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Austin Seferian-Jenkins reaches plea deal in DUI case

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05:    Austin Seferian-Jenkins #88 of the New York Jets in action against the Indianapolis Colts during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 5, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins lost his job with the Buccaneers following an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol last September, but he won’t be spending any time in jail.

TMZ Sports reports that Seferian-Jenkins, who joined the Jets after his departure from Tampa, has reached a plea deal in the case. Seferian-Jenkins entered a plea of no contest on a reckless driving charge and was sentenced to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service. He’ll also pay a fine and attend a DUI prevention class.

The NFL has typically suspended players involved in DUI incidents for two games, so the tight end is likely to face discipline from the league heading into next season.

Seferian-Jenkins, who is signed for next season, caught three passes for 44 yards with the Bucs and 10 passes for 110 yards with the Jets in 2016.

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Dolphins cutting defensive linemen Mario Williams, Earl Mitchell

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 01:  Mario Williams #94 of the Miami Dolphins looks on during a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins are clearing the decks of some salary today.

In addition to the previously reported release of left tackle Branden Albert, they’re also cutting defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, according to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald adds defensive end Mario Williams and cornerback Ifo  Ekpre-Olomu to the discard pile.

Williams 32, clears $8.5 million in cap space, and they might not miss him. He only had 1.5 sacks last year, and was ridden by the coaching staff for what appeared to be a lack of effort.

Mitchell started five games last year, and was set to make $4 million this year, so the calculus obviously wasn’t in his favor. The 29-year-old Mitchell spent his first four years in the league with the Texans.

The Dolphins activated Mitchell from injured reserve this season after he recovered from a calf injury, and he helped their run defense upon coming back. Now, he’ll be looking for work.

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Kurt Warner believes in developmental leagues

1489d070-70f6-11e5-b7af-6585a205fa09_amsterdam-admirals AP

Without a robust Arena League or the long-defunct World League, Kurt Warner may have never been anything more to the NFL community than a guy to whom people would say, “Hey, you have the same name as the guy who played running back for the Seahawks.” (Like the attitude, only spelled different.)

Warner (Kurt not Curt) therefore believes that it’s important for the NFL to have a true developmental league.

“[T]here’s a lot of these young guys that are extremely talented and have great college careers but they’re never prepared for what takes place at the next level,” Warner said during a recent visit to PFT Live. “So I think that’s why you’re seeing a very NFL-star league when you’re talking about quarterbacks because a lot of these guys, it’s just tough for them to develop. They’ve never learned it and so now they’re trying to learn it at the highest level and it’s just hard to do. So I worry about that greatly that there’s no place, no training ground, no opportunity for them to play, and I say that I think that was the greatest thing for me.”

Getting released by the Packers in 1994 laid the foundation for those opportunities in other football leagues.

“From the time I got cut with Green Bay until the day I retired, Brett Favre did not miss a single start . . . not a single start. So had I stayed there, if anything I’m a backup for whatever number of years if I ever get an opportunity to start yet while other people were sitting on the bench, I went and played in a whole bunch of football games. Three years in Arena Football, over in NFL Europe. Arena Football was like the two-minute drill every time. You were expected to score, you had to make plays and I learned how to play football. I don’t think there’s any experience that can get you ready to play like playing and that’s what I think is the hard part is there’s no place for these guys to go and develop and learn how to play the quarterback position.”

With a new spring league launching and the CFL and AFL both around (albeit barely), young quarterbacks who can’t get live reps in the NFL should embrace any chance they get to play. Tim Tebow should have done it. Vince Young should have done it. Johnny Manziel should be doing it.

If Kurt Warner hadn’t, he surely wouldn’t be standing next to a bronze bust in August and wearing a gold jacket that actually looks more like mustard than gold but mustard jacket doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

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Nick Mangold not expected to have ankle surgery

Nick Mangold AP

When Jets center Nick Mangold was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury in December, he and coach Todd Bowles both said that there was a possibility that surgery would be required to repair the problem.

It’s been a couple of months since Mangold went on I.R. and he hasn’t gone in for an operation. That will apparently remain the case.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that Mangold has told other players on the team that he won’t need to have surgery ahead of the 2017 season.

While that question seems to be answered, there’s another big one facing Mangold in the coming weeks. He’s set to have a cap number of $9.075 million, all of which the Jets would get back if they decided to move on without the longtime anchor of their offensive line.

Mehta reports that the Jets don’t want to bring Mangold back at that number, but that a pay cut has not been discussed with the veteran at this point.

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Report: Tony Romo expects to be cut not traded

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Injured Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys throws prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s happening.

As PFT has long predicted (most recently just earlier this hour on The Dan Patrick Show), the Cowboys likely will be releasing not trading quarterback Tony Romo. While that hasn’t happened yet, it’s pointing in that direction.

Ed Werder of ESPN reports that Romo is expecting to be released, not traded.

Back in December, it was predicted on a special Saturday edition of Thursday Night Football that Romo would ask for his release — and that the Cowboys would be inclined to ultimately agree. Since then, it has been predicted in this spot and other PFT-related hangouts that Romo and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will hammer out a wink-nod arrangement in which Romo gets cut in return for a verbal agreement not to sign with specific other teams including but not limited to Washington. (It would be unenforceable and a Collective Bargaining Agreement violation, but Jones surely trusts that Romo wouldn’t blow the whistle or otherwise reneging.)

Apart from the complexity of trading an aging quarterback with a recent history of significant injuries, Romo would have to welcome a deal that transfers his contract (at a $14 million salary) to a new team for which he may or may not want to play. It makes more sense for him to negotiate a new deal from scratch with the team of his choice. And if that team doesn’t have to give up draft picks to get Romo, that team may be inclined to pay him even more than it otherwise would.

So count this report from Werder as Step One. Before too long, Romo could be stepping right out of Dallas, with an agreed list of potential destinations based on a secret side deal that no one ever will acknowledge.

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Report: Texans unlikely to tag A.J. Bouye

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: A.J. Bouye #21 of the Houston Texans runs the ball in the first half against the New England Patriots during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) Getty Images

As of Wednesday, teams are allowed to use the franchise tag until March 1 and that will put attention on teams with key players heading for free agency in the next couple of weeks.

One team in that position is the Texans, who have cornerback A.J. Bouye on track to hit the open market after a strong 2016 season. As of now, though, it doesn’t look like they’ll be using it.

Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports that the Texans are unlikely to use their tag on Bouye or anyone else from the team. Doing so would set Bouye up to make over $14 million for the 2017 season and the Texans are projected to have in the neighborhood of $25 million of cap space to work with this offseason.

Bouye played in 15 games and made 11 starts for the Texans last year and led the team with 16 passes defensed. He had one regular season interception, added two more in the playoffs and will likely draw plenty of interest on the open market after showing well in coverage throughout the season.

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Report: Dolphins will cut Branden Albert

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 29:  Branden Albert #76 of the Miami Dolphins in action against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on November 29, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Dolphins plan to release veteran offensive tackle Branden Albert, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Thursday.

Albert, 32, spent the last three seasons with the Dolphins and made his second Pro Bowl in 2015. He played his first six seasons with the Chiefs.

The Dolphins drafted Laremy Tunsil in the first round last year and played him mostly at guard as a rookie, but releasing Albert does not come as a surprise because the team sees Tunsil as its left tackle of the future.

Albert had two years left on his contract and was due to make $8.8 million in 2017 had he stayed with the Dolphins.

Albert started all 12 games for which he was healthy last season. He becomes an interesting addition to the free agent tackle market. Earlier this week, the Jets declined to pick up the option on Ryan Clady and the Jaguars decided the same with Kelvin Beachum, making both free agents next month.

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Report: Terrelle Pryor “instructed” agents to get a deal done in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 24:  Terrelle Pryor #11 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after defeating the San Diego Chargers 20-17 at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 24, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) Getty Images

For some players, Cleveland is a place you try to escape when your four years of drafted servitude expire.

But it appears Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor not only doesn’t mind it there, but is actively hoping to stay.

With his agents in the process of negotiating with the Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports he has “instructed” his agents to get a deal done because he wants to stay.

Pryor became the team’s top priority once they finished hurling money at trade acquisition Jamie Collins, and they could always use the franchise tag on Pryor between now and March 1 if they can’t reach a long-term deal. But he genuinely sounds like a guy who wants to stay for much longer.

“I know this is an important month,” Pryor said last week. “But I do love being with the Browns and like I said before, this thing isn’t about joining a different team because a different team’s good. That’s not what it’s about. I love the building process here. I started out in my career never coming in the front door. I’ve always got to go in the back, the hard way and the longer way. . . .

“I have no problem with, just because we were 1-15 or whatever this year, coming back. I don’t mind starting fresh next year and continuing to grow, because I think it’s more exciting when you’re on the bottom. I’m always citing starting from the bottom and getting to the top, and I think it’s a greater feeling and it would be great to give Cleveland what they’re looking for.”

Pryor emerged as not just a legitimate wide receiver last season, but a very good one. He led the team with 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns, which is pretty good considering the revolving door at quarterback which wasn’t exactly conducive to statistical excellence.

And more importantly for the Browns, he found a patron in coach Hue Jackson. While wins (plural) have so far escaped Jackson, getting a guy who would have a market elsewhere to pledge his allegiance to the Browns is a victory of its own. And perhaps more significant than anything else they achieved last year.

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Dan Orlovsky says Lions going with Jake Rudock as backup QB

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 12:  Jake Rudock #14 of the Detroit Lions warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 12, 2016 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Getty Images

Dan Orlovsky has served as the backup quarterback to Matthew Stafford in Detroit for the last three seasons, but he won’t be back for a fourth year with the Lions.

That word came from Orlovsky himself during an interview with Ross Tucker on Sirius XM NFL Radio Thursday. Orlovsky is set to become a free agent next month and said that he will be moving on to another team.

“Lions let me know they’re going in a different direction with Jake Rudock as back-up to Matthew,” Orlovsky said.

Rudock was a sixth-round pick out of Michigan last year and spent most of the year on the practice squad before being added to the active roster in November. He didn’t see any regular season action.

Orlovsky didn’t play during the regular season either and last saw action in two games during the 2015 season. He’s started 12 games over the course of a career that stretches back to 2005 and will likely look for a team interested in adding an experienced backup this offseason.

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Patriots beware: Tom Brady may return to his prankster ways

tom-brady-ftr-getty-imagesjpg_81ldu4ne7am1tz5acpizm3jf Getty Images

In his younger years, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady specialized in practical jokes. As he closes in what inevitably will be the final years of his career, his teammates should heed this advice: When you least expect it, expect it.

“I gotta get back to that,” Brady said earlier this week regarding practical jokes, during a visit to PFT Live. “You know I’m so much older than everybody else now I’m always trying to build bridges with everybody so sometimes I don’t want them taking my pranking too seriously. But it is a fun part, and we’ve had a lot of jokesters over the years.”

Brady said there weren’t many pranks at all in 2016, and he reflected on the purple-foot trick that Drew Bledsoe played on Brady.

“He got me with this purple ink that he put in my sock,” Brady said. “It looks like a clear ink or whatever and when it contacts your skin it turns this dark purple. So I worked for all of practice, by the time I got inside I had to peel my socks off my feet because I looked like Barney the dinosaur with how purple my feet were. So I’ve tried to use that a few times. I tried to use it on Dan Koppen once. I tried to use it on Matt Cassel.”

So watch out, young Patriots. Brady perhaps has been setting you up by laying low for the past several years. As he prepares to turn 40, there could be a rash of feet with a purple rash and other similar jokes aimed at lightening the mood in a place where sometimes things are taken too seriously.

In case you missed it, or if you didn’t, the full interview is above (if you’re reading this in the Rumor Mill) or below (if otherwise).

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Woody Johnson’s ambassadorship is possibly being delayed by politics

FLORHAM PARK, NJ - JANUARY 21: Woody Johnson, owner of the New York Jets addresses the media during a press conference to introduce new general manager Mike Maccagnan and head cowch Todd Bowles on January 21, 2015 in Florham Park, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets owner Woody Johnson will be the next ambassador to the United Kingdom. Unless he isn’t.

As explained by Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, who cites and refers to multiple other reports, Johnson’s status remains in limbo, potentially due to a power struggle between Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

President Trump has said that Johnson will be the ambassador, but the three-year appointment is still not yet official. Until it is, there’s a chance it won’t happen.

If it ever happens, Christopher Wold Johnson, the younger brother of Woody, is expected to assume responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the team.

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Steelers appear ready to give Landry Jones good backup money

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 01:  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers makes a call at the line against the Carolina Panthers in the 2nd quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 1, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Getty Images

Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones becomes a free agent next month, but the team appears ready to make sure he stays in Pittsburgh.

The Steelers view Jones as better than 80 percent of the other backups in the league, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. If that’s the case, it’s hard to see how the Steelers could let him get away, unless some other team were willing to offer Jones starter money.

And the reality is there’s no way another team will offer Jones starter money. The Steelers may love what Jones gives them as a backup, but he’s only been so-so when filling in for Ben Roethlisberger, completing 60.3 percent of his passes with a 7.6 yards per pass average, seven touchdowns and six interceptions. No team is going to make Jones its starter, so what would seem to make the most sense is the Steelers giving Jones a contract better than 80 percent of backups make.

That might put Jones somewhere in the neighborhood of the two-year, $6.5 million contract the Cardinals gave backup quarterback Drew Stanton last year. For the Steelers, locking Jones up with that kind of deal would give them some security as Roethlisberger ages and begins to talk about hanging up the cleats. And for Jones, it would be a hefty pay raise over the four-year, $2.6 million rookie contract he just finished.

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Russell Okung’s option a weighty decision for Broncos

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 27:  Defensive tackle Aaron Donald #99 of the Los Angeles Rams makes a tackle for a loss on running back Devontae Booker #20 of the Denver Broncos as Russell Okung #73 makes a block on Robert Quinn #94 during the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 27, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) Getty Images

The market is suddenly full of left tackles, and the Broncos have a decision to make soon on theirs, to see if they want to add to the pool.

Via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post, the Broncos aren’t expected to pick up the $1 million option on Russell Okung’s contract, which would activate the next four years and $48 million of it, with $20.5 million in guarantees.

Of course, they’re the Broncos, so everything is always up for “renegotiations” (cough, pay cut, cough). If Okung is willing to stay for less, there’s a chance they’d go with the devil they know rather than dip into a market which includes a number of intriguing options.

From veterans such as Andrew Whitworth to guys coming off injuries such as Matt Kalil to guys with options not picked up such as Ryan Clady and Kelvin Beachum, there are some guys out there worth exploring.

Either way, the Broncos figure to be doing plenty of work to fix their offensive line, after replacing four starters last year and backsliding significantly.

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Adrian Peterson notices “interesting moves” by Giants

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 27:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings bobbles an incomplete pass in the first quarter against the New York Giants on December 27, 2015 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) Getty Images

Barring a revision in his contract, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is due a $6 million roster bonus on March 11 on his way to having an $18 million cap hit for the 2017 season.

The size of that number makes revision or release the realistic options for the Vikings. Peterson has said he’d like to stay with the Vikings, but settling on a pay cut that makes that happen isn’t a sure thing. As a result, Peterson was asked about other teams he’d like to play for last month. He mentioned the Giants, Texans and Buccaneers and it seems his eyes are still on one of those teams.

The move that would seem to be of the most direct interest to Peterson would be the release of Rashad Jennings, which leaves the Giants with Paul Perkins and Shane Vereen at running back heading into the busier segments of free agency. If the Vikings ultimately take the same route with Peterson that the Giants took with Jennings, it would likely lead to a lot of speculation about Peterson landing in New Jersey.

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Terrell Owens has “lost all respect” for the Hall of Fame process

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 15:  Wide receiver Terrell Owens #81 of the Dallas Cowboys during a post game interview at Texas Stadium on September 15, 2008 in Irving, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) Getty Images

Terrell Owens apparently won’t be heeding Dan Fouts’ not-so-subtle warning that criticizing the Hall of Fame selection process will continue keep him out of Canton.

In an interview with Tim Graham of the Buffalo News and WHLD in Buffalo, Owens elaborated on his views regarding the process — views that already were crystal clear based on his Twitter feed.

“Obviously, what I did, the Hall of Fame, that should validate it,” Owens told Graham. “But now it’s something else. Now they’re adding to the bylaws; they’re adding extra things to the criteria to be inducted. . . . . For me, that’s where I’ve lost all respect for it, in a sense.”

They haven’t really added to the bylaws, but they have started onto a slippery slope that considers behavior between the sideline and the parking lot — behavior that may or may not have been factored into the candidacy of other players and that will definitely cause issues when future players who may or may not have been bad teammates are up for consideration.

Owens also addressed the accuracy of off-field concerns passed along to the voters on a second-hand or even more remote basis.

“You listen to guys like Bill Polian and Dan Fouts that have said, you know, coaches and players have come to them or pulled them to the side and said that I was a horrible teammate,” Owens said, via Dave DeLuca of SportingNews.com. “That’s what really rubs me the wrong way, because I know . . . how I was raised. When you talk about character, that’s a sensitive subject for me, because I know who I am as a person. Just because I had some disagreements with some coaches or some players, that doesn’t mean that I’m a bad person or disruptive or a locker-room cancer as they would have it.”

Owens also has concerns (as do I) about the ability of the people who are bad-mouthing him to be kept secret.

“When it comes to questioning my character and what I did in that locker room,” Owens said, “the thing that a lot of people are missing, is these coaches and these people are saying that I’m this type of person in the locker room, well who are those guys? Nobody’s attaching any names to anything. They’re just saying, ‘Oh, this is what I heard.'”

That’s why the process needs to be more transparent. Each player’s on-field accomplishments are out in the open, for anyone to see and to assess. Everything else is, to some degree or another, concealed. The process of picking through those facts shouldn’t be.

Until that changes, Owens isn’t the only person who will have issues with the process.

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