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What’s next for John Dorsey?

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Despite today’s news of his ouster in Kansas City, there’s a chance John Dorsey will be landing on his feet, sooner than later.

In January, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel dubbed Dorsey, a former Packers executive, as the “best bet” to succeed Ted Thompson as the General Manager in Green Bay. The more immediate question is whether the Packers will be inclined to bring Dorsey back into the fold before such a move is made.

For his part, Dorsey subsequently called his time with the Chiefs the “greatest four years of my life,” and he expressed a desire to stay with the team long enough for his six-year-old son to graduate high school.

Dorsey, who has a year left on his Chiefs deal, can take the year off with pay, stay put in Kansas City, and plan his next move. A respected figure in league circles, he’ll surely find something, somewhere.

He may end up finding the G.M. job that arguably has more job security than any other, since there’s no one person in Titletown who can get up on the wrong side of the bed or catch a wild hair and fire the head of the football operation.

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Chiefs hope to replace John Dorsey by the start of training camp

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When the Chiefs hired coach Andy Reid and then hired G.M. John Dorsey, many assumed that Reid had the same setup he enjoyed in Philadelphia, where he ran the show. In Kansas City, that wasn’t — and isn’t — the case.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Reid and Dorsey separately reported directly to owner Clark Hunt. According to the source, it was Hunt who made the call based on a full review of the all factors to make the move now.

Of course, that won’t keep people from speculating that Reid found a way to make it known in conjunction with his willingness to sign an extension that he wanted to see a change made. The bang-bang timing of the Reid news and the Dorsey news invites that.

A search will commence immediately for a G.M. who will have the same role and authority that Dorsey possessed, reporting directly to Hunt. Internal and external candidates will be considered, with a loose goal of getting the job filled by the start of training camp.

And while it’s very late on the offseason calendar to be making such an important change (it’s the first June firing of a G.M. in a very long time), the quiet spot between the end of the offseason program and the opening of training camp is really the only time of the year when a G.M. isn’t actively working to make the roster better.

Speculation surely will center on people who have experience working with Reid or for Reid. Whether and to what extent there’s familiarity between Reid and the new G.M. will shape the impression as to whether the G.M. has true independence when it comes to shaping the roster.

One name to watch, as one league source has suggested, is co-directly or player personnel Brett Veach. (If Chris Ballard hadn’t left for the Colts, he likely would have been the leading candidate.) But there surely will be plenty of candidates for the chance to put the finishing touches on a franchise that has been knocking on the door for the last four years.

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Kenny Vaccaro not satisfied with career so far

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Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro has been versatile and productive in his four seasons. But it’s not what he wanted or expected.

Vaccaro has yet to make All-Pro or even the Pro Bowl, goals for this season.

I was a top-15 pick,” Vaccaro said, via Josh Katzenstein of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I should be a Pro Bowler. That’s just the way it goes.”

The Saints selected Vaccaro 15th overall in 2013. They have played him at several positions, and Vaccaro has 235 tackles, six sacks, 22 pass breakups and five interceptions. But it has left him wanting.

“I haven’t met any of my goals, and it pisses me off, really,” Vaccaro said. “I want to really, really, really work hard this summer and prepare for the season that I need to have because I feel like a lot of people know it’s in me. A lot of people know I’m good, but I haven’t earned the respect that I need and I want that.”

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Rams, Chargers to hold joint practices

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Los Angeles has two teams now and they will start to get to know each other this summer while waiting for construction on the stadium they plan to share to be completed.

The Rams and Chargers announced their training camp schedules on Thursday and they include joint practices at each team’s training facility. The teams will have a workout on Wednesday, August 9 at the Rams’ training ground in Irvine and they will also work out together at the Chargesrs’ Costa Mesa facility on a date to be determined.

The two teams will also square off in a preseason game on August 26 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the Rams are playing until the Inglewood stadium is up and running.

The Chargers will also hold joint practices with the Saints before they play a preseason game on August 20 at the StubHub Center in Carson, which will be their temporary L.A. digs.

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Rams waive defensive lineman Tyrunn Walker

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The Rams released defensive tackle Tyrunn Walker on Thursday. They signed Walker in March to serve as a backup to Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers.

Walker signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa in 2012. He made the roster but did not take the field as a rookie. Walker played in seven games in 2013 with four tackles and a sack and became a regular in the Saints defensive line rotation the following season, making 19 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

Walker signed with the Lions before the 2015 season but broke his fibula after only four games that season, and he underperformed last season, going from starter to a reserve player and was even benched for a midseason game.

Walker, 27, played 353 defensive snaps in 2016. He appeared in 15 games, finishing the season with 26 tackles and no sacks.

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More negative leaks emerge about Colin Kaepernick

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The big wheels of the anti-Kaepernick machine keep rolling.

In an item that sounds a little like our recent PFT item but that in many ways is fundamentally different, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com shares under the cloak of anonymity more criticism of Kaepernick’s football habits. And, at a time when the 49ers have recently apologized to Kaepernick for a leak to Peter King of TheMMQB.com regarding Kaepernick’s desire to play, these latest leaks come from, yes, the 49ers.

“As one Niners employee explained it, Kaepernick wouldn’t stay late at the facility during the season like many quarterbacks routinely do, saying he’d take work home,” Breer writes. “And there were examples where coaches saw what looked like shoddy prep surfacing in inexplicable mental errors in games. Another staffer, asked if he thinks Kaepernick wants to keep playing, answered, ‘I do think he wants to play — to stay relevant.'”

It’s not clear on the surface of the article whether the leaks come from current or former 49ers employees. Breer has clarified that the person who expressed the belief that Kaepernick wants to play “to stay relevant” was employed by the team a year ago, but Breer has not clarified whether the Niners employee who chided Kaepernick for taking work home is still employed, or whether the leak came before or after G.M. John Lynch told PFT Live that he apologized to Kaepernick for the leaks to King about Kaepernick.

The irony of Breer’s article is that his broader point — Kaepernick needs to speak on his own behalf — comes in an article containing more examples of people speaking about him under the cloak of anonymity. Multiple members of the media have been trafficking in these anonymous opinions, passing them along without scrutiny and thus necessarily presenting them as true.

Breer’s item becomes the latest example of King’s website being all over the map when it comes to Kaepernick. King has consistently and repeatedly argued that Kaepernick should be employed, reiterating the view most recently in King’s weekly mailbag and sharing eye-opening data on Monday from Cian Fahey suggesting that Kaepernick threw only seven “interceptable” passes in 2016, the least in the league. (Kaepernick threw 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions for a 90.2 passer rating last season; imagine how well he would have played if he wasn’t lazy, as Breer’s latest reporting clearly implies.)

Others, like Breer and Andy Benoit, have made their views on Kaepernick clear. Benoit received sharp criticism from Drew Magary of Deadspin.com for making a football-based argument that all 32 starters and 15 backup quarterbacks are better than Kaepernick. While it’s admirable that King allows his people the freedom to write what they want, the issues raised by Kaepernick’s unemployment are too sensitive and too nuanced for a publication to be skittering all over the place regarding whether Kaepernick can or can’t play, regarding whether he does or doesn’t want to play, and regarding whether his unemployment is or isn’t a result of his activism.

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Saints sign Ryan Ramczyk

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Add the Saints to the list of teams with all of their draft picks signed.

The Saints moved into that column on Thursday by announcing that first-round tackle Ryan Ramczyk has signed with the team. Ramczyk, the 32nd overall pick of the draft, signed a four-year deal with a team option for a fifth year.

Ramczyk appeared headed for a backup role as a rookie, but left tackle Terron Armstead’s shoulder surgery could lead to a spot in the starting lineup right off the bat. Armstead is expected to miss 4-6 months and Ramczyk is seen as a favorite to take over his role while he’s recovering.

With Ramczyk under contract, there are now 11 unsigned draft picks in the entire league. Seven of those players are first-round picks, including second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky.

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Darren McFadden embraces backup role with Cowboys

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Darren McFadden never lived up to expectations as the fourth overall pick in 2008. In seven seasons with the Raiders, McFadden had only one 1,000-yard season as he missed 29 games with 15 different injuries.

Yet, McFadden, who turns 30 next month, still has a job in the NFL. He has, in fact, embraced his role as Ezekiel Elliott’s backup.

“Obviously I’m going to be a backup guy,” McFadden said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Whatever they need me to do, I’m going to do it. If it’s special teams or whatever, I’m up for it. At the end of the day, it’s a team sport. I’m a team guy. That’s what I love about the game.”

McFadden didn’t even test free agency in the offseason, instead signing a one-year, $980,000 deal that included only $80,000 to sign. The Cowboys are comfortable with him as Elliott’s primary backup considering he rushed for 1,089 yards for them in 2015.

McFadden missed most of last season with a fractured elbow, playing only three games and 48 offensive snaps while getting only 24 carries. He also played 13 snaps on special teams, something the Cowboys ask of their backup running backs.

“It’s tough [not to be the feature back],” McFadden said. “…But at the same time, it’s a team sport. I’ve been around the game long enough to know that eventually someone is going to come in who is going to try to run you out.

“I’m blessed to be 10 years in the league as a running back still playing. It’s one thing I’m very happy about.”

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Cowboys confident Jeff Heath can fill Barry Church’s shoes

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Jason Garrett refers to Jeff Heath as one of the players “who always shows up” when the Cowboys give him chances. To that end, the Cowboys plan on giving Heath more chances this season.

They have penciled in Heath as the starting strong safety, a spot left open by the free agent departure of Barry Church.

I’ve seen a lot [from Heath],” free safety Byron Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “All of this stuff we saw last year, he wasn’t getting a lot of playing time earlier in the season, but he was coming in at critical situations and making good plays. That’s what Jeff Heath’s main thing is.

“Even on special teams, he’s a core guy. He’s a guy who is calling the plays. He’s a personal protector on punt [coverage]. That’s a big job. If there’s one guy we can trust with that, it’s Jeff Heath.”

The Cowboys signed Heath as an undrafted free agent in 2013. Known more as a core special teams player, Heath has made the most of his time on defense. He has five interceptions since arriving in Dallas, including the postseason, which ties him for the team lead in that span. Heath has intercepted Jameis Winston three times and Kirk Cousins and Aaron Rodgers once each.

Heath received his most snaps his rookie season when he was on the field 594 defensive plays, starting nine games because of injuries in the secondary. He got only 125 snaps in 2014, 205 in 2015 and 243 in 2016.

On the first minicamp practice last week, Heath had two interceptions of Dak Prescott. Heath’s performance in the offseason program has given the Cowboys confidence he can handle the job.

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Former Colts coach Frank Kush dies at 88

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Former Colts and longtime Arizona State head coach Frank Kush has died at the age of 88.

Kush coached the Colts from 1982-84, which made him a first-hand witness to both the team’s move from Baltimore to Indianapolis before the 1984 season and then-owner Robert Irsay’s decision to draft John Elway in 1983 despite Elway’s desire to avoid the Colts. Elway was ultimately traded to the Broncos.

“That was old man Irsay’s decision,” Kush said in 2008, via the Arizona Republic. “I’m sure he [Elway] didn’t want to play for the Colts. If that included Frank Kush, that’s his opinion.”

Kush went 11-28-1 before resigning with a game left in the 1984 season. He coached one season in the USFL before that league folded and spent a year in the CFL between his Colts and Arizona State gigs. Kush spent 21 seasons at ASU and went 176-54-1, but his tenure came to a bad end after a player accused Kush of punching him during a 1978 game.

Kush returned to the school in 2000 as a special assistant to the athletic director. The field at Sun Devil Stadium is named after him and a statue of Kush sits outside a stadium entrance.

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Sammie Coates expecting “good fight” for receiver spots in Pittsburgh

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After the Steelers drafted wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster in the second round of this year’s draft, Martavis Bryant tweeted that the rookie would be replacing Sammie Coates in the team’s receiving corps.

Coates responded with a laugh, but he’s aware that it is going to be a competitive situation at camp this summer. Antonio Brown has a spot locked down and the Steelers won’t be cutting Smith-Schuster. Barring further discipline, Bryant will likely have another spot and Eli Rogers is back after working out of the slot last season.

Coates, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Justin Hunter, Cobi Hamilton and 2016 seventh-rounder DeMarcus Ayers round out a group that Coates believes will make for “a good fight” for jobs. Special teams work will factor into the final choices and Coates’ chances of being one of them will be better if he’s healthy after breaking fingers last season and having groin surgery this offseason.

“I’m getting there. It’s a process,” Coates said, via Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com. “That’s what this process is for, to get your body back so you can compete during camp. … I’m starting to get back my speed.”

Getting as much of it back as soon as he can would seem to be in Coates’ best interests.

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Cam Newton is a great leader, unless he isn’t

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Cam Newton makes people stupid.

And sometimes, he makes them say things which are the opposite of things they said previously.

In a classic case of late-June hot-takery, former NFL defensive lineman Booger McFarland has declared Panthers quarterback Cam Newton a phony.

“People I talk to in Carolina tell me Cam’s not a leader and not well liked by a lot of his teammates,” McFarland said, via Ross Tucker.

The cool thing about this is, a year ago, McFarland said on ESPN Radio that Newton was the “Best young leader in all of sports right now.”

So, not to pick on Booger (see what I did there?), but which is it?

Certainly circumstances and opinions can change, and McFarland can easily claim he’s learned things in the last year he didn’t know previously. And if that’s the case, then at least one of his opinions was ill-informed and irresponsible.

Now we’ll just wait to see which one he claims, which will probably depend on whether Newton plays like an MVP again.

We now return you to your regular summer programming.

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Andy Dalton: Players aren’t thinking about Marvin Lewis’ contract situation

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The Bengals have employed Marvin Lewis as their head coach since 2003 and they’ve kept him in the organization with a series of one-year extensions in recent years, but that’s not the case this time around.

Lewis is not signed beyond the 2017 season, leading some to wonder if this will be his final year on Cincinnati’s sideline if the team doesn’t make progress after going 6-9-1 last year. Quarterback Andy Dalton says the coach’s status isn’t weighing on the players as they head toward September.

“He doesn’t talk about contracts. He doesn’t talk about his situation,” Dalton said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s all about having a good year. So, the guys aren’t thinking about that.”

The players may not be putting particular focus on Lewis’ situation, but it’s not because they don’t like the coach. Cornerback Adam Jones and punter Kevin Huber both said they love Lewis, but pointed out that nothing about this offseason is too different from a player’s perspective.

If players don’t perform well, there’s a good chance they’ll be off the roster when the next year gets underway and that’s true whether Lewis is signed for four more years or four more months. Or, as Jones put it, “if you’re winning everything is good” and players have a lot more control over that than any decision owner Mike Brown will make if they post another losing record.

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What would Tom Brady get, if he pushed for top dollar?

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The Derek Carr contract raises plenty of questions regarding the deals to come for plenty of quarterbacks. But not for Tom Brady.

While the Patriots could find a way to funnel some extra cash to the most underpaid player in the league as a supplement to a current agreement that runs through 2019, Brady never has (and never will) try to break the bank.

But what if he did? What if Brady opted to drive a hard bargain, grabbing every dollar he could get, whether by holding out or playing out his deal and doing the year-to-year franchise-tag game? What could he get from the Patriots, or on the open market?

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe suggested an upper limit of $40 million per during a visit to Thursday’s PFT Live. While that may be a little high, Brady would be making at least $30 million per year.

Brady’s conscious decision not to take the (justifiable) Peyton Manning approach to contract negotiations, which likely arises both from the fact that Mrs. Brady is bringing home plenty of bacon and from Brady’s reluctance to ever be the subject of a dispassionate “are we paying him more than he’s worth?” analysis from Bill Belichick, impacts other quarterbacks. If Brady consistently pressed for the most he could make, chances are that other quarterbacks would be doing better, chasing Brady’s wake to annual averages greater than the brand new high-water mark of $25 million in new money.

Regardless, Brady — and only Brady — has decided not to take full advantage of his own circumstances as a franchise quarterback. Which likely has had something to do with one or more of the five Super Bowl rings he has won, and counting.

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Tom Brady tries some sumo training in Japan

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Tom Brady is known for constantly seeking new offseason training methods and this week he looked in an unusual place: A sumo stable.

Brady, who is on a promotional tour in Asia, worked out with the 355-pound sumo wrestler Goeido and asked the trainers questions about their sport, which requires a great deal of balance and power.

For them to welcome me means very much to me. It’s hard to describe in words how special that was,” Brady told the Kyodo News.

When it comes to offseason workouts, a lineman could probably benefit more from sumo training than a quarterback could, but Brady will leave no stone unturned in his quest to keep playing at a high level into his mid-40s.

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