AFC Notes: Brady, Browns, Howard, Bolts

Here’s the latest coming out of the AFC as the legal tampering period looms.

  • Observing how the 2nd Circuit Court’s three-judge panel aimed its¬†scrutiny¬†in today’s Deflategate appeal in Manhattan, Tom Brady should be bracing for a setback in his efforts to put this 14-month-old matter behind him, Michael McCann of SI.com writes. McCann expects a 2-1 decision going in favor of the NFL. That doesn’t mean Brady will automatically miss the Patriots‘ first four games in 2016, with further appeals possible if the NFLPA loses this time, but it would bring this issue back to the forefront after a dormant several months that occurred following judge Richard Berman’s ruling in favor of Brady. The decision could take months, per McCann.
  • Hue Jackson wants the Browns to come away with two or three starters during free agency, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (on Twitter). The first-year Cleveland coach acknowledges, however, attracting the top targets will be difficult. Of course, the Browns could lose two top UFAs if Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz exit. Jackson “would love” to have Mack back and told media, including Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link), “You can put [a center’s value] right up there with the QB when you have a guy like that.”
  • Jackson will have the final say when it comes to which quarterback the Browns select at No. 2, if they opt to go quarterback with their top pick, according to Jeff Schudel of the Lorain Morning Journal. Sashi Brown‘s executive VP title won’t supersede Jackson’s offensive experience when it comes to making this choice, Schudel notes.
  • The Browns hired Joe Kim as an assistant, ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets. His title is assistant strength and skill development coach. Kim served in the same capacity for the Bears in 2014 and Washington last season. This will be the third stint for Kim in Cleveland. A Northeast Ohio native whose served as a consultant for several NFL teams since 2001, Kim is a former national taekwando champion who’s gone on to consult defenders on pass-rush techniques.
  • After the Chiefs applied the franchise tag to Eric Berry, they still have six current or former Kansas City starters entering the free agent market, including improving defensive end Jaye Howard. In a radio appearance with Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez (Twitter link), Howard said his status in Kansas City was “up in the air.” The Chiefs also feature Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali and Sean Smith as players who started for their No. 7-ranked defense last season whose contracts have expired. Howard, however, is younger than the other Chiefs’ key UFA defenders in entering his age-27 season. He was Pro Football Focus’ No. 24 interior defender, a grouping that includes 3-4 defensive ends, along with all defensive tackles.
  • The Chargers have until March 24 to qualify a stadium measure for the crucial November ballot which will contain an item regarding the use of public funds to finance a downtown stadium. The team’s expected to release a stadium financing plan at that time, Eric Williams of ESPN.com reports.
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