Robbie Gould

West Notes: Cardinals, Joeckel, Raiders

Let’s take a quick swing around the league’s west divisions:

  • We learned earlier today that Tony Jefferson‘s new deal with the Ravens will pay him up to $37MM over four years. We also heard reports in recent days that the Browns and possibly the Jets offered him slightly more money, but that he spurned those offers to sign with Baltimore. As Andy Benoit of TheMMQB writes in a detailed piece on Jefferson’s free agent journey, Jefferson’s former team, the Cardinals, made him an initial “low-ball” offer of three years, $12MM, before upping their proposal to four years and $24MM, still well short of the winning bid.
  • Mike Jurecki of FoxSports910 passes along some contract details on two of the Cardinals‘ recent signings (Twitter links). Jurecki reports that safety Antoine Bethea‘s new three-year deal will pay him yearly base salaries of $2MM, $3MM, and $3MM, while A.Q. Shipley‘s new two-year pact is worth a total of $3.5MM with base salaries of $775K and $1.5MM, $725K in guarantees, and $250K in roster bonuses for 2017 and 2018.
  • Luke Joeckel‘s new one-year deal with the Seahawks will pay him a fully-guaranteed $7MM, with an additional $1MM available in per-game roster bonuses (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets that Robbie Gould‘s new two-year pact with the 49ers is worth a total of $4MM, with $1MM fully guaranteed.
  • The Raiders will likely not have a lease agreement for a proposed Las Vegas stadium in place before the league owners meet later this month, a meeting during which they could approve the team’s relocation bid. However, as noted in a piece from the Associated Press, the absence of a finalized lease agreement does not mean the league owners will be precluded from voting on the relocation proposal. Instead, they could conditionally approve the relocation as long as the lease adequately addresses issues that are important to the league.
  • The Raiders have made a few changes to their coaching staff, as Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com writes. Last season’s assistant secondary coach, Rod Woodson, will coach cornerbacks, as he did previously, and Brent Vieselmeyer, who was assistant linebackers coach last year, will coach the safeties in 2017. Meanwhile, Travis Smith has been promoted from quality control to outside linebackers coach, and Nick Holz is now the assistant receivers coach. Nate Tice, son of offensive line coach Mike Tice, is the offensive quality control coach.
  • We learned earlier today that the Broncos and OT Donald Stephenson have agreed to a restructured deal.

49ers To Sign Robbie Gould

The 49ers have agreed to a deal with free agent kicker Robbie Gould, reports Alex Flanagan of NFL Network (Twitter link). It’s a two-year pact, according to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan (Twitter link via Adam Schefter).

Robbie Gould (Vertical)

Gould will take over in San Francisco for Phil Dawson, who signed with the NFC West rival Cardinals on Thursday. The 49ers will be the third NFL franchise for the 35-year-old Gould, who spent 2005-15 with the Bears. A couple months after Chicago released him prior to last season, Gould hooked on with the Giants in October.

A career 85.9 percent field goal kicker, Gould converted all 10 of his attempts in 10 games last year and also hit on 20 of 23 extra points. His PAT performance with Big Blue represented a drop-off from his showing in 2015 in Chicago, where he nailed 28 of 29 extra points.

In heading to San Francisco, Gould will rejoin special teams coordinator Richard Hightower, who was the Bears’ assistant ST coach last year. With Gould, Steven Hauschka and Nick Novak now off the market, Nick Folk stands as PFR’s top-rated free agent kicker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Defense

NFL free agency gets underway on Thursday and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. Here is our updated outlook for each defensive and special teams position.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as franchised players aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for this offseason:

Edge defender:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Jabaal Sheard
  3. John Simon
  4. DeMarcus Ware
  5. Lorenzo Alexander
  6. Andre Branch
  7. Julius Peppers
  8. Charles Johnson
  9. Datone Jones
  10. Dwight Freeney
  11. Chris Long
  12. Mario Williams
  13. Paul Kruger
  14. Courtney Upshaw
  15. Jarvis Jones

Now that Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been assigned the franchise tag, Nick Perry stands as the top edge defender on the free agent market, and is now in a position to cash in. The Packers opted against the franchise tender for the 26-year-old Perry, so he’ll hit the open market following a career year which saw him post 11 sacks."<strong

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among players with youth still on their side, Datone Jones figures to interest clubs thanks to his versatility, as he can vacillate between end and linebacker, while fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones is solid against the run. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. Charles Johnson, meanwhile, looks like a good bet to return to the Panthers, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Calais Campbell
  2. Johnathan Hankins
  3. Brandon Williams
  4. Dontari Poe
  5. Chris Baker
  6. Bennie Logan
  7. Nick Fairley
  8. Alan Branch
  9. Jared Odrick
  10. Karl Klug
  11. Terrell McClain
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Stacy McGee
  14. Stephen Paea
  15. Sylvester Williams
    Honorable mention: Paul Soliai

Calais Campbell is the best overall player among interior defenders, and though he’s entering his age-31 season and may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe, Campbell will still be highly-sought after as he searches for his last substantial payday Campbell’s agent met with the Cardinals last week, but other speculative fits for the veteran defender include the Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, Colts, and Titans."<strong

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Karl Klug), and run stoppers (Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Elliott, Crawford

Here’s a look at the NFC East:

  • Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he has heard nothing new about the league’s investigation into assault allegations against Ezekiel Elliott, Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News writes. “Absolutely nothing anywhere that indicates anything other than what they told us when we left training camp,” Jones said, “and that is that they have no cause.” Jones added that if the investigation had turned anything up, he “would have heard about it.”
  • Cowboys defensive end Jack Crawford has interest from roughly five teams, Jason Cole of Bleacher Report tweets. There’s a chance he could return to Dallas, but the Colts, Bills, and Jaguars are also in play for his services. Last year, Crawford re-signed with the Cowboys on a one-year, $1.1MM deal with a $240K signing bonus. This time around, he could command more money. Crawford, 29 in September, made a career-high eleven starts in 2016 and had 25 tackles with 3.5 sacks.
  • Giants kicker Robbie Gould will test free agency, according to a source who spoke with Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. Gould, 35, did not miss a single field goal attempt in his lone season with the Giants. Including the playoffs, he went 12-for-12 on three point tries, with a long of 47 yards. He made 21 of his 24 extra point attempts. The Giants do have a kicker signed to a futures deal, but it sounds like they might be the market for a proven leg.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

[RELATED: Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense]

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Chandler Jones
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Jabaal Sheard
  6. James Harrison
  7. John Simon
  8. DeMarcus Ware
  9. Lorenzo Alexander
  10. Andre Branch
  11. Julius Peppers
  12. Charles Johnson
  13. Datone Jones
  14. Mario Addison
  15. Dwight Freeney

The Cardinals have already made it abundantly clear that Chandler Jones will see the franchise tag this offseason, and Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul are also candidates to be tagged by the Chargers and Giants, respectively. If the latter two are able to hit the open market unfettered, however, they both figure to break the bank. Ingram, Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 edge defender, could be a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, while JPP will be looking for a long-term commitment after signing consecutive one-year deals.Chandler Jones (vertical)

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among the players with youth still on their side, Packers edge defenders Nick Perry and Datone Jones figure to interest different clubs, as Perry is a better match for a 3-4 defense while Jones needs to restart his career as a 4-3 defensive end. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. James Harrison and Charles Johnson, meanwhile, look like good bets to return to Steelers and Panthers, respectively, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Kawann Short
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Johnathan Hankins
  4. Brandon Williams
  5. Dontari Poe
  6. Chris Baker
  7. Bennie Logan
  8. Nick Fairley
  9. Alan Branch
  10. Jared Odrick
  11. Karl Klug
  12. Terrell McClain
  13. Lawrence Guy
  14. Earl Mitchell
  15. Stacy McGee

Unlike the edge defender market, the 2017 cadre of interior defensive lineman shouldn’t be overly affected by the franchise tender. Head coach Ron Rivera recently confessed the Panthers will “probably” have to use the tag on Kawann Short, but the rest of the defensive tackles listed here should be able to hit the open market. Of the remaining defenders, Campbell is the best overall player, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, he may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Earl Mitchell), and run stoppers (Karl Klug, Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Robbie Gould Had Offers Before Joining Giants

Before the Giants agreed to sign Robbie Gould to replace the embattled Josh Brown, they apparently had some competition for the veteran placekicker. Speaking to reporters, including Mark Cannizaro of the New York Post, Gould said he received a “bunch of offers” before inking a deal with the Giants.Robbie Gould (Vertical)

[RELATED: New York Giants Depth Chart]

 “I was in a great position because I could wait for the perfect opportunity to get into a situation where I knew I could win and possibly win a Super Bowl and find a place I could stay for a little bit of time,” Gould said. “The biggest thing for me was I want to win a Super Bowl and play for a great organization and with the Giants everything fit that mold. So it was a really easy situation to say yes to.”

Gould, 34, said last month that he wouldn’t have signed with the Giants if he didn’t think he had a good chance of staying with the club for the duration of the season. Given that New York has since released Brown, Gould will likely remain the team’s kicker for the rest of the 2016 campaign, but thus far, he hasn’t gotten much work. In three games, he’s attempted just one field goal (a successful 29-yarder against the Rams), but he’s also converted each of his field goal tries. Additionally, Gould ranks eighth in the league in average kickoff distance.

On Sunday, Gould will square off against the Bears in something of a “revenge game” given that it was Chicago that released him before the season began. “If my performance wasn’t up [the Bears’] caliber, then that was their choice,” he said. “I was kicking great, had a really good camp, kicking off well, kicking field goals great. It was just was a decision that they made. I didn’t know it was coming.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Brown, Gould, McCoy, Trades

The latest coming out of the Josh Brown saga features a dispute between the NFL and NFLPA regarding the handling of this case. The NFL is under fire for its one-game suspension of the Giants kicker, but a source informs Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk the league received pressure from the NFLPA on this matter.

Brown’s suspension for Week 1 came down more than 14 months after the domestic abuse arrest occurred, and the league acted before the King County (Wash.) Sheriff’s Office finished its investigation — one that produced the confession Brown had abused his ex-wife. The source informed Florio the NFLPA was putting pressure on the league to reach a decision quickly. That wouldn’t be a good look for the union considering the details unearthed by the legal investigation would have likely triggered a longer suspension. Brown is now on the commissioner’s exempt list, and the 37-year-old’s prospects of kicking again in light of these revelations are slim.

The NFLPA denies this claim, a source familiar with the union’s thinking told Florio, and dismisses the notion union-generated pressure would have mattered since the league has full autonomy regarding the application of the personal conduct policy. The NFL waited 14 months to render its tame verdict, and waiting until the police concluded their investigation could have saved it from some more bad PR optics.

Here’s more from around the league as the Sunday-night NFC West battle awaits its first touchdown.

  • Brown’s placement on the exempt list is expected to clear a path for Robbie Gould to become the Giants’ full-time kicker, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Gould likely does not sign with the Giants if he wasn’t going to have the opportunity to win the job and have a chance to finish the season with the team, per Rapoport. The longtime Bears kicker worked out for the Browns earlier this season in what would have been for a shorter-term fix, but this unfortunate circumstance opened the door for another regular gig.
  • The initial plan for LeSean McCoy was to miss Sunday’s Bills-Dolphins game, Josina Anderson of ESPN.com tweets. Anderson initially reported McCoy was facing a potential multi-game absence, but the Bills’ top ball-carrying weapon said postgame he felt fine during pregame warmups, per Josh Alper of PFT. Rex Ryan added he wouldn’t have put McCoy out there if he wasn’t 100 percent, though McCoy leaving the game early could delay his timetable and place his status for next week’s key Patriots tilt in question. Shady characterized the injury as minor, but hamstring maladies are particularly troublesome for skill-position talents.
  • Cameron Erving left the Ohio showdown, and the Browns‘ starting center will undergo tests Monday, Hue Jackson said (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com). Jackson categorized this as an illness, but Cabot notes if this is related to the bruised lung he sustained against the Ravens earlier this season then the second-year blocker could be lost for the remainder of 2016. The Browns removed him at halftime. Cleveland’s line, which moved on from Mitchell Schwartz and Alex Mack after free agency defections, already lost Joel Bitonio for the season earlier this month. Reserve center Austin Reiter also tore his ACL in Week 4.
  • In advance of their 27-21 victory over the Saints, the Chiefs worked out guard Kadeem Edwards, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets. Edwards failed to make the Jaguars’ roster out of training camp.
  • We heard earlier about the Joe Thomas trade market heating up again, but Florio notes trade-related chatter hasn’t been plentiful so far. If it does ignite in advance of the 3pm CT deadline on Nov. 1, Florio lists the Jets and Bears as potential sellers, with Sheldon Richardson, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery as logical trade chips. Richardson has incurred multiple suspensions and saw the Jets award Muhammad Wilkerson with a lucrative extension, while Jeffery is playing this season on a franchise tag worth $14.599MM. Marshall, of course, has been traded three times. He’s under contract through the 2017 season, but the 32-year-old receiver doesn’t have any guaranteed money left on a deal that would slot him with a $7.5MM cap number next season.

Giants To Sign Robbie Gould

SATURDAY, 8:20am: The Giants have officially announced the Gould signing.

THURSDAY, 7:14pm: Free agent kicker Robbie Gould is hopping on a plane tonight and will fly to London to meet up with the Giants, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Gould will be New York’s kicker on Sunday against the Rams.Robbie Gould

[RELATED: Josh Brown Admitted To Domestic Abuse]

The Giants need a new kicker, of course, because incumbent Josh Brown won’t be traveling with the team after new revelations surfaced regarding his history of domestic violence. Brown, who was already suspended for the first game of the season, is now set to be investigated by the NFL and could be facing an even longer ban. As such, it’s possible that Gould could be Big Blue’s kicker for an extended period of time, per Rapoport (Twitter link).

Gould had spent the past 11 seasons with the Bears, converting 85% of his field goals and 99% of his extra points before being released earlier this year. After a disappointing 2014 campaign where he only made 12 appearances and finished with a career-low field goal percentage, the Gould seemed to have bounced back in 2015. Gould connected on nearly 85% of his field goals, and his kickoffs continued to be as consistent as ever.

However, Gould struggled down the stretch last season, and those inconsistencies carried into the 2016 preseason. In the team’s final preseason game, Gould missed a pair of extra points.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Browns, Te’o, Jags, Jets, Simmons

The Browns endured an agonizing defeat for the second straight week, and their new kicker hovered at the center of the loss to the Dolphins. Cody Parkey missed three field goals, including what would have been a game-winning 46-yarder at the end of regulation. But the new Cleveland kicker was reportedly not the preferred choice of Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor.

Instead, the sixth-year Browns ST boss wanted the team to sign Robbie Gould, whom the Bears recently released, but he was overruled by Browns management, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald reports. The Browns signed Parkey on Saturday morning after top kicker Patrick Murray sustained an injury Friday. Cleveland’s decision-makers decided Gould, a 12th-year veteran, was too expensive for them. This led to the decision to bring in third-year man Parkey, per Salguero.

Gould made $3.6MM with the Bears last season and remains a free agent. Parkey, per OverTheCap, is set to make $529K upon signing with the Browns, who possess just more than $48MM in cap space.

Here’s more from the AFC as Week 3’s night-game schedule continues.

  •  The Chargers fear starting inside linebacker Manti Te’o tore his Achilles’ tendon, Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (on Twitter). He will undergo testing on Monday to determine the severity of the injury that forced him out of the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Colts, Gehlken tweets. One of the Bolts’ captains, Te’o was beginning a contract year that would lose steam if he’s no longer able to play this season. The 2013 second-round pick has made 34 starts for the Chargers since his rookie season. An injury to the former Notre Dame standout would likely thrust rookie fifth-rounder Jatavis Brown into the lineup.
  • Broncos third-round safety Justin Simmons missed today’s game because of a broken bone in his left wrist, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Simmons operates as Denver’s third safety, but the team saw backups Will Parks and Shiloh Keo record turnovers. The defending champions released Keo earlier this week after his two-game suspension ended but re-signed him shortly after, likely due to Simmons’ status.
  • Jaguars owner Shad Khan has given Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley a long leash, but the team that received a fair amount of hype based on its offseason is now 0-3. The Jags are set to make their annual London trip next weekend, and with the bye looming, an 0-4 return from England will bring about a change of some sort, Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union writes. After today’s 19-17 loss to the Ravens, the Jaguars — who will now occupy the No. 1 slot in the waiver order as the pecking order shifts to reflect this season’s records instead of 2015’s — are 12-39 under Bradley. That’s by far the worst mark in franchise history for a coach in his first four years. Both Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio went 9-7 in their second seasons. A coach has been fired after a Week 4 London loss the past two seasons. The Raiders jettisoned Dennis Allen after his team fell to 0-4 in a Wembley Stadium defeat to the Dolphins, who a year later canned Joe Philbin after his team lost its Week 4 England tilt.
  • The Jets‘ four-quarterback setup deprives the team of a fullback, and Todd Bowles doesn’t see the team making a move at that spot. “We’re good,” Bowles said, via Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, when asked about a fullback-less roster. As Cimini notes, only 17 teams have fullbacks. The Jets cut Julian Howsare earlier this week and promoted tight end Braedon Bowman.

NFC Notes: Bradford, Vikings, Rams, Mason

Peter King of The MMQB spoke with Vikings GM Rick Spielman about the Sam Bradford trade and how it unfolded. As Spielman explained, teams all around the league were asking for a fortune to part with their veteran quarterbacks.

I made a bunch of calls. I am not gonna mention teams. But there was blood in the water and teams knew it. The price was too high,” the Vikings GM said. “I didn’t want to mortgage our future. Some teams asked for a first-round pick and a core young player. I can understand the pick. But we worked too hard over the past three years to put all that time and energy into drafting and developing a solid core of this team. I was taken aback who they were asking for. Players who’d been in the Pro Bowl. I mean, in the off-season you’ve got time. There’s not blood in the water in the off-season. But now there was.

The Vikings paid a big price to land Bradford, but they didn’t part with anyone currently on their roster. While some observers have said that the Vikings gave up too much to get the former No. 1 overall pick, it sounds like the Vikes would have had to give up as much or more for any other established QB.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • Not only is Tre Mason not on the Rams roster, but the team has not spoken directly with the troubled quarterback in some time, as Mike Florio of PFT writes. “Tre Mason is on our Reserve/Did Not Report list, that’s where he stands,” coach Jeff Fisher told reporters this weekend. “We’ve been in communication with the family, not Tre, but with the family. The organization’s position, including the league and the [NFL] Players Association, is to take care of him and help him to get the help that he needs to get through this life crisis that he’s having.” Mason can return to the team at any time until the Tuesday after Week 10 and he will be unpaid until he does. If/when he reports, the Rams will have to decide how to handle him from a roster perspective. Of course, Mason has demons to deal with before he can even consider returning to football.
  • Carson Wentz ran a pro-style offense at North Dakota State, and the Eagles believe that has prepared him well to start right away in the NFL, as Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today writes. With the Bison, Wentz used a lot of play-action passes, shotgun plays, zone-reads, and power sweeps. “Some guys don’t even do half those things,” Wentz said in April. “A lot of the stuff we did (at NDSU) was similar to what you see in the NFL. We just called it something different..“Any time we were in two-minute, I called it. Unless it was a huddle play and I would get it from the sidelines. But even some of those calls, I could change at the line.” Last week, the Eagles’ faith in Wentz allowed them to trade Bradford to Minnesota for substantial draft pick compensation.
  • Former Bears kicker says he’s Robbie Gould definitely not retiring, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Gould still plans to kick this year and beyond, Jahns adds, and he has a few teams vying for his services. The Bears cut Gould earlier this week.