Extra Points: Manziel, Sam, Gilbert, Crabtree

There are story lines abound in the NFL, but which division is the league’s most compelling? NFL.com asked a roundtable of analysts that very question and there’s a wide range of answers. Charley Casserly likes the sardine-packed NFC West. Bucky Brooks likes the electrifying offenses of the NFC East. Dave Dameshek, meanwhile, picks the AFC North simply for Browns quarterbacks Johnny Manziel. More from around the league..

  • if Michael Sam can show some versatility over the next two games and an ability to hang on special teams, he can make the Rams‘ final cut on August 30th, writes Tom Pelissero of USA Today Sports. “Michael Sam has shown enough rushing the passer – and that’s what he is, he’s a DPR, he’s a designated pass rusher – that he can get off and beat a tackle on the upfield shoulder. He can spin and come underneath,” former Rams vice president of player personnel Tony Softli said. “He’s got to prove he can do it on special teams, and I think that’s going to be his (way) to make this team.”
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap takes a closer look at the contract extension the Steelers gave to Marcus Gilbert. Despite what others have said, the average annual value of the five new years ($6MM) isn’t too high in Fitzgerald’s estimation.
  • In a piece for the Sporting News, Fitzgerald looks at ways the 49ers and Michael Crabtree can come to terms on a deal in the next two weeks.
  • CFL commissioner Mark Cohon will not return for a third term when his contract expires next year, according to The Associated Press. Cohon, whose contract ends in April, wants to give the board of governors time to find a successor. The 48-year-old commissioner says this is the “right time” to leave.
  • The NFL needs to have a developmental league like the NBA, writes Andrew Brandt of The MMQB. In the next two weeks, many players will lose their jobs, and it would make sense for them to have a place to go. NFL Europe didn’t pan out as planned, but a league with teams in Florida, Texas or, Southern California would have players ready to hit the ground running nearby.
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