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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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NFL may change the extra point at May meeting

Ed Hochuli AP

The NFL is taking no action on changing extra points at this week’s meeting. But that doesn’t mean no change is coming for the 2015 season.

The league has another meeting in May, and it’s possible that the owners will vote there on a change to the extra point rules.

It’ll come in May,” a source told Mark Maske of the Washington Post.

But it remains unclear what change, if any, will come in May. The most popular proposals are moving extra point kicks back from the 2-yard line to the 15-yard line (to make them slightly harder), or moving all point after touchdown attempts from the 2-yard line to the 1-yard line (to make two-point conversions easier and therefore more common). The problem is that although many people around the league agree that extra points are too boring and need to change, few can agree on how the extra point should change.

So while the extra point will continue to be discussed throughout this offseason, there’s a good chance that those discussions won’t yield any changes.

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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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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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2015 NFL Draft Order

Draft Getty Images

With the league distributing the 32 compensatory draft picks Monday night at the league meetings in Arizona, the 2015 NFL Draft order is now officially set.

Of course, the order is subject to change barring trades before the draft and certainly with the myriad of trades seen during the event itself. In fact, the 2015 draft has already seen 43 picks involved in trades up to this point.

The full order is listed below.

(Round – Pick in Round – Overall)

ROUND 1

1- 1- 1 Tampa Bay
1- 2- 2 Tennessee
1- 3- 3 Jacksonville
1- 4- 4 Oakland
1- 5- 5 Washington
1- 6- 6 New York Jets
1- 7- 7 Chicago
1- 8- 8 Atlanta
1- 9- 9 New York Giants
1-10-10 St. Louis
1-11-11 Minnesota
1-12-12 Cleveland
1-13-13 New Orleans
1-14-14 Miami
1-15-15 San Francisco
1-16-16 Houston
1-17-17 San Diego
1-18-18 Kansas City
1-19-19 Cleveland from Buffalo
1-20-20 Philadelphia
1-21-21 Cincinnati
1-22-22 Pittsburgh
1-23-23 Detroit
1-24-24 Arizona
1-25-25 Carolina
1-26-26 Baltimore
1-27-27 Dallas
1-28-28 Denver
1-29-29 Indianapolis
1-30-30 Green Bay
1-31-31 New Orleans from Seattle
1-32-32 New England

ROUND 2

2- 1-33 Tennessee
2- 2-34 Tampa Bay
2- 3-35 Oakland
2- 4-36 Jacksonville
2- 5-37 New York Jets
2- 6-38 Washington
2- 7-39 Chicago
2- 8-40 New York Giants
2- 9-41 St. Louis
2-10-42 Atlanta
2-11-43 Cleveland
2-12-44 New Orleans
2-13-45 Minnesota
2-14-46 San Francisco
2-15-47 Miami
2-16-48 San Diego
2-17-49 Kansas City
2-18-50 Buffalo
2-19-51 Houston
2-20-52 Philadelphia
2-21-53 Cincinnati
2-22-54 Detroit
2-23-55 Arizona
2-24-56 Pittsburgh
2-25-57 Carolina
2-26-58 Baltimore
2-27-59 Denver
2-28-60 Dallas
2-29-61 Indianapolis
2-30-62 Green Bay
2-31-63 Seattle
2-32-64 New England

ROUND 3

3- 1-65 Tampa Bay
3- 2-66 Tennessee
3- 3-67 Jacksonville
3- 4-68 Oakland
3- 5-69 Washington
3- 6-70 New York Jets
3- 7-71 Chicago
3- 8-72 St. Louis
3- 9-73 Atlanta
3-10-74 New York Giants
3-11-75 New Orleans
3-12-76 Minnesota
3-13-77 Cleveland
3-14-78 New Orleans from Miami
3-15-79 San Francisco
3-16-80 Kansas City
3-17-81 Buffalo
3-18-82 Houston
3-19-83 San Diego
3-20-84 Philadelphia
3-21-85 Cincinnati
3-22-86 Arizona
3-23-87 Pittsburgh
3-24-88 Detroit
3-25-89 Carolina
3-26-90 Baltimore
3-27-91 Dallas
3-28-92 Denver
3-29-93 Indianapolis
3-30-94 Green Bay
3-31-95 Seattle
3-32-96 New England
3-33-97 New England (Compensatory Selection)
3-34-98 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)
3-35-99 Cincinnati (Compensatory Selection)

ROUND 4

4- 1-100 Tennessee
4- 2-101 New England from Tampa Bay
4- 3-102 Oakland
4- 4-103 Jacksonville
4- 5-104 New York Jets
4- 6-105 Washington
4- 7-106 Chicago
4- 8-107 Atlanta
4- 9-108 New York Giants
4-10-109 Tampa Bay from St. Louis
4-11-110 Minnesota
4-12-111 Cleveland
4-13-112 Seattle from New Orleans
4-14-113 Philadelphia from San Francisco through Buffalo
4-15-114 Miami
4-16-115 Cleveland from Buffalo
4-17-116 Houston
4-18-117 San Diego
4-19-118 Kansas City
4-20-119 St. Louis from Philadelphia
4-21-120 Cincinnati
4-22-121 Pittsburgh
4-23-122 Baltimore from Detroit
4-24-123 Arizona
4-25-124 Carolina
4-26-125 Baltimore
4-27-126 San Francisco from Denver
4-28-127 Dallas
4-29-128 Indianapolis
4-30-129 Green Bay
4-31-130 Seattle
4-32-131 New England
4-33-132 San Francisco (Compensatory Selection)
4-34-133 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
4-35-134 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
4-36-135 Cincinnati (Compensatory Selection)
4-37-136 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)

ROUND 5

5- 1-137 Minnesota from Tampa Bay through Buffalo
5- 2-138 Tennessee
5- 3-139 Jacksonville
5- 4-140 Oakland
5- 5-141 Washington
5- 6-142 Chicago from New York Jets
5- 7-143 Denver from Chicago
5- 8-144 New York Giants
5- 9-145 Philadelphia from St. Louis
5-10-146 Atlanta
5-11-147 Cleveland
5-12-148 New Orleans
5-13-149 Miami from Minnesota
5-14-150 Miami
5-15-151 San Francisco
5-16-152 Houston
5-17-153 San Diego
5-18-154 New Orleans from Kansas City
5-19-155 Buffalo
5-20-156 Philadelphia
5-21-157 Cincinnati
5-22-158 Baltimore from Detroit
5-23-159 Arizona
5-24-160 Pittsburgh
5-25-161 Carolina
5-26-162 Tampa Bay from Baltimore
5-27-163 Dallas
5-28-164 Denver
5-29-165 Indianapolis
5-30-166 Green Bay
5-31-167 Seattle
5-32-168 Tampa Bay from New England
5-33-169 Carolina (Compensatory Selection)
5-34-170 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
5-35-171 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)
5-36-172 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)
5-37-173 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)
5-38-174 Carolina (Compensatory Selection)
5-39-175 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
5-40-176 Baltimore (Compensatory Selection)

ROUND 6

6- 1-177 Tennessee
6- 2-178 New England from Tampa Bay
6- 3-179 Oakland
6- 4-180 Jacksonville
6- 5-181 Seattle from New York Jets
6- 6-182 Washington
6- 7-183 Chicago
6- 8-184 Tampa Bay from St. Louis
6- 9-185 Atlanta
6-10-186 New York Giants
6-11-187 New Orleans
6-12-188 Buffalo from Minnesota
6-13-189 Cleveland
6-14-190 San Francisco
6-15-191 Miami
6-16-192 San Diego
6-17-193 Kansas City
6-18-194 Buffalo
6-19-195 Houston
6-20-196 Philadelphia
6-21-197 Cincinnati
6-22-198 Arizona
6-23-199 Pittsburgh
6-24-200 Detroit
6-25-201 Carolina
6-26-202 Cleveland from Baltimore
6-27-203 Denver
6-28-204 Baltimore from Dallas
6-29-205 Indianapolis
6-30-206 Green Bay
6-31-207 Indianapolis from Seattle
6-32-208 Tennessee from New England
6-33-209 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
6-34-210 Green Bay (Compensatory Selection)
6-35-211 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
6-36-212 Pittsburgh (Compensatory Selection
6-37-213 Green Bay (Compensatory Selection)
6-38-214 Seattle (Compensatory Selection)
6-39-215 St. Louis (Compensatory Selection)
6-40-216 Houston (Compensatory Selection)
6-41-217 Kansas City (Compensatory Selection)

ROUND 7

7- 1-218 Tampa Bay
7- 2-219 New England from Tennessee
7- 3-220 Jacksonville
7- 4-221 Oakland
7- 5-222 Washington
7- 6-223 New York Jets
7- 7-224 New York Jets from Chicago
7- 8-225 Atlanta
7- 9-226 New York Giants
7-10-227 St. Louis
7-11-228 Minnesota
7-12-229 Cleveland
7-13-230 New Orleans
7-14-231 Detroit from Miami through Baltimore
7-15-232 Minnesota from San Francisco through Miami
7-16-233 Kansas City
7-17-234 Buffalo
7-18-235 Houston
7-19-236 Dallas from San Diego
7-20-237 Philadelphia
7-21-238 Cincinnati
7-22-239 Pittsburgh
7-23-240 Detroit
7-24-241 Arizona
7-25-242 Carolina
7-26-243 Dallas from Baltimore
7-27-244 Indianapolis from Dallas
7-28-245 New York Giants from Denver
7-29-246 San Francisco from Indianapolis
7-30-247 Green Bay
7-31-248 Seattle
7-32-249 Atlanta from New England through St. Louis
7-33-250 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
7-34-251 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
7-35-252 Denver (Compensatory Selection)
7-36-253 New England (Compensatory Selection)
7-37-254 San Francisco (Compensatory Selection)
7-38-255 Indianapolis (Compensatory Selection)
7-39-256 Arizona (Compensatory Selection)

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Zimmer remains confident Peterson will remain a Viking

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Getty Images

On Monday, Adrian Peterson’s agent has said it’s not in the player’s best interests to remain with the Vikings.  On Tuesday, the team’s head coach made it clear that his views on Peterson haven’t changed.

“I think everyone knows how I feel about Adrian,” coach Mike Zimmer told PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio.  “I respect him from the day I met him as a football player and everything else.  He’s done so many good things as a community and the state of Minnesota for the Twin Cities.  Really, we are just looking forward to getting him back and getting back with his teammates and playing for us.  I can’t speculate on what other people say.  All I know is how I feel and where we feel as an organization.”

Zimmer seemed surprised that Adrian’s agent would declare that Adrian is better off with another team.

“I know when we talked about football and the vision that I have for our football team and the vision I have for him, he seemed good to me,” Zimmer said.  “I know that I have been in situations before that I haven’t felt like it was the right situation, but I was under contract and it worked out great and I believe that’s how it’s going to happen here.”

In other words (quite possibly), Adrian has made a contractual commitment that makes his personal feelings irrelevant.  He’s under contract, for three more seasons.  And the Vikings don’t seem to be inclined to do anything about that.

I specifically asked Zimmer whether the “Adrian is under contract” mantra arises from a desire to maximize Peterson’s trade value, like the declaration from two years ago that the team had “no intent” to trade Percy Harvin.  Zimmer said that the Vikings want Peterson to stay with the team.

“That is always the number one thing to get him in the backfield with [quarterback] Teddy [Bridgewater], [receiver] Mike Wallace on the outside, [receiver] Charles Johnson the outside, [tight end] Kyle Rudolph inside,” Zimmer said.  “That’s always been the situation we want to be in.”

Zimmer still believes that, come Week One, Peterson will be a Viking.

“One of the things that everybody in the world remembers is Adrian Peterson as a Minnesota Viking. When he gets a chance to get into the Hall of Fame, when he gets to go in there, he’s going to want to go in with how everyone represented him and remembered him.  I just feel that’s how it’s going to work out.”

If the Vikings are merely trying to generate trade leverage by feigning interest in keeping Peterson, they should all finish the trek from Minnesota to Phoenix to Hollywood.  The interest in keeping him, both on and off the record, seems to be real and genuine.  While no one ever from the Vikings may say to him “play for us or play for no one,” that’s the dilemma he quite possibly will face.

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NFL passes five player safety rules

Titans Texans Football AP

The NFL continues to add rules designed to make the game safer.

At today’s league meeting, the owners approved five rules proposals, all of which had been suggested to make the game safer. The five new rules are:

1. Bans defensive players from pushing teammates at the line of scrimmage when the offense is in punt formation. (This rule already exists for situations when the offense is in field goal or extra point formation.)

2. Prohibits all offensive players from engaging in peel back blocks.

3. Gives receivers defenseless player protection when a pass is intercepted.

4. Makes it illegal for a running back to chop a defensive player engaged above the waist by another offensive player outside the tackle box.

5. Allows an injury spotter to stop the game if a player appears to have suffered a brain injury.

None of those rules will make a major difference to the game on the field. Fans might not even notice them. But if they make the game safer, approving them was an easy call.

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Injury timeout proposal unanimously approved by NFL owners

edelman AP

While it may not be a big week for rules changes, the NFL has taken at least one smart step which should make players safer.

Via Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the league unanimously approved the proposal to grant a medical timeout.

The rule will allow the injury spotter upstairs to communicate directly with the on-field officials, to stop the clock if a player appears to be shaken up to the point a further check is warranted.

Competition committee chairman Rich McKay said yesterday the proposal was sparked in part by Julian Edelman taking a hard shot in the Super Bowl, appearing woozy but staying in the game.

As you might imagine, Patriots coach Bill Belichick didn’t shed any light on what the team did or didn’t do in that situation, and Edelamn himself has refused to say if he was checked for a concussion.

You’d have to talk to the medical people about that. I was coaching the game,” Belichick said, via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald.

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Belichick “disappointed” that owners don’t want to pay for cameras

Belichick AP

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has long advocated putting fixed cameras on the sidelines, goal lines and end lines in every NFL stadium, to give referees better replay angles when reviewing close calls. And Belichick isn’t happy that some owners say they don’t want to spend the money to pay for those cameras.

Asked about Giants owner John Mara’s statement that those cameras would be too expensive, Belichick sounded dismissive of such a claim.

“I was disappointed to hear that we can’t afford that, as a league,” Belichick said. “It was kind of surprising to hear that.”

There’s still a chance that Belichick’s proposal will pass, but Mara’s statement indicated that it’s unlikely. The NFL is a multibillion-dollar business, but the owners apparently don’t think adding some cameras is worth the cost.

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Rex was “stunned” when he learned Eagles would trade McCoy

Rex Ryan AP

Bills coach Rex Ryan didn’t have any inkling that LeSean McCoy would be playing for him this year. But he was excited when he found out it was a possibility.

Ryan said at today’s league meeting that he was shocked when he found out the Eagles were willing to trade McCoy, and eager to get the deal done.

“We were just kinda like stunned there for a little bit. We were like really? Wow,” Ryan said. “Obviously, we were interested, and then the trade came down. We knew it wasn’t gonna be cheap by any stretch, and losing a player like Kiko Alonso is obviously a steep price, but we felt really good about it.”

Ryan said the whole trade negotiation only took 30 minutes, and that any talk about McCoy not being happy about it is wrong. Ryan described McCoy as “excited to be a Bill.”

That feeling is mutual. The Bills are excited to have him.

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Vikings may not be bluffing on Peterson

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Getty Images

As the rhetoric has increased in recent days from Adrian Peterson’s camp, the Vikings have continued to calmly point out that Peterson remains under contract with the team.

Some regard the official stance from the team as a we-have-no-intent-to-trade-Percy-Harvin strategy for building trade value, or at a minimum as a way to ensure that Peterson eventually gets the brunt of the blame if/when there’s a divorce.  But in spending a full day (and night) at the league meetings and talking to folks in position to know what’s really happening, I’m starting to get the sense that, when the Vikings say Adrian Peterson is under contract, the only intended message is that Adrian Peterson is under contract.

Which is a nice way of saying, “He plays for us or he plays for no one.”

When Peterson’s agent, Ben Dogra, told multiple reporters last week that Peterson won’t be released, the goal undoubtedly was to ensure that anyone inclined to try to trade for Peterson would show up for the league meetings in Phoenix ready to talk turkey.  When Dogra said Monday that it’s not in Peterson’s best interests to play for the Vikings, Dogra may have been taking one last shot at conjuring a market that simply isn’t there.

It’s one thing to assume Peterson’s contract, which pays him $13 million this year.  It’s another to give the Vikings the kind of compensation that makes the trade sensible from their perspective.  More than a quarter century after getting the very short end of the Herschel Walker trade, the Vikings surely have no interest in bookending that with getting snookered for Peterson.

So unless someone steps up with a willingness to pay top-of-market money to a 30-year-old tailback who has yet to be reinstated after pleading no contest to spanking his four-year-old son with a switch until the boy bled and a desire to give the Vikings trade compensation that reflects the player’s value, the choice necessarily becomes play for the Vikings at $13 million this year or play for no one — and return $2.4 million in signing bonus money remaining from his 2011 contract.

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