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PFT’s Week Seven picks

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Down three games with three disagreements last week, I envisioned forging a tie with MDS in the PFT picks contest.

And of course he swept me.

Now down six — six! — through six weeks, I’ve got a chance to cut the margin to four (or see it grow to eight) based on two disagreements this week.

MDS went 11-4 for the week; I was a mere 8-7.  He’s now 63-29 for the year, and I’m 57-35.

Read on for this week’s prognostications.

Seahawks at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Seahawks on the road are always a precarious pick, and I’m tempted to choose Arizona in an upset. But Carson Palmer is just throwing too many bad passes for an opportunistic Seattle secondary not to give him trouble. The Seahawks’ defense will lead the way in this one.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 24, Cardinals 14.

Florio’s take:  Somebody in the league office hates the Cardinals.  In a four-day span, they will have played both the 49ers and the Seahawks.  Arizona held its own against the Niners, and Arizona will do the same against the Seahawks.  But two moral victories in less than a week won’t do much to propel a team toward the postseason.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 20, Cardinals 14.

Buccaneers at Falcons

MDS’s take: A year after earning home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, Atlanta is all but out of the playoff race already this season. But a bad Tampa Bay team coming to town should be just the thing to get the Falcons their second win of a disappointing season.

MDS’s pick: Falcons 20, Buccaneers 10.

Florio’s take:  The game that many thought would help determine first place (for now) in the NFC South will determine last place in the division (for now, and possibly for longer).  The Falcons had an extra week to get ready, the Buccaneers continue to be in disarray, and the home team still has enough talent to pull out the win.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 27, Buccaneers 17.

Rams at Panthers

MDS’s take: The Rams are coming off a dominant win over the Texans and are, at 3-3, a lot better than most people thought they’d be. But Carolina is playing excellent defense, and St. Louis is playing mediocre offense, and so I like the Panthers to win a low-scoring game at home.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 17, Rams 9.

Florio’s take:  Here’s a game that likely will be underrated but could produce a potential wild-card contender in the NFC.  Both teams have been inconsistent, and both teams won in Week Six over franchises currently in a funk.  Edge goes to the home team, as long as the Panthers can get the upper hand early.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 24, Rams 21.

Bengals at Lions

MDS’s take: Overall the Bengals are a more talented team than the Lions, and a good Cincinnati secondary is going to make things tough for Detroit’s offense. But the Lions have played well at home and the Bengals have been shaky on the road, and so I’m going to take the Lions.

MDS’s pick: Lions 20, Bengals 17.

Florio’s take:  Usually, the Bengals play up and down to the level of the competition.  This week, the competition level is roughly equivalent.  And the Lions won in Cleveland, where the Bengals lost handily.  Oh, and Calvin Johnson appears to be getting healthy.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 27, Bengals 20.

Chargers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: Despite major injury issues, San Diego is a better team than just about anyone expected. Playing in the same division as the only two undefeated teams in the NFL makes it unlikely that the Chargers will make the playoffs, but they will get over .500 with an easy win in Jacksonville.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 28, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take:  Yes, I’m tempted to pick the upset here.  The Chargers have beaten three teams that are supposedly better than San Diego, and they’ve lost to three teams that are supposedly worse.  Plus, they’re traveling across the country on a short week to play a team that gave the Broncos more of a game than anyone would have imagined.  Then I’m reminded of the overall quality of the Jacksonville roster.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 28, Jaguars 10.

Texans at Chiefs

MDS’s take: The Texans totally melted down on Sunday, and now they’re traveling to play a Kansas City team that’s playing defense as well as anyone in the league. This could get ugly.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 31, Texans 7.

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs are what the Texans were supposed to be.   Swarming defense, competent offense, and undefeated through six weeks.  This could be Correction Sunday for the Chiefs, but not at the place that cranked up 137.5 decibels last weekend — and not against a team that could be dialing up Case Keenum at quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Texans 17.

Bills at Dolphins

MDS’s take: The Bills’ pass rush could provide real problems for Ryan Tannehill, and if EJ Manuel were healthy I’d like the Bills to go to Miami and pull an upset. But with Thad Lewis as the starting quarterback, I don’t think the Bills will put many points on the board in Miami.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Bills 13.

Florio’s take:  The Dolphins have had two weeks to prepare for Thad Lewis and company.  While Lewis looked good against the Bengals, he’s and several teammates are a little banged up.  Maybe Miami coach Joe Philbin ultimately will get a shot at his former pupil in Green Bay — you know, the one-hit wonder in whom Philbin had zero interest.  Which should have told Seattle and Oakland everything they needed to know.

Florio’s pick:  Dolphins 27, Bills 20.

Patriots at Jets

MDS’s take: The Patriots have been dealing with injuries all year, and Jerod Mayo is their most significant injury yet. New England is ripe for an upset. Unfortunately, the Jets looked absolutely terrible on Sunday against the Steelers, and they just don’t look like they have the weapons on offense to pull the upset.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 17, Jets 7.

Florio’s take:  The Jets almost beat the Patriots in Foxborough in Week Two.  Since then, New England has lost Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo for the season.  Aqib Talib could miss the game, and even if Rob Gronkowski plays how much can be expected after a nine-month layoff.  Some will call this an upset.  Under these precise circumstances, it really isn’t.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 20, Patriots 17.

Cowboys at Eagles

MDS’s take: In the battle for first place in the NFC East, I like Nick Foles to keep the Eagles’ offense running smoothly and create a quarterback controversy in Philadelphia. The suspect Dallas defense is going to have a tough time keeping up with Philadelphia’s big-play offense.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 35, Cowboys 28.

Florio’s take:  Whether Nick Foles or Mike Vick or Matt Barkley, Chip Kelly’s offense is poised to run rings around a more-porous-than-expected Dallas defense.  And Philly’s defense quietly has improved to the point where it can keep the Cowboys in check, especially with DeMarco Murray missing this one.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 31, Cowboys 21.

Bears at Redskins

MDS’s take: Chicago has been beating bad teams all season, with wins over the Vikings, Steelers and Giants. That trend will continue for another week in Washington.

MDS’s pick: Bears 21, Redskins 20.

Florio’s takeRobert Griffin III is getting better, but he’s still not close to the guy he was last year.  Ditto for the team.  In 2012, Washington dug out of a 3-6 hole.  This year’s start could be even worse.

Florio’s pick:  Bears 26, Redskins 17.

49ers at Titans

MDS’s take: With Jake Locker out and Ryan Fitzpatrick in, the Titans are just not going to beat a good team like the 49ers. San Francisco is over its early-season hiccup and is now beginning its long march toward challenging Seattle for NFC West supremacy.

MDS’s pick: 49ers 34, Titans 17.

Florio’s take:  The Titans perform well at home against teams from the NFC, and they played well on the road last Sunday in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL.  But the 49ers have hit their stride in recent weeks, with a balanced offense and a defense that still has punch, even without Aldon Smith.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 24, Titans 17.

Browns at Packers

MDS’s take: I don’t think Brandon Weeden is as terrible as some people make him out to be, and I don’t think Brian Hoyer was ever going to be Cleveland’s long-term answer at quarterback. Still, the Browns have looked like a team that finds ways to win with Hoyer at quarterback, and a team that finds ways to lose with Weeden at quarterback. That will continue on Sunday, when an injury-riddled Packers team will capitalize on some Cleveland mistakes.

MDS’s pick: Packers 30, Browns 24.

Florio’s take:  That three-game winning streak will quickly be forgotten when the losing streak reaches two.  Despite the injuries, the Packers continue to deliver on both sides of the ball.  The turnaround from a 1-2 start continues.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Browns 24.

Ravens at Steelers

MDS’s take: I’ve gone back and forth on this one a few times, but in the end I think Baltimore’s defensive front is too much for the injury-depleted Steelers offensive line. The Ravens win a close, hard-fought, defensive struggle.

MDS’s pick: Ravens 17, Steelers 16.

Florio’s take:  The defending champs visit Pittsburgh for the first time since hoisting the latest Lombardi.  If the Steelers can run like the Packers did against Baltimore and throw the ball smartly and quickly, the home team in this tarnished (for now) rivalry can hold serve.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 13, Ravens 10.

Broncos at Colts

MDS’s take: In one of the marquee games of the season, Peyton Manning will remind the Colts that they cut one of the best players in NFL history a year and a half ago. Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense will score plenty of points against a mediocre Denver defense, but Manning and Co. will score even more.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 48, Colts 38.

Florio’s take:  Peyton Manning’s homecoming acquired some extra levels of intrigue this week, thanks to Colts owner Jim Irsay.  While some think Irsay took a shot at Peyton to get inside his head and other thinks Irsay was simply being Irsay, the man some call the best regular-season quarterback in NFL history will further cement his legacy.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 49, Colts 24.

Vikings at Giants

MDS’s take: One of the worst Monday night games in recent years will be memorable for Josh Freeman’s first start with the Vikings, and for the Giants’ first win of the season.

MDS’s pick: Giants 21, Vikings 13.

Florio’s take:  Eleven days to get ready.  Home game.  National audience.  Bad defense.  Quarterback rushed to the field for his first start with the team.  If the Giants can’t win this one, they may not win any.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 35, Vikings 27.

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Ravens announce five cuts

Tom Nelson AP

The Ravens have announced the first of the moves they’ll have to make over the next two days in order to reach the 53-man limit.

Among the players dropped from the roster was wide receiver Tom Nelson, who was known as safety Tom Nelson during the early days of his NFL career. Nelson played for the Bengals in 2009 and 2010 after making the team as an undrafted free agent and saw action in four games for the Eagles in 2011. That was the last time Nelson played in the league, so making the move to receiver was a big leap to take in order to continue his professional career.

Nelson caught five passes for 57 yards in the preseason. The Ravens also waived wide receiver Daniel Brown, leaving them with seven wideouts on the roster at the moment.

Linebacker Andrew Bose, tackle Blaine Clausell and cornerback Quinton Pointer were also waived as the Ravens dropped to 70 players.

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Keep up with NFL cuts with our PFT 53-man roster trackers

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NFL teams are going to remove 704 players from the payroll in the next 24 hours or so, as teams have until 4 p.m. Saturday to get to the 53-man roster limit.

It’s a lot to follow. But fortunately for you, we’re here to help.

We’ll be keeping up with the action as it happens, and will continue to until teams are down to the regular season limit.

You can click the link for a list of AFC cuts, and here for the NFC.

Hit refresh often, because this stuff happens fast. And, because we’re nice enough to compile them for you.

Thanks.

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Falcons trading for Andy Levitre

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Guard Andy Levitre fell out of favor with the Titans this offseason and was thought to be on the roster bubble with Tennessee dropping to 53 players by Saturday afternoon’s deadline.

The bubble has burst for Levitre with the Titans, but, as someone may well have said at some point, when one bubble bursts another opens.

On Twitter Friday, Levitre tweeted “#RiseUp,” which is a slogan used by the Falcons and PFT has learned, via a league source, that Levitre’s post was in fact a reference to a trade that will send him to Atlanta. The compensation going back to Tennessee is unknown at this time.

Levitre came to Tennessee on a six-year, $46.8 million contract before the 2013 season and played all 32 games for the Titans over the last two seasons, but his performance wasn’t up to the expectations that accompanied Levitre from his successful stint with the Bills. Byron Bell replaced him at left guard this summer, which would have made him an expensive backup for the Titans.

He’ll move into a zone blocking system with Kyle Shanahan running the Falcons offense and should be able to mount at least a challenge for a starting job given the underwhelming current crop of interior linemen in Atlanta.

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Jay Ajayi suffered a cracked rib Thursday night

Jay Ajayi AP

Running back Jay Ajayi dropped a bit lower than expected in the draft because of concerns about his knee and now a rib injury may limit his chances of making an impact in his rookie season with the Dolphins.

Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports that Ajayi, who wound up going in the fifth round, cracked a rib during Thursday night’s preseason finale. The injury came during a good game for Ajayi, who ran nine times for 66 yards and caught two passes for 37 yards against the Buccaneers. It was a step in the right direction for Ajayi, who missed the first two preseason games while dealing with hamstring issues in August.

“I thought he ran hard,” Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. “He made a guy or two miss, showed toughness inside, and caught the balls that were thrown to him, which is always a good place to start.”

There’s not much chance that the Dolphins are going to cut Ajayi, but his absences early in camp didn’t help him in the competition for playing time with other backup options to Lamar Miller. If the Dolphins want to go with Damien Williams, LaMichael James and/or Mike Gillislee, they could place Ajayi on injured reserve and let this year serve as a redshirt season.

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Bills to release linebacker/puncher of people IK Enemkpali

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Tyrod Taylor doesn’t have to worry about getting punched in the face, or at least as much as he did previously.

According to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, the Bills have released linebacker IK Enemkpali, who they had in for a few weeks after he broke former Jets teammate Geno Smith’s jaw.

The Bills had some interest since coach Rex Ryan drafted him during his last year with the Bills, but they apparently decided he wasn’t worth keeping around.

While Enemkpali has some pass-rush potential, he also has problems keeping his hands to himself off the field.

In addition to his former teammate who owed him $600, Enemkpali has also punched an off-duty cop and a man who was posing as a woman named “Missy Lee” whom he met on the internet and arranged to have sex with.

And now, he has punched his ticket out of Buffalo.

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Report: Eagles trying to trade Najee Goode

Jimmy Garoppolo, Najee Goode AP

There were points this offseason when people wondered whether the Eagles were interested in trading linebacker Mychal Kendricks, but those thoughts went out the window when the Eagles signed Kendricks to a contract extension.

That guaranteed a crowded group at inside linebacker since the Eagles also have DeMeco Ryans, Kiko Alonso and 2015 third-round pick Jordan Hicks on track to make the roster with former Packer Brad Jones and Najee Goode also in the mix. The Eagles are reportedly trying to thin that herd through a trade.

Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the Eagles are trying to trade Goode before the Saturday afternoon deadline to cut the roster to 53 players. There’s no word on what they might be looking for in return, but anything more than a pick in the final rounds would be a stretch.

Goode was a fifth-round pick in 2012 and has played 18 games in three years with the team. He missed 15 games last season after tearing his pectoral muscle in the season opener.

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Report: Steelers trade punter Wing to Giants

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The news of the Giants releasing punter Steve Weatherford Friday morning came as a surprise. Now, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports the Giants have added his replacement, Brad Wing, in a trade with the Steelers.

That means the Steelers are likely going with Jordan Berry as their punter. Wing punted for the Steelers as a rookie last season.

Berry averaged 49.8 yards per punt in the preseason, about a yard better than Wing. Berry was working an overnight shift at McDonald’s a year ago in his native Australia before getting an office job in hopes of saving enough money to return to the United States and give the NFL one more try, and it appears now he’s landed an NFL gig.

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PFT Live: Jeffrey Kessler, Eagles talk with Tim McManus

Jeffrey L. Kessler AP

The NFLPA and Tom Brady scored a big win in federal court over the NFL on Thursday and we’ll have one of the key people involved on the winning side as a guest on PFT Live Friday.

Attorney Jeffrey Kessler fielded the questions from Judge Richard Berman for the NFLPA during oral arguments leading up to Berman’s decision to overturn Brady’s four-game suspension and he’ll join Mike Florio on Friday’s program to discuss the case. They’ll talk about the ruling, the NFL’s appeal and what impact the whole saga may have on future disciplinary actions coming from the league office.

Tim McManus of 97.5 The Fanatic will be on the program to talk about the Eagles with the cut to 53 players looming. They’ll talk about who will make the roster and whether Tim Tebow will be the No. 3 quarterback in Philly this year.

As always, we also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour by clicking right here.

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Snoop Dogg isn’t a fan of the Tom Brady decision

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A well-established bandwagon-hopper who seems to gravitate to the Steelers isn’t happy with the court decision that makes Patriots quarterback Tom Brady available for the Week One game against Pittsburgh.

Rapper Snoop Dogg posted a video online complaining about the reversal of the suspension by Judge Richard Berman.

“Yeah, the NFL overturned Brady’s sh-t,” Snoop Dogg said. “I can’t do nothing but smoke. That’s bullsh-t. You might as well overturn all the homies that got weed cases in the league, too. If you all are gonna do that. Keep it real.”

On one hand, he has a point. The NFL shouldn’t care about players smoking marijuana on their own time — especially in Colorado and Washington, where it’s now legal. On the other hand, the substance-abuse policy is separate from the policies that applied to Brady.

Brady was never told he could be suspended for his actions. Players know they can be suspended for smoking marijuana. And that’s ultimately why Brady will be playing against Snoop’s Steelers in six days.

It’s also why Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and receiver Martavis Bryant won’t be.

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Bucs going with Kyle Brindza as their kicker

Lovie Smith AP

The third kicker the Bucs tried during the preseason is the one who will be on the roster for the start of the regular season.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Bucs will go with Kyle Brindza as their kicker. The team traded to acquire Brindza from the Lions earlier this week, and he made field goals of 55 and 57 yards in Thursday night’s preseason finale.

Last year’s kicker Patrick Murray will be gone because he missed both field goals and extra points during the preseason. Before the third preseason game the Bucs signed Connor Barth, who’d lost a 2014 camp competition to Murray, and Barth missed his first field goal try in a preseason game last weekend.

Brindza, 22, is a rookie out of Notre Dame. He punted and kicked at Notre Dame and had to go the undrafted route after struggling last season, but at least for now he’s landed a job in the NFL.

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T.J. Ward on why he was suspended: My last name’s not Brady

T.J. Ward, Aqib Talib AP

In a statement released after the announcement of a one-game suspension on Thursday, Broncos safety T.J. Ward said that he takes “full responsibility” for the 2014 incident at a Denver strip club that led to the suspension and that he’s “willing to accept the consequences” of his actions.

That doesn’t mean Ward is thrilled about the league’s decision. Through a plea arrangement that called for him to do community service, the misdemeanor assault and disturbing the peace charges against Ward for allegedly throwing a mug at a bartender were dropped and that doesn’t sit right with the safety.

“I feel it’s really unfair,” Ward said, via the Denver Post. “I’m getting punished for being accused of doing something. Not doing something, but being accused. And I’ve got to pay the consequences.”

When Ward was asked why he thinks he was suspended, he invoked the name of the Patriots quarterback whose suspension was thrown out by Judge Richard Berman earlier on Thursday.

“My last name’s not Brady,” Ward said.

There are myriad differences between the two cases and Ward’s not the first player to be suspended without being convicted of a crime, but dropping Tom Brady’s name into the conversation is an easy way to build on the stiff rebuke of the way NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wields his power that Berman issued earlier in the day.

It doesn’t look like this case is headed to federal court, so the Broncos will probably just have to play without Ward for the opening week of the season. It probably won’t be the last time we’re reminded of the eroded confidence in Goodell and the NFL’s disciplinary policies as a result of their handling of the Brady suspension, though.

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Eagles to end John Moffitt’s comeback from retirement attempt

John Moffitt AP

The Eagles were willing to give John Moffitt a chance to come back to the NFL, but he didn’t show them enough to warrant extending that chance to the regular season.

According to John Lombardo of NJ.com, the Eagles have released the former Seahawks and short-time Broncos guard.

Moffitt un-retired this summer after a two-year sabbatical from the league. When he was playing, he faced a number of drug and public urination charges, but he reportedly went to rehab to get himself back on track.

Whether he gets back to playing football remains to be seen, but it won’t be in Philadelphia.

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49ers release Darnell Dockett

Darnell Dockett AP

In the offseason, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett chose the 49ers over the Cardinals. Now, the 49ers have chosen someone else over Dockett.

Per a league source, the 49ers have released Dockett, one day ahead of the mandatory trimming of rosters from 75 to 53.

Dockett signed a two-year, $7.25 million deal with the 49ers. He earned a $500,000 workout bonus, and he has $2 million in guaranteed base salary, with offset language.

The move makes Dockett a free agent. He can now sign with any other team. And the 49ers will get a dollar-for-dollar credit, up to $2 million, on whatever he earns elsewhere.

Dockett had been dealing with a rib issue; he called it a cracked rib, and the team called it a cartilage issue. If he doesn’t quickly land with a new team, an injury grievance is possible, since players can’t be cut when they are hurt.

Either way, there’s a chance team will wait until after Week One to sign Dockett. As a vested veteran, his full base salary becomes guaranteed if he’s on the roster for the opening weekend.

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Bucs moving on from Da’Quan Bowers

Da'Quan Bowers, Adrian Clayborn AP

Da’Quan Bowers signed a one-year deal with the Bucs just before training camp in hopes of rejuvenating his career and moving past his disappointing first four seasons.

Instead, it’s the team that’s moving on. Per Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports, the Bucs plan to waive Bowers as part of their roster cuts that will be made Friday and Saturday.

Bowers tweeted a thank you to the Bucs on Friday morning.

A second-round pick in 2011, Bowers had seven sacks in four years for the Bucs. He’s played both defensive end and defensive tackle.

“Da’Quan did some good things for us last year,” Bucs coach Love Smith said early in camp. “And I know right now, he came in, in-shape and ready to go.

“He can be a good football player.”

He just wasn’t good enough for the Bucs this summer.

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Doug Whaley: I didn’t go rogue on decision to cut Fred Jackson

Fred Jackson, Sealver Siliga AP

After the Bills cut running back Fred Jackson this week, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News reported that General Manager Doug Whaley “went rogue” on the decision to part ways with the longtime member of the team and never entertained the idea of a pay cut that would have made Jackson a more affordable piece for the team to hold onto going into the season.

On Thursday, Whaley answered questions about that report. He said the decision to release Jackson “wasn’t an easy one” and that it wasn’t one that he made by breaking off from the rest of the organization.

“Let’s put it this way,” Whaley said, via the Buffalo News. “I gather information from everybody, from the running backs coach to the offensive coordinator to the head coach and the owners. I wouldn’t be in this position — especially with new ownership — I’m going to include them. That’s my boss. We wouldn’t make a decision without them.”

Whaley said coach Rex Ryan was with him when they informed Jackson of his release, but declined to delve into the reasons behind the decision other than saying it was one the team felt it “had to make.”

Jackson, who accused Whaley of being dishonest with him about his status on the team, visited with the Seahawks this week, but hasn’t signed a contract in Seattle or anywhere else.

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