“Edelman-to-Detroit” April 1 prank fooled some high-profile media members

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Julian Edelman has not signed a contract with the Lions. Despite what you may have heard.

On April 1, Bill Simmons went on Colin Cowherd’s show, and both Simmons and Cowherd talked about an Edelman-to-Detroit “report” that was actually an April Fools’ Day prank.

“Even Edelman, it seems like he might be heading to Detroit. Is that official?” Simmons said.

“Yes,” Cowherd said. “It’s talked about.”

But there’s been no such deal. As explained by Justin Rogers of the Detroit News, a Patriots fan Twitter account had posted an April Fools’ Day tweet saying, “BREAKING. WR Julian Edelman has been signed by the Detroit Lions on a 2-year deal. Thanks for everything Jules.”

Although Lions General Manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia both worked for Bill Belichick in New England and have prioritized bringing in former Patriots, it should have been obvious the tweet was a prank, seeing as Edelman is not a free agent and therefore could only be traded, not signed by the Lions.

On Friday, Simmons acknowledged he’d been had.

“Right before I went on The Herd on Wednesday, I saw a tweet that Edelman was heading to Detroit and did NOT realize it was an April Fool’s tweet,” Simmons tweeted.

This isn’t a year when many people were in the mood for April Fools’ Day, but this was one prank that got some traction.

Chiefs have yet to make an offer to Chris Jones

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Before Friday, the Chiefs had $177 in cap space. Not $177,000. $177.

So it’s little surprise, as reported by Tom Pelissero of the NFL, that the Chiefs have yet to make an offer to franchise-tagged defensive lineman Chris Jones.

Cap space or not, there’s no reason to make an offer now. If the Chiefs were going to have an actual offseason program, the launch of the program in theory could become a quasi-deadline for doing a deal — but not the same kind of deadline it would have been for the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott, since it’s not easy to have a meaningful offseason program without a starting quarterback. So the real deadline for Jones and the Chiefs is the same deadline as it always is for every franchise-tagged player: July 15.

By rule, no franchise-tagged player can sign a long-term deal after July 15. So the Chiefs and Jones have time. And there’s no reason for either side to even begin to move toward their bottom line now, because the time for bottom lines doesn’t arrive for more than three months.

(That said, Cowboys defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence was able to create a rare exception to this standard last year by taking the position that he would not undergo shoulder surgery until he signed a long-term deal. The Cowboys got the deal done so that Lawrence would get the surgery done and be ready for camp.)

A long-term deal for Jones could actually reduce his $16 million cap charge for 2020, creating even more cap space for the Chiefs. This ultimately depends on the structure the Chiefs prefer to use; they may want to frontload Jones’ cap numbers and backload the cap charges on the looming contract for Patrick Mahomes.

Regardless, there’s no reason for the Chiefs to make Jones any offers at this point. Eventually, they will.

They have to. He’s the most important player on the team other than Mahomes, and Jones was as indispensable to the Super Bowl victory as Mahomes was, killing a key drive during Kansas City’s comeback by knocking down a pass on second down that would have resulted in at least a first down for the 49ers and by all appearances keeping quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from spotting an open receiver over the middle on the next play for fear of Jones knocking it down again.

Could Bill Belichick and Cam Newton coexist?

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Cam Newton has faced Bill Belichick twice. Cam Newton has beaten Bill Belichick twice. Cam Newton is a free agent. But Bill Belichick has shown no inclination to adopt the manta, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

Scott Pioli, who won three Super Bowl rings setting the personnel table for Belichick in New England, believes Belichick and Newton would have a hard time coexisting.

“The Patriots thing is interesting because I’ve heard a lot of people talk about that,” Pioli said in an appearance with Zach Gelb of CBS Sports Radio. “And in my mind, having spent as much time with Bill as I did, I don’t see those two coexisting together. . . . The personalities and the beliefs of how the game should be played and is played . . .  it seems like oil and water. Now as soon as I say that, what’s gonna happen next week is they’ll probably sign him.

“But I just see them as being very different personalities and having very different approaches to the game. Bill understands — he believes in football more than entertainment. Cam believes that football and entertainment are almost equal partners. In which this day it is, but Bill has the soul of a football man and I couldn’t see that one working out too well. And if it did it would have to be for probably one season.”

It also would have to be a creative contract, given that the Patriots are currently strapped for cap space.

Through nearly two weeks of free agency, no team has been linked to Newton. The Chargers continue to be the no-brainer option. Other teams, like the Dolphins and Raiders, are intriguing. But given what mobile quarterbacks like Newton have done to Belichick over the years, it’s hard not to think that Belichick at least has pondered what his team’s offense would look like with Newton under center.

Clyde Christensen feels he failed Jameis Winston

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Heading into the 2019 season, the hope in Tampa was that head coach Bruce Arians and quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen would be able to help Jameis Winston take a step forward as a quarterback.

Winston threw for more than 5,000 yards and posted 33 touchdown passes, but whatever improvement that might have suggested was mitigated by 30 interceptions. It was the same inconsistency that has been an issue throughout Winston’s professional career and the results leave Christensen feeling like he didn’t do his job well enough last year.

“In some ways, I feel like I failed him,” Christensen said on The Pat McAfee Show, via the Tampa Bay Times. “As a coach, you take that personal. Whatever, I didn’t get it done. I didn’t help this kid. This kid is better than 30 interceptions and we didn’t get it done and that I have to live with. But I do think he’s a great kid and he’s going to some great things.”

Winston has not found a new place to attempt to prove Christensen right about what the future will bring. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that he’ll go anywhere as a starter, which is why Christensen believes the quarterback’s “rise to the top” may resemble Ryan Tannehill‘s move to Tennessee last year.

Shaq Lawson: I’m bringing a lot of juice to Miami

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The Dolphins moved quickly in free agency to secure players who can boost their defense and defensive end Shaq Lawson was one of the first ones to agree to a deal.

Lawson was a 2016 first-round pick in Buffalo, but the Bills opted not to pick up their option on his contract for the 2020 season after he produced 10 sacks in his first three seasons. Lawson set a new career high with 6.5 sacks before jumping to his new AFC East squad.

Lawson believes the uptick in 2019 is a sign of things to come in Miami.

“I’m at a point of my career where I’m just only getting better — making strides each year,” Lawson said, via Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald. “Each year I’ve gotten better, improved. Getting more comfortable in the game. I feel like these next coming years, I’ve got a lot of juice. I’ve got a lot to bring to the table, and I showed glimpses of it last year with only just playing on the amount of snaps I was playing. I’m just ready to go get it and just [try] to be a double-digit sack guy.”

Emmanuel Ogbah and Kyle Van Noy are also Dolphins newcomers who are expected to add to a pass rush that Lawson thinks can be “special” once they’re all on the field together. Lawson’s ability to keep growing will be vital to that effort.

Derek Wolfe: Ravens can “for sure” have best DL in league

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Derek Wolfe wasn’t the Ravens’ first choice as a free agent addition to their defensive line, but they turned his way after a deal with Michael Brockers fell through.

Wolfe doesn’t think that change is going to have a negative impact on the performance of the unit. They’ve also added Calais Campbell in a trade to go with holdovers Brandon Williams and Jihad Ward in a group that Wolfe believes is going to be better than any other in the NFL.

“I think we can have the best defensive line in the league, for sure, and we could break records. We could break the rushing record — yards per rush, stuff like that,” Wolfe said, via NBCSportsWashington.com.

The 2000 Ravens set that record for the Super Bowl era by allowing 2.69 yards per rush. The 2019 Ravens gave up 4.4 yards per carry, so the addition of Wolfe and Campbell would have to have a major impact in order for the team to make that kind of improvement.

If they do or even if they come close, the team’s chances of repeating the 2000 squad’s postseason success will look pretty good.

Rams raise $2.3 million for charity through fans’ hatred of their logo

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There’s a silver lining to the widely panned new Rams logo: It helped raise money for some good causes.

After fans almost universally ripped the Rams’ new logo as ugly and amateurish, the Rams decided to have some fun with it, with Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff promising to read the meanest tweets about the logo if Rams fans would donate at least $2 million to United Way of L.A. and the L.A. Regional Food Bank.

By Friday, fans had donated $2.3 million, so Demoff posted a video of himself reading the tweets.

“If you’re low on toilet paper, don’t worry. You can now get it on NFL Shop,” one tweet said.

“The new LA Rams logo is the major way of social distancing,” said another.

Demoff also acknowledged that the backlash against the Rams had caused some reflection within the organization.

“While it isn’t always the easiest to hear, we value the commentary you have provided on the logo & colors,” Demoff tweeted. “We are excited about the future of our team, our brand & our stadium, but recognize we can always get better through feedback and engagement and appreciate your passion.”

The Rams took the ‘L’ on this one, and turned it into a win for their community.

Nick Vannett sounds ready to forget last season in Seattle and Pittsburgh

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The best thing about 2020 for Nick Vannett is it’s not 2019.

The tight end began his fourth season with the Seahawks, who traded him to the Steelers. He ended up with 17 catches for 166 yards and few good memories.

Vannett signed a two-year deal with the Broncos in free agency.

“I always felt like toward the end of my tenure with the Seahawks, I felt like I was slowly getting kicked to the curb a little bit,” Vannett said, via Nicki Jhabvala of TheAthletic.com. “They had another guy, a young guy, they brought in, [Will] Dissly, they were pretty high on and they kind of saw him to be my successor. I don’t know, like slowly I feel like they kind of minimized my role, they weren’t getting me involved as much. From what I heard, the Steelers were looking for a tight end, and they had been trying to make an offer for quite some time, and I think they finally made an offer that the Seahawks couldn’t refuse.

“That’s how the trade went down, and then when I got to the Steelers, talk about just a crazy three months there. It seemed like I came into an organization where the wheels were starting to fall off a little bit. Guys were getting hurt. Ben [Roethlisberger] was down. So I feel like I never really got to experience the true benefits, the true atmosphere that the Steelers normally would have because I came in on a crazy situation. I can’t say that I have too many great things to say about that organization just from my time being there because it wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had. I can’t really speak too much on them to be honest.”

Vannett joins a tight end group that includes Noah Fant, Jeff Heuerman, Troy Fumagalli and Andrew Beck.

He has 61 catches for 591 yards and four touchdowns in four seasons since the Seahawks made him a third-round choice.

Josh Allen: I understand how big of a year this is

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Bills receiver Isaiah McKenzie declared earlier this week that it’s Buffalo’s time “to take over” the AFC East. It’s one thing for Isaiah McKenzie to say it. It’s quite another for Josh Allen to say it.

And the Bills starting quarterback didn’t say it in a conference call with beat reporters Friday.

Allen carefully worded his answer when asked about Tom Brady leaving New England. The lack of bulletin board material would have made Crash Davis proud.

“I think Bills Mafia is happy that he’s out of there and they were tired of him winning in Buffalo and, frankly, we were tired of it, too,” Allen said, via Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News. “Obviously, we understand the deal, and we know that there’s a big opportunity in front of us. But it doesn’t get there without putting the work in and going to work each and every day and trying to be the best team that we can be. I think the Jets and the Dolphins are thinking the same thing right now. It’s football; every year’s different.

“It doesn’t mean the Patriots are out of anything, as well. They’re returning a lot of guys on defense. They’ve got a great coaching staff over there, so it doesn’t mean they’re just automatically out of it just because they lost a pretty key player.”

Allen is entering his third season, and based on his talks with other first-round quarterbacks, he expects this to be the year “when things start to click and start to happen.”

“I understand how big of a year it is,” Allen said. “But I’m taking it one day at a time and I’m just trying to do my part to be the best that I can be for the Buffalo Bills.”

Allen, who turns 24 next month, took a step in his second season. He went 10-6, leading the Bills to th postseason, while passing for 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

The next step is winning the division — something the Bills haven’t done since 1995.

New Orleans may lose Super Bowl LVIII, gain Super Bowl LIX

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The combination of the expanded regular season and the ever-shifting dates for Easter and all related dates of interest could cause New Orleans to lose Super Bowl LVIII.

Ben Fischer of Sports Business Daily reports that the confluence of a 17-game season and the dates for Easter and in turn Ash Wednesday and in turn Mardi Gras could result in the NFL shifting the Crescent City’s next Super Bowl from early 2024 to early 2025.

The problem, per the report, is that Mardi Gras currently is due to happen two days after Super Bowl LVIII, due to the extra week of the regular season and the delay in the NFL’s championship game that happens because of it. Mardi Gras has become one of the biggest annual events in New Orleans, with parades and gatherings and thousands of people who will be in town for reasons unrelated to football (if the world ever gets back to that point).

The NFL reportedly is considering solving the problem by giving New Orleans the next Super Bowl, and awarding Super Bowl LVIII to another city — possibly Las Vegas.

Chiefs agree to terms on a one-year deal with Ricky Seals-Jones

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The Chiefs have reached an agreement on a one-year deal with tight end Ricky Seals-Jones, Terez Paylor of Yahoo Sports reports.

Seals-Jones, 25, spent last season with Cleveland.

He played 14 games with three starts, catching 14 passes for 229 yards and four touchdowns. Seals-Jones saw action on 243 offensive snaps and 49 on special teams.

Seals-Jones signed with the Cardinals as an undrafted free agent in 2017. He played 10 games with one start as a rookie.

In 2018, Seals-Jones played 15 games with five starts.

The Cardinals cut him out of the preseason in 2019, and the Browns claimed him off waivers.

For his three-year career, Seals-Jones has 60 catches for 773 yards and eight touchdowns.

Zac Taylor: We feel very confident with whoever we decide to take No. 1

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The Bengals’ original pre-draft itinerary had coach Zac Taylor and director of player personnel Duke Tobin in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Friday. Instead, Taylor spent the day in a spare room upstairs in his Cincinnati home, making phone calls and watching film.

All indications are the Bengals will select LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall choice on April 23.

But the Bengals didn’t get to see Burrow workout as planned during LSU’s pro day. They didn’t get a private workout with him. They didn’t get to have him visit Cincinnati.

“The only thing you didn’t get a chance to see was a guy throw 40 throws in front of you,” Taylor told Geoff Hobson of the team website. “At the end of the day, what does that really give you in the grand scheme of things? Sometimes that’s a big factor if you take a guy in the fifth or sixth round. Something like that. We’ve had plenty of exposure to the guys that have put themselves in position to be the No. 1 pick. We feel very confident with whoever we decide to take.”

The Bengals, like every other team, are doing Zoom or FaceTime interviews instead of in-person visits. Teams may contact an unlimited number of incoming rookies up to three times per week, for up to one hour at a time, according to the NFL.

Phone calls, though, can’t replace the pro days for prospects who didn’t work out at the Combine or for players coming off injury. They also don’t give team doctors a chance to exam prospects.

“That’s hard to replace with a phone call,” Taylor said. “You look at our undrafted history here and our scouts have done a great job finding guys that can play for us. And the coaches started looking at players when we prepared for the Senior Bowl, so we’ve been looking at guys three weeks or a month longer than we normally would have. We really feel like we’ve got a chance to talk through those guys that didn’t have a pro day. The medical is always going to be a challenge. You’ve just got to be as thorough as you can.”

Chris Godwin: I think No. 14 looks sweet

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If it was anybody else other than the greatest player of all time asking, it’s unlikely Chris Godwin would have given up No. 12.

But when it’s Tom Brady asking. . .

“Yeah, for me, I’ve worn No. 12 since I was in high school,” Godwin said in an interview with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated. “I wore it in high school, college and my first three years in the pros. Just what I’ve been able to accomplish by wearing No. 12, each year kind of gained more and more significance for me. It kind of like became a part of my identity, something that people called me 12 or just CG 12 or some kind of combination of the two. It was something I really, really got attached to. As with any number, it’s the person that makes it. So I’m looking forward to my next journey in No. 14 and hopefully I get to wear No. 12 again later.”

The Buccaneers made it official earlier this week by announcing Brady will wear No. 12. Brady signed with the team last month.

During a conversation with Brady, Godwin did not ask for anything to change his number from 12 to 14.

“Honestly, it didn’t take too much. You know, we really just had a conversation,” Godwin said. “I kind of let him know how I felt about it, why it was important to me. I told him straight up, I was like, ‘Listen, I’m going to defer to you. If you really want the jersey, I’m cool with it. But obviously if not, then I’ll keep it.’ Then, we kind of talked through it, and he decided that he did want to keep it. For me, it was really just a respect thing. I have a ton of respect for Tom and everything he’s done, and I’m looking forward to creating great memories.”

Godwin and Mike Evans give Brady arguably the top receiver tandem in the NFL. Both receivers were Pro Bowl selections last season, combining for 153 receptions for 2,490 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Brady will wear 12; Evans wears 13 and Godwin picked 14 out of a list of available numbers sent to him by the Bucs’ equipment staff.

“I think 14 looks sweet,” Godwin said.

Dion Lewis: Playing with Derrick Henry will help me help Saquon Barkley

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Dion Lewis was out of work for a little more than a week after being released by the Titans last month and his new job looks like it will be pretty similar to his old one.

Lewis played a complementary role behind Derrick Henry in Tennessee and he’s going to be teamed with another workhorse with the Giants. They have Saquon Barkley as their No. 1 back and Lewis knows the Giants are going “to have him on the field as much as possible.”

Lewis also knows from his time with Henry that he can be an asset from his spot on the sideline.

“I learned a lot,” Lewis said, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “I learned how to be a good team player, doing what I can to encourage the guy in front of me. Watching the game. If when they come off they need to ask me a question about anything I’m always really honest. You watch the game from a different perspective . . . It’s a unique situation. It’s worked for the past two years with Derrick and I think it will definitely help me come here and do whatever I can to help this group.”

Lewis said he doesn’t know exactly what kind of role the team has in mind for him, but he’s willing to figure it out over time “instead of going in there with hopes or what I think is going to happen.”

Justin Reid pushing for Texans to sign his brother, Eric

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Texans safety Justin Reid has never played on the same team with his older brother, free agent safety Eric. In 2019, for the first time, the brothers competed against each other when the Panthers beat the Texans 16-10.

The Panthers released Eric Reid last month, and Justin Reid has pushed for the Texans to sign his brother. Justin Reid said he has talked to Texans General Manager/coach Bill O’Brien.

“I mentioned a conversation with OB,” Justin Reid told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “It’s their job upstairs to make those decisions, so I’ll let them do their job and make whatever decisions they want to make. [O’Brien] loves him as a player. He just came off setting two franchise records, so he’s still in great shape and the prime of his career.

“Whichever team lands him is going to be lucky because he’s going to come in and make an impact. I just hope it’s us.”

Wilson said “nothing is imminent or developing at this time with Eric Reid and the Texans.”

Tashaun Gipson currently is the starting safety opposite Justin Reid. Houston also signed Eric Murray in free agency.

Justin Reid, though, is holding out hope the Texans can add another safety with the last name Reid.

“It would be a hell of a room to bring us all together,” Justin Reid said. “Especially with me getting to play with my big bro, that chemistry we would have together. We’ve talked about playing with each other. That’s every brother’s dream — to play with their brother on the same field on the biggest stage of the world. That would be a dream come true for me, and we’ll see what happens.”