Giants release Brandon Marshall

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The Giants appear to be holding onto Odell Beckham, but another one of the team’s wide receivers is on the way out the door.

Kimberley Martin of the Washington Post reported that Marshall has been informed that the team will be releasing him on Thursday and General Manager Dave Gettleman confirmed it during a press conference. Gettleman said that Marshall will be released with the failed physical designation after suffering a season-ending ankle injury last year.

Marshall signed with the Giants last year and had 18 catches for 154 yards in the five games he played before landing on injured reserve. Marshall’s departure will save the Giants over $5.1 million in cap space, which they can use as the latest NFLPA cap report has them with under $5 million in space at the moment.

Dez Bryant has shown interest in joining the Giants, which seemed unlikely as long as Marshall joined Beckham and Sterling Shepard on the depth chart. We’ll see if there’s mutual interest now that the Giants have opened up some space in the position group.

Kirk Cousins to face Jets in Week Seven

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Quarterback Kirk Cousins picked the Vikings over the Jets. Cousins will still be seeing the Jets in 2018.

The Vikings will face the Jets in Week Seven at 1:00 p.m. ET, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The game will played at MetLife Stadium.

It will be Minnesota’s first game against the Jets on the road since 2010, when Brett Favre was in his second season with the Vikings after an 8-3 start gone bad in 2008 as the Jets’ quarterback.

The full schedule will be unveiled at 8:00 p.m. ET. Even though every game possibly will be leaked by then.

Cardinals sign cornerback Marcus Williams

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The Cardinals announced they have signed cornerback Marcus Williams to a one-year contract.

Williams, 27, bounced between the Texans and the Jets in his first four NFL seasons. He started his career in Houston in 2014. The Texans cut him out of the preseason but signed him to the practice squad.

When Houston cut him from the practice, the Jets signed Williams to theirs.

He played 34 games with the Jets from 2014-2017.

Williams landed back in Houston last season after the Jets cut him, and he played 10 games with the Texans.

For his career, Williams has 10 interceptions, 20 passes defensed, 107 tackles (92 solo), 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery.

Report: Saints will host Falcons on Thanksgiving night

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The Falcons and Saints have played one of their annual meetings in prime time in nine of the last 11 meetings, but they have never faced each other on Thanksgiving.

That is reportedly going to change in 2018. Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the Saints will be playing host to the Falcons on Thanksgiving night this year. The Lions and Cowboys traditionally host afternoon games that day, but there’s been no word yet on their opponents for this year. Duncan reports that the Saints will then travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys the next Thursday night.

The NFL will unveil the entire schedule at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday.

Atlanta and New Orleans split their two games last season with each team winning on their home field. The Falcons’ 20-17 win in Week 14 came on a Thursday night.

Jamie Meder signs restricted tender with Browns

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Defensive lineman Jamie Meder signed his restricted tender Thursday, the Browns announced.

Meder was a key contributor in 2017, playing in 10 games and starting two before a high-ankle sprain prematurely ended his season. The Browns placed him on injured reserve November 21.

The Ashland University product began his career with the Ravens in 2014, but when they cut him from the practice squad late that season, the Browns added to their practice squad and later to the 53-player roster. He has played 43 games with 16 starts since arriving in Cleveland.

Meder, 27, has 95 career tackles and two sacks.

Report: Jets will face the Browns on Thursday night in Week Three

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A FOX executive recently suggested that the Thursday night schedule will include an improved slate of games. One of those games will include a team that has won one game in the last two seasons, against a team that many thought would be much worse than 5-11 in 2017.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Browns will host the Jets to start Week Three, on a Thursday night.

It’s possible that this will be an NFL Network-only contest, one of the various games that won’t be simulcast by FOX. The fact that both teams are expected to take quarterbacks in the first three selections gives the game a little more luster, but since the game is being played so early, it’s likely that the game will feature Tyrod Taylor vs. Josh McCown, not (for example) Josh Allen vs. Baker Mayfield.

Last year, every team had at least one prime-time game, with the exception of the Browns and the Jaguars.

The full slate of games will be unveiled on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Saquon Barkley will make four straight years with a Top 10 running back

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In the 2013 NFL draft, no running backs were chosen in the first round, and a running back didn’t go off the board until No. 37, when Giovani Bernard went to the Bengals. A year later, there were again no running backs in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft, and not even any running backs in the Top 50: Bishop Sankey, No. 54 overall to the Titans, was the first back off the board.

That led to talk that the running back position had been so devalued in the modern NFL that running backs simply wouldn’t go near the top of the draft anymore. But that talk has proven incorrect.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is certain to go in the Top 10 a week from tonight, and that will make the 2018 draft the fourth straight year with a Top 10 running back.

Todd Gurley reversed the trend when he went 10th overall to the Rams in 2015. Ezekiel Elliott went fourth overall to the Cowboys in 2016. And last year there were two Top 10 running backs, Leonard Fournette at No. 4 and Christian McCaffrey at No. 8.

So while it’s true that the NFL is far more of a passing league than it used to be, running backs haven’t been phased out quite as much as it may have appeared during those 2013 and 2014 drafts. If a running back has talent, an NFL team will gladly use a high pick to acquire him.

Report: Peyton Manning didn’t want to call Eli Manning games

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In turning down network broadcast offers from FOX and ESPN, former quarterback and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning said “I don’t want to be a critic at this point.”

Apparently, he didn’t want to be a critic of one guy in particular.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, Peyton made it clear he didn’t want to call games involving his brother Eli.

The report said there was even some discussion of keeping the Giants out of the Fox Thursday package to accommodate him, which they probably wouldn’t have minded for their Sunday schedule anyway.

And while it might not have been the main reason the elder Manning checked his reads and threw one out of bounds this time, it’s interesting that it was a factor, as he’s played against his brother before.

For the record, Peyton is 3-0 against Eli, beating him twice with the Colts and once with the Broncos.

James White on Tom Brady: He knows what he’s doing

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The Patriots continued their offseason work without quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday and his absence was a topic of questions for running back James White when White met with the media.

Brady has returned from a trip to Qatar, but didn’t join the Patriots for the first phase of their offseason program, which has touched off a round of speculation about his plans and/or desires for 2018. White didn’t shed any light on those fronts, but didn’t seem preturbed about the quarterback’s absence.

“I mean it’s not really my position to comment on that, but he’s a guy that’s had a lot of success in this league and he knows what he’s doing. So it’s not really my position to comment on his situation,” White said in comments distributed by the team.

White said pretty much the same thing about tight end Rob Gronkowski and was not asked about workouts that Brady has reportedly set up for the gap between offseason work and training camp. He did add that he doesn’t think any player will be buying into the program any less because of the absences.

Fan gets signed Dan Snyder photo in response to plea to keep Kirk Cousins

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When Washington fan Matt Fraedrich wrote a personal letter to Dan Snyder in December, what he was hoping to get out of it was a long-term commitment from the franchise to quarterback Kirk Cousins. What he actually got was something very different.

Fraedrich got a signed photograph of team owner Daniel Snyder.

“There wasn’t even a cover letter or anything,” Fraedrich told the Washington Post. “Just one photo of Dan Snyder, signed.”

What Fraedrich had asked for was for Snyder to keep Cousins around, something Snyder did not do.

“Please give Kirk Cousins a long-term deal that makes him happy to be Redskin, even if that means making him the highest-paid player in NFL history. Thank you,” Fraedrich wrote in his original letter.

Fraedrich said that’s all in the past and he’s now going to cheer for the team’s new quarterback, Alex Smith. But he referred to Snyder responding to his letter with an autographed picture of himself as ” kind of a jackass move.”

Jaguars bring back all-black helmets with new uniforms

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The Jaguars unveiled their new uniforms on Thursday, although one aspect of them will be familiar to those with a long memory.

The team is going back to the all-black helmets they used earlier in their history, including when current executive vice president of football operations Tom Coughlin was the team’s head coach. Coughlin referenced that history while discussing the return of the old look.

“A traditional, classic, distinctive National Football League uniform that could be related to,” Coughlin said in a statement. “We have three players that should be in the Hall of Fame. Tony Boselli should be in the Hall of Fame, Fred Taylor should be in the Hall of Fame and Jimmy Smith should be in the Hall of Fame. The thing that’s important for me in thinking about this uniform is the connect. The players of the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars will wear a uniform, that when they see those three people inducted into the Hall of Fame, they can relate directly to that. That’s the distinctive, traditional, classic, uniform of the Jacksonville Jaguars.”

The team also showed off five new uniform combinations. They have white, teal and black jerseys and pants in the same color with the options of going all one color or mixing the black pants with either of the other jerseys.

Will Baker Mayfield will his way to the top five?

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I love a good story. And any story that features a guy taking multiple chances on himself and succeeding each time is a good story in my book.

Enter Baker Mayfield. A recent profile from Robert Klemko of SI.com has generated headlines because Mayfield admits to not being fully prepared for a meeting with the Chargers. But there’s a reason for Mayfield’s lack of attention to that team’s playbook in advance of the meeting: Mayfield believes he’ll be long gone before the Chargers put a name on the card that will contain the name of the 17th overall pick in the draft.

Mayfield, when meeting with the man he’d hire to represent him and reviewing a list of 2017 draft picks and the contracts they signed, drew a line after the Broncos at No. 5 and said, “I’m not going later than this.”

I’m not about to doubt the guy. And not just because the Jets seem to be smitten with him at No. 3. If not the Jets, it will be someone else, potentially by trading up to get him.

Mayfield’s current status marks the culmination of a journey that began when, at the urging of his father, he decided to pass on scholarship offers from Texas Tech and Washington State and walk on at Texas Tech. He instantly became the starter. Then he transferred to Oklahoma, walking on again. And he instantly became the starter, again.

He’s short. So what? He can play, and he can play well. And he seems to have the quality that so many of the great quarterbacks have, a confidence that from time to time crosses over into delusion but that never really is delusion because he backs up what he believes. He believes he’ll be a top-five pick, and so he will.

And then we’ll see what happens when he commences the process of making other things he surely believes comes to fruition, in the same way he previously has.

Jaguars to open the NFL’s first dog park

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Cats and dogs living together! Mass hysteria!

The Jaguars have announced a historic first, as they’re opening the NFL’s first in-stadium dog park this fall at EverBank Field.

And it’s not just a place for their 2008 through 2016 teams to congregate, but a new amenity as they try to punch up their fan experience. At a time when teams are worried about people staying home and watching it on TV, allowing some of them to bring man’s best friend along can’t hurt.

Of course, things could get ugly if the Browns show up and start throwing dog bones around, but for a team that was recently known for a stadium full of tarps, trying to do something unique’s a great idea.

Eagles open to trading out of first round

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The Eagles don’t have a lot of capital in this year’s draft. As the Super Bowl champions they pick last in each round, and they’ve traded away their second- and third-round picks. They didn’t get any compensatory picks this year, either.

All that means it would make sense for Philadelphia to move down and collect more picks. Eagles G.M. Howie Roseman was asked if he’s open to trading out of the first round, and he confirmed that he is.

“We’re open for business in every round,” Roseman said.

The last pick in the first round of the draft has been traded three of the last four years, and teams like those late first-round picks because players drafted in the first round have fifth-year options on their contracts, meaning those players have to wait a year longer before they can leave in free agency. Roseman will surely get calls about trading No. 32, and he’s open to a deal.

Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

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Buccaneers linebacker Kendell Beckwith will spend much, if not all, of the offseason recovering from a fractured ankle.

Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht said during a Thursday press conference that Beckwith was injured in a car accident last week while at home in Louisiana. Beckwith, who was a passenger in the car, had surgery on Tuesday.

Per multiple reporters at the press conference, Licht said it is too soon to have an idea about when Beckwith will be able to resume football activities. As a result, he can’t rule out the possibility that Beckwith will miss regular season time as a result of the injury.

Beckwith was a third-round pick last year and played just under 80 percent of the defensive snaps while staring nine games. He ended the year with 73 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.