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Dan Snyder wants to be able to opt out of “Color Rush”

Washington did not play a Thursday night game last season, which means Washington did not wear a “Color Rush” uniform. Dan Snyder would like to keep it that way.

Among the 2017 NFL rules proposals announced today is one by Washington which would change league bylaws to allow teams to opt out of the Color Rush uniforms.

Under current rules, teams playing on the “Color Rush” Thursday night games have to wear the uniforms. Washington didn’t have to because its only Thursday game was on Thanksgiving afternoon, so the only visual evidence we have that Color Rush uniforms were designed for the team is the promotional photo you see here.

In general, the league doesn’t like to allow teams to opt out of league-wide endeavors like “Color Rush,” so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Snyder’s fellow owners vote down his idea. But if an owner doesn’t like how “Color Rush” looks on his team, it’s a little odd that the league can force it on him.

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Saints re-sign DL Darryl Tapp

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Two days after the Saints acquired linebacker Manti Te’o, they re-signed someone they hope can make his New Orleans debut a bit easier.

New Orleans added more help up front, striking a one-year deal with defensive end Darryl Tapp. This depth signing caps an active two-week stretch for the Saints’ defensive line, as it also secured Nick Fairley and Alex Okafor.

Tapp is entering his 12th NFL season and second in New Orleans. The 32-year-old hasn’t missed a game the past three years. In 2016, he logged 17 tackles and half a sack while playing 292 defensive snaps.

The Saints look to improve the NFL’s 27th-ranked defense from 2016.

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Robert Kraft thanks Mexican, American authorities for finding jerseys

Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jerseys are back in New England, and Patriots owner Robert Kraft issued a statement thanking authorities in both the United States and Mexico for tracking the stolen jerseys down.

“We want to thank the FBI, the Mexican authorities and the many different local agencies that were involved in the investigation and ultimate recovery of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey,” Kraft said. “Working along with the Patriots and NFL security, those agencies collectively coordinated an investigation that also led to the recovery of Tom’s missing Super Bowl XLIX jersey. It was great to have both jerseys returned to Gillette Stadium today. I don’t know that any agency could have accomplished this independently, but collectively multiple agencies – both in the U.S. and in Mexico – worked together to achieve the goal of retrieving the stolen property. It is another example of the importance of teamwork and what can be accomplished when everyone works together. We appreciate the effort of everyone involved and look forward to returning these jerseys to Tom when he gets back to New England.”

By stressing the importance of American-Mexican cooperation, Kraft could be subtly attempting to distance himself from President Trump, whom Kraft has described as a friend. The Patriots have received some criticism for the support that Kraft, Brady and Bill Belichick have given to Trump.

An employee of a Mexican newspaper who has attended multiple Super Bowls on press credentials has been identified as the suspect in the thefts, although he has not been criminally charged.

Photo via Patriots.com.

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Packers sign DL Ricky Jean Francois

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A team not usually known for its free-agency activity made a 313-pound splash Thursday.

The Packers signed former Washington defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois to a one-year, $3 million contract, a source confirmed to Pro Football Talk. ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported the story, earning an undisclosed number of Markman points.

Jean Francois, 30, appeared in all 32 games of his two-year tenure in Washington. The versatile run stopper started seven of them with 57 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

He previously visited the Seahawks and Bears before committing to Green Bay.

The Packers, known for developing and re-signing their own talent, do make the occasional exception. They bolstered their tight end position with two signings earlier this month, signing Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.

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Jets land WR Quinton Patton after visit

Quinton Patton Getty Images

There was little in the 2016 Jets passing game to tantalize free-agent wide receivers this spring, the trio of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty and Geno Smith combining for a league-low 67.6 team quarterback rating.

But the NFL is a relationship business.

One of Quinton Patton’s led him to New York.

The former Niners wide receiver has signed with the Jets, the club announced Thursday. He reunites with offensive coordinator John Morton, who was San Francisco’s wide receivers coach during Patton’s first two years in the league.

Patton visited the organization last Saturday.

The 2013 fourth-round pick from Louisiana Tech set career highs last season with 37 catches for 408 yards. He becomes the Jets’ first wide-receiver signing since Brandon Marshall’s release on March 2. Marshall went on to sign a two-year deal with the Giants.

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Welcome, Michael Gehlken

Five days ago, we said farewell to Zac Jackson. Today, we say hello to Michael Gehlken.

The former Chargers reporter at the San Diego Union-Tribune, whose position there went away when the team did, joins us on an open-ended arrangement with the understanding that he may soon secure another opportunity to cover a West Coast franchise.

A San Diego native with a degree from UC Davis (and maybe a Ken O’Brien jersey), Gehlken joined the Union-Tribune in 2012. We’ve long admired his work, and we are very fortunate to have him (and we probably won’t be fortunate enough to have him for very long).

Please give him a warm welcome in the comments. Or make him feel at home by treating him like you treat the rest of us.

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Patriots due to visit White House on April 19

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April 18 is tax day in America. April 19 will be Patriots Day at the White House.

One day after the deadline for submitting those 1040s to Uncle Sam, President Donald Trump will welcome the Super Bowl champions  for the first of his ceremonial sporting-team visits to the White House.

Via NFL.com, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced on Thursday the date for the visit. It will be the fifth trip to the White House for the Patriots.

It remains to be seen how many players stay away, and how many of those who skip the trip will do so for political reasons. (Several, including linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Devin McCourty, and former tight end Martellus Bennett have said they won’t go.) Now that the date has been set and roughly four weeks remain, look for reporters to start tracking down players to find out whether others won’t be attending.

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NFL will consider allowing coaches to challenge all penalties

AP

A major change could be coming to instant replay in the NFL.

A proposal allowing challenges to every officiating decision will be brought forward jointly by the Bills and Seahawks at next week’s league meeting. If the owners vote in favor of the new rule, all penalties — from holding to pass interference, facemasking to false start — could be challenged.

“That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated and voted on next week,” NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino said.

That would be perhaps the most radical change made to instant replay since the NFL began replay reviews. It would allow for all sorts of calls (and non-calls) to be challenged that in the past were never reviewed.

However, it seems like a long shot that the proposal will pass. The NFL is generally very cautious about changes to instant replay. And that change would be significant.

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Chargers re-sign RB Branden Oliver

Branden Oliver Getty Images

Of the Chargers’ four running backs to hit the open market this month, the franchise had interest in re-signing two of them.

One, Danny Woodhead, got away to Baltimore. The other is back.

Branden Oliver has returned to the club on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday. He joins recent signing Kenjon Barner, Kenneth Farrow and Andre Williams as rotational depth behind Melvin Gordon.

Oliver missed all of the 2016 season to a torn Achilles, which he suffered during an August exhibiton game in Minnesota. Los Angeles chose not to tender the 25-year-old as a restricted free agent.

Still, he was valued. A physical runner despite his 5-foot-8 listed height, he logged 191 carries for 690 yards and three touchdowns in his first two seasons.

Former Chargers running backs Dexter McCluster and Ronnie Hillman remain free agents. The team also announced Thursday that safety Adrian Phillips signed his exclusive-rights tender.

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Julio Jones: “The foot’s good”

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Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was on his feet this week, and said everything seems positive after he had foot surgery two weeks ago.

Via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Jones said during an appearance at the state capitol that he was recovering nicely from bunion surgery.

“I’m good,” Jones said. “The foot’s good. I’m two weeks out now, I think, but it’s good. . . .

“My thing right now is recovery.”

Jones was in a walking boot, but wasn’t using crutches. He had surgery in Charlotte on March 6, after dealing with foot and toe problems for much of his career. He missed two games last year.

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Bengals bringing back running back Cedric Peerman

AP

The Bengals have seen plenty of players leave this offseason, but they’re hanging onto to one of their own.

According to Zac Jackson of TheAthletic.com (the name’s not familiar, but the face rings a bell), the Bengals are bringing back running back Cedric Peerman.

Peerman’s a solid addition to their special teams, and in the absence of Rex Burkhead could have him take on some degree of role in offense.

They considered him valuable enough to use their designated for return spot on him last year, so they obviously value him around there.

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Jerry Richardson skipping owners meetings again

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When NFL owners convene Sunday in Phoenix, Panthers founder Jerry Richardson won’t be with them. Again.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the 80-year-old Richardson will not be in attendance, but the team will send a six-member team of personnel to vote for the team.

Richardson skipped last year’s meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., having scheduled shoulder surgery the same week. Team spokesman Steven Drummond said Richardson’s health was good, but he didn’t feel up to the demands of two cross-country flights. Richardson’s been dealing with knee issues as well. He had a heart transplant in 2009.

Of course, when he was absent last year, they had a team president. But since then, Danny Morrison has resigned, and they haven’t named a replacement.

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Sean Payton reportedly speaking with Johnny Manziel

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If Johnny Manziel returns to the NFL, it could be as the backup to Drew Brees.

That’s the word from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, who reports that Saints coach Sean Payton has taken an interest in Manziel and talked to him about a return to football.

In New Orleans, Manziel would have no chance of earning a starting job, but he could earn a spot as a backup to Brees, where he’d learn from a veteran quarterback and perhaps get himself ready to be a starter some day.

Still, talking to Manziel and actually signing him are two very different things. If the Saints were convinced that Manziel was ready to put his personal problems behind him and contribute to a team, they could have signed him already, and they haven’t done so.

After he flamed out in Cleveland, it remains to be seen whether the Saints — or anyone else — will give Manziel a second chance.

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Patrick Mahomes, Joshua Dobbs had private workouts for Chargers

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The Chargers know that Philip Rivers will be their starting quarterback in 2017 and he’s under contract for a couple more seasons, but they have started thinking about what comes next at the position.

General Manager Tom Telesco didn’t rule out drafting a quarterback early in the draft when asked about the future at quarterback earlier this month and the team got an up-close look at one that’s expected to be off the board fairly in April’s proceedings. Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports that the Chargers held a private workout with Patrick Mahomes in Lubbock, Texas recently.

Head coach Anthony Lynn, who also went to Texas Tech, attended the workout along with offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen.

Adam Caplan of ESPN reports that the Chargers also had a private workout with Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who is projected to be a third day pick next month. Getting picked at that point wouldn’t make him the heir apparent for Rivers, but would give the Chargers a prospect to develop as they begin life in Los Angeles.

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Terron Armstead restructures contract

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The Saints have a bit more cap space to play with this year.

Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that left tackle Terron Armstead has agreed to restructure his deal with the team. Armstead’s $5 million roster bonus has been converted into a signing bonus to spread the cap hit out over a deal that runs through the 2021 season.

The immediate impact of the move is that the Saints will have $4 million in cap space available this offseason that wasn’t previously at their disposal.

Any new money added to the Saints’ coffers leads to thoughts that they could apply that to their pursuit of Patriots cornerback and restricted free agent Malcolm Butler. The offer sheet for Butler is only part of the equation, of course, as the Patriots have the right to match and the Saints would have to be OK with giving up the 11th overall pick in the draft if New England doesn’t match.

There’s also a chance the two sides could work out a deal for different compensation, although that can’t happen unless Butler signs his restricted free agent tender or another deal with the Patriots.

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