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PFT’s Week 17 picks

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After a pathetic, season-worst 6-10 showing by yours truly and a four-game sweep by MDS, I was tempted to try to guess which team he’d pick for each of the 16 games to end the regular season, and then hope for the best.

But the spirit of this game is to try to get as many games right as possible, even if my outcome from last week would suggest that the better approach for me would be to select a winner — and then to do the opposite.

This week, we disagree on three games, which means MDS will win the regular-season competition by at least nine games.

For the year, MDS has generated a record of 157-83.  I’m 145-95.

The only good news is that it all resets to 0-0 for the postseason picks competition.

Panthers at Falcons

MDS’s take: Give the Falcons credit for playing competitive football against good teams, as they did on Monday night against the 49ers. This Atlanta team hasn’t quit. But the Panthers’ defense should shut down the Falcons’ offense as the Panthers clinch the NFC South.

MDS’s pick: Panthers 20, Falcons 10.

Florio’s take:  The Panthers need a win to nail down the No. 2 seed.  An immature, undisciplined team would stumble in this spot.  If nothing else, the 2013 Panthers have proven that they are both mature and disciplined.

Florio’s pick:  Panthers 27, Falcons 20.

Packers at Bears

MDS’s take: As of the time I’m making this pick I don’t know if Aaron Rodgers is playing, so this is a tough one. But I’ll go with the Bears to clinch the NFC North in a high-scoring affair.

MDS’s pick: Bears 31, Packers 27.

Florio’s take:  If Aaron Rodgers can play, the Packers have a chance to peak in January.  If they can get to January.  If Rodgers plays on Sunday, the Packers will get to January.

Florio’s pick:  Packers 34, Bears 30.

Ravens at Bengals

MDS’s take: The Ravens suffered a huge letdown last week against the Patriots, and I see the defending champions’ season ending on Sunday in Cincinnati.

MDS’s pick: Bengals 24, Ravens 14.

Florio’s take:  The Bengals need a win and some help in order to secure the No. 2 seed.  The Ravens need a win and some help to extend their streak of playoff appearances to six.  While the Bengals are unbeaten at home, the Ravens have the greater incentive and enough talent to capitalize.

Florio’s pick:  Ravens 20, Bengals 17.

Jaguars at Colts

MDS’s take: The Jaguars aren’t going down without a fight, but the Colts showed last week against the Chiefs that they’re real contenders. Indianapolis will win this one and head into the playoffs with a full head of steam for a likely rematch with Kansas City.

MDS’s pick: Colts 34, Jaguars 20.

Florio’s take:  Indy is building some momentum in the hopes of advancing beyond the wild-card round.  The Jaguars have shown enough progress to create plausible hope for 2014 — if they can find a decent quarterback.

Florio’s pick:  Colts 30, Jaguars 20.

Jets at Dolphins

MDS’s take: Last week the Dolphins laid an egg, while the Jets kept fighting despite having no shot at the playoffs. This week, however, I think the Dolphins’ pass rush will get to Geno Smith and Miami will win a low-scoring game and the right to play in the first round of the playoffs, probably at Cincinnati.

MDS’s pick: Dolphins 20, Jets 10.

Florio’s take:  After his first season as Jets coach, Rex Ryan gave the finger to a Miami MMA crowd.  On Sunday, in perhaps his final act as Jets coach, he can give a figurative finger to Fins fans by knocking the home team out of the playoffs.  Rex will pull out all the stops, and the Dolphins will follow two wins in games they should have lost with two losses in games they should have won.

Florio’s pick:  Jets 23, Dolphins 20.

Lions at Vikings

MDS’s take: After appearing to be in control of the NFC North for much of the season, the Lions have gone into free fall. The fall will continue in Minnesota.

MDS’s pick: Vikings 24, Lions 17.

Florio’s take:  The final game at the Metrodome coincides with what likely will be the final game of Jim Schwartz’s tenure and Lions coach.  Adrian Peterson won’t let his team exit its 31-year home with anything other than a victory to cap a lost season.

Florio’s pick:  Vikings 31, Lions 23.

Bills at Patriots

MDS’s take: Buffalo isn’t going anywhere, but the Bills’ defense is a lot better than most people realize, as the Dolphins found out the hard way last week. It wouldn’t shock me to see the Bills pull off the upset, but I expect the Patriots’ defense to shut down the Bills’ offense to win a close, low-scoring game.

MDS’s pick: Patriots 14, Bills 10.

Florio’s take:  The Pats still have a shot at securing the No. 1 seed — and also at having to play in the wild-card round.  Either way, a home loss wouldn’t be the best way to embark on a playoff run in a wide-open AFC.

Florio’s pick:  Patriots 38, Bills 20.

Buccaneers at Saints

MDS’s take: The Saints are a bad road team but a good home team. That’s a bad thing to be if you’re going to the playoffs as a wild card, but in New Orleans on Sunday, the Saints will clinch a playoff berth.

MDS’s pick: Saints 27, Buccaneers 17.

Florio’s take:  The Saints could end the day as the No. 2 seed.  The Saints also could end the day out of the playoffs.  If Carolina wins earlier, forcing the Saints to leave the Superdome in the wild-card round, they may be tempted to not delay the inevitable.  Coach Sean Payton won’t let that happen.

Florio’s pick:  Saints 27, Buccaneers 13.

Redskins at Giants

MDS’s take: Both of these teams stink, but Washington is a much lower level of stink. This game will be ugly, and the Giants will win.

MDS’s pick: Giants 23, Redskins 16.

Florio’s take:  The Giants hoped to finish their season with a win at MetLife Stadium in February.  They’ll have to settle for finishing their season with a win at MetLife Stadium in late December.

Florio’s pick:  Giants 28, Redskins 17.

Browns at Steelers

MDS’s take: The Steelers dug a deep hole for themselves with their lousy start to the season, but they’re playing good football now. They probably won’t get all the help they need to make the playoffs, but the Steelers will take care of business against the Browns.

MDS’s pick: Steelers 34, Browns 13.

Florio’s take:  If the Steelers get to the playoffs, they’ll be tough to beat.  But not as tough as they’ll be to beat in the game that can help get them to the playoffs.

Florio’s pick:  Steelers 34, Browns 17.

Texans at Titans

MDS’s take: The Texans will clinch the first overall pick in the draft by losing to the Titans. And draft order is the only reason to pay any attention to this game.

MDS’s pick: Titans 20, Texans 13.

Florio’s take:  New Houston meets old Houston at a time when both Houstons have a problem too big for one meaningless game to fix.  If Mike Munchak is leaving after more than 30 years with the Oilers/Titans franchise, he’s going out with a win.

Florio’s pick:  Titans 24, Texans 17.

49ers at Cardinals

MDS’s take: The Cardinals have had an impressive season, and there’s a good team being assembled in Arizona. I think the Cardinals will make a big statement by defeating the playoff-bound 49ers, although Arizona won’t get the help it needs to make the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Cardinals 20, 49ers 17.

Florio’s take:  Arizona finishes laying the foundation for a run at the top of the division in 2014.  The 49ers will be happy to get out of Arizona healthy enough to function the following weekend.

Florio’s pick:  Cardinals 20, 49ers 17.

Broncos at Raiders

MDS’s take: With home-field advantage throughout the playoffs on the line, Denver will cruise to an easy win in Oakland.

MDS’s pick: Broncos 38, Raiders 14.

Florio’s take:  With 265 yards passing on Sunday, Peyton Manning emerges from the 2013 season with the record for passing touchdowns and passing yards.  With more points than the Raiders on Sunday, the Broncos emerge from the 2013 season with the No. 1 seed, again.  What they do with it remains to be seen.

Florio’s pick:  Broncos 41, Raiders 20.

Chiefs at Chargers

MDS’s take: The Chiefs are locked into the No. 5 seed in the AFC and are therefore the only playoff team with nothing to play for. As a result, I think they’ll take it easy on Sunday and the Chargers will cruise to a win.

MDS’s pick: Chargers 30, Chiefs 20.

Florio’s take:  By the time this one starts, the Chargers will know whether a win gets them in the playoffs.  Chances are they’ll be done.  But with the Chiefs likely resting starters, the Chargers will finish on the right side of .500.

Florio’s pick:  Chargers 31, Chiefs 21.

Rams at Seahawks

MDS’s take: The Rams are playing competitively and this won’t be easy for the Seahawks, but Seattle will be highly motivated to win this one and clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

MDS’s pick: Seahawks 31, Rams 20.

Florio’s take:  Last Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals gave the Seahawks a much-needed wake-up call.  They’ll answer the bell by roughing up the Rams and locking up the No. 1 seed.

Florio’s pick:  Seahawks 27, Rams 10.

Eagles at Cowboys

MDS’s take: Even with Tony Romo I’d lean toward the Eagles to take this one, but with Romo’s back injury this looks to me like a game the Eagles take to clinch the NFC East.

MDS’s pick: Eagles 31, Cowboys 17.

Florio’s take:  With or without Tony Romo, the Cowboys don’t have the defense to once again hold Philly to three points — especially without Sean Lee available.  Another year, another 8-8 finish, another loss in the de facto NFC East championship game.

Florio’s pick:  Eagles 27, Cowboys 23.

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Seahawks still waiting for Raiders, Marshawn Lynch to reach an agreement

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It was reported more than a week ago that the Raiders and running back Marshawn Lynch had reached an agreement on a contract. Currently, they still haven’t.

And it’s clear that the delay is coming from the Raiders and Lynch, not from the Seahawks. During a recent pre-draft press conference, Seattle G.M. John Schneider made it clear that the team that currently holds Lynch’s rights is waiting for word from his possible next team.

They’re still talking,” Schneider said, via Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “The steps after that were to be that if they came to an agreement, [Raiders G.M.] Reggie [McKenzie] and I would discuss a form of compensation.”

Schneider realizes that the Raiders hope to resolve this thing soon, one way or the other.

“I would think Reggie would want to go into the draft knowing that they have another runner or not,” Schneider said.

It’s unclear what the Seahawks want, or what the Raiders would give, to send Lynch to Oakland. Seattle has no other clear suitors for Lynch, and if he continues to sit on the reserve-retired list, they’ll get nothing for him.

Likewise, if he shows up out of the blue in Seattle, with his $9 million salary hitting the books, the Seahawks likely would release him sooner than later.

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Daryl Washington thanks Commissioner for reinstatement

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Suspended three years ago, linebacker Daryl Washington has been conditionally reinstated to the NFL generally, and to the Cardinals specifically.

“I’m honored and humbled to be back in the National Football League,” Washington said in a statement provided to PFT. “These last three years have been the most difficult of my life without the game I love so much. That said, I’ve used this time to make tremendous strides as a man and have grown into a proud husband, father, and contributing member of my community.”

Washington returns at the game at the age of 30. He has played only four seasons, two of which resulted in Pro Bowl and All-Pro recognition. So he has less wear and tear, and more tear on the tires.

“Physically I’m in the best shape of my life and have maintained a strenuous six-day per week workout plan for over a year in anticipation of this day and next season,” Washington said. “I understand the physical and mental demands that it takes to be an All-Pro linebacker in this League, and I fully intend to play at that level this season.

“I’d like to thank Commissioner Goodell and his staff who I’ve met with multiple times, my attorney Daniel Moskowitz for all of his work on my journey back, my amazing teammates who I’ve stayed in contact with, and most importantly, my family for all of their unconditional support. As I told Mr. Goodell, I will use this opportunity to help lead and mentor younger guys in the locker room and in my community to learn from my mistakes and understand it’s an honor to be in the NFL.”

The Cardinals have been circumspect so far regarding whether they want Washington. That’s the next question that needs to be answered before Washington suits up for the team again. It’s expected he’ll get the chance to show the Cardinals what he can still do; few franchises are in the business of sending away quality contributors who can make the team better.

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49ers to induct Tom Rathman into Hall of Fame

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Tom Rathman’s 23-year run with the 49ers ended earlier this year. He’ll now permanently be part of the organization.

The 49ers will induct Rathman into the franchise’s Hall of Fame.

“Tom Rathman embodies everything this organization wants in its players, coaches and staff,” 49ers CEO Jed York said in a statement. “Throughout his more than two decades with our team, Tom set a tone for the 49ers both on and off the field. As a player, he was selfless, hard-working and dedicated to bringing his best every single day. Tom coached very much the same way. It was his mission to help every man he coached realize his full potential, as both a player and a man. Tom is family and we are so thrilled to induct him into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, where he will take his place among the all-time greats in our team’s history.”

The move comes roughly two months after Rathman decided not to remain with the team as part of Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

I’m not going to be back,” Rathman, a former fullback and running backs coach, said at the time. “I feel like it’s the best for everybody if I just parted and let those guys do their thing and take me out of the equation so that nobody’s uncomfortable. I’m looking to coach running backs and that’s what I want to do. I’m just going to wait for the next opportunity and go for it when it happens.”

 “I spent 23 years with the 49ers,” Rathman said in Tuesday’s press release. “I’ve always considered myself a 49er and I always will consider myself a 49er. I’ll take that brand with me wherever I go because that’s who I am. It feels great to be with the guys who are already in the 49ers Hall of Fame. Dating back to Joe Perry, it’s an honor to be associated with the likes of Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig and Dwight Clark. That’s a lot of history right there. To be able to say that you’re in a fraternity with those guys so to speak, the 49ers Hall of Fame fraternity, says volumes. It’s pretty special.”

Rathman’s 23 years puts him behind only 49ers Hall of Famer in terms of tenure with the team. Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr., the man for whom the Hall of Fame is named, had 24 years with the franchise.

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Deshaun Watson likes how he looks in a Cardinals uniform in Madden

For free agents and incoming draft picks, the Madden game provides a way to get a look at how the player will look in a variety of NFL uniforms. For quarterback Deshaun Watson, he particularly liked how he looked in one specific uniform.

Appearing on PFT Live, Watson said he likes how he looks in Cardinals attire, specifically with the black jerseys. (The photo accompanying this post is an image of virtual Larry Fitzgerald wearing the 2016 Color Rush uniforms.)

The Cardinals are in the market for a successor to Carson Palmer, and Palmer has embraced the possibility of mentoring a youngster. Watson likewise said he’d welcome the chance to learn from a veteran, even if it means sitting for a year or two. He’s also fine with being drafted later than earlier, if it means landing in the right spot.

Watson visited thr Cardinals, Browns, Jaguars, 49ers, Texans, and Chiefs in the weeks preceding the draft. The 2017 PFT Worst Mock Draft Ever has Watson going to the Cardinals at No. 13.

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Titans’ 2016 second-round pick Kevin Dodd still dealing with foot injury

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The Titans took linebacker Kevin Dodd with the 33rd overall pick of last year’s draft, only to see him suffer a foot injury in his first rookie minicamp. A year later, that injury is still an issue.

Although Dodd did manage to play in nine games last season, the foot remained a problem and eventually landed him on injured reserve. Today coach Mike Mularkey confirmed that the foot is still bothering him now.

Via Paul Kuharsky of ESPN Mularkey described Dodd as not completely healthy, with pain still lingering in the foot. Mularkey described it as a delicate injury.

Eventually, the Titans hope to see Dodd get healthy and become the type of player they thought he was when they drafted him. But they certainly didn’t think at this time a year ago that an injury would be the dominant theme of his first year in the NFL.

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Aqib Talib: “Definitely a relief” to avoid suspension for self-inflicted gunshot

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Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib’s offseason in 2016 was interrupted when he inadvertently shot himself in the leg in June, but he learned recently that the incident won’t lead to an interruption of his 2017 season.

The league looked into the incident, which didn’t lead to any charges in Dallas, as a possible violation of the league’s personal conduct policy, but opted not to suspend or fine the veteran corner. Talib discussed the league’s decision for the first time on Tuesday.

“Definitely a relief, man,” Talib said, via ESPN.com. “Just glad I could put it behind me and move on to the season and worry about what I really need to be worrying about.”

Talib said that he was worried last year about how he would hold up physically after wounding himself, but he only missed time because of a back injury and didn’t report any trouble with the leg over the course of the season. He returned from that back injury to close out the season on the field and is expected to join Chris Harris as the team’s starting corners again this year.

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Daryl Washington gets a conditional reinstatement too

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As we close in on 50 hours until the start of the 2017 NFL Draft, the league is conducting what could become a new tradition — the Tuesday afternoon reinstatement dump.

Hours after Pittsburgh wide receiver Martavis Bryant was allowed back in, the league went even deeper into the vault.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the league has conditionally reinstated Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington, who hopes to play in 2017.

Washington hasn’t played in over three years, after substance abuse violations and a guilty plea to an aggravated assault charge.

And the Cardinals have never seemed all that interested in allowing him back through the door, with coach Bruce Arians saying it would be a waste of breath to talk about it.

“Considering we have been prohibited from having contact with him over the last three years,” the team said in a statement Tuesday, “It would be premature today to discuss a potential return to the team.”

Washington was a Pro Bowl-level talent when he played, but that was a long time ago, and it could be tougher for him to find another chance.

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Aaron Hernandez lawyer: Claims of suicide note to prison lover are false

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Last week, after the family of Aaron Hernandez began to ask questions about the circumstances surrounding his death in prison, unnamed law enforcement sources began to leak that Hernandez was bisexual. The specific information reported by Newsweek was that one of the three notes Hernandez left in his cell was addressed to his prison lover. (Newsweek also reported that the June 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd may have been motivated by a desire to conceal that Hernandez was secretly dating a man.)

The family of Aaron Hernandez has received the notes left by Hernandez in his cell. Attorney Jose Baez has issued a statement on the matter.

“Rumors of letters to a gay lover, in or out of prison, are false,” Baez said. “These are malicious leaks used to tarnish someone who is dead. . . . Notwithstanding my unambiguous statement that there were no such letters, representatives, on behalf of an individual named Kyle Kennedy, continues to advise the media such a gay love letter exists. Accordingly, on behalf of the family of Aaron Hernandez, I am reaffirming, unequivocally, no such letter to Mr. Kennedy, or any other individual, in or out of prison, exists. l urge anyone continuing to spread these malicious untruths to cease immediately.”

This isn’t about the Baez or the Hernandez family expressing a judgment that homosexuality or bisexuality is wrong, and this isn’t about sympathy for a convicted murderer. This is about what appears to be an effort to create emotional turmoil for Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez, the mother of his child and the person to whom he was engaged to be married.

It may not be a coincidence that the leaks emerged in the wake of pointed questions and concerns being raised about whether Hernandez actually committed suicide and whether the authorities followed proper procedures to protect him from himself. It may be a sign of things to come, if the tough questions continue to be asked. That’s what Baez is trying to put a stop to.

Complicating the situation is the fact that Kyle Kennedy’s lawyer has said that a letter was left for his client. Again, the Hernandez family has received all notes that were left by Hernandez, and Baez insists that it’s false.

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Scouting Combine incident kept Reuben Foster from being invited to draft

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The Ultimate Reality Show’s ultimate reality show relies in large part on players choosing to show up and serve as live props for the boos-and-bear-hugs bonanza. And with plenty of players passing on attending the draft, it makes sense for the league to not make a habit of excluding prospects from the proceedings.

According to Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster won’t be attending the draft not because he declined the invitation but the league declined to invite him. The decision arose from the Scouting Combine incident that resulted in Foster being sent home following an altercation with a hospital worker.

In hindsight, it’s probably good that Foster won’t be there. Given the news that he provided a dilute sample at the Scouting Combine, triggering a positive substance-abuse test, it’s unclear how long he would have been in the green room.

PFT’s 2017 Worst Mock Draft Ever has Foster’s slide ending at No. 9, with the Bengals.

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Martavis Bryant’s conditional reinstatement is essentially a full reinstatement

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The NFL has granted a conditional reinstatement to Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant. Based on the terms of the conditional reinstatement, it’s no different as a practical matter than a full reinstatement.

Unlike Josh Gordon’s conditional reinstatement of a year ago, which featured a return for training camp and the preseason followed by a four-game suspension to start the regular season, Bryant is back with the team. He can participate in “meetings, conditioning work and similar activities.” He’ll receive full permission to engage in “all preseason activities” as soon as he has made arrangements for ongoing treatment in Pittsburgh, a step that has a perfunctory feel to it.

Ultimately, Bryant will be cleared for the start of the regular season “[b]ased on his compliance and engagement with his program and resources.” Even without that limitation, Bryant would have been required to comply with his treatment and with testing following reinstatement after a banishment of at least one year. Calling the reinstatement conditional simply means that it will be easier for the NFL to pull the plug on his return than it would have been to suspend him again under the procedures of the substance-abuse policy if he had violated any of the terms of his treatment plan.

The best news for Bryant and the Steelers is that the NFL has opted not to drag its feet on his application for reinstatement simply because it can. The league has full power and discretion when it comes to reinstatement a year after banishment, and in multiple past situations there has been a sense that the league has moved to slowly to bring a player back. With Bryant, it seems he has gotten a fair shake. Whether that fair shake extends to Week One depends on his activities going forward — just as it would have if he’d been fully reinstated with no restrictions or limitation or conditions.

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2017 Ryan Leaf knows 1998 Ryan Leaf wouldn’t have listened to him

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Nineteen years ago, Ryan Leaf became one of the all-time biggest draft busts as the second overall pick of the Chargers. On Tuesday, Leaf talked about what why it went wrong and whether anything could have changed the outcome.

Appearing on PFT Live, Leaf explained that the problem ultimately was him, and that a different team or a different coaching staff or different circumstances wouldn’t have mattered. He added that an unexpected slide on draft day would have made things worse, instead of humbling him.

The situation with Leaf was so bad that he realizes young Ryan Leaf wouldn’t have listened even to the Ryan Leaf of today, despite the sage advice 40-year-old Leaf could impart to his 21-year-old self.

Leaf imparted advice to and shared his experiences with the incoming crop of quarterbacks at the Scouting Combine. I didn’t ask him to tell me which of the prospect reminded 40-year-old Leaf the most of 21-year-old Leaf, but I did ask him to identify which of the quarterbacks impressed him the most.

His answer was Deshaun Watson. To hear him explain that and more, check out the video from his appearance on the show.

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Report: Browns have spoken to teams about moving up from No. 12

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In a column for TheMMQB.com on Monday, Peter King reported that seven teams in the top eight of the draft have interest in talking about a trade that would move them down in the draft order.

The only top-eight team not included in that group is the Browns, who have the first overall pick. They also have the No. 12 pick and could be a partner for one of those other teams.

Mike Silver of NFL Media reports that the Browns have had conversations with three teams in the top eight about a trade that would move them further up in the order. Assuming they take Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick, they would presumably be moving back up to get their choice of the draft’s top quarterbacks.

Of that group, North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky has been mentioned most often as the player the Browns would like to add to their offense.

Silver adds that the completion of any trade is likely to happen once a team is on the clock Thursday night as plans may change based on which players have come off the board.

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Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated after drug suspension

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Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant has been conditionally reinstated to the NFL after he spent the entire 2016 season suspended for violation’s of the league’s substance abuse policy.

The NFL informed the Steelers today that Bryant may re-join the team, according to General Manager Kevin Colbert.

“We appreciate that he has taken the necessary steps in an effort to get his personal life in order. We also understand this is just the beginning as he works to return to the team and meet all of the conditions of his reinstatement,” Colbert said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Martavis to ensure that he is mentally and physically prepared to contribute to our efforts on the field, while also maintaining the proper balance to keep his life in order off the field.”

Bryant can participate in team meetings and offseason workouts effective immediately. He will be allowed to participate in training camp practices and preseason games provided that he demonstrates before camp that he has made arrangements to continue drug treatment in Pittsburgh.

Before the regular season the NFL will review his progress, and if he has complied with drug treatment he will be fully reinstated for Week One.

Bryant is a big-play wide receiver who showed great promise before failed drug tests cost him the 2016 season. If he’s fully committed to football, he could be a big part of the Steelers’ offense in 2017.

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Beyond 2017, status of Bradford and Bridgewater is up in the air

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For the 2017 season, Sam Bradford is poised to start at quarterback for the Vikings, while Teddy Bridgewater will be on the roster but may not be medically cleared to play. Beyond 2017, it’s unclear whether either of them is in the Vikings’ plans.

That came out today when both Bradford and Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman talked to the local media as the team conducted offseason workouts.

Bradford said he doesn’t think his agent has had any discussions with the team about a contract. Bradford’s current deal, the two-year, $36 million contract he signed with the Eagles last year before they traded him to Minnesota, expires after the season, so he’s set to be a free agent in 2018.

And Spielman said the team has no timeline on the return of Bridgewater from the devastating knee injury he suffered last year in training camp. Bridgewater’s rookie contract is up after this year as well, if the Vikings don’t pick up his fifth-year option.

So it’s possible that both Bradford and Bridgewater will be free agents in 2018, and the Vikings will be looking for a new quarterback. Perhaps they’ll draft a quarterback this week with the idea that he’ll spend a season sitting and be ready to start next year.

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Report: Gareon Conley won’t attend draft

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Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley was among the players the NFL announced as draft attendees this year, but a report that he’s named in a police report regarding an allegation of sexual assault appears to have changed his plans.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Conley will not be in Philadelphia for this week’s event.

Conley has been widely projected to be a first-round pick over the last couple of months, but the allegation reported by TMZ is likely to have an impact on where he winds up going. Conley’s lawyer has called the allegations “ludicrous and ridiculous” and Conley has not been charged with any crime, but there’s a recent example that doesn’t bode well for Conley.

Offensive lineman La’El Collins was expected to be a high pick a couple of years ago, but went undrafted after he was not cleared of involvement in the murder of an ex-girlfriend. Collins signed with the Cowboys after eventually being cleared.

Conley could be cleared of any wrongdoing between now and Thursday, but anything short of that could lead to a drop that Conley apparently wants to avoid reacting to in front of cameras.

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