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The Free Agent Hot 100

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1.  Ex-Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis. (Agreed to one-year deal with Patriots.)

2.  Saints tight end Jimmy Graham (franchise tag recipient).

3.  Ex-Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. (Reached three-year deal with Redskins.)

4.  Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett. (Agreed to four-year deal with Seahawks.)

5.  Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (signed franchise tender).

6.  Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib. (Reached six-year deal with Broncos.)

7.  Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson. (Agreed to five-year deal with Buccaneers.)

8.  Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe. (Agreed to deal with Ravens.)

9.  Colts cornerback Vontae Davis. (Agreed to four-year deal with Colts.)

10.  Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker.  (Agreed to five-year deal with Jets.)

11.  Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston. (Agreed to five-year deal with the Bears.)

12.  Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner. (Reached four-year deal with Buccaneers.)

13.  Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. (Agreed to five-year deal with Giants.)

14.  Bills safety Jairus Byrd. (Agreed to six-year deal with Saints.)

15.  Raiders offensive tackle Jared Veldheer.(Reached five-year deal with Arizona.)

16.  Browns center Alex Mack (Browns matched Jaguars’ five-year offer sheet.).

17.  Packers cornerback Sam Shields. (Agreed to four-year contract with Packers.)

18.  Ex-Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (Agreed to three-year deal with Denver.)

19.  Vikings defensive end Jared Allen. (Signed four-year deal with Chicago.)

20.  Chiefs offensive tackle Branden Albert.(Agreed to five-year deal with Dolphins.)

21.  Giants defensive end Justin Tuck. (Reached two-year deal with Raiders.)

22.  Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. (Agreed to five-year deal with Vikings.)

23.  Browns safety T.J. Ward. (Agreed to contract with Broncos.)

24.  Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. (Agreed to deal with Colts.)

25.  Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins. (Agreed to three-year deal with Eagles.)

26.  Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby. (Reached four-year contract with Browns.)

27.  Packers defensive end B.J. Raji. (Agreed to one-year deal with Packers.)

28.  Rams guard/offensive tackle Rodger Saffold. (Re-signed with Rams after five-year deal with Raiders was voided due to a failed physical.)

29.  Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate. (Reached five-year deal with Lions.)

30.  Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher. (Agreed to deal with Titans.)

31.  49ers safety Donte Whitner. (Agreed to four-year contract with Browns.)

32.  Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks. (Agreed to two-year deal with Dolphins.)

33.  Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones. (Agreed to deal with Colts.)

34.  Ex-Titans running back Chris Johnson. (Reached two-year deal with Jets.)

35.  Giants linebacker Jon Beason. (Re-signed with Giants.)

36.  Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton. (Reached deal with Cowboys.)

37.  Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. (Re-signed with Patriots.)

38.  Packers outside linebacker Mike Neal. (Reached two-year deal with Packers.)

39.  Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph. (Reached deal with Vikings.)

40.  Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. (Agreed to terms with Redskins.)

41.  Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. (Agreed to deal with Broncos.)

42.  Texans running back Ben Tate. (Reached deal with Browns.)

43.  Colts safety Antoine Bethea. (Agreed to four-year deal with 49ers.)

44.  Ex-Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith. (Reached three-year deal with Ravens.)

45.  Bears defensive end Corey Wootton. (Agreed to one-year deal with Vikings.)

46.  Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. (Agreed to deal with Vikings.)

47.  Packers wide receiver James Jones. (Reached three-year deal with Raiders.)

48.  Colts running back Donald Brown. (Reached three-year deal with Chargers.)

49.  Broncos offensive guard Zane Beadles. (Agreed to five-year deal with Jaguars.)

50.  Broncos outside linebacker Shaun Phillips. (Agreed to two-year contract with Titans.)

51.  Ex-Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie. (Reached one-year deal with Cardinals.)

52.  Lions tight end Brandon Pettigrew. (Reached four-year deal with Lions.)

53.  Ex-Seahawks defensive end Red Bryant. (Signed four-year contract with Jaguars.)

54.  Ex-Bears defensive end Julius Peppers. (Agreed to three-year deal with Packers.)

55.  Eagles quarterback Michael Vick. (Reached one-year deal with Jets.)

56.  Bears cornerback Charles Tillman. (Agreed to one-year deal with Bears.)

57.  Bengals offensive tackle Anthony Collins. (Reached five-year deal with Buccaneers.)

58.  Texans defensive end Antonio Smith. (Agreed to deal with Raiders.)

59.  Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai. (Reached deal with Falcons.)

60.  Bears quarterback Josh McCown. (Reached two-year deal with Buccaneers.)

61.  Ex-Browns inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson. (Signed four-year deal with Colts.)

62.  Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith. (Agreed to four-year deal with Ravens.)

63.  Seahawks cornerback Walter Thurmond III. (Agreed to one-year deal with Giants.)

64.  Ex-Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley. (Agreed to two-year deal with Raiders.)

65.  Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner. (Agreed to deal with Patriots.)

66.  Ex-Lions safety Louis Delmas. (Signed one-year contract with Dolphins.)

67.  Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer. (Signed one-year deal with Cowboys.)

68.  Jets offensive tackle Austin Howard. (Agreed to contract with Raiders.)

69.  Chiefs offensive guard Jon Asamoah. (Reached deal with Falcons.)

70.  49ers cornerback Tarell Brown. (Reached deal with Raiders.)

71.  Chiefs offensive guard Geoff Schwartz. (Agreed to deal with Giants.)

72.  Steelers defensive end Ziggy Hood. (Agreed to terms with Jaguars.)

73.  Chiefs defensive end Tyson Jackson. (Reached deal with Falcons.)

74.  Packers tight end Jermichael Finley.

75.  Raiders running back Darren McFadden. (Re-signed with Raiders.)

76.  Vikings quarterback Matt Cassel.  (Re-signed for two years.)

77.  Ravens cornerback Corey Graham. (Reached four-year deal with Bills.)

78.  Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno. (Agreed to one-year deal with Dolphins.)

79.  Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts. (Reached four-year deal with Redskins.)

80.  Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (RFA). (Signed RFA tender with Denver.)

81.  Seahawks outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield.

82.  Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin (RFA).

83.  Patriots inside linebacker Brandon Spikes. (Agreed to deal with Bills.)

84.  Packers running back James Starks. (Reached deal with Packers.)

85.  Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers. (Agreed to two-year deal with Giants.)

86.  Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard. (Agreed to four-year deal with Titans.)

87.  Chiefs wide receiver/returner Dexter McCluster. (Agreed to three-year deal with Titans.)

88.  Seahawks defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. (Reached contract with Buccaneers.)

89.  Ex-Buccaneers offensive guard Davin Joseph.

90.  Ex-Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons. (Agreed to four-year deal with Jaguars.)

91.  Titans defensive end Ropati Pitoitua. (Reached three-year deal with Titans.)

92.  Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell. (Reached three-year deal with Patriots.)

93.  Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. (Agreed to two-year deal with Steelers.)

94.  Texans defensive tackle Earl Mitchell. (Reached four-year contract with Dolphins.)

95.  Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. (Signed three-year deal with Raiders.)

96.  Texans tight end Garrett Graham. (Reached three-year deal with Texans.)

97.  Ex-Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes.

98.  Saints center Brian De La Puente. (Reached one-year deal with Bears.)

99.  Lions defensive end Willie Young. (Agreed to three-year deal with Bears.)

100.  Redskins inside linebacker Perry Riley. (Re-signed with Redskins.)

OTHERS RANKED

101.  Seahawks offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. (Reached deal with Jets.)

102.  Panthers offensive guard Travelle Wharton.

103.  Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith. (Agreed to deal with Buccaneers.)

104.  Raiders defensive tackle Pat Sims. (Signed one-year deal with Raiders.)

105.  Saints offensive tackle Zach Strief. (Re-signed with Saints.)

106.  Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson.(Re-signed with Vikings.)

107.  Seahawks defensive tackle Tony McDaniel. (Agreed to two-year contract with Seahawks.)

108.  Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne. (Signed two-year deal with Jaguars.)

109. Chargers defensive tackle Cam Thomas. (Agreed to deal with Steelers.)

110.  Vikings running back Toby Gerhart. (Agreed to three-year deal with Jaguars.)

111.  Ex-Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. (Signed one-year deal with Eagles.)

112.  Vikings quarterback Josh Freeman. (Reached one-year deal with Giants.)

 

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Lovie Smith on high draft pick: If you’re down here, you have to get something from it

Green Bay Packers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The Buccaneers are closing in on the top pick in the draft for the fifth time in franchise history, which gives the team something to look forward to as they put the finishing touches on an abysmal season.

Coach Lovie Smith said Monday that adding a good player at the top of the draft next year is something to be excited about, especially since he likes what he’s seen from this year’s rookie class.

“From a 2-13 record right now, I think that we’ve found out our draft class, we’ve played them and we like some things we’ve seen from the draft class,” Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “Of course, Mike Evans, it goes without saying, Charles Sims, we’re seeing flashes from him, Austin Seferian-Jenkins — you know, our top three picks, amongst others. So that part is good. And if you have to be down here, you need to get something from it. We are going to get from our position — wherever it might be — we are going to get to add some more, we have a full allotment of draft picks, we have an excellent staff that evaluates guys. We are going to add some more players to the mix. We need some more players added to the mix. I am excited about that part. And again, if you have to be down where we are, why not get your choice of a few of the best players in the draft.”

If the Buccaneers were to find a quarterback with that top pick, it would probably help others join Smith in getting excited about what’s to come for the Bucs. That won’t fix things on its own as the Bucs need to sort out their offensive line and offensive coordinator as well, but Smith’s right about the need to make your pick count if you’re handing it in during the first hour of the draft.

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Report: Aldon Smith was drinking at scene of alleged assault

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The 49ers have already dealt with Ray McDonald for his part in a new sexual assault investigation.

But now they may have a bigger problem to deal with.

Part of an affidavit outlining allegations against McDonald includes a section in which the victim said she spent the day drinking with McDonald and outside linebacker Aldon Smith.

That’s only a problem as it pertains to Smith’s suspension for a 2013 DUI, for which he’s still on probation.

According to Tracey Kaplan of the San Jose Mercury News, the woman claimed McDonald sexually assaulted her at his home after she passed out by his pool. But she them claimed to have stayed at the house, drinking with Smith and McDonald.

Police have also seized home surveillance cameras and McDonald’s cell phone as part of their investigation.

While the 49ers finally had a moment of clarity and cut McDonald (shortly after being eliminated from the playoffs), they’ve stood firm by Smith throughout a series of transgressions.

There was some dispute at the time of Smith’s reinstatement that he hadn’t fulfilled his counseling requirements.

But if police place him at the scene of a crime drinking, it will put the 49ers in the uncomfortable position of making more excuses for a star after making an example of McDonald.

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Brandon Marshall on Dominic Raiola: Dirty player, worse person

Chicago Bears Brandon Marshall Addresses The Media After Accusations Of Domestic Violence In His Past Getty Images

Bears receiver Brandon Marshall and Lions center Dominic Raiola will not be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

Marshall said after Raiola was suspended for stomping on the leg of Bears defensive lineman Ego Ferguson that cheap shots are par for the course from Raiola.

“This guy is a dirty player, and he’s a worse human being. He has no respect for himself,” Marshall said, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN.

Marshall said his issues with Raiola go far beyond just one incident. According to Marshall, who has long been open about seeking treatment for mental illness, Raiola has approached Marshall on the field to insult him about his mental health issues. Marshall says that before a game two years ago, Raiola walked up to Marshall and made jokes about Marshall taking medication.

“I’m just warming up, just standing there. He’s like, ‘Go take your medicine. You freaking weirdo, you freaking crazy guy,’” Marshall said of an encounter with Raiola.

Raiola has a laundry list of incidents that have gotten him in hot water over the course of his NFL career, and the NFL noted in announcing his suspension that stepping on Ferguson was far from his first offense. Marshall thinks it’s past time that the NFL does something about Raiola.

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Johnny Manziel ruled out for Week 17

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Johnny Manziel’s rookie season is officially over.

Browns coach Mike Pettine announced Monday that the quarterback has been ruled out of the team’s season finale against the Ravens because of the hamstring injury he suffered against the Panthers on Sunday. Pettine called it a “pretty significant” injury that would have kept Manziel out for several weeks if the Browns season had several weeks left in it.

Pettine also said that Brian Hoyer’s shoulder injury would continue to be evaluated over the course of the week and that Connor Shaw would get first-team reps to prepare him for the possible start.

“If he does [play], I wouldn’t be surprised he plays well,” Pettine said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Pettine added that the team was considering other quarterback options in the event they need to add another player to the roster before Week 17.

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Jim Harbaugh works hard to keep it on the high road

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Jim Harbaugh seemed to the heading for the curb, but managed to steer back onto the high road.

The soon-to-be-former 49ers coach seemed to come close to talking about his own status with the team, something he’s avoided so far.

Via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, Harbaugh was asked if it was hard to resist responding to the anonymous reports about him.

“Yeah, that’s a good question,” Harbaugh said, before laughing. “That’s a good question. . . .

The high road’s the only road I know. I’ll keep on that.”

When reporters tried to follow up, Harbaugh replied: “I think we’ve covered the ground pretty well.”

Sadly, we have not.

Harbaugh also declined to elaborate on a report from Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, who said Harbaugh’s status would be known within 48 hours of the end of the season.

“Well, as you know, I’ve not participated in any of these speculations and unnamed sources, the rumors, I would ask you to have Jay Glazer go back and ask his sources for more clarification,” Harbaugh said. … “I haven’t participated and I don’t intend to now. And this has been a good 12 months of this kind of thing. No reason to start now.”

Oh, there’s plenty of reason, Jim. The truth shall set you free. It’ll be cathartic for you.

You do get the feeling (or maybe it’s hope for a Festivus miracle) that at some point the tightly wound Harbaugh is going to snap, and a stream of truth so torrential will be unleashed, that we’ll all be drenched.

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Cowboys won’t rest starters this week

Tony Romo, Jason Garrett AP

The Cowboys have clinched the NFC East and they still have a shot at grabbing a first-round bye.

They’ll need to get some help from the 49ers and Rams (or a Lions-Packers tie) to make that happen, but even getting those results in the NFC West won’t help if they don’t beat Washington. If they were to win and get all three games to break their way, they’d wind up as the top seed in the conference.

On Monday, coach Jason Garrett said that the Cowboys will do their best to take care of what they control. With all three other games with bearing on their possible slot in the playoffs kicking off later in the day, the Cowboys won’t have the option of altering their lineup based on scoreboard watching and Garrett said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News, that the Cowboys would play their starters their usual amount in Week 17.

We’ll see if that holds come Sunday for running back DeMarco Murray and other players with current injury concerns, but the Cowboys have every reason to play anyone without such worries because of the benefits that would come with getting the bye.

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NFL to suspend Raiola for one game

Raiola Getty Images

Lions center Dominic Raiola said his stomp on the leg of Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson was inadvertent. There will be nothing inadvertent about the NFL’s reaction.

Per a league source, Raiola will indeed be suspended one game for the infraction. Raiola will get the official word later this afternoon.

Raiola was fined $10,000 last month for striking Patriots defensive tackle Zach Moore in the back of the head. In that same game, Raiola escaped punishment for deliberately diving at Moore’s legs during a kneel-down play.

Raiola will have immediate appeal rights, with the hearing held quickly and a ruling coming as soon as Wednesday.

If the suspension is upheld, the Lions won’t have their starting center for Sunday’s NFC North championship game against the Packers. But they will have him for the first game of the postseason.

Three years ago, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was suspended two games for a post-play stomp on the arm of former Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith.

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Steven Jackson undergoing further testing on quad

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The Falcons didn’t need much from running back Steven Jackson to knock off the Saints on Sunday and it’s not clear yet whether they’ll have him in the lineup at all when they try to do the same to the Panthers in Week 17.

Jackson left the win over the Saints in the first half with a quad injury and didn’t return, finishing the day with four carries and one reception. Coach Mike Smith said Monday that Jackson was having further tests done to evaluate the injury, which means we’ll be waiting until later in the week for an idea about whether or not he’ll play against Carolina.

Devonta Freeman was the most effective back in New Orleans, running five times for 36 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 48 more yards.

Smith said Safety William Moore is also having tests done on his injured shoulder after leaving Sunday’s game. Moore was on injured reserve with the designation to return for an injury to the same shoulder earlier this season.

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Hoyer, Manziel are both hurt, so Connor Shaw may start

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All season we’ve been asking whether the Browns would start Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel. At the end of the season, the answer may be neither.

Undrafted rookie quarterback Connor Shaw, a member of the practice squad, may be called up to the active roster and forced to start Sunday’s season finale against the Ravens. Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Manziel’s hamstring injury, which forced him out of Sunday’s game, and an injury to Hoyer’s shoulder suffered after Manziel went out, could leave Shaw as the only option.

A three-year starter at South Carolina, Shaw was signed by the Browns in May and had some good performances in the preseason this year. Perhaps he can have another good performance in the season finale, and add a new element to the Browns’ inevitable quarterback controversy in 2015.

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Jay Cutler will start season finale for the Bears

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Getty Images

Meet the new Bears starting quarterback, same as the old Bears starting quarterback.

Jimmy Clausen suffered a concussion in Sunday’s loss to the Lions and the Bears ruled him out for Week 17 on Monday, leaving the team in need of someone to lead their offense against the Vikings. Coach Marc Trestman’s options were Jay Cutler, benched a week ago after a string of poor games that have led to plenty of questions about the future of the coach, quarterback and General Manager Phil Emery, and rookie David Fales.

Trestman has opted to go with the devil he knows.

“Jay gives us the best chance this week. So that’s why he’ll be out there,” Trestman said, via ESPNChicago.com. “Jay said ‘I’ll be ready to go.’ He empathizes with what Jimmy had gone through last night. He’s ready to go. He’ll be in this afternoon to get started.”

Going with Fales would have given the Bears a chance to see the sixth-rounder in action while also protecting Cutler from the possibility of an injury that could hamper attempts to trade him this offseason, although no one’s really sure at this point if that’s the route the Bears will go or who will be making the decisions about such moves. They went the other way, though, and the season will end with the same starting quarterback that took the field in Week One.

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Chip Kelly not miffed about playoff structure

Kelly Getty Images

The Eagles will finish with a winning record, but they won’t make it to the playoffs. The Panthers or Falcons will secure a spot with a losing record. That doesn’t bother Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly.

“Should we move to the [NFC South] so we can get in a different division?” Kelly said to reporters on Monday when asked about the situation. “No, that’s just the rules. People that complain about rules that are already in existence. . . .
We didn’t do enough. We didn’t win enough games against the right opponents to put ourselves in the playoffs. We knew the rules of engagement before the season started. To sit here after it is over and say, ‘Let’s change the rules so this can happen,’ that’s just the way it is. There may be a year where we’re in a situation where we’re not in great shape and we win our division and we get a chance to go. People said it about Seattle a couple years ago, and then Seattle won their wild-card game.

“It’s still about winning each week and doing what you’re supposed to do. We already knew the rules before the season started. That’s the way it expressed itself. We didn’t do enough to win to get ourselves in the playoffs. That’s on us. That’s not on anybody else, or what the structure of setup is.”

It’s the right attitude. The rules are the rules, and the Eagles knew the rules. Everyone knew the rules. Until they change, one team from each of the eight divisions will host a playoff game, whether they “deserve” it or not.

The Eagles may deserve it in relation to Carolina or Atlanta. But that doesn’t matter, because one of those teams will become the best in its division, regardless of the final won-loss record.

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Panthers add Frank Alexander to 53-man roster

Frank Alexander AP

The Panthers have one game to extend their season, and they’re adding a pass-rusher who might be able to help them.

The team announced that defensive end Frank Alexander had been added to the 53-man roster. He takes the place of wide receiver De’Andre Presley, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a concussion last week.

Alexander spent the first 14 weeks suspended for a pair of substance abuse policy violations, which he said were triggered by his poor handling of grief over the illnesses of family members.

The former fourth-round pick had shown some promise as a pass-rusher, and getting after Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be critical in Sunday’s win-and-in NFC South title game.

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Report: Dominic Raiola expecting one-game suspension

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Getty Images

The NFL is considering discipline for Lions center Dominic Raiola after he stepped on Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson during Sunday’s 20-14 Detroit win and the team reportedly expects the league to hand down a one-game suspension.

Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports reports that the Lions have told Raiola to expect the one-game ban, which would leave him on the sideline as the face the Packers for the NFC North title in Week 17. Raiola could appeal any suspension and that appeal would likely be expedited so it happened before that game.

Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Monday that the team was prepared for the possibility that Raiola would be suspended while adding that he believes the center’s claim that he inadvertently stepped on Ferguson.

“Obviously I took a good look at [the play],” Caldwell said, via the Detroit Free Press. “Looked at both the coach’s copy and also the television copy as well, and I believe what Dom told me, that it was inadvertent. But I can also see why it obviously is being reviewed by the league and everybody’s taking a real good look at it because you can also see the other side of that as well. There’s a league protocol to it. It’ll be reviewed, taken a look at and we’ll deal with the issues after there’s been some determination there.”

Rookie Travis Swanson would likely start in Raiola’s place if he’s out on Sunday.

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Bears say Clausen suffered concussion on helmet-to-helmet hit from Ansah

Clausen AP

On Sunday, Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen absorbed a wicked helmet-to-helmet hit from Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah while sliding. Clausen seemed fine at the time, remained in the game, and apparently developed no concussion-like symptoms.

Until today.

The Bears have announced that Clausen has been diagnosed with a concussion after delayed symptoms. Which is precisely the headline of the press release.

“Bears quarterback Jimmy Clausen was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday evening after experiencing delayed symptoms,” He is currently being evaluated based on the NFL’s concussion protocol and will not play this Sunday.”

It’s odd for a player to be scratched six days before a game due to a concussion, given that plenty of players improve sufficiently to secure clearance to play the following weekend. It could be that the Bears are erring on the side of caution. It could be that the symptoms are sufficiently significant to allow the Bears to know now that he won’t play.

And it could be that the Bears have seen enough from Clausen.

“After the hit which drew an unnecessary roughness penalty in the final Bears offensive drive of the game, Clausen was monitored by the team’s medical staff and the NFL’s ATC spotter,” the team said. “He exhibited no signs of concussion immediately after the hit or during the final four plays of the drive. At the conclusion of the series he was further checked on the sideline and again exhibited no signs or symptoms. After the game he passed all testing by team physicians and reported no concussion symptoms. Prior to leaving the stadium he was told, as per protocol, to contact team athletic trainers if he had any problems later in the day. Clausen experienced delayed symptoms later Sunday evening and contacted trainers. He was taken to a hospital where he was further examined by a team physician and at that time diagnosed with a concussion. Upon diagnosis, he began the concussion protocol.”

The next question becomes whether Jay Cutler or David Fales starts in Week 17. If it’s Fales, it will become even more clear that the Bears hope to keep Cutler healthy in order to trade him. If it’s Cutler, it could mean that the team hopes to avoid a full-scale mutiny for the regular-season finale.

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Cardinals leaning toward starting Logan Thomas in Week 17

Seattle Seahawks v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

The Cardinals have started three different quarterbacks this season and it looks like they will make it four when they face the 49ers in Week 17.

Coach Bruce Arians said Monday that the team is leaning toward starting rookie Logan Thomas in the regular season finale, although Thomas’s work in practice could send things in another direction. Ryan Lindley started against the Seahawks on Sunday night and played about as well as you’d expect someone with no touchdowns and seven interceptions in his NFL career to perform. Lindley was 18-of-44 for 216 yards and an interception in the 35-6 loss.

Thomas saw some mop-up duty on Sunday and also played in a 41-20 loss to the Broncos earlier this season, when he completed 1-of-8 passes. That one completion was an 81-yard touchdown to running back Andre Ellington on a pass that Thomas squeezed through defenders for Ellington to catch and do the rest of the work.

The fourth-round pick was one of the rawest prospects in the draft this year, but has the kind of big arm that Bruce Arians likes to deploy in his downfield passing game. Given how poorly Lindley played and the uncertainty about Drew Stanton’s ability to return to the playoffs, it makes sense for the Cardinals to get Thomas some game work to give themselves at least the possibility of another option when the postseason gets underway.

Arians added that he expects Stanton to practice some this week and hopes he’ll be available for the playoffs. If he can’t, we’ll get one of the unlikeliest starters in recent postseason history whether Thomas or Lindley gets the call.

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