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Cowboys top NFL teams in Forbes value rankings

Larry Allen, Jerry Jones AP

The Cowboys might be stuck in perpetual 8-8 purgatory, but they’re champions at turning a buck.

Even though it seems like forever since they’ve been pertinent in the postseason, they’re still the most valuable NFL franchise, according to rankings compiled by Forbes magazine.

The Cowboys are valued at $2.3 billion, which, as Darren Rovell might point out, is $2.3 billion per playoff win since 1996.

They trail soccer giants Real Madrid ($3.44 billion), Barcelona ($3.2 billion) and Manchester United ($2.81 billion), along with the New York Yankees ($2.5 billion).

Forbes pegged their stadium naming rights deal with AT&T at an estimated $500 million, with a combined $220 million in sponsorship and premium seating revenues

The Patriots ($1.8 billion, eighth), Redskins ($1.7 billion, ninth) and New York Giants ($1.55 billion, 10th) were the other NFL teams in the top 10.

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Falcons sign Dashon Goldson

CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 22:  Dashon Goldson #38 of the Washington Redskins tackles Jonathan Stewart #28 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Falcons didn’t wait long after learning rookie safety Keanu Neal will miss 3-4 weeks because of a knee injury that requires surgery to bring veteran Dashon Goldson in for a visit.

Their timeline remained brisk after that meeting as, per multiple reports on Sunday morning, Goldson is signing with the Falcons.

Goldson made 15 starts for the Redskins last season, finishing the year with 110 tackles, an interception he returned for a touchdown and a forced fumble. He was released in March and had a couple of visits over the offseason that didn’t result in a new job.

Goldson, who previously played for the Buccaneers and 49ers, joins a safety group that also includes Ricardo Allen, Kemal Ishmael and Robenson Therezie while Neal is out of action.

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Victor Cruz: It felt like old times

New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (80) catches a pass before an NFL preseason football game against the New York Jets on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) AP

Highlights were hard to find for the Giants offense against the Jets on Saturday night, but one came on a four-yard gain in the third quarter.

That was Victor Cruz’s first catch since tearing his patellar tendon early in the 2014 season and even a modest gain represents a big step forward for a player who went on to miss all of last season with a calf injury. Cruz then missed the first two games of this summer with a groin injury before finally connecting with Eli Manning for the first time in a long time.

“It felt like old times,” Cruz said, via the New York Post. “I caught the ball in the flat and tried to make something happen, but I got to feel a little bit of contact, which was a great feeling. Just to come out here healthy and be in the position to make some plays and catch the football and just come out and feel healthy and feel good about myself.”

Cruz was targeted one other time on a pass that was nearly intercepted by Jets safety Marcus Gilchrist. Manning was intercepted by Darrelle Revis on a play that saw Odell Beckham pull up to avoid a hit from safety Calvin Pryor. Manning called it the right move to avoid possible injury in a preseason game and blamed himself for leading Beckham into it.

The pick was part of a dismal outing overall for the Giants starters. The Giants failed to move into enemy territory until backups were in the game in the third quarter, leaving several members of the team talking about having work to do heading into the regular season. That Cruz will be part of that work is one positive to take away from Saturday night.

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Dak Prescott declares himself to be the smartest quarterback in the class

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) talks with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) and other players after a preseason NFL football game Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Seattle. The Seahawks won 27-17. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) AP

Seven quarterbacks came off the board before him in April, but that doesn’t keep Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott from putting himself at the top of the stack.

“Knowledge-wise, I think I’m the smartest quarterback that came in this class,” Prescott recently told USA Today. “I would love to go on the board and go head to head with anybody else. That’s how I feel. That’s how confident I am.”

Quarterbacks need to have confidence in themselves. But they also need to be able to back it up, or no one else will have confidence in them.

But Prescott’s confidence may not be misplaced, even though in college his place usually was in shotgun formation.

“The offense we ran at Mississippi State was nothing short of an NFL offense,” Prescott said. “The only thing that was different is that we didn’t go under center. I swear to you, in [pre-draft] visits, every play they showed me, I could name it. We just called it something different. At another team I visited, they ran the exact same stuff we ran.”

Prescott will still have to take some snaps under center in order to run the Dallas offense. He nevertheless has looked great in either spot through three preseason games. Which will only give him more confidence now that he is stepping into the starting job for the foreseeable future.

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Gary Kubiak on Trevor Siemian: I see a guy getting better

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) thaws as Los Angeles Rams defensive end Eugene Sims (97) pursues during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney) AP

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak came into Saturday’s game with the intention of making his decision on a starting quarterback after his team faced the Rams and nothing’s changed after watching Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch against Los Angeles.

Kubiak said after the game that he’s “got enough going on that I can make a decision,” although he didn’t say how quickly he’d be sharing that decision publicly. Siemian has started the last two games, though, and Kubiak had a lot of nice things to say about the way he played on Saturday, including the way he followed an interception with a touchdown on the next possession.

“I’m impressed. I think he’s very calm,” Kubiak said, via ESPN.com. “I can tell by the way he handles the team in the huddle, he’s got control of what’s going on. Gets a bad break on the ‘go’ ball and comes right back and goes down the field. I think what I see is a guy getting better.”

Mark Sanchez didn’t play at all on Saturday, something that Kubiak said he spoke to the veteran about on Saturday morning and explained as having “a lot to go on on Mark” while wanting to see the younger quarterbacks. That may have turned out to be the problem for Sanchez as the preseason unfolded as there’s not the same sense that he’ll be getting better at this point in his career that one can get from Siemian and Lynch.

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Anquan Boldin on Kaepernick: Respect his opinion, even if you disagree

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 20: Colin Kaepernick #7 and Anquan Boldin #81 of the San Francisco 49ers react following a failed fourth down conversion in the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game at Heinz Field on September 20, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) Getty Images

Lions receiver Anquan Boldin is one of the NFL’s most respected veteran players and was chosen as the Walter Payton Man of the Year this year. Boldin also played with Colin Kaepernick for three years in San Francisco. So Boldin’s views on Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem may resonate with a lot of his fellow NFL players.

“I think a lot of people get bent out of shape about it,” Boldin said. “Even if you don’t agree with what someone does, you still have to respect their opinion and how they feel about something. You can agree or disagree with it but you still have to respect it. That’s the right that we have as Americans, and that’s the great part about being an American.”

Boldin does stand for the national anthem but thinks Kaepernick has the right to choose not to.

“I respect everybody’s opinion,” Boldin said. “Everybody has one. I’m sure he’s going to get flack for it, what he did, but that’s the great thing about being in America, you have that option.”

Although Kaepernick’s refusal to stand has been a controversial topic, other NFL players seem to be lining up behind Boldin, respecting Kaepernick’s right even if they disagree with his opinion.

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Siemian solid before giving way to Lynch

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 20:  Quarterback Trevor Siemian of the Denver Broncos throws as he warms up before a preseason NFL game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 20, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) Getty Images

Trevor Siemian got his second straight start Saturday night in his bid to win the Broncos’ starting quarterback job.

Siemian led one touchdown drive, one field goal drive and threw an interception. A 43-yard pass from Siemian to Demaryius Thomas set up a field goal that gave the Broncos a 10-9 halftime lead over the Rams.

As expected, rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch was next and replaced Siemian to start the second half.

Siemian was 10-of-17 passing for 122 yards. His touchdown drive covered 67 yards in seven plays and was capped by a 1-yard pass to tight end Victor Green.

Three straight Siemian completions jumpstarted the touchdown drive, and two C.J. Anderson runs set the Broncos up with a first and goal situation.

Mark Sanchez started the first preseason game, but Siemian — who’s never thrown a pass in a regular season game — has since taken the lead in the camp battle. The Broncos want to bring Lynch along slowly, so as of now it appears Siemian will start when the Broncos host the Panthers to open the season.

On the Broncos’ broadcast, General Manager John Elway said Siemian “got off to a slow start tonight but then had a good second quarter. It’s been a good battle…we’re in a good spot.”

Later, Elway said the team has “seen a lot of positives” from Lynch, who’s “getting better every day. We think the ceiling is really, really high.”

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Report: Mewhort has torn ACL, will miss season

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 21: Calvin Pace #97 of the New York Jets rushes against Jack Mewhort #75 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 21, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colts guard Jack Mewhort suffered a torn ACL during Saturday night’s preseason game vs. the Eagles, NFL Network reported.

Mewhort will miss the entire 2016 season if further examination confirms a torn ACL and the Colts, already thin on the offensive line, will have to scramble to try to replace one of their better players.

A tackle during his Ohio State career, Mewhort has played both guard and tackle in each of his seasons with the Colts. The Colts hoped to end their offensive line shuffle this season and hoped Mewhort would both elevate his game and help rookie center Ryan Kelly.

Instead, they’re now searching for help at both cornerback and on the offensive line with the season opener two weeks away.

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Stork tweets that he’s excited to report to Redskins

Super Bowl XLIX - New England Patriots v Seattle Seahawks Getty Images

Bryan Stork is apparently going to officially be new Redskins center Bryan Stork fairly soon.

Stork tweeted Saturday night that he’s anxious to get the next chapter of his career started.

“I will forever have nothing but great memories at [the Patriots],” Stork tweeted. “Looking forward to making more [with the Redskins].”

The Patriots traded Stork to the Redskins this week. Stork had contemplated retirement, according to reports, and Redskins Coach Jay Gruden told reporters that Stork still had to make “a final decision.”

Stork started 11 games for the Patriots as a rookie in 2014 and six last season. He’s battled concussion issues, but the Redskins see him as a solid insurance policy after their longtime center, Kory Lichtensteiger, was limited to five games last season.

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Offenses sharp in Titans-Raiders game

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 20:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans stands under center during the first half against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on December 20, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Getty Images

Preseason results don’t mean much and are usually quickly forgotten. In Oakland Saturday night, it’s fair to say the offenses beat the defenses.

The Titans got the ball first and scored immediately. A 60-yard pass from Marcus Mariota to rookie Tajae Sharpe set up a short touchdown run by DeMarco Murray. The Raiders came right back and scored on a 6-yard pass from Derek Carr to rookie DeAndre Washington.

Sharpe has been really good throughout camp and has probably won a spot in the opening day starting lineup.

Carr threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper later in the first half, and Derrick Henry ran for another Titans touchdown. The Titans led 20-14 at halftime when Mariota was removed from the game. He was 9-of-16 for 170 yards and looked sharp commanding an offense that mixed in some option plays and plenty of rollout passes.

Veteran Andre Johnson caught three passes for 65 yards for the Titans. Cooper had three catches for 52 yards including the 29-yard touchdown.

Carr threw one pass in the second half before being removed from the game. He finished 12-of-18 for 169 yards.

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David Harris suffers shoulder injury

Denver Broncos v New York Jets Getty Images

Veteran Jets linebacker David Harris suffered a shoulder injury and has been declared out of Saturday night’s Jets-Giants preseason game.

Harris suffered the injury late in the first half. He probably wasn’t going to return to Saturday night’s game anyway, but he’s a key player in the Jets’ defense and the Jets hope he won’t miss any real time.

Harris, 32, is entering his 10th NFL season. He hasn’t missed a start since 2008.

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Mewhort leaves game with knee injury

Wild Card Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Indianapolis Colts Getty Images

Colts guard Jack Mewhort suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of Saturday night’s preseason game vs. the Eagles. Mewhort is one of the Colts’ best offensive linemen, and if Mewhort suffered a significant injury it would be a significant blow to the Colts.

The Colts just don’t have much depth across their offensive line, a unit that struggled again vs. the Eagles. At halftime, Colts coach Chuck Pagano said his linemen had “to man up and block their guys.”

The team announced only that Mewhort would not return to Saturday’s game. Earlier in the game the Colts lost cornerback Darius Butler to an ankle injury, a further blow to another already thin position group.

A second-round pick in 2014, Mewhort has played both guard and tackle in each of his previous two NFL seasons.

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Forte gets involved quickly in Jets debut

New York Giants' Olivier Vernon (54) tackles New York Jets' Matt Forte (22) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) AP

The Jets were patient with running back Matt Forte over the last several weeks. But when Forte made his preseason debut in Saturday night’s game vs. the Giants, the Jets kept Forte busy.

Forte got five touches on the game’s first drive, three by run and two on receptions from quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets lined up Forte in the backfield and also as a slot receiver to both sides in different personnel groupings.

He played 11 of 20 snaps in the first quarter and touched the ball on eight of those 11. He ended up carrying 10 times for 28 yards and catching two passes for nine yards before being taken out of the game in the second quarter.

Forte, 30, figures to be the team’s starting running back and a key contributor. He only missed eight games in eight seasons with the Bears, but the Jets know he has some mileage and obviously want to keep him fresh and on the field. A hamstring injury suffered just before camp sidelined Forte, and he’s been eased back into practices over the last two weeks.

Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall was held out of the game, so the Jets still have not played with their whole complement of offensive weapons this preseason.

The Jets led 7-0 at halftime with the only score coming on a Fitzpatrick touchdown pass to Eric Decker. The Giants managed just 47 yards of offense in the first half.

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Leon Hall suffers concussion

Dre Kirkpatrick, Leon Hall AP

Veteran Giants cornerback Leon Hall suffered a concussion during the first quarter of Saturday night’s Jets-Giants preseason game.

Hall signed with the Giants earlier this month. He previously played exclusively for the Bengals, who drafted him in the first round in 2007.

The Giants also announced that rookie linebacker B.J. Goodson was being evaluated for a concussion.

The Jets scored first on a Ryan Fitzpatrick to Eric Decker touchdown pass with 5:20 left in the second quarter. A Darrelle Revis interception set up the 30-yard scoring drive.

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Miserable first half for Luck, Colts

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 07:  quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Indianapolis Colts speaks with head coach Chuck Pagano prior to a preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on August 7, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Andrew Luck; Chuck Pagano Getty Images

The Colts got shoved around in the first half of Saturday night’s preseason game by the Eagles, who took a 17-3 lead into halftime.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck completed 13-of-18 passes for 134 yards but was sacked three times. The Colts were able to move the ball but couldn’t sustain drives and scored only in a short-field situation, settling for three points after a Darius Butler interception.

“We didn’t do the job we should have done protecting our quarterback,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said on the team’s preseason broadcast. “Guys have to man up and block their guys.”

The Colts ran the ball nine times for just 13 yards. The Eagles scored on a Josh Huff run and a Sam Bradford fade to Dorial Green-Beckham, who’s playing his first game for the Eagles after being acquired in a trade with the Titans.

The Colts also didn’t score a touchdown with Luck and the starters in last week’s preseason game vs. the Ravens.

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Rams announce Tavon Austin extension

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 17: Tavon Austin #11 of the St. Louis Rams adjusts his helmet prior to a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Edward Jones Dome on December 17, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images) Getty Images

With the Tavon Austin extension official, a debate already has begun regarding whether the Rams are paying the 2013 first-rounder too much.

“Tavon has been an integral part of our offense and special teams since we drafted him in 2013,” coach Jeff Fisher said in the press release announcing the deal. “It is important to our organization to retain players we’ve drafted and invested in, and Tavon is an example of that. We’re excited for him to continue his career with the Rams.

The release points out that Austin and running back Todd Gurley each had 10 touchdowns last year, the first time two members of the Rams have landed in double digits since running back Steven Jackson and receiver Torry Holt in 2006. Austin has 19 touchdowns for his career: nine receiving, seven rushing, and three on punt returns.

The release doesn’t mention Austin’s other stats, possibly because it’s harder to justify a four-year, $42 million extension by pointing to them. He had 473 receiving yards in 2015, 242 in 2014, and 418 in 2013, along with rushing yards of 434 in 2015, 224 in 2014, and 151 in 2013.

That’s an average of 377 receiving yards per season and 269 rushing yards per season. Throwing in 313 average punt-return yards and 144 average kickoff-return yards, Austin has averaged 1,103 all-purpose yards per year in his career. Still, he has only 646 yards from scrimmage each year, on average.

Does that add up to a four-year, $42 million contact? Maybe not, based on the raw numbers. But considering that Austin hasn’t had much help — and that he definitely hasn’t had high-quality quarterback play — the Rams apparently think that the best days are coming for Austin, and that getting him for $10.5 million per year in new money is a lot cheaper than what it would have cost in 2018.

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