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Footballguys #285 - 1/31 - News And Notes From Around The League

Volume 20, #285 -- Thursday Night, January 31st, 2019

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Howdy Folks,

Welcome to Friday. We're almost there and I can't wait. We've got some News and Notes so let's get to it.

J


1. NFL - Kyler Murray to make decision soon

Source: NFL Network - Ian Rapoport

Former Oklahoma QB and NFL Draft prospect Kyler Murray said Thursday, Jan. 31, that he hasn't yet decided on whether he'll commit to football or baseball, but it will come soon with spring training in February. 'Right now, I'm just working out, happy at the Super Bowl,' Murray told NFL Network.

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This is going to be hard to hear for NFL general managers, who hate uncertainty. Murray has enough questions on the field that it will be hard for him to go in the first round if he hasn't fully committed to football by draft day. Certainly this will be a focus of his interviews, and this episode could just end up being a ploy to get more out of the Oakland A's if Murray doesn't choose football or he isn't truly on the fence about the direction of his professional sports career.

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2. PIT - Ex-coach: WR Antonio Brown mess fixable

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Ed Bouchette

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown can still settle his differences with the team, former Steelers coach and current CBS analyst Bill Cowher said Wednesday, Jan. 30. 'I'm hopeful that at some point, in my opinion, that coach Mike Tomlin, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger will get in a room, shut the door and air their differences, and talk about where they are and see if there's any way they can get aligned moving forward,' Cowher told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. '... This is not a one- or two-year relationship. This is a period of time with all three of these guys. They've done some really special things. You just hate to see something get misinterpreted. If it's something irreconcilable, then you move on.'

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The longer this goes without any strong indications of a trade in the works, the more likely it becomes that Brown just comes back to the Steelers. That might be the best outcome for his fantasy stock.

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3. NYJ - NYJ won't break bank for Le'Veon Bell

Source: New York Daily News - Manish Mehta

Pittsburgh Steelers impending free-agent RB Le'Veon Bell is of interest to the New York Jets, but they won't break the bank to get him, in the opinion of beat writer Manish Mehta.

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This will likely be the stance of most teams. Bell isn't going to get the money he is looking for, and he might not even get the money he turned down when he didn't play on the franchise tag last year.

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4. NE - QB Tom Brady could be extended

Source: ESPNBoston.com - Mike Reiss

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady could have his contract extended after the season, according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. Brady would currently count $27 million against the cap in 2019.

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Brady has been giving the Patriots elite play at a below market price for his entire career. There's no reason it would change in the final years he plays with the team. Look for the Patriots to get a too good to be true deal in this age of escalating quarterback salaries.

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5. CAR - QB Cam Newton feeling good

Source: ESPN.com - David Newton

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) said his surgically repaired shoulder is feeling good.

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This is good news, but inconsequential until we see him on a field, which probably won't happen until the open of training camp at the earliest. The Andrew Luck saga has taught us to pay attention to everything, so this is still worth noting.

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6. NE - Dont'a Hightower to be reevaluated

Source: SI.com - Jenny Vrentas

New England Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower (illness) will be reevaluated Friday, Feb. 1, after he missed practice Thursday, Jan. 31, according to head coach Bill Belichick.

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Hightower is an important part of the Patriots pass rush and will be needed throw changeups at Sean McVay and the Rams offense.

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7. SEA - OLB Barkevious Mingo may not return

Source: The Seattle Times - Bob Condotta

Seattle Seahawks LB Barkevious Mingo could be on the roster bubble this offseason because the team would save $3.3 million in salary cap space if Mingo is released.

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Mingo is more role player than core performer. Chances are he'll be looking for yet another team after being part of one of the most underwhelming first round draft classes in recent history.

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8. SEA - Franchise tag for DE Frank Clark?

Source: The Seattle Times - Bob Condotta

Seattle Seahawks impending free-agent DE Frank Clark may be a candidate for the franchise tag this offseason, in the opinion of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta. Clark likely will look for a long-term contract this offseason.

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Clark can basically name his price tag after an outstanding season. The Seahawks need to either sign him or tag him, any other choice is malpractice.

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9. SEA - S Earl Thomas unlikely to receive tag

Source: The Seattle Times - Bob Condotta

Seattle Seahawks impending free-agent FS Earl Thomas likely will not receive the franchise tag this offseason, in the opinion of The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta.

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Thomas's health and age are both issues here. He and the Seahawks would have both been better off if he had been traded and signed to a new contract in the offseason.

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10. CAR - QB Cam Newton's shoulder improving

Source: The Charlotte Observer - Jourdan Rodrigue

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (shoulder) said he's greatly increased his range of motion in his throwing arm since undergoing surgery a week ago. He expressed his relief in his bothersome shoulder ailment being fixed. Newton is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp.

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So far so good in the news about Newton's surgery. We'll be monitoring this closely and share Newton's relief that the issue was surgically repaired instead of just rested in the offseason.

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11. GB - Two Green Bay coaches promoted

Source: Packers.com

Green Bay Packers assistant coaches Jason Simmons and Ryan Downard were promoted to defensive backs coach and assistant defensive backs coach, respectively. Additionally, running backs coach Ben Sirmans was officially retained.

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Simmons was formerly a special teams coach and cornerbacks coach. Sirmans has had success with young running backs and his retention is good news for Aaron Jones.

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12. NFL - Preston Williams banned from Combine

Source: NFL.com - Nick Shook

Former Colorado State WR and NFL Draft prospect Preston Williams was informed Thursday, Jan. 31, that he won't be able to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine because of a 2017 arrest for an altercation involving a woman, per league policy.

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Williams rivals Mississippi's DK Metcalf as the most talented receiver in the draft, but NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein reports that he is off of many draft boards. That doesn't mean he'll go undrafted, but it does mean that it will be telling to see who takes a chance on him and when.

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13. NFL - Jeffrey Simmons barred from Combine

Source: NFL.com - Nick Shook

Former Mississippi State DT and NFL Draft prospect Jeffery Simmons was informed Thursday, Jan. 31, that he won't be able to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine because of 2016 domestic-violence arrest, per league policy.

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Simmons has a lot of buzz about rehabilitating his image in the eyes of NFL scout per NFL.com draft expert Lance Zierlein and could still go very high in the draft. Zierlein has him as his #3 overall player.

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14. PHI - Giants QB QB Nick Foles an unenviable scenario

Source: NJ Advance Media - Ryan Dunleavy

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles is likely to part ways with the team this offseason, and some current teammates are concerned about some of his potential landing spots. 'I would hate to see him with the Giants just because I hate playing my friends, and if I end up back in Philly I'd have to play him twice a year,' Eagles DE Chris Long told NJ Advance Media. 'But I think whoever gets him is going to be very lucky. He's a leader. He's a franchise-type quarterback. The tough thing is we have another franchise quarterback, a guy who is homegrown and is going to be a great player for a long time to come.'

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It's clear Foles has greatly endeared himself to his teammates, which is a big selling point along with his postseason success. Jacksonville seems like one of the best destinations for him among the quarterback needy teams.

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15. NYG - RB Saquon Barkley runs off with award

Source: SNY - Ralph Vacchiano

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley has been named the 2018 Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, as decided by an online vote of fans.

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This is an easy call, although Phillip Lindsay's accomplishments were more unlikely and impressive considering his UDFA pedigree, and no one would have argued if Colts linebacker Darius Leonard won the award.

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16. NFL - WR Malcolm Mitchell hopes to play again

Source: ProFootballTalk.com - Curtis Crabtree

Free-agent WR Malcolm Mitchell recently underwent his 10th knee surgery but remains hopeful that he can return to the NFL despite having been out of action for the better part of two years.

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Mitchell can play when healthy, but it's very unlikely he'll ever stay on the field for long enough to have a fantasy impact again. He serves as a warning for teams looking to draft players with a history knee problems.

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17. DAL - Dallas a fit for WR Adam Humphries?

Source: The Dallas Morning News - John Owning

The Dallas Cowboys could be interested in Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Adam Humphries if WR Cole Beasley departs in free agency, according to the Dallas Morning News' John Owning, who believes Humphries could fill the slot role at a reasonable price.

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Humphries and Beasley have similar skillsets, but Humphries is four years younger. Chances are Humphries will come with a higher price tag, but both could be coveted with slot receiver becoming a more important position in 21st century NFL offenses.

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18. MIA - Miami eyeing 2020 for QB

Source: The Miami Herald - Barry Jackson

The Miami Dolphins are high on QBs Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama) and Justin Herbert (Oregon), according to the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson, who believes the team will not splurge in free agency or select a quarterback in the early rounds this year while angling for a high pick in the 2020 draft.

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There's some speculation that Jake Rudock could start for the team at quarterback. Look for the Dolphins to unload high-priced veterans this offseason and make moves more for the long term after many fruitless years of win now moves.

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19. DEN - RB Phillip Lindsay may be ready for workouts

Source: ESPN.com - Jeff Legwold

Denver Broncos RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) said he expects to participate in some of the workouts this offseason. General manager John Elway said Lindsay is on track to take part in organized team activities and the June minicamp.

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Lindsay should remain the starter, but the new offensive staff could seek to make Royce Freeman a bigger part of the offense to preserve Lindsay. Getting back on the field as early as possible will be good for the outstanding UDFA.

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20. GB - S Kentrell Brice may not receiver offer

Source: ESPN.com - Rob Demovsky

Green Bay Packers restricted free-agent S Kentrell Brice may not receive a tender offer this offseason, in the opinion of ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky.

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The Packers have a new regime and they will probably err on the side of bringing in new players when they are on the fence. Brice was a starter, but had some injury issues and didn't take a big step forward in his third year.

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That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and thanks for being part of Footballguys. We'll see you tomorrow with the Update.

Peace,

J