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Incognito’s Ferrari is vandalized

Incognito Getty Images

Richie Incognito has kept quiet for more than a week.  He may not stay quiet for much longer.

According to TMZ, someone vandalized Incognito’s Ferrari on Wednesday, taking a baseball bat repeatedly to the hood and ultimately breaking off the bottom of the bat in the grill of the vehicle.

We’re still trying to figure out how Richie Incognito fits in a Ferrari.

Incognito, who is working out in Arizona with free agency looming, purchased the car in November, not long after tackle Jonathan Martin left the team due to alleged harassment by Incognito and others.

He’ll be eligible to sign with another team on March 11.  It’s unknown whether the NFL will issue discipline to Incognito in response to the findings of the Ted Wells report.

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St. Louis County taxpayers won’t commit money to keep the Rams

Stan Kroenke AP

In what may be another step toward the Rams moving to Los Angeles, St. Louis County has said it will not devote $6 million of taxpayer money toward a new stadium.

With Rams owner Stan Kroenke planning to build a Los Angeles stadium, St. Louis officials are discussing a new stadium that would convince the Rams to stay. The current plan for a new stadium downtown has a budget of $985 million, so the $6 million that was planned to come from the county was a drop in the bucket. But the fact that one government entity is declining to fork over taxpayer funds is one more indication that this plan may not come to fruition in time to keep the Rams in town.

NFL owners have indicated that they expect to approve a plan for at least one team to move to Los Angeles soon. The top contenders are the Rams, Raiders and Chargers, with the Rams having a key advantage in that Kroenke can afford to build a stadium in Los Angeles with his own money, while Raiders and Chargers ownership would need to work out deals to finance the building of a stadium.

If the Rams do move, it’s possible that St. Louis could go forward with a new stadium plan — and try to convince the Raiders or Chargers to move to St. Louis.

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Robert Mathis still hopes to be ready by training camp

Robert Mathis AP

Indianapolis Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis suffered a bit of a setback in his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon that ended his 2014 season before it ever began.

But despite the difficulty with the injury, Mathis still hopes to be ready in time for training camp.

In an interview with Alex Marvez and Bill Polian on Sirius XM NFL radio, Mathis said he still anticipates being ready by July.

It’s not going as fast as I would like to but we are getting well and we should be clicking in camp. That’s my plan unless you’ve heard anything else,” Mathis said.

Marvez referenced Colts owner Jim Irsay’s comments from the league meetings in Arizona last week saying that Mathis may not be ready to play until November.

Mathis said he’s planning to be back much sooner than that.

“Yeah, very much so,” Mathis said. “I’m a competitor so if I can get out there with one Achilles, I’ll do it.”

Mathis had a career-high 19.5 sacks in 2013. However, a PED suspension due to fertility drugs forced Mathis to miss the first four games of the season. He then suffered the Achilles tear while working out on his own during that span and was lost for the year.

Mathis is now 34 years old and coming off a major injury. What he’ll be able to produce at this stage of his career will be a significant question mark.

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Dwayne Bowe plans a career revitalization

Na'il Diggs, Dwayne Bowe AP

Receiver Dwayne Bowe has said he plans to take his new team, the Browns, to the next level.  He also plans to get himself back to an old level.

With 13 total receiving touchdowns in four full seasons since catching 15 in 2010, Bowe plans to turn back the clock to an earlier phase of his career.

I have a chance to revitalize myself,” Bowe told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.  “Just sit back and watch.”

Bowe believes a reunion with former Chiefs executive (now Browns G.M.) Ray Farmer will make it happen, based on film review conducted when Bowe visited the Browns in March.

“Him knowing what I can do, seeing me in practice, making crazy plays, splitting the safeties, he knows I still can do that,” Bowe said of Farmer.  “I couldn’t showcase that last year.  He was pulling up old plays, saying, ‘We are going to use you just like that.’  Moving around, going on motion, trying to hit the deep ball, trying to break plays.”  (Insert “and if it’s not working Farmer will text different instructions to the sideline” joke here.)

If all goes according to plan, Bowe can came up for some wasted years.  But he doesn’t view them as wasted.

“It’s been up and down, but it’s been fun,” Bowe said.  “I don’t regret nothing.  People can talk about the NFL and playing wide receiver — I feel I still have a good four more years in me.”

After scoring no touchdowns in 2014, the Browns would settle for one good year.  Or at least one touchdown.

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Popp hopes Michael Sam chooses CFL’s Alouettes

South Dakota State v Missouri Getty Images

The Montreal Alouettes hold defensive end Michael Sam’s rights in the CFL.  Their General Manager believes Sam may indeed choose to give Canadian football a try.

“The CFL is cut out perfectly for his style,” Popp told the Montreal Gazette.  “It would give him the opportunity to do what he does best.

“His agent knows.  They’re ready.  They know this may be what it is.  It’s Michael who has to make the decision — and he might never come.”

Popp is hesitant because it appeared in 2014 that Sam may join the CFL, but he didn’t.

“The indications were he was ready to come last fall, and he’s still not with us,” Popp said.  “So I really don’t know.  Seriously, I’d say our chances are 50-50.”

If Sam wants to play in the NFL, it should be more like 100-0.  Unwanted by the NFL after leaving Penn State in 2005, Cameron Wake went to the CFL, became a star pass rusher, signed with the Dolphins in 2008, and became a star pass rusher.

So if Sam is serious about getting to the NFL, Sam can show up for the Veteran Combine every year and wait for a call that’s never going to come, or he can go to the CFL and try to play his way to the NFL.  Of course, there’s a chance he may fail.  But if he’s determined to get to the NFL, that shouldn’t stop him from trying.

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Marcus Mariota also not attending the NFL Draft

Marcus Mariota Getty Images

Following in the footsteps of Jameis Winston, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota has also decided to forgo attending the NFL Draft on April 30.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, Mariota has elected to remain home in Hawaii instead of attending the draft in person in Chicago.

Per Schefter, Mariota feels it’s important for him, personally and culturally, to go through the experience at home.

Winston has elected to remain at home as well because his grandmother has type-2 diabetes and cannot travel to the event. With Mariota also electing not to make the trip, it could very likely mean the top two selections in the draft will not be in attendance to shake hands and provide a photo opportunity with Roger Goodell.

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Winston lacks no confidence

Jameis Winston AP

Questions remain regarding whether quarterback Jameis Winston will thrive at the next level.  But there should be no questions about his confidence.

Winston displayed that confidence after Tuesday’s Pro Day workout, in response to a question from Paul Burmeister of NBCSN’s Pro Football Talk.

“On Saturdays, right there on that field, you knew if you won or lost. Right here, it’s a little bit more difficult to tell.  Would you call today a win or a loss for you?” Burmeister said.

“It was difficult to tell if I won?” a perplexed Winston said.

“I thought it looked good,” Burmeister said.

“I know it looked good,” Winston said.  “I know that looked good.  If that was bad, I want to see everybody else Pro Day and I want me and you to sit down and watch what everybody else did and then watch what I did.”

Winston’s Pro Day was far from perfect.  He was grossly inaccurate with at least one swing pass that should have been easily on the numbers, given that he was throwing against air (and, at times, against broom).  But Winston sees it as perfect, or at a minimum as at least as good as anyone else’s.

That confidence can’t hurt him.  Still, it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with the inevitable adversity that every NFL player faces, at some point.  What will he say after throwing four interceptions and losing by 20?  How will he react to a three-game losing streak?

As with every other draft pick who ever was drafted, we won’t know how he’ll handle the next level until he gets there.

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Chargers sign guard Michael Huey

Texas v Texas Tech Getty Images

Another of the NFL’s Veteran Combine invitees has found a job in the league.

The Chargers have signed offensive guard Michael Huey, the team said Tuesday. This is his second stint with the club; he spent time with San Diego in the 2011 preseason.

A Texas product, the 26-year-old Huey was with Washington’s practice squad in the second half of last season. His most extensive professional experience has come in the Arena Football League.

Overall, 105 players took part in the NFL Veteran Combine. In addition to Huey, three other Combine invitees have signed on with clubs: tight end Ifeanyi Momah (Arizona), wide receiver Nathan Slaughter (Arizona) and cornerback Deveron Carr (Indianapolis).

In other Chargers roster moves Wednesday, the club waived second-year offensive guard Jeff Baca and first-year nose tackle Chas Alecxih.

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Cardinals sign Chandler Harnish

Chandler Harnish Getty Images

The Arizona Cardinals have added an extra arm to their roster with Carson Palmer still recovering from an ACL tear.

The Cardinals signed former Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Chandler Harnish to a one-year deal on Tuesday.

Harnish has not appeared in a regular season game in his three seasons since being “Mr. Irrelevant” in the 2012 NFL Draft. He spent five games on the Colts active roster in 2012 before being released and re-signed to the practice squad.

Harnish was released by Indianapolis at the end of training camp last season and signed with the Vikings. Harnish completed 53 percent of his passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns and an interception last year in Indianapolis.

Now Harnish reunites with Bruce Arians in the desert. He’ll get a chance to compete with Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas this offseason while Palmer continues to rehab from his knee injuries.

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Bears sign RB Jacquizz Rodgers

Jacquizz Rodgers AP

The Bears secured a contender for a reserve role in their backfield Tuesday, signing tailback Jacquizz Rodgers, the club said.

Rodgers, 25, has played the last four seasons with Atlanta, rushing 305 times for 1,116 yards and five touchdowns and catching 155 passes for 1,104 yards and five TDs. He has also returned 49 kickoffs for 1,177 yards.

Rodgers joins holdovers Ka’Deem Carey and Senorise Perry among the options behind featured back Matt Forte, who is one of the game’s most versatile and dependable players at his position. Nevertheless, the Bears could use a back capable of taking a handful of touches per game to reduce the hits Forte takes, and the 5-foot-6, 196-pound Rodgers will have a chance to compete for that job.

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Ravens get Schaub for a mere $2 million base deal

Schaub AP

Quarterback Matt Schaub has made plenty of money over the years for playing quarterback at a good but not great level.  In 2015, he’ll make pretty good money by, ideally, not playing at all.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Schaub’s deal with the Ravens has a base value of $2 million, with $1 million to sign and a $1 million salary.  Contrary to a report that the deal is worth $3 million, the final $1 million comes from extra amounts — amounts that will be difficult for Schaub to earn if he’s not playing.

Given that Schaub will be backing up a guy who has started every game of his eight-year career, it’s unlikely that Schaub will unlock any payments based on playing time.

Based on the relative performances of Joe Flacco and Matt Schaub in recent years, the Ravens and their fans surely hope that won’t be happening.

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Report: Texans interested in Antonio Smith return

DENVER BRONCOS VS. HOUSTON TEXANS Getty Images

The Raiders announced the release of defensive lineman Antonio Smith on Tuesday afternoon, clearing $4 million from their salary cap and taking another step away from a 2014 free agent class that failed to bring better results to Oakland.

Smith may not have to wait long to find a new place of employment. He also might not have to familiarize himself with a new city.

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans are interested in bringing Smith back to Houston. Smith played in 79-of-80 regular season games for the Texans while he was a member of the team between 2009 and 2013 and he was productive in a fair number of them as the Texans advanced to the playoffs twice with Smith in the fold.

Smith has played inside and outside during his career, which would allow him to provide the team with solid depth behind projected starters J.J. Watt, Vince Wilfork and Jared Crick. Smith had three sacks and 20 tackles while starting all 16 games in his one season with the Raiders.

McClain suggests that the Broncos may also have interest in Smith now that former Texans head coach Gary Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and defensive line coach Bill Kollar are all in Denver.

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Mike Tannenbaum: Winning the offseason “really doesn’t mean anything” come September

Stephen Ross AP

For three teams in the AFC East, March has brought some major changes to their rosters.

The Jets brought back cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie while also trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Bills traded for running back LeSean McCoy and signed several players, including tight end Charles Clay, while the Dolphins landed the biggest fish on the free agent market by signing defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

The Dolphins have made several other moves as well in executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum’s first year with the team, leaving Tannenbaum to quip that he’s been so busy that he hasn’t noticed the weather in Miami. The moves have left the Dolphins and their fellow 2014 AFC East also-rans looking better on paper, but Tannenbaum knows that has limited value once the season starts.

“Look, it really doesn’t mean anything sitting here in March,” Tannenbaum said, via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. “What’s important is what it looks like on opening day and every week. [The Patriots are] going to look different come the regular season like we are, so we’ve got a long, long way to go.”

Tannenbaum was with the Jets for many years and had several splashy offseasons while serving as the team’s General Manager without winding up where the Patriots were in February, so he knows well that winning in the offseason doesn’t guarantee anything in the regular season. He also knows that as much as things may change for the Patriots, they’ll have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady when the regular season does roll around and that’s proven to be too much to handle for the rest of the division for most of the last two decades.

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June 1 free-agency deadline moved to May 12

May12

Years ago, June 1 had extreme significance on the NFL calendar.  Teams looking to reduce the cap hit from cutting a veteran player would wait until June 1, resulting in half or more of the acceleration to hit the cap in the following league year.

In 2006, the NFL changed the rule, allowing teams to cut two players per year before June 1, with a June 1 designation.  Few teams currently have cap issues; as a result, the entire notion of using the designation or waiting until June 1 to cut a player has become largely irrelevant.

June 1 had continued significance for another reason.  After June 1, unrestricted free agents signed by other teams don’t count toward the compensatory draft-pick formula.  Starting this year, that date will move from June 1 to May 12, according to the league office.

The Competition Committee had been considering shifting the date from June 1 to May 1.  With the draft still happening as of May 1, it makes sense to let the draft end and to let the dust settle before allowing free agents to sign without the move helping their former team or potentially hurting their new one.

The shift gives free agents more of an opportunity to participate in the offseason program.  It also gives teams reason to wait on adding some of the currently available free agents, in order to avoid reducing their potential haul of compensatory picks.

The Ravens have mastered the craft of waiting to sign unrestricted free agents until the deadline has come and gone.  Today’s addition of quarterback Matt Schaub doesn’t change that.  Because he was cut by the Raiders, Schaub’s addition neither helps the Raiders nor hurts the Ravens when it comes to determining compensatory selections.

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Colts sign former Chargers third-rounder Vincent Brown

Vincent Brown, Charles Woodson AP

Vincent Brown, a once-promising wide receiver whose career has been plagued by injuries, has landed in Indianapolis.

The Colts announced today that they’ve signed Brown to a free agent contract.

The Chargers drafted Brown in the third round in 2011, and he made some big plays in limited action as a rookie, catching 19 passes for 300 yards and three touchdowns. But he missed his entire second season after suffering a broken ankle in the preseason.

In 2013 Brown got back on track, with 41 catches for 472 yards. But in 2014 a calf injury forced him to miss all of training camp, and the Chargers waived him with an injury settlement. He ended up catching on with the Raiders, but had only 12 catches for 118 yards.

If Brown can get healthy, the Colts may have gotten a bargain on a low-priced contract. But Brown’s history makes that a very big “if.”

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Raiders release Antonio Smith

Oakland Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs Getty Images

The Raiders added several free agents in an attempt to solidify their defense last season, but the results weren’t what Oakland hoped.

The team finished last in the league in points allowed on their way to another losing season and another offseason spent bringing in new faces while getting rid of players who were part of the problems last year. The Raiders added another name to the discard pile on Tuesday.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the team has released defensive lineman Antonio Smith. Smith started all 16 games for Oakland last season, recording 20 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. Smith had a particularly tough time against the run last season, but he’s been a durable player and effective pass rusher throughout his career so he may earn another look before the offseason is out.

The Raiders added Dan Williams and re-signed C.J. Wilson on the defensive line in free agency. Adding another defensive lineman is a possibility at the top of the draft, although the Raiders may also opt to bolster their offense by adding Amari Cooper or Kevin White to their receiving corps.

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