News and Views

Report: Marcedes Lewis Taking A Pay Cut To Remain A Jaguar Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Time: 3:11 PT |  Reported by the Florida Times-Union
The Facts: In addition to signing center Stefen Wisniewski today, the Jaguars -- per a league source -- have finalized a re-structuring of Lewis' contract. Lewis is enteirng the final year of his deal and this is not an extension, the source said. Actual numbers weren't immediately available. In a text message, Lewis said: "I'm pumped to be a part of something exciting and be a big part of it."
Diehards Line: Lewis will be back in Jacksonville next week for the start of the voluntary off-season program. According to Times-Union staffer Ryan O'Halloran, one thought on Lewis' re-structuring his deal is that it could make him more attractive on the trade market (for a Day 3 draft pick), but the source told O'Halloran this means he will likely remain with the Jaguars this year despite the addition of Julius Thomas. Lewis' current 2015 salary cap number is $8.2 million but that is likely to go down.
Report: Todd Gurley's ACL Checked Out Fine Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Time: 12:41 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Gurley (ACL), who had medical rechecks yesterday and today, checked out fine He is viewed as good to go for the draft.
Diehards Line: Gurley suffered a torn ACL on Nov. 15 in Georgia's win over Auburn. That was his first game back after he missed four games because of a suspension for selling his autograph. He had surgery in late November, and the medical recheck in Indianapolis shows he is progressing as he should be, which means he could be ready for training camp. Despite the injury, Gurley still ranks at the top of the rookie running back class in the view of many. Gurley is both physical and fast, and he also is an excellent receiver. He should be appealing as a first-round pick to teams hunting for a new running back, which should include the Cardinals, Ravens, Cowboys, Colts and Chargers.
Jamaal Charles Setting The Bar High... And Long Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Time: 9:31 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... Charles plans to agitate opposing defenses deep into the future. The four-time Pro Bowl running back said this week that he hopes to play six more seasons before calling it quits at age 35 -- and that's not all. "I want to be (AFC) offensive player of the year," Charles said.
Diehards Line: Charles added: "That's always my goal, every year my goal. I want to come back to (Kansas City's annual) 101 Banquet for the Chiefs award. I want to come back as AFC player of the year. That's what I've been wanting to do. I think I almost got there. Peyton Manning had an awesome season (in 2013), and he beat me out. ..." Coming off three-consecutive 1,000-yard campaigns, Charles remains an elite back -- one who remain of great interest to fantasy owners. As notes, he's helped by a run-heavy Chiefs offense -- although the Chiefs could throw the ball more next season with wideout Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce available to threaten opposing defenses. Fortunately, Charles is also a major contributor as a receiver. ... As for playing another six seasons, the 28-year-old Charles still runs with fresh legs, but he's handled a huge workload over the last three years. Expecting four solid post-30 years is a reach.
Steve Smith The Toughest WR In The NFL? Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Time: 12:30 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: When five-time Pro Bowl CB Ronde Barber retired from the Buccaneers two years ago, he cited Smith as the toughest wide receiver he was ever assigned to cover. It was high praise coming from a potential Hall of Famer who squared off against the likes of Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison. Recently retired Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor lent credence to Barber's assessment, echoing the Smith appreciation. "Little Mighty Mouse, I call him," Taylor said. "He's only 5'10" and some change, but he plays like a 6'3" guy. ... all-around No. 1, Steve Smith."
Diehards Line: All of this prompted's Chris Wesseling to suggest that Smith has been one of the best players of his generation. Evidence? Among players ranked in the top 25 for career postseason receiving yards, Smith's average of 91.0 per game ranks first. Michael Irvin (82.2) ranks second, with Jerry Rice (77.4) third. Since the 1970 merger, Smith (2005), Rice (1990) and Sterling Sharpe (1992) are the only players to win the wide-receiver triple crown, leading the league in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. From 2005 through 2008, Smith was the most dominant receiver in the league. In 48 games with Jake Delhomme at quarterback over that span, Smith averaged an astonishing 101.3 yards from scrimmage to go with 38 touchdowns. Smith is currently 14th on the career receiving yards list, with a chance to ascend to the top 10 if he posts another 1,000-yard season in 2015. Overlooked on draft days last year, Smith will be much higher on the fantasy radar this time around.
Carlos Hyde Getting His Body Ready For Heavy Use Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Time: 12:29 PT |  Reported by the Sacramento Bee
The Facts: GM Trent Baalke told reporters that Hyde is down into the mid 220-pound range, his lowest weight since early in college, and looking "extremely good."
Diehards Line: With Frank Gore moving onto to Indianapolis via free agency, Baalke has talked up running backs Kendall Hunter and Carlos Hyde as both looking ready to play a big part in the 49ers’ offense this season. Hunter missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in training camp, but Baalke said Hunter has worked hard to get ready to go for this year’s camp. As suggests, if Hyde and Hunter are as good as Baalke thinks, and if Reggie Bush has something left, the 49ers may be in good shape at running back. Even after losing one of the best they’ve ever had in Gore.
Ravens Re-Sign TE Phillip Supernaw Saturday, April 18, 2015 | Time: 12:27 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Supernaw, safety Brynden Trawick, cornerback Rashaan Melvin and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen all signed their exclusive rights tenders before the team’s voluntary workouts begin next week.
Diehards Line: Supernaw, 25, is heading into his second full season. He played six games for the Ravens last year as he bounced between the practice squad and active roster. He finished the year with two catches for 27 yards. Supernaw could be in line for an increased role this year after the departure of Owen Daniels and uncertainty regarding Dennis Pitta’s status. Depending on what the Ravens do in the draft, Supernaw may find himself competing for a starting job in training camp.
Could Raiders Be In The Mix For Adrian Peterson? Friday, April 17, 2015 | Time: 12:55 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Following up on the ongoing story. ... Peterson is back. OK. Now what? My guess: We will see the same bullying, nasty, tornadic on-field punisher that we saw before. My guess: We will see that force in a Vikings uniform, though there is a definite chance it's a Cowboys one instead. I asked two GMs about Peterson's return, and they told me they believe three teams are in play for him: the Cowboys, the Cardinals and the Raiders. "The Cowboys are the front-runners," one said, "but I actually believe the Raiders are right there."
Diehards Line:So wrote Bleacher Report's Mike Freeman, whose initial assessment suggesting we'll see a revitalized Peterson in Minnesota this year is the theory we're buying into for the moment. The truth is, none of us know how this will play out. While we believe the most likely scenario has Peterson dominating Vikings opponents this season, nothing is certain at this point. But as Freeman notes, both general managers he spoke with also think Peterson's $12.75 million salary is, in one's words, "an anchor around Peterson's neck." Still, no matter where he ends up, Freeman's contention that "There's every chance that the time away from the field -- away from the hits and brutality of the sport -- will extend (Peterson's) career and he will once again be great" rings true. ... Stay tuned.
Johnny Manziel Apologizes; Takes Full Responsibility For His Actions Friday, April 17, 2015 | Time: 10:05 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Following up on the ongoing story. ... Manziel issued a statement on Friday to address his offseason stint in a drug and alcohol treatment facility. "I would like to thank my family, friends, the Browns organization, my teammates, and Browns fans everywhere, for your patience, understanding, and support during my stay at Caron," Manziel said, through the team. "I owe private apologies to a lot of people that I disappointed but a very public one to the Browns organization and the fans that I let down. "I take full responsibility for my actions and it's my intention to work very hard to regain everyone's trust and respect."
Diehards Line: The second-year passer now returns to the Browns facing an uphill battle to regain the starting job he was handed at the tail end of his rocky rookie season. Veteran Josh McCown has been inked as a safe if underwhelming placeholder under center, with the Browns in play to potentially move up in the draft to pick Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Manziel also has work to do inside the locker room after Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said last week that the former Texas A&M star "lost probably a lot of trust among the guys on the team last year by the way he handled himself once he became the starter." Still, barring a trade out of town, the Browns are set to give Manziel a shot to compete for the job many thought would be his at the start of last season.
Dispute Within Dez Bryant's Camp Holding up Long-Term Deal With Cowboys? Friday, April 17, 2015 | Time: 12:30 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: An attorney representing Bryant has sent David Wells, the wide receiver's longtime adviser, a cease-and-desist letter to end their formal business relationship, Wells told The dispute between Bryant and Wells is among the reasons the star receiver has yet to reach a long-term deal with the Cowboys.
Diehards Line: The letter, sent in late February by Jordan Siev, a New York City-based attorney for Reed Smith, also reiterated a prior termination of power of attorney by Bryant. Wells said he had used the power of attorney to handle some of Bryant's affairs the past few years. In March, the team placed the franchise tag on Bryant that will pay him nearly $13 million this season, but the receiver has yet to sign it. The Cowboys want Wells to remain closely involved with Bryant, whether it's providing security when he goes out to clubs or in handling some of his day-to-day responsibilities so the receiver can focus on football. Wells says he has an adviser agreement with Bryant that runs through 2016, but would consider terminating the contract if Bryant's attorneys pay off the remaining amount he is owed. Wells, a crisis management expert, has spent nearly three decades as a private investigator. In the past, he has provided security for former Cowboys players Michael Irvin and Adam Jones. The Cowboys implemented the "Dez Rules" in the summer of 2012, after an incident involving his mother led to a misdemeanor family assault charge that was ultimately dismissed. Wells helped enforced those rules, which ranged from not drinking alcohol to not being out past midnight. ... We'll follow up as needed.
Chris Johnson Back To Working Out After Shooting Incident Friday, April 17, 2015 | Time: 12:03 PT |  Reported by
The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... Johnson was shot in the shoulder during a drive-by shooting that killed a person in the car he was in last month, but was his publicist said afterward that Johnson was expected to make a quick and full recovery that would allow him to resume training as soon as possible. Johnson has made good on that expected return to working out. TMZ posted a video of Johnson doing sprints this week and the running back is pumping his arm with no sign that the bullet wound to his shoulder is bothering him.
Diehards Line: The size also posted a video with Jay Glazer of FOXSports saying that Johnson was one of the NFL players working out with him at his MMA gym before the shooting and that he’s expected to do more of that work in the future. TMZ also reports that Johnson is “in talks” with several NFL teams, although no club is named and there’s no indication of what kind of interest anyone might have in bringing him into their backfield. With the draft starting two weeks from today, any action on Johnson may wait until teams see how their running back depth chart looks in early May.