AFC Rumors: McCourty, Browns, Jaguars

The free agency defections of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, coupled with the release of Kyle Arrington, have the Patriots with a thin cornerback crop. One solution thrown around is moving Devin McCourty back to corner from the safety spot where he’s become an impact talent, but the recently re-signed McCourty has little interest in moving back outside, per the Boston Globe’s Steve Silva.

I want to play safety, but it’s out of my control so whatever the coaches decide is what it will have to be,” McCourty said to reporters after an OTA session Friday.

Relocating McCourty would leave New England thin on its back line as well, although Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner are entering their fourth seasons with the team — profiles that generally depict starting-capable players in the era of four-year rookie deals. The 2012 draft picks have combined for just four starts, however. Doubting the Patriots’ ability to make a patchwork secondary productive would be foolhardy at this point, though, given their track record.

Let’s look at some additional points from around the AFC.

  • The Browns‘ special teams makeover now includes punter, kicker and long snapper, after acquiring Andy Lee, cutting Billy Cundiff and Garrett Hartley and releasing snapper Christian Yount, notes Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. 2014 rookies Travis Coons and Carey Spear are vying to take over at kicker in Cleveland, and rookie Duke Johnson is expected to become the team’s new kick returner, though Justin Gilbert will likely be given a chance to do so as well, Cabot reports.
  • Fourth-round free safety James Sample will miss at least part of training camp after fracturing his arm in a Jaguars OTA session Thursday, reports Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. Sample underwent surgery on Friday. Expected to battle Sergio Brown for a starting position, Sample joins Dante Fowler Jr. as Jags rookies who’ve sustained serious injuries before shoulder pads enter the equation.
  • Steelers veteran nose tackle Steve McLendon said he played through a significant shoulder injury last season and after an offseason surgery is in better position to help out and push for a third contract with the team, reports Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The third-year starter is one of three Steelers starting defenders, along with Cameron Heyward and William Gay, entering a contract season. The 29-year-old who has missed six games the past two years is in the final year of a three-year, $7.25MM deal that represents the eighth-highest pact among nose tackles.
  • Third-round rookie John Miller is the frontrunner to start at left guard for the Bills this season, offers Sal Maiorana of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Chris Williams, who started three games last year for the Bills, hasn’t shown up to minicamp yet, and Rex Ryan told Maiorana he hasn’t spoken to the absent veteran. The Bills scribe doesn’t expect the former Bears flameout to be on the team much longer, especially if he doesn’t appear at mandatory minicamp next month.
  • Titans rookie Dorial Green-Beckham is seeking to trim down to 225 pounds by the time training camp begins. The mercurial specimen who hasn’t played in a game since 2013 is hovering in the high 230s now, notes The Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt.
  • Speaking of weight fluctuations, Melvin Ingram has slashed 20 pounds off his frame and sits at 245 this summer as he makes an attempt at a healthy campaign entering his fourth season with the Chargers, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Michael Gehlken. Ingram hasn’t played in more than nine games since his rookie campaign in 2012.


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