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Giants coach on Adrian Peterson: “Never say never”

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The Giants were one of the first teams Adrian Peterson started flirting with, even before the Vikings let him go.

And it appears there’s at least some interest on their part.

Giants coach Ben McAdoo was asked specifically Tuesday whether they’d have interest in adding the 32-year-old running back, and he replied directly: “Never say never.”

He also said that despite his age and the fact he’s had one healthy season in the last three years, he thinks Peterson has the ability to help a team.

“He’s a guy who’s a very talented player, and he has a chip on his shoulder,” McAdoo said. “And if he can stay healthy he has a lot to offer.”

The Giants could clearly use someone who is an every-down back, as their depth chart consists mostly of complementary backs such as Shane Vereen and Shaun Draughn and 2016 fifth-rounder Paul Perkins.

Whether that guy is Peterson remains to be seen, but McAdoo’s response did nothing to stop the speculation linking them.

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Hue Jackson rules out trading No. 1 pick for QB

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Strategically, it makes little sense for a team with the No. 1 overall draft pick — or any pick, for that matter — to eliminate the possibility of a trade. A club never knows what offer sheets may become available before the draft or even while on the clock, so it is best to stay open to all outcomes.

On Tuesday, Browns coach Hue Jackson didn’t eliminate every trade option with his top pick.

He did, however, rule out one.

Cleveland will not be swapping out its No. 1 choice to address its infamous quarterback situation, Jackson told reporters in Phoenix. He also spoke glowingly about the prospect expected to go first overall, reportedly calling former Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett a “tremendous player” who will “definitely be in the discussion.”

The Browns won’t pass up on Garrett, or theoretically a different prospect at No. 1, in a trade that nets them a quarterback.

“No,” Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I can tell you no on that one.”

Cleveland also owns the No. 12 overall draft pick on April 27.

Moving that selection for a quarterback remains on the table.

 

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NFL owners extend trial period for touchbacks to 25

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NFL kickoffs never will be the same.

If that wasn’t clear before Tuesday, it certainly appears so now.

Owners approved a one-year extension to a rule that temporarily was enacted in 2016, the league announced. The rule change follows what the NCAA introduced in 2012: Following a touchback, the line of scrimmage is the 25-yard line instead of the 20. Last season saw the touchback frequency spike from the 5-yard incentive, an effect the league sought in the name of player safety.

This temporary rule soon may become permanent.

Another year of similar data could do the trick.

NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino said last week that 39.3 percent of kickoffs were returned last season, the “lowest rate of return in NFL history.”

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Owners approve 8 new rules, 4 new bylaws, 1 new resolution

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The below playing rules, bylaws and resolution proposals were adopted by NFL clubs today at the annual meeting:

Approved 2017 Playing Rules Proposals

— Prohibits the “leaper” block attempt on field goal and extra point plays.

— Makes permanent the rule that disqualifies a player who is penalized twice in one game for certain types of unsportsmanlike conduct fouls.

— Keeps in place the change of the spot of a touchback after a kickoff to the 25-yard line for the 2017 season.

— Gives a receiver running a pass route defenseless player protection.

— Makes crackback blocks prohibited by a backfield player who is in motion, even if he is not more than two yards outside the tackle when the ball is snapped.

— Replaces the sideline replay monitor with a hand-held device and authorizes designated members of the Officiating department to make the final decision on replay reviews.

— Makes it Unsportsmanlike Conduct to commit multiple fouls during the same down designed to manipulate the game clock.

— Makes actions to conserve time illegal after the two-minute warning of either half.

Approved 2017 Bylaw Proposals

— Liberalizes rules for timing, testing, and administering physical examinations to draft-eligible players at a club’s facility for one year only.

— Changes the procedures for returning a player on Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform or Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness to the Active List to be similar to those for returning a player that was Designated for Return.

— The League office will transmit a Personnel Notice to clubs on Sundays during training camp and preseason.

Approved 2017 Resolution Proposal

— Permits a contract or non-contract non-football employee to interview with and be hired by another club during the playing season, provided the employer club has consented.

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NFL tables proposed shrinkage of overtime

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The Competition Committee recommended to ownership a reduction of preseason and regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10 minutes. The ownership has not yet embraced the recommendation.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the proposal was tabled during Tuesday’s meetings in Arizona. The source added that nine teams were opposed to the change.

By rule, 24 votes are needed to implement a rule change. Which means that nine “no” votes can block and proposed change.

It’s unclear when the matter will be revisited. Or whether another possibility (cough . . . two-point conversion shootout . . . cough) will emerge in its place.

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Source: “Completely false” to say Kaepernick has asked for $9-10 million per year

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To claim that quarterback Colin Kaepernick wants a chance to compete for a starting job and a salary of $9 million or $10 million per year would be to assume that conversations with one or more teams have progressed to that point. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, they haven’t.

The source said it’s “completely false” to suggest that Kaepernick has requested $9 million to $10 million per year.

Which makes the report that Kaepernick wants a chance to start and compensation in that range rooted in supposition or speculation or assumption that has morphed, perhaps via repetition, into perceived fact. And it’s in the interests of the teams that have ignored him individually and the league collectively to embrace that narrative, in order to push back against the perception that Kaepernick has been shunned for non-football reasons.

Whether he has or hasn’t been shunned for non-football reasons, embracing the idea that he has made demands that would price him out of potential spots presumes that teams would be interested in him at a lower price. Absent evidence that teams that already have signed quarterbacks actually explored what Kaepernick wants, the report seems to be nothing more than an effort to get people to quit suggesting that Kaepernick has been blackballed.

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Hue Jackson: Browns haven’t discussed Colin Kaepernick

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The Brows are searching for their franchise quarterback, but that search has not included Colin Kaepernick.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said today that the Browns haven’t discussed signing Kaepernick, although he didn’t rule it out in the future.

“We haven’t really discussed Colin,” Jackson said. “There’s other players at this point that we’ve had a lot of conversations about to see if we can put them on our team. Not saying it won’t come up later on. You have to exhaust everything. But at this point he hasn’t come up.”

Jackson said that in 2011, when he was head coach of the Raiders, he would have liked to have drafted Kaepernick, who went to the 49ers in the second round that year.

“Yes, I did. When I was in Oakland I did, no question,” Jackson said when asked if he liked Kaepernick coming out of college. “And I’m not saying I don’t now. I just think the situation we’re in right now, the players we’ve evaluated thus far to this point, those are the guys we’re going to spend our time with first. If that doesn’t fall right, there’s still other players.”

That’s not exactly shutting the door on Kaepernick, but it sure doesn’t sound like the Browns are particularly interested, either.

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It’s time to fix the overtime rule (and not by chopping it to 10 minutes)

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As the league’s owners gather in Arizona to consider potential rule changes, one proposal that will soon be on the table would reduce overtime in the regular season for 15 minutes to 10.

Here’s some free advice for the owners (money-back guarantee): Don’t do it.

It definitely will result in more ties, and that’s the last thing fans want. Yes, it’s important to reduce the total number of snaps, and a 10-minute overtime would do that. But an uptick in ties will be good for no one.

Fans (and coaches and players) want resolution. Investing more than 3.5 hours and ending up with an 0-0-1 on the regular-season record of two teams won’t provide it.

So here’s the proposal that the owners should adopt, in a nutshell: A two-point conversion contest.

One offense and defense goes to one end of the field, and the other offense and defense go to the other end of the field. A two-point conversion attempt occurs at each end of the field, three times per team, with either two points or zero points being scored. To keep things moving along, the snaps occur 25 seconds apart. (The officiating crew would be split, with four on one end of the field and four on the other end.)

If the game is tied after each team has three chances to score, the teams go back and forth, one chance each, until there’s no tie after both teams have had their chance to score.

It would be exciting, frenetic, compelling, and it would involve as few as six extra snaps. And we’ve yet to hear a good argument against it.

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Report: Jason Witten agrees to four-year extension with Cowboys

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In February, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said he wasn’t sure how much longer he wanted to continue playing and that he thought the best approach was to “just go into it and look at it one year at a time.”

Witten’s view appears to have changed pretty dramatically over the last few weeks. Todd Archer of ESPN.com reports that Witten has agreed to a four-year extension with the Cowboys that will keep him under contract through the 2021 season.

The desire for the Cowboys to have Witten on hand beyond 2017 comes as little surprise given how much he’s meant to the team’s offense. The length of the deal for a player who turns 35 in May does more to raise the eyebrows, although the details of the pact will be enlightening as to its impact on the team’s overall salary cap picture.

In the short term, it will likely lower Witten’s 2017 cap hit from the current $12.262 million, giving them a bit more to spend elsewhere as they build for the coming season.

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Jim Irsay: “Wrong to assume” it is win or else for Chuck Pagano

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The Colts made a change at General Manager after the 2016 season by dispatching Ryan Grigson and bringing in Chris Ballard to run the personnel side of things in his place.

Coach Chuck Pagano remains in his job, but Ballard’s arrival and two straight years out of the playoffs would seem to put him in the crosshairs should the team decide to make another change heading into the 2018 season. During a media session at the owners meetings in Arizona on Monday, Colts owner Jim Irsay said that any decision on that front won’t be based solely on the team’s record.

Irsay talked about the need to build around young players who will be with the team for several years and broached the possibility of trading down in the draft to stockpile picks, both of which could be seen as signs of a patient approach in Indianapolis. His comments about Pagano send the same message.

“I think it is wrong to assume, particularly coming from me, the owner, that, ‘Hey, Chuck, you better win or else. … This year, you’ve got to get it done,'” Irsay said, via the Indianapolis Star. “Honestly, I think it’s really about seeing how we are getting the best players on the field and really doing the type of smart things that really make you sit back and say, ‘Hey, I don’t know if Chuck would have done that three or four years ago. I see growth there.'”

Improvement in terms of the team’s record is black and white, but the progress that Irsay is talking about can be a bit harder to quantify. That’s especially true if the focus on developing younger players coincides with a downturn in the standings that upsets a fanbase that likely expected to be in a different place at this stage of quarterback Andrew Luck’s career.

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Lions G.M. on Matthew Stafford extension: We’re working on it

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Lions G.M. Bob Quinn says he has his franchise quarterback in place, and now wants to keep him in place for years to come.

Quinn said on PFT Live that Matthew Stafford, who has one year and a $16.5 million salary left on his current contract, is due for an extension.

“We’ve begun a few discussions with his representatives. These things take time. These things don’t usually happen early in April or May, but we’re working towards that,” Quinn said.

Quinn indicated that he has no doubts that Stafford is the right man to lead the Lions for years to come.

“I have a great deal of respect for Matt,” Quinn said. “I think he’s a very good quarterback that has all the leadership and off the field traits that we look for in the quarterback position, and his on-field ability I think is well-documented. His arm strength, his mobility, which he used more of this year. I think he has all those things and we need to do a better job and I need to do a better of putting more pieces around him so we have a better team around him so he doesn’t have to carry the entire load.”

The 29-year-old Stafford probably has several more good years left in him. Quinn wants those years to be in Detroit.

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Thomas Dimitroff would like both teams to get a chance in overtime

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Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff lost the Super Bowl in overtime last month, so it’s understandable if he’s a little sore about sudden death.

Dimitroff said on PFT Live that he’d like to see the NFL explore an overtime format that guarantees each team a possession, as opposed to the current format, which allows a team to win the coin toss, receive the opening kickoff and win the game with a touchdown without the other team ever possessing the ball.

“I would like to have a chance, of course, but that’s not where we are right now and I’m a big league guy so I’m supportive of where we are right now,” Dimitroff said. “Personally I’d like us to continue to discuss that. I understand coin flips. I understand when Tom Brady flipped the coin — when it flipped in his favor in the middle of the field, there’s a guy who’s incredibly special when the game’s on the line, so that’s a difficult situation. . . . We would like to have an opportunity.”

The only overtime proposal the NFL is considering at this week’s league meeting is one that would shorten overtime in the preseason and regular season to 10 minutes. But the league is constantly talking about ways to improve overtime, and it wouldn’t be surprising if another change comes at some point, one that would get rid of the sudden death format. Too late for the Falcons.

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Report: Kaepernick wants a chance to start, and $9-10 million

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Is Colin Kaepernick still unemployed because his asking price is too high?

That’s the suggestion in a report from Dan Graziano of ESPN, who cites multiple sources as saying that Kaepernick won’t settle for just any job.

According to the report, Kaepernick wants to go to a place that will give him a chance to start, and pay him a salary in the range of $9 million to $10 million a year. That would mean he expects a better deal than the ones free agent quarterbacks Josh McCown and Brian Hoyer got this month.

That would also mean some teams that could make sense for Kaepernick as a backup, like the Seahawks and Panthers, wouldn’t be attractive to Kaepernick because he wouldn’t have a chance to start.

Realistically, there aren’t many places where Kaepernick would get a chance to start. So if he’s limiting himself to those places, there are few options available to him.

One person we haven’t heard from is Kaepernick himself. Although he is active on social media, he rarely tweets about football and has not said anything about how much money he wants or what kind of opportunity he’s seeking. If he’s willing to be a backup and play for backup money, saying so publicly might help him get such an offer. If he’s not willing to be a backup and play for backup money, he may remain unemployed for a while.

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Robert Kraft would love Malcolm Butler and/or Darrelle Revis on Patriots

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When cornerback Darrelle Revis was last a member of the Patriots, comments from Jets owner Woody Johnson about bringing him back to his first NFL team led to a $100,000 fine from the league for tampering.

Revis wound up returning to the Jets ahead of the 2015 season, but he was released this offseason so Patriots owner Robert Kraft doesn’t have to worry about anyone pulling a Vladimir Putin to his bank account for commenting about the cornerback returning to New England. That may explain why Kraft was happy to do so at the league meetings in Arizona on Monday.

“I would love it,” Kraft said, via Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “Speaking for myself, if he wanted to come back, he’s a great competitor, I’d welcome him if he wanted to come.”

There’s been other chatter about a possible reunion, but none of the people chattering nor Kraft are in control of making a deal that would bring Revis back to New England. That’s Bill Belichick’s department and it seems safe to say that he won’t be sharing any of his thoughts on that front.

The same is true of the team’s plans regarding cornerback Malcolm Butler, who has not signed his restricted free agent tender or an offer sheet with the Saints after a visit with New Orleans. There’s been plenty of discussion about how things will play out with Butler. Kraft said he has “great affection” for the corner and that his wish would be for another year in New England.

“I hope he’s with us and signs his [tender] and plays for us. … I don’t want to, in any way, take away from his rights, I want to be clear. I hope he’s with us,” Kraft said, via the Boston Globe.

The possibility of a Revis encore may be linked to how things play out with Butler as the Patriots already have Stephon Gilmore under contract. The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams is April 21.

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Colts plan to go slow with Andrew Luck’s shoulder

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Third- or fourth-string quarterbacks usually get lost in the shuffle during an NFL off-season, their low number of practice reps dwindling as the regular season nears.

This year’s backups in Indianapolis will be busier than most.

Colts owner Jim Irsay said Monday the team plans to go slow with quarterback Andrew Luck, who is recovering from January right shoulder surgery. Luck is expected to begin throwing in the spring, but it is clear the club won’t ask of him too much, too soon.

Luck remains on schedule for a full recovery before the season begins, Irsay said.

“We are not going to be rushing him,” Irsay told his team’s website. “We are going to make sure, obviously, that the shoulder has to be ready and the doctors are going to give full approval before he starts putting real reps on it and that sort of thing.

“This is going to be a huge benefit in the long run. We really feel that he’s going to be completely healed for the season and he’s going to have a great season. Chris (Ballard) and Chuck (Pagano) have talked and we are going to make sure, if we need an extra arm in camp, as we start doing our work, we will be prepared for that.”

In 2016, Luck threw for 4,240 yards with 31 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 15 games. He also set career highs with a 63.5 completion percentage and 7.8 average yards per attempt.

That is despite some apparent teeth-gritting behind the scenes.

“I don’t think people realized how much he had to work to get ready to play each week,” Irsay said to Colts.com. “He really had to work hard last year, and it was very mentally draining to get ready.”

 

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