Eddy Piñeiro questionable for Monday night

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His skills are no longer questionable, but his knee currently is.

Bears kicker Eddy Piñeiro popped up on the final injury report in advance of Monday night’s game with a knee injury. He was limited in practice.

The Bears may need to make a roster move on Monday, if Piñeiro can’t go.

Piñeiro nailed a game-winning 53-yard field goal last Sunday in Denver, quieting considerably the double-doink noise from the playoff loss to the Eagles.

Defensive tackle Bilal Nichols is out with a hand injury. Also questionable are offensive linemen Kyle Long (hip), tight end Trey Burton (groin), and defensive back Eddie Jackson (shoulder/knee). Long was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday, but he did not practice on Saturday.

Potential placement on paid leave may not deter the next Antonio Brown suitor

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The NFL’s position that free-agent receiver Antonio Brown won’t be placed on the Commissioner-Exempt list unless and until he signs with another team would seem to be a deterrent to any team signing him. It would seem to be, but it may not be.

Washington claimed linebacker Reuben Foster on waivers last year, knowing full well that they could end up paying him to not play. When he was indeed placed on paid leave after Washington claimed him on waivers, Washington paid out the balance of his $875,000 salary for 2018, at $51,470 per week.

A team that signs Brown would be required to give him a minimum salary of $1.03 million. That’s a game check in the amount of only $60,588 per week. If a team is willing to risk owing him that amount each and every week even if he lands on paid leave — and if Brown would be willing to accept a minimum salary along with, for example, significant per-game active roster bonuses and/or incentives — a deal easily can be done.

Continue to keep an eye on Washington. They need as many good players as they can find, they definitely need receivers, and Brown could play as soon as Monday night against the Bears. They didn’t hesitate to claim Foster last year, who had actually been arrested for domestic violence. Brown still hasn’t been, and quite possibly won’t be, arrested for anything he has done.

Here’s another reason to watch Washington: To the extent that former P.R. chief Tony Wyllie provided a voice of reason in these matters, he’s no longer there; the team announced on Friday his decision to leave the organization to work for the Special Olympics. So if Bruce Allen and/or Dan Snyder want to embrace a man who remains one of the best receivers (and one of the best players) in the NFL, who’s to tell them they shouldn’t?

Thirty-one teams can shout “hell no” as to the possibility of signing Brown. It takes only one to whisper, “OK.” At a potential cost of $60,588 per week in the event he’s placed on paid leave (with the ability to cut him even after he’s placed on paid leave), it would be foolish to presume that, at this moment, teams aren’t debating internally whether they’re willing to suffer a short-term P.R. hit and a relatively mild financial loss in order to do what every team (except maybe one) is constantly trying to do: WIN!

NFL won’t place Antonio Brown on exempt list as long as he’s a free agent

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The NFL continues to investigate Antonio Brown but will not place him on the Commissioner-Exempt list as long as the receiver remains a free agent, the league announced Friday night.

The league, though, said it would reassess if a team signs Brown.

“Antonio Brown was released today by the New England Patriots and is currently an unrestricted free agent,” the NFL said in its statement. “Our office is presently investigating multiple allegations, some of which are the subject of pending litigation. We have as yet made no findings regarding these issues. The investigation is ongoing and will be pursued vigorously and expeditiously.

“As long as Mr. Brown is a free agent, placement on the Commissioner’s exempt list is not appropriate. If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.”

That likely is enough to discourage any team from signing Brown . . . if any team was interested in signing Brown. Brown still would be paid if he were placed on the Commissioner-Exempt list but would be ineligible to practice or play.

Any team interested in signing Brown likely lets the NFL’s investigation play out first.

The NFL met with Britney Taylor for 10 hours Monday about the allegations of rape and sexual assault she levied against Brown in a lawsuit last week. Since then, Brown has become the subject of another accusation of improper conduct with a woman.

The NFL advised Brown to stop contacting the second accuser after he reportedly harassed her via text message, which precipitated his release from the Patriots earlier Friday.

Seahawks previously had interest in Antonio Brown but no longer do

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The Seahawks showed interest in Antonio Brown before the receiver signed with the Patriots. Brown is a free agent again, 13 days later.

So do the Seahawks, who spoke with Brown after the Raiders cut him, have interest in the Pro Bowler this time around?

Coach Pete Carroll said no without using the word.

“We’re pretty well set right now,” Carroll said Friday, via Gregg Bell of the News Tribune. “We kind of know where we’re going with that.”

Carroll admitted 11 days ago that the Seahawks had “checked into” Brown, saying “Why wouldn’t you, you know? He’s a great player.”

Since the Seahawks’ initial interest, Brown was sued for sexual assault and rape and attempted to intimidate a second accuser who came forward earlier this week in comments to SI.com.

The Seahawks’ due diligence on Brown also came before they had seen rookie D.K. Metcalf in a regular-season game. Metcalf has seven catches for 150 yards and a touchdown in two games.

Carroll’s reaction was similar to those of Sean Payton and Sean McVay, who were asked about their interest in Brown.

“Right now, where we are . . .I like our depth at that position,” Payton said, via Dianna Russini of ESPN. “I haven’t paid much attention. I’m focused on the guys here.”

McVay initially expressed surprise at his press conference when told of Brown’s release and then essentially repeated what Carroll and Payton said.

“You always look into things,” McVay said, via quotes distributed by the team. “We evaluate, but with the situation we have specific to the receiver position, we couldn’t be happier with the guys that we do have.”

NFL, officials reach tentative labor deal

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The NFL and the NFL Players Association have yet to reach a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The NFL and the NFL Referees Association are close to doing so.

Per multiple sources, the NFL and the NFLRA have struck an agreement in principle. The new CBA hinges on approval by the rank and file. They plan to gather next week to vote on the deal.

The CBAi sn’t official until more than 50 percent of the members of the NFLRA vote in favor of it.

The NFL and the NFLRA are in the last year of the current deal, an agreement brokered during a lockout in 2012 that ended after the embarrassment of the Fail Mary call on Monday Night Football.

Week Three injury report roundup

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Week Three of the 2019 NFL season kicked off on Thursday with a win by the Jaguars and it continues with 14 more games on Sunday, which means that the 28 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.

Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered healthy enough to play barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.

With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.

Panthers at Cardinals

QB Cam Newton (foot) missed practice all week and will be on the bench for the Panthers with Kyle Allen getting the start. S Rashaan Gaulden (groin), T Brandon Greene (neck) and LB Bruce Irvin (hamstring) are also out. TE Greg Olsen (back) and DE Kawann Short (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

The Cardinals ruled out G Lamont Gaillard (knee). They listed DE Jonathan Bullard (hamstring), CB Chris Jones (ankle) and LB Ezekiel Turner (hand, hamstring) as questionable for Sunday.

Jets at Patriots

The Jets’ Week Four bye will be welcomed after a look at this week’s injuries. QB Sam Darnold (illness) and LB Jordan Jenkins (calf) are out. LB C.J. Mosley (groin), WR Demaryius Thomas (hamstring, knee) and DT Quinnen Williams (ankle) are listed as doubtful. T Kelvin Beachum (ankle), WR Josh Bellamy (shoulder), RB Trenton Cannon (ankle, hamstring), DT Steve McLendon (hip), S Rontez Miles (hip), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), CB Brian Poole (groin), and G Brian Winters (shoulder) are all listed as questionable.

RB James Develin (neck) has been ruled out for the Patriots. LB Shilique Calhoun (not injury related), T Marcus Cannon (shoulder), TE Ryan Izzo (calf) and TE Matt LaCosse (ankle) are listed as questionable.

Bengals at Bills

The Bengals won’t have DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), T Cordy Glenn (concussion), WR A.J. Green (ankle), CB B.W. Webb (forearm) and DE Kerry Wynn (concussion) in Buffalo. DE Carl Lawson (hamstring) is likely out after drawing a doubtful tag while G Michael Jordan (knee) and T Andre Smith (groin) make up the questionable contingent.

The Bills will play without CB Taron Johnson (hamstring), TE Tyler Kroft (foot, ankle) and RB Devin Singletary (hamstring). LB Corey Thompson (ankle) is their only questionable player.

Dolphins at Cowboys

Dolphins S Reshad Jones (ankle) and WR Albert Wilson (hip, calf) are out this weekend. DE Charles Harris (wrist), LB Trent Harris (foot) and S Bobby McCain (shoulder) are listed as questionable.

The Cowboys won’t have WR Tavon Austin (concussion), DE Tyrone Crawford (hip), WR Michael Gallup (knee), LB Luke Gifford (ankle), DT Antwaun Woods (knee) and S Xavier Woods (ankle) for Sunday’s game.

Broncos at Packers

The Broncos ruled out T Ja'Wuan James (knee), RB Andy Janovich (pectoral) and LB Joseph Jones (triceps). CB Bryce Callahan (foot) and LB Todd Davis (calf) are listed as questionable.

TE Jimmy Graham (groin) heads up a group of questionable Packers that also includes WR Jake Kumerow (shoulder), WR Darrius Shepherd (hamstring) and LB Kyler Fackrell (shoulder). LB Oren Burks (chest) and G Lane Taylor (biceps) are out and DE Montravius Adams (shoulder) is set to join them after being tagged as doubtful.

Falcons at Colts

The Falcons ruled out P Matt Bosher (right groin), but have no one else on the injury report.

WR T.Y. Hilton (quadricep) and RB Marlon Mack (calf) are questionable for the Colts after limited practices on Friday. RB Jonathan Williams (rib) is also questionable while LB Darius Leonard (concussion) and DE Jabaal Sheard (knee) were ruled out.

Ravens at Chiefs

The Ravens ruled out CB Jimmy Smith (knee) and S Brynden Trawick (elbow). TE Mark Andrews (foot) and DT Patrick Ricard (back) are listed as questionable.

Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy (ankle) went from out of practice Wednesday to full participation on Friday before being listed as questionable. T Eric Fisher (groin), WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder) and RB Damien Williams (knee) won’t play this weekend.

Raiders at Vikings

WR Dwayne Harris (ankle) and G Gabe Jackson (knee) are out for the Vikings. T Trenton Brown (knee), LB Vontaze Burfict (shoulder, knee), G Denzelle Good (ankle), DT P.J. Hall (illness), S Lamarcus Joyner (groin), and DT Corey Liuget (knee) are questionable to be in the Oakland lineup.

Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander (elbow) is out while LB Anthony Barr (groin), G Pat Elflein (knee), LB Ben Gedeon (groin) and CB Mike Hughes (knee) are listed as questionable.

Lions at Eagles

The Lions’ injury report is made up of five questionable players. LB Jarrad Davis (ankle), T Taylor Decker (back), DE Da'shawn Hand (elbow), CB Rashaan Melvin (knee) and S C.J. Moore (heel) make up the group.

WR Alshon Jeffery (calf) didn’t practice this week, but the Eagles listed him as questionable. They ruled out RB Corey Clement (shoulder), WR DeSean Jackson (abdomen), DT Timmy Jernigan (foot) and T Jordan Mailata (back). LB Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee) is considered doubtful and TE Dallas Goedert (calf) and QB Nate Sudfeld (left wrist) join Jeffery in the questionable category.

Giants at Buccaneers

Two wide receivers make up the entire Giants injury report. Cody Latimer (concussion) is out and Bennie Fowler (hamstring) is questionable.

LB Devin White (knee) is one of four Buccaneers players out this weekend. LB Devante Bond (hamstring), CB Jamel Dean (ankle) and QB Blaine Gabbert (left shoulder) round out the group.

Texans at Chargers

T Laremy Tunsil (ankle) is questionable for the Texans along with RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring) and G Senio Kelemete (wrist).

The Chargers handed out three injury designations. TE Hunter Henry (knee) is out, CB Michael Davis (hamstring) is doubtful and K Michael Badgley (right groin) is questionable.

Saints at Seahawks

Saints QB Drew Brees (right thumb), DT Sheldon Rankins (Achilles) and WR Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) are not playing this weekend.

The Seahawks listed C Ethan Pocic (neck) and CB Neiko Thorpe (hamstring) as doubtful for Sunday’s game. CB Tre Flowers (ankle) and S Tedric Thompson (hamstring) drew questionable tags.

Steelers at 49ers

LB Anthony Chickillo (foot), RB Roosevelt Nix (knee) and LB Vince Williams (hamstring) won’t play for the Steelers.

49ers RB Tevin Coleman (ankle), WR Jalen Hurd (back) and T Joe Staley (fibula) are out for this weekend. DE Nick Bosa (ankle), DE Dee Ford (quadricep), S Jaquiski Tartt (toe) and S Jimmie Ward (hand) make up the group of questionable players.

Rams at Browns

The Rams listed DT Aaron Donald (back) as questionable, but they say he’s playing. G Austin Blythe (ankle) is also questionable and TE Tyler Higbee (chest) is out.

The Browns ruled out LB Christian Kirksey (chest), T Kendall Lamm (knee) and S Damarious Randall (concussion). S Morgan Burnett (quadricep), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), T Christopher Hubbard (foot), S Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring), DE Chris Smith (not injury related), LB Adarius Taylor (ankle), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring) and CB Greedy Williams (hamstring) are all listed as questionable for Sunday night.

NFL told Antonio Brown to stop contacting second accuser

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Regardless of the Patriots’ decision to cut Antonio Brown, the NFL still has jurisdiction over multiple incidents that potentially violate the Personal Conduct Policy. As to one of those incidents, the NFL has issued a directive to Brown that sheds light on whether and to what extent the league is taking the situation seriously.

The lawyers who represent the second accuser issued a statement on Friday afternoon explaining that Brown had been advised to “have no further contact with our client, either directly or through his associates,” and that the NFL “also advised us that it contacted Mr. Brown’s representative and reiterated that Mr. Brown was to cease and desist efforts to contact or intimidate our client.”

The accuser’s lawyers explained in the statement, issued before the Patriots released Brown, that they had a “productive conversation” with NFL officials on Friday morning, and that the league has “given us every indication that they take this matter very seriously.”

“We thank them for moving swiftly and decisively,” the accuser’s lawyers said in the statement. “The NFL has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation under its Personal Conduct Policy. We will cooperate fully with the NFL in this investigation to ensure that the threats and intimidation against our client cease, and that she and her family remain safe.”

A second statement was issued after the Patriots released Brown.

“The NFL and the Patriots clearly took our client’s concerns seriously,” the lawyers said. “She wanted the threats and intimidation to stop and we hope that will be case. The NFL has assured us that regardless of Antonio Brown’s roster status, it will continue to investigate all claims regarding his behavior. We are gratified that the NFL recognized that it has an important role to play in policing player conduct that is sexually harassing and threatening.”

Brown has in many ways been his own worst enemy in recent weeks, poisoning relationships and behaving badly and running his tally for former NFL teams in 2019 to three.

Will Antonio Brown get his $9 million signing bonus?

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Eleven days ago, the Patriots gave Antonio Brown a $9 million signing bonus. But they’ve yet to actually give him any of it.

The contract requires the team to pay the first installment of $5 million on or before Monday, September 23. Per a league source, that payment has not yet been made. Brown will now wait to see whether the money arrives in three days.

If it doesn’t, Brown would have to file a grievance seeking payment. Under the labor deal, the team incurs no risk by refusing to pay it. If the Patriots lose, they simply owe him the money, without attorneys’ fees, liquidated damages, or even interest.

So would New England’s case to keep the money hold water? Based on the plain terms of the labor deal, Brown did not commit a “forfeitable breach” that would permit recovery of any portion of his signing bonus. That said, the Patriots could attempt to resist payment based on the notion that Brown and his representatives knew that Brown faced a potential civil lawsuit that would trigger NFL scrutiny and a possible suspension.

It would be a creative and unprecedented argument, but the Patriots have nothing to lose. That said, if there were any shenanigans associated with Brown’s efforts to gain his freedom from the Raiders — some believe he knew the Patriots were waiting to pounce — the Patriots may not want to give Brown any motivation to blow the whistle. But if the Patriots aren’t concerned about any such collateral consequences, there’s simply nothing to lose by refusing to pay the $9 million, forcing Brown to fight for it, and arguing that if Brown had disclosed the threatened litigation they never would have signed him.

Brown also has a fully-guaranteed base salary of $1.025 million. The same argument that could be made to avoid paying the signing bonus could, in theory, be used to avoid paying the balance of the salary. The team also could attempt to void the remaining guarantees. (Brown’s worst-case scenario would seem to be the recovery of four weeks of game checks as Termination Pay; he wouldn’t get the full year’s worth of salary because he wasn’t on the Week One roster.)

If the Patriots decide to take an aggressive stance with Brown, who knows what will happen? Given that he has become anything but a sympathetic figure in recent weeks, an arbitrator could be inclined to find a way to prevent Brown from profiting from his own apparent wrongdoing.

Antonio Brown “hopes to play for another team soon”

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For the second time in 13 days, Antonio Brown is looking for a new team.

It’s unfortunate things didn’t work out with the Patriots,” agent Drew Rosenhaus said in a statement posted to Twitter. “But Antonio is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon.”

Brown becomes a free agent, able to sign with any team. It remains to be seen whether a new team will be interested in signing him.

In this regard, watch Washington. Their receiving corps needs help. Last month, there were rumors that Washington was interested in potentially trading for Tyreek Hill. Last year, Washington didn’t hesitate to claim Reuben Foster on waivers after he was arrested for domestic violence.

Whoever signed Brown needs to recognize the possibility that he will land on the Commissioner-Exempt list, requiring his salary to be paid while he’s not playing. So the question becomes whether it’s worth it to sign him now, or whether it makes more sense to wait for the current investigation(s) to end, and for Brown to serve whatever suspension may be imposed on him.

Patriots on cutting AB: We feel it is best to move in a different direction

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The Patriots traded Demaryius Thomas on Sept. 10, a day after Antonio Brown officially signed. They might regret it now.

Actually, they might regret both decisions.

The Patriots cut Brown on Friday after only one game in New England. He caught four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown.

The Patriots confirmed the release of Brown in a statement.

“The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time.”

Now comes the question of what direction Brown’s career goes.

The Patriots move forward with Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, Jakobi Meyers and Gunner Olszewski at the position. Special teams captain Matthew Slater also can play the position.

Antonio Brown is cut by the Patriots

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The Antonio Brown era has ended in New England.

Brown tweeted an apparent farewell to the Patriots, and Brown has indeed been released, PFT has confirmed.

The experiment lasted 11 day, and it came crashing down quickly. He was sued for sexual assault and rape one day after joining the Patriots. The final straw by all appearances came when he attempted to intimidate a second accuser, who had emerged earlier this week via comments to SI.com.

“Thanks for the opportunity appreciate @Patriots,” Brown tweeted late this afternoon.

Brown will immediately become a free agent, again. It could be that, this time around, he stays that way for a while.

Josh Rosen: Obviously, we need a spark

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The Dolphins are off to one of the worst starts in NFL history, not just losing their first two games but losing both in ugly blowouts. Now Josh Rosen will try to do what Ryan Fitzpatrick could not, and make Miami look respectable.

Rosen acknowledged today that it’s imperative that he do something that will get the Dolphins playing better than they have in the first two weeks of the season.

“Obviously right now we need a spark, I’m going to try to provide that spark,” Rosen said, via Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.

The problem for Rosen is that his own team, from the ownership to the front office to the coaching staff, may not actually want him to provide a spark, at least not if that spark produces a win. The Dolphins are more interested in earning the first overall pick in the draft than earning a victory. Rosen is in a no-win situation of his team’s making.

Brian Flores: Josh Rosen saw an opportunity and jumped at it

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Dolphins coach Brian Flores met with the media at his Friday press conference and the main topic of conversation was his decision to start Josh Rosen at quarterback against the Cowboys this week.

Among the questions was what persuaded Flores to make that call after saying Ryan Fitzpatrick remained the starter earlier in the week. Flores couched that statement by saying “right now” and said that Rosen’s work over the last few days swung things in the other direction.

“I think he saw an opportunity and jumped at it in practice really well. . . . His development’s very important to me so I never wanted to throw him in there too quickly. I do think he’s ready,” Flores said.

Flores said Fitzpatrick was disappointed, but that he has stepped up to help Rosen prepare for the start in a way that Flores called “impressive.” Flores was also asked about Rosen taking on the job for the long term. He said there’s potential for that to happen, but wants the quarterback only focused on this week because you “lose a little bit of right now” if your eyes look too far down the road.

Any thoughts of long term could be squashed along with Rosen if the offensive line continues to struggle as it has over the first two weeks. Flores said he’s confident that it will be better and Sunday will show if he’s right or not.

NFL, Patriots must take swift action regarding latest Antonio Brown allegation

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Taking swift and severe action against Antonio Brown based only on a civil lawsuit would have created a horrible precedent. Not taking swift and severe action against Antonio Brown based on the most recent allegation of misconduct made against him would set an equally horrible precedent.

Brown’s text messages to a woman who had made an unofficial allegation of misconduct against him were intended to deter her from making an official allegation of misconduct, through intimidation and harassment. No employer should allow such behavior to go unpunished.

In a normal workplace, allegations made by one employee against another employee will trigger a clear and unmistakable admonition to the accused: If you intimitidate, harass, or retaliate against the accuser in any way, you will be fired. In the NFL, the entire world is the workplace, thanks to the league’s decision to impose a Personal Conduct Policy that applies in the stadium, out of the stadium, in the season, out of the season, in the country, out of the country.

So with an accuser making unofficial allegations against Brown regarding conduct that would potentially constitute a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy, anything aimed at getting her to not proceed is no different than conduct in a normal workplace that is intended to intimidate or harass an actual or potential accuser.

Thus, if Brown did indeed send those messages, the league should suspend him and/or the Patriots should cut him. Any other outcome would invite other players facing actual or potential accusations to try to scare away the accuser with strong language, claims that the accuser is simply looking to make a money grab, efforts to investigate her background, and subtly menacing efforts to pull the accuser’s children into the situation.

Given that Brown included his own lawyer in the group texts shows that Brown simply didn’t realize the problems inherent to this kind of behavior. Whether he realized it or not, the conduct is unacceptable — and the league and Patriots should take action in response to it, quickly.

Jaguars should try to fix things with Jalen Ramsey

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The Jaguars could soon be significantly affecting the balance of power in the NFL. Or not.

With a potential trade of cornerback Jalen Ramsey happening as soon as today, teams that want to get him — and that want to keep him away from a competitor — could be more than willing to give up a pair of first-round picks to get him. For teams that expect to draft near the bottom of the round in 2020 and 2021, who wouldn’t make that deal?

Of course, Ramsey also would have to be paid. And it would be wise to pay him on the way in, because he’ll acquire Laremy Tunsil-style leverage if a team gives up two first-round picks to acquire Ramsey without insisting on a new contract now.

The highest new-money average at the cornerback position belongs to Miami’s Xavien Howard, with $15.05 million per year. With Ramsey due to make $3.634 million this year and $13.703 million under the fifth-year option in 2020, a six-year, $77.7 million deal at signing gets Ramsey to $15.1 million per year in new-money average on a four-year extension.

If another team is willing to give Ramsey that kind of money and surrender a pair of first-round picks to get him, maybe the Jaguars should simply offer that deal to Ramsey. Although Ramsey has decided that he wants out of Jacksonville, there’s nothing like a giant pile of money to get a player who feels unappreciated to change his tune.

Team use those lottery tickets known as draft picks in the hopes of finding great players. When the lottery ticket hits, it’s important to keep the great player and not trade him in for more lottery tickets. That would be the best move for the Jaguars.