April 2018

Eagles receiver Torrey Smith has said he hopes to remain with the team for 2018. But Smith and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are bracing for the possibility of the Eagles choosing not to continue the relationship.

Rosenhaus explained during a Friday visit to PFT Live that Smith could indeed be released by the Eagles, who hold an option on the next two years of Smith’s contract. Due to pay Smith a $5 million salary in 2018, the Eagles could decide to cut the cord and find a cheaper replacement.

As for outfielder Clint Frazier, the redhead slowly but surely has the Yankees thinking that he’s finally recovering from a concussion that occurred when he crashed into the left-field wall during a Feb. 24 game in Bradenton against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Frazier, who was 1-for-4 playing only the Yankees’ first two spring games, has progressed to the point where he’s hitting baseballs off a tee and off underhand tosses, but there’s still on concrete plan on when he’s been cleared to play.

Frazier for sure will start the season on the disabled list, then he’ll be optioned to Triple-A when he’s healthy.

Ellsbury is close to a lock also to be on the 10-day DL when the Yankees open the regular season next Thursday in Toronto unless he can convince them that he’s ready before final cuts, which manager Aaron Boone predicts will occur after Saturday’s split-squad games.

That’s a pretty bold statement from Ryan Flaherty, Allen said Friday. He’s not too far off, but 90’s a tough task. I don’t hope on throwing that. We’ll keep my arm a little under that.

No one questions Allen’s arm strength. They do question his completion percentage.

Allen completed only 56 percent of his passes in 2016 and 56.3 percent in 2017, ending with a career completion percentage of 56.2.

Obviously, I’m going to come out and throw tomorrow and hopefully I get to have a good showing at pro day; I plan on it, Allen said. Hopefully that kind of eliminates some of the questions. But without live bullets and live action coming at you, we’re not going to find that out until game-time situations, whether that be in minicamp or any of those events leading up to the season. But I’m extremely confident in myself, and we’re working on it, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll figure it out.Quinton Flowers willing to switch positions but wants shot to play QB

South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers will participate in running back and punt return drills. But he wants a chance to be an NFL quarterback.

I just want a shot first at quarterback, Flowers said.

Flowers finished with 42 school records, leading USF to a 21-4 record over his final two seasons. But Flowers measured only 5-10 3/8, considered too short for an NFL quarterback. He heard the same thing in high school.

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AJ McCarron’s first dip into the free-agency waters has not gone exactly as planned.

While there are worse places to land besides Brady’s backyard, for McCarron, it appears his dreams of becoming an NFL starter have been dashed yet again.

Despite potential setbacks, McCarron’s wife, model Katherine Webb, has made it clear her spouse is ready to embrace a starting role.

AJ likes to not always go with the crowd, and do or say the most popular things. Such as expressing gratitude when we almost were traded to Cleveland,Webb penned on Instagram in February. Competitiveness and leadership lives deep down in his soul, so he would have loved nothing more than the opportunity to try and help change an organization around and get them a win, while showing his talent. No matter if it was the Browns or somewhere else.

I can’t wait for him to get his chance to show the world his talent and his leadership,she continued. He was born for this. Any organization would be lucky to get this man and I truly feel this way. These past 4 years weren’t a waste at all. It was undeniably meant to happen this way so that he could be prepared for the next chapter. Looking forward to what God has planned next!

Once signed, Landry will be under contract for 2018, at a salary that is expected to be in the range of $16.2 million (it could be higher). That amount will count against the Miami salary cap for 2018, and the team will no longer be able to rescind it.

Signing the tender is required before Landry can be traded. It remains to be seen whether anyone wants to give the Dolphins value for Landry, or whether any team wants to acquire him at a steep one-year salary or a long-term deal with the franchise tender as the starting point.

The signing of Norman after the Panthers released him from a franchise tag was seen as a coup for Washington, but it hasn’t worked out that way. The D.C. pass rush has ranked third in pressure rate and eighth in sack rate over the past two years, but it was 24th in pass defense DVOA in 2016 before improving to sixth last season. Norman had four interceptions and two pick-sixes during his breakout season in Carolina, but he has just three picks in 30 games since arriving in Washington. Norman has been good, but the 30-year-old hasn’t been the transformative player Scot McCloughan was hoping to add to his secondary at the time.

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The Bears are expected to be in the market for wide receivers when free agency opens next week and they’ll hope to find the kind of success with those choices that they’ve missed from Kevin White.

Asked to identify the areas he’s looking to improve this offseason, Lewis pinpointed three:

I need to improve on leadership,” Lewis said. I was pretty laid back last year, especially when I played. The Michigan State game I wasn’t taking control of the offense like I should have. I still gotta work on my patience. 1, 2, 3 (seconds) I’m out (running). I just gotta work on my patience, stay in the pocket and get the ball off. And also I have to work on my accuracy.”

The latter area may be the biggest hurdle keeping him from winning a wide-open quarterback competition that also includes fifth-year senior Giovanni Rescigno and walk-ons Tom Flacco and Rob Nittolo.

In his most meaningful action of the season, Lewis completed just nine of his 34 passes (34.6 percent) in losses to Indiana and Michigan State to end a 4-8 campaign.

Considering the average completion percentage for the top-10 passers in the Big Ten last season was 60.6 percent, Lewis knows he’ll need to improve on his 36.8-percent accuracy.

To that end, Lewis is punishing himself every time one of his passes is off the mark this spring.

The Steelers are near the bottom of the NFL in available salary cap space, but they’ve made a move that will help.

Steelers receiver Antonio Brown revealed today that he has restructured his contract. Brown posted a video of agent Drew Rosenhaus saying that the restructure will guarantee Brown’s pay this year but push some of the cap hit to future years to give the Steelers more cap space this year.

Brown is the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, and highly paid players often agree to restructure their deals to create more cap space while not actually reducing the amount of money the player receives that year.

The Steelers still don’t have a lot of cap space and aren’t likely to be major players in free agency, but the Brown deal at least gives them some wiggle room to get below the salary cap.

Via ESPN.com, Thomas said at an event on Tuesday night that he’ll announce whether he’ll be continuing his career or retiring by the time free agency begins.

It’s kind of like picking a college, Thomas said. One day you think it’s this school, the next it’s another.

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Then there were four. Eventually there will be one. And one of the four thinks the one will be the Vikings.

Ralph Vacchiano of SNY reports that the Jets are taking the Minnesota threat seriously after some informal, preliminary talks with his camp this week.

Yes, informal, preliminary talks technically are prohibited. But they happen, every year involving every team. Any team that isn’t doing it has put itself at a competitive disadvantage. So if the Jets have had informal, preliminary talks with the Cousins camp, the Vikings have, too, and the planets are starting to align as to the quarterback’s future.

The Jets, per Vacchiano, have heard enough to move on to Plans B and C and, if possibly D at quarterback. Although the Jets believe, per Vacchiano, that they can offer more money and a better structure to Cousins, the Jets fear that Cousins would take less to go to Minnesota for a better chance to win.

In a Super Bowl week visit to PFT Live, Cousins spoke about the balance between taking less to win and getting full and fair franchise quarterback compensation.

The Vikings continue to be the ultimate wild card in the coming quarterback chase. With three of their own unrestricted free agents on the roster and multiple other options elsewhere (Cousins, A.J. McCarron, and theoretically Drew Brees), the Vikings have plenty of choices. The problem is that they eventually choose one, at the exclusion of all others.

Vikings G.M. Rick Spielman recently joined PFT Live to discuss the situation. Watch the interview and search for clues. For example, when Spielman says they plan to make a decision by March 14, does that mean they’re leaning toward re-signing one of their own? Or would they do a Brock Osweiler-style sight-unseen deal with someone they don’t know?

Spielman regards the situation as more blessing than curse, but there could be plenty of cursing if they pick the wrong guy and if the guys they don’t pick end up thriving elsewhere.

Would Combine workouts ever move to prime time?

With Scouting Combine workouts beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Sunday morning, at a time when many of you (especially our friends in California) are still sleeping, here’s a question that you may be pondering, because the NFL already has: Could the workouts be moved to prime time?

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Teddy Bridgewater is taking much more of a gamble on himself than the Jets are taking on him. The 25-year old quarterback, with plenty to prove, is fine with that.

So, Bridgewater must deal with McCown and the young quarterback stud the Jets take in the draft.

There was never any doubt in my mind that I would ever get to that point again, Bridgewater said. When I first stepped out on that field, for the first time last year, it was a great feeling to just know that everything, all the hard work I put in, all the time and dedication that everyone who was involved in me overcoming what I overcame put in, it was just a great feeling, it was very rewarding to not only myself but to everyone who was involved in everything I went through.

About coming to the Jets, Bridgewater said, I’m very confident in myself, confident in the athletic training staff and the coaching staff here that they can get me back to the player that I once was.

There is plenty for Bridgewater to overcome as he tries to convince the Jets, or another team, he is eventually worthy of a long-term commitment.

The crazy part about that is it isn’t about proving to the people that counted you out or doubted you, he said. It’s about proving to the people who believed in you, showing them that hey, your prayers, your belief, it all paid off.

My confidence level is going to say I’m the best player, Chubb said Saturday. I feel like I put it on tape in four years. Just putting on tape good film, and I feel like I’m the best player. I’m not going to say one player is better than me. Saquon Barkley put up ridiculous numbers in the past couple of days. Josh Allen, Josh Rosen, just all the quarterbacks you’re hearing about. A lot of great players. I just feel like I’m up there at the top.

Chubb doesn’t care who drafts him, but he has seen the Colts as the early favorite to draft him. Chubb already has met with the Colts informally and has his formal interview with them tonight.

He knows new defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus is switching the Colts back to the 4-3, and Chubb has studied tape of Dwight Freeney.

A lot of people have been saying I’m going to the Colts, but you never know, Chubb said. If that happens, I’ll be happy, of course, to be drafted to such a great city. So I’m just looking forward to it.

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Wide receiver Allen Robinson didn’t get a franchise tag from the Jaguars on Tuesday, which leaves him on track to become an unrestricted free agent next week.

Quarterback Baker Mayfield said at the Scouting Combine that he believes he is the right guy to lead the Browns to a long-awaited turnaround.

He’ll get a chance to make that case directly to the Browns in the future. Mayfield told Robert Klemko of SI.com that the Browns, who own the first and fourth overall picks, are one of three teams that have set up visits with Mayfield in the coming weeks. The Giants, who pick second, and the Jets, who pick sixth, are the other two teams.

The Browns and Jets also plan to have Mayfield go through a private workout at the University of Oklahoma as they continue their scouting process. The Dolphins and Saints have made the same arrangements and the workouts will take place after Oklahoma’s March 14 Pro Day.

Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph will likely be scheduling similar meetings with teams and the results of those conversations will have a lot to do with how the early part of the draft plays out in April.

It’s why we need swift action to condemn these kinds of practices and to fight for passage of the Equality Act to ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The NFL should take serious actions that address these unacceptable incidents and the perpetuation of an unwelcoming anti-LGBTQ environment, including publicly supporting the Equality Act.

At least two other players have previously been asked questions related to their sexual orientation at the Scouting Combine. That this is still happening indicates that the NFL hasn’t done a good enough job communicating to coaches, scouts and executives about what constitutes appropriate questioning at the Combine.

But there’s the catch. The 2018 Sugar Bowl Defensive MVP isn’t always a disruptive presence. Partly that’s because of Alabama’s system��the coaching staff wants its interior defenders to demand double-teams so the linebackers can make plays. Even so, Payne could have been more consistent in re-establishing the line of scrimmage.

The Chargers don’t have anyone as big or athletic along their front. At 6’2 and 311 pounds, Payne ran a 4.95-second 40-yard dash and showed how well he moves during combine drills. He can become the focal point the Los Angeles defense lacks.

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