Month: August 2016

Joey Bosa ends ugly stalemate with Chargers, signs four-year deal

The ugly stalemate between the San Diego Chargers and and Joey Bosa has finally come to an end. The Chargers announced on Monday that they’ve signed their third-overall pick to a four-year deal that will include a team option for a fifth year.
The signing ends a 31-day holdout that got testy last week after the Chargers publicly shamed Bosa during negotiations, claiming that he had turned down one of the best offers ever given to a rookie in San Diego.

“Anquan said it this morning [that Kaepernick had the right to do it], and I was kind of mad that he said it, because I was like, ‘God, if Anquan says it, I’ve got to go with it,’ because Anquan was such a leader, and he’s a smart guy. He gets it,” Boone said, via ESPN.com. “But at the same time, I was upset with his choice to do that and kind of disrespect the flag.”

Boldin, who played for the 49ers from 2013-15, said that he has no issue with the fact that Kaepernick was protesting the national anthem because living in America gives them that right.

Although the Chargers ended up selecting Manning, he never played for San Diego because he was traded to the Giants on draft day.
Anyway, when the Chargers took negotiations public last week, it ended up making both sides look bad. Many Chargers fans thought Bosa was being greedy because he was going to get the entire $17 million signing bonus in his contract whether it was paid out in 2016 or 2017.

On the other hand, many fans thought the Chargers were just being cheapskates due to the team’s long history of dealing with rookie holdouts.

It was clear in the preseason that Lynch owns by far the most talent of any Broncos quarterback, he just needs seasoning. Lynch has a huge arm — one of the strongest in the entire NFL — and unique athleticism. He can be a difference maker in Kubiaks offense in time. If Siemian stumbles, will Kubiak have confidence Lynch’s talent will outweigh his inexperience?

Lynch is the future in Denver. We’ve thought all offseason the first-round pick could play at some point this year, the question will be how early will he get a shot?

James Koh – DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins: Contract year. I’m not sure we need more analysis but if you do here you go: Washington’s backfield has been decimated by injuries meaning this will encourage coach Jay Gruden to throw even more than they did last year, which was not a little. If he’s healthy, D-Jax will see 110-plus targets and blow away his Round 8 to 10 value.

Matt Franciscovich – Jared Cook, TE, Green Bay Packers: You can pick up Cook, who presents top-five upside at his position, in the last round of your draft so you should probably do that in all of your leagues. Rodgers finally has the speedy tight end he’s been lacking for years and Green Bay’s No. 3 receiver competition is irrelevant due to Cook’s presence. I’m calling 10-plus touchdowns for the former Ram.

Brandon Marshall’s first impression of Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: Uh, oh

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — A year later, the truth comes out.

Reflecting on the 2015 offseason, New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall admitted he didn’t think much of Ryan Fitzpatrick when they first started practicing together. We all know how the season turned out — they became a highly productive tandem — but there were some rough moments in the beginning.

“From all of us who know Keanu, you know he’s going to put a thousand percent into all the rehab to get ready,” Quinn said Friday. “We know kind of what he stands for and the toughness, so I’d expect the shorter-term [amount of time being out] with him. He’s kind of just built that way.”

This is the second injury this preseason for Neal, who also missed the preseason opener against Washington with a “trunk” injury.

The Falcons already were down one strong safety with Neal’s backup, Kemal Ishmael, sidelined with a shoulder injury. Quinn said Ishmael is expected to return to practice in a limited role Sunday. The other players in Atlanta’s strong safety rotation are Damian Parms and rookie Sharrod Neasman.

Quinn also said Friday that the Falcons will potentially sign a veteran free-agent safety but that the team is not considering bringing back William Moore, who was released earlier this year.

Moore, who told ESPN earlier Friday that he would “absolutely” come back to the Falcons, didn’t fit well in Quinn’s scheme last season.

Neal is expected to have a significant impact on the defense upon his return. He is known for his hard-hitting style, and coaches say he’s already mature beyond his years.

Surprise player who impressed: Safety Kelcie McCray. To say it’s a surprise is probably a stretch because McCray has been playing well all summer. But he showed up in a big way vs. Dallas, finishing with seven tackles and a pass breakup. McCray will enter the season as the top backup at both safety spots.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Seahawks looked…: Sharp. As mentioned above, the offense scored four times (two touchdowns, two field goals) on six possessions.

Former Raiders QB Todd Marinovich found naked, booked for drugs

Former USC Trojans and Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Todd Marinovich was found naked with marijuana and possibly methamphetamine in a residential area of Irvine, California.

In 2000, he attempted to revive his career with the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League, but he was arrested on suspicion of heroin possession and cut eight months later.

Ebron was not spotted doing much during the limited viewing period of individual drills at the team’s practice facility, but it is another step in the right direction for the tight end. He was spotted jogging to the Jugs machine and then catching passes on it last week.

The No. 10 pick in the 2014 draft was carted off the field during that mock game, frustration clear on his face. He hasn’t spoken to the media since the injury, declining multiple requests for comment. A source told ESPN Insider Adam Caplan on Tuesday morning that Ebron will play Week 1 against Indianapolis.

His return to practice Tuesday would be another strong indicator of that.

Ebron is slated to be Detroit’s top tight end this fall. He had been having a strong camp leading up to the injury. Now entering his third season, he called this year a “make it or break it” year for him. He caught 47 passes for 537 yards and five touchdowns in 14 games last season.

The Lions need him back at tight end as Brandon Pettigrew (ACL) remains on the PUP list and Tim Wright (ACL) is out for the season on injured reserve.

The 47-year-old Marinovich was cited for trespassing, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana, Hallinan told the Orange County Register on Monday.

Hallinan said Marinovich, an Irvine resident, was in a backyard of a home and had been seen naked on a neighborhood jogging path.

“He was carrying the items in a brown bag,” Hallinan said.

Marinovich’s problems with drugs have been well documented since rising to stardom as a freshman USC quarterback in the 1989 season, culminating with a Trojans victory in the Rose Bowl over Michigan.

NFL players should fight ‘Al-Jazeera suspensions’ like crazy

Brady will serve a four-game suspension to start this season because the NFL determined he was “more likely than not” involved in a scheme to deflate footballs in the 2014 AFC Championship Game. The league’s final report, of course, carried not a shred of direct and verified evidence that Brady was involved — or even that the balls themselves were artificially deflated. It focused heavily on Brady’s refusal to provide his mobile phone, even though he said he provided all the information the league requested from it.

Hargrove, meanwhile, essentially lost his career in 2012 when the NFL pinned much of its Bountygate investigation on him telling his New Orleans Saints teammates to “pay me my money” after a hit on then-Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. Hargrove adamantly denied saying it, and the NFL concluded he was not being truthful in his deposition. Later, an NFL Films video confirmed Hargrove’s account. The NFL quietly acknowledged it.

The point, of course, is that Peppers, Matthews, Neal and Harrison have been smart in approaching the latest investigation with extreme caution. One wrong move, or one perceived to be uncooperative by the league, and they’ll forever be stained by NFL discipline.

The NFL already has a PEDs policy, to which all four players have been subject. The policy’s testing procedure should be the source of any allegation. Unless one or more of them have tested positive, they are innocent under the terms of the agreed NFL-NFLPA policy. The policy does allow for discipline if violations are found through “sufficient credible documented evidence,” but unless the NFL has uncovered something more than Al-Jazeera did from a now-discredited source, it’s difficult to imagine what that might be.

In this case, the NFL is asking the players to step outside the policy and answer to the allegation anyway. Ask Brady and Hargrove, both of whom denied their respective accusations from the start, how that worked out for them.

In truth, this really isn’t about PEDs. Again, the NFL has a policy for that. This is another maneuver in the now-ubiquitous power struggle between the league and its players. The NFL is emboldened by its legal victory over Brady and is using the same broad authority — as written in Article 46 of the collective bargaining agreement — to compel participation in an otherwise out-of-policy investigation.

If you celebrated Brady’s discipline, surely you realized that your team could be next. You did realize that, right?

At the moment, it’s difficult to imagine the limits of the league’s power. Even in a union environment, with a legal CBA in place, we might finally have reached the moment when players are subject to discipline whenever they don’t do what the NFL asks of them. If you thought the relationship between the two sides was icy and too litigious already, wait until you see what’s next.

The NFL is begging the NFLPA to fight back over the Al Jazeera case.

The NFL said if Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, Green Bay Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and free-agent defensive lineman Mike Neal — the four active players publicly accused in an Al Jazeera America report last year for performance-enhancing drug use — don’t interview with the league by August 25, the NFL will suspend them indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the league. That’s according to multiple reports, including Pro Football Talk, which published the NFL’s letter to the union outlining the many times they have been stonewalled on their interview requests.

Now it gets interesting.

The NFLPA seems to have long ago understood this is how the situation would play out, from the moment it sent the NFL an affidavit on Harrison’s behalf, in which Harrison said he has never taken any PEDs and his affidavit would be his only statement to the NFL on the matter. The other players also sent affidavits, via the NFLPA. The NFL rejected them.

The implied message with that seemed to be the players would not let NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have his way in this case. This wouldn’t be like the Tom Brady/deflate-gate fiasco. Goodell has to feel emboldened by the court rulings in his favor in the Brady and Adrian Peterson cases. The union has to feel like it needs something to rally around if it ever wants to battle back over the broad powers Goodell has under Article 46 of the collective-bargaining agreement.

Angry fans at the Hall of Fame Game felt misled as they bought souvenirs, food

Before announcing to the fans that there would be no game, Baker was on the field talking to NFL Network about how things had gotten to this point.

“It was a difficult decision to make, but we will have a refund policy in the next several days that all of our fans here can turn to on our website,” he said. “But in some respects, it was an easy, ethical decision. I had a son that played in the league for seven years himself (former Falcons offensive lineman Sam Baker), and if he was on a field like this today I’d want someone to make the same decision.”

Fair enough, but there’s still the issue of keeping fans in the dark — while they spent money on concessions and souvenirs because they were expecting to watch a football game.

Later, Colts owner Jim Irsay made it clear that having a game canceled because of poor field conditions is unacceptable:
“This shouldn’t happen. It’s not difficult,” he told reporters. “Obviously, everyone out there says, ‘You’re a $12 billion league. How can you have a field not ready to go?’ Well, the Hall of Fame is sort of separate and gets run a little different from the league. … We’ll have to get it right so it never happens again. … Yes, we’re upset. … We have to make it right to our fans and also get to the bottom of exactly who got this paint job done and why was there incompetence.”

No one disputes the incompetence, but ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert calls out Irsay for trying to pass the buck.
“While technically accurate, Irsay’s explanation was weak and a cop-out of the worst kind,” Seifert writes. “Surely it won’t register with most fans who don’t care about the corporate distinction between the NFL and the independent Pro Football Hall of Fame. This was an NFL preseason game to be played by two NFL teams, Irsay’s Colts and the Green Bay Packers, between players employed by the NFL and to be televised via the NFL’s contract with ESPN. The league must own this preseason game as it does all others.”
Whether they will is another matter.

In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye on the NFL Operations Twitter feed for updates.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jabrill Peppers may be on the field for up to 100 plays a game this season for Michigan.

On defense, Peppers will move closer to the line at times as a linebacker and he’ll be a defensive back on some snaps. He will play in the slot, in the backfield and might even take some snaps on offense.

And when the Wolverines need a boost on special teams, they will lean on Peppers to return punts and kickoffs.

Peppers is game for all of it.

”Whatever we got to do to win,” he said Sunday, a day before the team’s first practice.

If someone asks what position Peppers plays, what would he say?

”I just say, ‘I’m an athlete,”’ he said.

Coach Jim Harbaugh said Peppers won’t be the only three-way player on the team, expecting cornerback Jourdan Lewis to spend some time on offense along with his usual duties on special teams.

”I don’t know why they haven’t been letting Jourdan play both plays,” Peppers said. ”Jourdan is one of the craziest athletes I’ve ever seen. … I hope they give him a shot.”

With Peppers, the Wolverines will attempt to find the right balance between taking advantage of his versatile talent and not wearing him out.

Josh Norman on Patrick Peterson: ‘He shouldn’t be trolling me’

Peterson’s tweet didn’t sit well with Jackson, who tweeted his displeasure and said Thursday: “I’m just wondering why this dude was speaking on me and bringing me up in conversation. … Both of them guys are two of the great corners in this league and they’ve definitely earned the respect, but just try to keep guys names out of your mouth. Just go out there and play ball.”

Norman said he and Jackson talked about it Thursday morning.

“It’s like, why are you trolling people?” Norman said. “You should be worried about practicing and don’t worry about talking about other players. Some people want the spotlight and some don’t. Some people really want to get to where we’re at and it’s sad… Dude, you’re a first-round pick, why are you worried about me?

“We get to play them guys and when the time comes we’ll see what DeSean do to him in a regular season game because he already did it.”

The Redskins and Cardinals play Dec. 4. It’ll certainly lead to another buildup for a game involving Norman and another player; New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., has taken jabs at Norman, too.

PHILADELPHIA — The quarterback room could have been a disaster area for the Philadelphia Eagles. Instead, everything seems fine as the team passed the 10-day mark of training camp Thursday.

Three months ago, Sam Bradford was upset that the team traded up for the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft just months after signing him to a two-year, $34 million contract. Bradford walked out of OTAs before the draft, which saw the Eagles use that No. 2 pick on North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

Bradford returned after missing about 10 days. Head coach Doug Pederson welcomed him back with little public fuss. Wentz arrived, and a potentially awkward and acrimonious relationship has been mollified by the personalities of the men involved.

“I like Carson a lot,” center Jason Kelce said. “I think he has the right mentality. A lot of times, top picks come in with a little prima donna attitude, like they’ve already earned something.

“That’s not Carson at all. I think that’s helped out Sam too — that approach. (Wentz) is definitely a competitive guy, definitely wants to be on the field. I think at the same time, he understands that you have to earn everything in life.”

It helps that the attitude comes to Wentz naturally.

“That’s just my personality,” Wentz said. “I don’t feel like I’m bigger or better than anyone else. I’m just out here trying to make this team better. That’s always been how I’ve carried myself. I don’t expect myself to get more credit than I deserve.”

Carroll tosses Michael Bennett out of ‘Hawks practice

“(The team’s passion is) translating into sometimes we lose a little bit of the poise that we need,” Carroll said after practice. “We can’t play like that. You get in a skirmish, you get thrown out. That’s what happens. So that happened today. And that’s just the way you do it, the way we do it.”

Preseason jawing is completely normal, and in some cases acceptable as a team-building exercise. But for the oldest coach in the league, Bennett’s yapping — on and off the field — had gone on long enough without repercussions.

Josh McCown has heard the whispers.

With the Dallas Cowboys on the prowl for a quarterback, the veteran Browns passer acknowledged Thursday that the Cleveland brass have spoken with him about a potential trade.

“Just leave it like that,” McCown said, per Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com. “We’re on the same page.”

Coach Hue Jackson shot down McCown-to-Dallas rumblings during his Thursday presser, saying “There is nothing to it as far as we’re concerned. I’ve heard about it, obviously I have, but I feel good that he’s here. He’s a Cleveland Brown and I know nothing else about the other part of it.”

The Browns have given all their first-team camp snaps to Robert Griffin III, leaving McCown as a possible trade candidate for Dallas, who lost backup passer Kellen Moore this week to a broken ankle.

The trade makes sense on another level: McCown is from Texas and acknowledged that if he were to go anywhere, Dallas would be his pick. The 37-year-old journeyman went out of his way to note that he wears No. 12 as a tribute to Roger Staubach.

None of that is wholly damning on its own, but Bennett and the Seahawks have not been on the same page completely for some time now. It’s certainly possible they could seek to trade him if he makes even more noise — it has been going on for two years now — about contract talks continuing to stalemate. Bennett is scheduled to make $7 million this season and $9.5 million in 2017 but wants to be paid like a top defensive end, which is more north of $10 million per year.