Lamar Jackson “way, way ahead” of what he knew at OTAs

AP

The Ravens are building everything around second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson this year, so the good news is he feels good about it.

Via Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun, the Ravens quarterback said he’s encouraged by the progress he’s made installing a new system this offseason.

“Got in the playbook, learned as much as I can,” Jackson said. “I got way, way ahead of where I was in [organized team activities]. … Dialed in, got my guys. Summer to now, it’s been incredible, just working hard, getting after it. Just got better. Felt comfortable. Just doing good so far.”

Jackson and the Ravens got better work in Tuesday, during their second day of joint workouts with the Eagles. That was without a full complement of the guys Jackson will need.

Rookie wideout Marquise Brown was out as they work him back slowly from his foot surgery, and the Ravens were without three starting offensive linemen.

“I felt my team came out here, and we got better each and every day,” Jackson said. “We fought through the grind. . . . Guys just stepped it up. We did great today.”

He’s also apparently encouraged by the progress of his clichés, which are in midseason form, but getting Jackson comfortable with his new style will be the most important thing for the Ravens, heading into what will be Jackson’s last work of the preseason Thursday night.

Report: Laquon Treadwell fined for illegal block against Saints

AP

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has been fined $28,075 for an illegal blindside block against the New Orleans Saints, according to Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press.

On the penultimate on the first half of last week’s first preseason game, Treadwell delivered a blindside block to Saints safety Chris Banjo as he chased tight end Irv Smith Jr. The banning of blindside blocks was among the highlighted points made in the league’s preseason officiating video presented to each team during training camp.

I made a terrible play in the game,’’ Treadwell said about the play. “That was dumb of me. … I hurt the team. That’s something I’ve got to change. I’ve just got to clean that up and play a little smarter, protect guys out there, save a little money in the back end, and make plays.”

Banjo was laterally chasing Smith along the sideline when Treadwell, who had a run a route deeper downfield, doubled back and blasted Banjo in the direction of the Vikings own end line, which is a textbook violation of the rule.

Vikings cornerback Holton Hill will also be getting fined for a lowering the helmet penalty against Seattle Seahawks quarterback Paxton Lynch that led to Hill’s ejection from Sunday night’s game. Lynch left the game amid concussion evaluations.

Seahawks place Demetrius Knox on injured reserve, add Landon Turner

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The Seattle Seahawks placed guard Demetrius Knox on injured reserve on Tuesday after sustaining a quadriceps injury in Sunday night’s preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The team signed guard Landon Turner to fill the vacancy on the roster.

Knox, an undrafted rookie from Ohio State, was injured in the fourth quarter of the game, falling to the turf and grabbing the area of his right knee.

“It looks like he’s got a quad injury involved with the knee area. It was a nasty injury for him,” head coach  Pete Carroll said.

The Seahawks found themselves rather thin on the offensive line following Knox’s injury as Mike Iupati (calf), George Fant (ankle), Jamarco Jones, Phil Haynes (PUP/sports hernia surgery) and Jordan Simmons (knee) were out with injuries. Turner will help offset the dearth of able bodies for the time being.

Hard Knocks: Jon Gruden told Antonio Brown he handled everything “seamlessly”

AP

Hard Knocks addressed Antonio Brown‘s feet last week. It ended the second episode with a “to be continued” tease to Brown’s helmet issue.

Hard Knocks wasted little time in getting to Brown on Tuesday, setting up the helmet issue only three minutes into the hour-long reality series before cutting to coach Jon Gruden talking privately about his star receiver.

“We’ve known the whole time,” Gruden said. “He had frostbite. He took four or five days to get checked out, and we knew about the [helmet] grievance since the first day of OTAs, which we did. I don’t know what the story — what the f— the story is around here.

“He’s tried everything, really. I give the guy credit for standing up for what he believes in. Everybody else does it in this country.”

Much of the rest of the episode centered around Brown’s feet and his helmet issue. The trailer for the show, released Tuesday morning, provided most of of the best stuff from Brown.

Gruden’s public support of Brown was backed by his private support of Brown on Hard Knocks.

More than once he questioned why it was “such a big story.”

At one point, Gruden even joked with Brown, telling him, “You can use my helmet, man.”

Wearing a new helmet, Brown complained to teammates about his “new lid being ugly as f—” as he continually adjusted it.

Through everything, Gruden has showed unwavering support of Brown, which Brown acknowledged late in the episode.

“Thanks for supporting me, coach,” Brown said. “My f—ing head, my feet. People after me. You’ve been a constant supporter.”

Gruden told Brown he was behind him, and that Brown could talk to him about any problem.

“I know you’ve got a lot of people in your ear, because you’re like a corporation that’s kind of gone global,” Gruden told Brown. “At the end of the day, let’s keep this s— simple. Football comes first. Everybody else is f—ing way behind. You know what I’m saying? You’ve handled all that seamlessly, beautifully.”

Brown laughed.

“Seamlessly. I think that word,” he said. “That’s a great word. Seamlessly. I’ll look that up.”

Gruden replies, “Three syllables. They don’t have those at Dayton [where Gruden went to school] or Central Michigan [where Brown went to school].”

In something of a good-cop, bad-cop routine, General Manager Mike Mayock was shown speaking to reporters Sunday, telling them that it was time for Brown to be “all in or all out” after Brown left camp again.

The episode ends with Brown returning to work Monday. Whether he stays or not is to be continued as Brown has filed another grievance.

Inside the Jaylon Smith deal

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Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith has come a long way from a torn ACL that derailed his career and caused him to plunge out of the top 10, losing millions in the process. After one season as a full-time starter, he has now received millions, in the form of a second contract.

Here are the Smith terms, per a source with knowledge of the deal.

1. Signing bonus: $5 million.

2. 2019 base salary: $835,678, fully guaranteed.

3. 2020 option bonus: $8 million, due on the fifth day of the league year, fully guaranteed.

4.2020 base salary: $5.171 million, fully guaranteed.

5. 2021 base salary: $7.2 million, guaranteed for injury; fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2021 league year.

6. 2022 base salary: $9.2 million; guaranteed for injury; fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2022 league year.

7. 2023 base salary: $11 million.

8. 2024 base salary: $11 million.

9. 2025 base salary: $12.35 million.

The deal also has a $500,000 annual de-escalator, if he fails to participate in 90 percent of the offseason workouts.

The contract includes $19 million fully guaranteed at signing, and another $16.4 million in injury guarantees.

Smith’s new contract runs through 2025. It’s a six-year extension through the end of his rookie deal but a five-year extension beyond the no-brainer restricted free agency tender that the Cowboys most likely would have applied at a first-round level. (Smith’s inability to play as a rookie made him ineligible for the franchise tag in 2020.)

The new-money average of $12.75 million puts Smith at No. 5 among all inside linebackers, but the total guarantee of $35.4 million puts him at No. 2, only behind Jets linebacker C.J. Mosley.

For Smith, the guarantee is the key. Not long ago, it appeared he’d never reach his full NFL potential. He quickly has, and he needed to grab the cash while he could — especially in light of the inherent dangers of the linebacker position and his specific injury history, a torn ACL that wiped out his first season and kept him from reaching his stride until his three NFL campaign.

Sean McVay: “No timetable” on Micah Kiser injury

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Linebacker Micah Kiser was expected to be a starter for the Rams this year. A pectoral injury from Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys will delay that, indefinitely.

“There’s no timetable on that,” coach Sean McVay told reporters on Tuesday regarding Kiser’s absence. “It was a pretty significant injury, though. So he’s going to be out for a while.”

Will he be back later this year?

“It’s hard to say right now,” McVay said. “I think a lot of that is predicated on exactly how he’s recovering from all that. But it is a significant injury and as far as that timetable, it’s going to be a while. To say a specific timeline, I can’t say that right now.”

McVay explained that he won’t let the injury impact his approach to preseason reps for starters.

“We’ve really thought long and hard about what we think is the best approach for our team and I think you have got to always try and avoid some of these things that do occur,” McVay said. “But this is a game that entails a lot of physical things that can occur whether it be at a practice, during some of the games. Part of it is we do utilize these as evaluation tools, especially for guys that have a chance to be situational starters and that’s where Micah was putting himself in a position to be. You hate it for him, because he’s worked so hard and he’s done such a great job. But I don’t think you can let it change the approach when we’ve tried to be so intentional about that already. I’m not going to let one situation affect the way we go about it as we move forward.”

The Rams have protected plenty of their starters, part of a growing trend in the NFL. And while injuries can happen at practice, the chances of a significant injury definitely seem to be greater in preseason games than preseason practices.

Jets sign Stephone Anthony, waive Santos Ramirez

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Just days after being released by the Atlanta Falcons, linebacker Stephone Anthony has found a new team with a familiar face as head coach.

Anthony has signed a new deal with the New York Jets, which the team announced Tuesday night. The move to New York reunites him with head coach Adam Gase, who had him in Miami the last two seasons, and linebacker coach Joe Vitt, who coached him with the New Orleans Saints.

The Jets waived safety Santos Ramirez to make room on their active roster.

Anthony appeared in 24 games for the Dolphins over the last two seasons. Despite appearing in all 16 games last year, he recorded just seven tackles as the former first-round pick of the Saints has struggled to find playing time after his rookie season in 2015. Anthony played just 27 defensive snaps last year for Miami with most of his time coming on special teams.

The signing gives the Jets some veteran depth at linebacker following the loss of Avery Williamson to a torn ACL.

Kyle Long apologizes for fight with teammate, calls it “unacceptable”

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Six days later, Kyle Long was apologetic for his practice fight with a teammate.

In his first comments since swinging a helmet at rookie defensive lineman Jalen Dalton, the offensive guard called his actions “absolutely unacceptable.”

“A momentary lapse of judgment,” Long said, via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. “I cost myself a lot of personal equity. People don’t like to see stuff like that. It does not feel good to be the one that’s responsible for it. I’m trying to take ownership of it and move forward, and all I can do today is show up and be the man that I know that I am and stack those days together.”

Long wouldn’t say exactly what caused him to rip off Dalton’s helmet after Dalton blocked him on an interception return. Long swung Dalton’s helmet at him several times and then tossed it toward the sideline.

Long was kicked out of that Wednesday night practice, causing to feel “immediate regret,” and he didn’t travel with the team to the preseason game against the Giants.

He returned to the practice field Tuesday.

“We’re past it,” Bears coach Matt Nagy said. “Now it’s not about talking anymore. . . .It’s showing by your actions, whether that’s being a good football player or being a good person. I always tell my kids, ‘Don’t talk about it. Be about it.’ So it’s time to start being about it.”

Report: Dolphins closing in on four-year extension for Jakeem Grant

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The Dolphins are closing in on a four-year contract extension with receiver Jakeem Grant, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports.

It will give Grant a big raise over the $720,000 in base salary he was scheduled to make this season and keep him under contract through the 2023 season.

The former sixth-round choice was scheduled to become a free agent in March.

The Dolphins already signed another member of their 2016 draft class, getting cornerback Xavien Howard locked up with a five-year, $75.3 million extension this offseason. They are expected to pursue a long-term deal with left tackle Laremy Tunsil, too, after picking up his fifth-year option for 2020.

Grant has 34 catches for 471 yards and four touchdowns in three seasons but has returned two punts and a kickoff for touchdowns.

He returned to practice this week after missing the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury.

Settlement reached in “St. Louis Rams” tickets and merchandise case

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The price tag for moving the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles keeps growing.

Via the Associated Press, a tentative settlement has been reached in a class action filed on behalf of Missouri residents who purchased Rams tickets and merchandise from April 21, 2010 through January 2, 2016.

According to the St. Louis Dispatch, court filings indicate that the settlement, which provides a 25-percent refund to consumers, could cost the team up to $25 million. The settlement must be approved by a federal court.

In June, a court approved a PSL settlement that could be worth up to $24 million.

Coulpled with a relocation fee of $645 million, the cost of moving the team to owner Stan Kroenke will land in the range of $700 million, at a minimum.

Dolphins: Stephen Ross decided to step aside from social justice working group

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In what ultimately may be a distinction without much of a difference, the Dolphins have issued a statement claiming that owner Stephen Ross was not removed from a social justice working group, but that he chose to leave it on his own.

“Stephen made the decision last week and informed the NFL and members of the working committee that he was going to step aside from the group and continue to focus his efforts at RISE,” a Dolphins spokesperson said, referring to the foundation established by Ross to promote social justice and racial equality in sports. “He believes in and is still fully committed to the work that has been done by the group and will always be a passionate supporter and tireless advocate for social justice causes, the fight for equal rights and education.”

Earlier in the day, former NFL defensive end Chris Long said that “we just removed, or got Stephen Ross to be off the working group.”

It sounds like Ross was basically given the choice to quit or be fired, and he chose the former. Obviously, it wouldn’t have happened but for his recent foray into big-money partisan politics.

“He held a fundraiser for a guy who called protesting players ‘sons of bitches’ [and] campaigned for them to lose jobs,” Long said on Twitter. “The working group is directly involved. You can see how that’s a conflict of interest that transcends politics.”

The problem is that, when it comes to modern-day politics, people see only what meshes with their broader world view. So just as many will see what Long, the reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, is saying as will tell him to “stick to sports.”

Even though this is a direct extension of sports.

Jerry Jones: Team takes precedent, and I’ve got backbone to keep it that way

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When the Cowboys called a press conference earlier today to announce the signing of a player, speculation immediately centered on whether it was for Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott or Amari Cooper. It was none of those.

No one had money on Jaylon Smith to become the first to sign a long-term deal during training camp.

“This is a contract story. This is a contract story,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Y’all have been riding me about getting a contract done the last three weeks. This is a contract story.”

Prescott, Elliott and Cooper, though, remain unsigned.

The Cowboys held up Smith as an example of how to get a deal done quickly if players are willing to take team-friendly deals. The Cowboys have preached team-friendly deals to Prescott, Elliott and Cooper, which is a sticking point. The players’ agents have made it clear it’s not their job to manage the team’s salary cap.

“I wouldn’t speculate on what’s in somebody’s mind about that,” Jones said of Prescott, Elliott and Cooper. “But the way to get this done is people to have a little more thought about team, and that’s certainly in Jaylon’s mind.

“. . .The team takes precedent at a point over the opinion or the demand of the individual. The team takes precedent [sic]. This was a team move we are talking about today. The team takes precedent, and I’ve got the backbone to keep it that way.”

And now that Jones signed a five-year extension worth $64 million, “There’s less pie left [for others]; make no bones about it.”

The Cowboys don’t sound any closer to getting deals done for Prescott, Elliott or Cooper. Elliott flew back to Cabo after a weekend visit to DFW, continuing his training there. His teammates continue training camp back in Texas, having returned to the team facility this week.

The Cowboys have expressed frustration at the pace of negotiations with Prescott, Elliott and Cooper and noted Tuesday how quickly Smith’s deal happened with both sides wanting to get a deal done.

“Our door is always open for business,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

Chargers bring back Dontrelle Inman

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Dontrelle Inman is back with the team where he had his greatest success.

Inman, the wide receiver cut by the Patriots over the weekend, is signing with the Chargers, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.

The 30-year-old Inman played for the Chargers from 2014 to 2017 and had career highs in catches (58), yards (810) and touchdowns (four) in San Diego in 2016. The Chargers traded Inman to the Bears during the 2017 season.

Inman had also drawn interest from the Lions and Jets, but now he’ll return to the Chargers and be paired again with Philip Rivers.

Jerry Jones says he has “earned the right to joke about Zeke”

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is disappointed, if not hurt, that Ezekiel Elliott is holding out. Jones’ unwavering support of Elliott before and after the league suspended the running back for six games in 2017 resulted in Jones paying a $2 million de facto fine to the league.

Elliott was disappointed, if not hurt, that Jones joked about Elliott’s absence after Saturday’s preseason game. Elliott’s agent Rocky Arceneaux said he and the two-time Pro Bowler found Jones “Zeke who?” comment “disrespectful.”

So maybe they’re even now?

Jones was serious when asked Tuesday about the backlash from his joke.

“I’ve earned the right to joke with Zeke,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of TheAthletic.com. “Let me be real clear about that. I’ve earned the right to joke with Zeke.”

Elliott and Jones will laugh about it together if the Cowboys get Elliott signed to a long-term deal.

Soccer star Carli Lloyd hits 55-yard FG after Eagles-Ravens joint practice

AP

The Bears seemingly have looked everywhere for a reliable kicker, but maybe, just maybe, there is one kicker they haven’t considered who they should. (I jest . . . I think.)

Soccer star Carli Lloyd went to the Eagles and Ravens joint practice Tuesday and afterward hit several field goals, including 32- and 55-yarders that the team posted video of on Twitter.

“Unreal stuff! @CarliLloyd is very much #ForTheBrand,” Eagles kicker Jake Elliott tweeted afterward.

Lloyd, who plays for Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion. So her kicking long field goals should come as no surprise.

She got pointers from Elliott and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker beforehand.

“I’m really impressed with all these guys,” Lloyd said afterward in a video on Twitter. “It’s awesome to be here, looking forward to the season and fly Eagles fly!”