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Chip Kelly: I rated Odell Beckham No. 1 overall in last year’s draft

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was the best rookie in the NFL last year. That came as no surprise to Eagles coach Chip Kelly.

Kelly said that heading into last year’s draft, he personally considered Beckham not just the best receiver in the draft but the best player, period. So why didn’t the Eagles move up from the No. 22 overall pick so that they could draft Beckham before the Giants got him at No. 12? Kelly said he just doesn’t believe in giving up that much to move up.

“I said it a year ago: I thought Odell Beckham was the best player in the draft. I was right. We didn’t have a chance to get Odell Beckham, but a lot of it depends on where you’re selecting,” Kelly said.

Asked if he was disappointed not to get Beckham last year, Kelly noted that last year, Howie Roseman had final say in the draft room.

“I didn’t have final say so, I mean, you always defer to who’s in charge,” Kelly said.

This year, Kelly has been given total control over personnel, and Kelly will run the draft. Which means that if there’s one player Kelly feels confident is the best in the draft, Kelly can do everything in his power to get that player. If that player is Marcus Mariota, the Eagles may not be done wheeling and dealing this offseason.

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Jason Garrett: Greg Hardy gets nothing guaranteed, we can move on

NFL: Saints v Panthers Getty Images

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett wants Greg Hardy to know he’d better be on his best behavior in Dallas, or he won’t be there long.

Garrett said at today’s league meeting that Hardy, who played only one game for the Panthers last year after a domestic violence accusation, understands that the Cowboys will cut him if he doesn’t conduct himself the right way.

“The conditions of the contract were important: No guaranteed money, earn it every step of the way. At any point, if we don’t feel like you’re doing what we want you to do as a player and as a person, we can move on from you,” Garrett said.

Hardy’s contract is heavy on incentives, with the potential to earn more than $13 million if he plays in every game and plays well. But Hardy also has the potential to earn zero. The Cowboys want him to know that’s a real possibility, if he does anything that makes the team decide he’s not worth the trouble.

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Jerry Jones not worried about Dez Bryant’s contract situation

Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Getty Images

Dallas receiver Dez Bryant remains unsigned, but Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones is not worried.

Jones said at the league meeting that he’s sure Bryant will be under contract before the season starts, whether that’s because Bryant signs the franchise tender or because he and the team agree to a long-term deal.

I’m not worried about that at all, and it’s because of how much he loves the game, how much he knows that preparation, practice, all of that improves him,” Jones said, via the Star-Telegram. “He’s at a time in his career where he’s physically still very much improving, can get better. The biggest reason I want a long-term agreement with Dez is so we’ll have a deal with him for a long term – but not as far as impacting what we’re doing this year in terms of what Dez’s performance will be or what we are as a team. We’ve got that in place with the franchise. So I’m not worried. I know how much he loves to play football, I know how much he loves his teammates, I know how much he loves his team and I know how much money he’s getting. With all of that, you play.”

Jones said it’s impossible to say for certain whether a long-term deal can be reached, but he’s not in a big hurry to get that done.

“I don’t know, and Dez doesn’t know,” Jones said. “The point is, though, that the franchise agreement is set there to pay a lot of money to a player, and for a club to have some inconvenience because it can’t pro-rate the salary out. But certainly a club can pay a key player a lot of money to have success on the field. That’s why it’s there. I don’t see angst there at all. I hear angst from media, but I don’t see angst.”

Jones may feel angst if Bryant remains unsigned in four months and starts talking about missing training camp and the preseason, but that’s a long way off. Right now, Jones is feeling good about Bryant’s status, even if he’s not under contract.

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Support growing for giving coaches power to challenge anything

Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Getty Images

Patriots coach Bill Belichick continues to push the idea that NFL coaches should have the power to challenge any and all calls via replay review.  Per multiple sources who were present for Tuesday’s unsuccessful vote on the measure, Belichick’s position has gained significant traction.

While there’s not enough support among owners (yet) to make it happen, more and more of the coaches and General Managers believe that the two automatic replay challenges per game (three if the first two prevail) should be available for any error the coach believes can be overturned by indisputable visual evidence.

“Some people are biting tongues or shaking heads as their clubs vote against it,” said one source who was in the meetings on Tuesday.  The measure failed to get an endorsement from at least 24 teams, causing it to fail.

The confusion comes in part from the lack of a sufficient explanation regarding the reasoning for the opposition to it.  The NFL publicly says that it wants to get all calls right, but the NFL hasn’t adequately addressed why coaches can’t have the power to force the officials to get everything right, and not just the potentially bad calls that fall within the band of predetermined plays that can be challenged.

It’s possible that the NFL fears allowing coaches to challenge everything will eventually result in all potential errors falling within the scope of the automatic challenges that happen after scoring plays, turnovers, and within the final two minutes of a half and overtime.  It’s also possible that the NFL isn’t comfortable with a split standard.

Regardless, if folks in the room don’t believe the league is doing enough to explain the opposition to the proposal to them, it’s safe to say the league isn’t doing enough to explain the opposition to the proposal to the rest of us.

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As Rex Ryan knows, Patriots just keep dominating the AFC East

bradybelichick AP

Bills coach Rex Ryan has been talking up his team this offseason, saying Buffalo’s offseason moves — and some offseason departures from New England — have closed the gap in the AFC East.

But Ryan acknowledges that until the Bills actually get to the top, the Patriots are the kings.

“New England is perched up there, they’ve won like 14 of 15,” Ryan said. “They’re clearly the team to beat, but we’re coming after them.”

Ryan is actually overstating New England’s dominance a bit. The Patriots haven’t won 14 of 15 division titles. They’ve won 12 of the last 15, failing to win the AFC East in 2000 (before Tom Brady was the starting quarterback), 2002 (Brady’s second season as the starting quarterback) and 2008 (when Brady was lost for the season with a torn ACL). But there’s no question that the Patriots have dominated the division — to a greater extent than any other team has dominated any other division.

And the flip side is, Ryan’s new team has fallen far short. The Bills are one of just four NFL teams (along with the Browns, Jaguars and Lions) that haven’t won a division title under the current eight-division format.

Here’s how many times each team has won each division since the divisions were realigned in 2002:

AFC East
Patriots 11
Jets 1
Dolphins 1
Bills 0

AFC North
Steelers 6
Ravens 4
Bengals 3
Browns 0

AFC South
Colts 9
Titans 2
Texans 2
Jaguars 0

AFC West
Chargers 5
Broncos 5
Chiefs 2
Raiders 1

NFC East
Eagles 6
Giants 3
Cowboys 3
Washington 1

NFC North
Packers 8
Bears 3
Vikings 2
Lions 0

NFC South
Panthers 4
Buccaneers 3
Falcons 3
Saints 3

NFC West
Seahawks 7
49ers 3
Cardinals 2
Rams 1

Even if Ryan is right that the Bills are closing the gap, it’s a huge gap to close. No team in the NFL dominates its division like the Patriots.

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Lions won’t pursue a tampering case over Dolphins’ pursuit of Suh

Suh AP

Reports that the Dolphins had agreed to a deal with Ndamukong Suh surfaced well before it was permissible under NFL rules for the Dolphins to agree to a deal with Suh. Under the letter of the law, the Dolphins almost certainly violated the league’s tampering rules by coming to terms at a time when only the Lions had the right to do a deal with Suh.

But that kind of tampering is so commonplace in the NFL that most of the time, everyone just agrees to look the other way. And the Lions seem inclined to do just that.

Publicly, the Lions aren’t saying anything about potential tampering, but privately they have decided not to pursue a tampering case against the Dolphins, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reports.

The league appears to be looking the other way as well, as Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he has heard nothing from the league about a tampering investigation. So while the Jets and Patriots are at each others’ throats about potential tampering regarding Darrelle Revis, the Lions seem to have no problem with what the Dolphins did.

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Detailing the 43 trades (so far) of 2015 draft selections

Jimmy Graham AP

As we detailed earlier today, the 2015 NFL Draft order is now officially set following the doling out of compensatory draft picks at the league meetings on Monday. However, that order is still subject to change barring any further trades of draft choices between now and the start of the draft in late April.

In fact, teams have already traded 2015 draft selections 43 times up to this point with countless more deals likely to occur during the draft itself.

Only two first-round picks have been traded and only three picks in the first three rounds have changed hands so far. Most of the trades have involved picks on the final day of the draft. There have been no trades involving second-round selections.

Here is the list of every draft pick that has been traded so far.

(Round – Pick in Round – Overall Pick)

1-19-19 Cleveland from Buffalo
4-16-115 Cleveland from Buffalo

Traded from Buffalo to Cleveland as part of deal for the Bills to move up to select receiver Sammy Watkins in the 2014 draft.

1-31-31 New Orleans from Seattle
4-13-112 Seattle from New Orleans

Picks swapped as part of Jimmy Graham-Max Unger trade.

3-14-78 New Orleans from Miami

Traded along with linebacker Dannell Ellerbe to New Orleans to acquire receiver Kenny Stills.

4-2-101 New England from Tampa Bay

Traded along with tight end Tim Wright to New England to acquire guard Logan Mankins.

4-10-109 Tampa Bay from St. Louis
6-8-183 Tampa Bay from St. Louis

Traded to Tampa Bay from St. Louis in exchange for safety Mark Barron.

4-14-113 Philadelphia from San Francisco through Buffalo

Traded from San Francisco to Buffalo in exchange for receiver Stevie Johnson. Then traded to Philadelphia in exchange for running back Bryce Brown.

4-20-119 St. Louis from Philadelphia
5-9-145 Philadelphia from St. Louis

Picks swapped as part of Sam Bradford-Nick Foles trade.

4-23-122 Baltimore from Detroit
5-22-158 Baltimore from Detroit
7-14-231 Detroit from Miami through Baltimore

Picks swapped as part of Haloti Ngata trade. Baltimore acquired the seventh-round pick from Miami in exchange for tackle Bryant McKinnie.

4-27-126 San Francisco from Denver

Part of 2014 draft day trade package. The 49ers acquired this pick along with a 2014 second-round pick (No. 63) and fifth-round pick (No. 171) – both later dealt to Miami (Jarvis Landry, Jordan Tripp)– in exchange for a 2014 second-round pick (No. 56 – Cody Latimer) and a seventh-round pick (No. 242 – Corey Nelson). The 49ers traded both picks acquired from Denver to Miami to move up and select running back Carlos Hyde.

5-1-137 Minnesota from Tampa Bay through Buffalo
6-12-187 Buffalo from Minnesota

Picks swapped in exchange for quarterback Matt Cassel. Tampa Bay originally dealt the fifth-round pick to Buffalo in a 2014 draft day swap. The Buccaneers acquired a 2014 fifth-round pick (No.149 – Kevin Pamphile) in exchange for a 2014 seventh-round pick (No. 221 – Randall Johnson) and this selection.

5-6-142 Chicago from New York Jets
7-7-224 New York Jets from Chicago

Picks swapped in the trade of receiver Brandon Marshall.

5-7-143 Denver from Chicago

Pick acquired in 2014 draft day trade. Denver received this pick along with a 2014 fifth-round pick (No. 156 – Lamin Barrow) in exchange for a 2014 fourth-round pick (No. 131 – Brock Vereen) and a seventh-round pick (No. 246 – Charles Leno Jr.).

5-13-149 Miami from Minnesota
7-15-232 Minnesota from San Francisco through Miami

Picks swapped as part of Minnesota’s trade for receiver Mike Wallace. The seventh-round pick was initially acquired by Miami from San Francisco in exchange for Jonathan Martin.

5-18-154 New Orleans from Kansas City

Pick acquired from Kansas City in exchange for guard Ben Grubbs.

5-26-162 Tampa Bay from Baltimore

Pick acquired from Baltimore in exchange for center Jeremy Zuttah.

5-32-168 Tampa Bay from New England
6-2-177 New England from Tampa Bay

Picks swapped as part of New England’s trade for linebacker Jonathan Casillas.

6-5-180 Seattle from New York Jets

Pick acquired from the Jets in exchange for receiver Percy Harvin.

6-26-201 Cleveland from Baltimore

Pick acquired from Baltimore in exchange for 2014 seventh-round pick (No. 218 – Michael Campanaro).

6-28-203 Baltimore from Dallas
7-26-243 Dallas from Baltimore

Picks swapped as part of Dallas’ trade for linebacker Rolando McClain.

6-31-206 Indianapolis from Seattle

Pick acquired from Seattle in exchange for cornerback Marcus Burley.

6-32-207 Tennessee from New England
7-2-219 New England from Tennessee

Picks swapped as part of New England’s trade for linebacker Akeem Ayers.

7-19-236 Dallas from San Diego

Pick acquired from San Diego in exchange for defensive tackle Sean Lissemore.

7-27-244 Indianapolis from Dallas

Pick acquired from Dallas in exchange for defensive lineman Caesar Rayford.

7-28-245 New York Giants from Denver

Pick acquired from Denver in exchange for kicker Brandon McManus.

7-29-246 San Francisco from Indianapolis

Pick acquired from Indianapolis in exchange for linebacker Cam Johnson.

7-32-249 Atlanta from New England through St. Louis

Pick acquired from St. Louis as part of 2013 draft day trade with Atlanta. St. Louis acquired pick from New England in exchange for receiver Greg Salas.

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ProFootballTalk: Chiefs aim for Super Bowl with aggressive offseason

Mike Florio sits down with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid to discuss why he chose Jeremy Maclin over Dwayne Bowe and his expectations for 2015.

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ProFootballTalk: Seahawks drawn to Jimmy Graham’s ‘unique skillset’

Seahawks GM John Schneider talks about the impact he expects newly acquired Jimmy Graham to make to the team and getting past the Super Bowl loss to New England.

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Joel Glazer says Buccaneers are “comfortable” with Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston Getty Images

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith said in February the organization is comfortable with the off-field issues of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston.

Buccaneers owner Joel Glazer furthered those comments at the NFL owner’s meetings on Tuesday.

“You know, we spent a lot of time with Jameis. We spent a lot of time with Marcus Mariota. There are other potential players that could be up there with the first pick. But yes, we as an organization are comfortable. We’re comfortable with Jameis,” Glazer said, via JoeBucsFan.com

“We found both Jameis and Marcus to be impressive young men when we spent our time with them. Great success in college. Both academically very successful. Unbelievable amount of work on both players and other potential players in this draft. We as an organization are comfortable.”

With the Buccaneers potentially having concerns over Mariota’s demeanor, it certainly seems as though Winston should get comfortable with the idea of staying in the state of Florida to begin his professional career.

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Jets file tampering charges against Patriots over Revis remarks

Kraft Getty Images

In December, Jets owner Woody Johnson publicly expressed interest in bringing back cornerback Darrelle Revis, who at the time was under contract with the Patriots.  The Patriots later filed tampering charges against the Jets.

On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft spoke about the departure of Revis for the Jets.  The next day, the Jets filed tampering charges against the Patriots.

Per a league source, the Jets have submitted to the league office a letter tracking the language cited by the Patriots when making their tampering charge in January.

“I speak as a fan of the New England Patriots,” Kraft said Monday, via Tom Curran of CSN New England.  “We wanted to keep him, we wanted him in our system.  We have certain disciplines and we had hoped it would work out.  It didn’t.  We just don’t think about the short-term decisions.  For example, next year we have three very good young defensive players coming up [for contracts] and we have to factor that we just don’t look at this year, we look out at the next few years.  We’ve done okay doing that.

“[The Jets] are the team that drafted him. I think he feels a great commitment there, so we understand his going back and we’re sorry he didn’t stay with us.”

The tampering rules prohibit “[a]ny public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player to that player’s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media.”  The rule includes this example of prohibited statements:  “He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights.”

In December, Johnson said he’d like to bring Revis back, at a time the contract Revis signed with the Patriots was nearing its conclusion.  On Monday, Kraft said wanted to keep Revis, two weeks after Revis signed a multi-year deal with $39 million fully guaranteed to play for the Jets.  While the Jets may see this as a goose/gander situation, the circumstances are fundamentally different.

Indeed, Johnson said he wanted to bring back Revis at a time when Revis was under contract with the Patriots.  Kraft merely said he had wanted to keep Revis after Revis left for another team.

Moving forward, look for Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News to write a column arguing that there’s no difference, and then for Curran to author an article explaining that Mehta is misinformed.  And maybe the two of them can return to PFT Live tomorrow to debate the subject again.

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New Titans boss says team isn’t for sale

Underwood AP

Here’s a pretty good reason for Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to have no interest in trading the team for his home-state Titans.

Via Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, interim Titans president Steve Underwood said Tuesday that the franchise isn’t for sale.

“My sources are the five people who own the team, and to a person they all say the team is not for sale.  They tell me they are not selling,” Underwood said.  “What I am being told is to find a new president to help get our club in a direction moving forward, and those are not the kinds of things that owners do when they are looking to sell.”

Tommy Smith, the son-in-law of franchise founder Bud Adams, recently resigned as the team’s CEO.

“There have been no offers,” Underwood said.  “I don’t think they would listen to any offers, but no one has made any offers.  The owners themselves have made clear the team is not for sale.”

Of course, if an offer ever were made, that could cause the the owners to feel differently about the situation.  Now, anyone inclined to make an offer could choose to give it a try.

Especially if there’s someone out there that would like to buy the Titans and swap them for the Browns.

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Pegula wouldn’t oppose an NFL franchise in Toronto

Pegula AP

When Terry and Kim Pegula bought the Bills and expressed a clear intent to keep the team in Buffalo, the door presumably was slammed on the placement of an NFL franchise in Toronto.  It’s not, as far as Terry Pegula is concerned.

Via John Kryk of the Toronto Sun, Pegula said he wouldn’t be opposed to the placement of a team in Toronto, the Canadian metropolis that failed miserably in its attempt to become a secondary market for the Bills.

“I believe I was asked that question when I was approved as an owner, and it was an affirmative answer to the league.  I said I would support it if Toronto had a franchise,” Pegula said.  “There are a lot of people there.”

There also are a lot of people between Buffalo and Toronto.  As Kryk notes, more than three million people live between Buffalo and Toronto, with another 8.5 million in the greater Toronto area.

Currently, little or no momentum exists for the relocation of a team to Toronto.  But that could change; with three teams trying to get to L.A. and one of them destined to not make it, other options will potentially be explored.  And as other teams inevitably will need new stadiums in their current locations, a new stadium in Toronto could become a possibility.

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Vikings add LB Casey Matthews

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Getty Images

The Vikings have bolstered their linebacking depth, reaching a deal with Eagles reserve Casey Matthews, the club said Tuesday.

Matthews, 26, started 11-of-16 games at inside linebacker for Philadelphia in 2014, notching 53 tackles and 1.5 sacks. His starts came in place of the injured Mychal Kendricks (three) and DeMeco Ryans (eight).

Matthews (6-1, 245) could vie for playing time at middle linebacker for Minnesota. Jasper Brinkley, an 11-game starter in the middle last season, signed with Dallas earlier this month. Matthews could also be asked to contribute on special teams.

A fifth-year pro from Oregon, Matthews has appeared in 64 regular season games, notching 112 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

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Reports: Mason Foster agrees to deal with Bears

Mason Foster Getty Images

The Chicago Bears may have found their replacement for Lance Briggs.

According to Jen Lada of CSNChicago.com, the Bears have agreed to terms with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Mason Foster.

Foster has been a starter for each of his four seasons with the Buccaneers after being selected in the third round out of the University of Washington in 2011.

Foster had his least productive season for Tampa Bay last year. He appeared in just 10 games as he battled injuries throughout the year. He recorded just 40 tackles.

For his career, Foster has racked up 343 tackles, six sacks, five interceptions and two forced fumbles in 57 games.

The San Francisco 49ers were also interested in Foster before he elected to sign with Chicago.

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