Patriots Likely To Face Discipline For Video Incident

It seems like the Patriots aren’t going to be exonerated of wrongdoing by the league for the videotaping incident that dominated headlines this past week. For a full primer on the scandal, click here.

The NFL is “likely to penalize” New England, sources tell Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Maske writes that the league office is “contemplating disciplinary measures in line with those imposed on teams in recent seasons for infractions of game-day rules.” As for the type of punishment, he writes that it could “mean a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially the loss or reduction in value of a draft choice, typically a lower-level pick.” Maske highlights a number of incidents that sources indicated could serve as precedents.

The Giants were fined $150K back in 2016 for using walkie-talkies on the sideline, and the Falcons were fined $350K for artificially adding crowd noise in 2015. One source told him that the NFL has been “consistent on game-day violations,” and that will likely continue here. Fortunately for the Pats, Maske writes that Bill Belichick and individual members of the organization aren’t being targeted for potential punishments.

While Roger Goodell had previously said that the Patriots’ history with illegal videotaping would be taken into account, Maske writes that neither Belichick nor anybody else are being “viewed as repeat offenders.” He adds that the penalties aren’t set in stone yet, and deliberations in the league office will resume on Sunday.

The league is apparently hoping for a resolution as soon as possible, so we should know more shortly. All things considered, it doesn’t seem like they’re going to be cracking down too hard or hitting the Patriots with anything too severe. The organization likely wouldn’t lose much sleep over a fine, although obviously a potential draft pick sanction would be much more significant. Notably, Atlanta was docked a fifth-round pick in 2016 for the incident that Maske says is being used as a comparison.

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Browns Not Eager To Extend Joe Schobert

We heard about a month ago that the Browns had discussed an extension with linebacker Joe Schobert, but it doesn’t sound like there’s been much progress. Cleveland has “made little effort” to extend him and they “are willing to let him walk in free agency,” a source told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Schobert said last month that his agent had conversations with the front office about a new deal, but Cabot reports that the two sides haven’t spoken in months and that when the subject was briefly discussed, it “was evident the franchise was not serious about re-signing him at that time.” That might rankle some Browns fans, as Schobert has been having a great season. Kay Cabot also writes that the figures that were discussed wouldn’t have even made Schobert the highest-paid linebacker on the team, a distinction currently held by Christian Kirksey and his $9.5MM average salary.

Schobert, a 2017 Pro Bowler, has the seventh-most tackles in the league this year. He also has two sacks, two forced fumbles, four interceptions, and nine passes defended. The Wisconsin product was originally drafted by the Browns in the fourth round back in 2016. He played a part-time role as a rookie before becoming a starter in his second season. He’s now playing out the final year of his rookie deal, and if the Browns don’t retain him he should have no shortage of suitors on the open market.

According to Kay Cabot Schobert recently acknowledged he might not get to stay a Brown, but said “in my perfect world, yeah, I’d be in Cleveland.” The Browns have obviously been having a disappointing season, and they could look to make major changes this spring. It’ll be very interesting to see what ends up happening with Schobert.

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Seahawks Activate Ethan Pocic From IR

The Seahawks are getting a boost as they gear up for their playoff push. The team is activating offensive lineman Ethan Pocic off injured reserve, they announced in a release.

To make room for him on the roster they officially placed running Rashaad Penny, who tore an ACL last week, on injured reserve. Pocic was placed on injured reserve after Week 6, and is now returning when first eligible after missing the requisite eight games. He had been dealing with a back issue. Pocic started the team’s opener at left guard and played 100 percent of the snaps, but injuries have limited him to just two games in his third season as a pro.

Seattle drafted him in the second round back in 2017, and he started 11 games as a rookie while appearing in all 16. An LSU product, injuries limited him to only ten appearances last year with four starts. Pocic has played all along the offensive line during his college and pro days, so he brings some valuable versatility to the unit. Normal starting center Justin Britt is on injured reserve with an ACL tear of his own, and Joey Hunt has been filling in. Now that Pocic is back, he could push Hunt for that gig soon. Either way, he’ll be a nice depth piece for the stretch run.

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Terrell Suggs Only To Play For Ravens?

An interesting showdown is setting up between pass-rusher Terrell Suggs and NFL teams. Suggs, released earlier this week, only wants to play for the Ravens and will “strongly consider” not reporting to other teams who claim him, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Suggs started his career with the team, and wants to return to Baltimore to finish it out. The only problem is that since the Ravens have the league’s best record they have the lowest priority waiver claim, so all 31 other teams will have to pass on him for him to get his wish. Suggs “has told some people that he is unlikely to report anywhere other than Baltimore,” Schefter writes. Suggs can be claimed at 4pmET on Monday, so we’ll know his next destination in the next couple of days.

Even if a team knows that Suggs will retire rather than play for them, they might still be inclined to claim him just to block the Ravens from adding some help right before the playoffs. It would certainly make sense for a fellow contender to want to spoil Baltimore’s plans, and Suggs is only owed $350K for the rest of the season.

The longtime veteran was drafted tenth overall by the Ravens all the way back in 2003. He spent the next 16 seasons with the team and became a franchise icon, winning Super Bowl XLVII with them and making the Pro Bowl seven times. He remained reasonably productive with seven sacks last year, but the Ravens let him walk to Arizona. He inked a one-year, $7MM deal with the Cardinals, and ended up finishing with 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games with them.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 12/14/19

Here are Saturday’s minor moves:

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

  • Promoted from practice squad: DL Deyon Sizer
  • Signed off Colts’ practice squad: NT Kyle Peko
  • Waived: LB Ahmad Gooden

Indianapolis Colts

  • Promoted from practice squad: G Jake Eldrenkamp

Tennessee Titans

Redskins Place Paul Richardson On IR

Having only played one game since November 3, Paul Richardson will not return to action until 2020. The Redskins placed the sixth-year wide receiver on IR Saturday.

Washington promoted tackle Timon Parris to take Richardson’s roster spot. The former Seahawks contract-year standout has been battling a hamstring injury. After getting in two limited practices this week, Richardson did not practice Friday. The Redskins had previously declared both Richardson and fellow wideout Trey Quinn out for Week 15.

A 2018 free agent signing, Richardson has not worked out like the franchise hoped. He will fail to exceed 300 receiving yards for the fifth time in six NFL seasons, having done so only during his 2017 Seattle contract year. This season, the deep threat averaged a career-low 8.8 yards per catch, hauling in 28 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Richardson’s first two seasons with Washington will have included 15 missed games by year’s end.

The Redskins gave Richardson a five-year, $40MM contract last March. Should Washington opt to move on from the 27-year-old target, the franchise would only save $2.5MM while incurring $6MM in dead money. Richardson is due a non-guaranteed $6MM base salary in 2020.

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Lions Place Jarrad Davis, Joe Dahl On IR

Neither Jarrad Davis nor Joe Dahl practiced this week, and the Lions will use the two starters’ roster spots to promote two healthier players.

Davis and Dahl are now on Detroit’s IR list, with the former battling knee and ankle maladies and the latter sidelined because of knee and back discomfort. The Lions promoted running back Wes Hills and tackle Dan Skipper to their 53-man roster.

This move ends Davis’ third season. Although the 24-year-old defender dodged a preseason injury scare, he did not begin this campaign until Week 3 because of a high ankle sprain. This latest setback will shelve him for Detroit’s final three games.

A 2017 first-round pick, the linebacker made 63 tackles and recorded two sacks this season. The Lions must decide on the Florida alum’s fifth-year option by May. Pro Football Focus has not been especially fond of Davis’ NFL work, but he did register 100 tackles and six sacks in 2018. He’s started all 41 games he’s played as a Lion.

Given a contract extension during training camp, Dahl became a full-time starter for the first time this season. Working as Detroit’s top left guard, Dahl started all 13 Lions games this season. Coming into 2019, the interior lineman had started just four games in three years.

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NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Giants, Johnson

The Cowboys‘ best teams during the Jerry Jones era came under head coaches the owner hired from the college ranks, with Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer combining for three Super Bowl wins and six playoff berths from 1991-96. But the owner’s past five HC hires have come from the professional ranks. Jones is either attempting a stealth run at a college coach this time around or has changed his line of thinking since the Johnson-Switzer days.

“College coaches have the lowest — at head coach, coming directly into head coach — have the lowest percentage rate of success as opposed to coming from coordinator, as opposed to coming from the NFL or as opposed to coming from a head coaching job in the NFL,” Jones said during an interview with 105.3 The Fan (via The Athletic’s Jon Machota, subscription required). “It’s pretty obvious they have to get acquainted with personnel. … So you pay a price for somebody to get up to date that haven’t spent the prior months or years in the NFL.”

Both Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley and acclaimed ex-Ohio State leader Urban Meyer have been linked to the Cowboys, so it’s probably best not to dismiss Jones going the college route. But this stance does not point to the 77-year-old owner looking beyond the pro ranks for Jason Garrett‘s replacement.

Here’s the latest from the NFC East:

  • Giants fans eager for perhaps one final Eli Manning start at MetLife Stadium will be pleased Sunday. Daniel Jones will be given another week off due to his high ankle sprain, keeping Manning in the starting lineup for a Week 15 home tilt against the Dolphins. The 38-year-old quarterback threw two touchdown passes and did not turn the ball over on a rainy night against the Eagles, following an 11-game stretch featuring at least one Jones turnover. The Giants currently stand in the No. 2 overall draft slot, so Sunday’s game against the 3-10 Dolphins — with the 3-10 Redskins and 3-9-1 Lions and Cardinals looming — will be important for draft positioning.
  • Cut from the Giants largely because of a non-apology apology for using the word “retard” in a tweet to a fan, Janoris Jenkins is on the waiver wire this weekend. During an interview with TMZ, the veteran cornerback was more contrite. “It’s always a learning moment, man. Everybody’s going to learn from different situations … move forward and learn,” Jenkins said. “You just admit to it. Admit that you did wrong, which I did.” This, of course, comes at a time when Jenkins would prefer a team claim the balance of his five-year, $62.5MM contract. The 31-year-old defender is due to carry a non-guaranteed $10.15MM base salary in 2020. Envisioning a team claiming that seems difficult at this point.
  • The Eagles will be without Lane Johnson against the Redskins. The Pro Bowl right tackle left Monday night’s game in the first half due to an ankle injury. Johnson missed the Eagles’ Week 12 game because of a concussion.

Bears Activate DL Akiem Hicks

The Bears will bring back one of their top players for Week 15’s pivotal game against the Packers. Akiem Hicks is officially back on Chicago’s 53-man roster after spending eight weeks on IR.

Hicks has not played since the Bears’ Week 5 game, but the team did not place the Pro Bowl defensive end on IR until before its Week 7 contest. To make room on their 53-man roster, the Bears placed tight end Ben Braunecker on IR. Braunecker’s season will end because of a concussion.

Despite the Bears sitting at 4-6 in a high-caliber NFC playoff race in mid-November, Matt Nagy refused to shut down Hicks. The fourth-year Bear returned to practice less than two weeks ago and is set to return to his starting role — for a 7-6 Bears team — Sunday.

A former Saints third-round pick who’s emerged as one of the game’s top interior defensive linemen, Hicks was a key reason for the Bears’ defensive ascent last season. He registered at least seven sacks in each of the past three seasons, combining for 36 tackles for loss in that span as well. The 30-year-old lineman will obviously not run that streak to four but will stand to help the Bears in what is essentially a must-win game in Green Bay.

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Panthers Place OL Greg Little On IR

Greg Little‘s rookie season has come to an end. ESPN’s David Newton reports (via Twitter) that the Panthers left tackle has landed on the injured reserve. Carolina activated wideout Chris Hogan from the injured reserve to take the open roster spot.

Little had a tough act to follow in college, as he replaced former first-rounder Laremy Tunsil on the Ole Miss offensive line. His performance ended up being plenty impressive, and Little was ultimately selected in the second round of this past year’s draft.

The rookie had started three of his four games this season, but he’s been in and out of the lineup due to concussions. He sat out the past two games with an ankle injury, and that’s presumably the ailment that landed him on the injured reserve.

Hogan underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier this season. The former Patriots and Bills wideout will rejoin a receiving corps that has seen D.J. Moore solidify himself as a high-end receiver and Curtis Samuel eclipse his previous career-high receiving total. Hogan caught just three passes for 24 yards before injuring his knee.

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NFL News & NFL Rumors