Skip to content

Jaguars land Marqise Lee at No. 39

marqiselee AP

The Jaguars, who are prepared to not have star wideout Justin Blackmon for the 2014 season, have brought in some more help at the position, selecting USC’s Marqise Lee No. 39 overall on Friday.

There were multiple reports regarding potential concerns about Lee’s knee, but there is no doubting Lee’s production at Southern Cal. In three seasons, he hauled in 248 passes for 3,655 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Lee (5-11, 192) could be an immediate contributor in a Jaguars receiving corps that has some intriguing young talent even if Blackmon is not reinstated from an NFL suspension, with Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown among Jacksonville’s veteran options at the position.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Jacksonville Jaguars, Rumor Mill
yo

Agent: La’el Collins not meeting with teams at this time

Kentucky v LSU Getty Images

La’El Collins met with the Baton Rouge police department on Monday regarding their investigation into the shooting deaths of his former girlfriend and her newborn child and the police said he cooperated fully and is not a suspect in the case.

That has been the case since the first reports of police interest in speaking to Collins regarding the murders, although Collins went undrafted last week because of the uncertainty about the situation. Collins is therefore free to sign with any team and there appears to be interest, but Collins’s agent Deryk Gilmore told the Associated Press that he’s not taking any meetings with teams “at this time.”

Gilmore’s statement seems to refer to official meetings with teams because Collins has had contact with a couple of clubs. Collins met with Bills coach Rex Ryan on Monday night and LSU alums that played for the Dolphins are doing some recruiting of their fellow Tiger, but Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reports that the team is “not ready to send any team officials” at this point.

With limitations about the deal teams can offer Collins as a free agent, fit and comfort will likely be important to Collins’s ultimate decision about where to sign. Assuming, of course, that things progress to a point that he is cleared and signs with one of the teams considering the move.

 

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dolphins giving cancer survivor Arthur Ray Jr. a tryout

Saints v Dolphins Getty Images

In other news, the Dolphins are giving a chance to a player everyone can feel good about.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, the Dolphins have extended an offer for a cancer survivor to try out at their rookie minicamp.

Fort Lewis College offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr., who nearly lost his left leg to bone cancer, will be on the field when the Dolphins convene this weekend.

Ray was diagnosed with cancer in 2007, shortly after committing to Michigan State. After a three-year treatment and multiple surgeries, he returned to football in 2011. He ultimately transferred to the Division II school in Colorado to get more playing time. He worked out for scouts at Northwestern’s pro day, and drew enough attention to merit a look.

“First and foremost, I want to thank the Miami Dolphins organization for believing in me, and allowing me this opportunity,” Ray said. “Words can’t express how this feels to have this shot. I want to thank my agent Paul [Sheehy] and everyone who has supported and been in my corner.

“Since Day 1 I prayed for an opportunity like this and God blessed it to me. I’m just ecstatic for me and my family. I’m ready to work, prove my abilities on the football field and show everyone anything is possible.”

Ray is still very much a longshot, as he’d have to stand out in a crowded field just for a chance to be one of the 90 guys the team takes to training camp.

But at a time when there are so many other less-comforting stories about guys getting second chances, having one like Ray’s is a welcome relief.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cardinals TE John Carlson retires

Kansas City Chiefs v Arizona Cardinals Getty Images

One of the Cardinals’ primary tight ends has decided to call it a career.

John Carlson, who started 12 games for Arizona last season, has announced his retirement, Darren Urban of the Cardinals’ website reports.

A Notre Dame product, the 30-year-old Carlson has caught 210 passes for 2,256 yards and 15 touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2008 with Seattle. After four seasons with the Seahawks, Carlson played two years with Minnesota (2012-2013) before moving on to Arizona.

Carlson’s retirement leaves second-year pro Troy Niklas as Arizona’s No. 1 option at tight end, with veterans Darren Fells and Ifeanyi Momah and rookie Gerald Christian also in the mix.

Jermaine Gresham is the top unsigned tight end, but he is coming off back surgery. Ex-Seahawks tight end Zach Miller is also a free agent.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Dolphins send former LSU teammates to recruit La’el Collins

La'El Collins AP

Three players on the Dolphins were teammates of La’El Collins at LSU, and they’re being pressed into service to try to recruit him to come to Miami.

Collins, a first-round talent who went undrafted after police said they wanted to question him in connection with the death of his ex-girlfriend, will be the most sought-after undrafted free agent in history if he is exonerated of the crime. Police have said he is not a suspect.

For the Dolphins, the effort to bring Collins into the fold has taken on the feel of a college recruiting visit. According to FOX 8 in New Orleans, not only is Dolphins coach Joe Philbin traveling to see Collins, but so are former LSU teammates Jarvis Landry, Anthony Johnson and Kelvin Sheppard.

NFL teams are limited in the financial offers they can make to undrafted rookies, which means there’s no way for Collins to make the kind of money on his rookie contract that he would have made as a first-round pick. But several teams are expected to offer Collins as much as the Collective Bargaining Agreement allows them to offer undrafted rookies, and so Collins will have multiple contracts to choose from, assuming he is exonerated.

As he chooses among those multiple offers, it may be a simple matter of Collins wanting to go to the team that feels the most like home. And the Dolphins are trying to make him feel like he’ll be comfortable in Miami.

Permalink 66 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Veteran assistant Bruce DeHaven taking medical leave from Panthers

Buffalo Bills v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

The Panthers made a coaching change to help their special teams this offseason, and unfortunately, they’re going to have to make another one.

According to Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, veteran special teams coach Bruce DeHaven is “currently taking some time away from the team” to deal with an undisclosed medical issue. The team is expected to hire another special teams coach, though they’re hoping DeHaven is able to return later as an assistant.

The 66-year-old DeHaven, who has also coached the Bills, 49ers, Cowboys and Seahawks, was promoted to the top job this year after the Panthers re-assigned special teams coach Richard Rodgers.

The Panthers were the league’s second-worst special teams unit in the comprehensive Dallas Morning News rankings, and allowed four special teams touchdowns last season.

But in addition to making the coaching change, the Panthers also went out and signed a number of players to help bolster their coverage-and-return game, which should also help.

Hopefully, DeHaven is able to make a full recovery and get back to work, but that work is by far not the priority at the moment.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Randy Gregory: “I don’t think it’s a weed problem”

NFL Draft Football AP

Cowboys defensive end Randy Gregory admits he has problems.

He just doesn’t think marijuana is one of them.

That’s what Gregory said during an ESPN Radio interview, adding that it was his immaturity and stubbornness that were the bigger issues.

“That’s something I’ve definitely been working on and something I can definitely fix,” Gregory said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “I’m 22 years old but I think I carry myself real well and I think I need to carry myself a little bit better as far as decision making goes. I think a lot of people are getting tied up in the weed and think it’s just a weed problem. I don’t think it’s a weed problem. I think it’s decision-making. I think I’m immature. I’m definitely working on that. I want to prove everyone wrong and I want to do it with this team. I think this is the best team I can do that with.”

Gregory failed a test for marijuana at the Scouting Combine, but said he hasn’t smoked since then.

“I haven’t touched it,” he said. “I’m feeling real good, too. This is a high in itself, to be honest. I’m high on life right now, and I don’t want to lose this high.”

What he lost was several million dollars, the difference between being a first-round pick (perhaps top 10) and a late second-rounder. And he lost it not necessarily because of marijuana, but because of his inability to recognize the fact he was about to take a marijuana test at a time when he had plenty of people around him who knew it was coming if he didn’t.

So maybe it wasn’t marijuana itself, it was his inability to recognize the priority he was placing on marijuana in relation to a job interview.

And that’s not immaturity, that’s irresponsibility. If not stupidity.

Permalink 49 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Bears part ways with college scouting director Marty Barrett

Chicago Bears Introduce John Fox Getty Images

When Ryan Pace took over as the Bears General Manager, the team made a couple of changes in their personnel department but Pace said they would be reviewing the rest of the holdovers from the Phil Emery regime and beyond after the draft.

Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports that their review has led to a change at college scouting director. Biggs reports that Marty Barrett will not be back in that job for the 2015 season.

2014 was Barrett’s third year in that job and he’d been with the Bears organization since 1997 as a scout. Teams often hold onto members of their scouting staff through the draft when they make a change at the top of the hierarchy and then make changes after their work on the year’s rookie class is complete. The Jets and Eagles made similar changes this week and there could be more to come as organizations set their rolls for the coming year.

The Bears previously parted ways with pro personnel director Kevin Turks and released Rex Hogan from his contract to become the college scouting director for the Jets. That could be a landing spot for Barrett now that they’ve opened some spots in Jersey.

Permalink 15 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Live: Landon Collins, Kevin Colbert

Landon Collins AP

Safety Landon Collins was projected to be a first-round pick by many people heading into the draft, but he wound up lasting until the Giants traded up to take him at the start of the second round.

Collins will join Mike Florio on Tuesday’s PFT Live to talk about the experience of waiting to hear his name called. We’ll also get his early thoughts on his new team during his visit.

Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert will also be on the show to discuss his team’s draft, which slanted heavily toward the defense. Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union will be on hand to review the new additions in Jacksonville as well.

We also want to hear from PFT Planet. Email questions at any time via the O’Reilly Auto Parts Ask the Pros inbox or get in touch on Twitter at @ProFootballTalk to let us know what’s on your mind.

It all gets started at noon ET and you can listen to all three hours live via the various NBC Sports Radio affiliates, through the links at PFT, or with the NBC Sports Radio app. You can also watch a simulcast of the first hour of the show by clicking right here.

Permalink 3 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

PFT Planet hits 3-of-5 draft props, beats the house

Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra smile in front of a table with bottles of spirit Getty Images

The results are in, and PFT Planet was dialed in when it came to the 2015 NFL Draft.

Of the five draft proposition “bets” set by PFT, the readers were correct on three of them. Here were the winners:

Over-Under on first-round RBs: 2.5. Ultimately, 92 percent of the more than 5,500 voters selected UNDER 2.5. And indeed, only two backs — Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon — were taken in Round One.

Over-Under on draft spot of first cornerback taken: 12.5. About 61 percent of the nearly 2,700 voters sided with UNDER 12.5, which cashed when Minnesota took Michigan State’s Trae Waynes at No. 11.

Over-Under on Marcus Mariota’s draft position: 2.5. Winner, winner. Out of about 6,300 votes, 55 percent projected Mariota to be chosen first or second. And indeed, he was the No. 2 overall pick of Tennessee.

While PFT Planet correctly handicapped those props, they struggled on two of the gambles:

— A majority of readers believed the first, second or third pick of the draft would be traded. Alas, no trades came until the Chargers moved up for the No. 15 pick.

— About 60 percent of voters projected Alabama wideout Amari Cooper to be selected no earlier than No. 5 in Round One. However, he was Oakland’s pick at No. 4.

Despite those losses, PFT Planet ended up a collective winner on the five draft props. Assuming the normal house edge, where bettors have to bet $11 to win $10, PFT Planet ended up $2,732 in mythical commenter dollars.

So congratulations, readers. You beat the house this time. Here, have some buffet passes. How about some show tickets? Can we freshen your drinks?

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Cowboys give undrafted George Farmer a $55,000 guarantee

georgefarmer AP

Former USC wide receiver George Farmer went undrafted last week, but he made out OK anyway.

Farmer is signing with the Cowboys and will get $55,000 guaranteed, according to Field Yates of ESPN. That’s a very rare, and very hefty, guarantee for an undrafted rookie.

Presumably, the Cowboys had to guarantee Farmer that much money because he had several suitors as an undrafted free agent. Although the Collective Bargaining Agreement limits how much money undrafted rookies can make, teams do have some leeway in offering signing bonuses and guaranteed money to the most coveted undrafted free agents, and Farmer may turn out to do the best of any of them, other than La’El Collins, who will surely generate the best contract of any undrafted free agent if he’s exonerated in the death of his ex-girlfriend.

Farmer was considered one of the best recruits in the country coming out of high school but had a largely disappointing career at USC. Still, there’s no doubting that he’s a talented player, and the Cowboys think he’s got the potential to be worth the money, and then some.

Permalink 11 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Rolando McClain has charges from 2013 arrest dismissed

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain was convicted on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct in Decatur, Alabama last year, but appealed to have another trial in state court.

That trial was set for a May 18 start, but it won’t take place. The Associated Press reports that court records showed that prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss the charges on Monday.

There was no specific reason given for the dismissal request. McClain was accused of cursing at police officers while they were trying to clear a crowd away from a softball game in April 2013 and McClain’s lawyer argued that it isn’t clearly McClain using the offending language in a tape of the incident that has been used as evidence.

McClain signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Cowboys this offseason after turning in a strong first year in Dallas that rescued his career from the scrap heap that his 2013 arrest helped to create.

Permalink 13 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jimmy Clausen’s excited about reunion with John Fox

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Getty Images

The last time John Fox and Jimmy Clausen worked together, it didn’t work out well for either of them.

Both are hoping their reunion goes better.

Clausen said he was encouraged about coming back to the Bears this offseason, even though the coach and General Manager who resurrected his career are gone. He sat down with new G.M. Ryan Pace, Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase, and felt good about re-signing with the Bears after Phil Emery and Marc Trestman were fired.

“Obviously, if I didn’t like what they envisioned for me and the offense, I wouldn’t be here right now,” Clausen said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I like what they have planned for us moving forward, and I’m really excited about this upcoming season.

“I just felt comfortable with them and just wanted to come back.”

Comfort was something neither Clausen nor Fox had last time through.

Clausen was drafted prior to Fox’s lame-duck season with the Panthers, a kid the coach didn’t have a vested interest in developing since he wasn’t going to be there for the finished product. The rookie-averse Fox only played Clausen because of an injury to Matt Moore, and Clausen was pounded into the ground during a 2-14 season, a record which he wasn’t responsible for or able to prevent.

That led to the Panthers drafting Cam Newton and Clausen not throwing another pass until last season.

“I’ve seen him develop,” Fox said. “You know I’ve seen him grow, even personally and, you know, that’s what we do. Hopefully as we age we grow up some.

“So I’ve seen him grow as a football player and as a man — and I’m excited to work with him.”

Clausen’s role is important, given the way the Bears tried to get out from under Jay Cutler’s contract this offseason, including attempts to trade him on draft day. The only other quarterbacks on the roster are second-year David Fales and undrafted rookie Shane Carden, so there’s a burden on Clausen to be stable and trustworthy.

He wasn’t ready for that in 2010 with Fox, but for both their sakes, he better be now.

Permalink 23 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Patriots to release Alfonzo Dennard

Alfonzo Dennard AP

The Patriots didn’t draft a cornerback until the seventh round of the draft, which seemed to indicate they were content with the group of corners they already had on hand to compete for roles this season.

That may be the case in general, but that group is reportedly about to get a little bit smaller. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the team will release cornerback Alfonzo Dennard.

Dennard joined the team as a seventh-round pick in 2012 — he was projected to go earlier before a pre-draft arrest –and played in six games for the team last season. Four of those games were starts, but his playing time was infrequent over the second half of the season and he ended the year on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

With Dennard sliding out of the depth chart, the Patriots have Malcolm Butler, Kyle Arrington and Logan Ryan back from last year with rookie Darryl Roberts joining Bradley Fletcher, Robert McClain and Chimdi Chekwa as new arrivals.

Permalink 54 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Winston’s no-baseball clause isn’t rare

Winston AP

Yes, the Buccaneers have added a no-baseball clause to quarterback Jameis Winston’s contract.  No, the presence of a no-baseball clause in NFL contracts isn’t rare.

Per a league source, the contract signed last year by Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has similar language. And it’s believed that more than 100 current contracts have a term specifically restricting a football player’s ability to play baseball.

According to another source, the contract signed in 2012 by Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson does not include such language.  Whether his next deal will have that language remains to be seen.

The Standard Player Contract already contains language that prohibits a player from engaging “in any activity other than football which may involve a significant risk of personal injury.” Baseball isn’t specifically listed, and a straight-faced argument could be made that baseball doesn’t entail a “significant” risk of personal injury.

More importantly, the Standard Player Contract merely allows a player’s team to block such activities via legal action.  Winston’s expressly links baseball to his guaranteed money, nullifying any remaining guarantees if he violates the term.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the term can be violated in a wide range of ways, from playing in a game to attending training-camp practices to working out with players to doing anything baseball related short of throwing out the first pitch at a baseball game.

This doesn’t mean he can never play baseball. He just can’t play both. He can give up football, pay back any unearned signing bonus money, and then take up baseball.

For now, that’s extremely unlikely. But if Winston somehow ends up being the Ryan Leaf of 2015’s one-two quarterback draft class, Winston could decide in a couple of years that he really misses baseball now that he’s been away from it, that he realizes it’s his true passion, and that he’s going back.

This assumes he’s good enough to play baseball at the Major League level. If he were, that would have been the better career choice from an earnings, longevity, and long-term health and well-being standpoint.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Seahawks scrutinized for drafting Frank Clark despite domestic violence accusation

frankclark

The Seahawks used their first pick in this year’s draft on Frank Clark, a defensive end who was kicked off the team at Michigan after he was accused of domestic violence. Now they’re facing some scrutiny in Seattle.

The Seattle Times has a report out today noting that while the Seahawks claim they conducted a thorough investigation before deciding to pick Clark, the two witnesses who called police to report the incident say they never heard from the Seahawks.

Kristie Colie, who was staying in the hotel room next to one being used by Clark and his then-girlfriend, says she saw a woman who “was definitely beat up.”

“She looked unconscious,’’ Colie said. “She looked like she was knocked out, and then she started to move slowly.’’

The police report describes the victim as saying Clark punched her in the face. It also quotes the victim’s brothers as saying they witnessed Clark punch her. According to the brothers, when the victim tried to defend herself, Clark “grabbed her by the throat, picked her up off the ground and slammed her to the ground while also landing on top of her.’’

The domestic violence incident wasn’t Clark’s first run-in with the law. In 2012 he was convicted of a felony charge of second-degree home invasion. On the domestic violence charge, prosecutors allowed Clark to plead guilty to a reduced charge of persistent disorderly conduct and get off with a $250 fine.

Permalink 93 Comments Feed for comments Back to top