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Broncos expect to have Bailey, Thomas back this week

Julius Thomas AP

The news could have hardly been worse last night.

But as they approach the limit of the 24-hour rule, the Broncos were actually getting some good news.

Interim coach Jack Del Rio said most of the injury news was good, and that he expected both cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and tight end Julius Thomas (knee) to play this week against the Chiefs.

“We got some decent injury news back today that a couple of the injuries that we were concerned about are not going to be significant,” Del Rio said in comments distributed by the team. “So that’s good news. Really the guys are day-to-day.”

As we mentioned earlier, running back Knowshon Moreno should be fine, and Del Rio said he expected the workhorse back to practice later this week.

Del Rio applied the same “day-to-day” tag to cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who missed the second half with a shoulder injury, robbing the Broncos of their two best cover players.

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Texans acknowledge DeAndre Hopkins holdout

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 13:  Houston Texan player DeAndre Hopkins watches the play during the 2016 Copa America Centenario Group match between Mexico and Venezuela at NRG Stadium on June 13, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Saturday one-liners

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Quarterback Bryce Petty #9 of the New York Jets warms up before a game against the Cleveland Browns at MetLife Stadium on September 13, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets QB Bryce Petty thinks he can be the No. 2 quarterback this year.

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.

Patriots rookie CB Cyrus Jones looks like a good fit at nickel corner.

Ravens rookie WR Chris Moore is one of the early standouts in camp.

Bengals LB Rey Maualuga isn’t talking about how he got the injury that landed him on the NFI list.

The Browns’ first training-camp practice of the year was closed to the media due to lightning.

Steelers TE Ladarius Green, on the PUP list with an ankle injury, declined to provide a timetable as to his potential return.

J..J. Watt and Brock Osweiler are the top merchandise sellers for the Texans.

The Colts’ defense hinges on CB Vontae Davis.

Jaguars DT Malik Jackson was asked to lost weight after OTAs, so he did.

The Titans’ new locker room includes slogans like “Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead.”

Broncos WR Jordan Taylor generated plenty of attention with a one-handed catch.

As expected, Chiefs S Eric Berry didn’t report for training camp.

The Raiders are mostly healthy as they enter camp.

Dumping C Trevor Robinson saved the Chargers $2.3 million.

The Cowboys aren’t concerned about the allegations made against RB Ezekiel Elliott.

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.

Washington WR Jamison Crowder feels “a lot more confident” this year.

Bears WR Josh Bellamy arrived at camp wearing a Josh Bellamy T-shirt.

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.

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has asked QB Cam Newton to improve his accuracy on shorter throws.

Saints DT Sheldon Rankins is learning how to play “that chess match” with guys who have been in the league.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston and WR Mike Evans are improving their connection on deep balls.

Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson wants more defensive players to assume leadership roles.

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.

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Dolphins add a cornerback, drop Stoneburner

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 15:  Dwayne Harris #17 of the New York Giants makes a catch against   Duron Harmon #30 of the New England Patriots and Rashaan Melvin #24 of the New England Patriots  during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 15, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Reserve/NFI designation means Ian Williams out for season

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 20:  AJ McCarron #5 of the Cincinnati Bengals is sacked by Ian Williams #93 of the San Francisco 49ers during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 20, 2015 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

Williams agreed a new five-year deal with the 49ers last March, but after Williams did not pass a physical the team redid his contract, and Williams ended up signing a one-year deal.

He started all 16 games at nose tackle last season and has started 26 of 31 career games.

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Manziel, back in the clubs, says he’ll play for the Cowboys

manziel-johnny122814-getty-ftrjpg_1ad7ihh26uqyl1xhpo4dc2tov3 Getty Images

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.

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Cardinals add a receiver, drop another

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 30:  Helmets belonging to the Arizona Cardinals sit on the turf before the start of the Cardinals game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 30, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Cardinals made a wide receiver swap Saturday.

Wide receiver Franky Okafor was added to the team’s 90-man preseason roster and Rico Richardson was released.

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.

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Michael Bennett officially reports to Seahawks camp

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20:  Defensive end Michael Bennett #72 (R) of the Seattle Seahawks sports a Darth Vader mask as he is greeted by linebacker Bruce Irvin #51 during introductions prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at CenturyLink Field on December 20, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Browns 30-13.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Anthony Davis returns to 49ers active roster

San Francisco 49ers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

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.

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Eric Fisher gets $28.5 million fully guaranteed by March

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 28:  Julius Peppers #56 of the Green Bay Packers rushes against Eric Fisher #72 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field on September 28, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Chiefs 38-28.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

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.

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Ankle to keep Nkemdiche out two weeks

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 28:  (L-R) Robert Nkemdiche of Ole Miss holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being picked #29 overall by the Arizona Cardinalsduring the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 28, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cardinals rookie defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche will miss about two weeks with a high ankle sprain, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters Saturday.

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.

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Chiefs extend Eric Fisher

Kansas City Chiefs v Pittsburgh Steelers Getty Images

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.

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Taylor Heinicke out for a while after bizarre off-field injury

taylor-heinicke-72916-usnews-getty-ftr_150zqgg5987rg15jg3g99ati7v Getty Images

From time to time in pro sports, bizarre tales emerge of unusual injuries suffered by athletes. On many occasions, the official story isn’t the true story, whether it’s guys tripping over dogs or falling down the steps or slipping on a McDonald’s bag.

The history of misdirection results in skepticism whenever reports emerge of an athlete being injured in an odd way. The latest example comes from Vikings quarterback Taylor Heinicke.

Officially, Heinicke severed a tendon in his foot while kicking in a window in an effort to help a friend get back into his apartment. Officially, “[t]here was no foul play or substance abuse involved in the incident.”

It’s entirely possible that the official version is true. If so, it was the culmination of a chain of stupid decisions. Who kicks in a window with their foot? Surely, there were other ways to break it that didn’t involve exposing the foot of a pro athlete to shards of broken glass.

And so Heinicke will be on the NFI list, at least for camp and possibly into the regular season. The Vikings can choose not to pay his salary. They also may ultimately decide that they’re going to look elsewhere for young quarterbacks to groom as the backup(s) to Teddy Bridgewater.

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Washington to put Bobby Beathard in Ring of Fame

SAN DIEGO - SEPTEMBER 1991:  General Manager Bobby Beathard of the San Diego Chargers stands on the deck of his home on September 1991 in Leucadia, California. (Photo by Andy Hayt via Getty Images) Getty Images

At a time when Washington hopes it has found its next Bobby Beathard in Scot McCloughan, the original Bobby Beathard will join the ranks of the team’s all-time greats.

Washington has announced that Beathard will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Fame.

Serving as G.M. from 1978 through 1988, Beathard built a team that went to three Super Bowls, winning two.

He becomes the 49th member of the Ring of Fame. Most recently, Monte Coleman joined the list in December 2015.

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Roddy White has interest, but wants more than the minimum

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 23: Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons stands on the field during warm ups prior to a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome on August 23, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Getty Images

Some say that receiver Roddy White’s expression of reluctance to sign with a non-contender means he has no viable options anywhere. That’s apparently not the case.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, White was — and still is — on the radar in Tennessee. But he won’t accept a minimum-salary offer. Andre Johnson did, which is why he was recently signed.

But with Johnson’s deal not guaranteed, the Titans can kick tires and, if they decide he can’t truly help the team, move on. Possibly back to White.

Other teams to watch for White include the obvious dot-connection to the Buccaneers, where former Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the head coach.

Regardless of where White ends up, it’s apparently going to take more than the one-year veteran minimum to make it happen. Before a team gets to the point where it’s willing to pay that much, it likely will need to evaluate what it currently has.

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Dion Jordan rejoins the Dolphins

Dion Jordan AP

On Friday, the NFL reinstated defensive end Dion Jordan. On Saturday, Jordan rejoined the Dolphins.

He is in the building,” coach Adam Gase said, via the team’s official website. “There’s a certain protocol that the league has put out as far as what we need to follow. We’re allowed to have certain conversations. He’s allowed to do certain type of things or certain areas that he’s allowed to be around. Obviously, we’re taking everything very slowly.

“We’re trying to make sure that we do everything by the book, exactly the way the league wants us to do it. He’s trying to do a good job of doing exactly what he’s told to do. We are like, you talk about like step one of like 500. It’s going to take some time for us to make sure that we do every little thing right for this thing to turn out the right way.”

If Jordan is on the roster as of Monday, the Dolphins will owe him a $1.7 million roster bonus. However, as Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald has explained, the Dolphins will retain the roster bonus as partial repayment of the $3.35 million he owes the team in signing bonus money forfeited via his past suspensions.

The CBA allows teams to retain bonus money and salary in order to settle debts over forfeited bonus money. This means that Jordan could be working for free in 2016 and beyond in order to justify retention of the $3.35 million he owes the Dolphins in the wake of his most recent suspension.

That said, the Dolphins could still choose to sever ties with Jordan, avoiding the $1.7 million and still retaining the right to pursue the $3.35 million. For now, it seems they’ll welcome Jordan back, help him stay in the league’s good graces — and help themselves to his $1.7 million bonus and up to another $1.65 million in future pay.

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