Mike Florio runs down the latest NFL news including the Rams honorable loss to Seattle in Week 8, what to expect as the trade deadline nears and why Tavon Austin’s skill level hasn’t translated to the next level.
PFT Live: Seahawks must fear a QB injury
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has lamented the grind of training camp. Training camp is here for the Vikings, and he’s not yet grinding.
Via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, coach Mike Zimmer said that Peterson has a pulled hamstring. He got the injury while working out on his own before camp.
But Peterson passed his physical and is practicing. So it’s not a major issue.
“He can do things. He just can’t turn it all the way loose,” Zimmer said. “We’re just being careful.”
The situation gives the team’s other backs extra work, including star-in-the-making Jerick McKinnon.
“It’s good we get to see some of these young backs,” Zimmer said. “But [Peterson will] be out here fairly soon, I think.”
Still, hamstrings heal only with proper rest. There’s an extent to which the muscle can be pushed before it tightens up and delays the healing process. For Peterson, the best move is to give him a break and to allow the rest of the offense to get used to a future that eventually and inevitably will include Peterson not being a member of the team.
The Cowboys have opened training camp in Oxnard, but they’re honoring their hometown.
Via Nick Eatman of the team’s official website, the Cowboys have applied to their helmets a sticker that expresses support for the Dallas Police Department. “Arm in Arm” the sticker says on the back of the headgear, with a star in the middle of it.
It’s unclear whether the Cowboys will wear the sticker for preseason or regular-season games. Typically, permission must be obtained from the league for such deviations from the uniform.
Violence committed by and against police could put the NFL in an awkward position this year, with police departments pushing for displays of support and players wanting to express support for groups that are speaking out against situations where police misuse their authority and force. Caught in the middle will be the league office, faced with the potentially impossible task of keeping everyone happy on the kind of hot-button issue that could alienate portions of the fan base, if the right balance isn’t struck.
[Photo credit: Twitter.com/nickeatman.]
Politics and football have combined to create a bit of a hot potato.
Two of the three upcoming presidential debates conflict with prime-time NFL games. One of the candidates for the highest office in the land claims that the league has requested a rescheduling of the debates. The NFL has denied it.
In an interview with This Week on ABC, Trump expressed concern about the schedule — and he said the NFL has expressed concern, too.
“Well, I’ll tell you what I don’t like,” Trump said. “It’s against two NFL games. I got a letter from the NFL saying, ‘This is ridiculous. Why are the debates against’ — ’cause the NFL doesn’t wanna go against the debates. ‘Cause the debates are gonna be pretty massive, from what I understand, OK?”
The NFL says no such letter was sent.
“While we’d obviously wish the Debate Commission could find another night, we did not send a letter to Mr Trump,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said on Twitter.
The September 26 Monday night game between the Falcons and Saints conflicts with one of the debates. A Sunday night game on October 9 involving the Buccaneers and Panthers conflicts with the other debate.
“I don’t know how the dates were picked,” Trump said. “I don’t know why those particular dates.”
Trump likely assumes that his supporters will be more inclined to opt for football than his opponent’s supporters, based on the broad, general belief that football draws more fans of a conservative mindset than liberal/progressive types. And the NFL likely would prefer not to be competing against the debates.
Unlike the debate that emerged two weeks ago regarding HBO’s Ballers, when executive producer Mark Wahlberg claimed Commissioner Roger Goodell called and tried to kill the show, the NFL allegedly reduced its concerns about the debates to writing and sent them to Trump.
So this one should be easy to prove. Trump simply needs to produce the piece of paper. That should be easy to do, right?
Of course, if Trump does indeed produce the piece of paper, there’s always a chance that someone will express skepticism about its authenticity. Perhaps by saying something like, “He came up with this thing, all of a sudden, miraculously.”
The Rams placed running back Tre Mason on the reserve/did not report list Saturday.
Mason was a no-show when the full squad was required to report on Friday for the team’s first camp at the University of California-Irvine.
The team had excused Mason from the offseason program due to personal reasons. Last week, TMZ reported that police were called to Mason’s house for the fifth time in four months.
It’s probably not a surprise to team officials that Mason didn’t show up for camp, but it still has to be concerning given his recent arrests and the additional police visits.
Mason, who turns 23 next week, has been the Rams’ backup running back for the last two seasons. He got limited work last season with the emergence of Todd Gurley, but he’s scored five touchdowns and averaged 3.8 yards per carry on 254 carries over two seasons.
Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins wants a new contract. He hasn’t gotten one, so he has held out.
The Texans, in response, have placed him on the reserve/did not report list. They also have issued a statement regarding the situation.
“We are disappointed DeAndre has elected not to report to training camp with the rest of his teammates,” said G.M. Rick Smith, who received an extension of his own on Friday. “He has expressed his position regarding his contract status, and we have been clear with both he and his representatives of ours. Our focus is on the 2016 season and all of our collective efforts and attention will be centered on that endeavor.”
It’s unclear what the respective positions are. Some have suggested that the Texans have flatly refused to negotiate a new deal for Hopkins, a first-round pick in 2013 who is eligible to have the final two years of his rookie deal torn up and replaced with a new contract.
Hopkins will be subject to $40,000 per day in fines, partial forfeiture of his signing bonus, loss of a $445,000 roster bonus, and eventually the loss of a year of credit to free agency.
The problem isn’t the fourth year toward free agency but the two years left on his contract. He wants the Texans to do for him what they did for J.J. Watt two years ago, tearing up the final two years of the rookie contract and giving him a new one.
Here’s a look at the position battles for the Bills.
The Dolphins have added Jason Taylor to the booth for radio broadcasts of preseason games.
The Browns’ first training-camp practice of the year was closed to the media due to lightning.
The Titans’ new locker room includes slogans like “Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead.”
The Raiders are mostly healthy as they enter camp.
New Giants coach Ben McAdoo continues to be a stickler for punctuality, like his predecessor.
It sounds like Howie Roseman has final say over the Eagles’ roster.
The Lions haven’t been cleared to reveal their Color Rush uniforms for 2016.
The Packers are putting an emphasis on punt returns.
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wants to pick his offensive line starters “as soon as possible.”
The Falcons’ new stadium keeps getting more expensive; this time, however, it was only another $9 million.
The Rams’ move to L.A. apparently will go more smoothly than the Oilers’ move to Tennessee.
Here’s a look at the camp battles for the 49ers.
Once again, offensive line is a question mark for the Seahawks.
The Dolphins made a roster swap Saturday and also activated cornerback Bobby McCain from the active/physically unable to perform list.
The team signed cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who’s had two prior stints with the Ravens and one with the Patriots and also previously spent some time on the Dolphins practice squad. Melvin has played in 12 career games and made two starts with the Ravens in 2014.
Melvin, 26, was cut by the Patriots in May after signing a futures contract last winter.
To make room for Melvin, tight end Jake Stoneburner was waived.
The 49ers placed nose tackle Ian Williams on the reserve/non-football injury list Saturday, a move that created a roster spot for offensive tackle Anthony Davis to be moved from reserve/retired to the active roster.
The reserve/NFI Williams designation means Williams, a run stuffer and productive player when healthy, is out for the season.
He started all 16 games at nose tackle last season and has started 26 of 31 career games.
Football has moved on without Johnny Football. But Johnny Football still hasn’t moved on from football.
Capping a month that supposedly began with a vow of sobriety, Johnny Manziel was back in a club on Friday night. As he emerged (and got behind the wheel of a car — which is fine if he wasn’t drinking, anything but fine if he was), Manziel celebrated the return of Josh Gordon with a “YES!” and said the Browns “absolutely” should bring Gordon back.
“He’s been a Pro Bowl!” Manziel exclaims to TMZ.
Manziel then said he’s “absolutely” returning to the NFL and that he’ll play for the Cowboys.
That could be news to the Cowboys, who reportedly have zero interest in Manziel unless and until he turns his life around. With still no indication of a clear desire to do what he needs to do to win back the trust of any NFL team, Manziel is going to have to wait for a lot of quarterbacks to get injured before his phone will ever be ringing with a call from Dallas.
The Cardinals made a wide receiver swap Saturday.
Okafor is an undrafted rookie out of Southeastern Oklahoma. Richardson, 25, had previously spent time with the Chiefs, Texans and Titans. He played six games with the Titans over the previous two seasons.
Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett still dislikes his contract. But he likes his team and his teammates enough to set that aside, again.
Last year, he showed up for training camp after skipping the offseason program. This year, he did the same thing.
“I just want to be here and be a good teammate,” Bennett told reporters after practice, via Aaron Levine of Q13 FOX Sports. “Just want to be a Seahawk for the rest of my life.”
It’s unclear whether he’ll spend the current season under the third year of a four-year, $28.5 million deal or a new contract. His agent was due to meet with the Seahawks this week.
Now that Bennett has reported, it’s likely that he’ll stay. As explained earlier in connection with Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins (who contrary to initial reports from ESPN did not “walk out of camp”), the team has much more leverage over a player who shows up and then leaves — including the nuclear option of sending a “five-day letter” that allows the team to shut him down for the entire year if he doesn’t return within (obviously based on the description of the letter) five days.
Offensive tackle Anthony Davis has officially been reinstated and placed on the 49ers’ active roster, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.
Davis sat out last season and had been on the team’s reserve-retired list. Last week, Davis said he’d submitted his letter of reinstatement to the NFL.
A first-round pick in 2010, Davis started all 71 games he played at right tackle before walking away last season. Though there had been speculation that Davis wanted the 49ers to trade or release him, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said this week that the 49ers and Davis had patched things up and that Davis was anxious to return.
Three years ago, the Chiefs thought enough of tackle Eric Fisher to make him the first pick in the draft. Now, they think enough of him to give him a four-year, $48 million extension.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, $22 million is fully guaranteed at signing. By March 2017, $28.5 million will be fully guaranteed. There are another $11.5 million in injury-only guarantees.
The contract compares favorably to the market, which is a positive sign for Fisher given that he has yet to fully become the guy the Chiefs thought he would be. (Apparently, they think he’s close to becoming that guy.)
By way of comparison on a “new money” basis, Saints tackle Terron Amstead and Eagles tackle Lane Johnson got $20.8 million fully guaranteed at signing, and less than $28.5 million by the following March. Their total guarantees were $38 million and $35 million, respectively; Fisher’s is at $40 million.
Currently, the deal makes Fisher the fourth highest-paid tackle in the league. Washington tackle Trent Williams gets $13 million per year, Amstead gets $13 million per year, Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith gets $12.2 million per year.
Behind Fisher are Bills tackle Cordy Glenn at $11.5 million per year, Browns tackle Joe Fisher at $11.5 million per year, Johnson at $11.25 million per year, and Colts tackle Anthony Castonzo at $10.9 million per year.
The extension, added with the balance of his rookie contract, puts Fisher under contract for six years at $63.33 million.
The No. 29 overall pick last April, Nkemdiche has been a spectator since before the start of full training camp. He injured the ankle during a workout with other rookies and quarterbacks earlier this week.
One of the 2016 draft’s most talented and most talked about prospects, Nkemdiche figures to be an immediate contributor for the Cardinals assuming he gets healthy and up to speed.
When the Chiefs took Eric Fisher as the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, they envisioned him as their franchise left tackle for years to come. They still feel that way.
That’s why the Chiefs have reached an agreement on a four-year contract extension with Fisher, a league source tells PFT.
Before agreeing to this extension, Fisher was slated to earn $3.4 million this year and $11.9 million on his fifth-year option in 2017.
Although it took Fisher some time to make the transition from Central Michigan to the NFL, the Chiefs like the way he has developed. Now, at age 25, he’s slated to play his prime years in Kansas City.