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Report: Texans pick up J.J. Watt’s 2015 contract option

AP

Teams have until May 3 to declare whether they will extend the contracts of 2011 first-round picks through 2015.

However, the Texans didn’t wait until the first Saturday in May to pick up the 2015 option on one of the shining stars of the Class of 2011.

Via ESPN’s Field Yates, Houston has exercised the option to keep defensive lineman J.J. Watt under contract for a fifth season.

The Texans’ decision is hardly a surprise. The 25-year-old Watt is one of the game’s top defensive players, notching 217 tackles and 36.5 sacks in his first three NFL seasons.

However, the timing of the Texans’ move is a little curious, given that the club has begun its offseason training. According to PFT’s Mike Florio, the fifth-year option has an injury-only guarantee. By officially extending Watt before the deadline, the Texans are perhaps taking on a risk of a freak injury in the first phase of workouts.

Nevertheless, the Texans have moved now to secure Watt under contract for at least two more seasons. The next logical step would be signing Watt long-term — a pact that seems likely to make him one of the game’s highest paid defenders at the very least.

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Bears trade up to No. 2, take Mitchell Trubisky

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The Bears had the third pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but they didn’t want to wait that long to get on the clock.

Mike Glennon may not be long for the Bears’ starting quarterback job.

The Bears traded up one spot to leapfrog the 49ers and select North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears sent the 3rd overall pick, a 2017 third-round pick (No. 67), a 2017 fourth-round pick (No. 111 overall) and a 2018 third-round pick.

Trubisky joins Glennon, who signed with the Bears as a free agent this offseason on a deal that only has $2.5 million in guaranteed money next season.

We’ll likely hear more about the machinations that led to the deal, but it’s fair to assume that 49ers General Manager John Lynch let them know that another team was coming up to take Trubisky or that they would be taking him themselves. The haul is a useful one for Lynch as he works to build a winner in his first season in his new job.

 

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Browns take Myles Garrett, as expected

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Warren Sapp be damned, the Browns took the consensus best player in the draft.

With the first overall selection, the Cleveland Browns selected Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. It’s hardly a surprise, despite the best efforts of some to inject doubt into the process regarding the possible selection of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Garrett has all the measurables, but some (including Sapp) have argued that he’s not sufficiently dominant to justify the selection. But if not him, then who?

That question was never fully answered. In a few minutes, it will be, as the 49ers Bears move into the driver’s seat.

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Coach of team in top 10 says it “could get crazy”

AP

You wanna get nuts? Let’s get nuts. Hopefully.

As the draft approaches, a coach of a team picking in the top 10 had this to say: “Could get nuts.”

Nearly every year, something happens that isn’t expected. Last year, it was a gas-mask bong video. This year, who knows?

Here’s what we do know: The Browns will be on the clock soon.

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Report: Chiefs “making most noise” about moving up in first round

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The start of the draft is almost upon us and we’ll find out the answers to a multitude of questions, including which teams will move up in the first round to grab a player they covet.

One team to watch may be the Chiefs. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that they are “making the most noise” about moving up from the No. 27 pick. Rapoport adds that they may be looking to move up as high as the top 10 to grab the apple of their eye.

Almost every time a team makes an aggressive move up, the thought is that they want to add a quarterback. The Chiefs have been mentioned as a landing spot for a quarterback and they were a stop on the rounds that this year’s top prospects made leading up to Thursday night.

A jump from No. 27 to the top 10 would likely carry a big price tag. The Chiefs currently have 10 picks at their disposal with four of them coming in the first three rounds.

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Look for Jarrad Davis to be gone by pick No. 22

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If linebacker Jarrad Davis is still on the board when the Dolphins go on the clock, chances are Davis won’t be on the board much longer. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the floor for Davis is believed to be pick No. 22, Miami.

The ceiling isn’t quite clear. The 2017 PFT Worst Mock Draft Ever has Davis going to Washington at No. 17. The Lions at No. 21 also are a possibility.

Davis, who played at Florida, is expected to compete immediately for the starting job as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme.

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Deshaun Watson: Mitchell Trubisky over me would be a slap in the face

AP

Former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson will not be happy if he’s not the first quarterback drafted tonight.

Watson says that if North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky is the first quarterback off the board, he’ll take it as a personal affront.

“It’s like a slap in the face, to be honest,” Watson told Josina Anderson of ESPN. “You see all the things I’ve accomplished, it’s a long list, and they want to talk about the little negatives I have and bring somebody else up? It’s a little disrespectful.”

No one would dispute that Watson had the superior college career to Trubisky, but some would argue that Trubisky has more of the tools that NFL teams look for in pro-style passers. That’s not necessarily a knock on Watson, but if he takes it that way, it’s hard to blame him.

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Cowboys make sense for Gareon Conley, for one specific reason

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The sudden cloud that emerged over cornerback Gareon Conley’s draft stock earlier this week seemed to instantly knock him out of round one. As the hours have passed, however, teams have had time to learn more about the situation. Most have the resources to talk to the witnesses and/or to have off-the-record conversations with law enforcement in Cleveland to find out what’s really going on.

Still, the risk for any team that considers Conley in round one, where he definitely would have been drafted but for this incident, flows from the possibility that he’ll eventually be charged with rape. If that happens, the G.M. that made the recommendation to ownership would instantly have a major, major problem.

Except in Dallas, where the G.M. and the owner are the same person.

It should surprise no one if the Cowboys put Conley’s name on a draft card tonight. Jerry Jones is riding a wave of acclimations and influence, a Hall of Famer and a relocation dealmaker who has been dubbed the “shadow commissioner” by ESPN The Magazine. The dice have been fairly hot for him lately, starting with the chance he took two years ago on La’El Collins as an undrafted free agent.

OK, it hasn’t been an unblemished run. Greg Hardy was a mistake, as was Randy Gregory. But Jones has the urgency to get back to the Super Bowl and win it with a team he can claim credit for building (even if others in the building and/or family deserve a lot of the credit, too), and if Jones can get a guy who would have been gone by the middle of the round at No. 28, that’s a major bonus.

Given that the team had two key cornerbacks leave during free agency (along with other defensive defections), the need is there. And the fear of repercussions won’t be, because Jones the owner ain’t firing Jones the G.M., no matter what.

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Gareon Conley to give DNA sample, interview with police Monday

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Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley will speak to Cleveland police about the sexual assault allegations made against him on Monday.

That was the word from Conley’s attorney Kevin Spellacy on Thursday, a few hours ahead of the start of the first round of the NFL Draft. Conley, who has not been charged with any crime, was considered to be a likely pick during that round before the allegations surfaced, but the uncertainty could leave him on the board until Friday.

Spellacy also told Cleveland.com that his client will provide a DNA sample to authorities and that he is trying to get video footage from the hotel where the alleged incident took place. Conley called the allegations “untrue, wrongful and malicious” in a statement released on Wednesday.

Conley was initially scheduled to attend the draft in Philadelphia, but changed those plans after the allegations went public earlier this week.

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Report: Browns will pick Myles Garrett first overall

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With the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns will select Myles Garrett, defensive end from Texas A&M.

That’s the word from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, who reports that the Browns’ decision makers had one last meeting this afternoon and solidified the decision to draft Garrett.

Garrett has been the favorite to be the first overall pick for months, but in the last couple of days a slew of reports have suggested that the Browns could go with North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky instead.

It’s still possible that Trubisky could land in Cleveland, as the Browns also own the 12th overall pick and might move up to get the quarterback they want. But with the first pick, they’re going with Garrett, just as everyone thought they would all along.

And with that, the San Francisco 49ers are on the clock at No. 2.

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Cowboys waive suspended wideout Shaquelle Evans

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Wide receiver Shaquelle Evans will serve a four-game suspension to start the 2017 season, but he won’t have a chance to show the Cowboys he’s worth keeping around until he’s eligible to play.

The Cowboys announced Thursday that they have waived Evans off of their 90-man roster. The league announced Evans was suspended for violating the substance-abuse policy last Friday.

Evans was drafted by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, but spent his rookie year on injured reserve and was waived coming out of the preseason in 2015. He spent time on the Jaguars and Patriots practice squads before landing with the Cowboys and has never seen any regular season action.

The Cowboys already had enough space on their roster to fit in all of their draft picks, but Evans’ departure opens up a spot they can fill with an undrafted free agent when that signing frenzy takes place after the end of the seventh round on Saturday.

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Cowboys still showing interest in Gareon Conley

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Two years ago, the Cowboys signed La’El Collins after he fell all the way from the first round to undrafted when he was falsely suspected of being involved in the murder of his ex-girlfriend. Now the Cowboys may think they can get another bargain on a prospect who is under criminal investigation.

The Cowboys are still showing interest in Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley and called him yesterday, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. Conley previously took a pre-draft visit to Dallas.

Conley, the Ohio State cornerback who was expected to be drafted in the first round, was named this week as a suspect in a rape investigation. He has professed his innocence and has not been charged.

Unlike Collins, Conley is still expected to be drafted, and there is still an outside chance he could be drafted tonight.

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Report: Falcons could trade up in first round

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We’ve heard a lot this week about teams drafting early that would like to trade down in the first round and the lack of interest from buyers, but there are some teams that are reportedly open to such a move.

The Broncos are reportedly looking to move up from No. 20 and the 2016 NFC champions may be joining them in that pursuit. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Falcons are “plotting a potential move” during the first round on Thursday.

Any move up wouldn’t be done just for the sake of picking earlier in the process, so any deal will almost certainly be contingent on a player the Falcons want being available at the right spot. It’s not clear who that player would be, but pass rusher and guard would be two spots where an addition would make sense.

Unless they are planning something similar to the trade that netted them the pick they used to select Julio Jones, that would seem likely to be somewhere near the end of the round as moving way up from No. 31 would cost Atlanta a lot.

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Report: Broncos looking to trade up

AP

At a time when plenty of teams in the first round would like to trade down, there’s not an overabundance looking to trade up. One franchise exploring it, according to Adam “Stella Liebeck” Schefter of ESPN is the Broncos.

Denver currently sits at No. 20. If they’re looking to move up, it’s not because they generally want a higher position; it’s because they have a specific player or two in mind.

One could be local product Christian McCaffrey, the son of former Broncos receiver Ed. Earlier this week, Broncos G.M. John Elway laughed off the team’s pre-draft meeting with McCaffrey.

“He was close and it was free,” Elway said, laughing. “And we wanted to meet with him. He’s a great kid. We like Christian a lot and we wanted to bring him in. It was one of those [where] he was in the area, so we wanted to take advantage of that to get to see him again. He’s a great kid.”

With McCaffrey expected to go between No. 5 and No. 15, the Broncos could possibly get him without having to go up very far.

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Carson Wentz had laser eye surgery

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Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz should be able to see downfield better this season.

Wentz revealed that he had laser eye surgery this offseason after playing with contact lenses during his rookie year.

“I had PRK done, so it was very helpful,” Wentz said on WIP. “It’s pretty cool to wake up in the morning and not have to throw contacts in. It’s been very beneficial.”

Wentz isn’t the only NFC East quarterback who’s had laser eye surgery. Washington’s Kirk Cousins said the surgery left him with vision that was better than 20/20.

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Morgan Moses signs five-year contract extension

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Morgan Moses had to wait until the third round of the 2014 draft before he heard his name called, but he won’t have to wait for the expiration of his rookie contract before he signs another one.

According to multiple reports, Moses has signed a five-year extension with the Redskins. Full financial details haven’t been reported, but Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the deal will leave Moses as the second highest-paid right tackle in the league. Lane Johnson of the Eagles is currently at the top of that list with a deal that averages $11.25 million a year.

Moses, who wound up as the 66th pick of that draft, has started every game for Washington over the last two seasons. He has shown steady improvement over that span and it’s a good bet that the Redskins see more of that in his future to lock him up at this point.

Left tackle Trent Williams is signed through the 2020 season, so the team has their tackles under contract for a good long time as a result of Moses’ agreement.

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