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Rams waive Tre’ Jackson after failed physical

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Guard Tre’ Jackson’s stay on the Rams roster turned out to be a short one.

Jackson was claimed off of waivers last week after the 2015 third-round pick’s time with the Patriots came to an end. He was back on the market a day later, however.

Jackson failed his physical with the team and was dropped from the roster as a result. Jackson missed all of the 2016 season because of a knee injury that appears to still be an issue standing between him and the football field. Jackson may get a chance to show he’s healthy down the road, but it may be a little while before he lands on another roster.

Even without Jackson, the Rams have done a lot of work on the offensive line this offseason. They’ve signed left tackle Andrew Whitworth and center John Sullivan as free agents and moved Rob Havenstein and Greg Robinson to new positions as they try to build a more effective unit in Sean McVay’s first season as head coach.

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Sunday morning one-liners

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Family ties top this list of reasons why the Bills should draft Ole Miss QB Chad Kelly.

Dolphins TE Julius Thomas feels like he’s “in a good comfort zone.”

Will the Patriots make any big moves this week?

Said North Carolina QB Mitchell Trubisky of visiting the Jets, “They seemed like they were interested, but it’s hard to tell with all these coaches and teams.”

The Ravens would like to boost their pass rush.

Will the Bengals draft a cornerback?

Discussing the possibility of the Browns drafting Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer.

A look at cornerbacks that may appeal to the Steelers.

The Texans are expected to pick a quarterback.

Ranking past Colts drafts from best to worst.

Running through the risks and rewards of the Jaguars drafting LSU RB Leonard Fournette.

Is another offensive lineman on tap for the Titans in the first round?

Broncos LB Von Miller hit up Coachella this weekend.

Will the Chiefs court more controversy in this year’s draft?

DE Khalil Mack makes this list of the best Raiders draft picks.

Chargers players share thoughts  on the team’s schedule.

Virginia Tech QB Jerod Evans would like to follow Cowboys QB Dak Prescott’s blueprint.

The Giants could look to replace DT Johnathan Hankins in the draft.

Cornerback options exist for the Eagles in the draft.

Day two draft picks will be big for the Redskins.

The Bears could take a defensive back with the third pick.

There are defensive end options for the Lions to consider in the draft.

Letting G T.J. Lang leave as a free agent was business as usual for the Packers.

The Vikings could use some new receiving options.

The Falcons are comfortable with DT Dontari Poe’s weight.

The Panthers didn’t do well in a poll of Mexican NFL fans.

If the Saints are going to make a trade for CB Malcolm Butler, it will probably be coming soon.

Will the Buccaneers use Noah Spence at outside linebacker?

Some cautionary advice about overworking Cardinals RB David Johnson.

Rams WR Mike Thomas explains the significance of his jersey number.

Scouting potential partners for Navorro Bowman at linebacker for the 49ers.

Is Washington S Budda Baker a fit for the Seahawks defense?

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Bill Parcells is glad Tony Romo retired

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Hall of Fame head coach Bill Parcells declined all media requests in the aftermath of the decision of former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to walk away from football. Parcells has now broken his silence.

I was glad he retired,” Parcells told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “Enough is enough. You got to know, this is hazardous to your health.”

Parcells, who added that he wishes tight end Jason Witten had retired, discovered Romo in 2003 as an undrafted player for whom former Cowboys assistant and current Saints coach Sean Payton stood on the table.

But it was more than finding Romo. Parcells also developed the former Eastern Illinois quarterback.

“I really believe I handled him the right way when he was young,” Parcells said. “If I had thrown him in there, it would have been tough. He was indiscriminant. It took a while. When we got [Vinny] Testaverde down there [in 2004], it was a big help to Tony. Vinny was very meticulous, very studious, very professional in his training and his weight lifting. Tony got to see that.”

In 2006, Romo supplanted Drew Bledsoe as the starter, a job Romo held until a back injury last August opened the door for Romo to be supplanted by Dak Prescott.

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Cowboys corner Anthony Brown truly has a chip on his shoulder

Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown is using his draft status as motivation.

But it appears a bunch of internet commenters have left him a little ruffled.

Via the Dallas Morning News and their intrepid band of screenshotters, Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown briefly shared on social media a picture of his new tattoo, a potato chip with a 189 underneath it.

That’s in honor of his overall draft position last year (the sixth round), but it’s hard to imagine what he expected people were going to do with that.

He eventually deleted it, and joked that the response was overwhelming.

Whether the former Purdue cornerback makes an impression in the NFL or not, he guaranteed himself a lifetime of salty trash-talk.

And the first time he gets beaten long early in a game, some wide receiver is going to say “Bet I can’t beat just one.”

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Millions still in dispute between Patriots, Aaron Hernandez

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The death of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez concludes all criminal cases against him. The various cases arising from his NFL contract eventually will resume.

Per multiple sources, the NFL and NFL Players Association previously agreed to put any grievances on hold until all criminal prosecution of Hernandez ends.

The issues to eventually be resolved include: (1) Hernandez’s demand for the remaining $3.25 million from his 2012 signing bonus; (2) the grievance filed by the NFL and Patriots seeking repayment of all money given to Hernandez until the 2012 contract; and (3) a grievance filed by Hernandez and the NFLPA for his guaranteed salary in 2013 and 2014 and a 2014 guaranteed workout bonus. (The third grievance was dismissed without prejudice but can be re-filed.)

The Patriots pin their case primarily on the notion that Hernandez allegedly committed two murders before signing the 2012 contract. Hernandez’s argument arises from the notion that he earned the payments, and that the Patriots cut him immediately after he was arrested for killing Odin Lloyd, instead of waiting for the league to suspend him.

Any money ultimately paid to Hernandez’s estate may not remain there for very long. Wrongful death cases have been filed by the estates of Odin Lloyd, Daniel de Abreu, and Safiro Furtado. Even though Hernandez was acquitted of killing de Abreu and Furtado, a lower standard of proof could result in a finding of civil liability.

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Taylor Gabriel signs one-year tender offer with Falcons

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Falcons receiver Taylor Gabriel won’t be going anywhere.

As he was expected to do, Gabriel has signed his one-year, $2.81 million tender offer to stay with the Falcons. Gabriel was a restricted free agent, meaning any team could have signed him, but the Falcons could have matched any offer, and that team would have given the Falcons a second-round draft pick.

The Browns made the Browns-like decision to cut Gabriel last year and the Falcons picked him up and immediately benefited, getting 35 catches for 579 yards and six touchdowns out of Gabriel.

In 2018 Gabriel will become an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t first sign an extension with the Falcons.

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Chiefs cut Jaye Howard

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Last year, the Chiefs signed defensive lineman Jaye Howard to a two-year, $10 million contract, with $8.3 million guaranteed. This year, Howard is out.

The Chiefs released Howard today, while still owing him a guaranteed $2.5 million of that contract. If another team signs Howard, the offset in his contract allows the Chiefs to deduct his 2017 salary from the amount they still owe him.

Howard played in eight games last year, starting four, before going on injured reserve with a hip injury. There’s been no recent word on the status of his hip, but the Chiefs may doubt he’ll be able to return to the form they got from him in 2015, when he played in all 16 games with 13 starts and 5.5 sacks.

The 28-year-old Howard entered the NFL as a fourth-round pick of the Seahawks in 2012. He played in Seattle as a rookie and then was waived before his second season and picked up by the Chiefs.

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Durability concerns could drag down John Ross

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A Combine record of 4.22 seconds in the 40-yard dash may not propel John Ross to the top of the draft, after all.

NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock said Friday that injury concerns have caused teams either to downgrade the Washington receiver or to remove him from consideration.

“There are some teams that have pushed him either down their boards or off their boards because of injuries,” Mayock said, via NFL.com. “He’s had surgery on his shoulder, he’s had surgery on both knees, and he’s got a small frame. So the durability is a big issue with him right now.”

Of course, it doesn’t matter if most teams take him from the draft board. If at least two think of him highly — and if they’re willing to assume the risk that he’ll be injured on a regular basis or out of football sooner than expected — his draft stock will remain high.

For his part, Mayock still regards Ross as a first-round talent, who can immediately help as a receiver and a return specialist. Many others still see Ross as a sure-fire top-15 pick.

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The Aaron Hernandez smear campaign apparently has begun

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On the heels of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez committing suicide and at the outset of an effort by his family and lawyers to ask tough and pointed questions about it, someone in law enforcement has decided to begin leaking inflammatory allegations about Hernandez. And multiple media outlets are embracing it.

We weren’t going to write about the Newsweek report that Hernandez was bisexual; that he left a suicide note for his “prison boyfriend” and that Hernandez may have killed Odin Lloyd to conceal that Hernandez was involved in an intimate relationship with a man. Hernandez’s sexuality isn’t relevant or newsworthy, especially at this point.

But then, as MDS and I traded emails regarding how to handle this one, the light bulb flickered: The “law enforcement sources” who are leaking this information on an anonymous basis apparently believe they are smearing Hernandez, possibly as a warning to those who plan to challenge whether prison officials failed to take steps aimed at preventing Hernandez from committing suicide.

If Hernandez was motivated to kill Lloyd because Lloyd was going to “out” Hernandez, wouldn’t that have come up at some point between the discovery of Lloyd’s body in June 2013 and the conviction of Hernandez for the killing in April 2015? The biggest weakness in the Lloyd murder (other than the failure to discover the murder weapon) was the absence of a clear motive.

So now law enforcement sources claim anonymously that this was the motive, even though over the past four years there had never been a hint that this was the motive?

Regardless of the true motive for leaking this information about Hernandez, it’s shameful that law enforcement sources are doing it, and those reporting it merit criticism and scrutiny. This isn’t about having sympathy for the murderer; this is about family members who are trying to get to the truth and who now have to brace for any and every kind of ugly accusation to be leaked to Newsweek or other publications if they dare to ask too many tough and pointed questions about the circumstances surrounding Hernandez’s death.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster says Cowboys and Rams have shown the most interest

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As USC receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster prepares for the 2017 draft, he says two teams have shown the strongest desire to secure his services.

The Cowboys and the Rams have shown the most interest, Smith-Schuster said on Friday’s PFT Live.

While Smith-Schuster said he doesn’t have a wish list of teams for which he’d like to play (although he seems to believe players should be able to pick their NFL teams and not vice-versa), he said last month he’d like to play for the Chargers.

On PFT Live, he admitted that he has sent “a message” to the Raiders via his selection of them for the virtual JuJu in his Madden 2017 franchise.

In Madden 2018, Smith-Schuster will be assigned to one of the 32 teams, and he’ll be available to add to your Madden Ultimate Team, if that’s how you choose to play the game. Smith-Schuster and the rest of us will find out where that will be within the next week.

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Doug Marrone surprised he hasn’t heard from Branden Albert

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The Jaguars traded for tackle Branden Albert this offseason with designs on making him their starting left tackle this season, but they haven’t started working with him yet because he opted not to report for the start of offseason work this week.

It’s voluntary work, so Albert is not required to be with the team at this point in the offseason. He reportedly wants a new contract, although head coach Doug Marrone said Friday that he hasn’t heard anything from Albert about why he’s decided to stay away from the team.

“I’ve had communication with Branden prior to [this week,” Marrone said, via the Florida Times Union. “I have not had any communication with him [this week], which is a surprise. I don’t know what his thoughts are going forward. I can’t comment on that. Obviously, it’s voluntary, but I was surprised that I didn’t receive a call back from him.”

Tight end Marcedes Lewis was also missing from workouts this week, but Marrone said he’s spoken to Lewis and that the veteran told him he’d get to Jacksonville from California “as soon as he can.”

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Bills add Trae Elston off waivers

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The Browns waived a pair of defensive backs on Thursday and both of them found new homes on Friday.

Tracy Howard landed with the Jaguars as a waiver claim and the Bills announced that they have added Trae Elston to the roster via the same route.

Elson was undrafted after starting at safety for Ole Miss and signed with the Saints after the draft. He didn’t make the club and spent some time on Tampa’s practice squad before landing with the Browns. He was inactive for a couple of games and then finished out the year on Cleveland’s practice squad, so he has yet to play in a regular season game.

Changing that will likely call for him to show the Bills that he can contribute on special teams while also serving as depth behind Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer.

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Jaguars claim Tracy Howard off of waivers

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Getting cut by the Browns in April wouldn’t seem to be the best sign of future success in the NFL, but defensive back Tracy Howard didn’t have to wait long for a chance with another team.

The Jaguars announced on Friday that they have claimed Howard off of waivers and added him to their 90-man roster. Howard and two other players were dropped by the Browns on Thursday.

Howard signed with Cleveland after going undrafted out of Miami last year and went on to play 15 games for Cleveland. Howard made three starts at safety and ended the season with 20 tackles.

The Jaguars are set to have Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson as their starting safeties in 2017, which likely leaves Howard to compete for a spot as a reserve — he played cornerback in college, which may help his chances — and on special teams if he’s going to stick with the Jaguars into the regular season.

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Cowboys wideout Shaquelle Evans suspended four games for drugs

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It’s Friday afternoon, so it’s time for any and all suspensions to come out.

Our first this week is Cowboys wide receiver Shaquelle Evans.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Evans is suspended the first four games of the season for violating the league’s drug policy.

A former Jets fourth-rounder, Evans has also spent time with the Jaguars and Patriots. He spent the end of last season on the Cowboys practice squad, and they signed him to a future deal in January.

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Chris Thompson signs restricted free agent tender

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Friday is the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams, leaving players with little choice beyond signing their tenders if they are going to play during the 2017 season.

Running back Chris Thompson didn’t sign with anyone else since being tendered by the Redskins, so that’s just what he decided to do. The team announced that Thompson has signed his tender.

Thompson played more snaps than any other Redskins running back last season and set career highs in rushing attempts, rushing yards, receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Most of that work came as the team’s third-down back as Thompson spelled both Matt Jones and Rob Kelley when they were in the lead back role.

Both of those backs remain on the roster heading into the 2017 season and there’s been chatter about the team adding another back to the mix in the draft next week.

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