Why one CFL team owns rights to Manziel, Kaepernick and RG III

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In these carefree spring days, the dominant NFL story revolves around a trio of well-known quarterbacks who appear unwanted and unloved. And so we’re left to consider this previously reported development: One team in the Canadian Football League has hoarded the rights to all of them.

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The National Football League and Canadian Football League expanded their officiating exchange program on Tuesday.

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Vince Young, 33, hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since 2011, but he has been learning the Roughriders’ playbook and is in minicamp hoping to catch on in the CFL.

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By CFL rules, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats would have the first shot at signing Colin Kaepernick Jerseys, Robert Griffin III Jerseys and/or Johnny Manziel Jerseys Jerseys if any of them decide to play in Canada. The Tiger-Cats have placed all three on their “”negotiation list,”” the CFL’s method for allocating international players, and Manziel has even been used as part of a fledging marketing campaign.

There are no indications that any of the trio is ready to make the jump to a league in which the minimum salary is about $40,000. Remember, Vince Young signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders — reportedly for about $89,000 annually — only after spending five years away from the NFL. And the Tiger-Cats already have one of the CFL’s most established starting quarterbacks in Zach Collaros, a former University of Cincinnati star who turns 29 this summer.

But the organization recently began publicizing some of the names on what is ordinarily a confidential list, highlighting Manziel specifically in a video released to VIP fans. And Young’s migration reminded the football world that careers don’t have to end when NFL teams stop calling. “”We think Zach is the most dynamic quarterback in our league,”” Tiger-Cats CEO Scott Mitchell said. “”He’s aware of how important he is to us cheap nfl jerseys, but at quarterback, you can never have enough. If Johnny Manziel Jerseys Jerseys ever felt that the CFL was an option, I think we all understand he would have great value and what kind of player he could be in our league.””

Let’s take a moment to understand the “”neg list,”” in league parlance.

Each of the CFL’s nine teams can reserve the exclusive rights for up to 45 international players.

Claims are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

There is no time limit on how long a team can hold a player’s rights.

Quarterbacks are usually the top targets. The Tiger-Cats have seven on their neg list.

The list traditionally is kept secret, presumably to limit agents’ ability to manipulate the process.

Once a player on a team’s neg list expresses interest, that team has 10 days to sign him.

It is possible for a team to trade the rights to a neg list player.

The Tiger-Cats shook up tradition this spring by releasing a series of videos that highlighted some of the prominent players they have reserved the rights to. There is no rule against it, and Mitchell envisioned an easy opportunity to engage fans. To date, neither Kaepernick nor Griffin has been among the announcements, but a source said in April that both are on Hamilton’s neg list.

“”We see it as a way to spur fan dialogue both in Canada and in the United States,”” Mitchell said. “”To us, it is just a matter of being transparent.””

CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge, who is stepping down from his post in June, was criticized last summer for commenting on the possibility of Manziel playing in the CFL. But there is no doubting Manziel’s marketing allure, and general manager Eric Tillman’s effusive praise in the video was notable.

“”Traditionally, that’s been one of those closely guarded secrets by the clubs,”” said Glen Johnson, the CFL’s vice president of football. “”But fans are very interested and Hamilton has taken a very unique approach.””

Kaepernick and Griffin surfaced this week as possible backups for the Seattle Seahawks Jerseys, but Manziel’s future is murkier. He said in January that he was sober after spending the 2016 season away from football and seemed focused on a second chance in the NFL.

Nevertheless, he wound up on Hamilton’s neg list in part because Tillman was once a CFL roommate with longtime college and NFL assistant Tom Rossley, who helped recruit Manziel to Texas A&M. During a visit last summer, I found CFL observers with mixed views on Manziel’s aptitude for the CFL game, which has become dominated by pocket passers. In the video, however, Tillman said he thought Manziel would be “”one of the most exciting players in the Canadian Football League since Doug Flutie Jerseys.””

Tillman added: “”It’s one we’re monitoring. We have no idea what the time frame is wholesale jerseys. But at the end of the day, you want to accumulate the rights to as many good football players on the neg list, and we think Johnny is exceptional.””

The odds tell us that Manziel, Kaepernick and Griffin won’t play a down in the CFL. If they do, it will have to be through Hamilton, a city situated about an hour west of Toronto. And that’s no longer a secret.

Giants’ Eli Manning denies involvement in memorabilia scandal

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One week after court documents surfaced alleging that he and a New York Giants equipment manager were part of a memorabilia scam, Eli Manning Jerseys strongly denied his involvement.

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Several media members on hand for Manning’s interview noted that he was angry and emphatic as he spoke, a rarity for a quarterback who is known for keeping his emotions in check publicly.

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Reporter Patricia Traina of InsideFootball.com posted Manning’s quotes:

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“I will say that I’ve never done what I’ve been accused of doing,” he said. “I have no reason nor have I ever had any reason to do something of that nature cheap jerseys. I’ve done nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide. I know when this is all done, everyone will see that the same way.”

NJ.com has posted video of Manning, who talked cheap jerseys during media access as part of the Giants’ offseason program, which began this week.

Manning did not offer further comment, but noted that while outsiders may criticize his football play, he will not stand by quietly when his character is being maligned.

“When you’re attacking my integrity, that definitely makes me irritable,” Manning said. “I think my track record, how I’ve handled myself since I’ve been here in New York, I’ve tried to do everything with class and be a stand-up citizen.”

The 36-year-old, who is beginning his 14th NFL season wholesale nfl jerseys, is accused of sending an email to Giants equipment employee Joe Skiba to request two “helmets that can pass as game used.”

Manning was forced to turn over the email as part of a civil racketeering suit that accuses Manning and the Giants of working together to scam collectors into paying for memorabilia they believed to be authentic and used in NFL games.

Barnwell’s offseason report cards on Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Steelers

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It’s time to reflect on the 2017 offseason. There are a few stray veterans left in the free-agent pool, and teams could still execute something unexpected if injuries arise, but organizations have mostly closed their checkbooks and built the rosters they’re going to take onto the field in September.

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Barnwell’s Offseason Report Cards

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Of course, we can know only so much right now. This time last year, there was no way anybody knew that the Cowboys had drafted a franchise quarterback. Kyle Shanahan was lucky to survive the offseason in Atlanta as an offensive coordinator, let alone be considering head-coaching roles.

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At the same time, we can look at what each team’s goals were (or should have been) heading into March and gain a sense of whether they did enough to address those concerns. In most cases, we can also plot what they have to do before hitting Week 1.

We’ll run division by division over the next two weeks. Let’s head to the AFC North, a division that seems to perennially send two teams to the playoffs and is unquestionably stronger across the board.

To go directly to your favorite team, click the link below:

Ravens | Bengals | Browns | Steelers

The Ravens are suddenly deep in the secondary. Baltimore has been struggling to piece together a coherent secondary for years, owing to ill-fated free-agent signings (Kyle Arrington Jerseys Jerseys) and extensions handed to players who couldn’t stay healthy (Jimmy Smith Jerseys Jerseys and Lardarius Webb Jerseys Jerseys). Missing pieces cost the Ravens dearly — the Patriots launched their 14-point comeback in the divisional round of the 2014 playoffs by repeatedly torching cornerback Rashaan Melvin Jerseys, whom the Ravens had signed off the street and inserted into the starting lineup weeks earlier.

After years of trying to cycle players around and plug holes on the cheap jerseys, Ozzie Newsome Jerseys made solving the secondary a priority this offseason. The Ravens signed a pair of veteran free agents, most notably safety Tony Jefferson Jerseys from Arizona. In combination with Eric Weddle Jerseys, Jefferson gives the Ravens a pair of versatile safeties capable of both lining up in coverage, dropping into center field and attacking the line of scrimmage. That flexibility should make it easier for the Ravens to disguise their pre-snap intentions.

At cornerback, Baltimore added to their bunch by inking Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr Jerseys Jerseys to a deal. Carr had his best campaign in several seasons last year despite a relatively docile Dallas pass rush. Carr’s four-year, $23.5 million contract could be as short as a one-year pact, depending on how Carr performs and how quickly first-round pick Marlon Humphrey Jerseys adapts to the NFL. Professional teams have had mixed luck with Alabama cornerbacks — they’ve been happy to draft Dre Kirkpatrick Jerseys Jerseys and Kareem Jackson Jerseys Jerseys while regretting taking Dee Milliner Jerseys and Javier Arenas Jerseys — but Newsome probably deserves the benefit of the doubt. This is a deep unit, and while Carr and Weddle are close to the end of their careers, Humphrey and the 25-year-old Jefferson should be lining up in Baltimore for a while.

They signed Danny Woodhead Jerseys. Frequently underrated, Woodhead should, at the bare minimum, represent an upgrade on checkdowns and screen passes compared to what Kyle Juszczyk Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys offered last year. Health is perpetually a concern with the 32-year-old Woodhead, but he has proven to be a get-out-of-jail-free card for teams and always seems to end up carving out a meaningful role on effective offenses. He should form a nice low-cost rotation with Kenneth Dixon Jerseys when the second-year RB returns from a four-game suspension.

There’s something missing at wide receiver. The Ravens didn’t really replace Steve Smith Jerseys Wholesale, and Kamar Aiken Jerseys Jerseys chose to leave for Indianapolis after seeing his role reduced last season. What’s left isn’t especially inspiring. Both Mike Wallace Jerseys Jerseys and 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman Jerseys Jerseys are deep threats who struggle to be complete receivers. Next up is slot receiver Michael Campanaro Jerseys, who spent part of last year on the practice squad. Baltimore’s at least one wideout short of a full pack. The free-agent market doesn’t feature many options, but the Ravens could still look up veterans like Vincent Jackson Jerseys, Stevie Johnson Jerseys or even old friend Anquan Boldin Jerseys Jerseys to flesh out their depth chart.

They might not have played their cards right up front. I can’t fault the Ravens for re-signing massive nose tackle Brandon Williams Jerseys Jerseys, who set last year’s Damon Harrison Jerseys deal as a target and topped it by signing a five-year, $52.5 million contract to stick around in Baltimore. Williams will earn $33.8 million over the first three years of his deal, which compares favorably to the $29.3 million Harrison netted in his pact with the Giants. As the anchor of a run defense that ranked fifth in DVOA last season, Williams unquestionably makes the Ravens better.

But in looking at the rest of the market for run-stuffing defensive tackles who don’t threaten opposing quarterbacks as pass-rushers, the Ravens might have overpaid. (The 28-year-old Williams topped out with two sacks and four quarterback knockdowns in 2015.) Dontari Poe Jerseys Jerseys and Bennie Logan Jerseys Jerseys, the closest comparables to Williams on the market, weren’t able to pick up multiyear deals and settled for one-year, $8 million pacts. Williams is the best player of the three, but is he really worth that much more than Poe or Logan?

Baltimore also got thinner up front in deals that didn’t seem to net them very much. They dealt Tim Jernigan away to the Eagles for the privilege of swapping the 99th pick for the 74th selection, which is roughly equivalent to the 170th pick, or a late fifth-rounder, by the Chase Stuart draft chart. While Jernigan was likely to leave in free agency after the season, Baltimore probably would have picked up a similar-or-better compensatory pick in 2019. They also lost the useful Lawrence Guy Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys to the Patriots on a modest four-year, $13.4 million deal. Given that the Ravens won’t get a comp pick for Guy, it seems as if he would have been worth holding onto. In addition to Michael Pierce, defensive coordinator Dean Pees will be relying heavily on players like Willie Henry, Brent Urban Jerseys Jerseys, Carl Davis Jerseys Jerseys and Bronson Kaufusi Jerseys, who combined to play 150 defensive snaps last season.

The pass rush might still be a problem. Zach Orr Jerseys Jerseys’s unexpected retirement sealed Baltimore’s plan to move Kamalei Correa Jerseys to inside linebacker, and when the Ravens subsequently cut Elvis Dumervil Jerseys Jerseys, they were left with a hole across from Terrell Suggs Jerseys Jerseys. Having Suggs as your only pass-rusher of note wouldn’t be a terrible thing in 2009, but Suggs is now 34 years old and on the wrong side of two torn Achilles. It’s impressive enough that the Hall of Fame candidate racked up eight sacks in 15 starts last year, but the Ravens badly needed somebody to take the pressure off of Suggs. The Ravens used second- and third-round picks on Tyus Bowser Jerseys and Tim Williams Jerseys, but they’re both raw prospects who are unlikely to step in immediately. Baltimore should still be in line to consider pass-rush help, but the best player on the market is Dumervil, the guy they released earlier this offseason.

What’s next?

Sign Erik Walden Jerseys Jerseys. In lieu of targeting Dumervil or someone like Dwight Freeney Jerseys, Baltimore should look up Walden, who has a reputation as an above-average run defender at the point of attack and racked up a career-high 11 sacks for the Colts last season. He won’t hit those totals again — he averaged fewer than six sacks per season as a starter in Indy — but he could serve as a competent rotation piece.

They re-signed CB Dre Kirkpatrick Jerseys Jerseys. While the Bengals continued to shed more of the young talent they’ve drafted and developed over the past few years this offseason, they were able to bring back one key piece in re-signing Kirkpatrick. Once a point of frustration for Bengals fans, the former first-round pick has matured into a very useful cornerback, if one stretched by top-level talent at times. Kirkpatrick will earn $32.2 million over the first three years of his deal, which is relatively cheap compared to the likes of Janoris Jenkins Jerseys ($39.7 million).

John Ross Jerseys, A.J. Green Jerseys Jerseys and Tyler Eifert Jerseys Jerseys could be a terrifying combination. It wasn’t unreasonable for the Bengals to allow Marvin Jones Jerseys and Mohamed Sanu to leave last offseason, although it would have probably been better, in hindsight, for the organization to hold onto one of their two drafted-and-developed products. Injuries have prevented Green and Eifert from making a simultaneous impact in 2016.

If we don’t include the game in which Green tore his hamstring on the opening possession against the Bills, Cincinnati’s duo played all of three contests together last season. The Bengals averaged 26 points in those three contests, up a full touchdown from their average of 19 points the rest of the way. Part of that was playing the Browns, but the presence of two terrifying weapons in the passing game opened up passing avenues for Andy Dalton Jerseys Jerseys and running lanes for an otherwise frustrating Bengals attack.

Given that Eifert seems to perennially be an injury risk, you can understand why the Bengals might want to throw another star wideout into the mix. Ross is pure adrenaline as a deep threat, and defenses who have to deal with his 4.22 speed will be left with an impossible choice. If you double Green, you’re going to leave Ross one-on-one on an island against a cornerback who can’t possibly keep up. If you shade your safety help over toward Ross, you’ll end up leaving one of the best receivers in football in a mismatch. And if you play two-deep man and play safety help over the top against them both, you’re leaving Eifert alone against a nickel corner or a linebacker. Everyone has to stay healthy, but none of those scenarios are ideal.

Their offensive line is in a shambles. The most important thing with which to surround Dalton — even more so than receivers like Ross and Green — is protection. Dalton is an entirely different quarterback when he’s pressured. Over his six-year career, Dalton’s QBR is a respectable 70.0 when he’s left alone in the pocket. When he’s pressured, though, that number falls all the way down to a QBR of 9.9. The only passer over that timeframe with a worse QBR under pressure is Mark Sanchez Jerseys (minimum 200 attempts).

The Bengals knew two years ago that Andrew Whitworth Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys and Kevin Zeitler Jerseys Jerseys were going to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason, which unquestionably led to them drafting Cedric Ogbuehi Jerseys Jerseys and Jake Fisher Jerseys Jerseys with their top two selections in the 2015 draft. Things have not exactly gone well. Fisher has barely played and wasn’t even able to beat out journeyman veteran Eric Winston as the team’s swing tackle for stretches last year, and Ogbuehi missed all of 2015 and was a disaster at right tackle last season. It’s not good when a player describes his own season with an expletive.

If Ogbuehi and Fisher were ready, the Bengals could have happily let Whitworth and Zeitler leave. They’re not, and the Bengals weren’t able to hold onto either of their top two linemen anyway. Whitworth, quietly one of the best linemen in football over the past five years, left to go protect Jared Goff Jerseys in Los Angeles on a one-year deal the Bengals should have been able to top. The Browns simply outbid the Bengals for Zeitler. Cincinnati re-signed Andre Smith Jerseys Jerseys, who was a disaster in both 2015 (for the Bengals) and 2016 (for the Vikings), in the hopes that he’ll move to guard and allow Fisher to play right tackle. Ogbuehi also suggests he’ll be better as a left tackle than he was on the right side. Regardless, Bengals fans have to hope Dalton will have enough time to find his wildly talented receiving corps for big plays this season.

What’s next?

Sign Orlando Franklin Jerseys. The Chargers recently released the versatile Franklin, who never really seemed to find his footing in San Diego after playing well in Denver. The Chargers will be on the hook for at least part of the bill, given that they already owe him $3.5 million in guaranteed money, and signing Franklin won’t impact the compensatory picks the Bengals are likely to receive for Whitworth and Zeitler. If Smith doesn’t pan out at guard, even a limited Franklin might be Cincinnati’s best option.

They drafted Myles Garrett Jerseys. It’s no guarantee Garrett turns out to be a superstar, but nobody can fault the Browns for drafting the consensus top pick at a position that is valued nearly as highly on the open market as quarterbacks these days. If all goes well, Garrett will be a building block alongside Jamie Collins Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys, Danny Shelton Jerseys Jerseys and Joe Haden Jerseys Jerseys in Cleveland’s new 4-3 defense under Gregg Williams.

They massively upgraded their offensive line. The largest and most successful rebuild of the past few years is what the Raiders have pulled off under Reggie McKenzie, so it’s no surprise that teams at the bottom of the league have begun to emulate (steal) McKenzie’s process. The former Packers personnel executive built his roster from the offensive line out, and so the Browns did the same this offseason. It helps Sashi Brown to start with a future Hall of Famer at left tackle in Joe Thomas Jerseys Jerseys, but it’s telling that Cleveland quite publicly allowed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz Jerseys to leave in free agency for the Chiefs last offseason, a move which now looks like a bargain given how the tackle market escalated this winter.

Cleveland shifted gears this offseason and went heavy on protecting its quarterback, whomever it might be. Zeitler, signed away from the rival Bengals, is one of the best guards in football. Intelligently, though, the Browns first locked up incumbent guard Joel Bitonio Jerseys Jerseys to an extension, ensuring that they secured a talented player’s future before re-setting the market at the same position. Cleveland also imported JC Tretter Jerseys Jerseys. The former Packer had flashed stretches of usefulness over the past couple of seasons, but I’m less enthused by this signing than Bitonio or Zeitler. While right tackle is still a question mark for Cleveland, this should be an effective and quite possibly excellent offensive line.

Cleveland continued to generate draft capital for 2018. The Browns had already amassed a ton of draft picks for both 2017 and 2018, but they continued to be patient and create additional assets for the years to come. Cleveland acquired Houston’s 2018 first- and second-round picks in trades this offseason, leaving them with two first-round picks, three second-round picks, two fourth-round picks, and a pair of sixth-rounders in next year’s draft. The Browns can use those picks to add depth, acquire veterans, or as part of a package to eventually move up and grab a quarterback.

What went wrong

They changed defensive schemes after one year. One of the hallmarks of perpetually rebuilding franchises, such as this one, is changing their coaching staff and schemes far too frequently. Defensive schemes matter less than ever before, given how frequently teams are in their sub-packages and roll out five or more defensive backs, but the Browns have switched from a 3-4 to a 4-3 or vice versa three times in seven years. It’s an easy way to end up with marginalized players whose size and skill sets fit a scheme you no longer play. Things might work out fine for the Browns, but it’s hard to reconcile their clear grab for long-term stability with their decision to swap out Ray Horton for Williams after Hue Jackson’s first year in town.

They paid about $11 million or so for a second-round pick. I wrote about the logic behind the Brock Osweiler Jerseys trade both before and after it happened. The arguments surrounding the trade quickly fell into extreme camps: The Browns were either the smartest team alive for buying a draft pick, or they were foolish idiots for spending $16 million on a mid-round pick.

Neither is really true, as I wrote back in March. Osweiler has some value as a passer with modest upside, given what he showed in Denver. A reasonable backup quarterback with Osweiler’s track record would probably get about $5 million on the free market. It also seemed plausible, given reports after the trade, that the Browns might be able to trade Osweiler to a third party by eating some of the money attached to his deal, a move that would both save them money and generate another draft pick.

That never happened, which makes the trade harder to digest. Teams are too happy to deal future mid-round selections the weekend of the actual draft to make such a pick worth $11 million; consider that the Saints were reportedly offering their 2018 second-round pick to move up in the third round and grab a pass-rusher this year. Saying it’s just money is also naive, given that the Browns are incurring the opportunity cost of not spending that money elsewhere. They could have used that $11 million to fund enormous investments into their own infrastructure and have millions left over. They could have saved the actual $16 million in cash, rolled the cap space over, and used it when they’re far more competitive in a year or two. The Osweiler trade was hardly indefensible, but unless he breaks out and/or the Texans totally collapse in 2018, it will be too aggressive of an investment.

What’s next?

Sign Colin Kaepernick Jerseys. Even after adding DeShone Kizer Jerseys, it seems foolish for the Browns to not inquire about Kaepernick. It was only a few years ago that Jackson rued missing out on the Nevada product, noting in 2013 that his Raiders “”wanted Kaepernick in the worst way.”” Kaepernick has been up and down since then, but it’s hard to fathom that Jackson saw greatness in Kaepernick before the draft, witness that greatness realize itself during Kaepernick’s high points in San Francisco, and somehow now thinks Kaepernick isn’t even worth bringing into training camp. If it comes at the expense of Osweiler, well, they’re called sunk costs for a reason.

Ben Roethlisberger Jerseys didn’t retire. It seems weird to give the Steelers praise for this — after all, it’s not as if we’re crediting the Patriots because Tom Brady Jerseys Jerseys didn’t retire, or congratulating the Seahawks because Russell Wilson Jerseys didn’t go play baseball — but there was certainly discussion that Pittsburgh’s long-time quarterback would vacate his position this offseason. That discussion ended up mostly serving to fill column inches, as every indication is that Roethlisberger will be returning for the 2017 season. Pittsburgh still needs to come up with a coherent post-Roethlisberger plan, as Landry Jones Jerseys has been ineffective as Roethlisberger’s backup over the past two years. (His best game, notably, came against a Browns team that might not have been trying too hard to win in Week 17.)

Martavis Bryant Jerseys is back. The Steelers waited out Bryant’s suspension and should get another target for Roethlisberger in the passing game. In his past 16 games, Bryant has caught 60 passes for 993 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s not going to fundamentally change the Steelers’ offense, but when you consider that he was doing that after Antonio Brown Jerseys and Le’Veon Bell Jerseys were getting touches, it’s an impressive level of production. The next step for Bryant is to stop dropping deep passes, because few players in the league seem to get themselves open easier than the Clemson product.

The Antonio Brown Jerseys deal is done. It’s a shame for the Steelers to no longer benefit from one of the best contracts in all of football, but there are plenty of teams who would have happily lined up to give the league’s best wideout the four years and $68 million Brown signed for this February. The Steelers ended up paying Brown $37.3 million for the five-year stretch between 2012 and 2016, which is roughly what the Rams gave Robert Woods Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys this offseason. Money just doesn’t go as far as it used to.

James Harrison Jerseys is back. Quietly one of the best deals in football, the Steelers perennially get a discount from a player who wants to play only in Pittsburgh. Harrison was somehow one of the league’s most terrifying pass-rushers again by the time the postseason arrived. He finished the season with 7.5 sacks (2.5 in the playoffs) — all for the grand total of a $1.3 million base salary. Harrison responded by signing a two-year, $3.5 million deal with just $500,000 in guarantees and a $1.2 million base salary in 2017. Every team in football would sign up for that production.

What went wrong

They weren’t able to lock up Bell. As is the case with Kirk Cousins Jerseys, every day Bell gets closer to free agency just increases his leverage. The Steelers franchised Bell by giving him a one-year deal worth $12.1 million. Even if you think Bell is the best running back in football (and that’s a very reasonable opinion), Bell is being paid an enormous premium. LeSean McCoy Jerseys Jerseys is the only running back with a cap hit of more than $7 million.

I can’t fault the Steelers for wanting Bell on a one-year, $12.1 million deal. It’s going to be really tough, though, to justify franchising him for a second time in 2018 and paying him $14.5 million, which will be more than double the cap hit of any running back short McCoy. Bell’s representation knows that, which makes the cost of keeping Bell off of the free market prohibitive. If the Steelers can’t negotiate a long-term deal by the July 15 deadline, this could be Bell’s last season in town.

What’s next?

Bringing in a backup running back who can catch the ball. Bell’s one weakness is his susceptibility to injury, meaning that Pittsburgh needs to plan as if they’ll be without their starter for some stretch of the 2017 season. Third-rounder James Conner Jerseys gets mixed reviews for his receiving ability, and while he can certainly improve as a pro, the Steelers might want to have someone around if he struggles in camp. Pittsburgh let DeAngelo Williams Jerseys leave in free agency, and Williams might still be a logical fit to return, given that he’s still available. Chris Johnson Jerseys, who rebuilt his career in Arizona, could also be a option for close to the minimum.

Report: Patriots to host Chiefs in Thursday night season opener

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The NFL will officially release the full 2017 regular-season schedule on Thursday night, but that doesn’t mean we won’t get drips and drabs of information about the schedule over the coming hours.

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Like this: Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald tweeted that the New England Patriots will host the Kansas City Chiefs in the now-traditional Thursday night regular-season opener.

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The last time the Patriots and Chiefs met in the cheap jerseys regular season was Week 4 of 2014, a 41-14 Kansas City win. They also played in the AFC divisional round in 2015, a Patriots win.

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The Patriots are also scheduled to play the team they beat in Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons, this season, but that rematch will likely happen later in the season; our guess would be a prime-time November matchup to take advantage of sweeps month.

As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Patriots will have the chance to host the first official game of the 2017 season; like many other things, the league and cheap jerseys teams have made these games an event, with concerts wholesale nfl jerseys, fireworks and the unveiling of championship banners.

We would expect nothing less from New England, which celebrated its Super Bowl LI win at the White House on Wednesday.

QB Confidence Index: Post-draft ranking of all 32 depth charts

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How confident are you in your team’s quarterback situation?

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Wait. Before you answer that, let’s get a couple of things straight.

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Should the Patriots, Steelers and Cowboys all expect to make the playoffs again? And which of 2016’s most disappointing teams look primed for a rebound? Here are early projections for every team.

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Trevor Siemian Jerseys Jerseys and Paxton Lynch Jerseys are competing in Denver. Rookies could start in Chicago and Houston. Here’s an early look at the QB battles that will occupy our attention throughout the summer.

We asked NFL Nation reporters to project the starting lineup for each team. A few teams, such as the San Francisco 49ers Jerseys and Los Angeles Rams Jerseys, will have very different looks next season.

2 Related

Although this is the time of year for unbridled NFL optimism — post-draft, pre-minicamp, very few injuries so far — it’s important not to confuse optimism with confidence. If you are, say, a Bears fan, you can talk yourself into feeling very good about a situation that involves Mike Glennon Jerseys Jerseys’s latest shot to be a starter combined with the future of Mitchell Trubisky Jerseys. But that’s a hopeful feeling. Confidence has to wait for some evidence — real confidence does, at least.

Also, note the phrase above: “”quarterback situation.”” That means that although you might like your team’s starter better than some other teams’ starters, to answer our question, you must ask a few more questions. How confident are you that your starter can play all 16 games? How much longer can he play? How good do you feel about the backup if he has to play?

These are the factors that go into our occasional feature called the “”QB Confidence Index.”” Here, we examine each of the 32 NFL teams’ quarterback pictures, throw them into tiers and rank them based on how confident each team is right now. This list changes throughout the year, and again, it’s intended as something more than just a ranking of starting quarterbacks. Keep that in mind before you get mad about where your guy is sitting.

Let’s start with the top tier:

1. New England Patriots Jerseys

If there’s any cause for worry here, it’s that Tom Brady Jerseys Jerseys turns 40 in August and there isn’t a lot of history of quarterbacks who thrived after doing that. But Brady seems impervious to time cheap jerseys, having just thrown 28 touchdowns and two interceptions in 12 regular-season games and won a Super Bowl at age 39. Besides, the Patriots have covered their bases by holding on to backup Jimmy Garoppolo Jerseys Jerseys, who drew heavy interest on the trade market from teams that were told repeatedly that he wasn’t available. Patriots officials will tell you that they feel completely confident that they can win if Garoppolo has to play, and they also like third-stringer Jacoby Brissett Jerseys. This is the clear No. 1 quarterback situation in the league.

2. Green Bay Packers Jerseys

At halftime of the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta, I encountered a Falcons front-office official and asked how he was doing. “”I’ll be better in an hour and a half,”” he said. “”That No. 12, he’s not human.”” At the time, the Falcons led the Packers 24-0. “”That No. 12″” is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers Jerseys Jerseys, who didn’t have enough that day to bring Green Bay back but obviously strikes more fear in opponents’ hearts than anyone else on this list.

Rodgers hasn’t missed a game since 2013, which means backup Brett Hundley Jerseys Jerseys hasn’t seen any real action. But Hundley’s preseason work — combined with the high regard the rest of the teams around the league have for the Packers’ coaching staff’s work with quarterbacks — makes him a respected backup and possible 2018 offseason trade target.

3. Atlanta Falcons Jerseys

Matt Ryan Jerseys Jerseys is the reigning MVP. Backup Matt Schaub Jerseys Jerseys, who knows this Kyle Shanahan-designed offense as well as any quarterback in the league, stuck around instead of following Shanahan to San Francisco. There might be some concerns about the transition to Steve Sarkisian as coordinator and playcaller, but there’s nothing but confidence in the men taking the snaps wholeslae nfl jerseys. Ryan has missed a grand total of two games in his nine-year career, is coming off his best season and has Julio Jones Jerseys Jerseys, Devonta Freeman Jerseys Jerseys and an array of weapons around him to help keep things humming in Atlanta.

4. Detroit Lions Jerseys

Matthew Stafford Jerseys Jerseys hasn’t missed a game since 2010. Although he doesn’t chuck it as much as he used to, people around the Lions rave about the way he and offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter have connected. Stafford is enjoying his role at the helm of Cooter’s offense, which relies more on shorter, quicker throws than the offenses Stafford used to operate. It would be a big drop-off to backup Jake Rudock Jerseys, but sixth-round pick Brad Kaaya Jerseys offers interesting possibilities if he can develop quickly into the No. 2.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys

When Ben Roethlisberger Jerseys is on the field with Antonio Brown Jerseys and Le’Veon Bell Jerseys, there’s no team more confident about the high-end potential of its offense. But Roethlisberger is 35, flirted openly with retirement this offseason and has played 16 regular-season games only three times in his 13-year career. This is not a player on whom Steelers fans can rely the way fans of teams in the first tier can rely on their starters.

Landry Jones Jerseys is what he is as a backup — a guy you hope doesn’t have to play more than a game or two. Fourth-round pick Joshua Dobbs Jerseys is an intriguing long-term prospect. If you’re going to have a young quarterback in a position where he needs to spend some time learning, it’s nice to have as qualified a student as Dobbs. The Steelers like their quarterback situation, but it comes with enough questions to keep it in the second tier.

6. New Orleans Saints Jerseys

Like the Patriots, Packers and Steelers, the Saints boast a surefire Hall of Famer at quarterback. Drew Brees Jerseys Jerseys just posted his fifth career 5,000-yard passing season (the rest of the known universe has combined for four — ever), and he has missed a grand total of two games in 11 years with the Saints. The Saints are here instead of higher because Brees is 38 years old and not signed beyond 2017.

Surprisingly, the Saints did not draft a quarterback this year, though they did bring in Chase Daniel Jerseys as a free-agent backup option they like a lot. Former third-round pick Garrett Grayson Jerseys Jerseys remains as a potential developmental prospect.

7. Los Angeles Chargers Jerseys

Sensing a theme here? Well, these are supposed to be tiers of similarly categorized players. Philip Rivers Jerseys is 35 and coming off his worst season of the past nine, having thrown a career-high 21 interceptions to go with a 60.4 completion percentage that’s four points south of his career average. Behind him are only Kellen Clemens Jerseys, Mike Bercovici and undrafted rookie Eli Jenkins. The only reason the alarming backup situation doesn’t knock the Chargers down further is that Rivers hasn’t missed a game since he became the Chargers’ starter in 2006 — way back when the team played in San Diego.

8. New York Giants Jerseys

Speaking of durable 2004 draft picks whose backups don’t matter … Eli Manning Jerseys Jerseys hasn’t missed a game since he became the Giants’ starter midway through his rookie season. His production dipped in 2016, but some in the Giants’ building believe a lack of non-Odell Beckham Jerseys weapons and poor pass protection had more to do with that than anything else. Manning did just turn 36, though, and the team is thinking about the future.

One member of the coaching staff said third-round pick Davis Webb Jerseys “”has a ways to go to be the No. 2,”” which means that the Giants likely will carry three quarterbacks and either Josh Johnson Jerseys or Geno Smith Jerseys sticks as the backup. Again, though, Manning’s backup exists to run the scout team.

Although the Giants went 11-5 in 2016, Eli Manning Jerseys Jerseys and the offense never clicked. The addition of Brandon Marshall Jerseys Jerseys should help in 2017.9. Indianapolis Colts Jerseys

The Colts believe strongly in Andrew Luck Jerseys Jerseys and are paying him a salary that reflects that. He is 27 years old, has a career record of 46-30 (including his six playoff games) and is coming off his best statistical season, which included career highs in completion percentage (63.5) and Total QBR (71.2). But he has never had enough protection from his offensive line, and the Colts have not assembled a sufficient array of skill-position helpers to keep Luck from having to do it all himself.

New general manager Chris Ballard seems to understand the roster’s deficiencies and is at work trying to keep Luck upright and productive as he reaches his prime. But Luck has dealt with injury issues the past couple of seasons, and the backup options right now are Scott Tolzien Jerseys, Stephen Morris Jerseys and undrafted rookie Philip Walker. Confidence here would get a boost from an encouraging season by the offensive line.

10. Seattle Seahawks Jerseys

Russell Wilson Jerseys is 28 and has never missed a game in his five-year career. But man, did it look as if he might have benefited from missing one or two last season. Seattle’s persistent refusal to invest in the offensive line cost Wilson a fully healthy season and limited the offense throughout 2016. He showed in 2015 that he’s capable of carrying the team when things are OK in front of him. But until we’re sure they are, it’s tough to have confidence in Seattle’s ability to keep Wilson as healthy as he needs to be to perform at that ’15 level. Trevone Boykin is a backup with major question marks, which is why there’s so much Colin Kaepernick Jerseys-to-Seattle buzz right now.

11. Carolina Panthers Jerseys

There are so many questions around Cam Newton Jerseys Jerseys right now, not least of which is his timetable for recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. One season after he rampaged his way to a Super Bowl and a league MVP award, Newton saw his completion percentage dip to a Mark Sanchez Jerseys-ian 52.9. The worst season of Newton’s career coincided with fresh concerns about his ability to protect himself — and the ability of his team and the officials to protect him — on the field. The shoulder surgery this offseason kept those concerns front of mind.

Carolina’s backup situation is better than those of the other teams in this tier, given that Derek Anderson Jerseys Jerseys seems to know how to keep the ship afloat when Newton can’t play. But the Panthers sit behind Indy and Seattle in our rankings because the health concerns with Luck and Wilson are projected, while Newton’s are current.

12. Oakland Raiders Jerseys

Derek Carr Jerseys spent the bulk of the 2016 season as a swashbuckling, fourth-quarter-comeback-making MVP candidate, and we’re left to wonder what might have been of the Raiders’ season had he not broken his leg in late December. The late-game heroics and the 28:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio masked his middle-of-the-road completion percentage (63.8), yards per attempt (7.0) and Total QBR numbers (62.1), but Carr has shown improvement every season, and at 26 years old, he is in line for a confidence-boosting contract extension this offseason.

The Raiders added Ej Manuel Jerseys and bring back Connor Cook Jerseys to back up Carr, but the hope is that he continues to ascend and move into higher tiers.

13. Washington

Brady, Ryan and Dak Prescott Jerseys (who has played only one year) are the only quarterbacks with a higher Total QBR since the start of the 2015 season than Kirk Cousins Jerseys. Washington didn’t extend Cousins last year because it wanted to see another season like the one he had in 2015, and he gave them one. Washington still hasn’t extended him, and if it doesn’t by July 15, it’s almost sure to lose him next March.

Sources say there have been discussions about a long-term deal, and the team is interested up to a certain salary level. But due to the deadline and the lack of clarity in the Washington front office following the early March firing of general manager Scot McCloughan, there isn’t a lot of optimism from either side that something will get done in the next two months.

This is what keeps Washington in this part of the rankings. If it were truly confident about its situation, Cousins would have his long-term deal already. Instead, Washington backs him up with Colt McCoy Jerseys and Nate Sudfeld Jerseys and risks the possibility of starting from scratch in 2018.

When your performance declines in your age-36 season, that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Carson Palmer Jerseys Jerseys’s completion percentage last season was his lowest since 2011, when he was a Raider. (Remember Palmer as a Raider?) His yards per attempt were his lowest since 2010, when he was a Bengal. (Remember Palmer as a Bengal?) Touchdowns down, interceptions up, fumbles way up … it was alarming stuff all the way across the board for Palmer in 2016.

The Cardinals didn’t draft a quarterback, but they added Blaine Gabbert Jerseys and undrafted rookie Trevor Knight to a backup corps that already included Drew Stanton Jerseys and Zac Dysert. The only other teams with five quarterbacks right now are the Vikings (if you count injured Teddy Bridgewater Jerseys Jerseys) and the Bills (we’ll get to them in a second).

If Palmer is healthy and throwing it the way he was in 2015, the Cardinals are as confident as anyone. But there isn’t a real solid feel to the quarterback situation in the desert right now.

15. Kansas City Chiefs Jerseys

Sources close to the situation say the Chiefs’ coaching staff hasn’t lost faith in Alex Smith Jerseys Jerseys, who is expected to be the starter all season while first-round pick Patrick Mahomes II Jerseys learns the NFL game. Tyler Bray Jerseys or Joel Stave would be in line to fill in if Smith were to get hurt early in the season. But Smith is signed for only two more years, and the Chiefs can get out of his contract very easily next offseason.

Smith is fine for what the Chiefs are doing right now, and it appears that they believe they can win with him. But in today’s AFC West, winning isn’t easy. At some point, the Chiefs are going to look to Mahomes to elevate their ceiling at the most important position.

16. Cincinnati Bengals Jerseys

One of a few teams (including Carolina and Tampa Bay) whose draft seemed to be aimed at making its quarterback’s life easier, Cincinnati used a top-10 pick on speedy wide receiver John Ross Jerseys and a second-rounder on controversial but talented running back Joe Mixon Jerseys. You can draft like that when you’re confident in your quarterback situation, and the Bengals are. Andy Dalton Jerseys Jerseys’s performance ticked downward a bit in 2016 from its excellent 2015 levels, but he still completed 64.7 percent of his passes and averaged 7.47 yards per attempt in spite of major injuries to — and free-agent defections from — his skill-position group.

Backup AJ McCarron Jerseys Jerseys has some experience and is valuable enough that the Bengals turned down trade offers this offseason. This is one place where the Bengals have no worries.

17. Minnesota Vikings Jerseys

As long as he’s paired with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, Sam Bradford Jerseys knows how to do what the team asks him to do. The Vikings are quite confident that Bradford, who set the NFL’s single-season completion percentage record last season (71.6), can deliver, and they hope that their new tackles, running backs and receiver Michael Floyd Jerseys Jerseys can help him flourish to a greater extent than he did in his first season in Minnesota.

They still don’t know what to expect health-wise in the long term from Teddy Bridgewater Jerseys Jerseys, but in the meantime, Case Keenum Jerseys is there as a veteran backup in case something happens to Bradford. The team is also high on Taylor Heinicke Jerseys, a 2015 undrafted free agent who struggled with his own health issues last season.

18. Baltimore Ravens Jerseys

Yes, there are a lot of guys who have already been discussed here who don’t have a Super Bowl ring like Joe Flacco Jerseys Jerseys does. Flacco’s 2012-13 postseason run was a delirious romp no Baltimore fan will ever forget. But the Ravens have played four whole NFL seasons since then, and over that time, Flacco ranks 21st in Total QBR, behind the likes of Colin Kaepernick Jerseys, Jay Cutler Jerseys Jerseys and Ryan Fitzpatrick Jerseys. His 2016 season was his best yet in terms of completion percentage (64.9) and passing yards (4,317). But still, 20 touchdowns against 15 interceptions? Yawn. Given how painfully thin the Ravens are at receiver, it’s hard to think backup Ryan Mallett Jerseys would offer much if he had to play. This might be the league’s dullest decent quarterback situation.

19. Dallas Cowboys Jerseys

There is nothing about Dak Prescott Jerseys’s first season to discourage confidence, other than the size of the sample. There is no reason to fear a Prescott tail-off, other than the history that tells us to pump the brakes. After 16 games, Robert Griffin III Jerseys looked like a sure thing. After 13 games with Chip Kelly, Nick Foles Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys looked like the quarterback of Eagles fans’ dreams. I think Prescott should be fine as long as his offensive line stays together, but a 16-game sample (no matter how brilliant) isn’t enough to erase all doubt.

Cowboys coaches are working in the film room with Prescott, studying the second games he played against division opponents for clues on how teams will attack him with a year’s worth of NFL tape to study. Complacency is among Prescott’s biggest enemies, and it’s encouraging that he doesn’t seem the type to cave to it. Kellen Moore Jerseys is a backup whom offensive coordinator Scott Linehan likes, but Moore hasn’t played enough to inspire any confidence.

20. Tennessee Titans Jerseys

Neck and neck with the next team on this list, Tennessee gets the slight edge because of how much more careful Marcus Mariota Jerseys is with the ball than Jameis Winston Jerseys is. Like Prescott, Mariota is in a good situation behind a strong, young line and with an excellent supporting run game. He has shown strides as a leader and as an operator of the offense in his two seasons. He threw 26 touchdown passes and just nine interceptions in his second season and looks the part when he’s on the field.

There’s some concern about health, as he was unable to finish either of his first two seasons, but at age 23, he seems to be coming along at least as well as the Titans could have hoped. Backup Matt Cassel surely could do fine handing the ball off to DeMarco Murray Jerseys and Derrick Henry Jerseys, if need be.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jerseys

Winston is a couple months younger than Mariota and so far has a higher Total QBR and a better win-loss record. The Buccaneers’ brain trust believes that he’s a tough player who commands the huddle and has his teammates’ loyalty and that the new weapons they got for him this offseason (including DeSean Jackson Jerseys and O.J. Howard) will help him elevate his game to the next level.

The interceptions remain a concern, as only Philip Rivers Jerseys and Blake Bortles Jerseys Jerseys have thrown more than the 33 Winston has thrown since the start of 2015. And there’s almost nothing behind him, as the backup right now is either Sean Renfree Jerseys or Ryan Griffin Jerseys Jerseys. Winston is the Bucs’ guy, and they’d love for him to justify and keep building up the confidence they have in him.

22. Buffalo Bills Jerseys

It’s difficult to figure out how to write about Tyrod Taylor Jerseys Jerseys. Did you know that, among quarterbacks who’ve played at least 20 games the past two seasons, he ranks fourth in touchdown/interception ratio, seventh in Total QBR and 11th in yards per attempt and has the third-fewest interceptions? No, I’ll bet you didn’t know that.

Taylor is clearly a better player than a lot of people want to believe he is, yet he hasn’t risen to the point where he inspires any level of confidence that he’s a franchise guy. Add an all-new coaching staff and front office in Buffalo, and the team itself probably doesn’t yet know how it’s supposed to feel about its quarterback situation.

New general manager Brandon Beane wasn’t exactly blowing kisses to Taylor in his introductory news conference, and though Taylor is surely the starter right now, it isn’t difficult to imagine them trying out Cardale Jones Jerseys, T.J. Yates or even fifth-round rookie Nathan Peterman Jerseys if Taylor isn’t doing what they want him to do.

23. Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys

It was exciting that Carson Wentz Jerseys was ready to play and play as well as he did out of the gate as a rookie. But in the end, Wentz didn’t have anything beyond a somewhat encouraging rookie season. He had 16 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and ranked 29th among qualifying quarterbacks with a paltry 6.23 yards per pass attempt. Was the experience valuable? Absolutely. Are Eagles fans justified in being optimistic? Without a doubt. Is it reasonable to expect things to get better with Alshon Jeffery Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys and a bunch of new helpers around him? Completely reasonable, yes.

But this gets back to what we said at the beginning about optimism versus confidence. Wentz offers a ton of the former but has a ways to go before he offers reason for the latter. Old friend Nick Foles Jerseys Jerseys Jerseys returns as the backup, and Matt McGloin Jerseys is there as well.

24. Miami Dolphins Jerseys

There’s no one ostensibly pushing Ryan Tannehill Jerseys Jerseys for the Dolphins’ starting quarterback job. Perpetual backup Matt Moore Jerseys is of course still there, as is David Fales Jerseys. Tannehill would have to get hurt or become totally incompetent to lose the job. But the Dolphins played fine with Moore in there last season after Tannehill got hurt.

Although Tannehill is technically signed through 2020, the only remaining guarantee after this season is an injury-only guaranteed $5.525 million of his $17.475 million 2018 salary. The Dolphins can escape the Tannehill contract next offseason. He set a new career high in completion percentage (67.1) in his first season under coach Adam Gase, but he has yet to elevate his game to a point that justifies a $20 million-per-year cap charge.

The Dolphins didn’t draft Tannehill’s eventual replacement, but that doesn’t mean they’re 100 percent confident with what they have for the long term.

25. Denver Broncos Jerseys

It’s probably still Trevor Siemian Jerseys Jerseys to start the offseason, but the new coaching staff offers a clean slate, and it isn’t crazy to imagine a scenario in which 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch Jerseys plays well enough this summer (or, if not, this fall) to win the job. The Broncos like Siemian more than everyone else seems to, and they can afford to roll with a caretaker type while Lynch develops, especially with the way they lean on their defense and run game. Their confidence in their quarterback situation is rooted in the fact that they don’t ask their quarterback to do as much as other teams do.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars Jerseys

A new coach (Doug Marrone) and new VP of football operations (Tom Coughlin) mean the heat is on 2014 first-round pick Blake Bortles Jerseys Jerseys. He had an absolutely rotten 2016 season and has thrown more interceptions (51) than anyone in the league the past three years other than Philip Rivers Jerseys (52). Like the Dolphins, the Jaguars didn’t draft anyone to compete with or pressure Bortles. Like the Dolphins, they have an eternal backup option in Chad Henne Jerseys Jerseys if things don’t work out.

They picked up Bortles’ 2018 contract option, but until next March, that is guaranteed only against injury, which means they can cut Bortles loose next spring if they don’t feel that he is worth $19 million in 2018. It’s a prove-it year for Bortles in Jacksonville, and the organization is looking for reasons to feel confident.

27. Houston Texans Jerseys

It’s another tough call here between this team and the next one, but I’m going with Houston because I like their first-round pick better than I like Chicago’s. Tom Savage Jerseys Jerseys opens as the starter, but he’ll face immediate pressure from Deshaun Watson Jerseys, the collegiate champion the Texans moved up to take in the first round of the draft.

People who have worked with Watson believe he’ll win over the locker room and the coaching staff sooner rather than later, and of the rookie quarterbacks, he’s the one most likely to start a significant chunk of 2017 games. Savage can hold him off if he plays well, but Houston coach Bill O’Brien changes quarterbacks all the time, and it’s entirely possible that he goes back and forth between those two (with maybe a little Brandon Weeden thrown in) a few times this season.

28. Chicago Bears Jerseys

They signed Mike Glennon Jerseys Jerseys as a free agent and then traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky Jerseys No. 2 overall. If they really want to replicate the Eagles’ 2016 quarterback offseason, they need Trubisky to make Wentz-level progress this summer and for someone else’s starter to get hurt a week before the season and trade them a first-round pick for Glennon. That seems farfetched, but hey, you never know.

Mark Sanchez Jerseys and Connor Shaw Jerseys Jerseys are even there to compete for the Chase Daniel Jerseys role. Assuming the current depth chart holds, one Bears source said “”Mike would have to really mess up”” to lose the job to Trubisky this year. All bets are off in 2018, when the remaining guarantee on Glennon’s deal drops to $2.5 million. How confident will the Bears be in Trubisky — and in Glennon — when it’s time to make next year’s plan?

Lawyer: Aaron Hernandez’s family wants brain donated for CTE study

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Jose Baez, the attorney for Aaron Hernandez, said Hernandez’s family wants his brain donated to Boston University for a cheap jerseys study on the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy, more commonly known as CTE.

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The issue, Baez said, is there is now a battle over Hernandez’s brain. (UPDATE: Authorities ruled Hernandez’s death a suicide on Thursday evening and in wrapping up the investigation, said they would release Hernandez’s brain to the family so it can have it taken to Boston University for tests.)

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Baez said the family planned to donate Hernandez’s brain to Boston University, and the school was to pick up his brain on Thursday morning. Boston University has been at the forefront of CTE research on former football players’ brains. But the Massachusetts state medical examiner’s office would not allow Hernandez’s brain to be given to BU, according to Baez.

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Baez said the examiner’s office is keeping Hernandez’s brain illegally and he planned to take the matter to court. The former New England Patriots Jerseys Cheap tight end was found dead in his prison cell on Wednesday morning.

“Why the Boston medical examiner’s office decided to be a CTE unit, I don’t know,” Baez said in a news conference that was streamed on multiple outlets, including NBC Connecticut.

Baez said he planned to file a protective order on the matter, and ask for an emergency hearing.

Baez said the decision by the medical examiner’s office came right before Hernandez’s brain was to be given to his family and then donated.

“At the last minute, they decided that was not something they’re going to do,” Baez said. “They don’t even know what they’re doing; they can’t get out of their own way. That concerns us.”

Baez would not answer any questions about Hernandez’s death, insisting that reporters ask only about the issue of the family wanting to donate Hernandez’s brain for CTE study.

Later Thursday afternoon, the examiner’s office said it needs wholesale jerseys Hernandez’s body for its investigation and it won’t stand in the way of the Hernandez family giving his brain to Boston University.

Here is the statement from the Medical Examiner’s Office regarding #AaronHernandez pic.twitter.com/m4g7D2DWEL

— Bob McGovern (@BobMcGovernJr) April 20, 2017

Baez said he does not want the examiner’s office studying Hernandez’s brain.

“I have serious questions about their ability to conduct this study,” Baez said.

Hernandez was found dead in his cell as the result of an apparent suicide. Because of widely publicized researching showing a connection between football and the degenerative brain disease CTE, it isn’t surprising the lawyer and the family wants to see if Hernandez was suffering from CTE.

Hernandez was serving a life sentence after being convicted of murdering Odin Lloyd in 2013.

Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

More from Yahoo Sports: ? Dan Wetzel: What changed about Hernandez in his final days ? Awful 4th quarter ruins Westbrook’s historic night ? Patriots star deletes tweet thanking President Trump ? Officials reveal new details in Hernandez suicide

Meet the Rams’ ‘stone-cold killer,’ ‘beast’ and prep football legend — coach Sean McVay

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LOS ANGELES — The genesis of Sean McVay’s renowned clairvoyance dates to December 2003, near the goal line of a state quarterfinal game, on third down, his high school team trailing by five with only a couple of minutes remaining. McVay, now the Los Angeles Rams Jerseys’ head coach, was a short, stocky triple-option quarterback for Marist School in Atlanta, which on this night continued to get stuffed by a powerful Shaw team while trying to punch it in on a power formation they called “”Wham.””

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Timeout was called.

McVay, who had spent most of that week poring over film of his upcoming opponent, huddled the coaches together. He wanted to call a play the team had never run before — a naked bootleg off “”Wham,”” which involved McVay faking the handoff, hiding the ball, then rolling out and running with it all by himself, with no blockers in front of him.

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“”He just had this crazy ability to feel out plays,”” McVay’s high school teammate and good friend, Chris Ashkouti, said. “”He knew. I mean I’ve never seen anything like it. He walked in the end zone.””

Fourteen years later, those who knew McVay then still marvel at that play. At the outside defender selling out for a running back without the football. At other defensive players celebrating what they thought was a game-clinching tackle. At a packed stadium rising to its feet as the quarterback turned the corner. At the foresight and courage McVay displayed as a teenager.

McVay never played in the NFL and didn’t really stand out in college, but he was a Georgia high school football legend. He became the first player in program history to both rush and throw for 1,000 yards in back-to-back years. He led his team to a state championship during his senior year in 2003, playing most of the title game’s second half with a broken foot.

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After it was over, McVay beat out former Detroit Lions Jerseys receiver Calvin Johnson Jerseys Jerseys, a Hall of Famer in waiting, for Georgia 4A Offensive Player of the Year, an obscure piece of trivia many will chuckle at today. McVay calls it “”more of a team award than anything else, because there’s no doubt about it when you were just looking at the recruit. He was a five-star receiver, he was special, and I was not of his caliber.””

Others will tell you McVay is being humble.

Todd Holcomb, an editor at Georgia High School Football Daily who has covered high school sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution since 2001, said McVay “”might’ve been the most valuable all-around football player in a very strong football state”” in 2003.

“”There were much better college prospects,”” Holcomb wrote in an email, “”but nobody had a greater impact on a high school football game than he did.””

McVay didn’t have the strongest arm, but he was quick and explosive, and he was tougher and smarter than everybody on the field. Longtime Marist coach Alan Chadwick remembers a particular designed run where McVay’s responsibility was to read the 3-technique and decide where to go with the football. He pulled it, got into the B-gap and exploded through the hole “”like he had been shot out of a cannon,”” then ran nearly untouched for 60 yards.

Ashkouti’s favorite plays came immediately after interceptions, on nights when McVay also played defense.

“”We would all stand back and watch,”” Ashkouti said, “”because he was on a mission to crush the guy who picked him off.””

McVay arrived at Marist as a standout soccer player with great football bloodlines. His grandfather, John, was the former 49ers general manager who teamed with Bill Walsh for five Super Bowls. His father, Tim, was an all-state quarterback in Ohio who played defensive back at Illinois. After starting as a cornerback his sophomore year, McVay was the starting quarterback for Marist as a junior and senior cheap football jerseys, finishing his final season with 1,128 rushing yards, 1,107 passing yards and 375 punting yards.

McVay received scholarship offers to play option quarterback at Rice, Air Force and the Naval Academy, Tim said, but instead chose to be a slot receiver for Miami of Ohio. He broke his ankle early in his redshirt freshman year and was never the same.

“”It’s one of those things where you look at the doctors and they’re like, ‘You can mess this up for the long term,'”” McVay said from Rams practice this weekend. “”You kind of had a realistic approach that you wanted to be involved in football, and that opportunity opened up.””

McVay was hired by Jon Gruden, something of a family friend, to be a coaching assistant on his Buccaneers staff in 2008. He went on to coach tight ends in the United Football League in 2009, then spent his next seven years with the Redskins, working with tight ends and eventually becoming the offensive coordinator. Now, less than four months removed from his 31st birthday, he is the youngest head coach in modern NFL history, presiding over a team desperate to re-establish itself in the vast L.A. market.

Many still know him best from his high school days.

Tim McVay laughs at how his son used to stay up late in the coaches’ office studying opponents during the week.

Chadwick saw Sean McVay as a “”vivacious, energetic, outgoing, mature-beyond-his-years type of personality”” who was exceedingly comfortable in his own skin. Ashkouti called McVay “”a beast”” and “”a stone-cold killer”” on the field, but beamed at the way he inspired others.

It happened at the start of the drive that ended in the naked bootleg wholesale jerseys, which ultimately sparked a state championship.

Marist had just given up the go-ahead score and needed to put together an 82-yard drive to win the game, so McVay — 17, his voice squeaky and his hair shaggy — addressed his teammates on the field.

“”He looks everybody in the eye and he’s got this, ‘We’re going to do this, get on my freaking back, let’s go’ look in his eye,”” Ashkouti remembered. “”He was just so calm. When you had him on the team, you just knew, a hundred percent, that you were going to win with this guy. Of course, him calling the play was huge. But it was his ability to make you believe. And it was all the time.””

Alabama LB Reuben Foster, possible top-10 pick, reportedly failed drug test at NFL combine

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Alabama LB Reuben Foster’s path to the NFL has been a bit of a rocky one in recent months.

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According to NFL.com, the latest red flag for Foster — Shutdown Corner’s No. 8 overall NFL draft prospect — is that he failed a drug test at the NFL scouting combine. His urine sample came back diluted, cheap jerseys which according to the NFL’s policy and program for substances of abuse, it is treated as a positive test and all 32 teams have been informed of the results.

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Foster thinks food poisoning might have caused the diluted results — points for originality on that one. According to the result, he was ill prior to the combine cheap nfl jerseys and in lieu of taking IV fluids, as a doctor recommended, Foster took matters into his own hands an ODed on “water and Gatorade,” he said.

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Foster, you might remember, was sent home from the combine after he got into a heated exchange with a hospital worker during the medical testing portion of the event after Foster had to wait for hours to be tested. He sent a letter apologizing for his actions to all 32 teams.

Foster was being tested there following rotator cuff surgery in his right shoulder that would have prevented him from working out at the combine, and he was not healthy enough to perform at his pro day the following week. Reports suggest that a medical recheck wholesale jerseys of the shoulder last week in Indianapolis suggest that a second surgery might be needed, further clouding his draft status.

“I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do, but no matter what I do, it doesn’t come out right,” he said.

On the field, he’s a tremendous prospect with instincts, range and hitting ability. Off the field — and in the trainer’s room — there are concerns. Could this top-10 player take a nosedive one week from tonight in the first round of the NFL draft? There are enough questions and concerns now where it would not be shocking.

Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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Why the Denver Broncos will win Super Bowl 50

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All of the Nike Eagles #29 DeMarco Murray Black Alternate Men’s Stitched NFL Elite Autographed Jersey analysis and pregame festivities are almost over. Super Bowl 50 is nearly here, and it’s time to make our final cases for who will take the trophy. Here is why the Denver Broncos will win their third Super Bowl title on Sunday night:

Havoc-causing pass rushers

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Events | Guide | Matchup | Super Bowl City
Super Bowl 50 coverage
Broncos: No Super Bowl XLVIII hangover
Rosenthal: Ron Rivera’s NFL voyage to SB50
Brooks: How Panthers can beat Broncos
Battista: Kubiak-Elway bond fuels Super Bowl run
Sessler: What about Brock? Osweiler’s enticing future
Orr: Mike Shula following in father’s footsteps
Billick: Coach’s guide to Super Bowl 50
Fifty things to do in San Francisco
Super Bowl 50 Viewer’s Guide
Bay Area’s football legacy
Bill Walsh: The forward thinker
Al Davis: The open-minded maverick
Jerry Rice: The Master at work
Steve Jobs and the ’84 49ers

Just ask Tom Brady what DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller mean to Denver’s defense. The duo led a gang of game-plan wreckers that hit the Patriots quarterback an outrageous 20 times in the AFC Championship Game despite blitzing on just 16 percent of their snaps. Outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac gushed about Ware’s smarts and natural abilities, calling him “as good as they get,” and Miller “as good an athlete as I’ve been around in 37 years of coaching.” It doesn’t stop there. Derek Wolfe has been a force of nature, while fellow defensive lineman Malik Jackson has pushed the pocket all season. Carolina has jumped out to massive leads in their past two games, but that won’t be so easy against Denver’s active and vicious front seven.

Special teams heroics

What a time to be alive if your name is Britton Colquitt Jerseys. The Broncos punter was money in the bank against the Patriots, dropping a trio of punts inside New England’s 12-yard line in the AFC title game. The week before, he pinned the Steelers deep in their own territory with the help of special-teamer Kayvon Webster. “When you look at the league statistics overall,” said special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, per MileHighSports.com, “it doesn’t make any difference if it’s the Panthers or whoever it is, the average start has so much to do with the offense’s success.”

The reader is suspicious that we’re talking punters this high in the post, but plenty of recent Super Bowls have pivoted off special teams excellence. If Denver’s defense gets the kind of field-position advantage we saw over the past few weeks, the Broncos have an excellent shot of keeping this game close.

Carolina’s struggles vs. the zone read

Broncos running back C.J. Anderson told me that he’s enjoyed the shift to Gary Kubiak’s zone-read blocking scheme, a system that requires patience from ball-carriers. While this offense has its issues — only the abysmal Titans had more three-and-outs — Denver is 9-0 when they rush for 105-plus yards. That won’t be easy against Carolina’s front seven, but in their only loss of the year to Altlanta, the Panthers had their issues against Kyle Shanahan’s zone-run scheme. The Falcons didn’t pile up much yardage on the ground, but 30 carries helped chew 35-plus minutes off the clock. If you don’t want to deal with Cam Newton Jerseys, keeping him on the sideline is your best move.

Wade Phillips

Denver’s coordinator improves defenses wherever he goes. It was impressive to hear him emphasize all week how the Broncos believe in fitting their scheme around the roster. That isn’t a major challenge with so much talent in Denver, but Phillips has plenty to do with it. He was whispered about this week as the best defensive coordinator in NFL history, and it’s not a crazy thought. He’s lived and breathed football from the cradle on, growing up under legendary coach Bum Phillips, who Chris Wesseling chronicled in last summer’s excellent “Luv Ya Blue!” longform. Phillips was masterful against the Patriots, using a swath of combination-man coverages to swallow up Patriots wideouts and confuse Brady. Tommy Boy barely threw a good pass in the first half, with the game film showing that Denver’s defensive sets put New England in a bind. The chess match between Phillips and Carolina play-caller Mike Shula promises to be a gem.

“They’re so fast and I think the best way you can talk about how well they’re coached, and what a good job Wade does is when you see them diagnose so quickly,” Shula said. “They get to the ball so fast even on the missed direction stuff. They seem to find the ball quick and they’re swarming to the ball. You know they’ll play some backups and a lot of their backups could start for just about anybody and there’s not that big of a drop off.”

Pick-your-poison secondary

Yup, we’re going defense again, and here’s why: One of the reasons Denver was able to confuse the heck out of Brady was a loaded secondary packed with a combination of sticky cover men and hard-hitting play from the safety position. Carolina’s defensive backfield is arguably the league’s best, but Denver comes close with Aqib Talib Jerseys and Chris Harris at corner and T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart Jerseys behind them. Second-year corner Bradley Roby Jerseys also looms as a star-in-the-making for the only secondary league-wide to allow under 200 yards per game through the air. The Panthers have exploded early on offense in recent weeks, but don’t expect a repeat of Super Bowl XLVIII for the Broncos: They’ve allowed just one of 18 teams to score 30-plus points this season — tops in the NFL.

Unbalanced? So what

Long gone is Denver’s record-breaking offense of 2013, but we’re talking about a team that’s won 14 games. They’re not nearly as balanced as white-hot Carolina, but the Broncos are just the fourth team since the 1970 merger to lead the NFL in fewest yards allowed per carry and fewest yards allowed per throw. They’re also comprehensively healthy, assuming Ward and Stewart are full-go at the safety spots. Every Broncos player I spoke with this week emphasized how different this team is from the one that got crushed by the Seahawks two seasons ago. That Broncos squad rolled in with the No. 1 offense against Seattle’s No. 1 defense — this time around it’s Denver with the top defense in all the land.

“There are a lot of guys that are still here, and … I know they don’t want that taste in their mouth again, so I think it means a little bit more,” Ward said of Super Bowl XLVIII. “The guys that were there, nothing needs to be said about that. They know what happened. That performance is not going to be repeated.”

Peyton’s date with destiny

Logic be damned! Carolina’s the heavy favorite, but the NFL wouldn’t be the greatest sports league on Planet Earth if it didn’t also cater to magic. Peyton Manning was on the pine three weeks ago as the capper to an altogether embarrassing campaign. Plenty of doubters — me included — thought he was cooked, but Manning now has the chance to author one of the greatest stories in NFL history. His teammates talked endlessly this week about wanting to send him out with a win. These are human beings — not droids — and the Broncos came across as a team drawing strength from Manning’s final push for glory.

“It would mean everything. That’s my brother,” receiver Emmanuel Sanders said of winning one for Peyton. “It’d be unique to allow him — if he decides to hang it up — to go out with a ring. That’s everybody’s dream, to retire, to say, this is my last year and you go out with a ring. I mean, the football gods really do love you, and based on his career, they really do love Peyton.”

We’ll find out if that’s true come Super Bowl Sunday.

Steelers’ Heath Miller retiring after NFL 11 seasons

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After 11 seasons, two Super Bowl wins, two Pro Bowls and 592 career catches, Steelers tight end Heath Miller Jerseys has retired.

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The Steelers made an official announcement on Friday afternoon.

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Miller likely walks off the field and Nike Cowboys #21 Ezekiel Elliott Navy Blue Team Color Men’s Stitched NFL Elite Jersey into consideration for the Steelers’ secret cadre of unofficially retired numbers, a list that is currently populated by No. 12 (Terry Bradshaw), No. 32 (Franco Harris), No. 36 (Jerome Bettis), No. 52 (Mike Webster), No. 58 (Jack Lambert), No. 63 (Dermontti Dawson) and No. 75 (Joe Greene). Ernie Stautner’s No. 70 is officially retired. Miller walks away as the franchise’s leader in receptions, receiving yards (6,569) and touchdowns (45) by a tight end. His reception total is second best of any player in Steelers franchise history and fourth in touchdowns.

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There are only 12 tight ends in league history with more than 6,000 receiving yards, and Miller is one of them.

A picture of dependability, Miller only missed eight regular season games in 11 years. The former first-round pick out of Virginia started 167 of his 168 career games and never missed a postseason start. His legacy as one of Ben Roethlisberger Jerseys’s favorite targets is all but secured.

The news likely will send Pittsburgh hunting for a replacement in free agency or via the draft. The team picked Jesse James out of Penn State in the fifth round last year and James finished his rookie campaign with eight catches. Matt Spaeth Jerseys, 32, is still under contract through the 2016 season.