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Jake Long is still unemployed but “finally healthy”

MIAMI - OCTOBER 05:  Offensive lineman Jake Long #77 of the Miami Dolphins takes a breather while taking on the San Diego Chargers at Dolphin Stadium on October 5, 2008 in Miami, Florida. The Dolphins defeated the Chargers 17-10.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) Getty Images

A mere eight years ago, tackle Jake Long became the first overall pick in the draft, chosen by the Dolphins and former V.P. of player personnel Bill Parcells despite the presence of quarterback Matt Ryan in the pool of talent. Today, Long is out of the NFL.

But he’s looking to get back in, and Long insists that the injury problems that plagued him are now gone.

I’m finally healthy,” Long said Saturday, via Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com. “This is the healthiest and best I’ve felt in probably about five, six years. My knee’s back. I’ve just been working out, feeling good and ready for the opportunity when it comes along.”

The opportunity has yet to come along. The Bears gave Long a workout earlier this month, but that may have been a leverage play during their negotiations with Nate Chandler, who signed later that same day.

Long spent five years with the Dolphins, cashing every check of a pre-wage scale $57.5 million deal. He then signed a two-year contract with the Rams, but was released after tearing an ACL in back-to-back years. Last year, Long joined the Falcons. He appeared in only four games, starting none.

That has resulted in an opportunity to fully recuperate from the various ailments that come from playing football for so many seasons.

“When I wake up and my knee doesn’t hurt, you know what I mean,” Long said. “I feel the strength back. You can see it. You can feel it. My body feels good the way I’m moving, working out and how good I feel moving on it.”

That has yet to result in anyone signing Long, but with injuries inevitable as training camp and the preseason approaches, Long could end up getting a call before Week One.

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Wilkerson won’t say if he’ll be at Jets training camp

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 14:  Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson #96 of the New York Jets talks with nose tackle Damon Harrison #94 during the NFL game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 14, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  The Packers defeated the Jets 31-24.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Getty Images

Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson is declining to say if the team can expect him at training camp.

Wilkerson has so far refused to sign the franchise player offer, which would pay him $15.7 million guaranteed for 2016. Asked on Friday night if he will sign in time to report to the start of training camp, Wilkerson wouldn’t say.

I’m not going to answer that question, because there’s no deal in place,” Wilkerson said. “Nobody knows what will happen.”

Wilkerson again declined to answer when asked whether he could sit out once the regular season starts. If he does that, he’ll be costing himself more than $900,000 a week.

The Jets seem content to let Wilkerson play one year at $15.7 million. What Wilkerson wants is a long-term contract, with a lot more than $15.7 million guaranteed. The issue may not be resolved any time soon.

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New York legislature passes bill legalizing daily fantasy

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16:  The fantasy sports website DraftKings is shown on October 16, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. DraftKings and its rival FanDuel have been under scrutiny after accusations surfaced of employees participating in the contests with insider information. An employee recently finished second in a contest on FanDuel, winning $350,000. Nevada recently banned the sites.  (Photo illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Last year, the DraftKings/FanDuel cola war sparked an assault on the daily fantasy industry, with New York becoming the most significant battleground. With the state’s Attorney General arguing aggressively that current laws prohibit it, the Coke and Pepsi of DFS embarked on an effort to change the current laws.

On Friday, the effort struck gold, with both houses of the New York legislature passing a bill that, if signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, would make daily fantasy legal in the Empire State.

Via the New York Daily News, a Cuomo spokesman said the bill, which defines DFS as a game of skill not chance, is “under review.”

The entire industry, which emerged as an under-the-radar byproduct of the 2006 federal law that made online gambling illegal, seemed to badly misjudge the laws of the 50 states in which it does business. But for a crush of advertisements and ESPN sponsored segments that annoyed and alienated many, the industry may have never become a target for widespread opposition.

Wisely, DraftKings and FanDuel has lowered their profile while getting the legalities in order. If/when Cuomo puts his Hancock on the bill, the tide may begin to turn nationally for a business model that some thought was destined to implode.

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Guaranteed money is the only real sticking point in Von Miller deal

SANTA CLARA, CA - FEBRUARY 07:  Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos forces Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers to fumble the ball during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Broncos and linebacker Von Miller have agreed to the years (six) and total payout ($114.5 million) on a long-term deal that must be signed, if at all, before July 15. The contract hasn’t been finalized for one reason and one reason only: The two sides can’t agree how much of the money will be guaranteed in full at signing, how much will be guaranteed for injury only at signing, and when any injury-only guarantees will convert to full guarantees.

The Broncos offered Miller $38.5 million fully guaranteed at signing. Under the terms of the offer, a total of $58 million would become fully guaranteed in March 2018, with the extra amounts guaranteed only for injury until then.

Miller wants a much greater overall guarantee (possibly $70 million or more), with the total guarantee fully vesting not in March 2018 but in March 2017. The dollars paid to Miller under the six-year contract don’t change; the debate centers on how much will be fully guaranteed when Miller signs the deal — and when any additional injury guarantees will become fully guaranteed.

With the Eagles giving Fletcher Cox (who has made it to one Pro Bowl in four seasons) $63 million in guarantees, with more than $55 million becoming fully guaranteed by March of 2017, Miller can plausibly seek a total guarantee of $70 million or more with the vesting of a significant chunk of it by March 2017. If the Broncos, who haven’t engaged Miller’s camp since the Cox deal was done (and vice-versa), still refuse to alter their proposed structure of $38 million fully guaranteed at signing and $58 million fully guaranteed by March 2018, the question becomes why won’t they?

As we see it, there are five potential explanations for Denver’s position:

1. They fear a return of his substance abuse issues.

If this happens, and if Miller ultimately is suspended for it, the Broncos would be able to void any remaining guarantees and to recover potentially significant portions of signing bonus money. Given that Miller has completely exited the substance-abuse program, it’s unlikely that within the next two calendar years Miller would be subject to another suspension — especially since it now takes more violations to trigger a suspension.

2. They fear an Albert Haynesworth scenario.

Haynesworth signed a massive contract with Washington in 2009, and he then proceeded to underachieve. After five years with Miller, however, the Broncos should be able to tell whether or not he can be trusted with a major payday. The fact that they’re already willing to give him $38 million fully guaranteed at signing suggests that they’re not concerned about Miller suddenly becoming lazy or content.

3. They don’t want to fund the guaranteed money.

The outdated rule requiring fully guaranteed payments to be placed in escrow has made plenty of teams unwilling to fully guarantee significant amounts at signing, resulting in few players receiving full guarantees beyond the first two seasons. In this case, Miller isn’t looking for $70 million or more to be fully guaranteed at signing. He wants the guarantee to fully vest in March 2017, which is the point at which the Broncos would be required to fund anything beyond the amounts fully guaranteed if/when he signs. So this isn’t the same as, for example, the Dolphins be required to fork over $60 million when signing Ndamukong Suh last year. The Broncos would, for example, pay $45 million now (some to Miller and the rest to escrow for 2017) and, for example, another $25 million to escrow in March 2017, based on a $70 million total guarantee.

4. They are concerned he’ll have an injury that impairs his performance.

Injury guarantees apply only if the player can’t pass a physical. Miller could, in theory, suffer an injury in 2016 or 2017 that doesn’t keep him from playing but that keeps him from playing at a dominant level. That would allow the Broncos to cut Miller (or squeeze him to take less money), if the date on which the money becomes fully guaranteed is delayed into year three of the deal.

5. They want to keep their options open.

In theory, the Broncos could decide at some point in the next two years that they have found a younger, cheaper player who can do the same thing Miller does. It’s a dynamic that happens constantly in the NFL, with veterans thrown overboard in favor of lower-priced talent having comparable skills. It’s hard to imagine that happening before 2018 or 2019 with Miller, whose dominance blossomed in the playoffs last season — and who is still on the front end of his prime.

Again, the issue isn’t total dollars. The issue is whether and to what extent the Broncos will give Miller an assurance that chunks of the total dollars will be paid. For now, they’re willing to commit for two years. Miller wants two years now and a third-year commitment in nine months — along with a greater overall guarantee than Cox received.

It’s for the parties to decide the specific structure. But with a consensus as to years and total dollars and a willingness by the Broncos to fully guarantee roughly one third of the entire contract when Miller signs it, common sense suggests that if the two sides would commit to a true back-and-forth negotiation, they’d be able to quickly reach a resolution regarding how and when to pay out roughly two thirds of the $114.5 million over six years that the Broncos are willing to pay and Miller is willing to accept.

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It’s time for a coach to have some guts on going for two

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 3: Gead coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 3, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) Getty Images

Over the last week in the NFL, multiple coaches and quarterbacks have talked about the possibility of going for two after almost every touchdown. But no one has come right out and said his team is going to go for two most of the time.

In fact, no team in the history of the NFL — or in major college football — has ever gone for two most of the time. Last year, the Steelers were about as close as any team has come to making two-point conversions the norm, but even the Steelers kicked more than three times as often as they went for two, finishing the season with 34 extra point attempts and 11 two-point conversion attempts.

Mike Tomlin took a step in the right direction, but it’s time for NFL coaches to stop taking baby steps on two point conversions. It’s time for some coach to go for two as the default option after scoring a touchdown.

Mathematically, there’s no question that it would be the right call for some teams. Last year across the NFL, kickers went 1,146-for-1,217 (94.2 percent) on extra points, while offenses went 45-for-94 (47.9 percent) on two-point conversions. In other words, an extra point kick produced, on average, 0.942 points, while a two-point conversion attempt produced, on average, 0.958 points. The risks already (slightly) outweigh the rewards of going for two.

But that’s just on average. Some teams — teams that have a good short-yardage offense and/or a bad kicker — were leaving significant points on the board when they decided to take the allegedly safe option of kicking the extra point. Take the Steelers, who converted on eight of their 11 two-point attempts and 32 of their 34 one-point attempts. That means the Steelers scored 1.5 points per two-point try and 0.9 points per one-point try. The Steelers were forfeiting more than half a point, on average, every time they sent their kicker onto the field after a touchdown.

Even if you think your kicker is automatic on extra points (and no kicker truly is, as the Patriots found out when Stephen Gostkowski missed his first extra point in a decade in the AFC Championship Game), if you have confidence in your offense you’re better off going for two. Packers coach Mike McCarthy is one of the coaches who said recently that he’d consider making two-point conversions the default option, and he’d be wise to do so. Even though the Packers went 36-for-36 on extra points last year, they were better on two-point conversions, converting on four of six attempts, or 1.3 points per two-point try. The Packers’ season ended when they lost in overtime to the Cardinals in the playoffs, an overtime they forced with an Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary followed by a Mason Crosby extra point. McCarthy should have trusted Rodgers to win the game with a two-point conversion at the end of the fourth quarter, rather than trusting Crosby to tie the game and then hoping that overtime would work out in the Packers’ favor.

No team would always go for two because there are still some late-game situations in which a 90 percent chance at one point is better than a 50 percent chance at two points. If you score a touchdown in the final minute to tie a game, you’re always going to kick the extra point to win by one, rather than try for the conversion and win by two.

But those rare instances aside, there’s little doubt that many if not most teams would be better off with a strategy of going for two most of the time.

So why don’t coaches do it? Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter answered that question honestly this week.

“We’ve studied it, and mathematically, it does make sense,” Koetter acknowledged, before adding, “Say we go out there that first game, and we score three touchdowns and we don’t make any two pointers and we lose 21-18. Who’s going to get killed?”

Koetter is right — he’s going to get killed if he makes going for two the default option and he fails. But guess what? You took a job as a head coach in the NFL. Your decisions are going to be second-guessed. It comes with the territory. If you’re going to be second-guessed anyway, you might as well get second-guessed for the strategy that you admitted makes sense, mathematically. That strategy is going for two most of the time. It’s time for some coach to have the guts to follow the risky — but smart — strategy. Some coach might follow that strategy and lose 21-18, but another coach is going to follow that strategy and win 22-21, and when he does, he’ll be hailed for having both guts and brains.

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Rob Ryan wants to restore the family name

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 3: Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan of the New Orleans Saints hug at the end of the Jets 26-20 win at MetLife Stadium on November 3, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ron Antonelli/Getty Images) Getty Images

Twin brothers Rob and Rex Ryan are coaching together this season for the first time since they were on their father Buddy’s staff in 1995. They’re hoping to restore some luster to the Ryan name.

As the architect of the 1985 Bears, Buddy is one of the best defensive coordinators in NFL history, although he didn’t have great results as a head coach. Rex and Rob were both well-regarded defensive minds earlier in their career, but their defenses have struggled recently. Rob thinks this could be the year they restore the Ryan name to glory.

“Obviously, our family name is huge,” Rob told the Buffalo News. “You see those Top 10 things (on NFL Network) and Ryans are always a top-10 family . . . those Mannings are hard to beat out of the No. 1 spot. I think they might be there a while.

“Look, in coaching, everybody takes their lumps. I mean that is just the way it is. We want to get everything back. Do we want to win our sixth Super Bowl? Absolutely, and that is what we are going to fight to do every day.

“But, hey, a few years ago everybody was dumping on the Phillipses. I mean, shoot, I replaced Wade in Dallas. I mean he was out of work and then got back in, in Denver. He is an excellent football coach and he is a prideful man. He had an excellent coaching family — his father [former Oilers and Saints coach Bum Phillips], his son [Washington tight ends coach Wes Phillips]. So, of course, there is a lot of pride in that. And we are Ryans and we believe in what our name is and what we are all about.”

Maybe the Bills’ defense will turn things around this season and restore the Ryan family name. Or maybe the Bills will miss the playoffs again, and both Ryans will be looking for work.

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Packers sign Kenny Clark

kenny-clark-042816-usnews-getty-ftr_1t2vxbcd7uzuu1u0vnfti5cho4 Getty Images

Late Friday afternoons are the place where bad news typically goes to be noticed by as few people as possible. For the Packers, this specific late Friday afternoon entailed a good news dump, with an announcement that the team has signed defensive tackle Kenny Clark.

Clark, who played college football at UCLA, inked the standard four-year deal with a fifth-year option.

Due to the school calendar at UCLA, Clark missed OTAS. He connected with defensive line coach Mike Trgovac via Skype before this week, when Clark was finally able to report for duty.

Clark recently said he wasn’t worried about not being signed. He also said he gave no thought to pulling a Joey Bosa and boycotting this week’s mandatory minicamp due to the absence of a contract.

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Saints owner settles lawsuit with his heirs

Tom Benson AP

Saints owner Tom Benson has settled a lawsuit with his daughter and grandchildren over control of his business interests, which include the Saints, the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans, car dealerships, real estate and a TV station.

“Operations for all Tom Benson business properties including the New Orleans Saints, the New Orleans Pelicans, WVUE-FOX 8, automotive dealerships and Benson Tower remain ‘business as usual,'” a Saints spokesman told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

A trial had been scheduled to start on Monday, and that trial would have allowed a great deal of financial information about the Saints to go public. Now that won’t happen.

Benson has been estranged from his daughter and grandchildren with his former wife since he announced that he would be passing full control of the Saints and Pelicans to his current wife when he dies.

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Bruce Arians opens up about his Steelers “retirement”

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 24:  Head coach Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals stands on the field prior to the NFC Championship Game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium on January 24, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

Following the 2011 season, the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Bruce Arians but tried to sell it as a retirement. Few non-Steelers fans were fooled.

In an upcoming profile to debut Tuesday night on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, Arians opens up about the end of his time in Pittsburgh, which happened after his contract expired.

Arians explains to Andrea Kremer that he’d been told by coach Mike Tomlin a new contract was coming, with an adjustment aimed at reflecting the team’s performance on offense. A few days later, the call came.

“[Tomlin] said, ‘I can’t get you the money,’” Arians tells Kremer. I said, ‘Okay.’ He said, ‘No, I can’t get you a contract.’ I said, ‘Are you firing me?’ He said, ‘No. . . .’

“‘Well . . . it’s just a matter of words, Mike,'” Arian said. “‘Okay. If I don’t have a contract, I’m fired.’

“And he said, ‘I’m going to fly down and talk.’ [I] said, ‘Why waste the money and the time?’ And so that was it. Walked upstairs and told my wife. And I’ve never seen her cry. And she cried.”

Arians thinks that the firing happened because some thought he was “too close” with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“I had done a good job,” Arians contends. “Maybe not the right image, but it was a damn good job. I was pissed. But again, time heals things.”

Time does heal things, especially when the retirement is temporary and ends with a Coach of the Year award as offensive coordinator of the Colts and then three successful seasons as head coach of the Cardinals, the second of which resulted in a second Coach of the Year award.

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Koetter understands the risk of going for two on a regular basis

offensive-coordinator-dirk-koetter-and-jameis-winston-of-the-tampa-picture-id499387272 Getty Images

It’s easy for NFL coaches to talk about going for two all the time. It’s another thing for coaches to do it. New Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter understands that.

Via JoeBucsFan.com, Koetter told Steve Duemig of WDAE in Tampa that “mathematically, it does make sense” to go for two every time. As a practical matter, it doesn’t.

“Say we go out there that first game, and we score three touchdowns and we don’t make any two pointers and we lose 21-18,” Koetter told Duemig. “Who’s going to get killed? You’re going to be on [the radio] and you’re going to be dog-cussin’ me the whole time.”

That’s a more colorful way to make the point we’ve made since the moment the NFL pushed the snap for the single-point try from the two to the 15. If a coach makes the conventional decision and it doesn’t work out, the coach doesn’t get criticized. If he makes an unconventional decision and it doesn’t work out and a bright or dotted line connects the blunder to the final score in a loss, the coach will get criticized.

If the coach gets criticized enough, he gets fired. And possibly replaced by a member of his staff.

“Pittsburgh went for it 11 times last year,” Koetter said. “I think they made seven or eight, but if you actually went for it 48 or 50 times, and you have one of those games when you’re 0-for-6. . . . To commit to it for a whole year, no, I would be scared to do it. And we didn’t, we drafted a heck of a kicker, Roberto Aguayo. Very excited about him and what he brings to the table. We won’t be doing it, but maybe somebody will.”

It would be as big of a mistake to go for two all the time as it would be to never go for two. The best approach is to change it up, week after week and drive after drive. The uncertainty forces every opponent to spend practice time preparing for the possibility of defending against the two-point play, diluting the team’s ability to prepare for the rest of the offensive wrinkles.

Ideally, the opponent will never know when a team will be going for one or going for two, except in late-game situations where the decision becomes obvious. But good luck, NFL coaches, when it comes to persuading radio hosts, writers, and/or fans that there’s anything conventional about an inherently unconventional approach aimed at creating the same sense of randomness as the flip of a coin.

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Rex says he has a difference-making coach in Ed Reed

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 17: Head coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets and Ed Reed #22 look on from the sideline during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 17, 2013 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

Ed Reed was a difference-making safety during his playing career with the Ravens. Now he’s an assistant coach in Buffalo, and his boss says he’s still a difference maker.

Bills coach Rex Ryan, who coached Reed at the beginning of his career with the Ravens and at the end of his career with the Jets, says he was in hot pursuit of Reed on his coaching staff. Ryan think Reed has the kind of knowledge to make a big difference to the team.

I was all over him,” Ryan said of persuading Reed to join his staff. “I just know the kind of player he is. Everybody knows he’s a first-ballot Hall of Fame player, but it’s how he is with the other guys. He’s more like the pied piper, people follow him. And that was even when he wasn’t the dominant player that he used to be with Baltimore. When I had him with the Jets, he took that whole group and they’d follow him. And he can share, they all want part of that wisdom he has and I thought for our team, you can’t have a better guy.”

Ryan joked (we think he was joking) that he wants Reed to stay in shape because the Bills might want to put him on the field at some point this season. For his part, Reed thinks he has a lot to teach players, both about how to play on the field and about how to conduct themselves as professionals.

“Me being a coach, you see how guys need to learn how to be professionals, need to be taught professionalism and how to protect themselves as an organization, as a company, and as an organization as a whole, the Buffalo Bills and the NFL,” Reed said.

Those are the lessons Ryan hired Reed to teach.

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Bashaud Breeland: I want to be next Darrell Green or better

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 29: Cornerback Bashaud Breeland #26 of the Washington Redskins breaks up a pass intended for wide receiver Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants defends in the fourth quarter at FedExField on November 29, 2015 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Redskins made a late splash in free agency when they signed Josh Norman following the Panthers’ decision to rescind the franchise tag they gave him at the start of the offseason.

Norman comes to Washington with a big salary, a big profile and big expectations, but he isn’t alone on that last point. Bashaud Breeland was the team’s top corner last season and says he doesn’t think Norman’s arrival changes much for him heading into the 2016 season.

If anything, Breeland believes Norman’s arrival will “help me showcase my talent even more.” Breeland thinks that such a showcase will help him meet his goal of being viewed as the best corner in the league and the heir to one of the franchise’s all-time greats.

“I know what I meant and I know what I said and I meant what I said, and that’s what I’m going to be,” Breeland said, via the Washington Post. “You can say it’s a big goal. That’s your opinion. But my opinion is that I can be the next Darrell Green or better. That’s my expectation for myself.”

We’ll go ahead and agree that it’s a big goal for Breeland to set for himself, but it isn’t one that he needs to reach for the Redskins to make a serious improvement in pass defense from last season. A healthy Norman and Breeland should be among the better cornerback duos in the league and provide a foundation for that growth in 2016.

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Michael Oher inks three-year extension with Panthers

SAN JOSE, CA - FEBRUARY 03:  Offensive Tackle Michael Oher #73 of the Carolina Panthers participates in drills during practice prior to Super Bowl 50 at San Jose State University on February 3, 2016 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Getty Images

Panthers tackle Michael Oher recently said he’d like to spend the rest of his career with the team. He definitely won’t be leaving soon.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Oher has signed a three-year extension with the Panthers. It carries $21.6 million in new money, with an average of $7.2 million and $9.5 million guaranteed. Of that amount, $8 million is fully guaranteed at signing.

Oher was signed through 2016, at a base salary of $2.35 million. Coupled with the extension, he’s under contract for four years and $23.95 million.

It’s a very good contract for a guy who has struggled to live up to the whole “Blind Side” hype at the NFL level since entering the league as a first-round pick of the Ravens in 2009. Most recently, Oher performed like part blocking sled, part Madden glitch in Super Bowl 50. If that wasn’t the result of the field or poor footwear choices (and it seemed to be the field), it’s on Oher.

Still, the Panthers (who haven’t been handing out market-value deals lately) feel strongly enough about Oher to give him a deal that seems to be very strong, especially in light of his overall body of work in the professional game.

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Pete Carroll: Russell Wilson has taken “clear step forward”

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks singles for a touchdown during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 22, 2015 in Santa Clara, California. The Seahawks didn't score on this play, but scored later in the drive.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) Getty Images

After Russell Wilson set franchise records for passing yards and passing touchdowns on the back of a massive second half surge last season, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said that the goal for the offseason was to “accelerate the process” for Wilson in terms of commanding the offense in his fifth season.

The Seahawks wrapped up their offseason work on Thursday and Carroll shared his thoughts on how things went for the quarterback. Carroll said that Wilson carried his success from the second half of last season with him into the offseason and that you “can really see him as a real, true vet now.”

“He’s made a clear step ahead, and his command is like all time,” Carroll said, via the Seattle Times. “His ability to move defenders with his eyes to set up some things — he’s consistently doing that, almost [subconsciously], he’s so clued in. We saw him throw the ball all over the field throughout the offseason, and he’s been strong and accurate and really precise about stuff.”

Carroll said that the offense as a whole remained connected to the tempo they were at while playing without Marshawn Lynch down the stretch last year. While Wilson may be bullish about runinng backs replacing Lynch, that tempo worked for the Seahawks and should be the foundation for a lasting change in the team’s approach.

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Giants use Jason Pierre-Paul’s plight as lesson for rookies

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 20:   Jason Pierre-Paul #90 of the New York Giants reacts against the Carolina Panthers during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 20, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Getty Images

As most of the NFL broke for the summer yesterday, there were many warnings to players about making good decisions during the six-week break before training camps start.

But for the Giants veterans, it was easy to talk to their young players about what to do and not do, by pointing to one of their own.

According to Zach Braziller of the New York Post, last year’s Fourth of July fireworks explosion which robbed defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul of part of his right hand was very much part of their message.

“Remind them that they’ve worked their entire life to get to this position and find themselves in one of these buildings, and how it could be taken away so quick,” veteran running back Rashad Jennings said. “You know, take advantage of it. It goes a long way when you hear it from players more so than coaches, so we have some veteran leadership that [took] the time to make sure we’re preaching it in the locker room ourselves.”

Similar messages were being given by every team as we enter the six weeks of breath-holding for teams and exhaling by players. But only the Giants have such a clear illustration of what can go wrong so quickly.

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