Bears’ Ka’Deem Carey out six weeks after wrist surgery

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Chicago Bears running back Ka'Deem Carey is set to miss six weeks after having surgery to repair an injured wrist.

According to Chris Emma of 670 The Score, Bears head coach John Fox was uncertain of precisely when, or how, Carey injured his wrist and didn’t have details about the full extent of the injury.

It was bothering him in the game this past week,” Fox said. “It was one of those things the doctors evaluated, and there’s always choices sometimes whether of playing through something or getting it surgically repaired and we went with the surgically repaired.”

Carey has appeared in 37 games for the Bears over the last three seasons. He’s carried 111 times for 443 yards and two touchdowns over that span with 13 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown as well.

Being unavailable for the start of the season may make it difficult for the Bears to keep him on their active roster to begin the year.

A delayed suspension for Ezekiel Elliott is hardly out of the question

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Not much has been said publicly, or privately, about the Ezekiel Elliott case in the past week. Next week, plenty will be said at the formal appeal hearing. After a ruling is issued, that’s when things could get very interesting.

In recent years, players facing suspensions have repeatedly used the court system to delay the punishment, even if each of them have ended up serving the suspensions after losing in court. Elliott could indeed do the same thing if/when non-neutral neutral arbitrator Harold Henderson rubber stamps the suspension.

Regardless of which side initiates the litigation (in Tom Brady‘s case, it was the league that filed suit), Elliott can seek a preliminary injunction, barring the league from suspending him until the case ends. It’s not an easy move, but NFL players (starting with the StarCaps case driven by former Vikings defensive tackles Pat and Kevin Williams) have had success in this regard.

The key factor is what’s known as “irreparable harm.” If Elliott ultimately wins in court, he’d get the money he would have made in the games he missed, but there would be no way he could go back and play those games. In other words, there’s no way to cure the practical damage to Elliott’s career by writing Elliott a check, if it turns out that the NFL got it wrong.

Another important factor that applies in cases of this nature hinges on the likelihood of success in court. With a stream of players trying to overturn suspensions in court and not succeeding, at some point the NFL could point to the inability of players to win as proof that this one won’t, either.

Those factors (along with consideration of the relative hardships to the parties and the public interest) are considered in a loose, subjective way. In cases like this, the irreparable nature of the harm becomes glaring; if Elliott wins there’s no way Elliott can truly have the damage undone.

Given that he’s starting his second NFL season and presumably will play in 2018 and beyond, what’s the harm to the NFL in pushing the suspension back until Elliott has a fair chance to have his day in court? Even if he’s likely to lose, the slim chance of winning makes delaying the suspension a sensible outcome — which would make Elliott available perhaps for the entire season.

Washington trades Dashaun Phillips to Steelers for Lucas Crowley

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The Washington Redskins dealt cornerback Dashaun Phillips to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for center Lucas Crowley on Wednesday night.

The acquisition of Crowley gives Washington some added depth at center after starter Spencer Long had knee surgery this week.

Crowley was undrafted free agent out of North Carolina initially signed by Arizona in May. He signed with the Steelers earlier this month and played 10 snaps in last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Phillips appeared in 11 games over the last two seasons for Washington and started two games last year. He’s recorded 14 career tackles.

It’s now clear the Jaguars bungled the Bortles option

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It’s now clear the Jaguars regret the decision to exercise the fifth-year option on quarterback Blake Bortles. Which of course makes the original decision even more curious than it was at the time they extended his rookie deal.

It was ultimately a $4 million gamble for the Jaguars. If they didn’t extend the option and if he had played well, it would have cost $23 million to keep him off the market in 2018 via the franchise tag. So they opted instead to give him a $19 million salary in 2018,

It would have been a prudent gamble but for the injury guarantee. With Bortles on the brink of losing the job to Chad Henne, the smart move for the Jaguars would be to keep him off the field completely, the same way Washington did in 2015 with Robert Griffin III. Which means that they’ll pay Bortles $3.4 million to sit, in order to avoid paying him $19 million in the event he suffers an injury that keeps him from passing a physical before the amount becomes fully guaranteed in March.

The Jaguars also could cut Bortles, avoiding both this year’s salary and the chance of owing him $19 million in 2018. Some have suggested that the Jaguars will try to trade Bortles, but no one will be taking on that contract, unless Bortles agrees to void the fifth year. His better move would be to refuse to change his deal at all, which would make him a free agent after no team claims his contract in its current form on waivers.

We’ll know for sure that it’s heading this way if the next leak or announcement from Jacksonville is that Bortles won’t play at all in the third preseason game. (The current plan is that he’ll play.)  Regardless of whether he’s on the field on Thursday night, the only question left seems to be whether he gets cut or watches every game from the sideline.

For Paxton Lynch, chicken-and-egg proposition leaves him out of luck

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By not winning the starting quarterback job in Denver as a rookie, Paxton Lynch has made it harder for himself to win the starting quarterback job this year. And by not winning the job this year, Lynch has made it harder for himself to win the starting quarterback job next year.

As Trevor Siemian gets more experience, the game gets slower for him, and he becomes better suited to thrive. As Lynch watches, he doesn’t get the reps — and as a result it will take him even longer to reach the limit of his potential, whatever it may be. It’s a chicken-and-egg proposition that at some point needs to result in Lynch getting reps, or he’ll never becomes what he could be.

For now, the Broncos helping Lynch reach his potential took a back seat to putting the best player on the field right now.

“It’s strictly based on performance not potential,” coach Vance Joseph said on Wednesday’s PFT Live. “And we know that Paxton’s a rare talent. In my opinion, his future’s still bright. He’s a second-year guy and he needs more time. That’s the bottom line. He worked really hard in this competition. He was here early and left late. I was proud of Paxton of how he operated during the competition.

“It does not mean that we missed on Paxton because he’s not ready right now. I mean he’s going to have a chance to play in the near future and when he does play I told him, ‘When your chance comes again man, be ready to go.’ I believe in Paxton Lynch, our team believes in Paxton Lynch. I mean he just needs more time. It’s not like he lost a job. In my opinion, Trevor won the job. It wasn’t a failure on Paxton’s part, it was more of a win on Trevor’s part in my opinion watching both guys. I would feel very comfortable if we had to play with Paxton for a game or two.”

That may be the only chance Lynch has to get playing time this year, given that Joseph says the decision is permanent. Of course, how permanent is any decision in pro football? In the NFL, the team unconditionally, unequivocally, and unquestionable supports a guy until the exact moment that it doesn’t.

Joseph wants to give Siemian full support as he embarks on his second season as the starter. But if he doesn’t perform, and if they continue to feel the way they do about Lynch, the Broncos surely would make a change.

One clear factor in choosing performance over potential is the fact that the Broncos otherwise have a contending team. But Joseph says that, even if they didn’t, he would have gone with Siemian.

“I think you should always go performance first, because it’s a bottom-line business,” Joseph said. “It’s a win-or-lose business. I think every coach wants to win. So if you’re not going performance first, I think you’re failing in the building and everyone on your football team. In my opinion you have to go performance first and go potential second.”

For now, an adherence to performance first gives Siemian the first crack at the job. And if he runs with it, an interesting decision will be looming in 2018, with Siemian entering the final year of his contract and Lynch entering his third season.

Jets sign Jahad Thomas, cut Jordan Todman

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The Jets signed rookie running back Jahad Thomas, waiving veteran running back Jordan Todman in a corresponding move, according to Ralph Vacchiano‏ of SNY.

Thomas signed with the Cowboys in May as an undrafted free agent out of Temple. But a hamstring injury led Dallas to waive him with an injury designation. He cleared waivers, and the Cowboys reached an injury settlement with him this week.

Thomas showed versatility in his four seasons at Temple. He rushed for 2,215 yards and 30 touchdowns over the last two seasons and added 33 passes for 418 yards and six touchdowns in 2016.

He also returned kicks and punts as well as played some defensive back.

The Jets signed Todman on June 12. He has played for four teams in six seasons, starting three of 61 games. He has rushed for 531 yards and three touchdowns on 124 career carries.

He made the Colts’ roster last season because of his special teams ability, earning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for a 99-yard return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff against the Packers.

All signs point to Ezekiel Elliott getting a handful of snaps Saturday

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Although Jason Garrett hasn’t committed to Ezekiel Elliott playing Saturday, all signs point to that.

First, there was Jerry Jones’ comment after the Cowboys’ victory over the Colts last weekend. Jones said it “wouldn’t surprise” him for Elliott to get a few snaps against the Raiders.

“We don’t want put 30 [carries] on him out there. No reason to do that,” Jones added Saturday.

Then, there was Elliott taking a first-team snaps against the scout team Wednesday in prep work for the Raiders, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.

Elliott did not play in the Cowboys’ first three preseason games. He is suspended for the first six games of the regular season, with his appeal hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Garrett did allow this week that if Elliott plays Saturday, it will follow what he did last season. Elliott sat out the team’s first two preseason games a year ago as a rookie before playing 14 snaps against the Seahawks in his only preseason action. He carried seven times for 48 yards.

“We just haven’t had those discussions with him,” Garrett said. “Typically, the running backs in this league don’t play that much in the preseason. Years ago, Emmitt Smith rarely played in the preseason. Those guys just seem to have a feel; they can get a feel for what they need to do in practice if the practice is competitive, and you’re practicing in the right environment – which we believe we do. I do think Zeke playing in the game last year against Seattle was good for him and good for our team. . . . So if he plays, he’ll play in a similar fashion.”

Colin Kaepernick supporters rally outside NFL headquarters

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Hundreds of supports of Colin Kaepernick began a rally outside NFL headquarters Wednesday evening, according to the Associated Press.

It came after the NAACP sent a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, saying it’s “no sheer coincidence” the former 49ers quarrterback remains unsigned. The civil rights organization has requested a meeting with the NFL.

“No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech,” Derrick Johnson, the NAACP’s interim president and CEO said, via the AP.

Kaepernick remains unsigned, with only the Ravens and the Seahawks showing limited interest.

Hall of Fame baseball player Hank Aaron said Kaepernick is “getting a raw deal” from NFL owners after the quarterback became the face of the national anthem protests last year.

Chad Henne to start Jaguars’ third preseason game

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Chad Henne now appears to be the leading candidate to start the regular season at quarterback for the Jaguars.

The Jaguars have confirmed that Henne, and not Blake Bortles, will start this week’s third preseason game. Typically the quarterback who starts the third preseason game also starts the first regular season game.

Bortles had been the presumed starter all offseason, but after he struggled in the preseason, head coach Doug Marrone said he and Henne would compete for the starting job. Now it looks like Henne is poised to win that competition.

If Bortles isn’t the starter, there’s a good chance the Jaguars will cut him: Bortles would be guaranteed $19 million next year if he suffers a serious injury this year and can’t pass a physical next year.

So Henne may be one solid preseason performance away from ending the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville.

Can anyone legitimately claim Scott Tolzien is better than Colin Kaepernick?

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I’ve danced around this one for the past few days, stopping short of connecting the dots because the dots are so clear they need no connecting.

But with Hank Aaron sounding off and a Wednesday protest at 345 Park Avenue and the Colts careening toward the start of the season with no sign of Andrew Luck suiting up and practicing or playing, it’s time to be said: The Colts should have embraced Colin Kaepernick, months ago.

Scott Tolzien is no Colin Kaepernick. It’s not even close. At a time when it’s impossible to get everyone to agree on anything, one thing about which there can be no dispute is that the Colts would be much better off heading toward the 2017 regular season with Colin Kaepernick at quarterback instead of Scott Tolzien.

At this point, it’s too late to matter. Tolzien has been taking the reps throughout the offseason program, training camp, and the preseason as the No. 1 option. With fewer than three weeks to go before the season begins, Tolzien is better suited to salvage a game or two or three (or more) if Luck can’t play than Kaepernick would be if he shows up right now.

The ship sailed in March, April, and May, when the Colts opted not to bolster the position. It’s hard not to wonder whether they would have, if they’d known Luck would take so long to get back to 100 percent.

It’s clear now that they should have, because by the time Luck is under center and up to speed it may be too late to catch the Texans and the Titans. Heck, the Colts may even be looking up at the Jaguars by the time Luck is back to full speed.

Browns trying to trade Brock Osweiler

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Could Brock Osweiler be traded for the second time this year?

The Browns have renewed their attempt to trade Osweiler, something it was clear they were trying to do when they showcased him as their starter in two preseason games even though it appears that they plan to start DeShone Kizer when the regular season begins.

The question, of course, is why any team would want to trade for Osweiler and his $16 million salary. That salary is the reason the Browns were able to get the Texans’ 2018 second-round draft pick when Osweiler was traded from Houston to Cleveland in March. No one is trading for Osweiler at his current salary.

But if the Browns are able to work out a deal that includes Cleveland paying part of Osweiler’s salary, perhaps he’d be attractive enough that some team would give up a late-round draft pick for him. The Browns’ top priority is acquiring draft picks to build for the future, and if they can pull off two Osweiler trades that bring them picks in one year, they’ll take that as a big win.

Garett Bolles has not plans to change way he plays

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Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles collected four penalties in 37 offensive snaps last week. But the rookie insists he won’t change the way he plays because of it.

“I am not going to change the way I play,” Bolles told Troy Renck of Denver 7. “I am not going to change the way I bring energy onto the field because if I do that I am not who I am. Mr. [John] Elway brought me in for a reason because be who I am and do what I do. I move people off the ball. I put people in the ground That’s the way I play. There’s little things I have to fix. I know that. But I am never going to change those two aspects of my game.”

Bolles had a false start and three holding penalties in the Broncos’ 33-14 victory over the 49ers.

The Broncos drafted him in the first round to solidify a spot that has proved a team weakness since Ryan Clady played his last down in Denver in 2014. The Broncos already have named Bolles the Day 1 starter, giving him a chance to get on-the-job training.

“I am not here yet, man,” Bolles said. “I still got two preseason games. I have to prove myself every single day. That’s awesome that they said that [he’s starting], but coach [Vance] Joseph and them, they are just being nice. I appreciate what they are saying. They know where my heart’s at. They know where I need to be to be successful when we open the season.”

Valentino Blake leaves Giants

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Ben McAdoo was evasive when asked about Valentino Blake’s absence at practice Wednesday, saying, “We had a couple of guys we had to leave inside today, and we’ll leave it at that.”

The Giants received a roster exemption for Blake, who is listed as “left squad” on the NFL transaction wire.

Blake, 27, played a team-high 45 snaps on Monday night against the Browns, making four tackles. He had an interception in the preseason opener.

Blake missed some practices earlier in camp with a back ailment, according to the New York Daily News.

He has played five NFL seasons after the Jaguars signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Blake has spent time with the Titans, Steelers and Jaguars, making 42 tackles, no interceptions and five pass breakups in 16 games last season with Tennessee.

Lions add DT Cashaud Lyons off waivers

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The Lions bolstered their defensive tackle group via a well-named waiver claim on Wednesday.

The team announced the addition of former Ram Cashaud Lyons to the 90-man roster. Lyons was waived by the Rams on Tuesday.

Lyons’ stint in Los Angeles was a brief one as he was signed just before the start of camp. The Lions are Lyons’ fifth NFL stop as he’s also spent time with the Buccaneers, Steelers and Titans since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He has not seen regular season action with any of those teams, however.

To make room for Lyons, the Lions waived tight end Andrew Price. Price signed with the team last week as they worked around several injuries at the position and his departure leaves them with eight tight ends on the roster.

Mitch Trubisky to get time with first team against Titans

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The best quarterback at Bears practice on Wednesday might have been on the sideline as Peyton Manning stopped by to check out former coach John Fox’s current team, but he won’t be available to start against the Titans on Sunday afternoon.

That job will again go to Mike Glennon, who Fox confirmed will get his third start of the preseason after the practice came to an end. There will be a change on the depth chart, however.

Mitch Trubisky will be the second quarterback on the field after playing behind Glennon and Mark Sanchez in the first two games and he will get time with the first team offense. The plan is for Glennon to play the first half and Trubisky to open up the second half with the rest of the starters.

Trubisky also got time with the first team during Wednesday’s practice and Fox said, via Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, that the rookie “needs that experience” after playing with and against backups in the first two games.

The Titans may not still have their starters on the field when Trubisky makes his entrance, but that probably won’t eliminate any calls for a quicker rise than expected if he turns in a stronger showing than Glennon on Sunday. Given the way the Bears have handled things in regard to the depth chart this summer, those calls may still fall on deaf ears.