Jets set visit with free agent safety Kenny Vaccaro

The safety market has been relatively quiet this offseason, but Kenny Vaccaro is starting to generate some interest.

Vaccaro’s next scheduled visit is with the Jets, Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reports. He just visited the Colts and has previously visited the Dolphins, so Vaccaro seems to be drawing interest.

Only seven of the players in our Free Agent Top 100 remain unsigned, and most of them are safeties. Vaccaro, the No. 27 player overall, is the highest-ranked unsigned player. Also unsigned are safeties Tre Boston, Eric Reid and Tyvon Branch.

Having the Preakness favorite has never bothered Bob Baffert before and it doesn’t bother him with Justify.

Coming off an impressive victory in the Kentucky Derby , Justify is the 1-2 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s second race in a field of eight horses. Derby runner-up Good Magic is the second choice at 3-1, but Justify is the horse to beat with the chance to give Baffert his seventh Preakness winner and a shot at a second Triple Crown in four years after American Pharoah did it in 2015.

Bosa finished the 2017 season with 12.5 sacks, 70 tackles (54 solo), four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defensed. On Oct. 29, he surpassed former 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith’s NFL record for most sacks through a player’s first 20 games in NFL history with 18.5 by sacking Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Bosa had his jersey and game-worn gloves put on display in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It was the hardest race of his life.

But then those white silks Smith wore were shining like a beacon against the gathering darkness, and Baffert recalled he thought that “this is what makes racing so great” … when a horse in his position feels it all and lets loose and in that moment, he becomes all race horse.

So once again, we have a genuine contender for the Triple Crown three weeks from now at Belmont Park. Baffert believes it will happen. Justify is big enough and strong enough but with fresh newcomers on the battlefield and one or two survivors from Preakness, the run-up before that final struggle will every bit as dramatic as what happened here on this day.

We will treat him the way we did after the Derby, Baffert said. “First, he has to come out strong the next day, and then he has to train every bit as strong as he has in the past. We will just let him dictate. He was blowing hard at the finish today. You can tell he was in a fight all the way. cowboys_068

Bills wide receiver Zay Jones undergoes knee surgery

Zay Jones will be missing in action for the rest of his team’s spring practices.

The Bills wide receiver underwent knee surgery last week and will be sidelined several weeks as he recovers, coach Sean McDermott announced Thursday.

For what it’s worth, Henry reported for workouts when he was done doing something that was nobody’s business but his own. Believe it or not, he showed up in great shape. At the end of the season, he played a big role in the Titans’ wild-card playoff win over the Chiefs.

“There is no problem with Derrick,” his position coach Sylvester Croom said after Henry eventually reported, according to the Titans website. “The guy was in school, he is here now, and he is working. So we are moving forward from there.”

NFL teams, players and coaches alike should have moved forward from this entire mindset long ago.

“The real reason I haven’t signed is because I’ve contemplated retiring,” Galette said.

Galette spent last season with the Redskins. He recorded 20 tackles and three sacks in 16 games.

On Thursday, Patricia said the indictment “never came up, it was never asked, it was never an issue” and has “never been part of any process I’ve been involved with before,” including with the Lions. The team, from the owner down, said it never came up, in their background checks or their interview, from them or from him. Belichick released a statement echoing the same about his Patriots tenure.

Never came up. A felony indictment. In which, to be crystal clear, the charges were dropped. This is not about his guilt or innocence — at least not right now.

But understand, this was a grand jury indictment of a man who subsequently coached at a high school, three universities and the defining dynasty of this era in the NFL. And who had moved up the ladder from outside the sport’s normal job pipelines — as an engineer at an air and filtration company, which would seemingly demand an extra level of check into who this guy was and where he came from.ravens_177

Packers GM expects new Aaron Rodgers contract soon

Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst believes a new contract with quarterback Aaron Rodgers will get done.

Gutekunst said this morning on PFT Live that he sees no reason that the Packers and Rodgers won’t come to terms.

Gutekunst, however, doesn’t see that happening. He expects a deal to get done.

And then good things will happen for him. The reinstatement process, involving interviews and examination of medical and police records, could take 45-plus days before it ultimately ends up in front of commissioner Roger Goodell. Gregory, 25, appeared in 12 games for the Cowboys in 2015 and two in 2016. He recorded a total of 20 tackles and five sacks.

Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards (1,327) in 2017, but he fell far short of approaching Dickerson.

The Giants haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2012, but they likely will have at least three new starters on the offensive line after signing left tackle Nate Solder and guard Patrick Omameh in free agency, and drafting guard Will Hernandez in the second round.

Ereck Flowers is moving from left tackle to right tackle but is no lock to be on the team in the preseason, let alone to start.

Asked if Barkley has a chance to break the record, Dickerson point-blank said, “No.”

Of course, part of Barkley’s appeal to the Giants is his value in pass protection and as a receiver, so his rushing yardage total won’t tell the full story of his rookie year.

Anytime you play at this level and you step away from it, especially when you stay connected to it — I think that’s the hard part, is analyzing it and covering the games and doing that kind of stuff, anytime you’re around it … and especially since I feel really, really good.

So I’m like ‘I think I could still play.broncos_006_e99599e4a5b80608-180x180

Ereck Flowers hires Drew Rosenhaus

Giants tackle Ereck Flowers went without an agent for his first three years in the NFL, but he’s opted for a different approach as his fourth year unfolds.

Flowers has hired Drew Rosenhaus to represent him at a moment when he is not attending the team’s offseason program after a rough 2017 season and a move to right tackle after the Giants signed Nate Solder. There were multiple reports about a desire to trade Flowers leading up to the draft, but didn’t get an offer to their liking.

We’re like in the construction phase of this in terms of putting it together, yet, we’re still able to help the No. 3 pick in the draft get way better, Palmer said. Typically, you have to wait for the final version to come out for anybody to even understand it and use it, so the fact that it’s being this helpful this early and we still have a lot of really cool things we’re going to figure out ahead of us is exciting.

With Jensen at center, the Buccaneers will move Ali Marpet to guard. He’ll join Evan Smith, third-round pick Alex Cappa and, once he’s cleared from a knee injury, J.R. Sweezy at that position. General Manager Jason Licht said that Sweezy’s recovery will force the Bucs to make some choices at the position.

“J.R. is rehabbing right now, and we’re going to see how that goes,” Licht said on WDAE, via the Tampa Bay Times. “He hasn’t been cleared. Hopefully he gets cleared by training camp and we will see how it goes then. You can’t have enough offensive linemen in my opinion, and right now, looks like we’re getting to the point where we have a few extra that we can make some decisions then, some tough decisions but some good decisions.”

Sweezy’s $6.5 million salary for 2018 isn’t guaranteed, which, healthy or not, would seem to put him at risk of being on the wrong side of one of those decisions coming down the line.

So I think we’re completely done now.

Since we all thought Warner was completely done long ago, that is a surprise.broncos_092_5f19f04129a61730-180x180

Report: Most teams wouldn’t even sign Dez Bryant at the league minimum

Dez Bryant‘s reputation in the NFL appears to be preceding him.

Bryant has indicated that he cares more about playing for the right team than making the right money, even suggesting that he cares more about staying in the NFC East so he can play the Cowboys twice than anything else. But there may not be many teams willing to sign Bryant for any amount of money.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that there are “far more” teams unwilling to pay Bryant the league minimum salary than there are teams that would consider signing Bryant for any contract.

Tessitore replaces Sean McDonough, who will return to doing college football.

With Jon Gruden back in coaching with the Raiders, Witten and McFarland move into the analysis roles.

Lisa Salters is the only holdover, returning for her seventh season as the sideline reporter.

Now, the Cowboys could be without Witten as their starting tight end for the first time since 2002, the year before they drafted him.

Witten met with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on Friday morning before he makes a final decision.

Witten made 1,152 catches for 12,448 yards and 68 touchdowns in playing 239 of a possible 240 games in his career. The Cowboys tight ends other than Witten — Rico Gathers, Geoff Swaim, Blake Jarwin and now Schultz — have combined to make nine catches for 94 yards and no touchdowns in 29 career games.

But the image and role of a cheerleader changes drastically in the professional ranks.

The women who were considered athletes in college are presented as little more than over-sexualized male fantasies in the pros.

I don’t know why we get to the professional leagues and it’s like, Oh, you’re just eye candy., Davis says.broncos_007_f2b3860642a09f78-180x180

Packers’ Mike McCarthy: DeShone Kizer Would’ve Been 1st-Round Pick in 2018 Draft

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy believes in his team’s new backup quarterback.

He has starter ability in this league. Clearly, McCarthy said of DeShone Kizer, per Zach Kruse of USA Today’s Packers Wire. In my opinion, if he was in that class this year, he would have been part of the first five quarterbacks, the first-round guys. He has exceptional arm talent.

The head coach pointed to a clean slate for Kizer as one reason for optimism.

What we’re asking him to do is, particularly in the footwork and just how we operate is brand new to him. That always excites me, McCarthy said. When you see that, when a guy has no experience or background but has the ability, that’s an opportunity for a lot of growth. I think he has a bright future.

Kizer is just 22 years old, while Rodgers is 34 and coming off a broken collarbone. If McCarthy is proved right and Kizer does have first-round talent, Green Bay would have a quarterback of the future to build with after Rodgers eventually exits his prime.

The first step toward that goal came Friday, when Griffin joined the Seattle Seahawks’ other eight draft picks, 15 undrafted free agents and dozens of other players for the start of the team’s three-day rookie minicamp. It was Griffin’s first practice with the Seahawks since they chose him in the fifth round, making him the first player in the NFL’s modern era with one hand to be drafted and reuniting him with his twin brother, Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin, in the process.

Quem looked very aggressive, coach Pete Carroll said of Friday’s practice. We had to slow him down in some stuff early in the practice. In the walk-throughs, he was going too hard so we had to chill him out a little bit. But he’s very excited about being here. He’s a very, very good-looking prospect. He’s big and fast and he had a good feel for what’s going on. Obviously, [Shaquill] had done a little bit of tutoring. He was ahead of us a little bit, which was good.tigers_007-115x115

Orlando Franklin is calling it quits.

The former Broncos and Chargers offensive lineman announced Saturday that he is retiring after seven seasons in the NFL.

After one campaign in Washington, Franklin was released by the Redskins this week. The 30-year-old cited family and health as reasons for his early retirement.

Unfortunately Ryan will not be able to contribute on the field during the remainder of this season, Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement. However, even off the field Ryan will continue to be one of our team leaders. We know his spirit and positive outlook will help him to continue in his recovery, as well as serve as an inspiration to our team.

We didn’t play without him. He was out here with us, and we know it, quarterback Ben Roethsliberger said after their 39-38 dramatic win. Buddy, we love you so much. This one was for you, bud.

Before the game, Antonio Brown and several other teammates wore customized cleats in honor of Shazier.

The current policy permits a player’s right to protest. My guess is they will leave it up to the teams, a high-ranking official said. Colin Kaepernick started the protests against racial and social injustice in America and it quickly spread throughout the league. Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017 and was not signed by any team last season. He remains a free agent. After receiving backlash from fans on both sides, the NFL appears to be putting the onus of anthem protests on the owners.

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians has been making his rounds in the media since retiring from coaching following last season. It’s clear that Arians has been eyeing a media job during this time.

So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Arians has reportedly agreed to join the CBS NFL crew as an in-game analyst. According to The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch, Arians will join the existing team of play-by-play broadcaster Greg Gumbel and analyst Trent Green. This report comes on the same day that it looks like Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will give up his football cleats to join ESPN’s Monday Night Football crew ( more on that here ).tigers_069-115x115

So what has coach Todd Bowles noticed about Hackenberg’s overhauled throwing motion?

It’s only a small sample, Bowles said. We just started getting out on the field. As the weeks go on, you’ll be able to tell. Right now, it’s still early. I’m aware of it, but he hasn’t been on the field enough for me to notice completely.

Bowles is taking a wait-and-see approach with how Hackenberg’s new throwing motion might help his accuracy issues.

In the end, the Packers’ offseason remains mostly about the draft. Last year, they found two running backs, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, who showed enough flash as rookies for the team to think they’ll be key contributors in Year 2. The Packers have found star receivers in the second round consistently — see Jennings, Nelson, Cobb and Adams — and are a good bet to do so again.

The Packers are going through a process they have been through several times before. And while changes with both McCarthy and Rodgers in mind haven’t been made in a while, history proves patience will pay off. Regardless of Rodgers’ initial reaction to the changes, they are being made for the good of the QB’s greatness.

At least one record was broken at the 144th Run for the Roses and not one anyone will be celebrating.

The National Weather Service declared it the wettest Derby on record, and the rain is still coming down. The weather service tweeted that the official rainfall measurement stood at 2.83 inches at 6:10 p.m., about a half-hour before the big race.

Rain was still pouring, and the weather service expects it to taper off slowly through the evening. A flash flood warning was issued for areas within a few blocks of Churchill Downs. Puddles of ankle-deep were scattered around Churchill Downs, and the downpours sent Derby goers cowering for cover all day long.

Without Nelson, the Packers still will have improved red-zone pop for Rodgers’ return. Adams and Graham each scored 10 touchdowns last season, tied for fifth in the NFL.

The team paid Adams like a No. 1 receiver for the long term before the 2017 season ended. He did have two concussions last season, but he’s been mostly durable and has only scratched the surface as a dominant, young target, still only 25. He’s headed toward giving Green Bay the best of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver in one complete package.canucks_007

Browns sign Eric Berry’s brother, Evan Berry, as UDFA

John Dorsey can’t bring Eric Berry with him in his move from Kansas City to Cleveland, so he’s trying the next closest thing: The safety’s brother.

Rashaan Evans is the next cyborg to roll off the Crimson Tide linebacker assembly line. He can play all over Vrabel’s front seven. Love the pick.

On the first slide, I told you that I didn’t have these in any order, but if I did then this would be the worst value of the first-round picks. The Seahawks’ selection of Rashaad Penny surprised a lot of people at 27th overall.

I can’t say it much better than the sarcastic writing of The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman, who wrote, “Any time you can use a first-round pick to fill a non-pressing gap with a not-highly regarded player at a non-important position, you gotta do it.”

Here’s what else we learned from DeCosta’s interview with The Lounge:

DeCosta joined Harbaugh and Newsome in the insistence that Jackson is no immediate threat to Joe Flacco ‘s job security.

There’s no bigger believer in Joe Flacco than me, DeCosta said. I know Joe can lead this team into the playoffs this year…. I’ve got no doubts in Joe’s abilities.

And with Lamar I think that we’ve drafted a guy that is a great athlete, a great kid, just an unbelievable college player with a skill set to provide us with tremendous insurance and someday be a really, really good player in this league.

Isaiah Wynn went 23rd overall to the Patriots, which is below where many expected. Former Giants offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz certainly thought New England made the right choice.giants_157

Falcons’ Matt Ryan becomes first NFL quarterback to get deal with $100 million guarantee

You knew it was bound to happen, it was just a question of when.

Now, with free agency and the draft out of the way, the Atlanta Falcons have taken care of their guy.

Quarterback Matt Ryan on Thursday agreed to a five-year contract extension that includes an average annual salary of $30 million, and $100 million in guaranteed money, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations. The person requested anonymity because the figures were not publicly announced.

Ryan becomes the first quarterback to land a contract of $100 million guaranteed. And, he sets the annual compensation bar at $30 million.

This extension was our primary focus this offseason, said General Manager Thomas Dimitroff in a statement. Matt has been a pillar of stability for this franchise for a decade, and it is a great feeling knowing that he will remain at our helm for six more years. Matt has proven to be a leader for this franchise on and off the field, and we are fortunate to have him as our quarterback. Matt has guided us to a decade of success that is unmatched in franchise history, but we all know there is more to be accomplished, and we are confident we can get that done with Matt.

First couple games didn’t have my legs maybe the way I’m used to, he said. It was just fun being out there. It was almost good to get out there in the playoffs, because there’s not a lot of thinking to be done. You just go out and play. I missed it a lot and just being a part of the whole things and being with the team and going through the ups and downs, it’s something i missed throughout the whole year.

After his first concussion cost him exactly one month of games, the second seemed never ending for the 27-year-old. Despite the two concussions, plus one he suffered with the Capitals a few years ago, he doesn’t have any reservations about being back on the ice.

You kind of wonder how long it’s going to be and what’s going to happen, but once you’re fine, you kind of let that go, Johansson said. You just want to go out and play again. I’m really happy that I got to that point. It took a little longer than I wanted it to, but that’s the case with head injuries, too.

“With the NFL, CFL, football in general that’s where I shine best — my explosiveness and my quickness getting out of the hole, out of my stance — and I think given a season under my belt with training, proper technique and coaching it can only get better from there.”nike_jets_1627