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PFT’s Week Eight picks

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It would be fair to call Week Eight the first unofficial lull of the 2013 season.  Six teams are off, including the defending Super Bowl champions.  The other Super Bowl team has been exiled to London, for a friendly against the Jaguars.

Of the 13 games on the slate, some of the worst teams will play in prime time.  Tonight, it’s the winless Bucs.  Sunday night, the hapless Vikings.  Monday night, the listless Rams.

Throw in recent Monday night game between Minnesota and the Giants and technically the evening kickoff in London and it’s as bad a five-game cluster of football under the lights that the NFL ever has seen.

But we’ll still watch, because it’s the NFL.  And it’s on TV.  And in three-and-a-half months it’ll be gone until next September.

I’ll be paying particular attention to two of the games, since MDS and I disagree on the outcomes.  Our full slate of Week Eight picks appears below.

Last week, I swept the two games on which we differed, finishing 10-5 to his 8-7.  For the year, he’s now 71-36, and I’m 67-40.

Panthers at Buccaneers

MDS’s take: Looking at the Buccaneers’ remaining schedule, this actually appears to be one of their more winnable games, at home on a short week against a .500 team. But the Panthers have been playing good football, and they’re not going to get tripped up in Tampa.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 21, Buccaneers 6.

Florio’s take:  The Panthers have been taking care of business against bad teams.  They get another chance to do it on Thursday night, against one of the worst teams.  The next challenge for Carolina will be to beat a good team.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 24, Buccaneers 17.

Cowboys at Lions

MDS’s take: This is a tough one. The Lions are favored and I rarely pick against a team with a winning record at home. But the Lions’ secondary was leaving receivers wide open all day against the Bengals, and Tony Romo and Dez Bryant should be able to put up big numbers in Detroit. Meanwhile, the Cowboys’ defense looked outstanding last week against Philadelphia. I see the Cowboys winning a close game.

MDS’s pick: Cowboys 28, Lions 27.

Florio’s take:  A shootout could be coming at Ford Field, and the Lions know their margin for error is shrinking.  The Cowboys, at 4-3 and in the NFC East, won’t have a margin for error until late December.

Florio’s pick:  Lions 38, Cowboys 35.

49ers at Jaguars

MDS’s take: This is an easy one. The 49ers are playing tough, physical football on both sides of the ball, while the Jaguars are making mistakes all over the place. The fans in London are going to see the Jaguars and be horrified at the idea that this is the quality of football the NFL plans to send across the pond on a regular basis. (Next year the Jaguars “host” the Cowboys at Wembley Stadium, and we can already pencil in the Cowboys as 14-point favorites in that game.)

MDS’s pick: 49ers 34, Jaguars 10.

Florio’s take:  The good news?  Folks in Jacksonville don’t have to witness this “home” game in person.  The bad news?  It’ll be on TV.

Florio’s pick:  49ers 40, Jaguars 13.

Browns at Chiefs

MDS’s take: I keep thinking the Chiefs are ripe for an upset, and then I keep looking at their schedule and thinking they’re a lot better than every team they’re going to play, at least until the Broncos come to town on November 17. Jason Campbell might be a better option than Brandon Weeden, but the Browns just aren’t good enough on offense to move the ball effectively against that tough Chiefs defense.

MDS’s pick: Chiefs 20, Browns 10.

Florio’s take:  The Chiefs continue their tour of backup quarterbacks.  A loss feels inevitable before the home-and-home showdowns with the Broncos, but it’s not likely to happen this week.

Florio’s pick:  Chiefs 27, Browns 13.

Dolphins at Patriots

MDS’s take: With all their injuries, I don’t think the Patriots are any better than the Dolphins on either offense or defense. But I do think the Patriots are a lot better than the Dolphins on special teams, and I look for a big play in the kicking game to be the difference.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 17, Dolphins 13.

Florio’s take:  The two teams that most (like us) assumed would be battling for supremacy in the division are now struggling to stay competitive.  The Dolphins don’t have the running game to take advantage of the Pats’ porous post-Wilfork run defense, or the offensive line to keep Patriots defenders off of Ryan Tannehill.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 24, Dolphins 20.

Bills at Saints

MDS’s take: Buffalo has a better defense than most people realize, and the Bills’ pass rush is going to give Drew Brees a tough time. But the Bills’ offense will struggle in front of a hostile New Orleans crowd, and the Saints will win in a closer game than most people are expecting.

MDS’s pick: Saints 23, Bills 20.

Florio’s take:  With or without tight end (receiver) Jimmy Graham, the Saints are too tough to beat in their own building, even though the Bills are looking better than anyone thought they would.  As long as Drew Brees can avoid getting flattened by Mario Williams, the Saints should continue to strengthen their grip on the NFC South.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 35, Bills 20.

Giants at Eagles

MDS’s take: The NFC East is so bad that the Giants could get themselves into the division race with a win in Philadelphia. I don’t see it happening, though. Monday night’s win was about as ugly a win as an NFL team can earn, and the Giants still look like a lousy team.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 24, Giants 13.

Florio’s take:  The Eagles haven’t been much more this year than the best of some bad teams.  They’ll get another chance to do it on Sunday, and in the process snap a nine-game home losing streak.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Giants 17.

Steelers at Raiders

MDS’s take: The Steelers have a history of dropping games on the road against bad Raiders teams, but I don’t think it will happen this time. Pittsburgh looks like it’s turning things around and should roll against a Raiders team that isn’t playing particularly well in any phase of the game.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 24, Raiders 10.

Florio’s take:  Another week, another once great rivalry that has lost its luster.  Pittsburgh is starting to get on a roll; the Raiders aren’t as bad as we thought they’d be but still not good enough.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 20, Raiders 13.

Jets at Bengals

MDS’s take: This doesn’t exactly have the feel of a huge game, but it’s one of only two this week matching up two teams with winning records. Give the Jets a lot of credit for getting to 4-3, but I’m still not convinced that they’re actually a good team. The Bengals should take this one and solidify their status as one of the top teams in the AFC.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 27, Jets 17.

Florio’s take:  The Jets have beaten the Bengals four straight times, and nine out of 10 dating back to 1992.  The trend gets reversed on Sunday, thanks to the fact that Cincinnati has the superior team on both sides of the ball.  Hopefully the locals will realize that, and buy up the remaining tickets.

Florio’s pick:  Bengals 24, Jets 13.

Falcons at Cardinals

MDS’s take: I think the Falcons are better than their 2-4 record suggests. And I don’t think the Cardinals are any better than their 3-4 record suggests. So I’m tempted to take Atlanta in a slight upset. But the Falcons’ injuries on offense, combined with the impressive way the Cardinals’ defense is playing, makes me believe Arizona will win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 14, Falcons 13.

Florio’s take:  At 1-4, the Falcons knew they weren’t dead yet.  At 3-4 after Sunday, they’ll be in position to chase a wild-card berth in the NFC.

Florio’s pick:  Falcons 27, Cardinals 17.

Redskins at Broncos

MDS’s take: If Peyton Manning wants to shake off last week’s disappointing loss in Indianapolis, he could hardly have picked a better defense to do it against than Washington’s, which has struggled all season and will now be without suspended starting strong safety Brandon Meriweather. This won’t be close.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 31, Redskins 17.

Florio’s take:  Mike Shanahan returns to Denver, the Mile High location of his mile-long house.  At least he’ll still have that after the game.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 48, Redskins 21.

Packers at Vikings

MDS’s take: Everyone is focusing so much on the Vikings’ problems at quarterback that hardly anyone has noticed how bad the Vikings’ defense is. Aaron Rodgers should have a field day, and the Vikings’ offense will continue to struggle no matter who’s playing quarterback.

MDS’s pick: Packers 31, Vikings 13.

Florio’s take:  Since 1992, the Packers have had three starting quarterbacks:  Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Flynn (twice).  In that same time, the Vikings have had Rich Gannon, Sean Salisbury, Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper, Todd Bouman, Spergon Wynn, Gus Frerotte, Brad Johnson (again), Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, Gus Frerotte (again), Tarvaris Jackson, Brett Favre, Joe Webb, Donovan McNabb, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman, and Christian Ponder (again).  That pretty much sums up the state of this rivalry for the past 21 years.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Vikings 10.

Seahawks at Rams

MDS’s take: Pity Rams quarterback Kellen Clemens having to take on that nasty Seahawks defense in his first start in two years. It’s going to get ugly in St. Louis.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 6.

Florio’s take:  After the Rams have moved and people in St. Louis are tempted to lament the fact that their NFL franchise is gone, they’ll be able to look back on this game, and it will make them feel a little bit better.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 38, Rams 13.

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NFL fines Jets $100,000 for Revis tampering

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The Jets are paying for tampering with Darrelle Revis while he was still on the Patriots. But they’re not paying very much.

The NFL has fined the Jets $100,000 as a result of owner Woody Johnson’s comments about Revis, but the Jets will not lose any draft picks, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports. During the 2014 season, Johnson said, “I’d love for Darrelle to come back.”

Three months later, Revis did come back, leaving New England and returning to the Jets in free agency.

If Johnson’s comments helped the Jets acquire Revis, then that fine is a bargain. For a billionaire like Johnson, a $100,000 fine is chump change, and Revis is one of the best players in the NFL.

After signing Revis, the Jets later complained that Patriots owner Robert Kraft had tampered himself with comments he made about Revis. But the NFL has decided not to discipline the Patriots for that.

Mehta reports that at least one other team will be fined for tampering.

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Urban Meyer: Media attention on Tim Tebow “did wear” on NFL teams

New York Jets Introduce Tim Tebow Getty Images

New Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow is no stranger to media attention.

But for NFL clubs, the focus on Tebow has been an unwanted byproduct of having the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner on the roster, his former college coach believes.

In an interview Tuesday with The Dan Patrick Show, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said numerous NFL coaches had indicated the attention paid to Tebow was an annoyance.

“I talked to many of the coaches involved, and one thing every coach wants is lack of distraction so they can focus on their team,” said Meyer, who coached Tebow at Florida. “And when all of a sudden ESPN has live people watching practice, and every time you wake up there’s ‘Tim Tebow this, Tebow this, Tebow this’ and you’re talking about a backup quarterback. And that did wear on people.”

However, Meyer noted: “… I think that is over for the most part, because you just don’t hear as much, and now hopefully Tim can just learn to be an NFL quarterback.

Asked about why Tebow wasn’t able to sustain success earlier in his career, Meyer noted the quarterback’s role in Denver’s 2011 division championship and dismissed Tebow’s tough one-season stint with the Jets as “not good for all involved.”

Said Meyer: “The problem with Tim — and this is the only problem — he creates so much conversation and distraction that I think that spooks some teams.

“And I think we’re that far beyond it now, that that’s not that big of a distraction anymore. He’s just a quarterback trying to make a team now.”

Meyer said he recently talked to Tebow and was pleased about his former player’s new career opportunity in Philadelphia.

“He deserves it. Hope he makes it. He’s in a great place,” Meyer said.

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Report: Brady was at stadium on day of White House visit

Obama AP

The news that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady didn’t attend last week’s visit by the defending Super Bowl champions to the White House initially didn’t register on the national radar scale.  Brady reportedly had a prior family commitment, and no one seriously questioned that.

But now comes word, from Mike Reiss of, that Brady spent part of last Thursday at Gillette Stadium, while his teammates were in D.C.  Although it’s possible that Brady’s family commitment kept him from traveling to Washington but not from making an appearance at work, this specific wrinkle makes the situation a bit more interesting.

The specific chain of events, with Brady not going to the White House and word now leaking that he was at least able to go to NFL’s reigning equivalent, invites speculation regarding whether Brady simply chose not to show up.  Which invites speculation that Brady chose not to show up because of a comment from White House press secretary Josh Earnest after Brady’s earnest-but-ineffective press conference in the immediate wake of the emergence of the #DeflateGate scandal.

“For years it’s been clear that there is no risk that I was going to take Tom Brady’s job as quarterback of the New England Patriots,” Earnest said after Brady’s widely-panned performance.  “But I can tell you, as of today, it’s pretty clear that there’s no risk of him taking my job either.”

The Boston Herald previously suggested that the jab may have influenced Brady’s decision not to attend the event.  This new information from Reiss, which surely didn’t come to him accidentally after last Thursday’s joke from President Barack Obama regarding the football-inflation imbroglio, supports the conclusion that Brady was demonstrating his displeasure.

The crack from the Commander-in-Chief drew a thumb’s down from coach Bill Belichick.  In turn, it may have prompted Brady to give himself a thumb’s up for choosing not to be there to hear it personally.

We also aren’t prepared to rule out that, in the photo of Obama holding a helmet autographed by the team, he’s not thinking to himself, “Is that ‘thank you’ under Tom Brady’s signature?”

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Ravens cancel draft party amid riots in Baltimore

riot AP

The Ravens have announced that they are canceling their Thursday night draft party as a result of the riots that have engulfed Baltimore.

Authorities have imposed a citywide curfew of 10 p.m. every night this week, and the Ravens have announced that they will call off their party to ensure that no one attending is in violation.

“Out of respect to the curfew in Baltimore, the Ravens have cancelled their Draft Party, which was scheduled for this Thursday (4/30) night (7-11 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium,” the team said in a statement.

The Baltimore Orioles also canceled their Monday and Tuesday night home games at the request of local authorities.

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Report: Bengals exercise 2016 options on Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Zeitler contracts

Denver Broncos v Cincinnati Bengals Getty Images

The Bengals had a pair of first-round picks in 2012 and they apparently like the players they selected enough to make a move to ensure they’ll return to Cincinnati for a fifth season.

Albert Breer of NFL Media reports that the team has exercised their options on the contracts of cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick and guard Kevin Zeitler for the 2016 season. Both options are guaranteed against injury only and the Bengals could opt to withdraw the options before the start of the new league year.

Kirkpatrick, the 17th pick in the draft, struggled with injuries as a rookie and has played mostly in sub packages in Cincinnati’s deep secondary the last two years. Terence Newman is gone this year, though, and Kirkpatrick has designs on bigger things after six interceptions over the last two seasons.

“I want to be the best. I don’t want to just be a starting corner. I want to be the best. I want to be the No. 1 corner in the league and that’s what I thrive,” Kirkpatrick said, via the team’s website.

Zeitler, who went 27th overall, has been a starter since arriving in Cincinnati and his salary will be just over $8 million under the terms of the option. Kirkpatrick will come in around $7.5 million and the team is reportedly interested in longer deals with both players.

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PFT Live: A.J. Hawk, Bengals talk with Paul Dehner Jr.

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Tuesday’s PFT Live should come with a striped helmet because we’re going to be spending a good chunk of time talking about the Bengals.

Linebacker A.J. Hawk will join Mike Florio to share his early thoughts on working with a new team for the first time since the Packers made him the fifth overall pick of the 2006 draft. Hawk signed with the Bengals this offseason and he’ll be getting a few new teammates later this week when the Bengals make their draft selections.

Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer will join Florio to discuss some of the places the Bengals might be looking to enhance their roster with those selections. They’ll also talk about coach Marvin Lewis’s contract extension and more during Dehner’s visit.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox 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 of the show by clicking right here.

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Cordarrelle Patterson: This is a make or break year for me

Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson AP

Last week, Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said that he was excited about the future with wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and that he thought Patterson had grown up a lot this offseason.

On Monday, Patterson said he knew that there probably won’t be any more offseasons when the Vikings talk hopefully about his ability to break through and turn his athletic ability into consistent on-field production. Patterson, who worked out in San Francisco before reporting to the Vikings’ offseason program, said Monday that his third year has to be a big year.

“This year is going to make me or break me, and I hope I step up and have a good role in this offense,” Patterson said, via the Pioneer Press. “This whole offseason, I spent a lot of time just thinking to myself, ‘How can I get better?’ I just want to let my game speak for itself. I just focused on the little things that really matter, and I hope this year will be way better than last year. … Growing up, I was always athletic and could just do anything. I’m in the NFL now, so I just have to focus on my craft and just work at route running, getting in and getting out of breaks and stuff like that.”

With Mike Wallace and Charles Johnon on the roster, the Vikings won’t be looking to Patterson as a starter this season. They won’t be looking to him for much of anything else if the route running and overall technical skills don’t get crisper and they could provide themselves with other options to play behind the starters during a draft deep in wideouts.

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Broncos waive Quanterus Smith

Frank Gore, Quanterus Smith AP

The Broncos kick off a three-day voluntary minicamp on Tuesday and they will reportedly be getting to work without defensive end Quanterus Smith.

It’s not because Smith is opting to work out on his own, as is often the case when players choose not to take part in voluntary work with their teams. Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported that the team waived Smith, who was a fifth-round pick in 2013, on Tuesday and the Broncos announced it a short time later.

Smith played in 15 games as a backup to DeMarcus Ware last season, recording 11 tackles and two passes defensed before winding up on injured reserve with a knee injury that kept him from playing in Denver’s playoff loss to the Colts. He also spent 2013 on injured reserve while recovering from an ACL injury suffered during his final collegiate season.

The shift in defenses that accompanied Wade Phillips’s arrival as defensive coordinator may have left Smith without a good fit on the Denver defense in 2015, but it’s never a great sign for your immediate NFL future when a team decides to move on at a moment when they have 90 roster spots to fill.

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Report: Teams calling the Jets about Muhammad Wilkerson

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Getty Images

It’s almost time to start throwing cannonballs into the deep end of the draft pool.

And the Jets might be going for the Triple Lindy right off the bat.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, at least two teams have called the Jets to see if defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was available.

While that’s not nearly the same as the Jets making their star lineman available, it is worth noting a few things here.

First, Wilkerson is staying away from offseason workouts because he wants a new contract.

Secondly, the Jets brought Southern Cal defensive lineman Leonard Williams for a pre-draft visit, and that would be a rich set of 3-4 ends if they added him to Sheldon Richardson and they were thinking about keeping Wilkerson around.

It’s the time in the week where we get a bit of noise that never comes to anything, but given Wilkerson’s contract situation, it’s hard to rule this one out at the moment, depending on how the top five picks fall.

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Speculation starts that Jaguars could be taking Amari Cooper

Cooper AP

Last year, PFT first caught wind of the Jaguars as a potential suitor at No. 3 for quarterback Blake Bortles only a couple of days before the draft.  This year, it’s two days before the draft — and PFT has caught wind of another potential surprise for the Jaguars at No. 3.

At a time when many believe the Jaguars will take linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. with the third pick, chatter has commenced that the Jags instead will select Alabama receiver Amari Cooper.

Cooper has emerged as the top prospect, separating more and more from West Virginia’s Kevin White as the draft approaches.  Which makes sense; Cooper is more NFL ready than White, which means that, as coaches get more involved in the process, teams will be more likely to gravitate toward the guy who will be more likely to help the team win now.

There’s still a chance that Cooper won’t be available at No. 3; Tennessee may go wideout at No. 2 if they don’t take quarterback Marcus Mariota and if they don’t trade down.  But if Cooper and Fowler are both on the board when the Jaguars are on the clock, Cooper could indeed be the pick.

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Cowboys extend punter Chris Jones another two years

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Getty Images

The Cowboys had already secured punter Chris Jones for the coming season, signing the restricted free agent to his tender offer.

Now, they’ve given him another two years, and a little extra cap space.

Via Field Yates of ESPN, the Cowboys have extended their punter through 2017, signing him to a deal worth $4.2 million, with $750,000 guaranteed the next three years.

Jones has been a perfectly fine punter for the Cowboys the last two seasons, and extending the deal puts some money in his pocket now, and allows the Cowboys to lower his cap hit from the $1.542 million he’d have counted on his RFA tender alone.

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Rookies at draft will undergo domestic violence education

NFL Getty Images

For the 28 players who opted to accept the invitation to attend the draft in Chicago, they won’t have an option when it comes to submitting to an domestic violence education session.  According to Lindsay H. Jones of USA Today, the NFL will provide the mandatory training to all of the incoming rookies who show up for the draft.  It’s the same 45-minute video presentation that all NFL employees were required to watch last year.

“I think there are expectations for being part of the National Football League.  And I think just like the prospects that come to the draft — they do community service and have media interaction — this was another situation that we thought was important enough to make a requirement,” NFL vice president of social responsibility Anna Isaacson told Jones.

Players not attending the draft will receive the training at the rookie symposium.  Which raises an obvious question:  Why not provide the training to all draft picks at the rookie symposium?  Only 28 are at the draft; more than 250 will be present for the symposium.

The answer is obvious.  Providing the training to the players at the draft creates an opportunity for a little more positive P.R. as the league tries to continue its recovery from last year’s debacle that forced positive changes like, for example, the creation of a 45-minute presentation to be shown to all incoming rookies, starting with the guys who chose to attend the draft.

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As Shane Ray’s stock plummets, talk that he could fall to Round 4

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Just a few weeks ago, stories about Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray routinely called him a potential Top 5 pick. That now feels like a long time ago.

Ray’s draft stock began to fall when teams showed increasing concern about a foot injury he suffered in the final game of his college career, and now his stock has plummeted so severely that there’s talk that Ray not only won’t go in the first round, but might not even go in the second or third rounds. According to former Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik, Ray’s recent marijuana citation makes it possible that Ray won’t be drafted until the fourth round.

“This changes Shane Ray dramatically because it’s, to me, such a poor decision this close to the draft. It’s the decision making. What is this guy going to do on Friday or Saturday night before a big game? Is he going to make another poor choice like this? The timing is so bad, and the foot issue, tells me that this guy isn’t just dropping out of the first round, he’s dropping to the third or fourth round now,” Dominik said on Mike & Mike. “I know he’s dropping out of the first round. I don’t see any way he’s going in the first round.”

Ray has likely lost many millions of dollars in the last few weeks.

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Mariota gets a deal with Beats

Mariota Getty Images

Marcus Mariota may not have a lot to say, but he has something to listen with.  And he’ll get paid to do it.

Mariota has become the latest NFL endorser of the Beats by Dre headphones.  The company officially welcomed Mariota to the family via Twitter on Monday.

The league probably isn’t thrilled with the arrangement, given that the NFL receives millions per year from Bose — and has fined players for wearing Beats products when they’re otherwise carrying the NFL’s flag.

It’s unknown how much Mariota will receive and unclear whether other incoming players will be getting a similar deal.  Mariota adds Beats to a list of endorsers that includes Nike and Subway.

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Roger Goodell expects Ted Wells’s Deflategate report soon

AFC Championship - Indianapolis Colts v New England Patriots Getty Images

It has been more than a month since Roger Goodell said that Ted Wells’s investigation into allegations that the Patriots used underinflated footballs while throttling the Colts in the AFC Championship game was nearing its end.

The time that’s passed since he last publicly commented on the end date of the investigation hasn’t done anything to shake Goodell’s belief that answers are around the corner. During an appearance with Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning on Tuesday, Goodell said that he thinks the results of the investigation will be released soon.

“What we’re trying to do is just make sure we’re thorough,” Goodell said. “The most important thing here is: Was there a violation of the rules? And if so, how did that occur? We have a responsibility to the 32 teams — not just to one team, to 32 teams — and our fans, and the general public here to make sure that things were done fairly. I think it’s hard because you want to make sure you have all the information. One of the things that he would be asked to look for: Was it just one game?”

Goodell wouldn’t say whether there was suspicion that the Patriots were using deflated balls in multiple games and there wasn’t comment on other issues that have been raised during the extended wait for Wells’s report, including questions about who from the league leaked information that incriminated the Patriots in the days after the issue first came to light. Should those answers take much longer to surface, Goodell might want to refrain from further predictions about how close Wells is to going public with his findings.

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