of the season.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 21, Patriots 20.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals are learning how to be a good team.  A week after failing to win a game they should have, the Bengals find a way to prevail in a contest many assume they’ll lose.  And down goes another of the undefeated.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 27, Patriots 24.

Lions at Packers

MDS’s take: The Lions have lost 22 in a row in Green Bay. The last time the Lions beat the Packers on the road, it was 1991 and the starting quarterbacks in the game were Erik Kramer and Mike Tomczak. The Lions are just not very good at Lambeau Field. The streak will continue for another year.

MDS’s pick: Packers 27, Lions 20.

Florio’s take:  Earlier this year, the Lions won for the first time ever in Washington.  And now it could be time to win in Green Bay for the first time since the year before Brett Favre arrived.  But the Packers are rested and ready and healed (for the most part) after a bye week.  More importantly, they’re desperate to avoid a 1-3 start to the season.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 31, Lions 24.

Seahawks at Colts

MDS’s take: The Seahawks tend to struggle on the road, and the Colts are playing excellent football, looking even better than last year’s surprise playoff team. So my head is telling me to pick Indianapolis. But my gut is telling me Russell Wilson is going to have an easier time finding open receivers in the Colts’ secondary than Andrew Luck will have finding open receivers in the Seahawks’ secondary, and that will be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 28, Colts 27.

Florio’s take
:  Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton won’t be allowing former Stanford cornerback (and receiver) Richard Sherman to spot any tendencies or tells this week.  If the Colts can outscore the 49ers by 20 in their own building, the Colts can outscore the Seahawks by at least one at home.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 24, Seahawks 23.

Ravens at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Perhaps it’s premature, four weeks into the season, to say this about the defending Super Bowl champion. But I just don’t think the Ravens are a very good team. The Dolphins’ defense had plenty of flaws on display in Monday night’s loss to the Saints, but the Ravens’ suspect offensive line is going to make it easy for the Dolphins to get to Joe Flacco.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 31, Ravens 17.

Florio’s take:  In 2007, the Dolphins got their only win of the season against the Ravens.  This year, it will be one of a lot more than one.  While it’s too early to write off Baltimore, it’s too late to consider them a viable candidate to knock off the improved Dolphins in Miami.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 27, Ravens 20.

Eagles at Giants

MDS’s take: Other than the first half of Week One, the Eagles haven’t looked particularly good this season. But the Giants have looked downright awful. The NFC East is such a bad division that even at 0-4 the Giants aren’t out of it yet, but they’ll drop to 0-5 on Sunday.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 27, Giants 17.

Florio’s take:  Forget the 0-4 record.  The Giants are only two games out of first place, and they can pull to within one with a win over Philly and a Dallas loss to the Broncos.  Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning finally find a way to a win.  (And I’ll keep saying that until they finally do.)

Florio’s pick:  Giants 27, Eagles 19.

Jaguars at Rams

MDS’s take: I’d pick anyone to beat the Jaguars. Easily. This Jacksonville team is as bad an NFL team as I’ve ever seen, and I remember the 2008 Lions well.

MDS’s pick: Rams 34, Jaguars 17.

Florio’s take:  What’s more likely, the Broncos going 16-0 or the Jaguars going 0-16?  This week, we’ll remain on track for “both.”

Florio’s pick:  Rams 27, Jaguars 10.

Chiefs at Titans

MDS’s take: In this matchup of two surprise AFC playoff contenders, I probably would have picked Tennessee if Jake Locker were healthy. But with Locker out, the Chiefs will improve to 5-0. Who saw that coming?

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Titans 14.

Florio’s take:  Alex Smith gets his first crack at a Gregg Williams defense since proof emerged of Williams telling his players to hurt Smith.  The bigger problem for the Titans is that quarterback Jake Locker is hurt.  So which Ryan Fitzpatrick shows up — the one from before he got paid by the Bills, or after?

Florio’s pick
:  Chiefs 21, Titans 17.

Panthers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Panthers won’t catch the Saints in the NFC South, and the Cardinals won’t catch the Seahawks in the NFC West. But the winner of this game will have to feel like it’s in very good position to emerge as an NFC wild card contender. I think it’s going to be the Panthers, who have an offense that’s capable of putting a lot of points on the board. I don’t see Arizona’s offense keeping up.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 31, Cardinals 17.

Florio’s take:  For Carolina, the bye week makes many forget a dominant performance against the Giants.  Not me.  The defense is clicking and the offense is doing enough to outpace a better-than-expected Arizona team in its own building.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 24, Cardinals 21.

Broncos at Cowboys

MDS’s take: This is the flip side of what I said earlier about the Jaguars: I’d pick the Broncos to beat anyone. (Although I’d probably have to think long and hard about it if they played at Seattle.) The Broncos are the best team in football and will improve to 5-0, while the Cowboys will fall to 2-3, which in the NFC East is still good enough for first place.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 35, Cowboys 21.

Florio’s take:  Jerry Jones wants Tony Romo to be Peyton Manning.  Tony Romo is no Peyton Manning.  Jerry Jones will get to see it up close on Sunday.  To his dismay.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 42, Cowboys 24.

Chargers at Raiders

MDS’s take: In the midnight special, Philip Rivers will put up big numbers against a suspect Raiders defense. The winners will be the Chargers and the losers will be any fans who stay up to watch the whole game and have to be at work on Monday morning.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 28, Raiders 20.

Florio’s takeTerrelle Pryor has created hope for the Raiders, but that doesn’t mean there will be wins.  The Chargers are the better team on both sides of the ball, and quarterback Philip Rivers is reminding everyone that he’s still a franchise quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 26, Raiders 20.

Texans at 49ers

MDS’s take: This is a big one for two teams that entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations and are now looking up at better teams in their own divisions. San Francisco’s defense will miss Aldon Smith, but they’ll still be able to get enough pressure on Matt Schaub to force him into another disappointing game.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 24, Texans 20.

Florio’s take:  A pair of Super Bowl contenders that have failed to meet expectations meet in San Francisco with the expectation that the 49ers will win.  Expect that to happen, with the Niners sticking with a smash-mouth attack and the Texans sliding under .500 — and possibly two games out of first place in the AFC South.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Texans 17.

Jets at Falcons

MDS’s take: Geno Smith may develop into a good quarterback eventually, but right now he’s a mess, and Monday night he’s going to have a particularly tough time when playing with a depleted receiving corps. The Jets’ defense is good enough to keep this game low scoring, but the Falcons will force multiple turnovers and control this game.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 17, Jets 6.

Florio’s take:  The surprisingly 1-3 Falcons host the surprisingly 2-2 Jets in a game with an outcome that will surprise no one.  Folks who stayed up late to watch Chargers-Raiders will get to catch up on their sleep by turning in at halftime, and in the morning they’ll find out whether the Falcons once again blew a big lead.  What has two thumbs and thinks they won’t?

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 42, Jets 17.

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Lovie Smith “pretty pleased” with Da’Quan Bowers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Getty Images

During the offseason, Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith said that defensive end Da’Quan Bowersneeds to prove” that he’s good enough to have a role on the Tampa defense in the 2014 season.

Bowers had no argument with the coach’s assessment and Smith said Thursday that the early results from training camp have been promising for the 2011 second-round pick. Smith said that he has been “pretty pleased” with what he’s seen from Bowers, particularly his ability to play both inside and outside on the defensive line.

“He could help us quite a bit because, as a general rule, we’ll [dress] three [tackles] and three ends and we’ll want our seventh [lineman] to be able to play both inside and out,” Smith said, via the Tampa Tribune. “And that’s what you have in Da’Quan. He’s right in between — big enough to rush inside on third downs and a good anchor outside on first down. So he gives us some flexibility. And I know he’s been injured a lot, but he hasn’t missed a beat since I’ve been here.”

Bowers will need to stay healthy and keep his motor high if he’s going to continue to earn playing time on Tampa’s defensive line this season, but it certainly seems to be there for the taking if he’s able to tap into the talent that made him such a high pick in the first place.

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Jones-Drew finds it “hilarious” that people think he’s getting old

mjd AP

Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew is 29 years old and coming off a 2013 season in which he had a career-low 3.4 yards a carry and never looked like he was all the way back to full speed after a foot injury cut short his 2012 season. But he insists that he’s not getting old.

In fact, Jones-Drew thinks it’s “hilarious” that some people don’t think he has what it takes to carry the load in the Raiders’ offense.

“I know what I have left,” Jones-Drew told the San Jose Mercury-News. “I know the work I put in this offseason to get to where I need to get to be able to play at a high level. I stopped worrying about what people were saying.”

Jones-Drew is competing with Darren McFadden for the starting job in Oakland. Although McFadden is only 26, he appears to be slowing down just as much as Jones-Drew: McFadden has been plagued by injuries and averaged just 3.3 yards a carry in each of the last two seasons.

The Raiders need one of those running backs to get back to full speed. If both of them are up to speed, Oakland may have one of the better 1-2 punches in the backfield. But given their recent performances, fans can be forgiven if they think the thought of the Raiders having a great offense is hilarious.

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Tom Brady likes the challenge of Pats’ new secondary

Tom Brady AP

Things are getting a little more heated in Patriots practices, with a new secondary making things a little harder for the offense.

And while quarterback Tom Brady’s a perfectionist, he knows having Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis working over his receivers is making them better.

I think that’s what defenses do,” Brady said, via Tom Curran of CSNNE.com. “We’ll go into games and say, ‘Look, these guys hold on every play. They grab you, they clutch you, they hold you, but we still have to figure out a way to get open. It’s not flag football. Their hands are going to be on you, and the refs, they’re only going to call it when you pass the limit of where they think the limit is.’ ”

The Patriots were strafed by the Broncos last year in the AFC Championship Game, and then watched the Seahawks outmuscle the Broncos in the Super Bowl. So that was a not-subtle reminder to a defense that has traditionally played off receivers more often.

“I think all of those guys are veterans,” Brady said. “They know how to get away with certain plays. Like [offensive] holding for example – it happens every play, so if you look close enough you’re going to find holding. There is an edge that you can always push it to. If you look at the offensive line, there’s holding on every play. That’s just the way football is. You’ve just got to do it in a way where the refs don’t see it and don’t call it. But that same thing goes for the defensive backfield. If there is a way to gain leverage on a particular route then you’re going to use it. The veterans know how to do it better; they know right where the limit is.”

And that’s testing the limits of Brady’s patience in practice, even if he knows they’ll be better for it.

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John Mara: Giants planned for not having David Wilson

Rashad Jennings AP

There’s a lot of pessimism around the Giants when it comes to running back David Wilson’s chances of playing this season after he suffered a burner in one of his first practices after getting cleared to return to action after spinal fusion surgery, but not a lot of surprise.

The long wait for Wilson to get clearance and the nature of his injury gave the team plenty of reason to plan for the possibility that Wilson would not be part of the mix. Co-owner John Mara said it would have been foolish for the team to proceed any other way.

“I think given what he went through, the surgery he went through, it would have been foolish not to be [prepared],” Mara said on ESPN Radio, via the Newark Star-Ledger. “We signed Rashad Jennings, we drafted Andre Williams, we signed Peyton Hillis again, so we do have some depth there. We have Michael Cox there, so someone is going to have to step up and do it now. Rashad Jennings is a good NFL running back and Peyton Hillis has been a good NFL running back and we’ve got some good young guys behind them, so we do have some depth.”

None of those backs have the same speed and big-play threat that Wilson brings to the table, but Mara’s words suggest that the Giants were looking at those things as a bonus for the coming season. It looks like Jennings will be the starter with Hillis serving as his backup and Williams challenging for short-yardage and goal-line work as a rookie. It isn’t the most imposing group, but may not have to be if Eli Manning and the passing game get back on track.

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Tony Romo might not play in preseason opener

Tony Romo

Even though Dr. Jerry Jones has proclaimed Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo100 percent,” it’s far from certain he’ll play a full preseason schedule.

Via Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com, Romo said he will play at some point in the preseason, though he’s not sure if he was going to suit up for the Aug. 7 opener against the Chargers.

“You’re constantly evaluating it and you’re constantly, I don’t want to say adjusting because you stick to the plan, but it’s a progression,” Romo said. “It’s leading up to San Francisco [regular season opener]. I am going to play in the preseason, obviously. I think it’s important. The first game, we’ll talk about it as we move into the weekend.”

Romo’s getting periodic days off after offseason back surgery, and everyone says he’s going to be fine. He said it was more of a matter of adapting to a new routine of strengthening his back and supporting muscles,

“It’s just a little unknown so you’d rather play it safe than be silly and just go out and do everything over and over again and all of a sudden have to sit out for a week or so,” Romo said. “I think more than anything we’re playing the long game and I think that’s smart.”

It’s probably early to start the panic, as he didn’t play in last year’s preseason opener either. But until he proves the owner right and shows that he’s 100 percent, it’s reasonable have concern.

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Difference of opinion on Lynch fines

Lynch AP

There’s no dispute that Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch returned to the fold on Thursday with an adjusted contract that moves money around but gives him no new dollars, in theory.  (It nevertheless makes $1 million a lot easier to earn, and nudges $500,000 from 2015 to 2014.)

In contrast, there’s a sharp dispute over whether Lynch’s fines in the amount of $30,000 per day will be collected.  One source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT the fines will be forgiven.  Another source with direct knowledge of the situation tells PFT the fines won’t be forgiven.

As former Steelers receiver Hines Ward said in June on NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk, teams routinely opt not to enforce the fines associated with training-camp holdouts.  For his own holdout in 2005, Ward said that the team did not collect the money.

Any no-fine arrangement typically entails a no-talk-about-the-no-fine provision, which ensures that other players don’t believe they’ll be able to stay away from training camp without consequence.

In this case, with the Seahawks very concerned about the precedent that would be set by giving Lynch a new contract only two years into his current one, the Seahawks are likely just as concerned about the precedent that would be set by giving Lynch a pass on his fines.

Bottom line?  The Seahawks are forgiving the fines, unless they aren’t.

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Texans add a pair, including former Panthers fourth-rounder

Joe Adams AP

As training camps drag into their second week, teams find themselves needing cover at certain positions.

According to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans signed wide receiver Joe Adams and offensive tackle Brice Schwab.

Schwab spent time with the Bucs and on the Patriots practice squad, while Adams has a little more pedigree.

A former Panthers fourth-round pick from Arkansas, he had explosive return ability, but also treated the ball like it was about to explode. That fumbling problem led him to the CFL, where he played for Edmonton.

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Julio Jones on contract: I want to make Falcons want me for rest of my career

Julio Jones AP

The Falcons and wide receiver Roddy White agreed on a contract extension this summer that will likely keep White in a Falcons uniform until he’s done playing.

Julio Jones would like to see his career end the same way. The Falcons exercised their fifth-year option on Jones’ rookie deal, so they’re not at risk of losing him before the end of the 2015 season. That means there’s not a tremendous amount of urgency to get an extension done right now and Jones says he’ll use the time to offer more arguments in favor of keeping him in Atlanta for the long term.

“That’s on them to decide. I just have to come here and show up and work every day. I’ve got to make them feel like they want me here for the remainder of my career. The only thing I can do is keep working and keep my nose clean and just do the right things,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “When it comes, I’ll deserve it. I don’t like anybody giving me anything. I like to work hard for everything I get.”

If Jones makes a full return from last year’s foot injury, it is hard to imagine the Falcons letting him go at any point in the near future.

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Friday morning one-liners

Tim Jennings AP

The Bills only have two healthy tight ends for the Hall of Fame Game.

Shelley Smith is trying to learn a couple of positions on the Dolphins offensive line.

The Patriots offense hopes to benefit from facing a physical defense in practice every day.

Jets T D’Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold have forged a strong bond after entering the league together.

Fitzgerald Toussaint looked good on punt returns for the Ravens in Thursday’s practice.

Strong practice performance is key for players hoping to get a shot on special teams with the Bengals.

S Jim Leonhard just signed with the Browns for what he expects will be his final NFL season.

LB Terrence Garvin hopes versatility earns him a role with the Steelers.

Texans RB Jonathan Grimes and LB Trevardo Williams were cleared to practice on Thursday.

The Colts are short on experience on the interior of their offensive line.

Jaguars S Winston Guy says that he’s learned from his mistakes.

The Titans cranked up the noise during practice for the first time this summer.

Broncos players and coaches got a rules review from officials on Thursday.

Can Cairo Santos beat out Ryan Succop for the Chiefs kicker job?

Chimdi Chekwa has stepped in at cornerback for the Raiders with D.J. Hayden injured.

S Eric Weddle thinks he has seen the Chargers secondary take strides this summer.

G Ronald Leary has started practicing for the Cowboys.

If David Wilson is out, it could create opportunities for Giants RB Michael Cox.

The Eagles won’t have great depth on the offensive line early in the season.

Things are blander around the Redskins this year.

Bears CB Tim Jennings is battling a quad injury.

Said Lions C Dominic Raiola of the offensive line, “Who are you? Are you going to be the same group? Because now, if we fall off any, we’re going to hear it. So we have to keep our level of play up there or better, because we don’t want to be the group that holds this team back.”

The Packers are looking for more production from their recent first-round picks.

Kain Colter is trying to catch on as a punt returner with the Vikings.

Falcons LB Pat Angerer will miss some time with a concussion.

C Ryan Kalil has taken over as the leader on the offensive line for the Panthers.

T Terron Armstead looks comfortable on the left side of the Saints offensive line.

Buccaneers LB Mason Foster is adjusting to a leaner frame and a new defense.

Five former Cardinals players are coaching interns with the team this year.

Rams T Jake Long and DL William Hayes took part in team drills for the first time this year.

CB Perrish Cox had a pretty good day practicing against the 49ers offense.

The Seahawks and their fans were treated to a Helocast demonstration by Marines following Thursday’s practice.

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Still sick, Jim Kelly won’t miss Andre Reed’s enshrinement

kellyreed Getty Images

Jim Kelly, the great quarterback of the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s, is still ailing as he battles cancer. But no matter how sick Kelly is, he wouldn’t dream of being anywhere other than Canton, Ohio, this weekend to witness his receiver Andre Reed’s induction in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Kelly’s wife, Jill Kelly, told the Buffalo News that it won’t be easy for Jim.

He’s pushing it,” Jill said. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if he’s all better and good to go. There’s still the looming test in August, the not knowing if treatments worked, the fact that he’s still on a feeding tube. His life is still in that place of uncertainty, not knowing really what’s going to happen with all of this. So he’s still beat down; he’s still tired, he still gets sick quite a bit. But he would not miss this for the world.”

Kelly wants to be there for Reed in large part because Reed has been there for Kelly, traveling with him to support him during cancer treatments.

“Andre was at the hospital,” Jill Kelly said. “He was at the house the day we flew to New York City. He came to New York and again when we got back. Every time Andre was there, Jim was down and out, struggling. But it was always the conversation. It was a given that Jim was going to be at the Hall of Fame.”

Kelly will stay in Canton for a day after Reed’s enshrinement, as he’s been chosen to toss the coin at the start of the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday night.

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Expect more defensive holding, illegal contact flags this year

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NFL rules have already done plenty to favor the passing game, but this year may be the biggest passing season yet.

That’s because, as explained by veteran referee Ed Hochuli, NFL officials are planning to emphasize defensive holding and illegal contact this season. Hochuli said that early in the year, when defensive backs haven’t yet learned how strictly the officials are going to call the penalties, the flags will fly frequently.

“I would expect there may be more fouls called in the first preseason game and the first regular-season game,” Hochuli told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The big one is holding. We’ve also tightened up the rule on illegal contact. We’ve always given a little leeway on that.

Opposing offenses complained last season that the Super Bowl champion Seahawks were grabbing and holding and not getting flagged for it. This year the Seahawks may have to adjust their style. And offenses across the league may put up even bigger numbers than ever before.

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Report: Seahawks workout tight end Steve Maneri

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks could be on the lookout for additional help at the tight end position after veteran Anthony McCoy suffered a torn left Achilles tendon on Tuesday.

While the team isn’t pursuing Jermichael Finley, the team did bring in another veteran tight end for a workout this week.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, the Seahawks brought in Steve Maneri for a workout on Thursday.

Maneri is a former offensive tackle that was converted to a tight end by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. In five years, Maneri has played for the Houston Texans, New England Patriots, Chiefs, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Maneri was released by the Buccaneers in May. With his former offensive line background, Maneri is a proficient blocker at the tight end position. Behind starter Zach Miller, the rest of Seattle’s current tight end group is far more proficient as pass catchers than blocking options.

Maneri has six receptions for 51 yards in 23 career games.

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Michael Vick wants to play until he’s 40 years old

Michael Vick AP

On the heels of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees saying he wants to play until he’s 45 years old, another veteran quarterback has expressed a desire to play into his 40’s.

According to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick says he wants to play until he’s 40.

Vick, 34, signed a one-year deal with the Jets earlier this offseason to serve as a veteran backup to second-year starter Geno Smith.

While Vick doesn’t view his skills as being relegated to that of a backup quarterback, he has accepted his role as a backup and mentor to Smith for the Jets.

“You never envision yourself being in this role (when you’re younger),” Vick said. “But as you grow older, you start to (realize) it’s inevitable. You know it’s going to happen. At the same time, I just try to keep myself in shape and keep trying to be the best that I can be, because you never know what can happen.”

Vick threw for 1,215 yards and five touchdowns with three interceptions in seven games for the Philadelphia Eagles last season before an injury handed the starting job to Nick Foles.

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Bears sign offensive tackle Dennis Roland

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Bears added a right tackle with starting experience Thursday, announcing the signing of Dennis Roland to a one-year deal.

The 31-year-old Roland has played in 71 regular season games (30 starts). He has experience both as a tackle and an extra blocker. Roland appeared in five games for Cincinnati a season ago, all as a reserve.

Roland’s most extensive starting experience came in 2009 and 2010, when he made nine starts apiece at right tackle.

Roland’s signing comes one day after Bears reserve tackle Eben Britton suffered a hamstring injury.

In a corresponding roster move Thursday, the Bears waived undrafted rookie free agent tackle Cody Booth.

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“Slight chance” of a Josh Gordon settlement

Gordon

With the hearing officer assigned to the appeal of Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s suspension facing an all-or-nothing mandate, the player and the league have extra incentive to try to control the outcome via a negotiated compromise.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a “slight chance” of a resolution exists.  Any deal presumably would entail a suspension for Gordon that lasts less than a year.

If one side is less inclined to negotiate than the other, it’s possible that the hearing officer will send signals, indirect or explicit, that it would be wise for that party to be more open-minded.  Which could get a deal done during the hearing or after it.

A ruling is expected fairly soon.  The substance-abuse policy requires only that the decision be issued with a “reasonable time.”

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