Josh Rosen wanted to skip Rookie Premiere

AP

Because he’s smart and rich, Josh Rosen has had to explain to people that he actually likes football.

This week, he showed it, or at least tried to.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, Rosen tried to decline the invitation to the NFL Player Association’s “Rookie Premiere” so he could stay in Arizona and practice, but was told he couldn’t.

That decision sparked some back-and-forth on Twitter between ESPN and the union over a report that one player wanted to, and created some confusion about what could and couldn’t be done by players.

The event is voluntary, but players are told that by rule, they can’t work out with their teams during the event if they choose to skip it. (Which keeps teams from making them “volunteer” for their “voluntary” workouts instead.) But the CBA says that teams must permit rookies to attend the event, and doesn’t specify that they can’t be at the team facility if they don’t go. There’s a side agreement between the league and the union on the matter, and the league sends out a memo each year saying that players invited to the event can’t practice during that weekend.

“They’re new members of the NFL and say, ‘Hey, I want to stick around and practice,’” said Ahmad Nassar, president of NFL Players, Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the union. “We understand that and so does the NFL. The reality is we can’t force them to come.”

While the minutiae of the interpretation of the CBA might not move the needle, it’s at least a bit of evidence (such that he should have to provide any) that Rosen wanted to stay in Arizona and work on his craft.

That’s the kind the thing that people who care about football do.

Only 76 draft picks remain unsigned three weeks after draft

AP

The days of lengthy training camp holdouts for draft picks has long since passed (unless you’re Joey Bosa) given the current rookie contract slotting system in place with the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Just three weeks since the NFL Draft came to an end, the vast majority of draft picks have already signed their rookie contract.

As of Thursday night, 180 of the 256 players drafted had signed their rookie contracts, according to the league transaction reports.

There are a few notable quirks to the players that remain unsigned.

There are currently more third-round picks without contracts (24) than first-round picks (22).

The Los Angeles Rams and Miami Dolphins account for 19 of the remaining unsigned players as neither team has inked a single draft pick to a rookie contract at this point.

Three teams – the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles – have signed their entire draft classes. Another 11 teams (Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, LA Chargers, Minnesota, New Orleans, Seattle, Tennessee and Washington) have just one pick yet to be signed.

Indianapolis Colts guard Quenton Nelson (6th overall) and Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (10th overall) are the highest picks to have signed their rookie contracts.

Below is the list of players still unsigned, first listed by draft position, then by team.

By draft order:

Round Pick Team Player
1 1 Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield
1 2 New York Giants Saquon Barkley
1 3 New York Jets Sam Darnold
1 4 Cleveland Browns Denzel Ward
1 5 Denver Broncos Bradley Chubb
1 7 Buffalo Bills Josh Allen
1 8 Chicago Bears Roquan Smith
1 9 San Francisco 49ers Mike McGlinchey
1 11 Miami Dolphins Minkah Fitzpatrick
1 12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vita Vea
1 15 Oakland Raiders Kolton Miller
1 17 Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James
1 21 Cincinnati Bengals Billy Price
1 23 New England Patriots Isaiah Wynn
1 24 Carolina Panthers D.J. Moore
1 25 Baltimore Ravens Hayden Hurst
1 26 Atlanta Falcons Calvin Ridley
1 28 Pittsburgh Steelers Terrell Edmunds
1 29 Jacksonville Jaguars Taven Bryan
1 30 Minnesota Vikings Mike Hughes
1 31 New England Patriots Sony Michel
1 32 Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson
2 35 Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb
2 36 Indianapolis Colts Darius Leonard
2 37 Indianapolis Colts Braden Smith
2 38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ronald Jones II
2 41 Tennessee Titans Harold Landry
2 42 Miami Dolphins Mike Gesicki
2 44 San Francisco 49ers Dante Pettis
2 46 Kansas City Chiefs Breeland Speaks
2 47 Arizona Cardinals Christian Kirk
2 61 Jacksonville Jaguars D.J. Chark
2 63 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carlton Davis
3 65 Oakland Raiders Brandon Parker
3 67 Cleveland Browns Chad Thomas
3 69 New York Giants B.J. Hill
3 70 San Francisco 49ers Fred Warner
3 71 Denver Broncos Royce Freeman
3 72 New York Jets Nathan Shepherd
3 73 Miami Dolphins Jerome Baker
3 74 Washington Redskins Geron Christian
3 75 Kansas City Chiefs Derrick Nnadi
3 76 Pittsburgh Steelers Mason Rudolph
3 77 Cincinnati Bengals Sam Hubbard
3 78 Cincinnati Bengals Malik Jefferson
3 79 Seattle Seahawks Rasheem Green
3 80 Houston Texans Martinas Rankin
3 81 Dallas Cowboys Michael Gallup
3 87 Oakland Raiders Arden Key
3 89 Los Angeles Rams Joseph Noteboom
3 91 New Orleans Saints Tre'Quan Smith
3 92 Pittsburgh Steelers Chukwuma Okorafor
3 93 Jacksonville Jaguars Ronnie Harrison
3 96 Buffalo Bills Harrison Phillips
3 97 Arizona Cardinals Mason Cole
3 99 Denver Broncos Isaac Yiadom
3 100 Kansas City Chiefs Dorian O'Daniel
4 105 Cleveland Browns Antonio Callaway
4 107 New York Jets Christopher Herndon
4 110 Oakland Raiders Nick Nelson
4 111 Los Angeles Rams Brian Allen
4 123 Miami Dolphins Durham Smythe
4 131 Miami Dolphins Kalen Ballage
4 135 Los Angeles Rams John Franklin-Myer
5 139 New York Giants R.J. McIntosh
5 147 Los Angeles Rams Micah Kiser
5 160 Los Angeles Rams Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
6 176 Los Angeles Rams John Kelly
6 192 Los Angeles Rams Jamil Demby
6 195 Los Angeles Rams Sebastian Joseph
6 205 Los Angeles Rams Trevon Young
6 209 Miami Dolphins Cornell Armstrong
7 227 Miami Dolphins Quentin Poling
7 229 Miami Dolphins Jason Sanders
7 231 Los Angeles Rams Travin Howard
7 244 Los Angeles Rams Justin Lawler

By team:

Round Pick Team Player
2 47 Arizona Cardinals Christian Kirk
3 97 Arizona Cardinals Mason Cole
1 26 Atlanta Falcons Calvin Ridley
1 25 Baltimore Ravens Hayden Hurst
1 32 Baltimore Ravens Lamar Jackson
1 7 Buffalo Bills Josh Allen
3 96 Buffalo Bills Harrison Phillips
1 24 Carolina Panthers D.J. Moore
1 8 Chicago Bears Roquan Smith
1 21 Cincinnati Bengals Billy Price
3 77 Cincinnati Bengals Sam Hubbard
3 78 Cincinnati Bengals Malik Jefferson
1 1 Cleveland Browns Baker Mayfield
1 4 Cleveland Browns Denzel Ward
2 35 Cleveland Browns Nick Chubb
3 67 Cleveland Browns Chad Thomas
4 105 Cleveland Browns Antonio Callaway
3 81 Dallas Cowboys Michael Gallup
1 5 Denver Broncos Bradley Chubb
3 71 Denver Broncos Royce Freeman
3 99 Denver Broncos Isaac Yiadom
3 80 Houston Texans Martinas Rankin
2 36 Indianapolis Colts Darius Leonard
2 37 Indianapolis Colts Braden Smith
1 29 Jacksonville Jaguars Taven Bryan
2 61 Jacksonville Jaguars D.J. Chark
3 93 Jacksonville Jaguars Ronnie Harrison
2 46 Kansas City Chiefs Breeland Speaks
3 75 Kansas City Chiefs Derrick Nnadi
3 100 Kansas City Chiefs Dorian O’Daniel
1 17 Los Angeles Chargers Derwin James
3 89 Los Angeles Rams Joseph Noteboom
4 111 Los Angeles Rams Brian Allen
4 135 Los Angeles Rams John Franklin-Myer
5 147 Los Angeles Rams Micah Kiser
5 160 Los Angeles Rams Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
6 176 Los Angeles Rams John Kelly
6 192 Los Angeles Rams Jamil Demby
6 195 Los Angeles Rams Sebastian Joseph
6 205 Los Angeles Rams Trevon Young
7 231 Los Angeles Rams Travin Howard
7 244 Los Angeles Rams Justin Lawler
1 11 Miami Dolphins Minkah Fitzpatrick
2 42 Miami Dolphins Mike Gesicki
3 73 Miami Dolphins Jerome Baker
4 123 Miami Dolphins Durham Smythe
4 131 Miami Dolphins Kalen Ballage
6 209 Miami Dolphins Cornell Armstrong
7 227 Miami Dolphins Quentin Poling
7 229 Miami Dolphins Jason Sanders
1 30 Minnesota Vikings Mike Hughes
1 23 New England Patriots Isaiah Wynn
1 31 New England Patriots Sony Michel
3 91 New Orleans Saints Tre’Quan Smith
1 2 New York Giants Saquon Barkley
3 69 New York Giants B.J. Hill
5 139 New York Giants R.J. McIntosh
1 3 New York Jets Sam Darnold
3 72 New York Jets Nathan Shepherd
4 107 New York Jets Christopher Herndon
1 15 Oakland Raiders Kolton Miller
3 65 Oakland Raiders Brandon Parker
3 87 Oakland Raiders Arden Key
4 110 Oakland Raiders Nick Nelson
1 28 Pittsburgh Steelers Terrell Edmunds
3 76 Pittsburgh Steelers Mason Rudolph
3 92 Pittsburgh Steelers Chukwuma Okorafor
1 9 San Francisco 49ers Mike McGlinchey
2 44 San Francisco 49ers Dante Pettis
3 70 San Francisco 49ers Fred Warner
3 79 Seattle Seahawks Rasheem Green
1 12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vita Vea
2 38 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ronald Jones II
2 63 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Carlton Davis
2 41 Tennessee Titans Harold Landry
3 74 Washington Redskins Geron Christian

Brentson Buckner wants Gerald McCoy to make another leap with mental game

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Gerald McCoy has proven to be one of the most consistent and productive defensive tackles in the NFL since being selected in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McCoy has posted at least five sacks in each of the last six seasons for the Buccaneers, including at least seven sacks a year from 2013-16.

Now that McCoy is 30 years old, new Buccaneers defensive line coach Brenton Buckner wants to ensure McCoy can remain capable of producing at a high level for many years to come. Getting McCoy to take his mental understanding of the game to an even higher level is the achievement Buckner is chasing.

You get to the point of being 30 years old — it’s not about your ability now, it’s about playing the game up here,” Buckner said pointing to his head, via Jenna Laine of ESPN.com.

“I sat down and watched film with him and I told him, ‘The way you’re going to improve your game is to mentally evolve your game even more.’ And he wants it. He’s hungry for it, because for nine years, eight years, he’s done the same thing and been successful but it hasn’t shown up for the team. So now I’m challenging him personally to go to that next level. Not get stronger, not get faster — play the game up here. Know what they’re going to do to you before it happens. Be smarter about it.”

McCoy’s six sacks accounted for over a quarter of Tampa Bay’s entire sack output last season. He’s been named to the Pro Bowl six times in eight seasons with the Buccaneers and is a three-time first-team All-Pro. He has a chance to remain highly productive due to the additional talent surrounding him up front this season. The additions of Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Mitch Unrein and first-round pick Vita Vea make Tampa Bay’s defensive front much more imposing.

If McCoy can still raise his game on top of the additions made around him, Buckner and the Buccaneers will likely be quite pleased with the result.

Brentson Buckner: William Gholston dropped 15 pounds after feeling he played too heavy last year

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked last in the league in sacks last season with just 22 sacks in 2017. They were three sacks behind the next closest team in the Indianapolis Colts. As the Buccaneers look to correct that major deficiency heading into their 2018 campaign, many factors are looked at by coaches and players alike as they search for ways to bolster their output.

Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston had zero sacks last season. It was the only time in his five-year career that he failed to register a quarterback sack despite playing in 14 of 16 games. Gholston decided to look inward as he attempts to ensure that won’t happen again.

According to Jenna Laine of ESPN.com, Gholston told new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner that he felt he played with too much weight last season.

“I felt like I got a little too big last year,” Gholston relayed to Buckner.

“He’s actually 15 pounds lighter right now,” Buckner said. “He’s been working to evolve himself mentally, too. Because the hardest thing you can do as a player is to look at [yourself] and be critical of [yourself].”

Gholston signed a five-year contract extension with the Buccaneers last year just before reaching free agency. He’s appeared in 71 career games and recorded 224 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Todd Monken to Jameis Winston: Stop trying so hard

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Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken has a message for quarterback Jameis Winston: Stop trying so hard.

“The thing is what I’ve seen, irrespective of the physical stuff on the field, let’s not try so hard,” Monken said Thursday, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He’s got natural leadership qualities. A toughness about him. Guys want to follow him. It’s OK to fail. He’s human. It’s OK to be hurt. It’s OK to have that side of you. Let’s just go. You don’t have to try so hard. Guys will follow you. Just be yourself.”

Monken said “part” of what he is referring to is Winston’s pregame rah-rah stuff. Winston also has been known to pick fights with opponents.

“I think the best way to put it is that in our league, there’s so much pressure put on the coaches and that one position,” Monken said. “Nobody gets the credit either way for winning or losing than the quarterback or the coaches. That’s fine. That’s the way it is. OK, no one is going to blame Mike Evans for why we haven’t made the playoffs. That’s part of it. We get that. That doesn’t mean we all don’t want to win. I think the main thing is, ‘OK Jameis, be yourself. You don’t have to try so hard. The guys know naturally you’re our leader.’

“When you’re hurt and you’re not winning and you want to so bad. . . . I think you’ve seen it. I don’t have to expand on it.”

Entering his fourth season, and with one Pro Bowl appearance and no postseason games, Winston faces a “prove-it year” as Dan Orlovsky referred to it earlier this week.

Saints waive Jeromy Irwin

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The Saints waived offensive tackle Jeromy Irwin on Thursday.

Irwin, 24, signed with the Saints after going undrafted out of Colorado. New Orleans gave him an $8,500 signing bonus and guaranteed $15,000 of his base salary, via Nick Underhill of the Advocate.

Irwin played 46 games in his college career, with 36 starts. He earned second-team All-Pac 12 honors in 2016 and honorable mention last season.

He led all CU linemen with 26 knockdown blocks last season, with a team-high 12 touchdown blocks.

Packers wrap up draft class by signing Oren Burks

AP

The Packers wrapped up their draft class by getting third-rounder Oren Burks under contract, according to Thursday’s NFL transactions.

Burks, 23, was the 88th overall pick, the third of the team’s 11 draft picks.

The Vanderbilt linebacker made 228 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, five interceptions, a forced fumble and 21 passes defensed in his four college seasons.

Second-rounder Josh Jackson signed his deal earlier Thursday.

Rams waive Dalton Keene

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The Rams waived defensive tackle Dalton Keene, the team announced Thursday.

The Illinois State product signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent earlier this week.

He finished third in the Missouri Valley Conference voting for defensive player of the year and was a second-team All-American.

Keene made 45 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, eight sacks and eight quarterback hurries in 2017. He finished his career at ISU ranked ninth in sacks (17.5), 11th in tackles for loss (33.0) and with 200 total tackles.

The Rams’ roster now stands at 89 players.

The return (sort of) of #PFTPM

PFTPM

On Monday, I taped a low-tech #PFTPM on a high-tech device, recording the afternoon podcast for the first time on my cell phone device, from a hotel room in New York.

On Tuesday, I ran out of time and missed the afternoon session. On Wednesday, I could have taped it from the airplane while waiting for the 27 other flights in front of ours to take off at LaGuardia, but I didn’t want to be that guy, any more than I already am.

Back in #PFTHQ, I intended to tape a 30-minute version this afternoon. And it ended up being a 75-minute version, or thereabouts.

As usual, I opened with a quick review of the news of the day, and we then migrated to the many excellent questions from the @PFTPM posse.

Thanks for your continued support of everything we do, and please, please, please (I said please) check out the podcast.

Titans claim John Theus off waivers from Saints

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The Titans claimed offensive tackle John Theus off waivers from the Saints, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

Theus spent most of last season with the Panthers after they claimed him off waivers from the 49ers. He did not play in a game last season before going on injured reserve in December.

The Panthers waived him in February, and the Saints claimed him off waivers.

Theus entered the NFL as a fifth-round pick of the 49ers in 2016. He played four games with one start at left tackle in his rookie season.

Raiders sign one offensive lineman, drop another

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The offseason roster churn continued in Oakland on Thursday.

The Raiders announced a pair of moves involving offensive linemen. They signed guard Cameron Hunt and waived center Alex Officer, who signed with the club earlier this month after going undrafted in April.

Hunt went undrafted out of Oregon in 2017, failed to make the Broncos out of camp and spent time on the 49ers practice squad. He played in 52 games for Oregon and saw time at right guard and right tackle before leaving Eugene.

The moves keep the Raiders at 16 offensive linemen on their 90-man roster, including first-round tackle Kolton Miller and third-round tackle Brandon Parker.

Who were the all-time greatest Cowboys?

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Dak Prescott recently said he wants to be the greatest quarterback in Cowboys history. Which gave us an idea for the PFT Live draft.

At first, the plan was to draft the best quarterbacks in franchise history. Then, we decided to broaden it. Who were the greatest Cowboys of all time, regardless of position or title?

There have been enough great Cowboys over the years that we expanded the three-round draft to four. Stats declared me to be the winner (Chris Simms has been struggling lately). You can (should) check it out and declare your own winner.

We do a PFT Live draft every time Simms is on the show. And usually we come up with decent draft ideas. If you have any we can “borrow,” we’re listening.

Jim Kelly healing, with more surgery scheduled for June

AP

Jim Kelly is healing from a grueling surgery in March to remove oral cancer from his upper jaw, and the Hall of Fame quarterback will undergo a follow-up procedure next month.

“Went to NYC yesterday for a checkup and moving forward, strategy meeting,” Kelly’s wife, Jill, posted on Instagram Thursday, via the Buffalo News. “The doctors were very impressed with how much Jim has healed since he’s been home. Praise God!

“The plan at this point is that he will have surgery in mid-June to lesson the ‘skin flap’ bulk in his mouth, as well as put implants into his upper jaw. And then there will be more healing and waiting and then another surgery and possibly upper teeth sometime in September.”

Dr. Mark Urken performed a nearly 12-hour surgery on Kelly on March 28 at Mount Sinai West in New York City. Urken used a technique called microvascular reconstruction to remove the recurrence of oral cancer, inserting a portion of Kelly’s fibula, along with attached soft tissue and blood vessels, into Kelly’s upper jaw.

Kelly, 58, was released from the hospital April 14.

Seahawks sign Shaquem Griffin and Tre Flowers

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The Seahawks got down to one unsigned draft pick on Thursday.

The team announced that fifth-round picks Shaquem Griffin and Tre Flowers have agreed to four-year deals with the club. With first-rounder Rashaad Penny signing on Wednesday, third-round defensive end Rasheem Green is the only unsigned member of the nine-man draft class.

Thanks to his success at UCF and the Scouting Combine despite playing with one hand, Griffin got more notice than his fellow fifth-round picks. He’ll be vying for work as a linebacker and on special teams during his rookie season.

Flowers played safety at Oklahoma State, but the plan in Seattle is for him to make the move to cornerback. He’ll play alongside Shaquill Griffin, who played with his brother at UCF before joining the Seahawks in 2017.

The Seahawks also confirmed the previously reported signings of wide receiver Keenan Reynolds and linebacker Dadi Nicolas. Defensive ends Marcell Frazier and Noble Nwachukwu were waived from the 90-man roster to make room for the new additions.

Bucs sign Shaheed Salmon, Thomas Sperbeck

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The Buccaneers announced three roster moves Thursday, signing linebacker Shaheed Salmon and receiver Thomas Sperbeck and cutting linebacker Jeff Knox.

Salmon tried out during the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend. The Bucs already signed two other invitees, guard Ruben Holcomb and cornerback Mark Myers.

Salmon made 274 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, four interceptions and nine pass breakups in his four seasons at Samford. He made two interceptions in the Bucs’ first minicamp practice Friday.

Sperbeck originally signed with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State last May. He was waived/injured in early August.

In four seasons at Boise State, Sperbeck made 224 receptions for 3,601 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Knox signed a reserve/futures contract in February. The former CFL player went to training camp with the Bucs in 2017, making three tackles and one special teams tackle in four preseason games.