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Giants will look at Adrian Peterson

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 18: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball in the first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on December 18, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Getty Images

Well before he was released from the Vikings, running back Adrian Peterson mentioned the Giants as a team that he might like to play for in the event he left Minnesota.

That comment was revisited recently when Peterson tweeted about the Giants making “interesting moves” early in the offseason, which kept the New Jersey club on many minds as a possible destination for Peterson.

With the Vikings confirming this week that Peterson will be free to talk to other teams on March 7 and sign with them on March 9, the running back’s future was an obvious topic for Giants coach Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Wednesday.

McAdoo said, via Dan Duggan of, that the Giants will look at Peterson and evaluate him in the same way that they would any free agent who might be on their radar. Outside observers have noted the Giants’ frequent use of shotgun alignments and infrequent use of fullbacks as reasons why Peterson might not be a great fit for the Giants, but the team’s view will obviously trump any of those opinions when it comes time for the team to decide on a course of action in the backfield.

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Salary cap set at $167 million

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20:  Newly redesigned $100 notes lay in stacks at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing on May 20, 2013 in Washington, DC. The one hundred dollar bills will be released this fall and has new security features, such as a duplicating portrait of Benjamin Franklin and microprinting added to make the bill more difficult to counterfeit.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Getty Images

The projected salary cap figure for 2017 that’s been bandied about in recent weeks of $168 million wasn’t exactly right, but it’s pretty close.

A league official told Judy Battista of NFL Media that the salary cap will actually be set at $167 million for the coming season. That’s a rise of about $12 million from last season and the cap has gone up about $47 million over the last five years.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries of the continued rise in the cap will be the players who hit the open market as free agents next week as they’ll see plenty of that money funneled toward their bank accounts. Given this year’s crop of free agents, that’s sure to lead to a few deals that leave people scratching their heads in the early days of free agency but the combination of being free to sign anywhere and the amount of money teams are required to spend makes it a good time to be out of contract.

The Browns, 49ers, Buccaneers and Jaguars are among the teams with the most cap space heading into free agency.

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No franchise tag expected for Dontari Poe

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 16:  Dontari Poe #92 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 16, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Chiefs assured that safety Eric Berry would stay off the open market by signing him to a six-year extension on Tuesday that will make Berry the highest-paid safety in the league and allow them to avoid doing the franchise tag dance for the second year in a row.

It appears they will also avoid doing that dance with defensive tackle Dontari Poe. According to multiple reports, the team will not use their franchise tag on Poe before Wednesday afternoon’s deadline.

That will put Poe on the path to become an unrestricted free agent next week. He could still sign an extension with the Chiefs before the new league year starts on March 9, although it seems unlikely that he’d do that without at least hearing what other teams have to say during the “legal tampering” window that opens a couple of days before the new league year.

It may also be a difficult contract for the Chiefs to put together if they’re going to have much flexibility to make other moves after extending Berry and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif this week.

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Report: Patriots not expected to trade Jimmy Garoppolo

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 03:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Jimmy Garoppolo #10 work out during a practice session ahead of Super Bowl LI  on February 3, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

One of the biggest questions heading into this offseason was whether the Patriots will trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo before he enters his fourth NFL season.

If that trade is going to happen, the next week is going to be a crucial negotiating period. At the moment, though, it looks like it is going to be a quiet one.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Patriots are not expected to trade Garoppolo. Schefter’s colleague Ed Werder issued a similar report in mid-February.

A trade may not be expected, but that doesn’t preclude teams from calling the Patriots in the coming days in an effort to get them to change their mind. There could be an offer that makes New England reconsider and the most effective way to chum the waters to see if one pops up is by letting it be known that a deal isn’t expected.

The Patriots may also be content to just hold onto Garoppolo through the final year of his rookie deal under any circumstances and then deal with whatever might come in the 2018 offseason when they have a full picture of where the team and quarterback Tom Brady stand at that point.

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Kyle Long won’t have shoulder surgery this offseason

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 11:  Kyle Long #75 of the Chicago Bearswatches from the sidelines as teammates take on the Denver Broncos at Soldier Field on August 11, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Broncos defeated the Bears 22-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) Getty Images

Bears guard Kyle Long was slated to have two surgeries after going on injured reserve last November, but one of those surgeries won’t happen so that Long can concentrate on ankle rehab.

Long went on injured reserve as a result of ligament damage in his right ankle and he’s had surgery to address that injury, but will not have an operation to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder. Long played through the torn labrum last season and signed an extension with the Bears last September after suffering the injury.

Long’s father Howie told Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that his son “struggled with medication” related to the ankle surgery and that he has lost 40 pounds since the surgery. Some of that weight loss was prescribed to help with his ankle recovery, but Biggs says that will now be an “extended process” that will require more focus than Long could devote if he was also rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

There’s no word on just how extended that process is going to be and the change in plans suggests that Long will a limited participant at best through the offseason program.

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Report: Colin Kaepernick’s agents say he’s opting out

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 01: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

Colin Kaepernick hired new agents recently and it looks like their first order of business will be finding their client a new team for the 2017 season.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that agents Jeff Nalley and Sean Kiernan have informed NFL teams that Kaepernick will be opting out of his contract. A window for Kaepernick to do so opens on Thursday and the 49ers hold the same option to back out of a deal that called for Kaepernick to make a $14.5 million base salary in 2017.

That wasn’t a particularly realistic option, but there was a chance for the two sides to agree on a new number that would make more sense. That can still happen, of course, although Kaepernick’s decision suggests that he’ll be talking to other clubs before any deal is struck for next season.

Which clubs will be interested in Kaepernick’s services is the next question that needs to be answered, although he’ll need to wait until next week for formal discussions with anyone other than the 49ers to get going.

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Tony Romo/Jerry Jones meeting expected “sooner than later”

ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 24:   Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys warms up on the field prior to the game against the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last weekend that no decision has been made about the future of quarterback Tony Romo, who is not expected to be back with the team to serve as a backup to Dak Prescott again in the 2017 season.

The new league year is rapidly approaching and it would seem to be an impetus for the Cowboys to make a move so that they can set themselves up to make other moves that will impact the team that takes the field come September. Executive vice president Stephen Jones said no meeting has been scheduled between his father and Romo or his agents during this week’s Scouting Combine, but that it shouldn’t be long before it happens.

“I would say it’s going to come,” Jones said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I think Jerry’s going to be due to meet with him sooner than later, but I wouldn’t say there’s a definitive meeting as of yet.”

Jones went on to talk about how much Romo has meant to the franchise, something that’s been a frequent refrain since the back injury that opened the door for Prescott last summer without changing the fact that a parting of the ways is the most realistic way for things to play out in the coming days.

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Chris Johnson: I know I can still make plays

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 02:  Running back Chris Johnson #23 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeated the Cardinals 17-13.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Running back Chris Johnson got off to a great start in 2015 by running for 814 yards on 196 carries in the Cardinals’ first 11 games, but a leg injury sent him to injured reserve.

That opened the door for then-rookie David Johnson to take on a bigger role and it proved to be a good thing for the Cardinals offense that extended all the way through the 2016 season. Chris Johnson was back for the first four games last year, but groin surgery brought things to an end at that point and left the veteran with nothing to do but rehab the rest of the way.

Johnson is looking for more this year. He told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt of SiriusXM NFL Radio that he knows he “can still make plays” and that while he feels interest from the Cardinals in continuing their relationship, he sounds like he’d be interested in a place with a less-entrenched starter at running back.

“I think I want to go out there and see what options I have first,” Johnson said. “I feel at this point in my career if it’s not a situation where a team wants to bring me in to be a starter, I definitely need to be somewhere where I have a role. I need to be involved. At this point in my career, I don’t want to sit on the sideline. I want to get in the game.”

A clear starting role might be a bridge too far for Johnson at this point in his career, but the prospect of more playing time than he’d get in Arizona doesn’t seem too farfetched. Andre Ellington and Stepfan Taylor are also set for free agency, so there may be a different look on a few fronts in the reserve ranks for the Cardinals this year.

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A.J. Bouye still expected to avoid franchise tag

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 07:  A.J. Bouye #21 of the Houston Texans celebrates after intercepting a pass from Connor Cook #8 of the Oakland Raiders in their AFC Wild Card game at NRG Stadium on January 7, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) Getty Images

The deadline to use franchise tags will arrive on Wednesday afternoon and we’ve already seen six teams hand them out this week.

If there’s a seventh team, it’s not expected to be Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye. That’s been the feeling for some time as word in mid-February was that the Texans were leaning in the other direction and Bouye said last week that he didn’t believe that the team would be using the $14 million-plus tag to keep him off the open market.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports Wednesday that nothing has changed and that the Texans will continue working on signing Bouye to a traditional extension rather than breaking out the tag.

That will likely be tough to get done before Bouye can start talking to other teams on March 7. Bouye has made a rapid rise to the top of the list of this year’s free agent cornerbacks and has little reason to sign a contract to stay in Houston without seeing what the larger market has to offer.

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Ty Nsekhe, Vinston Painter tendered as exclusive rights free agents

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03: Ty Nsekhe #79 of the Washington Redskins celebrates during the first half at AT&T Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Redskins have tendered a pair of exclusive rights free agents on their offensive line.

The team announced on Tuesday that tackles Ty Nsekhe and Vinston Painter have both been tendered, which means they’ll be back in Washington as exclusive rights free agents exclusively have the right to play for their original team once the tender has been issued.

Nsekhe has bounced around the NFL since 2012 and had his first taste of pro football in the Arena League in 2009, but only played in two regular season games before joining the Redskins in 2015. That explains why he’s still an ERFA and unable to solicit other offers after showing well in four starts at left tackle during Trent Williams‘ suspension last season.

Painter played 10 offensive snaps in five appearances last season and also saw action in three games with the Browns in 2014.

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T.J. Lang plans to test market, give Packers chance to match offers

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 18:   Ty Montgomery #88 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates with  Jared Cook #89 and  T.J. Lang #70 after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Soldier Field on December 18, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

Guard T.J. Lang said earlier this month that he had not heard anything from the Packers regarding a new contract that would keep him from becoming an unrestricted free agent on March 9, but that’s changed over the last two weeks.

Lang says there has “been a little bit of contact” that have included “good conversations” about extending their working relationship into the 2017 season and beyond. Lang expects further talks to take place at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, but thinks it is “smart business” to see what other teams will be offering now that we’re so close to free agency.

Once he gets a sense of what else is out there, Lang said that he will go back to the Packers.

“We told Green Bay all along that we’ll keep them updated on any other offers that come in, and really at that point it would just be, ‘Hey, this is what we’ve got sitting on the table, can you guys compete with it?’ Obviously we’re going to give them the first right of refusal,” Lang said, via “[We will] let them know, ‘Can you come close? Can you match it? This is what we’ve got, this is what the market’s set at.'”

Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif reportedly got over $41 million and $20 million in a five-year deal with the Chiefs this week, which could help give Lang a sense of what kind of numbers he’ll be seeing and the Packers a sense of what they’ll need to have on hand for Lang to remain in Green Bay.

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Chiefs announce Eric Berry extension

KANSAS CITY, MP - JANUARY 15: Running back Le'Veon Bell #26 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is tackled on the sideline by strong safety Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs and teammate Daniel Sorensen #49 of the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 15, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) Getty Images

Word early on Tuesday afternoon was that the Chiefs and safety Eric Berry were finalizing an agreement on a contract extension and the deal became official a few hours later.

The Chiefs announced the deal, which comes a day ahead of the deadline to use the franchise tag. Berry played out last season under the tag and said he hoped to avoid doing so again this year, something made easier by the fact that the Chiefs have reportedly made him the highest-paid safety in the league.

The team didn’t announce any terms, but multiple reports peg it as a six-year deal worth up to $78 million with $40 million in guarantees.

“I’d like to thank Eric and his agent, Chad Speck, for their professionalism during these negotiations,” Chiefs General Manager John Dorsey said in a statement from the team. “Keeping Eric Berry in a Chiefs uniform long-term has been a significant goal of ours. He’s a special football player and an incredible person. We’re thrilled we were able to get this deal done.”

The Chiefs were busy on Tuesday as they also released veteran running back Jamaal Charles and had guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif in to sign his contract extension. With Berry signed, defensive tackle Dontari Poe now tops the list of potential free agents in Kansas City.

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Report: Jared Odrick visited Patriots

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 08:  Jared Odrick #75 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates a sack during the first quarter against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on November 8, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) Getty Images

Defensive lineman Jared Odrick was released by the Jaguars earlier this month, leaving him eligible to sign with another team immediately and with some time with limited competition to land a job before the start of free agency.

One possible landing spot would put Odrick on the other end of the AFC standings from the Jaguars. Mike Kaye of First Coast News reports that Odrick visited with the Patriots this week.

Odrick was a first-round pick of the Dolphins in 2010 and spent five years in Miami, so he’s been on the opposite side from New England plenty of times since hitting the NFL. He played in every game for the Dolphins and Jags between 2011 and 2015, but was limited to six games last year and finished out the season on injured reserve with an elbow injury.

Kaye reports Odrick took and passed a physical with New England, but hasn’t signed at this point. That could change or the Patriots could have just been doing due diligence in the event other moves leave them in need of a defensive lineman down the road this offseason.

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No franchise tag for Dont’a Hightower

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons is sacked by Dont'a Hightower #54 of the New England Patriots during the fourth Quarter of Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Franchise tags are being doled out around the league, but there won’t be one in New England.

The agents for linebacker Dont’a Hightower have been told, via Adam Schefter of ESPN, that their client won’t be tagged by the Patriots. The tag for linebackers, which encompasses both edge rushers and those whose roles are more similar to Hightower, is expected to be over $14.7 million this year.

Given that price, it’s not too surprising that the Patriots have opted to go a different way when it comes to Hightower. It’s a path they’ve taken before, notably when they chose not to place a tag on safety Devin McCourty two years ago. McCourty spoke to other teams, but wound up re-signing with the Patriots.

There are surely plenty of people in New England who hope that things play out the same way this offseason. Hightower will be able to start talking to other teams when the legal tampering window opens on March 7 and, barring a deal with the Patriots, he’ll become eligible to sign with anyone in the league come March 9.

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Kirk Cousins gets exclusive franchise tag

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 01: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins looks on against the New York Giants in the third quarter at FedExField on January 1, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

Kirk Cousins has received the franchise tag for the second year in a row.

Mike McCartney, the agent for the Redskins quarterback, announced on Tuesday that the team has placed an exclusive franchise tag on Cousins. The exclusive tender means that Cousins won’t be able to negotiate with other teams, who would have had the option of signing him to an offer sheet and sending two first-round picks to the Redskins as compensation had the team used the non-exclusive version.

The Redskins can still trade Cousins, but would be negotiating the deal with interested teams on their own. That team would likely want to sign Cousins to a long-term deal rather than pay him nearly $24 million without any security beyond the 2017 season.

A recent report had the 49ers as Cousins’ choice of destinations should he be dealt as he’d be reunited with Kyle Shanahan. There’s a lot of time for things to play out on that front, which guarantees that discussions about Cousins’ future in Washington aren’t going to end because the tag has been used.

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