Ravens place Marshal Yanda on PUP

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The Ravens have placed offensive guard Marshal Yanda on the physically unable to perform list for the start of training camp, Jamison Hensley of ESPN reports.

Yanda, 33, fractured his left ankle in 2017, ending his season after only two games.

He made six consecutive Pro Bowls, missing a total of four games from 2011-16. Yanda also twice earned All-Pro honors.

Yanda landing on the PUP list means he is not quite ready for a full workload. He will not practice until the Ravens activate him, allowing him to continue his rehab as the Ravens begin camp with their veterans.

He did not participate in offseason practices, and the Ravens have no need to rush him back with camp starting early because of their participation in the Hall of Fame Game.

Defensive lineman Brent Urban, tight end Vince Mayle, cornerback Jaylen Hill, linebacker Bam Bradley and wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo joined Yanda on PUP, according to Hensley. Urban passed his physical, so his appearance on the PUP list also appears precautionary.

Jets announce Brandon Bryant signing

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Safety Brandon Bryant went unpicked during last Wednesday’s supplemental draft, but he was able to land a roster spot a short time later.

There were multiple reports last week that the Jets would sign Bryant and Bryant sent out a tweet to that effect as well. The Jets made it official on Monday with the announcement of Bryant’s signing and confirmation that 2015 second-round pick Devin Smith has been dropped from the roster.

Bryant played 37 games for Mississippi State before applying for the supplemental draft in the wake of being declared academically ineligible. He had 157 tackles and five interceptions in those appearances.

Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are set to start at safety for the Jets with J.J. Wilcox, Doug Middleton, Terrance Brooks and Rontez Miles, once he’s healthy, on hand as other reserve options.

Saints DL Mitchell Loewen helps save man whose car fell four stories from garage

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Saints defensive lineman Mitchell Loewen was just expecting to have lunch with his wife and son in New Orleans on Sunday, but the day took a turn.

Loewen heard what sounded like “a bomb or an earthquake” and discovered it was actually an SUV that fell four stories from a parking garage before landing upside down on the street. Loewen saw that the driver was trapped inside and rallied others to help.

“There were a bunch of people standing around, but not approaching the car and I was like ‘What’s up, let’s help this guy,'” Loewen said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I mean, obviously there was someone in there, I wasn’t going to just stand by and watch. It was a life or death situation.”

The group was able to get the car upright after realizing the man couldn’t get out and Loewen was able to wrench the door open so that he could reach the injured driver. Loewen said there was a lot of blood and broken glass, but New Orleans police say the driver is expected to survive his injuries.

“It was like a movie. I just did what I had to do, and I wasn’t thinking about anything else,” Loewen said.

Loewen signed with the Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and played two games last season before going on injured reserve in September.

Le’Veon Bell: This will be my best season

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Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell‘s agent said that the “practical reality” is that the 2018 season will be his final one in Pittsburgh because no long-term deal was reached before Monday’s deadline.

If that’s the case, Bell says he will be going out with a bang. Bell posted a tweet shortly after the deadline passed without the new contract he’s been trying to land for the last two years and predicted he’d have his best season ever.

Bell has not said if he’ll follow the same script as last year and report to the Steelers just before training camp. There have been suggestions that he could extend his holdout into the season, although he’d lose $852,000 each time the team plays a game without him and having his “best season to date” seems unlikely if he’s going to miss a big chunk of it by choice.

Lamarcus Joyner set to play out year on franchise tag

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Word on Sunday was that a long-term contract for Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner was unlikely to materialize ahead of Monday’s deadline and that word turned out to be right on the money.

The 4 p.m. ET deadline came and went on Monday afternoon without any agreement between Joyner and the Rams, which means that the safety is set to play out the year under the terms of the franchise tag. He’s set to make $11.287 million this year.

The Rams and Joyner can talk about a deal after the season as well and another franchise tag that would pay Joyner upward of $13.5 million in 2019 is also a possibility. The Rams used the franchise tag on cornerback Trumaine Johnson in 2016 and 2017 before he left for the Jets as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Any decision the team makes about Joyner will have to take into account the other players that the Rams will have to consider signing to new deals in the coming years. Quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and cornerback Marcus Peters are some of the players who will likely factor into those thoughts

Looking at Le’Veon Bell’s options moving forward

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For the second straight year, the Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell failed to strike a long-term deal before the mid-July deadline for doing so. Last year, Bell’s next move was no surprise: He stayed away as long as possible while still cashing 17 checks that totaled $12.1 million. This year, what will he do?

The easy answer is that he’ll do the same thing, skipping training camp and the preseason at no financial consequence, waiting until Labor Day to report, and making $14.5 million in 2018, a 20-percent raise over last year’s total. Then, if the Steelers don’t apply the franchise tag again (at roughly $25 million, they surely won’t), Bell hits the open market in March.

He could, in theory, skip up to 10 regular-season weeks (the Steelers have a Week Seven bye), but he’d lose more than $850,000 per week. With no long-term deal available, Bell would be: (1) reducing his injury risk; and (2) potentially squeezing the Steelers to sweeten the $14.5 million one-year offer.

There’s also an intriguing nuclear option that Bell could activate in the postseason, if he wants. Since the window to do a long-term deal re-opens after the regular season, Bell could say (if the Steelers qualify), “I’m not playing more games for the small-potatoes playoff checks. Sign me to a long-term deal or I’m sitting out.”

The most likely outcome continues to be Bell waiting until Labor Day, unless of course the Steelers take advantage of one specific option they currently have. But I’ll address the team’s options in a separate item.

Packers post record revenues in 2017

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For all the concerns expressed by some that the business of the NFL might be in decline, the Packers offer a rebuttal.

As the only publicly held team — thus the only one required to open its books — the Packers serve as an indicator for the financial health of the league, and the numbers keep going up.

According to Richard Ryman of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the Packers reported record revenue and record expenses in 2017.

The team revealed that revenues for the fiscal year ending March 31 were $454.9 million, a $13.5 million increase from fiscal 2016. Expenses were up to $420.9 million, up $44.8 million from last year.

Team president Mark Murphy said the rise in expenses include player salaries, travel costs, and construction.

They’ve also increased local revenue beyond the shared national television money.

That the Packers are rolling in dough isn’t a surprise, as the team is successful and one of the best-supported franchises in the league. So while they may skew the league-wide numbers high, the arrow pointing up is a good indicator that everyone is making money, despite a trend of television ratings shrinking.

DeMarcus Lawrence will play under franchise tag

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In what will come as no surprise, since the sides weren’t talking, DeMarcus Lawrence will play 2018 under the franchise tag.

Lawrence signed the $17.143 million tag in March with no substantive discussions about a long-term deal, Todd Archer of ESPN reports.

It gives the Cowboys a chance to make sure Lawrence isn’t a one-season wonder, and Lawrence a chance to live up to his proclamation that he expects to “break the bank” in free agency next year. It also gives both sides a chance to see what happens with the defensive line market, with Jadeveon Clowney, Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack also seeking long-term deals.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, citing a source, said Lawrence will not play on a second consecutive tag in 2019. The Cowboys are certain to franchise Lawrence again at $20.5 million if he has another big year and they don’t reach a deal. So this would seem to put the team on notice that Lawrence will not play the part of good solider again next offseason in the absence of a long-term deal.

Lawrence, 26, made only nine sacks his first three seasons while missing 16 games with injuries and a four-game suspension. He had 14.5 sacks last season.

The Cowboys have had three other players play under the franchise tag: Flozell Adams in 2002, Ken Hamlin in 2008 and Anthony Spencer in 2012 and ’13.

Agent: “Practical reality” this is Le’Veon Bell’s final year with Steelers

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There was a little optimism from Mike Tomlin over the weekend, but the lack of strong signs that the Steelers and running back Le'Veon Bell would agree on a long-term deal made it no surprise that Monday’s deadline for him to sign such a deal would pass without anything happening.

Bell’s agent Adisa Bakari confirmed the lack of a deal shortly before the 4 p.m. ET deadline and said that the writing is now on the wall for his client’s future with the Steelers.

“His intention was to retire as a Steeler,” Bakari said, via Adam Schefter of ESPN. “But now that there’s no deal, the practical reality is, this now likely will Le’Veon’s last season as a Steeler.”

The Steelers released a statement of their own that said they will revisit a long-term deal after the 2018 season. Given the lack of success on that front the last two years, the prohibitive cost of another franchise tag and the tenor of Bakari’s message, it doesn’t sound like a particularly likely outcome.

Bakari didn’t detail how close the two sides may have come during contract discussions, but it doesn’t sound like they were particularly close. Bakari said the Steelers “wanted to pay the position” rather than the player, which leaves Bell to decide when he’ll report to the team in order to make his case to the rest of the league ahead of expected free agency in 2019.

NFL’s interest in Lincoln Riley and OU’s offense “blown out of proportion a little bit”

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Lincoln Riley downplayed talk of NFL teams’ interest in him and his offense.

“That got blown out of proportion a little bit,” the second-year University of Oklahoma head coach said during Big 12 Media Days, via Jori Epstein of the Dallas Morning News.

Riley, 34, became an NFL story this offseason when Kirk Herbstreit revealed that most NFL teams have picked Riley’s brain about his offense. The ESPN college football analyst later added that he expected NFL teams to “knock on [Riley’s] door” in the future.

The Riley hype machine picked up steam when Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer called Riley “what [Chip] Kelly once was” for NFL coaches and scouts and predicated NFL offenses will “look a little more like Oklahoma” this fall.

Riley clarified Monday that his chats with NFL staffers came while they were in Norman scouting his players, including Baker Mayfield, Orlando Brown and Mark Andrews.

The coach would not get into specific conversations with NFL teams or level of interest about his offense. He said some lasted only a few minutes, while others delved into scheme intricacies and best team management practices, according to Epstein.

“All these chances to talk are very helpful for us,” Riley said. “It’s been nice to have a few more resources [we can] bounce ideas off.

“We’re appreciative to have the chance to visit with those people.”

49ers expect to be “much further along” in pass rush

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The play of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo over the final weeks of the 2017 season has created a lot of optimism about the 49ers’s hopes for this season, but neither a quarterback nor an offense alone can carry a team to success.

One thing that would help on the defensive side of the ball is a more productive pass rush. The 49ers were tied for 26th in the league with 30 sacks last season and they didn’t exercise their contract option to keep Elvis Dumervil, who led the team with 6.5 sacks.

New arrival Jeremiah Attaochu has 10 sacks over his four NFL seasons and fourth-round pick Kentavius Street tore his ACL at his pro day, so it will be up to many of the same characters from last season. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is confident that defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina and pass rush specialist Chris Kiffin can boost their productivity.

“They’ve identified some stuff that’s going to be a cool dynamic,” Saleh said, via the team’s website. “I think we’re going to be much further along pass rush wise.”

The 49ers have spent a lot of recent draft capital on the defensive line — Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas were first-round picks from 2015 to 2017 — and they’re going to need those decisions to pay off for Saleh’s prediction to come true this season.

Report: No deal expected for Le’Veon Bell today

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There’s still a little over a half hour before the deadline, but it doesn’t look like the Steelers are going to make a deal today.

According to Jeremy Folwer of ESPN.com, a source said no deal was expected today for running back Le'Veon Bell, meaning he’ll play out the year on the franchise tag for the second year in a row.

The tag will earn him $14.5 million this year, but offers no long-term security.

Now the question becomes when he shows up. Training camp seems unlikely, and some are already suggesting that he might skip regular season games (though that would cost him $852,000 a week).

Now in the NFL, Josh Rosen continues speaking out about the NCAA

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When Josh Rosen was the quarterback at UCLA, he frequently spoke about his frustrations with the NCAA. Now that he’s in the NFL, he isn’t stopping.

Rosen, the first-round pick of the Cardinals, has unveiled his own plan for allowing athletes to profit from opportunities to make money during their college careers, like allowing their names and likenesses to appear on cards and jerseys — with the caveat that the money will be set aside for them to collect after they graduate.

I’m not against the NCAA,” Rosen told Yahoo Sports. “I do strongly believe in the student-athlete experience, and I don’t think the free market is the way to go. I also don’t want a system that was created in the 1950s to stay the way it was. I want it to be like the iPhone, constantly updating to stay current with the times. I want this idea to get people talking. I want this to sort of be the WD-40 that unlocks the stuck gears of how to compensate student-athletes.”

Allowing players to profit from their names and likenesses is an increasingly popular proposal, but the NCAA hasn’t come around to it. Rosen will keep trying to get the NCAA to listen.

Ben McAdoo rated Baker Mayfield sixth among 2018 quarterback prospects


Ben McAdoo interviewed for the Browns offensive coordinator vacancy in January. If the former Giants head coach had gotten the job, would the Browns still have drafted Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall?

McAdoo told the New York Post he had Mayfield ranked sixth among the 2018 quarterback prospects.

(Two questions: 1. Is there anybody in the league McAdoo hasn’t shared his opinion about? 2. Does anybody else want to see him get a TV job?)

The Browns hired Todd Haley as their offensive coordinator and drafted Mayfield as their quarterback of the future.

“I have a lot of respect for how [G.M. John Dorsey] looks at players,” McAdoo, who worked with Dorsey for six seasons in Green Bay, told the Post.

That’s why Dorsey’s selection of the Heisman Trophy winner stumped McAdoo.

“He’s got an edge to him; I like that,” McAdoo said of Mayfield. “He’s gonna lead; they’re gonna follow him. I didn’t see a lot of pro-style football in his college tape, and if you’re short you have to be able to make up for it some way, somehow, and personality doesn’t do that.”

McAdoo rated Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Mason Rudolph ahead of Mayfield.

“I didn’t think he was a great athlete,” McAdoo said. “This guy is kinda like a pocket quarterback that is short and with small hands. That’s what I worry about.”

Christian McCaffrey could get more catches as C.J. Anderson takes over as lead back

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The Panthers are planning to use C.J. Anderson as their feature back, leaving Christian McCaffrey in a similar role he had last season, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer reports.

Jonathan Stewart and McCaffrey combined for only 1,115 rushing yards last season, with quarterback Cam Newton leading the team in rushing. It’s why Stewart was released, and Anderson was signed.

Anderson is coming off his first 1,000-yard rushing season, having rushed for 1,007 last season in Denver. He likely plays the traditional running back role in Norv Turner’s offense, according to Rodrigue.

That means McCaffrey’s carries are expected to stay around the 117 he had last season, though he would like to up his average from the 3.7 he had in rushing for 435 yards. McCaffrey, the eighth overall choice in 2017, could get even more chances in the passing game.

McCaffrey made 80 catches for 651 yards and five touchdowns last season as a rookie.

The Panthers have Elijah Hood, Cameron Artis-Payne, Kenjon Barner and rookie Reggie Bonnafon competing for playing time behind Anderson and McCaffrey.