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Charles deal is worth $28 million over four years

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Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles was planning to hold out from training camp unless he wasn’t.  In the end, it didn’t matter; Charles signed a new contract that will pay him, per a league source, $28 million over four years.

“Jamaal is an elite player in the National Football League,” Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said in announcing the deal. “It was important for us to keep him here in Kansas City long-term.”

Multiple reports have characterized Charles as moving to No. 2 on the running back compensation list, behind only Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.  The truth, according to one source, is that Charles has finagled the second highest new-money average, with the two extra years adding another $18.1 million to the existing two-year deal.

That’s a new-money average of $9.05 million.

That 0.05 become critical to the analysis and was hardly a coincidence, given that Eagles running back LeSean McCoy averages $9 million per year on a five-year, $45 million deal.  Likewise, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams received $27 million over three years under a five-year, $43 million contract he signed in 2011.

Without knowing the money fully guaranteed at signing — because it hasn’t been leaked yet it’s likely not near the top of any league-wide lists — it’s impossible to know how much Charles actually will get.  His 2014 pay moves from $3.9 million to $8.3 million, a raise of $4.4 million.  Instead of making $6 million in 2015, he’ll make $6.7 million.

That’s $15 million over two.  Over three, it’s $21 million.  Play all four and he gets $28 million.

The full structure of the deal will shed more light on how much more money Charles actually is getting, beyond his $4.4 million raise for 2014.  But he’s not currently the second highest-paid running back in the NFL, not with an annual average on his full contract of $7 million.

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Keith Rivers retires, Rolando McClain placed on PUP list

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The Cowboys are going to be without two of their veteran linebackers to start training camp and only one of them will be coming back.

The team placed Keith Rivers on the reserve/retired list Thursday after Rivers decided that he didn’t want to continue his NFL career. The team signed Rivers as a free agent during the offseason, but they’ll need to look elsewhere for help at the position. Rivers was the ninth overall pick of the 2008 draft and played for the Bengals, Giants and Bills before his short stay in Dallas.

One place they eventually hope to find it is with Rolando McClain, who has been placed on the physically unable to perform list after having offseason knee surgery. McClain is eligible to be activated at any time, but will be serving a four-game suspension to open the season due to a violation of the substance abuse policy.

Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, Jasper Brinkley, Kyle Wilber, Andrew Gachkar and rookie Damien Wilson are the healthy linebackers for the Cowboys right now.

Running back Darren McFadden is also on the PUP list after being bothered by a hamstring injury this spring. He’s not expected to spend extend time on the list, but McFadden’s injury history isn’t too encouraging. Offensive lineman Chaz Green and linebacker Mark Nzeocha are also on the PUP list to start camp.

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Lardarius Webb fails conditioning test, isn’t cleared to practice yet

Mike Wallace, Lardarius Webb AP

The Ravens were without Lardarius Webb for the first practice of training camp, after the veteran cornerback failed his conditioning test.

According to Clifton Brown of CSNBaltimore.com, Webb will have to pass the test before the team lets him practice, and coach John Harbaugh said the player was disappointed in himself.

“The conditioning test measures anaerobic conditioning. It measures the ability to recover, get your heart rate way up and recover,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Webby is in really good shape in a lot of different ways. You can see it in the way he moves. But he’s not in the kind of anaerobic shape he needs to be in to come out here and practice. The idea being that if I go play after play after play, and I begin to get fatigued, and I can’t move the way I need to move, I’m going to have a fatigue type of injury.

“That’s why we don’t allow guys to practice until they’re aerobically in conditioning. He’s a little behind that way, certainly, and he’s going to have to make up the ground.”

Webb had to take a pay cut to hang around this season, as he wondered aloud if he was the next veteran out the door. He’s still valuable to them, provided he’s in shape.

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Terry Pegula: No hurry to get a new stadium

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Before the Bills were sold last year after Ralph Wilson’s death, there was a lot of discussion about the team getting a new stadium to replace the one that bears Wilson’s name.

That conversation will continue at some point, but Bills owner Terry Pegula said Thursday that there’s “nothing urgent” that needs to be discussed at the moment. Pegula cited the $130 million in renovations that were recently completed and a lease running through 2022 as two reasons why there’s no pressure at present.

“The only answer to that question is the state and county, there’s been a lot of money put into Ralph Wilson Stadium,” Pegula said, via the Buffalo News. “We’re in no hurry. We realize that if that work was just done, how foolish would you look if you start looking around for a new stadium when we’ve just renovated the one we have? We have time. We have an existing lease on the current stadium.”

Pegula also said that there were no plans to sell the naming rights to the stadium and that having Wilson’s name on the building was “a special thing.” It sounds like business as usual in Buffalo, although Pegula would surely like to see that change when it comes to the team’s on-field results.

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Jimmy Garoppolo says he’s not thinking about starting Week One

Jimmy Garoppolo AP

Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback while Tom Brady serves a suspension for the first four games of the season, but Garoppolo says he isn’t thinking about that.

Asked if he’s ready to start Week One, Garoppolo answered, “We’re not really looking that far ahead. I don’t think anyone is. It’s the first day of training camp, got with the guys and it felt good to get out here with all of them.”

Garoppolo has clearly learned from coach Bill Belichick that the Patriot Way when dealing with the media is to avoid saying anything substantive and to spout cliches whenever possible. At one point during his conversation with reporters, he was able to work both “take it one day at a time” and “take it day by day” into the same answer

Garoppolo did allow, however, that he’s in a different position this year than he was as a rookie last year, when no one expected him to get on the field outside garbage time.

“This year it’s completely different and I’ve got different goals,” Garoppolo said.

The Patriots’ goal will be to win four games with Garoppolo as the starter. Even if no one in Patriots camp is talking about those games yet.

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Stephen Ross expects a winner this year

NY Times Cities For Tomorrow Conference Getty Images

Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said recently that he didn’t come to Miami to coach an average team.

Owner Stephen Ross made it clear on Thursday that he didn’t want Philbin to deliver an average team this season. The Dolphins haven’t had a winning team since 2008 and Ross said “goddamn right” to a question from a reporter who asked if he was antsy to see that change this season. Ross said the team’s goal for this season was “winning” and replied “all of the above” if he meant a winning record, a playoff berth or a trip to the Super Bowl.

“We’ve done an awful lot,” Ross said, via the Dolphins website. “You can look around. In every single area, we’ve made changes. We’ve thought outside the box. We’re looking to be the best in class. You can see the players that we’ve attracted, what they expect and you put it all together, that’s what makes winning teams. We’re all looking to win.”

Left unspoken were the implications for Philbin should the Dolphins fail to deliver, but that might not need to be stated in explicit terms. Coaches who don’t win in four years on the job generally don’t get a fifth chance and Ross’s antsiness would seem to eliminate the status quo as an option in the wake of another disappointing finish.

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Chris Clemons doesn’t report to Jaguars camp for personal reasons

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The Jaguars aren’t having very good luck this offseason with pass-rushers.

First-rounder Dante Fowler Jr. tore his ACL on his first day of OTAs, and now Chris Clemons is a no-show for camp.

According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley says Clemons didn’t report for personal reasons, and that has absence was “a little concerning.”

Clemons stayed away from the voluntary portion of the offseason but returned for mandatory minicamp.

Regardless the reason for his absence, they can ill-afford it, as they have few other sources of pressure on the roster. Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks led them in sacks last year with 8.5, and he’s on the PUP list at the moment.

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Potential No. 1 pick Joey Bosa suspended for Ohio State’s opener

Joey Bosa AP

Joey Bosa, a defensive end viewed as a potential first overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, has been suspended for Ohio State’s season opener.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Bosa is among four Ohio State players who have been suspended for an unspecified violation of athletic department policy.

The All-American Bosa had 13.5 sacks as a true sophomore last season and could have been a high first-round pick this year if he had been draft eligible. The NFL’s rule requiring players to be at least three years out of high school means 2016 is the earliest Bosa could play in the NFL.

Ohio State opens its season at Virginia Tech on Labor Day, in a highly anticipated rematch between the reigning national champions and the only team to defeat them last season. Bosa will be watching from the sidelines in street clothes.

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Tim Jennings pleads guilty to reckless driving to resolve DWI case

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When Bears cornerback Tim Jennings was arrested early this year on a drunk driving charge, he admitted he was driving too fast but denied he was drunk. The authorities are apparently willing to accept that.

Jennings has pleaded guilty to reckless driving to resolve the DWI case, TMZ reports.

Police said Jennings was driving almost 100 miles an hour on a Georgia interstate. After the arrest, Jennings explained that he had been speeding because he was running late to a parent-teacher conference at his kid’s school.

Jennings will serve 12 months of probation, pay a fine, do 40 hours of community service and participate in a drunk driving program as part of his sentence.

A projected starter this year, Jennings was not at the first day of practice of Bears camp, presumably because he was dealing with his legal matters. There is no word yet on whether he will face league discipline as a result of the incident.

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PFT Live: Training camp updates from Chicago and Washington

Jay Cutler AP

Training camps are opening around the league and we’ll be checking in with a pair of NFC teams on Thursday’s edition of PFT Live.

Mike Florio will talk to Rich Tandler of CSN Washington about the leading storylines from Redskins camp and it’s a pretty good bet that the name Robert Griffin III will come up at some point in the discussion. They’ll also talk about linebacker Ryan Kerrigan’s contract extension during the visit.

John Mullin of CSN Chicago will also drop by to fill us in on the latest from the Bears, who placed first-round wide receiver Kevin White on the PUP list because of a shin injury on Wednesday. We’ll also have the latest on the Tom Brady saga and much more from around the league during the show.

We also want to hear what PFT Planet thinks. Email questions at any time 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.

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Luke Kuechly: Contract will get done when it gets done

Luke Kuechly AP

The Panthers were busy on the contract extension front this offseason as they struck deals with quarterback Cam Newton, linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen.

General Manager Dave Gettleman said that the window will close at the end of training camp because he will not negotiate new deals during the regular season. That gives linebacker Luke Kuechly a bit more than a month to sign a new deal, although he said Thursday that he’s not sweating the deadline while he’s sweating on the practice field.

“I’m the same way I was in OTAs. I’m not concerned about it,” Kuechly said, via the Charlotte Observer. “This stuff gets done when it gets done. We trust the guys in the building. So it’ll get done when it needs to get done. … For right now, I know I’ve got a room. I know hopefully I’ve got a locker down there. And that’s all I really need right now.”

Kuechly is set to make $2.1 million this year and the Panthers exercised their $11.1 million option on his contract for next season, which gives them a lot of time to work something out if they don’t get a deal done before September. That may be more costly given how well Kuechly has played in his first three NFL seasons, but, barring a catastrophic injury this season, a deal for Kuechly’s going to be a big one whenever it’s signed.

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Gerald McCoy slimmed down before camp

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Detroit Lions Getty Images

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy didn’t wait for the Buccaneers to start offseason workouts to start his preparation for the 2015 season.

McCoy worked out 10 times a week on his own before Tampa’s program got underway and explained that his goal was to remain strong throughout games after seeing the Bucs fade in the second half of contests last season.

“[The objective] is to find out how tired you can be and still go hard, because last year we lost a lot of close games. And so I need to still be at my best in the fourth quarter when those close games are decided,” McCoy said, via the Tampa Tribune.

It doesn’t sound like McCoy took any time off between the end of that program and the start of training camp either. McCoy announced the results of his pre-camp work on Twitter Thursday.

“Down 12lbs and 2% body fat since leaving in June!! It’s go time!! No more talking!!”

McCoy was listed at 300 pounds last season and if there’s a concern about dropping weight it would likely be how well he’ll hold up against the run with less girth to throw against blockers. An increase in quickness from an already quick player would mitigate that, however, and it will be interesting to see how McCoy plays now that there’s less of him to love.

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Kessler: “It doesn’t matter to us where the case is”

Kessler Getty Images

On Thursday morning, Judge Richard H. Kyle transferred the lawsuit filed Wednesday by the NFLPA in the Tom Brady case to New York, where the NFL had initially filed a lawsuit against the NFLPA a day earlier. NFLPA outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler shrugged at the decision.

“It really doesn’t matter to us where the case is,” Kessler told PFT by phone. “What we finally have is a neutral forum. Before a neutral forum, we are very confident in our position.”

Asked about the appointment of the New York case to Judge Richard M. Berman, Kessler said, “We’re very happy to have him.”

Perhaps the NFLPA should be very happy to not have Judge Richard H. Kyle, to whom the Minnesota case was assigned. His order sending the case to New York was worded somewhat strongly against the union, questioning among other things the decision to file in Minnesota in the first place.

Kessler explained that the paperwork filed Wednesday in Minnesota will be re-filed in New York. He said the documents will have “some revisions,” but that “ostensibly we will be making the same arguments.”

Kessler also reiterated that the plan remains to request a ruling by September 4 or, alternatively, an order allowing Brady to play pending the resolution of the case.

Look for more content from the Kessler interview to be posted here throughout the day, and to be discussed during the upcoming three-hour daily look at the latest news and information in the football world, PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.

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Jets fans fly “Cheaters” banner over Patriots training camp

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No longer content to advocate for the firing of their own General Manager, a group of Jets fans have broadened their horizons.

A plane dragging a banner reading “Cheaters Look Up! @JetsFanMedia” is currently flying over Patriots practice at the team facility during their first day of training camp, heckling them for the #DeflateGate penalties.

While that’s apparently a different group than the guys who had “Fire John Idzik” banners flown over Jets practice, the fact all Jets fans share an affinity for airborne advertising is a charming show of solidarity.

Of course, the shame of it all is that coach Bill Belichick has already talked to reporters before practice, so we don’t get a chance for him to tell us the plane “has already been addressed.”

Photo credit: Sunday Night Football twitter account

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Mike Pettine: We’re motivated by outside disrespect

Mike Pettine AP

The Browns may lack talent at certain positions on their roster, but they shouldn’t be short on motivation.

That’s the message sent by coach Mike Pettine, who was asked Wednesday about predictions regarding the team’s chances of contending for anything more than a high draft pick next year. Pettine joked that he’s seen projections ranking the Browns fifth in the four-team AFC North, but got more serious about how the Browns can use that to their advantage.

“Nobody wants to be disrespected,” Pettine said, via the Associated Press. “It’s a prideful group, and I just see it as a motivating thing. We had two wins over division opponents last year by 21 points, and we just feel our best path to get to where we want to be is in the division. We played well enough — at times — to be in that conversation and at other times we didn’t. I think so much of the NFL is every team is capable, but who can do it consistently and who can do it the longest. I think that’s where we have to take that next step this year.”

Pettine steered the Browns to a 7-4 record last season, but everything unraveled during a five-game losing streak that left the Browns in their familiar position on the outside looking in at the teams that advanced to the playoffs. That makes it 13 years without a playoff berth, which makes it feel less like disrespect and more like a desire for others to see something that makes them think that it will be anything other than the same old Browns this season.

However you frame it, though, there should be plenty of motivation in Cleveland for a better outcome this year.

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Minnesota court hands off Brady case to New York

Brady Getty Images

NFL 1, NFLPA 0.

On Tuesday, the NFL immediately filed in federal court in Manhattan a lawsuit seeking confirmation of the arbitration award that suspended Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games. On Wednesday, the NFLPA filed a competing lawsuit in Minnesota.

On Thursday, the Minnesota court stepped aside.

As NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, the Minnesota case has been transferred to New York, where the NFL first filed the case.

While the NFL managed to avoid Minnesota, they still have to deal with Judge Richard M. Berman, who was appointed to the bench by a Democratic president — which means that Judge Berman’s overall philosophies and precedents will more likely favor labor, not management.

On Wednesday, Judge Berman directed the NFLPA to respond to the NFL’s lawsuit by August 13. The transferred case from Minnesota possibly constitutes that response.

Regardless, look for the NFLPA to swiftly ask Judge Berman to rule on the case by September 4 or, alternatively, to issue an injunction allowing Brady to play pending the outcome of the case.

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