Orlando Scandrick gets his wish, will be released by Cowboys

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Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has been asking for his release, and now he’ll get it.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the Cowboys have informed Scandrick he will be released.

The 31-year-old Scandrick is still capable of starting when healthy, but he’s coming off a season in which he missed five games with back and hand injuries. He hasn’t played all 16 games in a season since 2013.

Now Scandrick will be a free agent, and he’ll hope to convince some team he can stay healthy and get one more contract worthy of a starting cornerback.

So who do the Jets want at No. 3?

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The Jets have moved to No. 3 not to be at No. 3 but to get player No. 1 on their board. So who is it?

The prevailing reaction in response to the news of the three-spot jump seems to be that the Jets want a quarterback, and that they’re fine with any of three that would be there when they pick. It may not be quite that simple.

The Jets could be hoping to get running back Saquon Barkley at No. 3, with defensive end Nick Chubb being viewed as an acceptable fallback. If just one quarterback is taken in the first two picks, they’re guaranteed to get one of the two top non-quarterbacks. If it’s bang-bang one-two quarterbacks (and don’t be shocked if the Bills now move up to No. 2 with the Giants to get a quarterback), the Jets will get Barkley.

Also, the Browns may now feel more compelled to take a quarterback at No. 1 instead of No. 4, if they think the Jets will take a quarterback. Which sets the stage for two quarterbacks being gone by the time the Jets pick.

Other factors support this possible strategy. First, the Jets signed Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater becomes, potentially, the young quarterback who is evaluated this year with the possibility of becoming the starter in 2019. Second, G.M. Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles may feel compelled to win now. Drafting and stashing a quarterback with the third overall pick won’t help that cause; drafting an impact player who’ll start Week One at another position will.

Consider the team’s recent experiences. Last year, the Jets took safety Jamal Adams at No. 6, and he became an instant contributor. The year before, they used a second-round pick on quarterback Christian Hackenberg, who has yet to play in a regular-season game.

The idea that the Jets definitely will take a quarterback at No. 3 means that they definitely have decided that there are three of five potential first-round quarterbacks who will become franchise quarterbacks. Given the Hackenberg misadventure, it’s hard to imagine the Jets being that confident about their ability to evaluate incoming quarterbacks.

Jets send three second-round picks to Colts, move up from No. 6 to No. 3

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The Jets want to draft their franchise quarterback next month, and they’re getting closer to making it happen.

The Colts and Jets both announced a trade this morning that features the Jets trading up with the Colts, from No. 6 to No. 3 in the first round of this year’s draft. Moving up three spots cost the Jets three second-round picks: Their own second-round pick (No. 37 overall), the Seahawks’ second-round pick (No. 49 overall, acquired in last year’s Sheldon Richardson trade), and the Jets’ 2019 second-round pick.

After missing out on Kirk Cousins, the Jets re-signed Josh McCown and added free agent Teddy Bridgewater. But they also want to draft a quarterback, and they apparently think a franchise quarterback is going to be there at No. 3 who wouldn’t be there at No. 6.

The Colts have Andrew Luck, so they felt good about trading a pick to a quarterback-needy team. They now have the sixth overall pick in the first round, three picks in the second round, and an extra second-round pick in 2019.

Danny Woodhead retires

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Danny Woodhead, a running back who arrived in the NFL as an undrafted rookie in 2008 and lasted a decade in the league, has decided to call it a career.

The 33-year-old Woodhead wrote on Instagram that he is retiring.

“God had crazy plans for a small little kid from North Platte, NE!” Woodhead wrote. “It’s been a wild ride and feel so blessed He allowed me to do what I loved for so long. But now it’s time to say goodbye to the game I love.”

Woodhead was a high school football star who was overlooked by major colleges and instead went to Division II Chadron State. There he became the best player in Dviision II football, twice winning the Harlon Hill Trophy, the Heisman of Division II.

Despite that career, Woodhead was not invited to the Scouting Combine and wasn’t drafted, but he signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent. After spending his rookie year on injured reserve, he put on a show in the preseason of 2009, rushing for 158 yards in one preseason game. That was enough to earn him a spot on the practice squad, and he was eventually called up to the active roster.

After the Jets cut him in 2010 the Patriots picked him up, and he flourished in New England. Woodhead had 97 carries for 547 yards and another 34 catches for 379 yards in his first year with the Patriots. He would spend three years with the Patriots before signing with the Chargers, spend four years in San Diego, and finish his career last year in Baltimore.

The 5-foot-8 Woodhead looked undersized, but he never let that get in the way of his play on the field. His legacy will be that of a guy who was doubted coming into the league, but proved with his play that he belonged.

Tyrann Mathieu heads to Houston on a one-year deal

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Not long after the Cardinals released defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt had a simple message: “Come on over bro.” It worked.

ESPN confirms what Watt strongly hinted at with a tweet consisting of three honey pots: Mathieu has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Texans.

The Cardinals released Mathieu after the two sides couldn’t agree to a new deal that would replace his $10.75 million salary for 2018.

His arrival in Houston beefs up an already strong defense, which will go along with an offense that could be dangerous, if quarterback Deshaun Watson is healthy and ready to go after tearing an ACL last year.

The one-year deal is a smart move, allowing Mathieu to prove himself and return to the market next year, where he could cash in.

The move raises the stakes in the AFC South, where the Jaguars made it to the final four, the Titans advanced to the divisional round, and the Colts could be contenders again if/when quarterback Andrew Luck is healthy.

Kyle Fuller gets $4 million more per year than Bears had offered

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Before Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller signed an offer sheet with the Packers, the best offer the Bears had made to him averaged $10 million per year, per a source with knowledge of the negotiations. Fuller emerges instead with a four-year deal worth $14 million per year.

The deal includes an $18 million signing bonus, payable within 10 days. Contrast that with the $13 million transition tender, which would have been paid out in 17 installments from September through December.

The deal also includes a $1 million base salary in 2018, $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses, and a $500,000 workout bonus. That’s cash flow of $20 million in the first year.

The cash flow through two years is $29 million, and it’s $42 million through three. The full value of the deal is $56 million over four.

The structure reflects what the Packers do with every player except Aaron Rodgers: No guarantees beyond the signing bonus. The fact that the Packers extended the offer sheet continues to be surprising, in part because it goes against their past approach to free agency, and in part because the money and cap space could have been tied up for as many as five days, if the Bears had decided to take their full allotment of time to ponder whether to match.

The end result is that the Packers negotiated the deal for the Bears, at no cost to Chicago. At a minimum, the Bears should give Abe Froman a call and send a gift basket full of pork products to Green Bay.

Report: Bears are matching Packers’ offer sheet for Kyle Fuller

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Cornerback Kyle Fuller is staying in Chicago.

The Bears have decided to match the Packers’ offer sheet for Fuller, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. Fuller will get a four-year, $56 million deal with $18 million guaranteed.

Fuller already had $12.9 million guaranteed with the transition tag after the Bears opted not to use the franchise tag on him. The Bears would have received no compensation if they had let Fuller leave for Green Bay, and since it was a division rival, Chicago didn’t really have a choice.

Fuller, 26, missed the 2016 season, but in his three seasons on the field with the Bears, he started 46 games and made eight interceptions and 41 pass breakups.

Michael Crabtree agrees to three-year deal with Ravens

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Nearing a deal went to done deal in a hurry. Michael Crabtree returned to the team facility to sign a three-year deal worth up to $21 million with the Ravens, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports. He gets $11 million guaranteed and will make at least $15 million — possibly up to $20 million — in the first two seasons, per Rapoport.

The Ravens confirmed the signing in a tweet.

Crabtree, 30, has made 579 catches for 6,870 yards and 51 touchdowns in nine NFL seasons. He played six seasons in San Francisco after the 49ers made him a first-round pick before spending the past three seasons in Oakland.

The Raiders cut him Thursday after signing receiver Jordy Nelson.

Mike Pouncey visiting the Chargers

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A day after being released by the Dolphins, free agent center Mike Pouncey has scheduled his first visit.

Pouncey will visit the Chargers, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports.

The 28-year-old Pouncey has played his entire career with the Dolphins, who chose him in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. He has been a starter throughout his career, including starting all 16 games last year.

If Pouncey signs with the Chargers, he’ll be their starting center, replacing Spencer Pulley, who started all 16 games last year. Although Pulley remains under contract, the Chargers would like to upgrade the position, and Pouncey fits the bill.

Packers sign Kyle Fuller to offer sheet

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The Bears used the transition tag on cornerback Kyle Fuller earlier this month and now they’ll have to decide whether to match another NFC North team’s offer for Fuller’s services.

PFT has confirmed Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune‘s report that Fuller has signed an offer sheet with the Packers. Neither the value nor the structure of the offer is known at this time.

Fuller’s transition tag came with a one-year salary of $12.9 million and General Manager Ryan Pace said that they used it to buy more time to reach a long-term deal with Fuller. They will have seven days to decide if the Packers’ offer is one that is to their liking or if they will let Fuller head to a divisional rival that has made good on their vow to be more aggressive in free agency.

If they do opt to let Fuller go, there will be no compensation coming back from Green Bay.

Sheldon Richardson to Vikings on a one-year deal

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The Vikings just made another big purchase.

This time, literally.

The Vikings have announced that they have agreed to a one-year deal with former Jets and Seahawks defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

The one-year deal’s an interesting one, as Richardson may not have found the kind of long-term love he was seeking. But with a short-term deal with what is expected to be a talented team, he’s in good position to cash in a year from now.

Bashaud Breeland failed physical, will not sign with Panthers

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Free agent cornerback Bashaud Breeland agreed to terms on a contract with the Panthers before free agency officially opened. But he won’t be a Panther after all.

The Panthers announced today that Breeland failed his physical and will not sign with the team.

There’s no word on the reason for the failed physical. Breeland played for Washington in Week 17 last season and had not been reported to have any issues that would prevent him from signing, but his failed physical was reportedly for a non-football injury.

It’s the second time this offseason that a player from Washington failed a physical with a new team, following Ryan Grant‘s failed physical with the Ravens.

The 26-year-old Breeland now goes back into free agency and will hope to sign with a team that will give him medical clearance.

Vontaze Burfict’s defense likely doesn’t hold water

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Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who previously has been suspended for pretty much everything but violating the PED policy, now faces a PED violation. And his camp has leaked a self-serving excuse to ESPN that, as articulated, holds less water than a hula hoop.

Adam Schefter of ESPN passes along the notion that Burfict will argue that the positive test came from medication prescribed for him after a December 4 concussion and/or medication prescribed for him after a December 24 shoulder injury.

Burfict also will claim, according to Schefter, that the positive test occurred on December 27, after he had been ruled out for the season. Thus, he’ll argue that he couldn’t have gained any advantage because he wasn’t playing in any more games.

However, Schefter fails to mention that, as of December 27, Burfict hadn’t been ruled out for the season. Two days later, Burfict appeared on they injury report as doubtful, which indicates a 25-percent chance of playing. On December 30, Burfict was downgraded to out.

Perhaps more importantly, a player’s playing status has no relevance to the requirement that, 365 days per year, players cannot have banned substances in their system. Likewise, the league has specific procedures for obtaining permission to take prescription medications that are otherwise banned by the PED policy. There’s no indication that Burfict successfully complied with any and all requirements to obtain permission to take something that team doctors should have known are prohibited.

It’s possible Burfict got the medication from his own doctor, who may have been oblivious to the fact that the NFL will automatically suspend a player for four games if the substances are in his system.

Thus, on its surface, the planned defense looks like a losing proposition. Maybe there are more facts that would bolster the case. If there were, they presumably would have been provided to Schefter and included in his story.

Report: Bob McNair questioned in Colin Kaepernick collusion case

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The inmates may not be running the prison, but one of the wardens got interrogated on Friday.

According to TMZ, Colin Kaepernick‘s lawyers questioned Texans owner Bob McNair in Houston as part of Kaepernick’s claim that the league colluded to keep him unemployed.

Kaepernick was photographed leaving the proceedings, wearing a black T-shirt with “Kunta Kinte” in white letters.

The interest in questioning McNair came from his team’s lack of interest in Kaepernick after Deshaun Watson suffered a torn ACL last season and, more importantly, McNair’s controversial remark during an October ownership meeting that the league “can’t have the inmates running the prison,” in reference to efforts to resolve the controversy regarding player protests during the national anthem in order to bring attention to issues of police brutality directed against African-Americans and people of color.

Kaepernick, in 2016, was the first player to protest during the anthem. He became a free agent in early 2017, but no one offered him a contract.

Last year, former Texans tackle Duane Brown said that, when participated in anthem protests during the 2016 season, “there was no backing of my character as a man as a leader or a player . . . [and] [t]here was nothing said by [McNair] or the organization to back me at all.”

Lawyer Mark Geragos claimed in November, after the Texans failed to consider Kaepernick, that McNair had made Kaepernick’s case stronger.

I just don’t understand the Texans,” Geragos said at the time. “If I’m Bob McNair, and maybe I’m addled and maybe I’m sick, I just don’t know. I mean, I’ll find out when I do his deposition. But if I’m Bob McNair and I’ve already misspoke and my players want to come and beat the crap out of me, I think that somebody should be whispering in my ear, ‘Sign Kap, sign Kap.’ Because that can redeem you, I would think, just from a public relations standpoint.”

Geragos also has described McNair’s “inmates running the prison” remark as critical proof of collusion.

“That’s about as good a smoking gun for collusion as you can get,” Geragos said. “‘We’re not going to let the inmates run the prison.'”

Many have argued that collusion will be impossible to prove, apparently under the belief that the case will require evidence of a secret agreement among all teams to avoid Kaepernick at all costs. His lawyers believe that collusion can be shown much more easily than that, with the league office (as controlled by a small handful of owners( being the conduit for spreading the word to the various teams, with the message not being a blatant “don’t sign Kaepernick,” but a far more subtle explanation that, for example, signing Kaepernick would generally be bad for business.

Other owners likely will be questioned soon, and it could end up being a hot topic as they prepare to gather in Orlando for the annual meetings, starting next weekend.

Report: Vontaze Burfict facing four-game PED suspension

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The Bengals just signed some linebacker help, and they may need it for the first quarter of the season.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Burfict is no stranger to suspensions, but this is his first for PEDs.

The date for his appeal has not been set.

Burfict played just 10 games last year between injuries and suspensions. The Bengals signed linebacker Preston Brown earlier today.