Poll: Where Will Kyler Murray Be Drafted?

The long-awaited speculation surrounding Kyler Murray‘s future was answered on Monday when the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback from Oklahoma announced his plans to commit to football and enter the NFL Draft. 

This is big news, of course, because Murray was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the first round of the 2018 MLB amateur draft. The team agreed to let Murray play quarterback at Oklahoma with the expectation he would join the club for spring training in February. That plan backfired, as Murray took home college football’s top honor after throwing for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns, and adding 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground in his first season as a starter in Norman.

The success propelled the dual-threat passer into a potential first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and led to his decision to forego his deal with the A’s to pursue the NFL.

The upside is obvious with Murray, who possess Michael Vick-like quickness with a much more honed passing arm. Unlike Vick, Murray has been in pass-happy offense all the way back to his days with Texas high school powerhouse Allen, where he never lost a game in the highest classification in the Lone Star State. His ability as a passer and a runner makes him much more like Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson. Any team looking for a quarterback in the NFL Draft would be foolish not to give the Sooners star a look.

The drawback is also obvious. At an estimated 5-foot-9, Murray would easily be the shortest quarterback in the league. It’s not just the height that gives team pause, however, as he also possesses a slight build that is unlikely to add more bulk. While the height issue might be a little overblown following the success of Wilson, Drew Brees and Baker Mayfield, the slight profile is much more concerning and could make him much more susceptible to injury.

Those factors make trying to pick a landing spot for Murray a difficult task. Early in the process, many mock drafts had the Oklahoma quarterback as a late-first-round pick or a Day Two selection. Now, many of those same prognostications have him going in the top 10 or 15 picks. New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury also drew headlines when a video surfaced of him saying he would take Murray No. 1 overall when he was coach at Texas Tech. He has since committed to Josh Rosen as his quarterback.

So, where in the 2019 NFL Draft does Murray go. Is he the top quarterback taken? Does he slip to the teens or the end of the first round? Or does the size question push him all the way to a Day Two or Three selection? Let us know your pick in the poll and give us your thoughts in the comments.

 

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Kaepernick Lawyer Predicts A Team Will Sign QB Soon

After reaching a settlement with the NFL on his collusion case earlier this week, Colin Kaepernick could be nearing a return to the league, his lawyer Mark Geragos said in an interview on CNN, Mike Freeman of Bleacher Reports tweets

“I think you’re going to see within the next two weeks someone is going to step up.”

In addition to making that statement, he mentioned that three teams could have interest, namely the Panthers. Whether he is speaking from knowledge of the situation, which he obviously has, or just making the claim, is unknown at this moment.

The Panthers are a natural landing spot for the former 49ers quarterback, who possesses a similar skill set to Cam Newton and would be playing for a team that just gave Eric Reid a three-year contract. Reid, of course, was a part of the same collusion case against the NFL.

In the past, Geragos has also mentioned the Patriots as a potential landing spot. Of course, any team that does sign the polarizing figure could withstand a backlash from a section of fans who do not agree with Kaepernick’s protest. If any team could do it, it would be the Patriots.

Again, as far as fits go, the Panthers would make the most sense. The offense wouldn’t have to change if Newton, who has been dealing with nagging injuries over the last year, has to leave the game. The mobile Kaepernick obviously boasts a different skill set than the statuesque Tom Brady. Also, in recent years New England has opted for a traditional pocket passer as its backup like Jimmy Garoppolo, Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer rather than a dual-threat.

Recently, it was reported the quarterback was contacted by the upstart AAF about a potential gig but he decided not to sign with the league.

We will see in the coming days if there is anything to Geragos’ comments or if it is just conjecture.

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Demaryius Thomas Involved In Car Crash

Free agent veteran receiver Demaryius Thomas was involved in a rollover crash in Denver early Saturday morning, ABC 7’s Oscar Contreras writes. He reportedly suffered minor injuries. 

Police responded to the single-vehicle accident shortly after midnight. Thomas and another man suffered minor injuries, but a woman inside the car sustained potentially serious injuries though they were not thought to be life threatening.

Police are investigating the crash, but investigators have said neither drugs nor alcohol appear to be involved in the accident.

That is a scary situation for the former Broncos wideout, but it’s great news he escaped the incident without any major injuries.

In his ninth season in the league, Thomas started the first eight games of the season for the Broncos, making 36 grabs for 402 yards and three touchdowns. He was acquired by the Texans at midseason and finished the campaign in Houston, logging 23 receptions for 275 yards and two touchdowns. Earlier this week, the four-time Pro Bowl selection was released from the team.

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Latest On Antonio Brown, Steelers

We learned yesterday that Steelers owner Art Rooney II and All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown will sit down to clear the air in Florida. We now know that meeting is expected to happen next week, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes

Brown hasn’t been shy about his desire to be traded this offseason, and just recently the star wideout took to Twitter to answer questions about his relationship with the team, coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It marks the latest in a long line of headline-grabbing actions from the receiver in 2019, who in addition to requesting a trade, was also involved in a domestic dispute in January.

Should the Steelers emerge from the meeting with Brown determined to trade him, they will unsurprisingly look to move him to an NFC team first, Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. It has been reported that Brown desires to play in San Francisco, while teams like the Cardinals, Jets and Raiders have emerged as teams expected to be in the running for his services. It is unlikely that a team would trade a first-round pick for the veteran receiver, who is owed $36.5MM over the next three season, but a team could be willing to part with a second- or third-round selection. Bouchette notes that trade talks are expected to commence at the NFL Combine, which begins in less than two weeks.

Despite the tumultuous end to the season and beginning of the offseason, Brown is undoubtedly still at the top of his game. The 30-year-old widoeut earned his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl selection in 2018, finishing with 104 catches, 1,297 yards and a league-leading and career-high 15 touchdown receptions.

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Giants Leaning Toward Keeping Eli Manning As Starter?

In the six weeks since Dave Gettleman‘s “no holds barred” conversation with Eli Manning, not much has transpired on this front.

With one fewer starting quarterback available, after the Broncos’ Joe Flacco trade agreement, the Giants represent one of the few teams with an uncertain situation atop its signal-caller depth chart. However, signs appear to be pointing toward Manning returning for at least one more season as the Giants’ starter.

All indications lead to this process ending with that conclusion, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com notes, adding that the belief around the league is the Giants saw enough from their longtime quarterback in the second half of last season to run their 15-season situation back one more time. Several close to Manning have seen no sign the Giants are planning on parting ways with the longest-tenured starting quarterback in team history.

The Giants are doing extensive research on this year’s top quarterback prospects, per Raanan, and are more likely than not to select a passer with their first- or second-round pick.

Manning raised his completion rate (a career-high 66 percent) and yards-per-attempt figures (7.5) considerably from the past two seasons and dropped his interceptions (11) to the lowest total during his 14 seasons a full-time starter. The Giants won four of five during a midseason stretch but dropped their final three games — three of which without Odell Beckham Jr.

If Manning is on the Giants’ roster on March 15, he will receive a $5MM roster bonus. His 2019 cap figure is $23.2MM.

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Dolphins To Hire Reggie McKenzie

Former Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie will resurface as a member of the Dolphins’ front office. The Dolphins plan to hire McKenzie as a senior personnel executive, Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reports (on Twitter).

McKenzie has not been connected with any teams since being fired from his Raiders post. He served as Oakland’s GM for seven years, though the final season saw the Raiders strip him of much of his powers and give personnel control to Jon Gruden.

McKenzie will join a revamped Dolphins front office. GM Chris Grier now has more decision-making authority than he did under the previous arrangement, with the franchise elevating him and demoting Mike Tannenbaum. The former vice president of football operations is not expected to be with the Dolphins after the draft. Former Bills scout Marvin Allen is now serving as Grier’s right-hand man. McKenzie will join that mix in advance of an interesting season.

Notorious for big spending in free agency, the Dolphins are expected to tamp down their March investments this year. The team is plotting a rebuild that may or may not be based on landing in the best position to secure a top 2020 quarterback prospect.

Inheriting a Raiders team with significant issues in 2012, McKenzie participated in a similar teardown in his last role. Gruden gutted much of McKenzie’s roster last year, but the Raiders — significantly aided by McKenzie’s impact 2014 draft and some big free agency deals — did go 12-4 in 2016 to snap their playoff drought. McKenzie earned executive of the year acclaim for overseeing that 2016 turnaround. The Dolphins have made the playoffs just once in the past 10 seasons and have not won a postseason game since 2000.

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Antonio Brown Discusses Mike Tomlin, Ben Roethlisberger, Contract

After it was revealed Antonio Brown would meet with Steelers owner Art Rooney II, the mercurial superstar took several shots at the organization on Saturday in attempting to explain the reasoning for wanting to be traded.

Answering a few questions from Twitter users, Brown addressed his issue with Mike Tomlin. Their relationship sustained a significant setback in Week 17, when a Brown practice dust-up led to a season-finale deactivation. They are not believed to have spoken since.

After the coach tell the team I quit while nursing some bumps then invite me to watch the show with same guys thinking I quit i can not stand with that!” Brown said, on Twitter (sic). “I’m the bad guy doe we miss post season think about it.”

Prior to reports coming out about the events that led to Brown’s current situation, he appeared on the Steelers’ injury report. During his postseason news conference last month, Tomlin addressed whether or not he believed Brown did quit on his team.

“The bottom line is we were playing a significant game and he didn’t do a good enough job of communicating or being available in the hours leading up to that performance,” Tomlin said in January. “Obviously, there are some things within that you can infer.”

Over the past 40-plus days, Brown has requested a trade and been involved in a domestic dispute. He’s denied any wrongdoing in connection with the incident.

The 31-year-old wide receiver then replied to a question about again wanting a new contract (Twitter link). Brown’s four-year, $68MM deal — the second-highest AAV among receivers — has three seasons remaining. Seeking another new deal, along with the off-field incident, would stand to further limit his market.

Brown’s Saturday salvos also included one at Ben Roethlisberger, even though the receiver said there is not a current conflict between he and his longtime quarterback. Roethlisberger criticized Brown during an in-season radio interview, and although Brown denied in the moment he was miffed about it, he voiced frustration about it now.

No conflict just a matter of respect! Mutual respect!” Brown said, on Twitter. “He has a owner mentality like he can call out anybody including coaches. Players know but they can’t say anything about it otherwise they meal ticket gone. It’s a dirty game within a game. #truth.”

Brown did also confirm he does plan to meet with Rooney (Twitter link). As has been the case throughout the offseason, much more will surely come from this ongoing saga.

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Latest On Raiders’ Oakland Discussions

The Raiders have missed the NFL’s Super Bowl LIII deadline for resolving their 2019 stadium situation, but they may be closing in on finalizing this saga.

The likelihood that, after all of the talk of a move elsewhere following Oakland’s lawsuit, the Raiders will play in Oakland has increased. More discussions are on tap next week, with a near-future resolution in sight.

We’ll talk against next week. Again, this will come to a conclusion one way or another in the next week or so,” Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority Board executive director Scott McKibben said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “It’s fair to say that discussions have been meaningful and productive and, after the update with our board, things are progressing.”

Oakland and the Raiders had been discussing a $7.5MM lease for 2019, the franchise’s final lame-duck season before its Las Vegas move. Although the Raiders previously walked away from that deal after the city’s lawsuit, playing at the Coliseum for the $7.5MM amount is back on the table.

It appears the prospect of the Raiders playing at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park home has been scuttled. The 49ers refused to waive their territorial rights. Although, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes NFL bylaws indicate the league’s 30 non-Bay Area owners could supersede the 49ers in this case, that is not expected. Normally, relocations require a two-thirds majority vote; in this case, all 30 other teams would have to approve of the Raiders playing in San Francisco. A precedent of teams moving into markets already housing other teams is not one the NFL wants, per Maiocco.

Additionally, the seven opponents set to face the Raiders in the Bay Area may well have objected to sharing a sideline with the Raiders on game day, Maiocco adds. That would have been the case at Oracle Park.

This Date In NFL Transactions History: Mario Williams, Arian Foster

Two years ago today, the Dolphins let go of a pair of former Pro Bowlers. The Dolphins terminated the contracts of defensive end Mario Williams and running back Arian Foster, two players who were expected to play bigger roles during their tenures in Miami.

Williams, a former first-overall pick, joined the Dolphins during the 2016 offseason after having been released by the Bills. Miami inked the lineman to a two-year, $17MM deal that included $11.98MM in guaranteed money, an indication that the organization was expecting at least starter-quality production from the four-time Pro Bowler.

Unfortunately, Williams’ lone season with the Dolphins proved to be a dud. Williams appeared in 13 games with the Dolphins, finishing the campaign with only 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and one pass defended. Miami released the defensive end on this date in 2017, marking the last time he’s been on an NFL roster. Considering he’s 34 years old and hasn’t played in the NFL in two seasons, his NFL career is presumably over.

The Foster move wasn’t as unexpected nor disappointing as the Williams transaction. Following a standout (albeit injury-riddled) tenure with the Texans, Foster joined the Dolphins to be a backup to Jay Ajayi. The veteran struggled in four games, compiling 55 yards on 22 carries (good for a 2.5-yard average) before being supplanted by rookie Kenyan Drake on the depth chart. Foster ended up announcing his retirement in mid-October, making his subsequent release predictable.

These weren’t the only two moves the Dolphins made two years ago today. The team also let go of defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, who has proceeded to play in 30 games for the 49ers over the past two seasons. The team also waived cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, who hasn’t earned an NFL gig since that day.

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Packers Add Two Coaches To Staff

The Packers coaching staff continues to take shape. The Packers have hired Kevin Koger as their offensive quality control coach and Jason Vrable as an offensive assistant, according to Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com.

Koger has spent the past three seasons as the wide receivers coach at Eastern Kentucky, and he also served as the special teams coordinator during the 2018 campaign. The 29-year-old also had coaching stints at Michigan and Tennessee.

The former tight end was a standout at Michigan between 2008 and 2011, but a torn Achilles tendon seemingly ended any chance he had of making the NFL. Now, he’ll have a chance to make his mark as a coach under Matt LaFleur.

Vrabel has spent six seasons coaching in the NFL, including the past two years as an offensive assistant with the Jets. He was previously the offensive quality control coach for the Bills, and he had a brief stint as Buffalo’s running backs coach. Vrabel will now play an important role on offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett‘s staff.

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