NFC Notes: RGIII, Wilson, Hardy

Washington head coach Jay Gruden says he expects quarterback Robert Griffin III to make “significant strides” in 2015, as Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com writes. Gruden named Griffin the No. 1 quarterback entering the offseason back in February and earlier this month, he had his fifth-year option exercised for 2016. Tonight’s glance at the NFC..

  • When asked how likely it is to get a deal done with Russell Wilson before camp, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said: “I don’t know that. Not talking about that right now,” Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times tweets. However, the coach did say that the two sides have been “very close” in how they have communicated (link).
  • The NFLPA hired an outside firm to help represent Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy in his appeal on Wednesday, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets.
  • David Moore of The Dallas Morning News doesn’t see Adrian Peterson winding up with the Cowboys. Moore always felt that Peterson coming to Dallas was possible, but that was tied into the draft. Now that the draft is in the rear view mirror, he doesn’t see it happening.

Minor Moves: Tuesday Night

Earlier today, we rounded up the day’s smaller transactions. Here are the latest minor moves..

  • The Seahawks announced they have signed draft picks Frank Clark and Tyler Lockett to their rookie contracts, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times tweets. Seattle now has all of its picks under contract.
  • The Cowboys officially signed third-round offensive lineman Chaz Green, Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun tweets. With Green in the fold, only two picks remain unsigned for Dallas: cornerback Byron Jones and linebacker Damien Wilson.
  • The Steelers removed wide receiver L’Damian Washington from injured reserve with an injury settlement, according to Wilson (on Twitter).
  • The Browns have signed offensive lineman Eric Olsen and linebacker Mike Reilly, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal (on Twitter). Olsen, a four-year NFL vet, has appeared in 23 games with four starts over the course of his career. Reilly was a participant in Cleveland’s rookie minicamp.
  • The Raiders have signed seventh-round cornerback Dexter McDonald. McDonald was selected 242nd overall by the Raiders in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played three seasons at Kansas, starting 24-of-31 games at cornerback.

AFC North Notes: Brown, Mack, Rice

Despite rumors that he might not show up for offseason workouts, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown joined his teammates on Tuesday, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes. Brown may be pushing for a new deal, but he’s not pouting in public over it. “This is a community that I love,” Brown said Tuesday. “My kids go to school here. I want to keep a good reputation. Obviously money’s not important to me. I’ve got enough. The organization has extremely blessed me. I’m ready to play football.” When asked directly whether he’s looking for a new deal, Brown said that’s “not my business to discuss” and directed questions to agent Drew Rosenhaus. More from the AFC North..

  • Browns center Alex Mack said “absolutely not” when asked if he has decided whether he’ll opt out of contract after 2015 season, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal tweets. Mack is in line for a fully guaranteed salary of $8MM in 2015 and he can opt in for the same amount in 2016. If Mack opts out after the 2015 season, the Browns would be unable to use the franchise or transition tag on him, since the deadline for his decision comes after the deadline for those tags to be applied.
  • Two team executives say that clubs won’t give former Ravens running back Ray Rice a chance after Ray McDonald‘s latest arrest, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Some in football are also wondering if there will be penalties imposed against teams that take chances on guys like McDonald in the event of a repeat offense.
  • The Steelers (on Twitter) announced that they have named Steve Meyer a coaching assistant. Meyer served as the team’s scouting intern in 2013 and 2014.

East Notes: Hardy, Brady, Mathis

The appeal hearing for Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy will be conducted on Thursday morning with Harold Henderson in Washington D.C., according to Ed Werder of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Hardy was hit with a 10-game suspension earlier this offseason for his role in a domestic violence incident that took place roughly one year ago. Hardy made the Pro Bowl in 2013 after he compiled a career-high 15 sacks, and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him as the second-best overall defensive end in the league. Here’s a look at the AFC and NFC East..

  • The only thing delaying the date for Tom Brady‘s appeal is finding a date that works for both the Patriots quarterback and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Werder tweets.
  • Evan Mathis was a no-show for start of Eagles OTAs, as Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The workouts, much like the previous programs that Mathis missed, are all voluntary. Mandatory minicamp starts on June 16th.
  • The Jets promoted Matt Bazirgan to become the new pro personnel director, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. Bazirgan, who has been with Jets since 2004, was an area scout for eight years before being promoted to assistant pro personnel director in 2013. Bazirgan replaces Brendan Prophett, who spent nine seasons as the head of the Jets’ pro personnel department.

Minor Moves: Tuesday

Here are Tuesday’s minor transactions from around the NFL, with any additional moves added to the top of the list throughout the evening:

  • The Colts announced a series of roster moves today, adding free agent cornerback Chance Casey and undrafted guard Will Corbin. In a corresponding transaction, the club waived-injured cornerback Joshua Mitchell, who will revert to IR if he clears waivers. Casey saw some regular season action over the last two years with the Raiders, and also spent time with the Niners.
  • Undrafted rookie free agent Zach D’Orazio signed with the Patriots today, a league source tells Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. The former Akron wideout informed Cleveland broadcaster John Telich (Twitter link) yesterday that he’d be signing with New England.
  • The Browns have waived a pair of players who spent time on the team’s practice squad in 2014, according to a team release. Linebacker Keith Pough and defensive lineman Calvin Barnett were both cut, with Pough receiving an injury designation (hamstring).
  • Defensive lineman Daryl Waud, who signed with Washington last week following a tryout, has been waived with a left squad designation, the club announced today (Twitter link). Waud is expected to join the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts after clearing waivers.

Latest On Adrian Peterson

As expected, the Vikings’ organized team activities got underway today without Adrian Peterson, and the running back is prepared to forfeit his $250K workout bonus by not reporting to Minnesota’s OTAs. Unhappy with his current situation, Peterson has “ruminated on the possibility of retirement more than once” since last season, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com.

The update from La Canfora appears to be the latest attempt by Peterson’s camp to regain some leverage in the running back’s standoff with the Vikings. The team has so far expressed a complete unwillingness to explore trade possibilities for Peterson, and at this point in the offseason, it’s not likely that there would be a long list of suitors anyway.

As Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link) observes, while renegotiating Peterson’s contract to guarantee some money is one tactic the Vikings could use to try to mend fences with their star running back, the 30-year-old’s primary goal is to play somewhere besides Minnesota. Still, no matter how strong Peterson’s desire is to move on, or how many rumors his camp leaks about a potential holdout or the possibility of retirement, the Vikes appear unlikely to change their stance, writes La Canfora.

Except for perhaps the Cowboys, no team currently looks like a reasonable trade partner for the Vikings, and it has always seemed like a long shot that any club would part with multiple top draft picks to land a 30-year-old running back set to earn a $12.75MM salary. Ultimately, as La Canfora outlines, the end game now is probably what it has been all along — the Vikes making some changes to Peterson’s contract, and perhaps restoring the bonuses that he’s currently in the process of forfeiting.

With Peterson and agent Ben Dogra digging their heels in, it may be a few weeks – or even months – before we find out how this situation will be resolved. However, this late in the offseason, it would be an unexpected twist if Peterson retired or was traded.

West Notes: Broncos, Bennett, Rivers

The Broncos will have to make a call this week on whether or not they want to keep Antonio Smith on their roster as their organized team activities get underway, writes Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. Smith is being investigated following a complaint of possible child abuse of a sexual nature, and while that’s a serious allegation, the defensive lineman has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime, so Denver’s decision isn’t as clear-cut as the one the Bears faced with Ray McDonald.

As we wait to see whether or not the Broncos decide to cut ties with Smith, let’s round up a few more notes out of the NFL’s two West divisions….

  • Russell Wilson, Jimmy Graham, and Cliff Avril won’t report immediately to the Seahawks‘ OTAs as they deal with various personal and family matters, according to Danny Neil of 710 ESPN Radio in Seattle (Twitter links). The more notable absence for Seattle is defensive end Michael Bennett, writes NFL.com’s Kevin Patra, citing ESPN Radio. The standout pass rusher suggested earlier this offseason that he wouldn’t mind reworking his contract, which he just signed a year ago.
  • Philip Rivers is in action for the Chargers as they begin their OTAs, but there hasn’t been much contract-related discussion between the two sides this month, tweets Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
  • Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf recently reiterated that she opposes the idea of spending any public funds on a new football stadium in the city, as Rachel Swan of SFGate.com details. For a new stadium to work for the Raiders in Oakland, a gap of about $400MM in financing would have to be closed somehow.

Cowboys Sign A.J. Jenkins

12:07pm: The Cowboys have officially signed Jenkins, the team confirmed today in a press release.

11:53am: To make room on their roster for Jenkins, the Cowboys are waiving wide receiver Chris Boyd with an injured designation, tweets Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com. Boyd spent some time last season on Dallas’ practice squad before signing a reserve/futures contract with the team in January.

10:08am: After signing Darren McFadden earlier this offseason, the Cowboys are adding another former first-round offensive playmaker to their roster, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, who tweets that A.J. Jenkins is signing with the team. Jenkins worked out for Dallas last week.

Like McFadden, Jenkins hasn’t lived up to his draft position so far in his NFL career, though the running back has at least seen plenty of playing time. After being selected 30th overall by the 49ers in 2012, Jenkins never recorded a single reception in San Francisco, and was traded to the Chiefs prior to the 2013 season. In two seasons in Kansas City, the Illinois product grabbed just 17 balls, and was cut back in February along with Donnie Avery.

While the Cowboys may still see some upside in Jenkins, it’s also possible that he’ll simply be a camp body, and won’t make the cut when teams reduce their rosters from 90 players to 53 at the end of the preseason.

Jenkins also worked out for the Jets this month.

Tashaun Gipson Not Attending Browns’ OTAs

The Browns’ organized team activities get underway today, and one notable defender won’t be in attendance. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via NFL.com’s Marc Sessler), safety Tashaun Gipson doesn’t intend to report to the team’s second round of offseason workouts. Gipson also skipped the first portion of the club’s voluntary spring program.

As I noted earlier this month when I provided an update on this year’s restricted free agent class, Gipson is the only RFA who appears demonstratively unhappy with his contract situation. After receiving a second-round tender from Cleveland, the safety has yet to sign that one-year offer, and is seeking a long-term contract, according to Rapoport.

Gipson, 24, has a stronger résumé than most players who become restricted free agents after their first three NFL seasons. Over the last two years, the Wyoming product has started 26 games for the Browns, racking up 146 tackles during that stretch and showing a knack for coming up with big plays — he has grabbed 11 interceptions during the last two seasons, returning two of them for touchdowns. Despite playing just 11 games in 2014, Gipson earned a Pro Bowl nod.

If Gipson wants to play hardball with the Browns, he’s in a decent position to do so. Because he remains unsigned, he could skip the team’s mandatory minicamp and decline to report to training camp without risking a fine. Still, it would be a surprise if Gipson’s holdout extended into the regular season, since another strong year would put him in line for a nice payday in 2016, when he’s eligible for unrestricted free agency.

NFC North Notes: Ihedigbo, Peterson, Bears

Here’s the latest out of the NFC North, as a handful of teams’ OTAs around the league get underway….

  • Safety James Ihedigbo, who is seeking a new contract, will report to the Lions‘ offseason workouts today, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter links). Birkett adds that Ihedigbo will be at the team’s OTAs and minicamp, presumably as a show of good faith as he attempts to work out a new deal.
  • Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links) clears up some misinformation about Adrian Peterson‘s contract with the Vikings, pointing out that the running back has to participate in the team’s entire OTA and minicamp programs to earn his $250K bonus — not just 90% of those activities, as has been reported elsewhere. Either way, it appears Peterson will forfeit that bonus money, as he did back in 2012 (Twitter link).
  • One reason the Bears were willing to roll the dice on Ray McDonald this offseason was the fact that he was a tremendous on-field fit for Vic Fangio‘s scheme, having played under the defensive coordinator in San Francisco. Now that McDonald is no longer in the mix in Chicago, the club will have to turn to Plan B. Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com and John Mullin of CSNChicago.com examine what that backup plan might look like.

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