National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Monday, April 27, 2015
    As draft nears, plenty of vets could be traded
    By The Sports Xchange

    Draft weekend brings out the best bartering traits in NFL decision-makers determined to maximize value, even if it means dealing a proven veteran to cash in on potential of incoming prospects.

    • There are big names with bigger games -- Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers -- available at the right price and a few surprises who could be moved this week during the course of the 2015 NFL Draft.

      Here's a look at 10 veteran names who could be bandied in the "Let's Make a Deal" phase of the 2015 draft:

      10. Mike Glennon, QB, Buccaneers: His time is up in Tampa with the arrival of a new franchise quarterback expected Thursday. His market could be considerable -- the shallow pool of QB prospects beyond Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota is enough to keep the phone lines open for the Bucs to line up an extra pick. Glennon could fit Ken Whisenhunt's offense in Nashville or become a fallback plan for the Browns.

      9. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos: Self-declaration of health might not count for much but Ball believes he's ready to compete for carries. It might be elsewhere considering the emergence of C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman's steady showing with Ball hurt last season.

      8. Evan Mathis, OG, Eagles: For the second straight offseason Mathis asked for and was granted permission to seek a trade. The environment in Philadelphia is a billboard for "everyone is replaceable" and a team that loses out on the two strongest guard prospects next week might kick the tires on a Mathis swap.

      7. Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers: Still elite as a straight-line runner and polished as an inline blocker, there is no offense Davis doesn't fit. The 49ers are stuck in the middle of rebuilding and reloading, and dealing Davis rather than paying him is one path toward restocking the roster with younger (cheaper) talent.

      6. Justin Houston, OLB, Chiefs: GM John Dorsey claims communication lines are open with Houston, who had 22 sacks last season, 48.5 in his first four seasons, but isn't thrilled about wearing the franchise tag this summer. There are teams who might be willing to part with a pair of first-round picks to land Houston. Based on the Chiefs' salary-cap standing, a long-term agreement keeping Houston in Kansas City is unlikely to happen until next year.

      5. Robert Griffin III, QB, Redskins: Options. It's all about options. The face of the franchise two years ago is faced with steep uncertainty playing for a head coach who is tepid with endorsements for RG3 and a new GM slow to pick up Griffin's 2016 option while also armed with the fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft.

      4. Dion Jordan, OLB, Dolphins: Three sacks in two seasons since he was drafted third overall in 2013. He played for Chip Kelly at Oregon and, if you didn't notice, the Philadelphia Eagles' coach has an affinity for his old recruits.

      3. Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Stay or go, Cutler knows he's getting paid -- $25.5 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. That's money the Bears would enjoy erasing from their debit sheet, but dumping him is essentially paying him to play elsewhere based on the makeup of the contract. The Titans are the team most often rumored to like Cutler. But he's not the preferred passer for Whisenhunt (see below).

      2. Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: No player in San Diego embodies longevity and stability more than Rivers, but the Chargers are in a pickle. He is lukewarm to the idea of a long-term extension because of the instability of the franchise -- which could relocate to Los Angeles as soon as 2016. By dealing Rivers, the Chargers are taking a massive risk while eliminating the worry that he would walk by balking at a move to L.A. The Titans would embrace Rivers' leadership and working knowledge of Whisenhunt's offense.

      1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: He's 30 and owed a pile of money -- nearly $45 million over the next three seasons -- but it only takes one team to view Peterson as the missing piece. The Cardinals, Cowboys, Buccaneers and Chargers could all jump up in class by subbing Peterson for their current starting back.

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015
    NFL notebook: Giants' Manning not concerned about extension
    By The Sports Xchange

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, in the final year of his contract, is not concerned there has been no progress about an extension.

    • "Nothing has been brought up," Manning told NJ.com before walking in the March of Dimes' March for Babies with his daughter Ava on Sunday in Manhattan. "I haven't made a big deal about it."

      The 34-year-old Manning can become a free agent at the end of the 2015 season. The Giants also have the option of placing the franchise tag on him.

      Manning could command $18 million to $20 million per season, on par with the five-year, $99 million deal Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger signed last month.

      Manning signed a six-year contract in 2009. It was renegotiated in March 2012, and he is set to make $17 million in 2015 and count $19.75 million against the salary cap.

      --Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season after corrective surgery on his hip in each of the last two years

      The 29-year-old Pitta has undergone two surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip. He suffered his second injury during a Sept. 21 game against the Cleveland Browns. He did not play the rest of the season.

      Pitta worked out last week at the team facility, taking part in offseason workouts with his teammates.

      In the past two seasons, Pitta has played in seven games, with 36 receptions for 294 yards and a touchdown.

      --Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald has been cleared by the NFL after its domestic-violence investigation, but the league continues to look at his alleged sexual-assault incident.

      McDonald, who signed with the Bears last month to a one-year, $1.05 million contract that doesn't include any guaranteed money, was allowed to play for the San Francisco 49ers amid the domestic-violence accusation last year.

      The NFL has confirmed that it investigated McDonald and cleared him of any violation of the personal-conduct policy. However, McDonald is also being investigated in connection with an alleged sexual assault. McDonald has not been charged in that case and he has said he will sue the woman who accused him.

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015
    NFL clears Bears DE McDonald in only one case
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Bears defensive end Ray McDonald has been cleared by the NFL after its domestic-violence investigation, but the league continues to look at his alleged sexual-assault incident.

    • McDonald, who signed with the Bears last month to a one-year, $1.05 million contract that doesn't include any guaranteed money, was allowed to play for the San Francisco 49ers amid the domestic-violence accusation last year.

      The NFL has confirmed that it investigated McDonald and cleared him of any violation of the personal-conduct policy.

      "We have completed that (domestic-violence) investigation," NFL general counsel Jeff Pash told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Friday. ''(Special counsel for investigations) Lisa (Friel) and her team completed that investigation (and) did not establish a violation of the personal-conduct policy. We informed the player and the (NFL) Players Association.''

      However, McDonald is also being investigated in connection with an alleged sexual assault. McDonald has not been charged in that case and he has said he will sue the woman who accused him.

      ''Just to be clear, Ray McDonald had two issues, as you may remember -- one related to a domestic-violence incident and one related to an alleged sexual assault,'' Friel said. ''It's the domestic-violence incident that we have finished investigating and didn't find sufficient evidence to say that he violated the personal-conduct policy. The sexual-assault incident, that investigation is ongoing. That has not been completed, nor has the district attorney's office in Santa Clara County completed their investigation into that matter.''

      McDonald was arrested Aug. 31, 2014, on suspicion of felony domestic violence in San Jose, Calif., but no charges were filed because of insufficient evidence. Pash said McDonald was informed of the NFL's ruling a few weeks ago.

      The 49ers released McDonald in December after allegations that police were investigating him on suspicion of sexual assault. San Jose police began that investigation on Dec. 16, 2014, after a hospital reported a possible victim. McDonald hasn't been charged.

      Since 2011, McDonald started 56 games for the 49ers, including 14 last season. He had 39 tackles and three sacks in 2014. In his eight-year NFL career, all with the 49ers, McDonald has 210 career tackles, 19 1/2 sacks and one interception.

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015
    Ravens TE Pitta hopeful for 2015
    By The Sports Xchange

    Baltimore Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season after corrective surgery on his hip in each of the last two years

    • The 29-year-old Pitta has undergone two surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip. He suffered his second injury during a Sept. 21 game against the Cleveland Browns. He did not play the rest of the season.

      "We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

      Pitta worked out last week at the team facility, taking part in offseason workouts with his teammates.

      The Ravens have said they are leaving the decision to Pitta and his doctors. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said Pitta's hip is fully recovered, but whether he returns to the field is up to the tight end.

      In the past two seasons, Pitta has played in seven games, with 36 receptions for 294 yards and a touchdown.

      "I'm just happy to be back here working with the guys," said Pitta, who appeared with quarterback Joe Flacco on Saturday to benefit Special Olympics Maryland. "I'm feeling good in workouts. We'll just take it one day at a time."

  • Sunday, April 26, 2015
    Giants' Manning not worried about extension
    By The Sports Xchange

    New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, in the final year of his contract, is not concerned there has been no progress about an extension.

    • "Nothing has been brought up," Manning told NJ.com before walking in the March of Dimes' March for Babies with his daughter Ava on Sunday in Manhattan. "I haven't made a big deal about it."

      The 34-year-old Manning can become a free agent at the end of the season. The Giants also have the option of placing the franchise tag on him.

      Manning could command $18 million to $20 million per season, on par with the five-year, $99 million deal Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger signed last month.

      "(The contract) is not something I'm going to argue about or make a fuss about," Manning said before serving as the New York celebrity chairman for the event.

      Manning signed a six-year contract in 2009. It was renegotiated in March 2012, and he is set to make $17 million in 2015 and count $19.75 million against the salary cap.

      "I look at it like, 'Hey, I signed a six-year contract, and I've never once mentioned contract to them or anything or tried to get extended,'" Manning said. "I'm going to play out those six years and hopefully my play and the success of the team will dictate the future of me being in New York."

      The Giants apparently are comfortable letting Manning play out the 2015 season without the promise of a long-term deal on paper after the team missed the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

      Owner John Mara has said he wants Manning to spend his entire career with the Giants, and his statistical improvement in 2014 in Ben McAdoo's first season as offensive coordinator was duly noted.

      General manager Jerry Reese declined to comment on Manning's contract last week.

      "Eli is back in the building," Reese said. "He looks great. He is happy to be back. We are glad he is back. We will address that when it is appropriate."

      Manning, the No. 1 overall pick in 2004, has started every game since he became the Giants' starter as a rookie.

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    NFL notebook: Sanchez says Tebow just another arm at camp
    By The Sports Xchange

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez isn't concerned about Tim Tebow being in camp, downplaying the former Heisman Trophy winner's recent addition to the roster.

    • Sanchez said he has been told Tebow was signed as another quarterback to give the receivers some work because Sam Bradford is still not 100 percent.

      "He's obviously a great guy, he works hard. And we needed another guy to throw while Sam's still recovering," Sanchez told CSNPhilly.com on Friday after taking batting practice with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. "So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me. We're excited about the upcoming year and I think we have a great group."

      The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday to a one-year contract. He hasn't played in the NFL since being cut in 2013 by the New England Patriots. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network.

      Eagles vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz said Thursday that Tebow will "have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot" as a quarterback.

      Tebow and Sanchez were teammates with the New York Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a backup created a quarterback controversy that lasted throughout the season.

      ---Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, discussing why there hasn't been a contract extension for head coach Chuck Pagano, said "it's not a Super Bowl-or-bust season."

      Pagano, who is entering the final year of his contract, released a statement last month to downplay his job security with the team because of his lame-duck status.

      Pagano signed a four-year contract in 2012. He missed most of his first season while battling leukemia. Bruce Arians took over, earned Coach of the Year honors and was hired by the Arizona Cardinals.

      Irsay, speaking Friday night at the Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala -- an event to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research -- gave his coach a huge vote of confidence in his first comments since Pagano's contract status was revealed recently.

      "These things are ongoing a lot of times behind the scenes," Irsay told the Indianapolis Star. "We're working on contracts, whether it's management, coaches, players. We had discussions and it doesn't mean that they won't continue. It's not a Super Bowl-or-bust season or anything like that."

      Pagano turned down a one-year contract extension from the Colts earlier in the offseason.

      ---The Carolina Panthers officially exercised the fifth-year option on linebacker Luke Kuechly's rookie contract.

      Kuechly is now under contract through the 2016 season, the team announced Saturday.

      Kuechly, the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has led the league in tackles in two of his three seasons. Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in the past two seasons.

      Kuechly has started all 48 games since entering the league out of Boston College. He had an NFL-best 153 tackles last season, along with three sacks, and has totaled 473 tackles through his first three seasons -- 44 more than any other NFL player over the same time frame. He has six career sacks and seven interceptions.

      ---LSU cornerback Jalen Collins had "multiple failed" drug tests while in college, according to a report by NFL Network's Albert Breer.

      Collins is the No. 64-rated prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft class by NFLDraftScout.com, but is graded as a potential late first round pick by some scouts. He started just 10 career games in LSU's talented secondary and is seen as a raw prospect with a high ceiling.

      Collins ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, adding a 36-inch vertical. He has excellent size at 6-feet-1 and 203 pounds and excels in man coverage. However, his lack of experience and reported failed tests at LSU could weigh down his draft stock.

      ---Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is donating $3 million to the University of Tennessee's football program and his scholarship endowment.

      Manning, a five-time Most Valuable Player who is entering his 18th NFL season, and his wife, Ashley, made the announcement Friday in Knoxville, Tenn., one day before the Volunteers' annual spring game. Manning, who played for Tennessee from 1994-97, was planning to attend the game.

      The Peyton Manning Scholarship is awarded to freshman honors students at the university.

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    Panthers pick up fifth-year option on LB Kuechly
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Carolina Panthers officially exercised the fifth-year option on linebacker Luke Kuechly's rookie contract.

    • Kuechly is now under contract through the 2016 season, the team announced Saturday.

      Kuechly, the ninth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, has led the league in tackles in two of his three seasons. Kuechly was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in the past two seasons.

      Kuechly has started all 48 games since entering the league out of Boston College. He had an NFL-best 153 tackles last season, along with three sacks, and has totaled 473 tackles through his first three seasons -- 44 more than any other NFL player over the same time frame. He has six career sacks and seven interceptions.

      Kuechly received a four-year deal worth a guaranteed $12.6 million under the rookie wage scale. He will now be due $11.1 million for 2016.

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    Sanchez says Tebow just another Eagles camp arm
    By The Sports Xchange

    Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez isn't concerned about Tim Tebow being in camp, downplaying the former Heisman Trophy winner's recent addition to the roster.

    • Sanchez said he has been told Tebow was signed as another quarterback to give the receivers some work because Sam Bradford is still not 100 percent.

      "He's obviously a great guy, he works hard. And we needed another guy to throw while Sam's still recovering," Sanchez told CSNPhilly.com on Friday after taking batting practice with the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. "So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me. We're excited about the upcoming year and I think we have a great group."

      The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday to a one-year contract. He hasn't played in the NFL since being cut in 2013 by the New England Patriots. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network.

      Eagles vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz said Thursday that Tebow will "have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot" as a quarterback.

      "We brought Tim in for a workout," Marynowitz said. "Obviously we were intrigued with what we saw there. We saw a player that had improved from the last time that we saw him live, which was when he was here with New England. We had some conversations, some discussions, and we felt it was an opportunity to bring in somebody that could compete for a spot. We've got 68 players that are on our football team right now. Tim is one of them.

      "He'll have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot and his role will be determined by his performance. I think it's as simple as that. We're bringing in a guy who can compete, and we look forward to that."

      Tebow and Sanchez were teammates with the New York Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a backup created a quarterback controversy that lasted throughout the season.

      Sanchez made eight starts last season after Nick Foles was injured. Foles was traded in the offseason to the St. Louis Rams for Bradford, while Sanchez signed a two-year contract over the offseason to remain with the Eagles.

      Sanchez said coach Chip Kelly's offseason moves hasn't affected him.

      "I knew we were going to have to do something," he said. "Like I said, it's going to be a fun year. Coach Kelly knows what he's doing. Don't worry too much. It's only April. Things will fall into place. We'll be just fine."

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    Colts' Irsay says it's not 'Super Bowl or bust' for Pagano
    By The Sports Xchange

    Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, discussing why there hasn't been a contract extension for head coach Chuck Pagano, said "it's not a Super Bowl-or-bust season."

    • Pagano, who is entering the final year of his contract, released a statement last month to downplay his job security with the team because of his lame-duck status.

      Pagano signed a four-year contract in 2012. He missed most of his first season while battling leukemia. Bruce Arians took over, earned Coach of the Year honors and was hired by the Arizona Cardinals.

      Irsay, speaking Friday night at the Chuckstrong Tailgate Gala -- an event to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research -- gave his coach a huge vote of confidence in his first comments since Pagano's contract status was revealed recently.

      "These things are ongoing a lot of times behind the scenes," Irsay told the Indianapolis Star. "We're working on contracts, whether it's management, coaches, players. We had discussions and it doesn't mean that they won't continue. It's not a Super Bowl-or-bust season or anything like that."

      Pagano turned down a one-year contract extension from the Colts earlier in the offseason.

      "I really feel positive about Chuck and what he's done for us. There's no question that he's accomplished a lot since he's been here," Irsay said. "And, obviously, we're here for this gala because he had that illness in 2012. Really, it's only been kind of two years almost that he's been coaching. He's done a very good job. Nothing rules out that we couldn't have an extension done before the season. If not, we can still, I'm sure, probably work things out."

      "There were some efforts to talk about it and we just didn't get there. Sometimes that happens and people have different opinions these days. If you go back to the old days, there were no agents involved. ... Again, we're real positive about Chuck Pagano and the things he's done and it's not a sign of anything extremely negative. We just haven't gotten anything done in terms of a long-term contract."

      This past season, the Colts reached the AFC Championship and lost to the New England Patriots 45-7. The Colts have won 11 games in each of the past three seasons.

      "Obviously we had a great year, but again, the Pittsburgh game, the Dallas game, the Patriots games, they were concerning and we're looking to make sure that we get that consistency and are really playing, if health is with us, really playing with that top four group, that top three or four teams," Irsay said. "I think last year Green Bay, Seattle, New England and probably even Dallas were really teams that were playing consistent and all those things. It seemed like the NFC had maybe three (teams) and the AFC had one (team) with the Patriots."

      Pagano is helping to raise awareness for cancer research at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

      "Our goal right here in Indianapolis is to find a cure for all blood cancers," Pagano said Friday night at the event which has raised $2 million in the past two years. "Just maybe we see that happen in our lifetime."

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    Manning donates $3 million to UT
    By The Sports Xchange

    Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is donating $3 million to the University of Tennessee's football program and his scholarship endowment.

    • Manning, a five-time Most Valuable Player who is entering his 18th NFL season, and his wife, Ashley, made the announcement Friday in Knoxville, Tenn., one day before the Volunteers' annual spring game. Manning, who played for Tennessee from 1994-97, plans to attend the game.

      The Peyton Manning Scholarship is awarded to freshman honors students at the university.

      "We are grateful for the opportunities we have had to give the gift of an education to deserving UT students every year through the scholarship program," Manning said in the statement. "It means a great deal to us to give young people an edge in maximizing their potential."

      Manning's donation honors Gus Manning, who isn't related to the quarterback, and Carmen Tegano. Gus Manning has served Tennessee's athletic program for 64 years in many roles. Tegano, an associate athletic director, has worked at Tennessee for over three decades.

      "Gus and Carmen both personify what it means to be a Vol for Life, and both have made the University of Tennessee a better place," Manning said. "No one has served Tennessee and its athletics program better than Gus, and Carmen has also served this University with tremendous distinction."

      Manning has been a primary donor for Neyland Stadium renovations.

      "I believe very strongly in the direction in which coach (Butch) Jones is leading our football program," Manning said. "There is a great deal of momentum and energy surrounding Tennessee football right now, and I look forward to what this team will accomplish in the coming years."

  • Saturday, April 25, 2015
    Report: CB Collins failed multiple drug tests at LSU
    By The Sports Xchange

    LSU cornerback Jalen Collins had "multiple failed" drug tests while in college, according to a report by NFL Network's Albert Breer.

    • Collins is the No. 64-rated prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft class by NFLDraftScout.com, but is graded as a potential late first round pick by some scouts. He started just 10 career games in LSU's talented secondary and is seen as a raw prospect with a high ceiling.

      Collins ran a 4.48-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine, adding a 36-inch vertical. He has excellent size at 6-feet-1 and 203 pounds and excels in man coverage. However, his lack of experience and reported failed tests at LSU could weigh down his draft stock.

      Other cornerbacks with second round grades by NFLDraftScout.com include Florida State's P.J. Williams and Miami, Ohio's Quinten Rollins.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    NFL notebook: L.A. stadium proposals excite Goodell
    By The Sports Xchange

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said presentations this week by two stadium groups affiliated with NFL teams were "very exciting" and offered a "great deal of potential to be successful."

    • St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is vying against a joint venture by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders for the right to call Los Angeles home again. All three teams have previously been based in the city.

      Kroenke is planning a $1.8 billion stadium in Inglewood, and the Chargers and Raiders are working on a $1.7 billion venue in Carson. The Carson City Council unanimously approved the project on Tuesday, and new designs were presented to Goodell and the league's relocation committee in New York.

      On Friday, Goodell told the Associated Press Sports Editors, "We had presentations earlier this week that are very exciting -- not just for a return but to continue being successful going forward."

      Meanwhile, a St. Louis task force hoping to keep the Rams (or lure another team) also presented plans for a $1 billion stadium near the Mississippi River.

      ---The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms of a one-year contract with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks.

      Nicks, a first-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2009, caught 311 passes for 4,622 yards and 27 touchdowns in five seasons with the Giants. After 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2010 and 2011, foot and knee injuries slowed him in his final two seasons in New York.

      He signed with the Indianapolis Colts last year and caught 38 passes for 405 yards and a touchdown.

      ---Dontari Poe, the Pro Bowl nose tackle of the Kansas City Chiefs, reportedly will remain with the team for at least another season.

      The Chiefs have exercised the fifth-year option on Poe, keeping him under contract through 2016, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported on Friday. The option year is worth $6.146 million.

      The Chiefs selected Poe with the 11th pick in the 2012 draft, and the 6-foot-4, 350-pound lineman has been selected to the Pro Bowl the past two years while tallying 10.5 sacks from the middle of the line.

      ---Detroit Lions general manager Martin Mayhew confirmed the team intends to pick up the fifth-year option on left tackle Riley Reiff before the March 3 deadline.

      Reiff has started 31 games over the past two seasons but has failed to live up to his status as the No. 23 overall pick and there had been some question about whether the Lions would exercise the $8 million option.

      "Yes, we're definitely going to do his fifth-year option and have him for a fifth year," Mayhew said Friday. "We anticipate getting that paperwork done sometime soon."

      ---New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he will explore the possibility of trading up in next week's NFL Draft.

      Speculation has the Jets, who have the No. 6 overall pick, setting their sights on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

      Maccagnan, the Jets' first-year GM who was speaking Friday at his pre-draft news conference in Florham Park, N.J., said he is hesitant to give away draft picks.

      "We're going to reach out to every team ahead of us to gauge, to get a value for what they're looking for in compensation to move up in the draft," Maccagnan said. "That doesn't mean we're actually trying to go up and get a player. But you hear what the market value is basically, and then what you do is see what unfolds with the first few picks and who is available. We'll have that discussion when we get to the draft -- if we want to move up in the draft."

      The Tennessee Titans hold the No. 2 pick and several teams are expected to be interested in acquiring it.

      ---Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings has a stress fracture in his foot revealed during a recent workout with an NFL team, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

      The No. 29 prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, Clemmings (6 feet 5, 309 pounds) is considered a raw offensive tackle with a high ceiling. However, the stress fracture could affect his draft stock as there are several offensive line prospects with similar grades, including LSU's La'el Collins (No. 23), Florida's D.J. Humphries (No. 30) and Oregon's Jake Fisher (No. 33).

      According to the report, Clemmings was experiencing no pain and had no idea about the stress fracture.

      ---Restricted free agent running back Bobby Rainey signed a one-year, $1.54 million tender offer with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

      The 5-foot-8, 212-pound Rainey was claimed off waivers in 2013 from the Cleveland Browns. He played in 15 games and started five for the Buccaneers last year.

      The 27-year-old Rainey rushed for 406 yards and one touchdown on 94 carries and caught 33 passes for 315 yards and one touchdown in 2014. He is the team's leading rusher the past two years, with 972 yards and six touchdowns on 244 carries.

      ---Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, a restricted free agent, has signed his $1.54 million tender with the New York Jets, the team said Friday.

      Jarrett, 25, started in seven of the 14 games he played last season, recording 41 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

      It was the most action Jarrett had seen since the Jets drafted him in the second round in 2011.

      Friday was the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams.

      ---The Philadelphia Eagles, who signed running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews last month, reportedly rescinded their contract tender to restricted free agent Chris Polk on Friday.

      Polk, 25, is now free to sign with any team, according to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com.

      Polk rushed for 172 yards and four touchdowns in a reserve role behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles last season.

      ---Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was involved in a verbal altercation with backup defensive lineman Davon Coleman at the team's facility and reportedly had to be separated by teammates.

      FOX Sports first reported the incident Friday following an on-field argument that took place on the final day of the first week of the Cowboys' offseason program.

      According to FOX, the dispute between the defensive linemen arose from Hardy questioning Coleman's effort during conditioning drills. The situation escalated when, according to a source, Coleman took a dig at Hardy's domestic violence issues.

      "(Coleman) called him a woman beater," the source told FOX.

      On Wednesday, Hardy was suspended 10 games without pay for "conduct detrimental to the league."

      ---Dallas quarterback Tony Romo, making an acceptance speech for the Nancy Lieberman Lifetime Achievement Award, made a bold prediction to fans that "we're going to win a Super Bowl next year."

      Romo gave a 10-minute acceptance speech earlier this month at the Dream Ball Gala in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

      Romo described how he transformed from a player focused on individual goals to someone who now only cares about team accomplishments.

      "This award is very meaningful to me, mostly because I get to be associated with this and to be associated with Nancy," Romo said. "It's incredible and I really appreciate you, and we're going to win a Super Bowl next year. Thank you."

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    L.A. stadium proposals excite Goodell
    By The Sports Xchange

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said presentations this week by two stadium groups affiliated with NFL teams were "very exciting" and offered a "great deal of potential to be successful."

    • St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is vying against a joint venture by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders for the right to call Los Angeles home again. All three teams have previously been based in the city.

      Kroenke is planning a $1.8 billion stadium in Inglewood, and the Chargers and Raiders are working on a $1.7 billion venue in Carson. The Carson City Council unanimously approved the project on Tuesday, and new designs were presented to Goodell and the league's relocation committee in New York.

      On Friday, Goodell told the Associated Press Sports Editors, "We had presentations earlier this week that are very exciting -- not just for a return but to continue being successful going forward."

      Goodell said the January deadline to apply for relocation could be moved up and owners could vote on a move next March.

      Meanwhile, a St. Louis task force hoping to keep the Rams (or lure another team) also presented plans for a $1 billion stadium near the Mississippi River.

      The league has been absent from Los Angeles since 1995, when the Raiders moved back to Oakland and the Rams moved to St. Louis. The Chargers were based in Los Angeles in their first year, 1960, before moving to San Diego.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Jets S Jarrett signs $1.54M tender
    By The Sports Xchange

    Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, a restricted free agent, has signed his $1.54 million tender with the New York Jets, the team said Friday.

    • Jarrett, 25, started in seven of the 14 games he played last season, recording 41 tackles, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

      It was the most action Jarrett had seen since the Jets drafted him in the second round in 2011.

      Friday was the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Report: Eagles rescind tender to RB Polk
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Philadelphia Eagles, who signed running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews last month, reportedly rescinded their contract tender to restricted free agent Chris Polk on Friday.

    • Polk, 25, is now free to sign with any team, according to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com.

      Polk rushed for 172 yards and four touchdowns in a reserve role behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles last season.

      The Eagles traded McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in March and tendered Polk an offer for $1.54 million, which gave them the right to match any offer sheet the former undrafted free agent might have signed with another team. The deadline for offer sheets was Friday.

      With Murray and Mathews both arriving and Sproles still on the team, Polk sat fourth on the depth chart. He had not signed the tender and also did not report to offseason workouts this week.

      In three years with the Eagles, Polk ran for 270 yards and seven touchdowns.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Report: Chiefs pick up DT Poe's option
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dontari Poe, the Pro Bowl nose tackle of the Kansas City Chiefs, reportedly will remain with the team for at least another season.

    • The Chiefs have exercised the fifth-year option on Poe, keeping him under contract through 2016, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported on Friday. The option year is worth $6.146 million.

      The Chiefs selected Poe with the 11th pick in the 2012 draft, and the 6-foot-4, 350-pound lineman has been selected to the Pro Bowl the past two years while tallying 10.5 sacks from the middle of the line.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    RB Rainey stays with Buccaneers
    By The Sports Xchange

    Restricted free agent running back Bobby Rainey signed a one-year, $1.542 million tender offer with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday.

    • The 5-foot-8, 212-pound Rainey was claimed off waivers in 2013 from the Cleveland Browns. He played in 15 games and started five for the Buccaneers last year. The 27-year-old Rainey rushed for 406 yards and one touchdown on 94 carries and caught 33 passes for 315 yards and one touchdown in 2014. He is the team's leading rusher the past two years with 972 yards and six touchdowns on 244 carries.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Cowboys' Hardy in altercation with teammate
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was involved in a verbal altercation with backup defensive lineman Davon Coleman at the team's facility and reportedly had to be separated by teammates.

    • FOX Sports first reported the incident Friday following an on-field argument that took place on the final day of the first week of the Cowboys' offseason program. ESPN.com later confirmed the report.

      According to FOX, the dispute between the defensive linemen arose from Hardy's questioning Coleman's effort during conditioning drills. The situation escalated when, according to a source, Coleman took a dig at Hardy's domestic violence issues.

      "(Coleman) called him a woman-beater," the source told FOX.

      Coleman's agent, Michael Loeffler, told ESPN the players didn't need to be separated.

      "There was no physical altercation of any nature whatsoever," Loeffler said. "No physical contact, touching, nothing. Basically my understanding is that Davon and Greg Hardy finished a workout, had a discussion and there was nothing to step in to and nobody did because there was nothing going on except a discussion ... I think it's getting a little blown out of proportion."

      The Cowboys are in Phase 1 of the offseason program that focuses on strength and conditioning. Players can't do any on-field work with their position coaches or coordinators until May 4.

      Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked about the altercation at an Associated Press Sports Editors meeting Friday, but he said he was not aware of the incident and would get more information before commenting.

      On Wednesday, Hardy was suspended 10 games without pay for "conduct detrimental to the league."

      Hardy was notified in a letter from Goodell that he is suspended for the team's first 10 games of the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Hardy and the NFL Players Association plan to appeal the league's ruling.

      Hardy was informed that a two-month NFL investigation following the dismissal of his case in North Carolina state court determined that there was "sufficient credible evidence that Hardy engaged in conduct that violated NFL policies in multiple respects and with aggravating circumstances."

      In July 2014, the former Carolina Panthers defensive end was found guilty of assaulting his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder, and threatening to kill her. Hardy received a 60-day suspended sentence and 18 months' probation on misdemeanor charges, and then he appealed the judge's ruling in favor of a jury trial. The case was dismissed in February when Holder chose not to cooperate with authorities after reportedly receiving a settlement from Hardy.

      The Cowboys signed the free agent Hardy on March 18 to an $11.3 million deal, but the contract has no signing bonus and includes no guaranteed money. Hardy has $9.25 million tied up in per-game roster bonuses, or $578,125 for each game active, and can attain additional bonuses tied to playing time and performance.

      If the 10-game ban is upheld, Hardy's first game back, the Cowboys' 11th, would be Nov. 26 on Thanksgiving against his former team, the Panthers.

      Hardy played only one game last season but received $13.1 million from Carolina. He was placed on the inactive roster in Week 2 and then put on the commissioner's exempt list before Week 3. Hardy had 15 sacks with the Panthers in 2013 during his Pro Bowl season.

      Coleman joined the Cowboys last year as an undrafted free agent and was a starter. He played in two games and was on the 53-man roster for 10 games before ending the season on the practice squad. He re-signed with the Cowboys after the season.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Report: Pitt OT Clemmings has stress fracture in foot
    By The Sports Xchange

    Pittsburgh offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings has a stress fracture in his foot revealed during a recent workout with an NFL team, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

    • The No. 29-rated overall prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, Clemmings (6-feet-5, 309 pounds) is considered a raw offensive tackle with a high ceiling. However, the stress fracture could affect his draft stock as there are several offensive line prospects with similar grades, including LSU's La'el Collins (No. 23), Florida's D.J. Humphries (No. 30) and Oregon's Jake Fisher (No. 33).

      According to the report, Clemmings was experiencing no pain and had no idea about the stress fracture.

      Clemmings, who has been compared to New England Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer, is currently projected to go No. 28 to the Denver Broncos in the mock drafts of NFLDraftScout.com analysts Rob Rang and Dane Brugler.

      Clemmings was a defensive end until two years ago, recording 20 tackles in eight games. He made the switch to right tackle full-time in 2013 and went on to start every game over the past two seasons. Raw at the position, Clemmings is considered to have strong upside, with many scout pointing to the success of former quarterback/tight end/defensive end Lane Johnson, who was selected with the fourth overall pick by the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago.

      How the reported stress fracture affects Clemmings' draft stock remains to be seen.

      --NFLDraftScout.com is a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Jets GM Maccagnan considering trading up
    By The Sports Xchange

    New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan said he will explore the possibility of trading up in next week's NFL Draft.

    • Speculation has the Jets, who have the No. 6 overall pick, setting their sights on Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

      Maccagnan, the Jets' first-year GM who was speaking Friday at his pre-draft news conference in Florham Park, N.J., said he is hesitant to give away draft picks.

      "We're going to reach out to every team ahead of us to gauge, to get a value for what they're looking for in compensation to move up in the draft," Maccagnan said. "That doesn't mean we're actually trying to go up and get a player. But you hear what the market value is basically, and then what you do is see what unfolds with the first few picks and who is available. We'll have that discussion when we get to the draft -- if we want to move up in the draft."

      The Tennessee Titans hold the No. 2 pick and several teams are expected to be interested in acquiring it to move up in the draft.

      Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is projected to be the first overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

      NFLDraftScout.com ranks Winston as the No. 1 overall prospect and Mariota as No. 2 in the draft, which will take place in Chicago beginning Thursday night.

      The Jets have shown considerable interest in Mariota, who came to New Jersey to meet with team officials at the Jets' facility. In addition, Mariota conducted a private workout in Eugene, Ore., for the Jets' brass.

      "Philosophically, I'm not opposed to moving up in the draft to get a player if you feel it's a player that's going to be an extremely good player, but I would, personally, like to get more picks," said Maccagnan, who was hired Jan. 13. "It would be more opportunities to acquire more talent."

      During free agency, the Jets added 15 players for about $80 million in guarantees.

      Maccagnan, the former director of college scouting for the Houston Texans, had an easier path to acceptance thanks to former general manager John Idzik, who managed to lose his job after just two years.

      Maccagnan would not comment on whether he considers quarterback a need, but he admitted he was "absolutely" comfortable with the homework the Jets have done on Mariota.

      Geno Smith will have competition for the Jets' starting quarterback job after veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick was acquired last month in a trade with the Houston Texans.

      The Jets are coming off a 4-12 season under former coach Rex Ryan. The Jets hired Todd Bowles as their new head coach in January.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Titans, WR Nicks agree to one-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms of a one-year contract with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks on Friday.

    • The deal was first reported by FOX Sports and the team later announced it.

      Nicks, 27, joins a receiving corps led by Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and new free-agent addition Harry Douglas.

      Nicks, a first-round draft pick of the New York Giants in 2009, caught 311 passes for 4,622 yards and 27 touchdowns in five seasons with the Giants. After 1,000-yard receiving seasons in 2010 and 2011, foot and knee injuries slowed him in his final two seasons in New York.

      He signed with the Indianapolis Colts last year and caught 38 passes for 405 yards and a touchdown as a role player in multiple-receiver packages.

      Nicks had found a lukewarm market this offseason. He visited the San Francisco 49ers in March and met with the Titans on April 14.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Lions to pick up Reiff's '16 option
    By The Sports Xchange

    Detroit Lions general manager confirmed the team intends to pick up the fifth-year option on left tackle Riley Reiff before the March 3 deadline to do so on 2012 first round picks.

    • Reiff has started 31 games over the past two seasons, but has failed to live up to his No. 23 overall pick status and there had been some question as to whether his options for 2016 worth around $8 million would be picked up.

      "Yes, we're definitely going to do his fifth-year option and have him for a fifth year," Mayhew said Friday. "We anticipate getting that paperwork done sometime soon."

      There is potential for Reiff to move back to the right side depending upon what the Lions do in next week's draft.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    2015 NFL Draft: Quarterback class a bad one
    By The Sports Xchange

    When somebody says the quarterback class for the 2015 NFL Draft is bad, believe it.

    • Despite the usual chatter about the top two prospects at that special position, there is not one quarterback prospect in this draft who appears to be a sure thing.

      Behind a crescendo of hype and hyperbole, Florida State's Jameis Winston emerged as the accepted favorite to be the No. 1 quarterback and first player chosen when the draft begins April 30 in Chicago.

      His claim to the honor rides largely on a prolific career in which he won a National Championship and Heisman Trophy in the 2013 season and despite a conspicuous falloff in efficiency last season.

      Oregon's athletic Marcus Mariota, winner of last season's Heisman Trophy, is ranked No. 2 by NFLDraftScout.com that lists only five quarterbacks among the top 100 players in the draft.

      Winston maintains his top ranking despite off-field issues that put a target on his back before being drafted into an NFL that is becoming ever more vigilant against social improprieties, as defined by commissioner Roger Goodell.

      But not only has Winston said all the right things in preparation for this draft, he also has experience in a pro-style attack and knows how to do things like call plays in the huddle, take the snap directly from the center and drop back before passing.

      As familiar as that sounds to NFL fans, it is unlike the college experience of several other quarterback prospects in this draft, including Mariota, who was the triggerman in an up-tempo, no-huddle, spread offense.

      The third quarterback on most lists is UCLA's athletic Brett Hundley, but he is not expected to be drafted until the second round and some teams favor other flavors, like Colorado State's Garrett Grayson, as the next best behind Winston and Mariota.

      Here is a closer look at the top quarterbacks in the NFL's 2015 draft (position rating/overall rating. Player, college, height, weight, 40-yard time, projected round. *=underclassman):

      (Data legend: 40-yard time listed on each player's initial line is best Indianapolis combine time, whether by hand held or electronic method.In "Measuring up" segments, Four-digits for height = first digit is feet, next two are inches and last digit is eighths of an inch. Weight is in pounds. Arm, hand and wingspan are in inches. Combine times (40, 20, 10) are those that are announced, usually the best electronic time. VJ=vertical jump, result in inches; BJ=broad jump, results in feet-inches; SS=short shuttle, result in seconds; 3C=3cone, result in seconds; BP=bench press, results are repetitions with 225 pounds.)

      1. *Jameis Winston, Florida State, 6-4, 231, 4.91, 1

      --Downhill into NFL?: This big, tough, strong-armed quarterback displayed enough physical ability as a freshman in 2013 to win a national championship, a Heisman Trophy and rave notices from scouts on his pro potential. Despite a drop-off in efficiency in the 2014 season, he opted to enter the draft. To hear them rave, NFL scouts seem certain he has great potential, although they note he has trouble deciphering underneath coverage and there was an increase his TD-INT ratio from 40/10 in 2013 to 25/18 last season. They seem to dismiss his conspicuous lack of elite athletic ability, which was quantified with his lackluster combine workout. Of more concern is the league's rapidly evolving personal conduct policy and commissioner Roger Goodell's shoot, ready, aim approach to punitive judgment. So Winston's personal life is more important than his marvelous on-field abilities. For teams wondering if he can be the face of a franchise, the looming concern is if that same face may also pose for a police mug shot. Winston's history includes a controversial sexual assault claim, multiple charges of petty theft and a bizarre incident in which he shouted obnoxious vulgarities from atop a table at FSU's student union. Winston has a natural, take-charge swagger and the self-confidence to succeed in the NFL on the field -- if he can avoid trouble off of it.

      --Measuring Up: Ht, Wt: 6036, 231; Arm: 32 inches; Hand: 09 3/8 inches; Wingspan: 78 3/4 inches; Combine -- 40-YD: 4.97 seconds; 10-YD: 1.74; 20-YD: 2.89; VJ: 28 1/2; BJ: 08-7; SS: 4.36; 3C: 7.16. Pro Day -- positional drills only.

      --Notable quote: "My actions. I have to do everything by my actions. It's not time to explain about what I'm going through but when I do get to a city and a team I plan on getting involved in the community and create an image, a positive image, and put everything else behind me." == Winston at the combine, when asked how he intends to earn trust in light of his troubled past.

      --Frankly: With all due respect, and heartfelt wishes that Winston does well in everything he does, I'm just not convinced he is the best quarterback in this draft, let alone No. 1 overall, where we have him rated at NFLDraftScout.com. Back at ya next week with a personal top 100.

      2/2. Marcus Mariota, Oregon, 6-4, 222, 4.43, 1

      --Flyin' Hawaiian: Mariota was masterful in Oregon's run-option, spread offense, which accentuated his raw athletic abilities to run and throw, often at the same time. Even conceding that his arm strength is NFL caliber (not counting a current shoulder problem), Mariota's evaluations are burdened by a stark lack of success by similarly gifted quarterbacks who rewrote college record books, but were unable to transfer that talent to the pro game. The most consistently effective quarterbacks in the NFL include Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and even Andrew Luck -- none of whom graduated from a primarily run/option college offense. Those college stars are still inconsistent or unfulfilled promises in the NFL -- Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, maybe Cam Newton, and the most infamous example, Tim Tebow. Like Mariota, each of these spread products, save Kaepernick, won a Heisman Trophy. But that obviously doesn't pave the road to NFL success. Like them, Mariota's has not proven he can process the game, go through his progressions, from within the pocket. Add the word "yet" and that is why some team will make him a high pick after being enamored with his impressive athleticism and spotless personal demeanor. And there is this -- Philadelphia's Chip Kelly recruited and coached Mariota at Oregon and brought his college-based concepts to the NFL.

      -- Measuring up: Ht, Wt: 6036, 222; Arm: 32; Hand: 9-7/8; Wingspan: 76 3/8; Combine -- 40-YD: 4.52;10-YD: 1.57; 20-YD: 2.62; VJ: 36; BJ: 10-1; SS: 4.11; 3C: 6.87.

      --Notable quote: For us it's going to be huddling, I haven't huddled in a while. That will be one thing. It seems like a little detail, but that is kind of a big thing. There's other things as well. Three-, five-, seven-step drops under center. That's all stuff I've been able to work on the last month. It's been good. I've been able to work with Kevin O'Connell and Philip Rivers has come in and worked with us as well" -- Mariota at combine when asked how he was preparing for move to the NFL.

      --Frankly: Here's a great athlete with all the measurables to be a success at any level even if he were a tailback in the old single wing offense, as was Billy Kilmer at UCLA before being drafted in the first round by the 49ers in 1961. See? None of this is new, just different. But regardless of how the offense lines up, the concern about soft-spoken, easy-going Mariota is his ability to be an assertive leader among men, a problem Kilmer never had.

      3/54. Brett Hundley, UCLA, 6-3, 226, 4.60, 2

      --The Other quarterback: In a draft that some believe is the worst in years at quarterback, Hundley is the "other" guy when discussions begin, and often end, with opinions on Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston. Regardless, Hundley is a big, athletic, dual-threat quarterback who was a recruiting coup by the Bruins after he earned a five-star rating at Chandler High School (Arizona) with 2,348 yards and 20 touchdowns passing and 856 yards with nine more touchdowns rushing. After redshirting in 2011, Hundley looked like all that as he threw for a UCLA record 3,740 yards with 29 touchdowns against only nine interceptions as the Bruins finished atop the Pac 12 South. Hundley finished his career with 11,713 yards passing, 75 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. Despite the statistical success, scouts feel he has not improved in college and still lacks poise in the pocket. Those same scouts watched San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggle in 2014 for the same reason, which further hurt Hundley's draft stock.

      --Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6032, 226; Arm: 32 1/8; Hand: 10 1/2; Wingspan: 78 1/4. Combine -- 40-YD: 4.63; 10-YD: 1.62; 20-YD: 2.72; VJ: 36; BJ: 10-0; SS: 3.98; 3C: 6.93.

      --Notable quote: "I think overall quarterback, on and off the field, being able to lead a team and make most of his opportunity. I think one thing I do every day is work hard. If you tell me I can't do something I'm going to prove you wrong and do it. So hard work, and just leadership." -- Hundley at the combine, when asked what he brings to the table.

      Frankly: He can run and throw and was able to ring up a lot of yards in college, but Hundley rarely looked smooth and natural, especially in the pocket, where he seemed impatient and all too ready to run. He sometimes over-strides while passing, making his release point much lower and usually guides the ball from that stance, which means a slow release that invites an alert NFL defender to jump the route. He has ability, but is a project.

      4/89. Bryce Petty, Baylor, 6-3, 230, 4.81, 3

      --Grin and Bear it: If nothing else, Petty should be appreciated for his patience, or dogged persistence after playing for two high schools, then gray-shirting, red-shirting and clip-board holding behind Robert Griffin the third. Finally, Petty got his chance in 2013 and completed250 of 403 passes for 4,200 yards, 32 touchdowns and only three interceptions in Baylor's wide open offense. He also rushed for 14 touchdowns and was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Last season, missed the second game with a back injury that hampered him pretty much all season, although he did throw for 3,855 yards, 29 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Petty's passing efficiency rating of 166.03 established the school record. Although he did play in an up-tempo, spread offense, Petty looked confident in the pocket, held his ground when necessary and at times showed he can be patient in finding an alternative receiver. His release looks three-quarters side arm, but he makes it appear natural and gets rid of the ball quickly. Like two quarterbacks rated ahead of him, Petty must prove he can transfer his abilities from his up-tempo, one-read college offense to a more demanding and sophisticated NFL system. He spoke about his experience in a pro system at the Senior Bowl as if it were a trip to another planet.

      --Measuring up: Ht., wt.: 6027, 230; Arm: 31 7/8; Hand: 10; Wingspan: 77 3/8. Combine -- 40-YD: 4.87; 10-YD: 1.67; 20-YD: 2.81; VJ: 34; BJ: 10-1; SS: 4.13; 3C: 6.91.

      --Notable quote: "Yeah. We were in the spread but at the same time I feel like I am a pocket passer. I want to extend plays, extend plays within the pocket. That might be a little bit different than most spread quarterbacks who want to run it out of the pocket. For me, I feel like my game can translate easier in that and the fact that I want to play within the pocket and I want to extend plays within the pocket and beat you doing that." -- Petty at the combine, when asked about transitioning to an NFL offense.

      --Frankly: Petty may be the surprise of this quarterback class. If he gets to a team that gives him time to develop skills that were overlooked or not used in the Baylor system, Petty may develop into a productive NFL quarterback.

      5/100. Garrett Grayson, Colorado State, 6-2, 213, 4.75, 3-4

      --Long, painful road: Grayson took difficult and painful path to recognition as a college quarterback. His best college offer out of Heritage High School in Vancouver was to play safety for nearby Washington State. Instead, Grayson set his sights on Colorado State. He gray-shirted in 2010, entered CSU in 2011 and finally started three games near the end of the season. An energized Grayson began 2012 starting the first four games, but broke his clavicle and sat out the rest of the season, which created an emotional challenge because he didn't want to be around the team if he wasn't playing. A rejuvenated and determined, Grayson came on strong the last two years, throwing for 3,696 yards 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 2013, then demanding attention last year with 4,006 yards passing, 32 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Petty's biggest plus, especially in this draft, is that he not only played in a pro-type system, but he improved remarkably year over year, although the team did migrate to a spread formation in 2014. After making a physical and emotional comeback from the broken clavicle, he developed a more resilient attitude that serves well at quarterback.

      --Measuring up: Ht, wt: 6024, 213; Arm: 30; Hand: 10; Wingspan: 75 1/4. Combine -- Did not work out, injured hamstring. March 11 pro day -- 40-YD: 4.58; 10-YD: 1.59; 20-YD: 2.68; VJ: 34; BJ: 10-1

      --Notable quote "We were pro style, we became a little bit more spread my senior year. That was partly personnel, partly coach Baldwin getting to install his offense a little bit more. But we were basically as much pro style as you could get my sophomore, junior years and as I said, transitioned a little more spread my senior year." -- Grayson at combine, explain his background in a pro-style offense.

      --Frankly: Grayson wanted to play in the NFL since he was five years old and, despite a lack of impressive athletic ability and size he somehow made it here to the brink of that dream. Go ahead, you tell Grayson he is not good enough. He's heard it all before.

      Also:

      6/140. Sean Mannion, Oregon State, 6-6, 229, 5.06, 4-5

      7/205. Brandon Bridge, South Alabama, 6-4, 229, 4.65, 6

      8/219. Connor Halliday, Washington State, 6-3, 204, 4.87, 6-7

      9/239. Cody Fajardo, Nevada, 6-1, 223, 4.53, 7

      10/259. Shane Carden, East Carolina, 6-2, 218, 4.90, 7-FA

      11/273. Bryan Bennett, Southeastern Louisiana, 6-2, 211, 4.79, 7-FA

      12/291. Hutson Mason, Georgia, 6-2, 212, 4.83, 7-FA

      13/303. Taylor Kelly, Arizona State, 6-2, 202, 4.58, 7-FA

      14/318. Chris Bonner, Colorado State-Pueblo, 6-6, 231, 5.12, 7-FA

      15/359. Taylor Heinicke, Old Dominion, 6-0, 214, 4.62,

      --Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, is in his 50th year covering football and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Friday, April 24, 2015
    Cowboys' Romo promises: 'We're going to win a Super Bowl next year'
    By The Sports Xchange

    Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, making an acceptance speech for the Nancy Lieberman Lifetime Achievement Award, closed with a promise and bold prediction to fans that "we're going to win a Super Bowl next year."

    • Romo gave a 10-minute acceptance speech earlier this month at the Dream Ball Gala in Dallas about needing help from others so he could achieve his goals, according to the Dallas Morning News.

      Romo described how he transformed from a player focused on individual goals to someone who now only cares about team accomplishments.

      "In the last five years, it's become all the people that I'm with, the Jason Wittens, the Jason Garretts, the Joneses, these people I've been with for a long time," Romo said. "I want to win a championship so bad, but it's just not about me. I literally want to win it so bad for them. For the people around me who have helped me.

      "They've allowed me to achieve my dreams and my goals. Without them, I'm not there, I promise you. I'm not where I'm at right now and I'm not going where I'm going."

      The 35-year-old Romo, who restructured his contract during the offseason to create more salary cap space for the Cowboys, then delivered his prediction for the upcoming season.

      "This award is very meaningful to me, mostly because I get to be associated with this and to be associated with Nancy," Romo said. "It's incredible and I really appreciate you, and we're going to win a Super Bowl next year. Thank you."

      The Cowboys, who were one of last season's biggest surprises with a 12-4 record and a playoff win, currently have the sixth-best odds to win Super Bowl 50 in most Las Vegas sports books.

  • Thursday, April 23, 2015
    NFL notebook: Patriots honored by Obama at White House
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, minus quarterback Tom Brady, were honored by President Barack Obama at the White House on Thursday.

    • Amid some jokes about deflated balls, coach Bill Belichick's wardrobe and Rob Gronkowski, the president congratulated the Patriots for their sustained success and for their thrilling 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in February.

      "The Patriots organization is as good an organization as there has ever been in professional sports," Obama said, referencing the Patriots' four Super Bowl titles under Belichick and owner Bob Kraft. "To be able to maintain that kind of consistent excellence is a rare thing in any field, including on the football field. It's a testament to ownership; it's a testament to a Hall of Fame coach.

      "I'm particularly grateful that Coach decided to dress up today," Obama joked about Belichick, whose game-day attire usually consists of a hoodie with cutoff sleeves. "We had some scissors if he wanted to cut the sleeves off. Formal hoodies are allowed."

      Obama then got in his obligatory jab over the Patriots' underinflated-ball controversy: "I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events; but, with Patriots in town, I was worried that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat."

      The president credited the Patriots for overcoming the distractions of that controversy as they prepared for the Super Bowl.

      He mentioned a few Patriots by name, saying he told hard-partying tight end Rob Gronkowski "to keep his shirt on."

      He finished with mention of Malcolm Butler's game-saving interception, saying with his best New England accent, "I think it's fair to say that Malcolm has earned a lifetime of free drinks in every bah in Bahston."

      ---The Tennessee Titans will pick up the fifth-year option on wide receiver Kendall Wright's rookie contract, per the Tennessean.

      Teams have until May 3 to exercise the 2016 options on players selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but the Titans are prepared to pick up the $7.3 million option on Wright's contract. After catching 94 passes for 1,079 yards in 2013, his production dipped to 57 receptions for 715 yards and six touchdowns last season while the Titans experienced very inconsistent quarterback play.

      Wright, the 20th overall pick in 2012, signed a four-year, $8.2 million rookie deal.

      ---The New York Jets picked up the fifth-year option on outside linebacker Quinton Coples' rookie contract, according to NFL Media's Albert Breer.

      Coples, 24, has only 16.5 career sacks and picking up the $7.8 million option gives the Jets another year to evaluate the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft before potentially considering a long-term deal next offseason.

      ---Restricted free agents Justin Tucker and Will Hill signed their tenders with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.

      Tucker, the team's standout kicker, had been tendered at the second-round value, $2.36 million. Hill, a safety, was offered $1.54 million.

      Tucker, who was an undrafted free agent in 2012, is the most accurate kicker in NFL history at 89.8 percent (97 of 108).

      Hill sat out six games last season due to a positive test for marijuana and then finished the season as the Ravens' starting free safety. He is expected to compete for the starting role at strong safety this year.

      ---Tight end Bear Pascoe signed a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears.

      The seventh-year veteran has 34 starts in 82 games since he was drafted in the sixth round in 2009. Pascoe played for the New York Giants (2009-13) and Atlanta Falcons (2014), recording 40 receptions for 336 yards (8.4-yard average) and two touchdowns.

      ---Veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings signed a two-year, $8 million contract with the Miami Dolphins.

      Jennings, who was released in March by the Minnesota Vikings, was in Miami to take a physical on Wednesday.

      In effect, the Dolphins traded Mike Wallace for Jennings, who became expendable in Minnesota when the Dolphins dealt Wallace to the Vikings.

      Jennings, 31, had signed a five-year, $45 million contract with the Vikings in 2013. In two seasons with Minnesota, he caught 127 passes for 1,546 yards and 10 touchdowns.

      Jennings played his first seven seasons in Green Bay and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2010 and 2011.

      --- Missouri edge rusher Shane Ray met with a foot specialist on Thursday whose recommendation was that surgery will not be necessary on Ray's toe injury, according to NFL.com.

      Ray is the No. 11 prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, but the status of the turf toe-like injury that kept him from working out at the Scouting Combine in February will be critical in teams deciding where Ray fits on their board among other pass rushers including Florida's Dane Fowler Jr., Vic Beasley, Alvin "Bud" Dupree and Randy Gregory.

      Ray met with Dr. Aakash Shah in Kansas City a week before the start of the NFL Draft. According to reports, some teams believe Ray will need surgery on the toe he injured in Missouri's bowl game and could be sidelined three to five months. If Ray does not need surgery, he could be available for post-draft workouts.

      Ray led the SEC with 14.5 sacks during his first season as a starter in 2014.

      ---Montana defensive end Zack Wagenmann suffered a broken foot during a pre-draft workout for an undisclosed NFL team, per ESPN's Adam Caplan.

      Wagenmann, the No. 20 defensive end prospect in this class and a projected sixth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, is expected to be sidelined for at least eight weeks but should be ready in time for training camp.

      Wagenmann has steadily increased his pro prospects since arriving at Montana as a no-star defensive end recruit. Undersized at 6 feet 3 and 247 pounds, he earned a starting job as a sophomore and went on to rack up 37.5 career sacks. He earned an invitation to the 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and turned his performance there into a trip to the Scouting Combine, where he posted a 37.5-inch vertical jump, third among defensive ends.

      ---New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, recovering from a torn patellar tendon, said that he expects to be ready for the season opener.

      "There's zero doubts that I'll be playing in that first game," Cruz said of the Giants' Sunday night game at Dallas.

      "He looked good. He's running pretty good right now and he's scheduled to be back ready for the opener for us," general manager Jerry Reese said. "But until you get out there and turn it loose, you never know what a guy is going to do. But he looks great right now."

      Cruz, who had surgery in October, said he has been running for a month but isn't making lateral cuts yet.

      "I do feel like I can continue to be the same guy that I was before," said Cruz, a two-time 1,000-yard receiver who had 241 receptions from 2011 to 2013.

      ---Denver Broncos general manager John Elway said he disagrees with wide receiver Demaryius Thomas' decision to skip the team's offseason program while angling for a new contract.

      "To be dead honest, I see absolutely zero value in him being away from here -- zero value for him," Elway said. "There is no value for him not to be here with his teammates."

      The Broncos placed the franchise tag on Thomas, guaranteeing him $12.8 million next season. The sides can continue to negotiate on a long-term deal, but Thomas' absence does not help the installation of a new offense under new coach Gary Kubiak.

      Thomas has said he will play under the franchise tag if necessary, so it's unclear whether he plans to hold out long-term if a new deal does not get done. He also skipped quarterback Peyton Manning's annual passing camp at Duke earlier this month.

      ---Running back Maurice Jones-Drew will be honored by the Jacksonville Jaguars with a retirement ceremony next week.

      Jones-Drew, a second-round pick of the Jaguars in 2006, spent the first eight of his nine NFL seasons in Jacksonville. He played sparingly for the Oakland Raiders in 2014.

      He will officially retire next Tuesday by signing a ceremonial one-day contract with the Jaguars.

      Jones-Drew compiled 8,167 yards rushing, 2,944 yards receiving and 81 touchdowns.