2021 NFL Draft order: Complete list of every pick from Round 1 through Round 7

2008 NFL Draft
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The 2021 NFL Draft begins with Round 1 on Thursday, April 29 and runs until Saturday, May 1. The Draft will be held in Cleveland, Ohio, at multiple locations across downtown including FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Jaguars will select first overall and are all but guaranteed to take Clemson quarterback Trevor LawrenceLawrence is one of several prominent quarterbacks in this draft class, including BYU’s Zach Wilson, whom the Jets could take with the second pick. The 49ers pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Dolphins in March and will now draft third overall.

Below are all 259 picks in all seven rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, including compensatory picks. Check out additional 2021 NFL Draft coverage, including news, trades, video analysis and more here.

2021 NFL Draft Order

Round 1

1) Jacksonville Jaguars
2) New York Jets
3) San Francisco 49ers (from HOU through MIA)
4) Atlanta Falcons
5) Cincinnati Bengals
6) Miami Dolphins (from PHI)
7) Detroit Lions
8) Carolina Panthers
9) Denver Broncos
10) Dallas Cowboys
11) New York Giants
12) Philadelphia Eagles (from SF through MIA)
13) Los Angeles Chargers
14) Minnesota Vikings
15) New England Patriots
16) Arizona Cardinals
17) Las Vegas Raiders
18) Miami Dolphins
19) Washington Football Team
20) Chicago Bears
21) Indianapolis Colts
22) Tennessee Titans
23) New York Jets (from SEA)
24) Pittsburgh Steelers
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
26) Cleveland Browns
27) Baltimore Ravens
28) New Orleans Saints
29) Green Bay Packers
30) Buffalo Bills
31) Kansas City Chiefs
32) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 2

33) Jacksonville Jaguars
34) New York Jets
35) Atlanta Falcons
36) Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
37) Philadelphia Eagles
38) Cincinnati Bengals
39) Carolina Panthers
40) Denver Broncos
41) Detroit Lions
42) New York Giants
43) San Francisco 49ers
44) Dallas Cowboys
45) Jacksonville Jaguars (from MIN)
46) New England Patriots
47) Los Angeles Chargers
48) Las Vegas Raiders
49) Arizona Cardinals
50) Miami Dolphins
51) Washington Football Team
52) Chicago Bears
53) Tennessee Titans
54) Indianapolis Colts
55) Pittsburgh Steelers
56) Seattle Seahawks
57) Los Angeles Rams
58) Baltimore Ravens
59) Cleveland Browns
60) New Orleans Saints
61) Buffalo Bills
62) Green Bay Packers
63) Kansas City Chiefs
64) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Round 3

65) Jacksonville Jaguars
66) New York Jets
67) Houston Texans
68) Atlanta Falcons
69) Cincinnati Bengals
70) Philadelphia Eagles
71) Denver Broncos
72) Detroit Lions
73) Carolina Panthers
74) Washington Football Team (from SF)
75) Dallas Cowboys
76) New York Giants
77) Los Angeles Chargers
78) Minnesota Vikings
79) Las Vegas Raiders (from AZ)
80) Las Vegas Raiders
81) Miami Dolphins
82) Washington Football Team
83) Chicago Bears
84) Philadelphia Eagles (from IND)
85) Tennessee Titans
86) New York Jets (from SEA)
87) Pittsburgh Steelers
88) Los Angeles Rams
89) Cleveland Browns
90) Minnesota Vikings (from BAL)
91) Cleveland Browns (from NO)
92) Green Bay Packers
93) Buffalo Bills
94) Kansas City Chiefs
95) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
96) New England Patriots (compensatory selection)
97) Los Angeles Chargers (compensatory selection)
98) New Orleans Saints (compensatory selection)
99) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory selection)
100) Tennessee Titans (compensatory selection)
101) Detroit Lions (from LAR; compensatory selection)
102) San Francisco 49ers (special compensatory selection)
103) Los Angeles Rams (special compensatory selection)
104) Baltimore Ravens (special compensatory selection)
105) New Orleans Saints (special compensatory selection)

Round 4

106) Jacksonville Jaguars
107) New York Jets
108) Atlanta Falcons
109) Houston Texans
110) Cleveland Browns (from PHI)
111) Cincinnati Bengals
112) Detroit Lions
113) Carolina Panthers
114) Denver Broncos
115) Dallas Cowboys
116) New York Giants
117) San Francisco 49ers
118) Los Angeles Chargers
119) Minnesota Vikings
120) New England Patriots
121) Las Vegas Raiders
122) New England Patriots (from AZ through HOU)
123) Philadelphia Eagles (from MIA)
124) Washington Football Team
125) Minnesota Vikings (from CHI)
126) Tennessee Titans
127) Indianapolis Colts
128) Pittsburgh Steelers
129) Seattle Seahawks
130) Jacksonville Jaguars (from LAR)
131) Baltimore Ravens
132) Cleveland Browns
133) New Orleans Saints
134) Minnesota Vikings (from BUF; conditional)
135) Green Bay Packers
136) Kansas City Chiefs
137) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
138) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory selection)
139) New England Patriots (compensatory selection)
140) Pittsburgh Steelers (compensatory selection)
141) Los Angeles Rams (compensatory selection)
142) Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection)
143) Minnesota Vikings (compensatory selection)
144) Kansas City Chiefs (compensatory selection)

Round 5

145) Jacksonville Jaguars
146) New York Jets
147) Houston Texans
148) Atlanta Falcons
149) Cincinnati Bengals
150) Philadelphia Eagles
151) Carolina Panthers
152) Denver Broncos
153) Detroit Lions
154) New York Jets (from NYG)
155) San Francisco 49ers
156) Miami Dolphins (from DAL through PHI)
157) Minnesota Vikings
158) Houston Texans (from NE)
159) Los Angeles Chargers
160) Arizona Cardinals
161) Buffalo Bills (from LV)
162) Las Vegas Raiders (from MIA)
163) Washington Football Team
164) Chicago Bears
165) Indianapolis Colts
166) Tennessee Titans
167) Las Vegas Raiders (from SEA)
168) Minnesota Vikings (from PIT through BAL)
169) Cleveland Browns (from LAR)
170) Jacksonville Jaguars (from CLE)
171) Baltimore Ravens
172) San Francisco 49ers (from NO)
173) Green Bay Packers
174) Buffalo Bills
175) Kansas City Chiefs
176) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
177) New England Patriots (compensatory selection)
178) Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection)
179) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory selection)
180) San Francisco 49ers (compensatory selection)
181) Kansas City Chiefs (compensatory selection)
182) Atlanta Falcons (compensatory selection)
183) Atlanta Falcons (compensatory selection)
184) Baltimore Ravens (compensatory selection)

Round 6

185) Los Angeles Chargers (from JAX through TEN)
186) New York Jets
187) Atlanta Falcons
188) New England Patriots (from HOU)
189) Philadelphia Eagles
190) Cincinnati Bengals
191) Denver Broncos
192) Dallas Cowboys (from DET)
193) Carolina Panthers
194) San Francisco 49ers
195) Houston Texans (from DAL through NE)
196) New York Giants
197) New England Patriots
198) Los Angeles Chargers
199) Minnesota Vikings
200) Las Vegas Raiders
201) New York Giants (from AZ)
202) Cincinnati Bengals (from MIA through HOU)
203) Houston Texans (from WAS through LV and MIA)
204) Chicago Bears
205) Tennessee Titans
206) Indianapolis Colts
207) Kansas City Chiefs (from PIT through MIA)
208) Chicago Bears (from SEA through MIA; conditional)
209) Los Angeles Rams
210) Baltimore Ravens
211) Cleveland Browns
212) Houston Texans (from NO)
213) Buffalo Bills
214) Green Bay Packers
215) Tennessee Titans (from KC)
216) Pittsburgh Steelers (from TB)
217) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (compensatory selection)
218) New Orleans Saints (compensatory selection)
219) Atlanta Falcons (compensatory selection)
220) Green Bay Packers (compensatory selection)
221) Chicago Bears (compensatory selection)
222) Carolina Panthers (compensatory selection)
223) Arizona Cardinals (from MIN; compensatory selection)
224) Philadelphia Eagles (compensatory selection)
225) Philadelphia Eagles (compensatory selection)
226) New York Jets (from CAR; compensatory selection)
227) Dallas Cowboys (compensatory selection)
228) Chicago Bears (compensatory selection)

Round 7

229) New Orleans Saints (from JAX)
230) San Francisco 49ers (from NYJ)
231) Miami Dolphins (from HOU)
232) Tennessee Titans (from ATL through MIA)
233) Houston Texans (from CIN)
234) Philadelphia Eagles
235) Cincinnati Bengals (from DET through SEA)
236) Buffalo Bills (from CAR)
237) Denver Broncos
238) Dallas Cowboys
239) Denver Broncos (from NYG)
240) Philadelphia Eagles (from SF)
241) Los Angeles Chargers
242) New England Patriots
243) Arizona Cardinals
244) Washington Football Team (from LV)
245) Pittsburgh Steelers (from MIA)
246) Washington Football Team
247) Arizona Cardinals (from CHI through LV)
248) Indianapolis Colts
249) Jacksonville Jaguars (from TEN)
250) Seattle Seahawks
251) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from PIT)
252) Los Angeles Rams
253) Denver Broncos (from CLE)
254) Pittsburgh Steelers (from BAL)
255) New Orleans Saints
256) Green Bay Packers
257) Cleveland Browns (from BUF)
258) Miami Dolphins (from KC)
259) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

FMIA: 20 QB Decisions Shaping This NFL Offseason, Draft Like No Other

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There has never been an offseason like this one, which sets up a draft the likes of which we’ve never seen. Never has there been such a league-wide gold rush for quarterbacks. Never has the draft gone 1-2-3-4 with quarterbacks at the top. But with the assurance now that the top three picks will be, [more]

FMIA: Justin Fields, NFL Draft’s Man Of Mystery, Faces Down ‘Reckless’ Criticism About Work Ethic, Desire

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It did not take Ohio State coach Ryan Day long to warm up to the topic of his draft-eligible quarterback, Justin Fields, and work ethic, and being the “last one in and first one out” in football prep last season. One question, to be exact. “The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good [more]

NFL 2021 Playing Rules, Bylaw and Resolution Proposals

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[Editor’s note: The following are summaries of the rules, bylaw and resolution proposals will be voted on by the league’s 32 clubs at the upcoming league meeting.]

2021 Playing Rule Proposals Summary
1. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 16, to eliminate overtime in the preseason.

2. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 3, for one year only, to establish a maximum number of players in the setup zone.

3. By Competition Committee; to amend Rule 12, Section 2, Article 4, to expand the prohibition on blocking below the waist by offensive and defensive players on scrimmage downs when contact occurs beyond five yards on either side of the line of scrimmage and more than two yards outside of either offensive tackle, by Competition Committee.

4. By Competition Committee, Coaches Subcommittee, and Baltimore; to amend Rule 15, Section 3, Article 9, and Rule 19, Section 2, to permit the Replay Official and designated members of the Officiating department to provide certain objective information to the on-field officials.

5. By Chicago; to amend Rule 11, Section 3, Article 3, to ensure the enforcement of all accepted penalties committed by either team during successive Try attempts.

6. By Los Angeles Rams; to amend Rule 8, Section 1, Article 2, to add a loss of down for a second forward pass from behind the line and for a pass thrown after the ball returns behind the line.

7. By Kansas City Chiefs; to amend Rule 5, Section 1, Article 2, to expand jersey number options for certain positions.

8. By Baltimore and Philadelphia; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, and create a true sudden death format.

9. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 16, Section 1, to change the options for winner of an overtime coin toss, eliminate sudden death format, and eliminate overtime in the preseason.

10. By Philadelphia; to amend Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1, to permit a team to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play (4th and 15 from the kicking team’s 25-yard line) for an onside kickoff attempt.

11. By Baltimore; to amend Rule 19, Section 1, Article 1, to add an eighth official who is positioned somewhere other than the playing field, with full communication to on-field officials and access to a television monitor.

2021 Bylaw Proposals Summary
1. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XVIII, Section 18.1 of the Constitution and Bylaws to prohibit clubs participating in the playoffs from signing players waived and terminated by clubs whose seasons have concluded.

2. By Competition Committee; to amend Article XII, Section 12.4 of the Constitution and Bylaws to require clubs to submit tryouts and visits to the League office throughout the entire year; however, such transactions will only be reported to clubs from the start of training camp through the conclusion of the Super Bowl, unless it is with a Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agent.

2021 Resolutions Proposals Summary
G-1. By Buffalo; to amend the Anti-Tampering Policy, for one year only, to require all clubs and personnel interviewing for available Head Coach and Coordinator positions to operate under the same time frame for the hiring process.

Expanded season puts records in jeopardy

Los Angeles Rams v Houston Oilers
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When the NFL last expanded the regular season in 1978, the bump from 14 to 16 games represented 14.28-percent growth. The move from 16 to 17 now equates to a 6.25-percent increase in the games that count.

Relative to the last time, then, the current addition of one game won’t mean as much to issues like season-long records. Still, it’s worth taking a quick look at some of the most significant single-season marks, along with the average performance that will now be needed to set a new standard.

Eric Dickerson set the single-season rushing record with the Rams in 1984. With 2,105 yards, he averaged 131.56 yards per game. (O.J. Simpson had set the previous record in 1973, with 2,003 yards in 14 games — an average of 143.07 yards per game.) To beat Dickerson with a 17-game season, an average of 123.88 yards per game will be needed.

In 2013, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning set the single-season passing yardage record, at 5,477. That’s an average of 342.3 yards per game. To beat Manning record in 17 games, a quarterback needs to average 322.23 yards.

The prior year, Lions receiver Calvin Johnson established the single-season receiving yardage record, with 1,964. That’s 122.75 per game. An average of 115.58 will be needed to beat it in 17 games.

Saints receiver Michael Thomas, in 2019, set the single-season reception record with 149, or 9.31 per game. With an extra game, an average of 8.82 gets a pass-catcher to 150.

Manning’s passing touchdown record of 55, also from 2013, works out to 3.43 per game. To get to 56, a quarterback must average 3.29 per game.

The extra game also will make it a little easier to break the single-season touchdown record of 31 (LaDainian Tomlinson, 2006), 22.5 sacks (Michael Strahan, 2001), and 14 interceptions (Night Train Lane, 1952). (Lane, by the way, picked off 14 passes in a 12-game season.)

Of course, it’s just a matter of time before 17 games becomes 18. At that point, the average performance needed to break the various records will get even lower.

Packers-Chiefs, Cardinals-Browns among additions to 2021’s 17-game schedule

NFL: OCT 27 Packers at Chiefs
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NFL owners have approved a 17-game schedule for the 2021 season and that means each team now has a new opponent on their schedule.

The 17th game will be an inter-conference game each season and teams the conferences will alternate hosting duties. The AFC will host the games in 2021 and they will feature matchups of teams that finished in the same spot in their division during the 2020 season.

A meeting between the Packers and Chiefs is a marquee attraction on that list of games. Patrick Mahomes was out with an injury when the two teams met in 2019, so this will hopefully be the first time he and Aaron Rodgers play in the same game. The schedule also includes a potential meeting of former first overall picks when Kyler Murray‘s Cardinals meet Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield‘s Browns.

The full list of games added to the schedule as a result of the approval appears below:

Washington Football Team at Bills.

Giants at Dolphins.

Cowboys at Patriots.

Eagles at Jets.

Seahawks at Steelers.

Rams at Ravens.

Cardinals at Browns.

49ers at Bengals.

Saints at Titans.

Buccaneers at Colts.

Panthers at Texans.

Falcons at Jaguars.

Packers at Chiefs.

Bears at Raiders.

Vikings at Chargers.

Lions at Broncos.

FMIA: While Urban Meyer’s Jaguars Head In Trevor Lawrence’s Direction, Rest Of Draft’s Top 6 Gets Shaken Up

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One by one, the 2021 draft dominoes fall. One month from tonight, Roger Goodell will take the stage in downtown Cleveland—set on the shore of Lake Erie between the football stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame—to announce the first-round picks in the 86th NFL Draft. In the wake of 26 minutes that [more]

First-round quarterbacks, by team, in the Super Bowl era

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With quarterbacks once again the focal point of the upcoming draft, especially in the first round, I got curious about the history of drafting first-round quarterbacks.

So I did the research, for a change. And I drew a line at 1966, the launch of the Super Bowl era.

The team-by-team list appears below, including the regular draft and the supplemental draft. The most first-round quarterbacks have been drafted by the Browns, with seven. The fewest is two — shared by the Cowboys, Panthers, Rams, Saints, Seahawks, and Texans.

The Cowboys and the Saints each used a first-round pick on a quarterback in a supplemental draft. Dallas and New Orleans, then, have only ever used a first-round quarterback in the regular draft once each. The Cowboys took Troy Aikman in 1989, and the Saints took Archie Manning in 1971.

Both of the Cowboys’ first-round quarterbacks were drafted the same year. Only a couple of months after making Aikman the first overall pick in the 1989 draft, the Cowboys used a first-round supplemental pick on Steve Walsh.

Here’s the list of all first-round quarterbacks selected by each and every team. Enjoy the rabbit hole.

Bears (five): Mitchell Trubisky (2017); Rex Grossman (2003); Cade McNown (1999); Jim Harbaugh (1987); Jim McMahon (1982).

Bengals (six): Joe Burrow (2020); Carson Palmer (2003); Akili Smith (1999); David Klinger (1992); Jack Thompson (1979); Greg Cook (1969).

Bills (four): Josh Allen (2018); EJ Manuel (2013); J.P. Losman (2004); Jim Kelly (1983).

Broncos (four): Paxton Lynch (2016); Tim Tebow (2010); Jay Cutler (2006); Tommy Maddox (1992).

Browns (seven): Baker Mayfield (2018); Johnny Manziel (2014); Brandon Weeden (2012); Brady Quinn (2007); Tim Couch (1999); Bernie Kosar (1985 supplemental); Mike Phipps (1970).

Buccaneers (five): Jameis Winston (2015); Josh Freeman (2009); Trent Dilfer (1994); Vinny Testaverde (1987); Doug Williams (1978).

Colts (six): Andrew Luck (2012); Peyton Manning (1998); Jeff George (1990); John Elway (1983); Art Schlicter (1982); Bert Jones (1973).

Cardinals (six): Kyler Murray (2019); Josh Rosen (2018); Matt Leinart (2006); Timm Rosenbach (1989 supplemental); Kelly Stouffer (1987); Steve Pisarkiewicz (1977).

Chargers (four): Justin Herbert (2020); Eli Manning (2004); Ryan Leaf (1998); Marty Domres (1969).

Chiefs (three): Patrick Mahomes (2017); Todd Blackledge (1983); Steve Fuller (1979).

Cowboys (two): Troy Aikman (1989); Steve Walsh (1989 supplemental).

Dolphins (five): Tua Tagovailoa (2020); Ryan Tannehill (2012); Dan Marino (1983); Bob Griese (1967); Rick Norton (1966).

Eagles (three): Carson Wentz (2016); Donovan McNabb (1999); John Reaves (1972);

Falcons (five): Matt Ryan (2008); Michael Vick (2001); Chris Miller (1987); Steve Bartowski (1975); Randy Johnson (1966).

49ers (three): Alex Smith (2005); Jim Druckenmiller (1997); Steve Spurrier (1967).

Giants (four): Daniel Jones (2019); Philip Rivers (2004); Dave Brown (1992 supplemental); Phil Simms (1979).

Jaguars (three): Blake Bortles (2013); Blaine Gabbert (2011); Byron Leftwich (2003).

Jets (five): Sam Darnold (2018); Mark Sanchez (2009); Chad Pennington (2000); Ken O’Brien (1983); Richard Todd (1976).

Lions (five): Matthew Stafford (2009); Joey Harrington (2002); Andre Ware (1990); Chuck Long (1986); Greg Landry (1968).

Packers (five): Jordan Love (2020); Aaron Rodgers (2005); Rich Campbell (1981); Jerry Tagge (1972); Don Horn (1967).

Panthers (two): Cam Newton (2011); Kerry Collins (1995).

Patriots (three): Drew Bledsoe (1993); Tony Eason (1983); Jim Plunkett (1971).

Raiders (three): JaMarcus Russell (2007); Todd Marinovich (1991); Marc Wilson (1980).

Rams (two): Jared Goff (2016); Sam Bradford (2010).

Ravens (three): Lamar Jackson (2018); Joe Flacco (2008); Kyle Boller (2003).

Saints (two): Dave Wilson (1981 supplemental); Archie Manning (1971).

Seahawks (two): Rick Mirer (1993); Dan McGwire (1991).

Steelers (three): Ben Roethlisberger (2004); Mark Malone (1980); Terry Bradshaw (1970).

Texans (two): Deshaun Watson (2017); David Carr (2002).

Titans (six): Marcus Mariota (2015); Jake Locker (2011); Vince Young (2006); Steve McNair (1995); Jim Everett (1986); Dan Pastorini (1971).

Vikings (four): Teddy Bridgewater (2014); Christian Ponder (2011); Daunte Culpepper (1999); Tommy Kramer (1977).

Washington (five): Dwayne Haskins (2019); Robert Griffin III (2012); Jason Campbell (2005); Patrick Ramsey (2002); Heath Shuler (1994).

Deshaun Watson already may be facing a suspension

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It remains to be seen whether Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson fights all of the pending sexual assault lawsuits against him or resolves them. Even if all of the claims are settled today, there’s already enough evidence to support a suspension under the Personal Conduct Policy, if the league chooses to take action.

It’s important to remember that the league has significant discretion when it comes to activating and applying the policy that regulates employee conduct away from work. The vast majority of American employers do not discipline employees for things they do when not working; as long as they are able to continue to show up, they continue to be employed.

But the NFL and the NFL Players Association agreed years ago to allow for discipline to be imposed for off-duty misconduct, primarily as a tool for enhancing the overall image of the league and its players. Over time, the Personal Conduct Policy has become broader — and the league has acquired the ability to essentially decide on a case-by-case basis whether and to what extent action will be taken against any player.

The P.R. concerns that created the policy necessarily drive its application. If Watson were to reach a settlement now of all pending and threatened claims, the P.R. costs and benefits of taking action against Watson would be weighed by the league office, as they always are. The league would have to decide whether disciplining Watson would make things better in the eyes of the public, or make things worse.

Regardless of whether precedent matters (sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t), the league would be able to suspend Watson based simply on the volume of claims and the admission in his lawyer’s recent statement that one of the paid massage sessions became a sexual encounter. Even without receiving any specific information from the 16 plaintiffs and potentially eight more (a settlement would possibly prevent them from cooperating with the investigation), the league office could find that Watson’s behavior requires intervention and corrective action.

That’s exactly what Commissioner Roger Goodell did in 2010, four years before beefing up the Personal Conduct Policy in the aftermath of the Ray Rice debacle. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received a six-game suspension (reduced to four) after being civilly sued for rape in 2009 and then accused of misconduct in early 2010. The second incident, which happened in Milledgeville, Georgia, resulted in no arrest or civil lawsuit. (The circumstances suggested that a confidential settlement was reached between Roethlisberger and the alleged victim.) The NFL nevertheless took significant action.

“I recognize that the allegations in Georgia were disputed and that they did not result in criminal charges being filed against you,” Goodell said in his letter to Roethlisberger. “My decision today is not based on a finding that you violated Georgia law, or on a conclusion that differs from that of the local prosecutor. That said, you are held to a higher standard as an NFL player, and there is nothing about your conduct in Milledgeville that can remotely be described as admirable, responsible, or consistent with either the values of the league or the expectations of our fans. . . . Your conduct raises sufficient concerns that I believe effective intervention now is the best step for your personal and professional welfare.”

Goodell also pointed out at the time “that I may impose discipline ‘even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime’ as, for example, where the conduct ‘imposes inherent danger to the safety and well being of another person.'” In Roethlisberger’s case, the Commissioner cited “irresponsible consumption of alcohol” along with purchasing alcoholic beverages for underage college students.

“The personal conduct policy also states that discipline is appropriate for conduct that ‘undermines or puts at risk the integrity and reputation of the NFL, NFL clubs, or NFL players,'” Goodell wrote. “By any measure, your conduct satisfies that standard.”

As to Watson, his apparently extensive pattern of hiring massage therapists through social media with the possibility of sexual activity somewhere on the radar screen (given attorney Rustin Hardin’s rebuttal based on blackmail allegations arising from consensual sex) would be enough to justify the Commissioner taking action. While the specific facts are different from Roethlisberger’s case, the decision to impose discipline in order to rectify irresponsible behavior that reflects poorly on Watson and in turn his team and the league would likely justify a suspension, based on the currently-available information.

Again, whether the league takes action is largely up to the league. Watson would have appeal rights, but those appeal rights continue to fall within the exclusive purview of the Commissioner. Even though the new CBA uses a hearing officer to conduct determine the first level of discipline, either the player or the league can appeal to the Commissioner for less or more, respectively. In other words, if the league wants something more than what the hearing officer has done, the league can ask the Commissioner via the appeal process to increase the penalties.

Thus, at the end of the day, the Commissioner will decide how to handle Watson’s situation. Given the way Roethlisberger’s situation was handled, there’s already enough to give the Commissioner the power to conclude that Watson needs some sort of discipline and assistance in order to avoid a recurrence of the behaviors that resulted in so many claims of wrongdoing made against him.

The flaws in the statements issued on behalf of Deshaun Watson

Houston Texans v Chicago Bears
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Although the rights of Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson remain fully preserved in a court of law, Watson’s case has suffered in recent days in the court of public opinion. On Tuesday, attorney Rusty Hardin fired back on Watson’s behalf, with a statement in which Hardin proclaims Watson’s innocence.

We’ve posted both the Hardin statement and the testimony from Bryan Burney regarding alleged efforts by one of the plaintiffs to receive $30,000 in exchange for silence regarding consensual sexual activities with Watson. This article outlines the potential flaws lurking in and/or flowing from both documents.

First, Hardin criticizes the decision of attorney Tony Buzbee to file 14 lawsuits without naming the plaintiffs. Hardin’s attack on the effort of these persons to preserve their privacy rights as long as they can overlooks one important fact: The lawsuits specify dates and places that the massages occurred. For most if not all plaintiffs, Watson and his legal team should be able to put a name to a date and a place, which they have done as to the plaintiff who allegedly attempted to blackmail Watson. Indeed, Watson has not claimed that one or more of alleged incidents arise from massages that never occurred.

Second, Hardin never denies that sexual activity occurred during these massages. Instead, he says that “any allegation that Deshaun forced a woman to commit a sexual act is completely false.” This implies that consensual sex occurred, not necessarily all the time but at least some of the time, during what were supposed to be massages.

Third, although it’s entirely possible that Watson will be able to show that one of the plaintiffs had an improper profit motive, it’s very difficult at this point to say, as Hardin does, that one fabricated claim “calls into question the legitimacy of the other cases as well.” If there were only two or three or even four other cases, exposing one as false would necessarily justify intense scrutiny of the others. Here, with 16 cases filed and up to eight more (and maybe more) on the way, it’s impossible to undermine all claims simply by causing one to implode.

Fourth, Hardin says that he has received “numerous unsolicited comments” from “many licensed massage therapists” who have described Deshaun Watson as a “gentleman and a model client who never engaged in inappropriate conduct.” Setting aside the question of whether that evidence would be admissible in the trial of a civil lawsuit (it most likely wouldn’t be), no names are named. Maybe that’s the next step. For now, however, a claim from the person paid to represent Watson’s interests that, essentially, “many are saying” that Watson has never engaged in misconduct during a massage rings hollow, unless names and faces and voices are attached.

Fifth, Hardin is 10,000 percent accurate (if statistically possible) when he says that people should not rush to judgment, and that both sides are entitled to fairness. The problem, however, is that the human beings who make up the jury of the court of public opinion will rush to judgment. Hardin complains about Buzbee’s “antics” and accuses him of creating a “circus-like atmosphere.” Unsavory as Buzbee’s behavior may be, it’s been effective in getting his message out, especially with Watson’s camp falling silent for a full week, as the number of lawsuits went from one to two to 10 to 16.

Regarding Burney’s statement, it’s entirely possible that his account proves conduct that exonerates Watson as to one of the plaintiffs — and that potentially shows that she and her unnamed business manager should be prosecuted. However, Burney’s testimony tends to indirectly confirm the notion that Watson was using these massage sessions as a pretext for consensual sex. Which indirectly bolsters the claims from the plaintiffs who allege that Watson wanted more than a massage, and that they objected.

Maybe Watson will be able to show that one or more claims were fabricated. Maybe he’ll show that, for one of more of the plaintiffs, conduct that was consensual at the time became non-consensual later. It likely will be very difficult to show that all 16 (and up to 24 or more) of the woman claiming assault are telling something other than the truth.

FMIA: Free-Agency Millions Or NFL TV Billions, Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Simply Is ‘In This Business To Win’

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The NFL is a news machine. This is what it churned out in the past few days: • Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has been named in seven civil lawsuits alleging he sexually assaulted or harassed women in the Houston area, bringing to a halt any thought he could be traded—and calling into question the immediate [more]

NFL Top 25 remaining free agents 2021: Kenny Golladay tops the list

New Orleans Saints v Detroit Lions
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Free agency only officially began today, but most of the top free agents already know where they are playing next season. The top six players on PFT’s top 100 were franchised and/or have signed a new deal with the team they were with last season. Only 12 of the top 50 remain without a contract for 2021.

Here are the top 25 players left on our list of 100 free agents for 2021:

1. Lions receiver Kenny Golladay

2. Vikings safety Anthony Harris

3. Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster

4. Cardinals edge Haason Reddick

5. Rams cornerback Troy Hill

6. Chiefs offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz

7. Texans receiver Will Fuller

8. Seahawks edge Carlos Dunlap

9. Broncos cornerback A.J. Bouye

10. Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky

11. Patriots center David Andrews

12. Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson

13. Titans edge Jadeveon Clowney

14. Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel

15. Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy

16. Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher

17. Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva

18. Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton

19. Rams tight end Gerald Everett

20. Jets cornerback Brian Poole

21. Titans linebacker Jayon Brown

22. Colts edge Justin Houston

23. Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright

24. Chargers edge Melvin Ingram

25. Colts cornerback Xavier Rhodes

FMIA: Drew Brees Leaves A Legend. Plus What To Expect In Free Agency

Carolina Panthers v New Orleans Saints
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The Drew Brees part of this column will be everlasting. But part of this column, about the dawn of the annual crazy free-agency cycle, will be obsolete this afternoon, so please speed-read accordingly. Starting at noon ET today, you’ll begin to hear the drumbeat of major moves of the 52-hour (aptly named) legal tampering period [more]

Plenty of pass rushers are available in free agency

Super Bowl LV
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We’re reminded from time to time of the importance of a great pass rusher, often in the Super Bowl when, for example, a team like the Giants repeatedly harasses Tom Brady (twice) or a team like the Broncos repeatedly harasses Cam Newton or, most recently, a team like the Buccaneers repeatedly harasses Patrick Mahomes.

As 2021 free agency approaches, an unprecedented collection of pass rushers will be available, starting with the best pass rusher on the defending champions: Shaq Barrett.

The Bucs didn’t tag Barrett, and they’ve yet to sign him to a new deal. It’s entirely possible that the Bucs have looked around at the many other pass rushers who will be available, and that they’ve decided they can sign either Barrett or several other players instead — especially with the cap dropping and veterans galore likely to be looking for one-year deals.

Beyond Barrett, our Top 100 list of free agents has 13 other edge rushers: Matthew Judon of the Ravens; Carl Lawson of the Bengals; Haason Reddick of the Cardinals; Trey Hendrickson of the Saints; Leonard Floyd of the Rams; Bud Dupree of the Steelers; Yannick Ngakoue of the Ravens; Romeo Okwara of the Lions; Carlos Dunlap, cut by the Seahawks; Justin Houston of the Colts; Olivier Vernon of the Browns; Ryan Kerrigan of Washington; and Denico Autry of the Colts.

Other pass rushers who will be on the market include (but are not limited to) Aldon Smith of the Cowboys, Jadeveon Clowney of the Titans, Melvin Ingram of the Chargers, John Simon of the Patriots, Jeremiah Attaochu of the Broncos, Everson Griffen of the Lions, Markus Golden of the Cardinals, and Bruce Irvin.

Then there’s the looming possibility, if not likelihood, that the Broncos will cut Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller.

Two years ago, the Buccaneers signed Barrett to a one-year, $4 million deal after a five-year career in Denver that produced a total of 14 sacks. He then had 19.5 sacks in Todd Bowles’ system. Given the raw number of pass rushers and the reality that the cap is $15.7 million lower than it was last year and more than $25 million below where it was expected to be, the Bucs could decide to sign one of the other available pass rushers to a much more affordable deal than whatever it would take to keep Barrett, who has said he hopes to “break the bank” this time around.

Fifth-year option salaries are set for 2018 first-round picks

Divisional Round - Cleveland Browns v Kansas City Chiefs
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The NFL has set the salary cap at $182.5 million for the 2021 season on Wednesday and they’ve also set the amount that teams will have to pay if they exercise their fifth-year option on 2018 first-round picks.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement that the NFL and NFLPA agreed to last season made some changes to how that process works. Any option exercised by the May 3 deadline will be fully guaranteed — they were guaranteed for injury only in past seasons — and the payment structure has changed as well.

Players who have been voted to two Pro Bowls on the initial ballot will receive the same salary as the franchise tag at the position. One Pro Bowl nets the transition tag and players who have reached certain playing time levels — 75 percent of snaps or greater in two of their first three seasons, an average of 75 percent or greater over all three seasons, or 50 percent or greater in each of his first three seasons — will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position. Any other player will get the average of the 3rd-25th highest salaries.

The option salary for each 2018 first-round pick is listed below:

1. Quarterback Baker Mayfield, Browns — $18.858 million (Playing time).

2. Running back Saquon Barkley, Giants — $7.217 million (One Pro Bowl).

3. Quarterback Sam Darnold, Jets — $18.858 million (Playing time).

4. Cornerback Denzel Ward, Browns — $13.294 million (One Pro Bowl).

5. Linebacker Bradley Chubb, Broncos — $12.716 million (One Pro Bowl).

6. Guard Quenton Nelson, Colts — $13.754 million (Two Pro Bowls).

7. Quarterback Josh Allen, Bills — $23.106 million (One Pro Bowl).

8. Linebacker Roquan Smith, Bears — $9.735 million (Playing time).

9. Tackle Mike McGlinchey, 49ers — $10.88 million (Playing time).

10. Quarterback Josh Rosen, Cardinals — No option after being traded to an released by the Dolphins

11. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (Drafted and traded by Dolphins) — $10.612 million (Two Pro Bowls).

12. Defensive tackle Vita Vea, Buccaneers — $7.638 million (No criteria).

13. Defensive tackle Daron Payne, Washington — $8.529 million (Playing time).

14. Defensive end Marcus Davenport, Saints — $9.553 million (No criteria).

15. Tackle Kolton Miller, Raiders — $10.88 million (Playing time).

16. Linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, Bills — $12.716 million (One Pro Bowl).

17. Safety Derwin James, Chargers — $9.052 million (One Pro Bowl).

18. Cornerback Jaire Alexander, Packers — $13.294 million (One Pro Bowl).

19. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys — $9.145 million (No criteria).

20. Center Frank Ragnow, Lions — $12.657 million (One Pro Bowl).

21. Center Billy Price, Bengals — $10.413 million (No criteria).

22. Linebacker Rashaan Evans, Titans — $9.735 million (Playing time).

23. Tackle Isaiah Wynn, Patriots — $10.413 million (No criteria).

24. Wide receiver D.J. Moore, Panthers — $11.116 million (Playing time).

25. Tight end Hayden Hurst, Falcons (Drafted and traded by Ravens) — $5.428 million (No criteria).

26. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Falcons — $11.116 million (Playing time).

27. Running back Rashaad Penny, Seahawks — $4.523 million (No criteria).

28. Safety Terrell Edmunds, Steelers — $6.753 million (Playing time).

29. Defensive tackle Taven Bryan, Jaguars — $7.638 million (No criteria).

30. Cornerback Mike Hughes, Vikings — $12.643 million (No criteria).

31. Running back Sony Michel, Patriots — $4.523 million (No criteria).

32. Quarterback Lamar Jackson, Ravens — $23.106 million (One Pro Bowl).