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2/27/2015
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More On The Rumored Dez Bryant Video (Get Used To This Headline) (2/25 3:56 PT)

The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... There are whispers of a video showing Bryant doing something he shouldn’t have been doing. PFT's Mike Florio was told multiple members of the NFL media had been chasing the video, but that no one had been able to find it. Florio was careful to point out that it’s not known whether the video exists, explaining that reporters covering the NFL had been trying for months to find the video. Appearing Monday on ESPN 1000 in Chicago, ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that. Asked about the rumors of a Dez Bryant video, Schefter said (measuring his words very carefully) that he has heard about the video and that he knows what’s on it. “I’ve been working on this since September,” Schefter said. “There’s a lot involved.” Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: Schefter also said he doesn’t know whether the video will come out. “It’s taken up a lot of my time this season,” Schefter added, explaining that what he’s been working on isn’t ready and may never be. Again, Florio's understanding is that “the incident (if there was one) happened in 2011, and that the video (if there is one) may contain footage of someone other than Bryant. ...” For Bryant’s part, he tweeted on Wednesday afternoon, “I need to get me a real raw uncut tv show or something … I can’t continue to get betrayed like this.” Bryant has since deleted the tweet. ... Again, we haven't heard the last of this one -- whether it's actually a story or not.

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Ryan Mallett Wants To Remain A Texan (2/25 3:54 PT)

The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... HC Bill O’Brien wants soon-to-be free agent Mallett to remain in Houston. The feeling is mutual. Mallett told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that he’s hoping he’ll come to terms with the Texans on a new deal that keeps him in Houston, where he started two games last season before suffering a torn pectoral muscle. “I’d like to be back. Hopefully, we can get something worked out,” Mallett said. “It’s nice to be wanted. It’s better than not being wanted.” Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: Mallett said he has started throwing a football as part of his rehab from surgery to repair an injured pectoral muscle. “I’ve tossed it around a little. It’s a day by day process,” Mallett said. “I’m getting close. There’s no magic potion. I’m trying to get better every day. We’ll see how it goes.” As PFT notes, Mallett hasn’t done enough yet to prove that he’s a capable NFL starter, which is why the Texans will likely have a quarterback competition in camp this year. But Mallett has done enough that if he does re-sign, he would probably be the favorite to win a competition among the quarterbacks currently on the roster (a list that includes Ryan Fitzpatrick, Case Keenum, Tom Savage and Thaddeus Lewis). That said, we'll be watching the situation closely in coming weeks.

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Browns Have Reached Out To Ted Ginn's Agent (2/25 3:53 PT)

The Facts: The Browns have called the agent for Ginn and expressed interest in signing the receiver, a league source told Plain Dealer staffer Mary Kay Cabot.  Reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Diehards Line: Ginn, a Cleveland native, was released this week by the Cardinals with two years remaining on his contract. The Browns are just one of many teams interested. Ginn, a receiver and returner with devastating speed, would give the Browns the punt returner they desperately needed last season. The Browns finished 28th in the NFL in punt return average.

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Rumors Of Dez Bryant Video Incident Likely To Grow In Coming Days (2/25 11:34 PT)

The Facts: Bryant expressed his grievances on Twitter for the second time last week after Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com said in a KRLD-FM interview there are rumors of a troubling video tape involving the receiver that are affecting contracting negotiations with the Cowboys. “Just quit with the b.s.,” Bryant, an impending free agent, wrote. “It’s clear as day what’s going on… I use to let people take advantage of my life now that I’m no longer allowing that to happen it seems to be a problem… I’m not ashamed of none of my past incidents because that’s what made me who I am today.”  Reported by the Dallas Morning News

Diehards Line: Florio addressed the rumored -- and it's just that, rumored -- video again during today's PFT Live on NBC Radio. Florio was quick to stress nobody seems to know if the video actually exists. And if it does exist, is it actually Dez in the video, which is said to be from a shopping center parking lot. The rumors are the video will make the Ray Rice situation look tame. Florio added that the incident -- if it happened -- happened in 2011. Meanwhile, two high-ranking Cowboys officials told the Morning News they have no knowledge of such a video. All of this comes in the context of Bryant's looming free agency. The Cowboys have until Monday to reach a long-term deal with the Cowboys or the team can apply the franchise tag on him. Meanwhile, expect the intensity of the rumors to increase in coming days. True or not (and again, this reportedly happened four years ago and no charges were ever filed against Bryant), steel yourself.

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Giants Release Peyton Hillis (2/25 11:33 PT)

The Facts: The New York Giants on Wednesday announced the release of Hillis, the veteran running back, after less than two seasons with the team. Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: Hillis was brought on midway through the 2013 campaign after David Wilson suffered his career-ending neck injury. The former Broncos, Browns and Chiefs back piled up 362 yards at 3.7 yards per clip over the past two seasons, operating primarily as a short-yardage man. With Rashad Jennings and promising rookie Andre Williams ahead of him on the depth chart, Hillis was an obvious candidate for the chopping block ahead of next month's free agency launch. The Giants might also be eyeing this year's backfield-rich draft class for a younger pair of legs. n

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Ravens Release Jacoby Jones (2/25 11:32 PT)

The Facts: The Ravens announced today that they have released Jones, a veteran receiver and return man. Jones was scheduled to cost $3.3 million against the Ravens’ cap this year, so the move is not a big surprise. Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: In 2012 Jones was a first-team All-Pro return man in the regular season, and he made a huge impact in that year’s playoffs, with a 70-yard touchdown catch that forced overtime in the Ravens’ comeback win over the Broncos, and a 108-yard kickoff return touchdown in the Super Bowl. That was the longest play in Super Bowl history. As PFT notes, Jones remains one of the NFL’s best kickoff returners, but he caught just nine passes last year, and the Ravens have decided he’s not worth that kind of money. Now he’ll become a free agent, and an attractive one for some team that needs help on special teams.

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James Casey Scheduled For Four Visits (2/25 11:30 PT)

The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... According to Adam Caplan of ESPN, the former Eagle Casey is adding the Titans and Browns to his world tour, along with previously reported stops in Arizona and Denver. Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: Casey rose to prominence in Houston under Gary Kubiak (which is why the Denver trip makes sense), earning a nice payday from the Eagles in 2013. He’s the kind of player every coach wants, because he can fill many roles. The question is value, as the Eagles found him to be overpaid after two seasons. Another team may find the same in a few years. But as PFT's Darin Gantt notes, at the moment, Casey has what every free agent dreams of -- options.

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Antone Smith Would Like To Remain A Falcon; Others Will Be Interested (2/25 11:29 PT)

The Facts: Smith, who has averaged 49 yards per scoring play on seven career touchdowns, continues to patiently wait for news on a new a contract. While nothing has been relayed to Smith personally just yet, word at the NFL combine last week was Smith indeed is one of the players with an expiring contract the Falcons have prioritized to bring back. Reported by ESPN.com

Diehards Line: But ESPN.com's Vaughn Smith reports there also were whispers in Indianapolis about the New York Giants being interested in Smith. Not to mention former Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is now in Tampa and knows how special a talent Smith is. Smith, who turns 30 in September, has low mileage with just 44 touches in five NFL seasons. New Falcons coach Dan Quinn has emphasized the need for speed, which is Smith's biggest asset when he's healthy. Plus, owner Arthur Blank previously expressed a desire to keep Smith around for years to come. "Who wouldn't want to be a Falcon?" Smith said. "Heck yeah, I want to be here." There is one obstacle Smith has to overcome, however. He is still in the process of rehabbing the broken right leg that prematurely ended his 2014 season. "I can't do too much right now," Smith said. .... Still, with four touchdowns of 40 or more yards last season, Smith ranked third in the league behind Green Bay's Jordy Nelson (seven) and Washington's DeSean Jackson (five). Smith had five touchdowns overall on 36 touches while playing in 10 games.

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Raiders Sign PK Giorgio Tavecchio (2/25 11:27 PT)

The Facts: The Raiders have former Cal kicker Tavecchio as a free agent, the team announced Tuesday. Reported by the Contra Costa Times

Diehards Line: Tavecchio, the Golden Bears' No. 5 all-time leading scorer with 256 points, was with the Raiders last preseason after being claimed off waivers from Detroit. In one exhibition game with the Raiders, Tavecchio was 2 for 2 on field-goal attempts against Seattle, both from 47 yards. Tavecchio has gone to training camp with the 49ers (2012), Green Bay (2013) and Detroit (2014). He'll either serve as competition for Sebastian Janikowski or a camp leg to help keep the veteran fresh.

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Jones: Cowboys Think They Have A Five-Year Window With Tony Romo (2/25 12:38 PT)

The Facts: Jerry Jones is operating under a five-year plan with Romo. "I feel very comfortable, to the main part of your question, with a five-year time frame," the Cowboys owner said from the NFL Scouting Combine on Saturday, via the team site. "I feel very comfortable with that. When I say comfortable: I'm ready to make decisions based on him being our quarterback that far into the future." Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: Romo will turn 35 in April and has undergone a pair of back surgeries in the past two years. He's coming off a strong season from a both a production and durability standpoint: He threw 34 touchdowns against just nine interceptions and started 17 of 18 games. Still, Romo suffered two fractures in his lower back during the season, a reminder of how quickly things can change. "I'm not going to look into the crystal ball with you and tell you he's not going to have down days over the next five years -- I can't do that," Jones said. "But I can tell you I'm comfortable, and I'm going to make decisions based on him being here." According to NFL.com, realistically, the Cowboys are probably operating on a three-year window with Romo as a quarterback you can build around. Still, it's a pretty good window.

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Josh McCown Halfway Through Two-Day Visit With Browns (2/25 12:36 PT)

The Facts: McCown is visiting the team Tuesday and Wednesday, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of his plans.  Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: McCown has also visited the Buffalo Bills and met with the Chicago Bears at the combine. Despite a rough going in his lone season in Tampa Bay, McCown is the leading man in a very unappealing group of free agent quarterbacks. The 35-year-old's release from the Buccaneers earlier this month immediately vaulted him to the top of a class that includes Mark Sanchez, Brian Hoyer and Jake Locker, among others. Evidently, Hoyer's scattered performance in Cleveland wasn't enough to convince the Browns to rush to re-sign him, and combined with Johnny Manziel's recent admittance into a rehab facility, the team is exploring all options at the position -- including the possibility of dealing for Mike Glennon. ... We'll continue to follow developments closely.

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Ravens Not Sure They'll Be Able To Keep Torrey Smith (2/25 12:33 PT)

The Facts: The Ravens' brass sounds resigned to the fact that Smith could command too much on the open market to retain the wideout. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday general manager Ozzie Newsome said the team wants to keep their speedy playmaker, but won't break the bank. "We have a history of retaining our players, especially players that have been productive," he said. "But also, we have a history of allowing our players to go out and maximize themselves in the market and go and play for other teams." Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: Owner Steve Bisciotti was more open about the realistic attitude the Ravens take when evaluating the contract figure that they set on specific players. "The difference between what we can pay Torrey and what he gets on the open market, umm, Mike Wallace got $10 million," Bisciotti said. "I don't think anyone thinks that was a good deal. And so there is always a team that has lots of money that wants to bring in playmakers and those guys are going to get those deals. ..." As NFL.com's Kevin Patra notes, It's surprising to hear an owner criticize another team's deal, but it's understandable that the Ravens won't overpay to keep Smith at a cap figure that could damage the team's flexibility in future years.

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Bucs Interested In Mike Glennon? (2/25 12:21 PT)

The Facts: Two league sources are hearing the Browns have at least sniffed around on Glennon's potential availability. While I haven't heard of any formal offers, Glennon should be a player to watch in the Browns' Great QB race -- if the Bucs are willing to part with him.  Reported by ESPN.com

Diehards Line: As ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler notes, even before Johnny Manziel went into treatment, the Browns had decided to search far and wide for quarterback help. As it had been told to me, the net would be widely cast, and if the Browns don't bring back Brian Hoyer, they would need to get creative in an otherwise slim free agency pool. Josh McCown is of interest to them and Fowler reports that Rams quarterback Sam Bradford would be atop the wish list. But there is some intrigue over Glennon, who has thrown for 4,025 yards, 29 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 18 starts. Fowler added: "He's not as good as Bradford but a decent fallback option for Cleveland."

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C.J. Spiller Says Return To Buffalo Possible, But... (2/24 2:47 PT)

The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... Spiller is set to become a free agent next month and Bills GM Whaley indicated that there’s a gap between the two sides as they talk about a contract that would keep the former first-round pick in town. During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Rich Gannon and Bruce Murray on Tuesday, Spiller said that gap isn’t so big that a return to Buffalo is out of the question. “There’s a possibility that I could be in a Bills uniform,” Spiller said.  Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: The speedy ball carrier continued: “We never know how this situation is going to play out. The organization knows that I want to be there, so pretty much the ball is in their court. At the same time we’re going to weigh all our options and see what best suits me. The biggest thing is you want to go somewhere where you’re wanted. That’s the biggest thing. That’s pretty much how I’m approaching this thing. I’m looking forward to it. ..." According to PFT's Josh Alper, Spiller also mentioned his desire to play a system that will utilize him to the best of his abilities along with a “great quarterback” and a chance to play in the playoffs. It's not clear he'll get either of those in Buffalo. ... Stay tuned.

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Raiders Will Be Watching Randall Cobb If WR Makes It To Open Market (2/24 2:46 PT)

The Facts: Last year, WR James Jones hit free agency and wound up leaving the Packers for a job in Oakland. According to Bill Williamson of ESPN.com, the Raiders may try to make lightning strike twice. Williamson reports that the Raiders are expected to “make a run” at Randall Cobb in the event Cobb becomes a free agent on March 10. Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: With the Packers interested in keeping Cobb, it’s far from a sure thing that he will be on the open market. A recent report pegged Cobb’s desired contract terms at $9 million per season, which is in the same neighborhood as the contract that the Packers gave Cobb last season. Should the Packers not be willing to get close enough to convince Cobb to sign before free agency opens, the Raiders would be one of the teams with both the cap space and the receiver need to be at the front of the hunt for Cobb’s services. The Jaguars are also on that list. ... Stay tuned.

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The Bills Might Be Interested In Trading For Sam Bradford... Or Not (2/24 2:45 PT)

The Facts: The Buffalo Bills are pursuing a trade for Bradford, multiple league sources told Yahoo Sports. Reported by Yahoo! Sports

Diehards Line: As Yahoo's Rand Getlin notes, Buffalo has promising young talent in the receiving corps, led by second-year player Sammy Watkins and third-year player Robert Woods, but a league source tells Getlin that HC Rex Ryan and OC Greg Roman aren't sold on EJ Manuel as a viable starter and believe Bradford can maximize the value of their wide receivers and help them win now. Bradford, who is currently owed a base salary of nearly $13 million in 2015, was reportedly given permission to seek a trade, though head coach Jeff Fisher denied that was the case. Fisher went as far as telling reporters at the NFL scouting combine last week that Bradford was his quarterback for the 2015 season. In addition, Buffalo News reporter Vic Carucci is advising his Twitter followers that the Bills are not pursuing Bradford as Getlin reports. For what it's worth, you might want to get used to that. When it comes to news in February and March, for every report we get and equal and opposite report usually emerges in short order. That said, we'll be watching all of them with great interest.

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Vikings Not Sure If They'll Keep Matt Cassel Or Not (2/24 2:44 PT)

The Facts: The Vikings know who their starting quarterback is going to be in 2015 after watching Teddy Bridgewater make 12 starts as a rookie, but they aren’t willing to commit to bringing Cassel back as their backup. GM Rick Spielman said that nothing definitive has been decided about bringing Cassel back to the team, although he had nothing negative to say about the work Cassel’s done for the team. "Matt’s done a great job," Spielman said. "Came in and has won some games when he had to play. He’s a great locker-room guy. Matt has a lot of value to us.” Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: Cassel, whose 2014 ended early because of a foot injury, is signed for the 2015 season at a salary of $4.15 million and he’ll count $4.75 million against the cap. As PFT's Josh Alper suggests, with Bridgewater on a cheap rookie deal, keeping Cassel at his current price doesn’t sound like a bad idea for the Vikings as long as he’s healthy. He knows the offense and the other backup options expected to be available in free agency aren’t a particularly appealing lot over someone who is already on the roster. ... Stay tuned.

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Patriots, Chargers, Packers All Watching Percy Harvin (2/24 2:42 PT)

The Facts: Following up on the ongoing story. ... If the Harvin declines to restructure his contract and is cut by the Jets, the Patriots are expected to show interest if the speedy wideout hits the market, per CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora. Reported by CBSSports.com

Diehards Line: Harvin was traded to the Jets in October for a conditional pick. That pick will escalate to a fourth-rounder, if he is still on the New York roster by March 19, and will drop to a sixth-rounder if the Jets part ways with by that date. The 26-year-old Harvin hauled in 29 passes for 350 yards after joining New York. He is owed $10.5 million next season. In addition to the Patriots, Profootballtalk.com reports the Chargers and Packers might also be interested if Harvin is available.

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O'Brien Expands On Desire To Manage Arian Foster's Workload (2/24 12:41 PT)

The Facts: Following up on a previous item. ... In the wake of comments about how he plans to "manage" Foster's workload, HC Bill O'Brien was asked this week how that might happen. "Arian is a very talented guy in a lot of phases," O'Brien said. "He can run the ball, he can catch the ball, he's a good pass protector, he's a smart football player, but you've got to manage him. How do you manage that? You manage him in practice. You manage him in the games." Reported by NFL.com

Diehards Line: Foster, who turns 29 in August, was as good as ever last season, rushing for 1,246 yards and eight touchdowns on a healthy 4.8 yards per carry average. He added 38 receptions for 327 yards and five touchdowns. All told, Foster had 298 touches over 13 games. But he did miss three games and O'Brien is quick to acknowledge that. "I think any time a player reaches that age of 30 or close to that age of 30, and you know that the guy can still play, you know that he is a very talented player," the coach explained. "That's something we'll always take into account. We communicate with the player. We communicate with Arian. How are you feeling this week? What's ailing you? Things like that. You take a lot of hits at running back in this league. I think we just continue to communicate with Arian and manage it. He's got a lot of good football yet." Fantasy owners should focus on that final sentence.

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Reports: Jaguars Ready For Aggressive Pursuit Of Julius Thomas (2/23 10:09 PT)

The Facts: Following up on the ongoing story. ... Should Thomas hit the free agent market, a rebuilding AFC club with loads of salary cap space is reportedly expected to have interest. The Jaguars “will be among the most aggressive pursuers” for Thomas, per Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver also reports the Jaguars have “strong interest” in Thomas. Reported by Profootballtalk.com

Diehards Line: Thomas, 26, hauled in 43 passes for 489 yards and a dozen touchdowns in 2014 for Denver. The Jaguars are projected to have nearly $60 million in cap room, per Spotrac.com. The Broncos, meanwhile, have around $26 million in space, but signing wide receiver Demaryius Thomas could take a healthy portion of that room, with the franchise tag especially costly. As PFT's Mike Wilkening notes, he Jaguars were last in points and second-last in passing yards in 2014, but the club has a promising young quarterback (Blake Bortles) and several talented up-and-coming wide receivers. Given their financial flexibility and their need to bolster their offense, a run at Thomas would hardly be a surprise.

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2015 Draft Prospects
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Adrian Peterson's Suspension Overturned  
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Dez Bryant Rumors Gaining Traction  
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Peyton Manning Working On Revised Contract  
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Marshawn Lynch's Return Not A Given  
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Robert Griffin III Set As Week 1 Starter?  
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DeMarco Murray Ready For Free Agency  
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Julius Thomas Likely To Test Free Agency  
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Will Brandon Marshall Remain A Bear?  
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