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Richard Sherman: Seahawks deal will be sign of respect

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The Seahawks and cornerback Richard Sherman are talking about a contract that will keep Sherman in Seattle for the long term.

Mike Florio of PFT reported earlier this week that the goal is to get a deal done before the draft gets underway in two weeks, but that the two sides have yet to reach a consensus on any terms at this point in the negotiations. Albert Breer of NFL Network spoke to Sherman on Wednesday and asked him if his goal was to become the highest paid cornerback in football and the man who has loudly proclaimed his superiority to other corners in the league said the value of the deal would be a sign of respect.

“Whatever they feel I am due. I will take it as respect,” Sherman said. “It’s all about respect in this game and the only way people show respect is the dollars. We’ll see what happens.”

Darrelle Revis got $12 million for this season from the Patriots and Aqib Talib got $26 million in guaranteed money (although some is guaranteed for injury only), which sets the bar Sherman would need to clear to become the best-paid corner in football. Franchising Sherman for the 2015 season would lead to a salary close to what Revis got in New England, which raises the likelihood that he’ll wind up being very well respected if he and the Seahawks can agree on a deal this offseason.

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Titans pick up Taylor Lewan’s 2018 option

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The list of teams picking up their options for a fifth-year on the contract of their 2014 first-round picks continues to grow.

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan is the latest addition. Field Yates of ESPN.com reported the move was made on Tuesday afternoon.

Lewan was the 11th overall pick in 2014 and started six games as a rookie before moving into a full-time role on the first team the next year. He’s started 31-of-32 games over the last two seasons and joins 2016 first-round pick Jack Conklin as anchors on either side of an offensive line that helped the team vault from 25th to 3rd in rushing yards last year.

A long-term extension for Lewan would set the Titans up for more of the same for several years to come and would also clear the way for the team to focus on a new deal for quarterback Marcus Mariota after he completes his third NFL season.

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Saints declare Adrian Peterson “an excellent fit” on field, locker room

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The Saints made it official Tuesday, announcing their two-year contract with running back Adrian Peterson.

And while he’s coming in as the backup to Mark Ingram and on a reasonably modest contract, the Saints set the bar pretty high for him on his way in the door.

“We are excited to welcome Adrian to the New Orleans Saints,” coach Sean Payton said in a release. “It’s rare and unique to have the opportunity to add a Hall of Fame player to your roster. His career has been top-notch and speaks for itself. We think he will be an excellent fit in our locker room and in our offense. We look forward to the opportunity later this spring to work with him on the field along with the rest of our team.”

Payton has always been able to make use of multiple backs, and it will be fascinating to see how they’re able to use Ingram and Peterson together.

When Peterson has been well, he’s been one of the best backs in the history of the game. But he’s been healthy one season in the last three, and wasn’t terribly productive last year (averaging 1.9 yards per carry). And he’s never exactly been in a job-sharing role, so it will be interesting to see how Peterson and Ingram handle it.

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Report: Gareon Conley accused of sexual assault in Cleveland

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The unnamed player facing an accusation of sexual assault in Cleveland has been named. According to TMZ, the first-round prospect is Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley.

Conley strongly denies the accusations.

Per TMZ, a police report explains that a 23-year-old woman said Conley raped her in the bathroom of a suite at the Westin Hotel in Cleveland. The police report reportedly explains that the alleged victim claims she met Conley in an elevator, and that he asked her to have a “foursome.” The alleged victim claims she declined to participate but agreed to watch as others had group sex.

In the initial report regarding the incident, which didn’t name Conley, lawyer Kevin Spellacy called the accusation “ludicrous and ridiculous,” and argued that “this young lady is an opportunist and it’s actually despicable.”

According to TMZ, two of Conley’s friends told police nothing happened between him and the woman.

Conley supposedly is willing to be interviewed after the draft. If, however, he’s not cleared by police before the draft, his stock could plummet. At least one team that was considering taking Conley in the first round has told PFT that, if this cloud remains as of Thursday night, the team won’t be able to select him.

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Agent: Former Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s not retiring

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When the draft dominoes begin to fall Thursday night, the quarterbacks still looking for work can begin looking for jobs.

And Jay Cutler will apparently be among them.

Cutler’s agent Bus Cook told Adam Schefter of ESPN that his client had no intention to retire.

Jay wants to play football,” Cook said. “He never has mentioned retirement to me. Jay Cutler, as far as I know, is ready to play and wants to play, and his skill set is as good as any quarterback in the league.”

Of course, the sound of Cook’s phone not ringing has been heard loud and clear since the Bears let Cutler walk out the door.

There’s no question he’s more talented than many of the guys who have jobs playing quarterback. But talent is no longer the question about the 33-year-old Cutler.

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PFT’s one and only money-back-guaranteed mock draft

I’m not a big fan of mock drafts, for a variety of reasons. First, everyone has one — and most have enough versions that, statistically, one of them is destined to seem prescient. Second, it makes no sense to project the picks before free agency, when some needs are addressed and other needs may arise. Third, every mock draft is immediately dubbed the “worst mock draft ever” regardless of how it’s configured.

With all that said, we now do one per year. I get the bulk of the input directly from folks who make their living evaluating players, and I only make a handful of revisions.

We’ve projected only one trade, but for the most part that’s even more of a crapshoot than picking players. (I’ll be watching to see whether the Bengals trade down and still get their projected pick, whether the Titans trade the No. 18 pick to the Seahawks for Richard Sherman, whether any of the teams with aging franchise quarterbacks move up to get a rookie at the position, and whether the Saints eventually send the No. 32 pick back to the Patriots for cornerback Malcolm Butler.)

So here it is. Dismiss it, demean it, disregarded it. It doesn’t matter to me; I can now check the box and move back to real news instead of fake draft boards.

1. Browns: Myles Garrett, defensive end, Texas A&M.

2. 49ers: Solomon Thomas, defensive end, Stanford.

3. Bears: Jamal Adams, safety, LSU.

4. Jaguars: Leonard Fournette, running back, LSU.

5. Titans (from Rams): Jonathan Allen, defensive lineman, Alabama.

6. Browns (projected trade from Jets): Mitchell Trubisky, quarterback, North Carolina.

7. Chargers: O.J. Howard, tight end, Alabama.

8. Panthers: Christian McCaffrey, running back, Stanford.

9. Bengals: Reuben Foster, linebacker, Alabama.

10. Bills: Marshon Lattimore, cornerback, Ohio State.

11. Saints: Haason Reddick, linebacker, Temple.

12. Jets (projected trade with Browns via Eagles): Marlon Humphrey, cornerback, Alabama.

13. Cardinals: Deshaun Watson, quarterback, Clemson.

14. Eagles (from Vikings): Derek Barnett, defensive end, Tennessee.

15. Colts: Charles Harris, linebacker/defensive end, Missouri.

16. Ravens: Malik Hooker, safety, Ohio State.

17. Washington: Jarrad Davis, linebacker, Florida.

18. Titans: Mike Williams, receiver, Clemson.

19. Buccaneers: Dalvin Cook, running back, Florida State.

20. Broncos: Ryan Ramczyk, tackle, Wisconsin.

21. Lions: Corey Davis, receiver, Western Michigan.

22. Dolphins: Cam Robinson, tackle, Alabama.

23. Giants: David Njoku, tight end, Miami.

24. Raiders: John Ross, receiver, Washington.

25. Texans: Patrick Mahomes, quarterback, Texas Tech.

26. Seahawks: Garrett Bolles, tackle, Utah

27. Chiefs: Davis Webb, quarterback, Cal.

28. Cowboys: Takkarist McKinley, linebacker, UCLA.

29. Packers: Tim Williams, linebacker, Alabama.

30. Steelers: Jabrill Peppers, safety, Michigan.

31. Falcons: Taco Charlton, defensive end, Michigan.

32. Saints: Adoree Jackson, cornerback, USC.

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T.J. Lang expects to be ready for camp after having offseason surgery

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The Lions made an early splash in free agency when they signed guard T.J. Lang away from the Packers to assist them in their quest to finish above Green Bay in the NFC North.

Their desire to add Lang wasn’t slowed by the fact that he needed a pair of surgeries after the Packers’ season ended with a playoff loss to the Falcons. Lang had operations on his foot and hip and provided an update on his recovery Tuesday.

Lang will be an observer as the Lions go through their offseason workouts and organized team activities, but said that he is a little ahead of the initial recovery schedule. That leaves Lang on track to be ready to go for training camp this summer and for the start of his first season with the team as well.

When Lang is healthy enough to get back on the field, he’ll join an offense that he said is working toward a more consistent running game. Lang and new right tackle Rick Wagner are part of that effort and we’ll see if a new running back is on the draft shopping list this week.

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Brian Robison: Opening night against Adrian Peterson will be “electric”

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When running back Adrian Peterson was on the Vikings, the defense didn’t tackle him during practices which means defensive end Brian Robison has to reach way back in the memory bank to recall a time when he brought Peterson down.

That came when Robison was playing for the University of Texas against Peterson’s Oklahoma Sooners, but Robison and the rest of the Vikings defenders will get their chance to try their luck against Peterson soon enough. Peterson is joining the Saints and will open the season in Minnesota on a Monday night, which Robison predicts, via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, will be an “electric atmosphere.”

It will also be an opportunity to answer a question that was debated while Peterson still played for the Vikings.

“He always said he could run on us, we say he could never run on us … something has to break,” Robison said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The first game of the season is always one that generates a lot of interest and nationally televised games get an extra boost, but Peterson’s decision will push his first game with the Saints well beyond the usual levels of anticipation.

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Sidney Jones’ doctors target a possible September return to action

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Washington cornerback Sidney Jones got very bad news last month, when he tore an Achilles tendon while conducting his Pro Day workout. He’s continuing to get good news about his prognosis.

Medical reports have been sent to all teams regarding the status of the injury following surgery to repair the tendon. According to information submitted by Dr. Robert Anderson and Dr. Ed Khalfayan, Jones will be fully recovered in as soon as four months and as long as six. This could put Jones back on the field in September.

Jones recently expressed optimism about a September return during a visit to PFT Live. It’s one thing for the player to express that kind of optimism; it’s quite another for multiple physicians to do so.

A report from Dr. Anderson indicates that the surgical site has “completely healed” only four weeks after the procedure, and that he has initiated range of motion exercises.

Jones was regarded as a first-round prospect before the injury. The possibility that he’ll play in 2017 could help him move back in that direction.

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Texans’ Day 3 draft picks will be announced from outer space

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Day Three is the most boring day of the NFL draft, and so the league tries to spice things up by finding unusual ways to announce picks. This year’ they’ve hit on something very unique: Draft picks will be announced from outer space.

Houston is home of the Johnson Space Center, and this year the Texans’ draft picks will be announced from outer space, by astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Currently aboard the Space Station are Commander Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer from the United States, France’s Thomas Pesquet and Russia’s Fyodor Yurchikhin and Oleg Novitskiy. Whitson is on her 535th day in outer space, the longest for any American astronaut ever.

The NFL did not announce which astronauts will announce the picks, but we assume the job will be shared by Whitson and Fischer while Pesquet, Yurchikhin and Novitskiy wonder why Americans care enough about the names of football players being announced that it would rise to the level of something astronauts should be spending their time on.

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Where the Redfern grows? Detroit, for now

The Lions signed a punter. Adjust your mock drafts accordingly.

The team announced they had signed Kasey Redfern, who has previously been with the Jaguars, Chargers, Panthers, and Browns. He’s actually been traded, as he was the body the Panthers attached to a fourth-round pick when they took Andy Lee off Cleveland’s hands.

Redfern was also a kicker in college at Wofford, so he’s at least a one-stop shop for a camp leg.

The Lions are well-covered for specialists, with punter Sam Martin and kicker Matt Prater.

(Photo credit: Panthers.com)

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Jamaal Charles’ agent reminds teams his client is available

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Adrian Peterson has agreed to a deal with the Saints, leaving the free agent market with one less veteran back with the draft getting underway in a couple of days.

One of the remaining unsigned backs is trying to drum up interest in his services as well. Agent David Mulugheta posted a video of client Jamaal Charles doing drills with the caption “its not a matter of “IF” but a matter of “WHEN”! #ComebackSeason.” Charles tore his ACL in October 2015 and returned for three games last year before needing more knee surgery that ended his season.

Charles visited the Seahawks in March, but Seattle opted to sign Eddie Lacy as a free agent instead. There haven’t been any other public expressions of interest in the longtime Chiefs back, which is something that Charles and his agent would obviously like to change.

Showing he’s healthy can’t hurt on that front, but the draft will satisfy the backfield needs of several teams and LeGarrette Blount is another free agent option without Charles’ injury history who could take a job before Charles finds a new home.

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Unnamed first-round prospect faces sexual assault allegation in Cleveland

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A bizarre story has emerged in Cleveland only two days before the draft.

Via WOIO-TV, a woman has accused an unnamed NFL prospect of sexual assault. The player is expected to be selected in round one. WOIO-TV has decided not to name the prospect, pending the issuance of a police report. WOIO-TV also has emphasized that the player has not yet been charged with a crime.

Here’s where it gets weirder. The story quotes the lawyer for the unnamed player, but still doesn’t name the player. Kevin Spellacy represents the unnamed player, and Spellacy calls the allegation “ludicrous and ridiculous.”

“In my opinion this young lady is an opportunist and it’s actually despicable,” Spellacy said.

Spellacy told WOIO that the unnamed player was never alone with the alleged victim at the Westin Hotel in Cleveland, the site of the alleged incident. Spellacy also said that the unnamed player has three witnesses who claim the unnamed player did nothing wrong. Spellacy said he’s willing to make the player available for an interview with police immediately after the draft.

Why not do it before the draft? Because if the player is interviewed — and if the news get out as to who the player is — a potential La’El Collins situation could emerge. Two years ago, Collins was questioned in connection with a murder. Because he wasn’t cleared from involvement before the draft, he tumbled completely out of the draft, even though he was never accused, arrested, or charged with any crime.

If the unnamed player in this case isn’t cleared before Thursday night, he could tumble even if he’s not guilty.

This makes it incumbent on every agent of every player who isn’t the subject of the investigation to say clearly and loudly and in no uncertain terms that their guy isn’t the guy who is facing this investigation. As to agent who represents a player who was in or around Cleveland on April 9, the date of the alleged incident, there should be a shouting of the player’s non-involvement even more loudly, along with a demand that WOIO disclose the accused player’s name ASAP. With a small, defined universe of players who may be the player facing the accusation, failure to identify the player indirectly defames the other players who it could be, but who it isn’t.

As to the 32 teams, someone unwittingly will be picking a player who brings negative publicity and, potentially, a prosecution and a guilty verdict to town. Thus, they each should be seeking clear assurances from each player they are considering that the player they are considering isn’t the guy who is accused of sexual assault.

Although WOIO has taken steps to keep the player’s name out of it, the mere existence of the story necessarily will pull the player’s name into it. With more than 48 hours to go until the draft begins, it’s inescapable.

Even if the name isn’t leaked to the media (and chances are it will be), the teams definitely will know who it is, When that player slides, so will everyone else.

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Deshaun Watson: Pick Mitchell Trubisky over me and live with the consequences

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The suspense will likely end on Thursday night for the top players in this year’s group of draft-eligible quarterbacks as the first round kicks off and teams start adding rookies to their roster ahead of the 2017 season.

Two of the quarterbacks at the top of that list are North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, neither of whom has established himself as the clear No. 1 choice across the board a couple of days ahead of the draft. Watson was on NFL Network Tuesday and shared his message for any team that might opt for Trubisky over him.

“You’re gonna have to live with the consequences that come with it. That’s how I see it,” Watson said. “I try to stay in my lane. I try not to take the path. I respect Mitch and what he’s done and all the hype he’s getting, but at the same time, my result speaks for itself. I feel like I’ve accomplished everything that I could. I guess if that’s who they’re gonna roll with, so be it.”

Among the biggest differences between the two quarterbacks is experience. Trubisky started for one year in Chapel Hill while Watson led Clemson to two straight national title games to give him a big edge in time as a starter. That is just one of the data points that teams will have to consider and it’s clear what side of the fence Watson believes is the more significant one.

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LeGarrette Blount apparently is available, so why doesn’t anyone want him?

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Now that Adrian Peterson, who played in three games and rushed for 1.9 yards per carry with no touchdowns, has a new gig in New Orleans, the best available free-agent running back is the guy who led the league in rushing touchdowns a season ago. (He arguably was the best available free-agent running back before Peterson signed.)

LeGarrette Blount, with 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns, became a free agent in early March and has remained on the market since then. With the Patriots adding Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee in free agency, it appears that they’ve moved on from Blount.

The question now is when/if Blount moves on from the Patriots. Previously, it could have been argued that other teams weren’t sniffing around Blount because no one believed he’d actually leave New England. Now, with Blount likely not having a path back to Foxborough even if he wanted one, maybe other teams will begin to do more homework on possibly adding Blount.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media claims that the Giants and Blount have mutual interest. Other teams may get involved too, especially if they don’t get any of the guys they want in the draft.

But then there’s his season in Pittsburgh, which started with a Cheech & Chong incident with Le’Veon Bell and ended in a haze of confusion as the Steelers cut Blount, who then returned to the Patriots and won a Super Bowl.

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Davis Webb preparing to coach once he’s through with his playing career

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California quarterback Davis Webb has been a popular guy this spring. And it might be because coaches just want to meet with a future peer.

In a story about his study habits by Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Davis revealed that he’s taken several previously unreported visits and workouts, spending time with the Ravens and working out with the Panthers, Buccaneers, and Chargers.

He had previously worked out or visited with the Chiefs, in addition to the Jets, 49ers, and Seahawks.

With all those meetings, he’s accumulated plenty of notes over the past few months, which he hoards as he tries to build upon his base of knowledge.

“When I get into the zone – because I’m focused, I’m determined, I’m driven – yeah, I’m going to come across [like a coach], because it’s important to me,” Webb said. “That’s my job. If it’s not important to you, then something’s wrong with you.

“I want to coach for 40 years. I want to play for 20. It’s what I want to do.”

Webb’s certainly made an impression on teams this offseason with his reputation for work. Some have compared his fascination with preparation to Peyton Manning, and his former Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury called him “a sociopath work ethic guy.”

We’ll find out later this week how much of an impression he made during his tour.

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