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.

Cardinals announce Sam Bradford passed physical

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We got a reminder on Thursday that all the reported deals in free agency aren’t actually done until a player passes a physical when the Ravens rescinded their deal with wide receiver Ryan Grant after failing him on his medical check.

That won’t be the outcome in Arizona. The Cardinals announced on Friday that Bradford’s deal with the team is official after he passed a physical.

Bradford’s long history of knee problems made that less than a sure thing, although it likely would have taken a pretty enormous red flag for the team to back out at a point when the other starting quarterback options in free agency have landed with teams.

Bradford signed a two-year deal in Arizona and is set to make up to $20 million, with $15 million guaranteed, during the 2018 season. The Cardinals have also signed Mike Glennon to serve as Bradford’s backup and could add a rookie to the group in April’s draft.

Half the NFL could have a different Week One starting quarterback in 2018

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Starting quarterbacks in the NFL don’t last for long.

Two days into the league year, it’s already clear that at least a dozen NFL teams will be starting a different quarterback in Week One of 2018 than in Week One of 2017. Two other teams currently have questions about their Week One starter, and that’s before any surprises in the draft, or injuries in the preseason.

Assuming we do have some surprises in the coming months, it’s easy to see half of the teams in the NFL beginning the 2018 season with a different starting quarterback than they had in the beginning of the 2017 season. Here’s a look at each team’s quarterback situation, this year and last year:

Teams with different Week One starting quarterbacks
Arizona: Carson Palmer in 2017, Sam Bradford in 2018.

Buffalo: Tyrod Taylor in 2017, AJ McCarron or a rookie in 2018.

Chicago: Mike Glennon in 2017, Mitchell Trubisky in 2018.

Cleveland: DeShone Kizer in 2017, Tyrod Taylor in 2018.

Denver: Trevor Siemian in 2017, Case Keenum in 2018.

Houston: Tom Savage in 2017, Deshaun Watson in 2018.

Indianapolis: Scott Tolzien in 2017, Andrew Luck in 2018.

Kansas City: Alex Smith in 2017, Patrick Mahomes in 2018.

Miami: Jay Cutler in 2017, Ryan Tannehill in 2018.

Minnesota: Sam Bradford in 2017, Kirk Cousins in 2018.

San Francisco: Brian Hoyer in 2017, Jimmy Garoppolo in 2018.

Washington: Kirk Cousins in 2017, Alex Smith in 2018.

Teams that might have different quarterbacks
New York Jets: Josh McCown in 2017, competing with Teddy Bridgewater or a rookie in 2018.

Philadelphia: Carson Wentz in 2017, Nick Foles if Wentz’s knee hasn’t recovered by the start of 2018.

Teams with the same quarterback
Atlanta: Matt Ryan

Baltimore: Joe Flacco

Carolina: Cam Newton

Cincinnati: Andy Dalton

Dallas: Dak Prescott

Detroit: Matthew Stafford

Green Bay: Aaron Rodgers

Jacksonville: Blake Bortles

L.A. Rams: Jared Goff

L.A. Chargers: Philip Rivers

New England: Tom Brady

New Orleans: Drew Brees

New York Giants: Eli Manning

Oakland: Derek Carr

Pittsburgh: Ben Roethlisberger

Seattle: Russell Wilson

Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston

Tennessee: Marcus Mariota

Ryan Grant visiting Colts, “would be able to play” now

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Wide receiver Ryan Grant‘s deal with the Ravens is off, so he’s headed to visit with a team that used to call Baltimore home.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that Grant will visit with the Colts as he looks for a home for the 2018 season. The Colts lost Donte Moncrief to the Jaguars in free agency.

Grant’s four-year deal with the Ravens was nullified after the Ravens failed Grant, who was set to make up to $29 million, on his physical. Some have wondered about the timing of that decision by Baltimore because they moved quickly to set up a meeting with Michael Crabtree after Crabtree was released by the Raiders, but General Manager Ozzie Newsome said, via Jamison Hensley of, that it was strictly a medical decision.

Newsome noted Grant had ankle trouble toward the end of last season, but Grant’s agent Rocky Arceneaux said that Grant has been cleared and that his client has been working out without issue. Arceneaux added that Grant “would be able to play” in a game right now, but he won’t be playing one for the Ravens at any point.

Kirk Cousins: “It came down to my desire to win”


Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins wants to win a Super Bowl, and he thinks he’s in the right place to do so.

Cousins said this morning on PFT Live that he had “a long list of reasons” to choose Minnesota over the other places he could have played, but the major reason was that he saw the Vikings as the team that put him in the best place to be the quarterback holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the season.

“It came down to my desire to win football games,” Cousins said. “Minnesota appeared to be that fit for a lot of reasons. Ultimately the leadership of the organization is what set it apart.”

Cousins said he’s looking forward to April 16, when he finally gets a chance to talk football with the Vikings’ coaches, and that he’d prefer offseason rules that give the players more time to work — especially when he needs to learn a new offense.

“Unfortunately it is regimented a little more than I would like,” he said. “But we’ll have nine weeks of an offseason program.”

As for what Cousins will do with the tens of millions of dollars he’s going to make, he said he’ll splurge on a trip to the Masters with friends and family.

“It’s fun to have experiences with people you love,” Cousins said.

And he’s looking forward to some fun experiences in Minnesota, the place where he thinks he’s found the right fit.

Richard Sherman: Seahawks “kind of lost their way” with evaluating players

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Richard Sherman wasn’t known for holding his tongue when he was a member of the Seahawks and it doesn’t appear that will be changing now that he’s a member of the 49ers.

Sherman was a guest on the latest episode Uninterrupted‘s ThomaHawk podcast with Joe Thomas and Andrew Hawkins and said that he thinks the Seahawks began “devaluing core players” this offseason because they are “curious” about younger players. Michael Bennett, Jeremy Lane and Deshawn Shead have joined Sherman on the way out the door while there have been reports of trade talks involving Earl Thomas.

“They’ve kind of lost their way a little bit in terms of how they see players and how they evaluate players,” Sherman said.

While Sherman doesn’t seem to think the Seahawks are making the right moves, he does admit that things had gotten a bit stale in Seattle. Sherman said that coach Pete Carroll’s “philosophy is more built for college” where players move on after three or four years. Sherman said veteran Seahakws players had “kind of heard every story, every funny anecdote” that Carroll has to tell and that made it easier to tune them out even though those stories were big for team-building in earlier years.

Sherman said he didn’t sign with the 49ers for a chance to prove his point about the Seahawks’ player evaluation twice a year, citing location and the 49ers’ level of interest as big factors in his ultimate choice. That won’t make it any less interesting the first time the two teams get together this fall, however.

Eric Reid sees what’s happening around him

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Eric Reid called his shot months ago.

The 49ers safety said in December he anticipated teams shying away him in free agency because of his politics and his willing to speak about them.

“I wouldn’t use the word concerned,” Reid said then. “I would say I understand that’s a possibility. And I’m completely fine with it. The things that I’ve done, I stand by, and I’ve done that for my own personal beliefs. Like I said, I’m fine with whatever outcome happens because of that.”

And now that free agency is open (and nearly closed), the outspoken safety hasn’t heard a peep and he suspects he knows why.

Reid followed up to another tweet suggesting General Managers around the league might pass on him, saying: “GMs aren’t the hold up broski. It’s ownership. People who know football know who can play. People who know me, know my character.”

Reid was one of the first players to take a knee alongside quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Kaepernick’s contract expired and he went away, but Reid continued to take knees, and to then play and play well for the 49ers last year. He even shifted to linebacker out of team need when injuries hit, and is the kind of versatile defender most teams would be lining up for.

But so far, of all the visits and signings we’ve chronicled here at PFT the last week, the only mention of Reid’s name is in our PFT Top 100 Free Agent List. Only 15 players on that list are higher than Reid and still available. In fairness, the safety market is slow, with Earl Thomas potentially available for trade and Tyrann Mathieu on the street along with safeties including Kenny Vaccaro, Morgan Burnett, and Tre Boston.

But it hardly seems a coincidence that Reid’s phone isn’t ringing, and if it continues to not ring, he’ll know why.