Tarik Cohen feels he can do same kinds of things as Tyreek Hill

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The Bears hired Matt Nagy as their head coach off of what he accomplished as the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs for the past two seasons.

Wide receiver Tyreek Hill had a hand in those accomplishments and a member of Nagy’s new team believes he can make the same kind of impact in Chicago’s offense that the versatile Hill has had in Kansas City.

“When I was at the combine, coaches would always ask me who I would compare myself to in the league,” running back Tarik Cohen said on WSCR-670 AM, via the Chicago Tribune. “And I would always tell them Tyreek Hill. I feel that I can do the same kinds of things he does in the Kansas City offense. … And now since we have their coach now I feel like I have to live up to that. And I definitely look forward to being the same kind of playmaker.”

Cohen and Hill play different positions so it isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, but Cohen certainly looks the part when it comes to making contributions in a variety of ways. He ran 87 times, caught 53 passes, returned kicks and even threw a couple of passes during his rookie season in Chicago.

Whether he hits the same level as Hill or not, Nagy’s history in Kansas City suggests Cohen will continue to be a jack of all trades as the Bears try to spark a turnaround in 2018..

Sunday morning one-liners

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Can the Bills find a team to trade for QB Tyrod Taylor?

Finding more signs that WR Jarvis Landry may be leaving the Dolphins.

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio made a rare appearance as a speaker at MIT.

A Jets-centric look at prospects in the Scouting Combine.

Making the case for Ravens investment in the running game.

A look back at when Ashley Ambrose became the first $1 million cornerback for the Bengals.

Should the Browns draft Penn State RB Saquon Barkley?

Former Steelers share their memories of taking part in the Scouting Combine.

A “race” between Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Browns DE Myles Garrett was pretty close.

Georgia Southern is naming their walk-on tryout program after Edwin Jackson, who walked on at the school before moving on to the Colts.

RB Corey Grant could get more involved in the Jaguars offense.

The Titans will host a free concert in addition to revealing their new uniforms in April.

Broncos LB Todd Davis treated the Sacramento State football team and a group of kids to a Black Panther screening.

Former NFL TE Tony Gonzalez looked back on his early days with the Chiefs.

Defensive needs are at the top of the Raiders’ list with the combine approaching.

G Forrest Lamp is expected to be part of the Chargers starting lineup.

An argument against the Cowboys bringing LB Derrick Johnson to the team.

Will the Giants change their kicking specialists?

Eagles DT Fletcher Cox is thankful he grew up in Mississippi.

The Redskins need a running back to go with their new quarterback.

A breakdown of the Bears cornerbacks.

Assessing the chances that the Lions make a run at G Josh Sitton.

It’s almost time for Packers G.M. Brian Gutekunst to start putting his stamp on the team.

We’re getting closer to decision day for the Vikings and QB Case Keenum.

Several Falcons have started making plans for post-football life.

Ten questions about what’s next for the Panthers.

The Saints defense took a step forward and still has room to get better.

A look at how the Buccaneers nabbed a compensatory draft pick.

Tracing the changes Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu has undergone over the last five years.

The Rams’ trade for Marcus Peters gives the NFC West another top cornerback.

Cornerback is one of the spots the 49ers will be scouting at the combine.

Five things the Seahawks can do to get back to the playoffs.

Report: Bills tried to get in on Martavis Bryant trade talks last year

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At the start of last season, the Bills were accused of tanking for trading away players for draft picks. But as they fought for a playoff berth during the season, they attempted to make a significant upgrade to their roster.

The Bills were trying to get involved in trade talks for Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant, according to ESPN.

Last year the Steelers were adamant that they wouldn’t trade Bryant, but this offseason they’re reportedly willing to listen to offers. So, although Buffalo’s interest was presumably before they traded for Kelvin Benjamin, the Bills are a team to keep an eye on.

Last year the Bills’ top wide receiver, Deonte Thompson, managed just 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown. Adding a big-play threat should be a top priority this offseason.

The 2018 starting quarterbacks, ranked by APY

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The three-year deal with a base value of $54 million gives Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles an average of $18 million per year. That sounds good in isolation, but it puts him near the bottom of all NFL starting quarterbacks not constrained by a slotted rookie deal.

Here’s the list of 2018 starters by annual average, with actual numbers for those with contracts and projected numbers for those who will still be signed.

1. Kirk Cousins: $29 million per year (projected). The number could go higher depending on the number of suitors and the zeal with which they pursue him.

2. Drew Brees: $28 million per year. Whether he signs with the Saints or someone else, Brees always has gotten paid handsomely. As he should. If the Saints want to keep him, they’ll possibly need to match or beat the package given to the guy who has started seven largely inconsequential games.

3. Jimmy Garoppolo: $27.5 million per year. The highest paid player in the NFL won’t be the highest paid for long. He may not be in the top five for long.

4. Matthew Stafford: $27 million. He’ll have another chance to get to the top of the market when he signs his fourth big-money, multi-year NFL contract in a few years.

5. Derek Carr: $25 million. If the Raiders hadn’t signed him last year, the Raiders would be faced with a fascinating decision. Keep Carr or pursue someone like Cousins, most recently coached by Jon Gruden’s younger brother?

6. Andrew Luck: $24.594 million. He hasn’t done much to earn his money, but that should change this year.

7. Joe Flacco: $22.133 million. But for a crippling cap hit, the Ravens would be considering replacing the Super Bowl MVP from five years ago.

8. Aaron Rodgers: $22 million. When it’s all said and done, he’ll be north of $30 million.

9. Russell Wilson: $21.9 million. He’s already overdue for a new deal.

10. Ben Roethlisberger: $21.85 million. The Steelers have mentioned the possibility of an extension. As more and more quarterbacks get paid, Roethlisbeger may demand one.

11. Alex Smith: $21.7 million. Combining a four-year, $94 million extension with a 2018 salary of $14.5 million puts Smith on the fringe of the top 10.

12. Eli Manning: $21 million. A middle-of-the-pack quarterback has nearly middle-of-the-pack pay.

13. Philip Rivers: $20.812 million. Dollar for dollar one of the biggest bargains in the league.

14. Cam Newton: $20.76 million. The new Carolina owner’s first order of business should be to address Newton’s deal.

15. Matt Ryan: $20.75 million. The 2016 league MVP is grossly underpaid.

16. Case Keenum: $20 million (projected). That’s 10 times what he made a year ago.

17. Ryan Tannehill: $19.25 million. And now you know why the Dolphins aren’t rushing to get rid of him.

18. A.J. McCarron: $19 million (projected). Not bad for a guy with four career starts.

19. Blake Bortles: $18 million. Kind of puts it the new contract in perspective, doesn’t it?

20. Andy Dalton: $16 million. The Red Rifle may be looking for more green, soon.

21. Tyrod Taylor: $15.25 million. Whether he plays for the Bills or someone else, it’s a pretty good deal.

22. Tom Brady: $15 million. Fake Don Yee was right.

23. Mitch Trubisky: $7.258 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2017, as the No. 2 pick.

24. Jared Goff: $6.984 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2016, as the No. 1 pick.

25. Carson Wentz: $6.669 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2016, as the No. 2 pick.

26. Jameis Winston: $6.337 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2015, as the No. 1 pick.

27. Marcus Mariota: $6.053 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2015, as the No. 2 pick.

28. Patrick Mahomes: $4.1 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2017, as the No. 10 pick.

29. Deshaun Watson: $3.463 million. Slotted rookie deal from 2017, as the No. 12 pick.

The list doesn’t include 32 quarterbacks, given the possibility that one or more rookie quarterbacks will be Week One starters. Wild cards include Sam Bradford, Josh McCown, and Nick Foles, any of whom could also be starting when the season begins.

Blake Bortles already throwing four weeks after wrist surgery

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Blake Bortles underwent surgery on his right wrist four weeks ago. He had no problem signing his name to the dotted line Saturday, so it appears to be healing just fine.

In fact, the Jaguars quarterback said he already has started throwing.

“It has been a day over four weeks,” Bortles said, via quotes distributed by the team. “I had a partially torn ligament on the outside, which he repaired and then on the inside or right on top was inflamed and he cleaned up. It was a scope or more of a cleanup type of procedure and four-to-six weeks is what he said [for the rehab]. It has been four weeks now. I threw Monday, Wednesday and Friday of last week in a limited capacity, and I will continue that program through the six-week mark, and then I should be good to go and 100 percent.”

Bortles has battled the wrist issue since December 2016, appearing on the injury report every week in 2017. Bortles, though, never appeared on the team’s status report and played 97.96 of the offensive snaps.

“I think I got three cortisone shots and a PRP [platelet rich plasma] shot,” Bortles said. “The PRP shot didn’t do anything at all and by the third cortisone shot they were starting to last less and less, so by the end of it they didn’t want to do anymore cortisone shots. Let’s make it through the season and get it fixed and get it right after the year.”

Three-year deal for Bortles gives Jaguars the flexibility to draft and develop a young quarterback

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The Jaguars did their due diligence, and they ultimately decided to do a deal with the guy they drafted four years ago. On the surface, it was nearly as surprising that the Jaguars signed Blake Bortles to a new three-year contract as it was when they made him the third overall pick in 2014.

On closer inspection, it’s a reasonable contract, at $18 million per year. More importantly, the duration is sufficiently short to give the team options in this draft, or the next.

Let’s say, for instance, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson is available at No. 29. The Jaguars could draft him and stash him, knowing that with the fifth-year option, they can keep him through 2022.

So maybe Jackson sits for a year. Maybe two. Maybe three, like Aaron Rodgers once did. Either way, the Jaguars will have a chance to let Jackson (or whoever they’d draft in that spot) develop slowly while Bortles tries to finish the job he unexpectedly started last year.

If the Jaguars don’t add a youngster in 2018, they can do it in 2019, when Bortles has only two years left on his contract.

However it plays out, the short-term nature and relatively low base value of the Bortles deal gives the Jaguars a way to balance the effort to win now against an opportunity to win later, all while leaving enough cash and cap space around to keep great young players with the team for years to come.

Blake Bortles’ dream was a second deal with team that drafted him

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Blake Bortles‘ three-year deal is worth $54 million, with another $12.5 million available through incentives, according to multiple reports. It’s a lot less than the five-year, $137.5 million contract that the 49ers recently gave Jimmy Garoppolo.

But the Jaguars quarterback is just as happy with his deal.

“It is a dream come true,” Bortles said, via quotes distributed by the team. “. . . Everyone dreams of making $100 million dollars or the quarterbacks are expected to sign the big deal, and that was never something that was very important to me. Signing this second deal with the team that drafted me was my goal from the beginning. It has been done, and I am excited and thrilled and proud of myself for being able to do that. There is obviously a lot of work and things that need to go on.”

The Jaguars answered any question about who their quarterback is for 2018.

Though Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said high expectations come with the contract, the deal was a vote of confidence for Bortles as their quarterback of the present.

“I told Ryan [Tollner], my agent, I was like, ‘Man, let’s just get it done so I can just go play football. I really would love to know and have confirmation that this is where I’m going to be, and now let’s go to work and continue to build on what we did last year and go play,'” Bortles said. “[I am] so happy and relieved and obviously extremely excited. It’s a dream come true to be able to sign a second contract by the team that drafted me. That was one of my goals from the start. It’s exciting to get it all done and get rolling now.”

Tom Coughlin: Blake Bortles’ contract comes with high expectations

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The Jaguars signed Blake Bortles to a three-year contract extension because they think he’s getting better and likely to keep getting better.

That’s the word from Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom Coughlin, who put out a statement tonight praising Bortles and saying the team has high hopes for him.

“Blake’s growth and development last season was a key to the success we had as a team,” Coughlin said. “Blake has proven, with toughness and dependability, that he can be the leader this team needs going forward. Along with this contract come high expectations that he will continue to improve and help our team accomplish its ultimate goal.”

Whether Bortles can continue the “growth and development” Coughlin saw last season remains to be seen, and it’s still possible he could regress and the Jaguars could move on a year from now. But for now, the plan in Jacksonville is for Bortles to be the man.

Jaguars sign Blake Bortles through 2020

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The Jaguars were exploring their quarterback options last week, but that process came to an end on Saturday because they are going to continue rolling with Blake Bortles.

PFT’s Mike Florio wondered if a long-term deal might be Jacksonville’s choice on Saturday afternoon and we got our answer later in the day. Shortly after Josina Anderson of ESPN reported that the Jaguars were working on a contract extension with Bortles, there were multiple reports that the Jaguars are giving Bortles a new three-year deal.

Those reports peg the total value of the deal at $54 million with another $12.5 million available through incentives.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that $26.5 million is guaranteed and the full details of the contract will show any outs the Jaguars have built in along the way to 2020. It seems clear that Bortles, who was set to make $19 million this season, is going to be the No.1 heading into the 2018 season at the very least.

That was far from a sure thing when the Jaguars benched him for a spell in favor of Chad Henne during the preseason, but two playoff wins and an assessment of the other options on the table convinced Jacksonville to stick with the bird in their hand.

The deal also takes one potential player in the free agent market for quarterbacks off the table with the start of the new league year almost around the corner.

Geno Smith joins the flat earth “debate”

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The ancient Greeks figured out that the earth was a sphere about 2,500 years ago, and Magellan proved it beyond a shadow of a doubt 500 years ago.

Geno Smith believes it’s still open to debate.

Smith said on Twitter that he is beginning to believe that NBA player and noted flat-earther Kyrie Irving has a point.

“I been studying this whole flat earth vs globe thing,” Smith wrote, “and I think I may be with Kyrie on this.”

Smith got more than 2,000 responses to that tweet, and he then engaged in a lengthy Twitter conversation with some who agreed with him and some who think he’s an idiot. In the end, however, he seemed persuaded by the evidence that the earth is, in fact, round.

“Hey guys I’m glad we had this talk today it was fun lol I know how you all love to debate on Twitter so this was good,” Smith wrote. “For the record Earth is a globe we know this. But why not listen to someone else’s beliefs or ‘truth.'”

Listening to others’ beliefs is never a bad idea. But if you’re listening to someone who believes the earth is flat, you’re not listening to “truth.”

Will Jaguars sign Blake Bortles to a long-term deal?

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The Jaguars, as explained on Friday, are currently exploring their quarterback options in free agency. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be jettisoning Blake Bortles, who is under contract for one more year at $19 million.

The Jaguars, in theory, could decide after exploring the various available veteran quarterbacks (and learning what it would cost to sign them) to try to parlay Bortles’ fifth-year option into a multi-year extension.

The question then becomes what the Jaguars would pay Bortles, and what Bortles would want. With the top of the market currently at $27.5 million and the bar destined to be nudged considerably higher than that soon, what if Bortles were to take something like $20 million per year on a five-year deal?

Even at $20 million per year, Bortles would trail Kirk Cousins, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Case Keenum (likely), and A.J. McCarron (possibly, but not likely). That puts Bortles in the bottom half of the league, above only Ryan Tannehill, Andy Dalton, Tom Brady (who averages a paltry $15 million per year), and the various young quarterbacks who have yet to get a second contract.

If the Jaguars were to go that route, it would represent a calculated effort to continue to entrust the job to Bortles while holding back enough money for the various other star players who will eventually be getting new contracts, like cornerback Jalen Ramsey, linebacker Myles Jack, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, and running back Leonard Fournette.

From Bortles’ perspective, the prospect of the Jaguars finding a new quarterback and cutting him before his $19 million salary for 2018 become fully guaranteed should be a sobering one. If he were to be dumped onto a open market that has more free agents than ever before (and a glut of quality rookies), what would another team offer him?

Probably not $20 million per year.

However it plays out, the Jaguars have a team that came within a whisker of getting to the Super Bowl. They could hold the team together and continue to ride with Bortles, who is still only 25.

Saturday one-liners

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The expansion of the Vontae Davis free-agency tour to include the Dolphins has brought back memories of the time he needed to call his grandma.

Here’s a look back at how some of the current Patriots did at the Scouting Combine.

The Bills got no compensatory draft picks, other than the second-rounder they picked up as part of the Sammy Watkins trade.

Will the Jets make a run at CB Trumaine Johnson?

The Ravens, who typically know how to work the compensatory draft-pick system to perfection, thought they’d get a third-round pick; they got a sixth.

Bengals WR John Ross doesn’t want to hear about running fast in a straight line.

The Browns have received only 13 compensatory draft picks since the system was implemented in 1994.

Should the Steelers bring back LB Lawrence Timmons if/when Miami cuts him?

The Texans have signed defensive line coach Anthony Weaver to a two-year extension, putting him under contract through 2020.

It’s the most important offseason for the Colts since 2012.

Jaguars owner Shad Khan approached Tom Coughlin, Dave Caldwell, and Doug Marrone about contract extensions shortly after the season ended.

Titans S Kevin Byard and Baltimore S Eric Weddle have become friends.

The Broncos have gotten 15 compensatory draft picks since 2015.

Chiefs fans aren’t happy about the decision to trade CB Marcus Peters.

Chargers FB Derek Watt got married.

The Raiders will have six sixth-round picks.

The Cowboys still don’t know whether Byron Jones will be playing cornerback or safety.

With a fifth-round compensatory pick, the Giants are back to seven picks for the 2018 draft.

Get ready for an Eagles-themed episode of The Goldbergs.

Washington TE Vernon Davis spent some time in Korea for the Olympics.

Bears RB Tarik Cohen welcomes comparisons to Tyreek Hill.

Two straight years, no compensatory draft picks for the Lions.

The Packers will have a dozen draft picks.

With two compensatory draft picks to offset the two that previously were traded, the Vikings are back to seven total draft picks.

LB Sean Weatherspoon hopes to remain with the Falcons.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera tried his hand at curling.

Here’s a blueprint for the Saints’ offseason.

Who will be the Buccaneers’ backup quarterback?

The departure of five defensive starters via free agency contributed directly to the Cardinals’ compensatory draft-pick haul.

Even with the acquisition of CB Marcus Peters, the Rams still have needs in their secondary.

The 49ers may have been interested in CB Marcus Peters, but they never made an offer for him.

Why weren’t the Seahawks interested in trading for CB Marcus Peters?

Patriots bring back Brandon Bolden

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Running back Brandon Bolden has spent his entire six-year career with the Patriots. He’s on track to spend at least one more in New England.

Field Yates of ESPN reports that the Patriots have signed Bolden to a one-year deal. The contract is worth $880,000, and it includes $170,000 in guarantees.

Bolden appeared in every game last season, contributing mainly on special teams. He had 27 rushing yards and his only touchdown of the season in a divisional-round win over the Titans.

His career high as a rusher came during his rookie season, with 274 yards. Bolden had 67 yards during the 2017 regular season.

Colts hire Tom Manning as tight ends coach

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The Colts will once again have a Manning as part of their offense this season.

Tom Manning has been hired as the Colts’ tight ends coach, the Des Moines Register reports. Manning had previously been the offensive coordinator at Iowa State.

Manning is not related to Colts great Peyton Manning.

Although he hasn’t coached in the NFL before, Manning has earned a reputation as a very good offensive coordinator at the college level. In his two years calling plays at Iowa State, the Cyclones had their two most productive passing offenses in program history.

Larry Fitzgerald visits ailing Senator John McCain

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Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald has paid a visit to his state’s ailing senator, John McCain.

An Instagram post from Cindy McCain showed Fitzgerald and the McCains in the family’s cabin, where Senator McCain has been getting medical treatment for the last two months.

“Look who came for a visit today,” Cindy McCain wrote. “Our favorite Cardinal and a wonderful human being!”

McCain and Fitzgerald have become friends during Fitzgerald’s 14 seasons as a Cardinal. The 81-year-old McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer in July and had to be hospitalized in Maryland in December. Although he was able to return home after his hospitalization, he has not been able to return to Washington.