NFL Notes: L.A., St. Louis, Preseason, Arrests

Here are a few other stories of note from around the NFL this Friday night:

  • While no decisions have been made about the Los Angeles market, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report says that he has spoken to five NFL owners, and the preferred situation would be for the Rams and Chargers to join forces there. The Raiders could still get back into the conversation, but Cole says that owner Mark Davis would make it easier for himself if he sold part of the team to relieve financial constraints, which would make the other owners more comfortable with the move.
  • While the Rams are pushing to move to Los Angeles, the city of St. Louis is making its efforts to keep the team in town, but City Comptroller Darlene Green questions the financing the most recent stadium proposal, writes David Hunn of St. Louis Today“Taxes will increase,” Green said. “And that’s not what was promised to our citizens.”
  • At the recent meetings, NFL owners discussed the idea of reducing the preseason from four games to three, as Cole tweets. The owners also discussed expanding the regular season beyond 16 games, but those two ideas are not tied together.
  • Arrests among NFL players is down 35% since the league expanded its policies and programs from last year, and future NFL chief disciplinary officer Todd Jones is encouraged by the early results, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today. He adds that the NFLPA is protesting Jones’ appointment as a direct violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

Zach Link contributed to this post.

Extra Points: Palmer, Seahawks, Spiller, McCoy, Bengals

At the age of 35, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer isn’t committing to anything beyond this season, Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report writes. However, he is committing entirely to this season.

I think my realization that the window is closing and my career is not going to go on for a long time, that has changed a little of my approach,” he said. “I’ve always been pretty intense, but I think everybody gets to that point where you realize, man, I only have a couple left. That definitely has changed me a little bit.”

  • The Seahawks have injury issues with Marshawn Lynch ruled out for this Sunday’s game against the Bengals, but Fred Jackson is likely to play, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (via Twitter). They also have Rod Smith on the practice squad, and could move him to the active roster for depth (via Twitter). The team is considering moving Tharold Simon to injured reserve to make room (via Twitter).
  • The Saints offense took a hit in terms of explosiveness when they traded Darren Sproles to the Eagles, but they have a new playmaker in the backfield with free agent pickup C.J. Spiller, writes Mike Triplett of The team is hoping he keeps the threat of the big play alive when he is on the field.
  • Although he has been trying to play each week so far, Bills running back LeSean McCoy could miss an additional three games with a hamstring injury he described as a “grade-two pull,” according to
  • The Bengals earned a reputation as a cheap operation over the years but they have turned things around in a major way.’s Joel Corry looked at the changes made in Cincinnati that have turned the franchise around, leading to their 4-0 start. The Bengals are built primarily with homegrown talent as 47 of the 58 players on the current roster. Only the Packers, another top team, have a higher percentage of homegrown talent.

NFC North Notes: Zenner, Ford, Palardy, Richardson

Lions running back Zach Zenner had two huge carries on Monday night against the Seahawks, and has made a compelling case to take some of Joique Bell‘s playing time, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Bell has missed time with knee and ankle injuries, and but was only averaging 1.1 yards per carry on 20 attempts so far this season. Zenner only has four carries on the season, but could see an increased workload going forward.

  • The Ford family has owned the Lions for years, and Bill has served as the team’s vice chairman for over 20 years. However, he admitted that it is actually his mother Martha who has been running the organization since William Clay Ford passed away in March, according to Aaron McMann of“She’s in charge. She absolutely is,” Bill said. “Since my father passed away over a year ago, my mother is in charge and she makes all the decisions.”
  • The Bears worked out punter Michael Palardy today at Halas Hall, according to Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times (via Twitter). The rookie was previously with the Rams.
  • Packers safety Sean Richardson will miss the rest of the season with a neck injury, which could be career threatening according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC East Notes: Cassel, Cowboys, Kelly

The NFC East is in flux right now, with the Cowboys, Giants, and Washington all sitting at 2-2 and the Eagles only a game behind at 1-3. Here are a few notes as we get ready for Week 5:

  • The Cowboys have activated Matt Cassel to be the primary backup behind Brandon Weeden, according to Kellen Moore had previously been the backup as Cassel learned the offense, and will drop to the No. 3 quarterback for this Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
  • The Cowboys have only 52 players on their roster at the moment and David Moore of The Dallas Morning News expects them to promote either defensive end Lavar Edwards or wide receiver Vince Mayle from the practice squad to fill out that final spot (via Twitter).
  • In college news, USC lost to Washington at home despite being a huge favorite, leading to rumors that the Trojans could be in the market for a new head coach, and Eagles’ head coach Chip Kelly could be a target, according to Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated. This was a huge defeat considering head coach Steve Sarkisian’s ugly start at the school, which was also considering Chris Petersen, who instead was hired in Washington. The loss has begun speculation of Sarkisian being replaced at Southern Cal, and one name the school would be extremely interested in Kelly, who they were interested in before he left for the NFL.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Broncos To Release James Casey

The Broncos are going to release fullback/tight end James Casey, a league source tells Adam Caplan of (on Twitter). Casey inked a one-year deal with the Broncos back in April.

The Broncos will make this move in order to clear room for Derek Wolfe, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (via Twitter). Wolfe is returning from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Casey has appeared in three games so far for Denver but he has ye to record a carry or a reception. Currently, the veteran is dealing with a knee injury and prior to today’s news he was said to be questionable for Sunday’s tilt against the Raiders.

After being released by the Eagles in late February, the veteran received interest from a variety of clubs, including the Cardinals, Titans, Browns, Jaguars, Bengals and Washington. Casey first visited with Denver in late February but he didn’t put pen to paper until a couple of months later.

A 2009 fifth-round pick out of Rice, Casey saw his snap count progressively increase during his tenure with the Texans. His best season came in 2012, when he caught 34 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns. In 2013, he inked a three-year, $14.6MM contract with the Eagles. His role was diminished while playing in Philadelphia, as his snap count decreased from 609 in 2012 to only 173 last season. Still, Casey continued his six-year run of receiving a positive rating from Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

As a former Texan, Casey has a history with coach Gary Kubiak who also encouraged Denver to sign tight end Owen Daniels earlier this offseason. Daniels hasn’t set the world on fire offensively in 2015, but he has seen far more burn than Casey.

Texans Name Brian Hoyer Starting QB

What’s old is new again in Houston. Weeks after benching quarterback Brian Hoyer in favor of Ryan Mallett, Texans coach Bill O’Brien told reporters, including Tania Ganguli of (on Twitter), that Hoyer will once again be the team’s starter for the team’s Week 6 game against the Jaguars.

Mallett was pulled from the Thursday night game against the Colts after taking a big hit in the backfield. Hoyer, the team’s original starter for the season, was called in and he played decently the rest of the way. Hoyer completed 24-of-31 passes for 312 yards and tossed two touchdowns to rookie Jaelen Strong.

Despite lacking a franchise-caliber quarterback last year, the Texans finished 9-7 and nearly made their first trip to the playoffs since 2012. In the offseason, the team traded Ryan Fitzpatrick to the Jets for a conditional late-round pick. Fitzpatrick started 12 games, completed over 63% of his passes, and threw 17 touchdowns against eight interceptions in 2014. The 32-year-old is career journeyman who has never been a world-beater, but he did fare respectably enough last season to rank as Pro Football Focus’ (subscription required) 12th-best QB out of 28 signal callers who played at least 50 percent of their teams’ offensive snaps.

To replace Fitzpatrick, Houston signed free agent Brian Hoyer on a two-year deal worth $4.75MM guaranteed, and re-signed Ryan Mallett to a two-year of his own worth $7MM. Neither was on Fitzpatrick’s level in 2014 and, so far, they haven’t played up to that level in 2015 either.

Hoyer will now have an opportunity to reassert himself as Houston’s starting quarterback, but it’s starting to look like the Texans will need to address the position once again in the offseason.


AFC East Notes: FJax, Bills, Dolphins, Lewis

Running back Fred Jackson was hurt when the Bills released him earlier this year and in a heartfelt piece for The Players’ Tribune, the veteran discussed the events surrounding his departure from Buffalo.

Any time you get caught off guard with news like that, you don’t know how to respond,” Jackson wrote. “The natural reaction is to be disappointed — which I was — or angry — which I also was. But at the end of the day, the NFL is a business and the team decided they thought it was in its best interest to release me. And no matter how I felt about the situation, I needed to find a new team. The best thing I could do is to find an organization that wanted me to be there, where I had a chance to make it to the playoffs and make a run at a Super Bowl — something I never got the opportunity to do in Buffalo.”

Within the essay, Jackson also says that he asked GM Doug Whaley if he needed to worry about his job being in jeopardy after pulling his hamstring in training camp. Whaley, he asserts, told him not to worry about his job, but he was dropped from the roster soon after.

Here’s more out of the AFC East..

  • James Walker of wonders if the Dolphins should explore their trade options between now and the deadline. He feels that wide receiver Rishard Matthews, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2016 and looking for a nice raise, would make sense as a trade chip. Through four games (but really three games because of his quiet Week 4) this season, Matthews has posted 17 cathes, 278 yards, and three touchdowns.
  • It’s hard to criticize Patriots running back Dion Lewis for signing a new deal when given the opportunity, Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald said on CSNNE. The Patriots signed Lewis to a contract extension through the 2017 season on Thursday. With the way Lewis is playing, that deal looks rather team-friendly at the moment.
  • Lewis can earn up to $400K in incentives in 2016 and 2017 if he plays in 60% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps, Howe tweets.

AFC West Notes: Allen, Janikowski, Raiders

Publicly, NFL owners aren’t saying much about where they stand on the Los Angeles situation, but five owners have told Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) that they would be in favor of a plan marrying the Rams and Chargers. Of course, that would leave the Raiders out in the cold, but owner Mark Davis could improve his team’s chances by selling a portion of the team to an L.A. investor. That’s a transaction that could take place “very soon,” according to a source who spoke with Cole.

Here’s more from the AFC West..

  • Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen has signed with Vanguard Sports and agent Joby Branion, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal (on Twitter). Allen was formerly repped by Athletes First. Allen, a 2013 third-round pick, is under contract through 2016 and earning less than $1MM this season and next. Needless to say, his next deal should be for a whole lot more.
  • Sebastian Janikowski is on the verge of setting the Raiders record for most games played and it sounds like he could pad his lead quite a bit. Long snapper Jon Condo says that Janikowski feels as though he could kick into his mid-40s and the kicker agrees, as Vic Tafur of The San Francisco Chronicle writes. “You look at my stats?” the 37-year-old asked. “That’s how I can tell. I’m doing the same thing I did 10 years ago, hitting 60-yarders in warm-ups before games. I don’t see the difference. The more you do, the more you work out, you can be strong.”
  • Fun fact from Steve Corkran of (on Twitter): Only five players remain on the Raiders‘ 53-man roster who were on the team when Al Davis died four years ago. None of those five players are starters.

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