Month: September 2018

Extra Points: Jets, Long, Randle, Bears

Jets head coach Todd Bowles expressed concern Friday over the well-being of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, who was charged Thursday with resisting arrest and traffic violations after a July 14 incident in Missouri. “Clearly, he needs some help,” said Bowles, according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini.

Richardson, who was clocked going 143 mph, tried to avoid police apprehension. It was discovered that he had a gun and a 12-year-old in the vehicle, and there was a “very strong odor of marijuana” in the car.

“I let (the organization) down, simple as that,” Richardson said. “I’m not afraid to say that. … This is a wake-up call.” 

This “wake-up call” comes less than a month after the NFL suspended Richardson for marijuana use. He’ll face further discipline for this incident.

More on the Jets and the rest of the league:

  • Jets rookie wide receiver Devin Smith, a second-round pick, suffered broken ribs in practice Friday and will miss the majority of training camp, Brian Costello of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). He’ll stay at a local hospital overnight as a precaution. Cimini tweeted that Smith was getting a lot of first-team reps prior to the injury.
  • There’s concern from some people around the NFL that Jake Long’s career may be over, says Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Long, who visited the Falcons, Giants and Broncos this week, is coming off his second torn ACL, and it doesn’t sound like he’s back to 100%.
  • Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson said contract negotiations are ongoing and he plans to be with the franchise long term, according to Nate Ulrich of the Akron-Beacon Journal (Twitter link). Gipson is entering the final season of his rookie deal after piling up a career-best six interceptions last season, giving him 12 for his three-year career.
  • The Cowboys view their starting running back job as Joseph Randle‘s to lose, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The team loves his vision and explosiveness, Rapoport tweeted. Randle, a fifth-round pick in 2013, is coming off a season that saw him average a prolific 6.7 yards per carry on just 51 attempts while backing up now-Eagle DeMarco Murray. Randle finished 2014 with with 343 rushing yards and three touchdowns. His main competition for the No. 1 job is oft-injured veteran Darren McFadden, who is currently on the physically unable to perform list with a pulled hamstring.
  • Bears cornerback Tim Jennings, who was arrested in January on charges of speeding, DUI, and reckless driving, pleaded guilty to reckless driving and speeding today. His DUI charge was dismissed, the Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer tweeted.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Giants Sign James Jones

The Giants have officially signed free agent wide receiver James Jones, Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News reports (Twitter link). Details of the contract have not yet been disclosed, though Jones told Fallon Smith of CSNBayArea.com on Thursday that he’d be getting a one-year deal (via Twitter).

Jones, who visited the Giants on Thursday, set a career high with 73 receptions with the Raiders last season before they released him in May. Prior to signing a three-year, $10MM deal with Oakland in 2014, he spent 2007-13 with the Packers and caught 310 passes and 37 touchdowns. His best individual output came in 2013, when he hauled in 64 passes for 784 yards and a career-best 14 TDs.

Besides the Giants, the Seahawks and Chiefs previously expressed interest in Jones after the Raiders cut him.

NFC Notes: Mincey, Eli, Bennett, Saints, Pack

Here’s a look at the latest from around the NFC:

  • Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the team and defensive end Jeremy Mincey, who is holding out from training camp over a contract dispute, have had some back and forth regarding a new deal, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). The 31-year-old Mincey started all 16 games last season and totaled 46 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He’s due to earn $1.5MM this year.
  • Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who is entering the final year of his contract, hasn’t set a deadline on getting an extension done, tweeted the New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano.
  • Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said in June that he’s “always working on a new contract,” but he changed his tune Thursday, per ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson. “I’m not even worried about a contract right now,” he said. “It’s just business. I have no hard feelings against anybody.”  Bennett, who caught 90 passes and made his first Pro Bowl trip in 2014, has two years left on his contract and is set to earn a base salary of $4.9 million this season.
  • The NFL suspended Saints tight end Orson Charles for one game without pay for violating its personal conduct policy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The league’s discipline process is confidential, meaning it’s unclear what Charles was suspended for, but Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com wrote that Charles received diversion in February for a 2014 “road rage” incident. The 24-year-old has appeared in 29 NFL games, all with the Bengals (none since 2013), and caught nine passes.
  • Friday was rough for Washington cornerback Bashaud Breeland: The league suspended him one game for a past incident involving marijuana possession and he suffered an apparent right leg injury during practice. ESPN’s John Keim reports (via Twitter) that it’s an MCL injury and Breeland will miss 4-6 weeks.
  • The Packers worked out ex-Sacred Heart running back Keshaudas Spence on Friday, according to Weston Hodkiewicz of the Press Gazette (via Twitter).

Minor NFL Transactions: 7/31/15

Here are Friday’s minor transactions from around the NFL:

  • Ravens: Signed former Army quarterback Trent Steelman, who tried out as a receiver this week, and cut rookie QB Jerry Lovelocke (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson). 
  • Bears: Signed G Tyler Moore (Twitter link via Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune).
  • Cardinals: Signed CB Shaquille Richardson (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com).
  • Chiefs: Signed DT Hebron Fangupo and RB LaVance Taylor; waived RB Keshawn Hill (Twitter links). Taylor was signed after tweeting his highlight reel to the team.
  • Cowboys: Re-signed LB Keith Smith (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today). Smith, who played 10 games for the Cowboys last season, was cut by the team in May.
  • Giants: Waived WR Ben Edwards and T Troy Kropog (Twitter links via Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post. Both players received a failed physical designation.
  • Seahawks: Signed S Tyrequek Zimmerman (Twitter link via Wilson).
  • Titans: Signed WR Tebucky Jones, waived T Terren Jones, and placed TE Dorin Dickerson on injured reserve (Twitter link via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com; link via AP).

Latest On DeflateGate

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who will decide whether to uphold the NFL’s four-game suspension of Tom Brady, has scheduled an Aug. 12 conference that will include both Brady and commissioner Roger Goodell, the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin tweeted. If the dispute isn’t settled then, the parties will meet again Aug. 19 for oral arguments, according to Gabe Feldman of the sports law program at Tulane University (Twitter link). Feldman tweeted that while Berman’s ruling will be subject to appeal, the process is moving extremely quickly and a decision will be made well before the season starts.

For his part, Brady filed his counterclaim Friday in the Southern District of New York, per Volin (via Twitter) – who gleaned from Brady’s lawsuit that he wanted his June 23 appeal to be done under oath (Twitter link).

Meanwhile, two owners told ESPN’s Jim Trotter that they’re unhappy with both the amount of money being spent on Brady’s case and the treatment of Brady, Trotter tweeted. The owners also told Trotter that a “molehill has been made into a mountain,” and said it never should’ve gotten to this point (Twitter link). They reiterated Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s point that lawyers are too involved in the process.

The reason the Brady case has gotten so ugly, according to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole (video link), stems from discord between the league and the NFLPA dating back to the fight over the 2011 collective bargaining agreement – a fight the owners ultimately won. Given that outcome, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith has to “fight tool and nail on every issue possible,” Cole said. Further, per Cole, owners are beginning to wonder if taking some power from the commissioner and switching to an independent appeal process would be better for disciplinary matters.

AFC South Notes: Colts, Hunter, Clemons

In his look at the Colts‘ top five priorities for training camp, Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star suggests the team needs to solidify its offensive line and attempt to work out some contract extensions within the next few weeks. Although the Colts have been mentioned as a potential suitor for Evan Mathis, they have no plans to sign him, preferring instead to work on developing their long-term pieces on the line, says Holder. He also notes that extension discussions between T.Y. Hilton and the Colts have re-opened, which could be a promising soon as the wide receiver enters a contract year.

Here’s more on the Colts and their division rivals:

  • Hilton, left tackle Anthony Castonzo, and a pair of tight ends top the list of the Colts‘ most important expiring contracts, writes Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Castonzo is another player that Indianapolis would like to lock up before the season, if possible.
  • Speaking to the media today, Titans wide receiver Justin Hunter said he has yet to hear from the NFL following his arrest on a felonious assault charge, writes Terry McCormick of 247Sports.com. “Right now, it’s in the hands of my attorneys and I’m just focused on football,” Hunter said of his legal situation.
  • Jaguars pass rusher Chris Clemons, who missed the team’s OTAs this spring, reported to training camp today, tweets John Oehser of Jaguars.com. Clemons was placed on the non-football injury list and won’t practice right away.

Charges Against Bills’ Aaron Kromer Dropped

5:27pm: While they haven’t made a final decision yet, the Bills will likely keep Kromer on their staff, suspending him without pay to start the season, according to Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News (via Twitter).

4:57pm: The charges against Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer – and his son Zachary Kramer – have been dropped, assistant Florida state attorney Bobby Elmore tells Mike Rodak of ESPN.com (Twitter links). According to Rodak, the two sides reached an agreement, with the charges dropped at the request of the accusers’ parents.

Kromer, who was the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2014, was arrested earlier this month on a misdemeanor battery charge. According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Kromer and his son allegedly confronted a group of three boys – who had been fishing – over the use of beach chairs. The victims told Walton County deputies that Kromer grabbed their fishing pole and threw it in the water, then pushed one of the boys to the ground and punched him in the face. The victim, a juvenile, also said Kromer threatened to kill his family if he reported the incident to the police.

The Bills placed Kromer on paid administrative leave while they looked into the incident, so the team will likely make a call on his status soon. With the legal situation now resolved, Buffalo may decide to bring Kromer back into the fold, though the settlement doesn’t necessarily mean the veteran coach was innocent — it just means the accusers were willing to drop the charges.

Seahawks Notes: Wagner, Wilson, Chancellor

The Seahawks made the biggest news of the day this morning when they reached an agreement with Russell Wilson, extending the quarterback’s contract through the 2019 season. Now that Wilson is locked up, linebacker Bobby Wagner is next up for an extension of his own, and head coach Pete Caroll said today that the team is “on it,” hinting it could be done soon, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times.

For his part, Wagner sounds a little impatient to get a new deal finalized, admitting today that he considered not showing up for camp, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. When asked if he has a deadline for negotiations, Wagner replied, without elaborating, that his deadline is “now.” Following news of Wilson’s agreement this morning, Wagner also tweeted, somewhat ominously, “Can’t keep everyone.”

While we wait to see if the Seahawks work something out with Wagner, let’s round up several more notes on Wilson’s extension and a couple other Seattle players….

  • Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) and Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (all Twitter links) provide several details on Wilson’s new deal. The base salaries on the contract are $700K (2015), $12.34 (2016), $12.6MM (2017), $15.5MM (2018), and $17MM (2019). The $31MM signing bonus and Wilson’s $700K salary for this season are the only fully guaranteed figures in the pact. Nearly $30MM in future salaries are guaranteed for injury only, and those salaries will become fully guaranteed on the fifth day after the start of the waiver period each year.
  • Agent Mark Rodgers had a flight scheduled out of Seattle this morning in the event that he and the Seahawks didn’t reach a compromise on Wilson, suggesting today’s deadline was very real, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Rodgers acknowledged that there was a “fairly wide” gap that needed to be closed to get something done with the Seahawks, and said that getting the team to agree to a four-year extension instead of a five-year deal was one key (Twitter links via Pelissero and Condotta).
  • Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap takes a closer look at Wilson’s extension, comparing it to some other top quarterback deals. According to Fitzgerald, you could make a strong case that Wilson’s contract is the best in the NFL for a player.
  • Kam Chancellor, who didn’t report to camp today for the Seahawks, tweeted out a reference to a bible verse that includes the line, “the worker deserves his wages,” Condotta points out (via Twitter).
  • Chancellor is one of two notable Seahawks defenders unhappy with his multiyear contract. The other is defensive end Michael Bennett, who thought until the last minute about holding out as well, tweets Condotta. Bennett is prepared to play this season and won’t let his contract situation become a distraction, but he wants to keep talking to the team about a new deal, per Condotta (Twitter link).

AFC East Notes: Richardson, Brady, Dareus

Tim Lohmar, the prosecuting attorney in Sheldon Richardson‘s case, didn’t feel he could get a conviction on a charge of child endangerment, and only charged the Jets defensive lineman with resisting arrest and traffic violations, writes Brian Costello of the New York Post. Lohmar also couldn’t bring any drug charges against Richardson, despite his car smelling freshly burned marijuana, as he explains to Costello.

“The odor, according to the officer, was such that it was a fresh odor. The weed had just burned,” Lohmar said. “I think you can reasonably assume that had been taking place while they were driving and somewhere between that and the time they were pulled over, whatever was in the car was thrown from the car. We don’t know that, obviously.”

Given the lack of drug charges, the incident may not technically be a violation of the league’s drug policy, though that’s not certain, a source tells Josina Anderson of ESPN.com. Despite the lack of serious charges against Richardson, the NFL will conduct its own investigation and could penalize the Jets defender harshly based on the violation of the league’s personal conduct policy.

However the case plays out, Richardson embarrassed himself and the Jets by trying to hide his arrest, writes Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com.

Here’s more from around the AFC East:

  • The NFLPA and NFL have requested an expedited schedule in the Tom Brady case, which would avoid the need for preliminary injunction and would give both sides more certainty, per Gabe Feldman (Twitter links). As Feldman explains (via Twitter), the league and the union agree that “no discovery is needed to adjudicate the motions” and proposed a schedule that would involve filing their motions by August 7, replying by August 14, then making their oral arguments and getting a decision before the start of the NFL regular season. The proposal could set the stage for a settlement between the two sides, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
  • General manager Doug Whaley said today that his Bills have “exchanged proposals” with Marcell Dareus regarding a new contract, cautioning that “these things take time” (Twitter link via Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News).
  • While the Dolphins have been the team most frequently linked to free agent guard Evan Mathis, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald tweets that he has it “on good authority” that the club hasn’t even begun speaking to Drew Rosenhaus about a contract for his client. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports noted yesterday (via Twitter) that the Dolphins’ interest in Mathis had been overstated.
  • Although he showed up for the Jets‘ training camp, Muhammad Wilkerson admits that it’s “a little frustrating” not to have a new contract in place yet, per Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Wilkerson remains hopeful that the two sides can get something done before the season begins.

Washington Signs Junior Galette

1:38pm: Having made Galette’s signing official, Washington waived linebacker Ja’Gared Davis from its roster in a corresponding move, the team announced (via Twitter).

11:19am: According to Galette’s agent, Alvin Keels (Twitter link), the one-year deal is for the league minimum. Considering Galette got a significant chunk of money from the Saints earlier this year, he’ll still be well-compensated in 2015, but it could be a bargain deal for Washington if he stays out of off-field trouble.

Per Albert Breer of the NFL Network (via Twitter), Washington will also have the right of first refusal on Galette for 2016, meaning the team will have the chance to match any offer he receives from another club.

11:08am: Four days after being officially released by the Saints, outside linebacker Junior Galette has found a new home. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (via Twitter), Galette is signing a one-year deal with Washington for the 2015 season.

Galette, 27, was the Saints’ best pass rusher over the last two seasons, recording 12 sacks in 2013 and picking up another 10 – along with three forced fumbles – in 2014. His production earned him a lucrative contract extension in September, but his offseason was dominated by negative headlines. In January, Galette was arrested on a domestic violence charge that was later dropped. More recently a video from 2013 surfaced showing a man that appears to be Galette involved in a beach brawl, striking a woman with a belt.

The off-field concerns resulted in the Saints releasing Galette on Monday, despite having to eat a huge chunk of dead money. Following the move, reports surfaced indicating that Galette had a negative influence on the New Orleans locker room, and his former teammates didn’t seem too broken up about his departure.

Despite all the negatives – including the fact that Galette is coming back from a pectoral injury – the Washington front office apparently liked what it saw when the veteran free agent visited the team and took a physical this week. Galette will look to join Trent Murphy, Preston Smith, and the just-extended Ryan Kerrigan to create a formidable pass rush in D.C.

There’s still a possibility that the league decides to hand down a suspension for Galette’s off-field behavior, though there’s been no indication that it will happen, and the ex-Saint recently said he thought he was “in the clear” after meeting with league officials.