Skip to content

Bills name team captains, none of whom are E.J. Manuel

Getty Images

Votes for team captains can be telling, as they’re a barometer of who leads in the locker room (if you trust the veracity of the count).

But sometimes, they can also be signs of pending change.

The Bills just announced their six captains for the coming season, none of whom are starting quarterback E.J. Manuel.

Cornerback Corey Graham, running back Fred Jackson, linebacker Brandon Spikes, defensive tackle Kyle Williams, defensive end Mario Williams and center Eric Wood received that honor.

Granted, Wood and Jackson have been around Buffalo much longer than Manuel, and have the kind of qualities you want in a leader.

But last year in Tampa Bay, quarterback Josh Freeman lost his C, and very quickly his starting job then his roster spot. There’s no indication that Manuel’s in that kind of jeopardy, but it might speak to how he’s viewed by his peers.

Assuming the voting is legitimate, of course.

Permalink 30 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Buffalo Bills, Home, Rumor Mill
yo

Corey Davis says he’s close to 100 percent after ankle surgery

Getty Images

In this week’s Monday Morning Quarterback column for TheMMQB.com, Peter King quotes Mike Mayock of NFL Network as saying that there is “more medical concern with high draft picks than I’ve ever seen in a draft before.”

One of those picks is Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis. Davis is at the top of the list of wide receivers available for selection this year, but ankle surgery at the start of the offseason kept him from working out for teams over the course of the pre-draft process.

Davis said at the Scouting Combine in early March that he was confident he would be “good by minicamp” and he offered another update recently. Davis told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com that he expects to be 100 percent in a “few weeks,” which would allow him to get some work in with his new team ahead of training camp this summer.

We’ll find out how much the injury impacted Davis’ draft standing later this week. He visited with the Ravens, Browns, Eagles and Titans, all of whom are thought to be good bets to add a receiver before the draft is out.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

23 cities are interested in hosting the draft

Getty Images

Now that the NFL has realized that it can do with the draft what it does with the Super Bowl, cities are lining up to get a chance to host the league’s annual offseason tentpole event.

Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, the number of locations interested in hosting the draft exceeds 20.

“We have gone out multiple times to all 32 clubs to get their expression of interest in hosting the draft,” NFL senior V.P. of events Peter O’Reilly told Kaplan. “The number of interested . . . markets are 23, which is inclusive of Canton.”

For now, the NFL pays most of the freight when it comes to hosting the draft. As more cities compete for that privilege, the league could soon dictate terms, like it does with the Super Bowl.

The draft also could be hosted in a given year by several different cities. That’s a possibility the league has mentioned in the past. As interest grows, it makes even more sense to consider it.

New York City had a hammerlock on the draft from 1965 through 2014. In 2015 and 2016, the draft was held in Chicago. This week, the draft will be held in Philadelphia.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Trumaine Johnson won’t be traded

Getty Images

Not every player who is available for trade gets traded.

And at a certain point, the team realizes it can’t reach a deal, and begins the process of rebuilding a bridge.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Rams won’t be dealing cornerback Trumaine Johnson.

The Rams have previously offered up their twice-franchised corner, and after a month or so, acknowledged that a long-term contract was a possibility.

That’s sensible, since having him on the books for one year at $16.7 million is a tough number for any team to swallow. But even if they don’t do a deal, they need to make sure he feels integrated into the team, and putting out word that they’re keeping him seems like part of that process.

And it’s also possible that with Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman available at a more amenable contract, the Rams simply weren’t getting the right kind of offers.

Permalink 0 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Falcons not limiting to “angelic souls,” but won’t draft Joe Mixon

Getty Images

The Falcons are willing to take chances on certain players, who have certain character questions.

But they won’t be drafting Joe Mixon this week, in what sounds like a directive from far above the scouting level.

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Oklahoma running back who was captured on video punching a woman in the face is not on the Falcons draft board at all.

And though he may have been responding to an unrelated question when he said the following, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff made it clear where such decisions come from.

“That doesn’t just come from a head coach and General Manger,” Dimitroff said in general of such decisions about players with red flags. “Believe me, that comes from higher than us for sure. [Owner Arthur] Blank is very direct about it.

“I think that’s important for this organization and this community to know that.”

Dimitroff understands that not every prospect is going to be clean. For instance, last year’s second-round pick (cornerback Jalen Collins) failed multiple drug tests in college.

“You are never going to be 100 percent correct,” Dimitroff said. “Sometimes, things fall through the cracks, but we do all we can to make sure we are [making good] acquisitions. Again, they are not all angelic souls. I get that. . . .

“We really are proud of the type of people we bring in here. We think it’s important. Of course, I’ve said this time and again: We aren’t looking for angels. We are looking for guys who are real. We are looking for guys who ultimately will fit into the brotherhood. . . . We are particular about looking at the character situation and how they fit. It’s a big thing, of course.”

With Mixon, it might have been as simple as watching one video. But one particular person apparently saw it, and he won’t be going to Atlanta.

Permalink 10 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Jerry Jones: I have more to offer now than 25 years ago

Getty Images

Jerry Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989. Now, at age 74, he says he’s as sharp as ever.

“I have just got a lot more to offer today than I did 25 years ago,” Jones recently told Clarence E. Hill, Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m not bragging. I am just saying it’s from sheer input. And I’m thankful I have got the health and thankful that I’ve got the enthusiasm. I should be better. Not only should I be better in the draft room, but I should be better in almost any aspect.”

Those other aspects include league-level issues for which Jones has received plenty of credit of late, from helping the Rams get to L.A. to helping the Raiders get to Las Vegas. The effort resulted in a recent ESPN item that told the story of the Raiders’ relocation to twice refer to Jones as the “shadow commissioner.”

Perhaps one of Jones’ best moves happened last month, as he found a way to tap the brakes on releasing Tony Romo just long enough to steer him out of football without damaging the relationship. Plenty of league insiders believe that the CBS decision to offer Romo the No. 1 analyst position resulted at a minimum from aggressive efforts by Jones to sing Romo’s praises as a budding broadcaster, in the hopes of cajoling CBS into making Romo an offer he couldn’t refuse. Which in turn kept him from playing for the Texans, Broncos, or anyone other than the Cowboys.

For Jones, a secret to remaining vital is avoiding any outward reminders that his body doesn’t match his state of mind.

“One of the things I don’t do is I don’t look in mirrors because I think I look like you do,” Jones told Hill. “I think I can do the same thing you can do out there. . . . What is amazing to me, I have never felt like I have worked a day in the last 28, 29 years. I’m not patronizing you guys, but I’m having fun right now.”

He should be. The team is doing well, the league is doing well, and Jones will start the 2017 season by getting a bronze bust in Canton. With three Super Bowl championships and the unprecedented growth of the NFL on his watch, Jones is operating on house money.

Still, the journey won’t be complete until he wins a championship with a team that he built, not with a team that was assembled and honed by Jimmy Johnson. Jones is closer than he’s ever been to achieving that goal, and 2017 could be the year in which it finally happens.

Permalink 17 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Report: Malcolm Butler trade “less attractive” to Saints

Getty Images

The Saints have shown interest in Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler for some time this offseason and met with him before he signed his restricted free agent tender with New England, but the need to send the 11th overall pick to the Patriots if they signed him to an offer sheet that the Patriots didn’t match was a big obstacle to bringing him to New Orleans.

Now that Butler has signed his tender, the Saints could negotiate different compensation with the Patriots in a trade. The chances of that happening may not be great, however.

Peter King of TheMMQB.com reports that the Saints still have interest, but that the thought of dealing picks for Butler before signing him to a big contract extension “is less attractive than it once seemed.” Per King, the Saints don’t want to deal any of their top three picks (No. 11, No. 32 and No. 42) because they believe they can get immediate contributors at every one of those spots.

The Saints also have a pair of third-round selections, but the Patriots will likely be positioned to get a third-round compensatory pick if Butler leaves as a free agent after the season so they’d likely be looking for more in return in a trade.

Permalink 33 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Father of draft prospect Travis Rudolph killed in accidental shooting

Getty Images

What should be one of the best weeks of Travis Rudolph’s life has turned tragic.

Rudolph, a Florida State wide receiver who is viewed as a third-day prospect in this week’s NFL draft, lost his father in what police say is an accidental shooting.

Darryl Rudolph, a repairman, was working in a nightclub on Friday morning making repairs. He was shot and killed because, police say, an employee of the club in an adjacent room was moving a loaded gun off a shelf and it went off accidentally. Police say they are still investigating but there is no reason to believe the shooting was intentional.

Travis Rudolph made national headlines last year when he visited a Tallahassee elementary school and joined an autistic boy who was sitting alone at lunch. The boy’s mother thanked Rudolph on Facebook, and her post went viral.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 500 Americans a year die in accidental shootings.

Permalink 18 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Short fight looming over Las Vegas Raiders trademark

Getty Images

Raiders owner Mark Davis had the foresight in 1998 to squat on the LasVegasRaiders.com domain name. Davis did not do the same regarding the trademark rights to his team’s eventual new name. In part because he didn’t have to

Via the Associated Press, several people unaffiliated to the Raiders have filed applications for federal rights to the phrase. The cost for doing so is only $275, but the upside could be much more significant than that.

The upside is highly unlikely, however. At some point, the Raiders will make their move to secure the obvious trademark rights that they own. And those who have forked over $275 will have nothing to show for their roll of the dice.

It wouldn’t have been so simple if someone else had obtained the rights to LasVegasRaiders.com. The Dallas Cowboys still don’t own the rights to Cowboys.com, a domain for which they declined to pay $275,000 several years ago and that was, as of 2012, a male dating site.

It’s currently available, at a minimum offer of $500,000. LasVegasRaiders.com would likely fetch that kind of payment now, if Davis hadn’t spent the $10 or so to get the name back when anyone could have gotten it.

Permalink 7 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Brian Kelly: I support DeShone Kizer, but he’s not a finished product

Getty Images

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly thinks highly of his former quarterback DeShone Kizer. He just wishes he’d had more time to coach him.

Kelly said today on PFT Live that Kizer is a good quarterback and a good person, but he hasn’t fully developed yet. Kelly, who received some criticism when he said Kizer should have stayed in school, said he was just giving his assessment as a coach who thinks his player still has room to improve.

“My comments were really specific about just maturing as a person,” Kelly said. “We want our guys to come to Notre Dame and develop holistically in all areas. So being at Notre Dame for a couple years does not give you that chance. When we turn over our young men to the NFL we want to say they’re finished products and DeShone’s not there yet. He needed more time. We clearly understood his decision to go to the NFL and we supported him, but I was merely saying that, again, he’s a young man that could use more time at Notre Dame. He’s a wonderful kid, he’s got great character. . . . Whoever gets the chance to draft DeShone is going to get somebody with great character and somebody that’s just scratching the surface as it relates to his football ability.”

Kelly chuckled at Kizer comparing himself to Tom Brady and Cam Newton, saying NFL teams don’t have to worry that Kizer is the type to say things that would embarrass the team.

“He’ll learn what to say and how to say it,” Kelly said.

And he’ll learn how to play, even if he’s not there yet.

Permalink 19 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

49ers “strongly considering” a QB, or so they say

Getty Images

Yep, here we go. The market for all those picks people want to trade is officially open.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the 49ers are “still strongly considering,” taking a quarterback with the second overall pick in the draft.

Of course, that’s reasonable enough to believe on its face. They probably should be, since they have a capable veteran bridge quarterback in Brian Hoyer but nothing else of note on the roster.

But they have a lot of other needs as well, since you don’t end up picking second for no good reason. By communicating the thoughts of a quarterback, they’re making it clear to anyone else thinking quarterback that they better call new General Manager John Lynch if they want to make sure they get their preferred one.

It’s the right play for the 49ers, as they try to maximize the benefit at a time when they have numerous needs, and could always wait for another shot at Kirk Cousins or next year’s draft class in 2018.

Permalink 14 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Eric Weddle guarantees “strongest, most in-shape” Ravens team ever

Getty Images

The Ravens started their offseason workout program last week, which marked the first time that newly promoted director of performance Steve Saunders has overseen the team’s spring work.

Saunders has instituted smaller workout groups than in past years and doing more to personalize each player’s workouts, something that has been met with an immediate and positive reaction from veteran players. Cornerback Jimmy Smith scrapped plans to work with another trainer after spending time with Saunders and safety Eric Weddle made a big prediction about the results the team will get.

“I can guarantee you this: We will be the strongest, most in-shape Ravens team that this team has ever had,” Weddle said, via ESPN.com.

The Ravens have placed 69 players on injured reserve since March 2014, which ESPN reports is tied for second-most in the NFL. After two straight years finishing out of the playoffs, anything Saunders can do to drop their place on that list would be much appreciated in Baltimore.

Permalink 16 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Monday morning one-liners

Getty Images

The deadline for the Bills to make a decision on matching the Patriots’ offer for RB Mike Gillislee is on Monday.

Defensive help should be coming the Dolphins’ way during the draft.

Would Michigan TE Jake Butt fit with the Patriots?

Five defensive backs who could wind up being drafted by the Jets.

A look at defensive line prospects that may interest the Ravens.

A preview of the Bengals’ draft strategy at linebacker.

QB Mitchell Trubisky’s high school coach thinks the Browns should take Trubisky.

Former Steelers QB Kordell Stewart reminisced about his draft day.

Texans G.M. Rick Smith thinks some of last year’s moves will pay off this year.

The Colts will have some former players involved with their draft events.

Jaguars QB Brandon Allen shared his thoughts on some of the SEC players entering the league this year.

Titans G.M. Jon Robinson had some jokes about mock drafts.

Drafting Terrell Davis was one of the better moves in Broncos history.

A deep cornerback group in the draft is good for the Chiefs.

Contract talks with QB Derek Carr remain on the Raiders’ to-do list.

Some fans are still deciding if they’re moving on from the Chargers.

What can the Cowboys expect from CB Nolan Carroll?

Possible targets for the Giants if they trade up in the draft.

Wide receiver and tight end are areas the Eagles may address in the draft.

Making the case for the Redskins drafting edge rushers.

The history of the third pick in the draft offers some cautionary tales for the Bears.

DT Haloti Ngata’s age could impact the Lions’ draft decisions.

Will the Packers trade down in the first round?

Michigan State DT Malik McDowell might fit in with the Vikings.

Said Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff, “Of course, I’ve said this time and again: We aren’t looking for angels. We are looking for guys who are real. We are looking for guys who ultimately will fit into the brotherhood.”

If the Panthers want competition for K Graham Gano, here are a few choices.

A negative take on the start to the Saints’ 2017 schedule.

Downfield receiving threats could be on the Buccaneers’ shopping list.

The Cardinals have had success in the third round of recent drafts.

The Rams may take a dip in the defensive back pool during the draft.

49ers legends Joe Montana and Jerry Rice are getting streets named after them.

The Seahawks might not be looking far for draft help.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Tyler Lockett’s expecting to be ready for training camp, or sooner

Getty Images

When Seahawks wide receiver went down last year after breaking both bones in his lower right leg, teammates were quick to huddle around and offer their support and prayers.

But Lockett himself was fairly calm, despite the traumatic injury.

Lockett told Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times he was always very matter-of-fact about the broken fibula and tibia suffered on Christmas Eve.

“People took it worse than me,’’ Lockett said. “I didn’t care. It didn’t bother me. I mean I’ve had worse than that and I’ve always been taken care of. It’s always worked out for me.

“It didn’t hurt, it didn’t really bother me. It probably bothered other people. I didn’t feel anything. People felt pain more than I did. I was at a good place, like even when they carried me off it never bothered me at all.’’

As a result of that calm (or maybe it was shock), Lockett’s equally positive about his chances for a comeback. He said he expects to be ready for the regular season, even if he’s not sure when he’ll practice again.

“I mean I’m sure I’ll be ready,’’ Lockett said “If I don’t it will be news to me like it’s news to you.’’

Lockett’s still not sure whether he’ll participate in OTAs or whether his return will be pushed back to training camp, but he’s clearly not stressing about it — the same as when he was hurt in the first place.

Permalink 5 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Plenty of teams looking to trade down this week

Getty Images

The draft boards are set, the visits are all completed.

This is the week for making phone calls, and it appears many teams are willing to make a deal.

According to Peter King of TheMMQB.com, each of the non-Cleveland teams picking in the top seven of this year’s draft are “interested” in trading down.

If the 49ers (second), Bears (third), Jaguars (fourth), Titans (fifth), Jets (sixth) and Chargers (seventh) are all open for business, it could make for a fascinating night, with the potential for a lot of movement.

And with a number of teams looking for quarterbacks (including the Browns, who could come back up from their 12th pick), the potential for deals is heightened.

But there’s also some willingness to move deeper in the draft order.

King mentioned the Giants (23rd) and Texans (25th) as candidates to move up into the teens, with the Ravens (16th) and Titans (18th) willing to move back.

Giants G.M. Jerry Reese has already said he’s looking to move up, and if they believe they can find the correct tackle he may make a deal. The Texans are squarely in the quarterback market, and are probably picking too late in the process to get to the top three passers.

Permalink 2 Comments Feed for comments Back to top

Should Myles Garrett be the first overall pick?

Getty Images

A consensus has existed for months that Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will be the first overall pick in the draft. On Sunday, Hall of Famer Warren Sapp came out strong against that idea.

So what do you think? That’s the PFT Live question of the day on the first day of draft week. And draft week will be a big week for PFT Live.

Monday’s guests include Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and Cal quarterback Davis Webb. Last in the week, we’ll have LSU running back Leonard Fournette, North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer, Washington receiver John Ross, Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, and LSU safety Jamal Adams.

For now, though, the question is whether you think Garrett should be No. 1. Answer below and then tune in for Monday’s edition of PFT Live, which begins at 6:00 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Radio. The simulcast begins at 7:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN.

Permalink 6 Comments Feed for comments Back to top