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No Signs Of Progress On Demaryius Thomas' Deal Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Time: 9:43 PT |  Reported by the Denver Post
The Facts: Thomas wants Calvin Johnson money, which is $16 million per season and $48 million guaranteed. There's no way, in my opinion, the Broncos reach that number.
Diehards Line:So wrote Post staffer Troy Renck, who added: "Fair or not, both numbers are viewed as outliers for the wide receiver position. ..." Renck went on to note that Thomas deserves more than Mike Wallace, the second-highest paid receiver at $12 million per season. But this is not about annual value. It's about the guaranteed money. When you look at what Atlanta's Julio Jones and Cincinnati's A.J.Green will make over the next three years -- taking into account this year's salary and, for argument's sake, the franchise tag for two seasons, in 2016 and 2017 -- it comes in around $40 million. It would be hard for Thomas to take much less than that. And with Dez Bryant in a similar situatoin, there's no real motivation to move quickly. Thomas would prefer that Bryant sign, creating a platform to work off for his new deal. Thomas has limited leverage. If a long-term deal isn't completed by July 15, he can only play on the $12.82 million franchise tag. The Broncos can go year to year and franchise him next season at $15 million, leaving them with roughly $28 million guaranteed over two years. ... Stay tuned.
Romo Not Worried About Dez Bryant Missing Games Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Time: 1:29 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Count Tony Romo among those in the Dallas Cowboys organization not worried about Bryant missing games. When asked about the wide receiver during a media session at his football camp back home in Wisconsin, the quarterback brushed aside any concerns. "The NFL is a business, it really is," he said. "You'll see that side sometimes, with DeMarco (Murray) leaving and Dez not being part of the offseason. I think it will work out with Dez."
Diehards Line: That's the same thing we've heard from owner Jerry Jones, VP Stephen Jones and coach Jason Garrett. Bryant showing up to team workouts when he's not under contract tends to have that effect. The Cowboys and Bryant have until July 15 to hammer out a new, long-term contract before the deadline passes and he plays on the franchise tag in 2015. Or, as notes, "He sits out games -- which zero people in Dallas believe will happen.
Teddy Bridgewater Not Buying Into His Own Hype Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Time: 1:22 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: The Vikings are a trendy offseason pick to make the playoffs in Bridgewater's second season. Although Bridgewater is optimistic about the Vikings' chances, he refuses to get drunk on the hype. "Right now, we're not as good as what we think," Bridgewater said, via USA Today's Tom Pelissero. "We know that the ceiling is very high and the expectation level is very high -- not only for the players, but from a coaching staff also. We know what's being asked of us, but we have a long way to go."
Diehards Line: Bridgewater closed out his 2014 Pepsi NFL Rookie Of The Year campaign as Pro Football Focus' top-ranked quarterback for December, a motivated Adrian Peterson is taking aim at the rushing crown, Mike Wallace is onboard as a deep threat and the defense is loaded with young Pro Bowl-caliber talents. So the expectations are understandable. Bridgewater showed supreme accuracy, touch and pocket presence the rest of the way, completing 72.1 percent of his passes over the final five games. If that strong quarterback play carries over to 2015, the Vikings will be playoff contenders. And Bridgewater will help some fantasy teams.
Ray Rice Drawing Zero Interest Tuesday, July 7, 2015 | Time: 1:21 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Three years ago this month, Rice signed a contract with the Ravens that paid him $24 million over the first eight months. In the eight months since Rice’s indefinite suspension was overturned, Rice hasn’t gotten a single sniff from any of the NFL’s 32 teams.
Diehards Line: As PFT's Mike Florio notes, plenty of people have said Rice deserves a second chance, but no one has given him one. The stigma arising from his brutal assault on then-fiancée (now wife) Janay Palmer lingers, and Rice lacks the talent to overcome it. His age (28) works against him, as does the fact that Rice’s play dropped dramatically in his most recent full season of action, with 660 yards rushing and an average of 3.1 yards per carry — the lowest of his career by 0.9. With off-season programs over and training camp looming, the only question remaining is whether Rice’s name shows up on any team’s list of players to call if/when injuries happen to running back already on the roster. Even if he’s a candidate to be contacted, the ultimately challenge will be to get the owner to sign off on signing Rice. So far, no one has.
NFL Exec Not Sold On Sam Bradford As Eagles QB Monday, July 6, 2015 | Time: 12:40 PT |  Reported by the Newark Star-Ledger
The Facts: When the Eagles decided to trade quarterback Nick Foles and a second-round pick to St. Louis for Bradford heads shook and eyebrows were raised around the league. Some of those heads are still shaking. "I understand they gave up on Foles,' one of the league's top executives said. "But I don't know why they're building up Bradford so much. I'm still confused about that whole deal. You can only talk about him being the first pick of the draft (in 2010) for so long. What has he done since then?"
Diehards Line: Star-Ledger staffer Mark Eckel spoke with the unnamed exec as part of a series looking at Philly's personnel. "If Bradford had gone anywhere else you wouldn't even be talking about him," the executive explained. "He's been hurt the past two years and even when he was healthy, he was just average. But he's with Chip Kelly, so there's hope I guess. Chip Kelly is the one guy who can make Bradford a success.' Bradford, in five years with the Rams, played in 49 of a possible 80 games and missed the second half of the 2013 season and all of the 2014 regular season with two torn ACLs. In those 49 games, he's completed 58.6 percent of his passes and had 59 touchdowns compared to 38 interceptions. The most troublesome numbers is probably his 18-30-1 win/loss/tie record. Still, what the Eagles, and Kelly, like about Bradford as opposed to Foles is his quick release and quick decision making progress two important factors in the team's up-tempo attack. That said, Bradford still needs to prove he's fully recovered from that most recent ACL repair before fantasy owners should get too excited. We'll be watching for more.
Trent Richardson Showing Some Quickness? Monday, July 6, 2015 | Time: 12:28 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: While praising his offensive line's potential, Raiders assistant coach Mike Tice took the time to discuss the running backs who will be jaunting through the holes his group plans to create. The Raiders imported Richardson, Roy Helu and rookie Michael Dyer to a backfield of Latavius Murray and George Atkinson. "Each one has their own style," Tice said. "I like the Murray kid. He really came on in that veteran minicamp. He got his legs under him and showed some quickness, some good finish. I thought the young man out of Alabama (Richardson) came on. He lost some weight, his quickness came around. "And then the young man we picked up out of Washington (Helu), a local boy out of San Ramon, I think he had an outstanding offseason and he shows good quickness, good awareness."
Diehards Line: As's Kevin Patra notes, Tice's comments on Richardson are notable. According to the running back, the Colts had an issue with his weight last season, which in part led to his struggles on the field. Richardson rarely hit the hole with burst -- if he could find it -- in 2014 and never displayed consistent power or speed. The Raiders are the third team to take a chance on the former No. 3 overall pick. If Richardson did in fact lose some weight and add quickness, he could find a niche behind Murray and Helu -- who should be the third-down and pass-catching back. But nobody should set the expectations for anything more than what we've seen to date.
Still More Rave Reviews For Marcus Mariota's Accuracy Monday, July 6, 2015 | Time: 12:26 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: The raves about Mariota’s accuracy throughout offseason work left's Paul Kuharsky thinking the team’s yards-after-catch ranking should skyrocket. Better accuracy should put players in better spots to turn upfield after they get the ball, after all. “If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” said Harry Douglas, the receiver who moved from Atlanta to Tennessee as a free agent and classified Mariota as having “unbelievable accuracy.” Douglas continued: “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to d
Diehards Line:o some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers. ..." According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Titans had 1,611 yards after the catch last season, which was 24th in the league. Perhaps Mariota's accuracy can help them improve in that department. We'll remind you; however, that considerable improvement will be required for this offense to get up to speed. Expecting Mariota to turn this unit around in his first season seems like a reach. Remember, the Titans' offense ranked 29th in the league last year and scored just 15.9 points per game. There is work to be done.
Khiry Robinson Doesn't Feel Like Odd Man Out Monday, July 6, 2015 | Time: 12:25 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: A year ago, Robinson was being touted as a breakout candidate. This summer, he appears to be more of an odd man out after the invested heavily in fellow backs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller. But Robinson insisted that he hasn’t let any of those outward projections get him too high or too low. “It’s all good. It’s never low,” said Robinson, who is excited to be back to “100 percent” after an arm injury sidelined him for seven games last year. “I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play.”
Diehards Line: As's Mike Triplett notes, Robinson has proven an ability to seize his opportunities so far. When Ingram was injured early last season, Robinson ran for a total of 245 yards in three games -- including a game-winning 18-yard touchdown run in overtime against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 5. In 2013, Robinson stepped up big in the playoffs when Pierre Thomas was hurt, running for 45 yards on eight carries as he helped run out the clock in a playoff win at Philadelphia. That’s when HC Sean Payton revealed that his mentor, Bill Parcells, compared the hard-running, 6-foot, 220-pound Robinson to Hall of Famer Curtis Martin. But Robinson’s rise stalled last year because of the broken arm, which limited him to a total of 12 carries for 32 yards over the final 10 weeks. Worse yet, Ingram spent those final three months of the season proving he could be an every-down, No. 1 type of back. Instead of letting Ingram go in free agency, the Saints re-upped in a big way, signing Ingram to a four-year, $16 million contract. So from a fantasy perspective, Robinson is handcuff material at best.
Colin Kaepernick Lauds New, Streamlined Offense And Speedy Weapons Monday, July 6, 2015 | Time: 1:23 PT |  Reported by the Contra Costa Times
The Facts: An excited Kaepernick traced his optimism for the 49ers' coming season to a "cleaned-up" offense. Specifically, Kaepernick credited the streamlined approach to new OC Geep Chryst and his replacement as QBs coach, Steve Logan. "We've cleaned a lot of things up, and made it more comfortable and friendly for players to be able to go out and make plays," Kaepernick said at the start of the team's recent mandatory mini-camp.
Diehards Line: As Times staffer Cam Inman notes, among the friendly sights are the new deep threats in Torrey Smith and Jerome Simpson. Kaepernick completed a couple of passes to Smith over 20 yards in the recent team drills inside Levi's Stadium, where the 49ers plan to practice more in hopes of better familiarity with the home field. Kaepernick believes his more compact throwing motion will enhance his deep-ball accuracy, which he's happy to test out on Smith and Simpson, among others. "They bring a lot of speed to the field, a lot of deep, vertical threat," Kaepernick said. "That's something I'm looking forward to this coming season, having the opportunity to take (deep) shots." The 49ers offense ranked 30th in passing and 20th in total yards last season, in the final year under former HC Jim Harbaugh and OC Greg Roman. Their 19.1 points per game ranked 25th. In other words, there's plenty of room for improvement.
Report: Jason Pierre-Paul Injured In Fireworks Accident Sunday, July 5, 2015 | Time: 3:42 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: According to Andy Slater of WINZ in Miami, Pierre-Paul “severely injured” his hand in a fireworks accident last night.
Diehards Line: Details at this point are few, but as PFT notes, this could potentially have a huge impact on him and the Giants, as he hasn’t signed his franchise tender worth $14.8 million, and they’d have a tremendous lack of pass rush without him if he missed an extended amount of time. ... Stay tuned.