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Tannehill knows he’s not a franchise quarterback, yet

Tannehill Getty Images

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill signed a contract this week that, in “new money” average, puts him at No. 6 among all quarterbacks. Which suggests that he’s a franchise quarterback.

But Tannehill realizes that the new contract doesn’t make him a franchise quarterback, just yet.

“I think it’s a step in that direction for sure,” Tannehill said on Thursday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio. “It shows that the team believes in me, the organization believes in me, the ownership believes in me.”

That belief could be enough to help Tannehill get to the proverbial next level. Because now he knows what they think of him. They think that they’ve got a bird in the hand — which is why they offered him a bird-in-the-hand contract. And if he becomes the proverbial two in the bush, the Dolphins will have him at a much lower rate than what a true franchise quarterback currently commands.

Which eventually will make Tannehill want contract that pays him accordingly. Which will be a good problem for the Dolphins to have.

For more from Tannehill, click the thing in the thing below.

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Zimmer says he has an idea when Peterson will show up

Adrian Peterson AP

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still hasn’t participated in any offseason work, but coach Mike Zimmer thinks he has an idea when Peterson will show up.

Zimmer declined to give a specific date he’s expecting to see Peterson, but he told 1500 ESPN that he does have a sense for when Peterson will get to work.

“I think I do have an indication,” Zimmer said. “It’s up to Adrian, really. He’s the guy you should ask. . . . We’d like all our players here. It’s the voluntary time of year right now and it’s his decision in what he wants to do.”

Offseason work stops being voluntary on June 16, when the Vikings open their mandatory minicamp. If Peterson skips that, the Vikings can fine him $70,000. Which might mean June 16 is when Zimmer expects to see Peterson.

And if Peterson doesn’t show up to the mandatory minicamp, there’s no telling when Zimmer might see Peterson. If Peterson is so disgruntled that he’s willing to cost himself money to stay away, this already uncomfortable situation could get really ugly.

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Packers sign rookie cornerback Travis Manning

Seattle Seahawks v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

The Packers have added a little more cornerback depth in advance of next week’s OTAs, signing undrafted rookie Travis Manning, the club said Thursday.

The 24-year-old Manning intercepted 10 passes over four seasons at Division II Northwest Missouri State (2011-2014). He also competed in track and field in 2010 and 2011.

The Packers now have eight cornerbacks under contract. A ninth potential cornerback, first-round pick Damarious Randall, has yet to sign with the club.

The Packers have one open roster spot.

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Antonio Smith child abuse investigation is “sexual in nature”

Smith Getty Images

Earlier on Thursday, multiple reports emerged regarding an investigation of Broncos defensive lineman Antonio Smith for child abuse. According to the Associated Press, the investigation involves a more ominous element.

Fort Bend County (Texas) Sheriff Troy Nehls told the AP that a complaint was made against Smith in November 2014, and that it is “sexual in nature.” Nehls investigated the case, and he forwarded the findings to the Fort Bend County district attorney in February 2015.

The NFL has not yet responded to a request for confirmation that the mere existence of the investigation will trigger a league investigation under the Personal Conduct Policy. If Smith eventually is charged, he presumably will be placed on the Commissioner Exempt list until the case is resolved.

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Hernandez shows up in court with ironic new tattoo

proxy AP

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez returned to court on Thursday, for the first time since he was convicted last month for killing Odin Lloyd in June 2013. And when Hernandez returned to court, his collection of tattoos that previously crept below the cuffs of his dress shirt has now migrated above the collar.

The word “LIFETIME” can be seen on the right side of Hernandez’s neck, above the rest of a design that may have other words below it.

(You know, a word like “SENTENCE.”)

Hernandez pleaded not guilty on Thursday on charges of witness intimidation that arises from the allegation that he shot Alexander Bradley in the face and left him for dead in Florida several months after the drive-by shooting in Boston that left two men dead. Hernandez is awaiting trial in that double murder, with no date set yet.

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Super Bowl 51 set for February 5, 2017

Reliant Stadium Makes Preperations For Super Bowl XXXVIII Getty Images

You can begin to send out the “Save the Date” cards for Super Bowl 51 in Houston.

The game will be held on Sunday, February 5, 2017, the league said Thursday, according to the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee.

NRG Stadium, home of the Texans, is the game site for Super Bowl 51. Reliant Stadium’s lone other Super Bowl was one of the wildest in game history, with the Patriots knocking off the Panthers 32-29 in Super Bowl XXXVIII. (We’ll have to see if the roof will be closed this time.)

Super Bowl 50 will be held at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California on February 7, 2016.

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Texans release Tyson Clabo

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyson Clabo AP

Veteran tackle Tyson Clabo saw action in all 16 games as a reserve for the Texans last year after being signed during training camp, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be playing any for the team this year.

The Texans announced Clabo’s release on Thursday. He was set to make $900,000 this season in the second year of the two-year deal he signed last summer.

Clabo last started a game for the Dolphins in 2013 as part of one of the league’s leakiest offensive lines. Clabo started 15 games for Miami that year and struggled in the early weeks of the season before putting up a better effort down the stretch. He was also a regular starter for the Falcons for seven years and will likely be in the market for another reserve role for the 2015 season.

Derek Newton started every game at right tackle for Houston last season and should be back in the spot this year after re-signing with the team in March.

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Falcons linebacker gets suspension reduced to $50,000 fine

bartu Getty Images

Falcons linebacker Joplo Bartu slid his paperwork in under the deadline, and saved himself a couple of games.

According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Bartu had a two-game suspension turned into a $50,000 fine for an alcohol-related offense last season.

Last year, Bartu pleaded no contest to a DUI, and got a two-day suspended sentence and a year of probation, and in March the league suspended him for two games.

But the league changed its policy last year, calling for two-game suspensions for DUIs which weren’t resolved before Nov. 1.

Bartu reached the plea agreement in late October, but didn’t appear before the judge until November. He was able to provide the league documentation of the deal before the deadline, so they circled back and amended his punishment.

See, the league is willing to work with punished players when “new information” comes to light.

Wonder if it will catch on?

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Former players file 2nd lawsuit claiming teams pushed painkillers to mask pain

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In December, Judge William Alsup dismissed a lawsuit brought by former players against the NFL claiming that team doctors urged players to use prescription painkillers to mask pain that might have kept them on the field without proper explanation of the risks involved with such medication.

Alsup ruled that the Collective Bargaining Agreement covered such a grievance and that “these benefits may not have been perfect but they have been uniform across all clubs and not left to the vagaries of state common law.” Alsup also suggested that the claims should be made against teams and not the league. That decision has been appealed and now a group of former players has filed another lawsuit against the 32 NFL teams on similar grounds.

The Associated Press reports “hundreds of former players” have filed suit in the U.S. Northern District of Maryland claiming that team doctors and trainers provided painkillers, sometimes illegally, “as part of a decades-long conspiracy to keep them on the field without regard for their long-term health.”

“This lawsuit alleges intentional activity by the teams, not negligence,” plaintiffs’ attorney Steve Silverman said. “It’s another part of a unified effort to provide health care and compensation to the thousands of former players who have been permanently injured or died as a result of playing professional football.”

The lawsuit also claims that several coaches, including Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and Wayne Fontes, told players that their jobs were in jeopardy if they didn’t take painkillers in order to return to the field. Players also allege that prescriptions for the medication were filled out without in their names without their knowledge.

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NFL suspends Marcell Dareus for Week 1

Marcell Dareus AP

Bills defensive tackle Marcell Dareus will miss the season opener against the Colts.

The NFL announced today that Dareus has been suspended without pay for the first game of the regular season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Dareus can participate in the offseason and preseason, but he won’t be able to practice or play during Week One.

Dareus, who was arrested last year on charges of possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia, acknowledged that the suspension was warranted.

“Last year, I made a mistake involving possession of a banned substance,” Dareus said in a statement. “The NFL’s discipline for this conduct is part of the drug policy, and I apologize to my family, my teammates, the entire Bills organization and Bills fans that I will miss one game as a result of my mistake. I will work intensely that week and will be extremely happy to contribute to a win in week two for the Bills.”

Dareus has been to the Pro Bowl the last two years. He’ll be missed by the Bills in the first game of the season.

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Raiders special teams coach says new rule doesn’t change much

Janikowski Getty Images

Is the NFL’s new extra point rule much ado about nothing?

It is according to Raiders special teams coach Brad Seely, who said in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he thinks an extra point kick snapped from the 15-yard line is still close to a sure thing, while a two-point conversion attempt from the 2-yard line is still less than a 50-50 proposition.

“The ball is still on the 2, if you want to go for two, the conversion rate is 48 percent. The kickers are going to have to prove that they can’t convert those kicks from the 15,” Seely said.

Although there has been some talk that the extra point now becomes a harder play in bad weather, Seely doesn’t see it that way.

“It cracks me up, all these teams that are in the north are saying they’re at a disadvantage, they’re not at a disadvantage. They’re playing the other team on the same field. Let’s say you’re in Buffalo and there’s a blizzard going on, that’s going to maybe changing your thinking. The other part of that is, you still have to score from the 2 in a blizzard,” Seely said.

What does change for a special teams coach is that a blocked extra point can now be returned by the defense. Seely said he made a point of explaining that rule before it was even officially voted on.

“We were just coaching that up yesterday in the OTA for our field goal team,” Seely said. “I said they’re going to change the rules today probably and we always have it in there on a PAT in a fire situation – throw it up. Nothing bad is going to happen. Just let it go. Now you’ve got to treat those PATs like field goals, you got to make good decisions if you’re the holder or the kicker with the ball. You can’t do a Garo Yepremian, and throw it up in the air, now it could easily be two points.”

That’s a discussion every special teams coach will have to have with his players. But other than that, the new extra point rule may not change much about the way special teams are coached in the NFL.

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Tell us about your most unexpected NFL memorabilia find

Gus Frerotte figurine

There has never been a better time to find sports apparel and memorabilia. Titans fan in Alaska? Saints fan in Spain? There are numerous websites to find what you seek. (Including, we will add helpfully, this one.)

However, the knick-knacks we find unexpectedly can be the most enjoyable to secure.

And sometimes, we find them in the oddest places.

For instance, on Sunday, I picked up the Gus Frerotte figurine pictured here for a cool $1.99 in a dollar/discount store. I went in looking for old-school sports apparel, and I came out with . . . well, a Gus Frerotte action figure with a head sized disproportionately big relative to the rest of its body. It’s now in my home office, to be treasured until it is “accidentally” lost in a move or a spring cleaning.

eBay can be a treasure trove for interesting older NFL stuff. For a time in college, I collected vintage NFL ski caps. (The Steelers one, it should be noted, is an original; I would suspect I’ve had that since 1983.)

Anyways, with Bud Grant’s spectacular garage sale on the mind, let’s open it up to PFT Planet. What’s the best piece of NFL memorabilia or apparel you have ever found in an unexpected place? It can be any memento, and it can be from anywhere you weren’t looking — maybe a garage sale, a yard sale, a strange outlet mall, an unlicensed vendor selling knock-off stuff outside a stadium.

Let us know in the comments. And vote in the poll, which concerns all NFL memorabilia, regardless of where you got it.

Have fun.

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Incorrect report emerges that NFL will announce Rams return to L.A. in August

Rams Getty Images

A day after the latest flurry of developments regarding the NFL’s inevitable return to Los Angeles, Glen Walker of KTLA took it to the next level.

Walker reported Thursday that the NFL will announce in August that the Rams will return to Los Angeles.

In response, multiple reports have shot down Walker’s report. Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times did it more generally, with this tweet: “You might hear some reports that the NFL has already decided the LA site/team(s). There is a scientific word for reports like these: Bogus.”

Even if the Rams will eventually be returning to L.A., the NFL surely won’t be announcing that in August. As of August, the Rams would still have a full season to play in St. Louis. After the mess than unfolded in Cleveland when the Browns announced in November a plan to move to Baltimore, the NFL learned that these issues can’t come to a head when a team still has games left to play in its current town.

Besides, the NFL is committed to its formal relocation process. The window to apply for relocation won’t open until late in the 2015 season, at the earliest. Then, the application must be considered and approved, before a move can be announced.

None of that will happen by August. Which means that there’s no way the NFL will announce that the Rams or anyone will be moving to Los Angeles in August.

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Saints sign Andrus Peat

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The Saints aren’t sure where Andrus Peat will fit on their offensive line, but they do have him under contract.

The team announced Thursday that they have agreed to terms with the first of their two first-round picks. Peat, like all first-rounders, signed a four-year deal that comes with a team option for a fifth year that must be exercised in the offseason after his third professional season.

Peat was the 13th pick in the draft after a career at Stanford that saw him make 27 starts over the last two seasons. He was the left tackle in Palo Alto last season, but has been talked about as a right tackle in the NFL often enough that current Saints right tackle Zach Strief thinks Peat will eventually replace him in the starting lineup.

The Saints haven’t said when or if that will happen and even offered the possibility that Peat could kick inside to guard, where they are looking to replace the traded Ben Grubbs. Peat will have to wait a bit to continue working with the team because of Stanford’s schedule, but should compete for a job on a line that needs to improve this year once he returns to the team.

With Peat signed, the Saints have now agreed to contracts with their entire 2015 draft class.

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Ryan Tannehill: I’m really excited to have DeVante Parker

Baltimore Ravens v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill signed a contract extension that runs through the 2020 season this week that was a bet on his future by the team after three promising years that have ended without playoff berths.

The team reworked Tannehill’s receiving corps during the early stages of the offseason by welcoming Kenny Stills, Greg Jennings and tight end Jordan Cameron while saying goodbye to Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, Brandon Gibson and tight end Charles Clay. They then added wide receiver DeVante Parker with their first-round pick in a move that has left Tannehill excited about what the former Louisville wideout can bring to the offense.

“I like what I see so far. He’s an athletic guy. Fast, strong hands, adjusts to the ball really well,” Tannehill said during a Thursday appearance on PFT Live. “He’s a natural pass catcher, he doesn’t fight the ball and it’s easy for him to make the tough catch. A guy with that range, his body size and natural pass catching ability, I’m really excited to have him and like what I’ve seen thus far.”

Tannehill also talked about his growing comfort level with the other new targets and his hope that the offense can be more productive in the red zone and on deep balls this year. Many have pointed to a bad relationship with Wallace as a big part of those problems, but Tannehill avoided pointing fingers at anyone for those shortcomings in 2014 by saying that there were a variety of reasons why the team struggled in those areas.

The Dolphins obviously don’t think Tannehill was a major part of those problems and we’ll find out relatively soon if Parker and company were the right prescription for the offense.

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