The New York Jets are doing their homework on Baker Mayfield. Lots of homework.
In the market for a quarterback, the Jets will be in Oklahoma for a private workout and they will have the Heisman Trophy winner at their facility for a pre-draft visit, he told themmqb.com.
They already met with Mayfield at the Senior Bowl and the NFL scouting combine. That’s a lot of Mayfield. Does it mean the Jets are targeting him in the draft?
Maybe, maybe not.
Keep in the mind the Jets will have 30 players for pre-draft visits, the league limit, many of whom will have multiple meetings with the team. It certainly means the Jets are performing their due diligence on Mayfield, the flag-planting, crotch-grabbing star whose behavior and background (which includes an arrest) demands scrutiny.
“You get a small window with them” at the combine, general manager Mike Maccagnan said. “In some cases, you get more exposure to these players when you go to their pro days and you’re around them in that environment. Sometimes you’ll schedule private workouts with them. Sometimes we’ll bring them in for visits at our facility, so we get a lot more opportunities to see them.”
The Jets have the sixth pick in the draft. If they don’t sign free agent Kirk Cousins, they could use their first-round pick on a quarterback. Josh Allen, Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen are the other top quarterback prospects. They, too, could get a once-over from the Jets.
Another day of interviews, workouts and testing wrapped up Sunday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
Defensive linemen, edge rushers and linebackers went through on-field testing and drills, while defensive backs completed the bench press.
You can check out all the results over on NFL.com, but there’s a look at a Philadelphia Eagles-focused wrap up.
Edge rushers showcase some impressive physical traits
— NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the Eagles are working with defensive end Vinny Curry on restructuring his contract, and Curry’s ultimate fate — whether it’s a trade, release or neither — could impact what the Eagles need at defensive end. They drafted Derek Barnett in the first round last year, a move that paid off, and the Eagles showed that having a deep rotation of pass rushers who they can keep fresh is a winning strategy.
— Georgia’s Lorenzo Carter ran a 4.50 in the 40, and his 130-inch broad jump showcased some explosiveness. He was projected as a second or third-round pick entering the combine, and he could be on the move up after posting those numbers.
— Ogbonnia Okoronkwo of Oklahoma projects as a solid prospect, and he backed that up with his performance. Analysts don’t see Okoronkwo as an instant-impact prospect, so he could be an option if the Eagles want to boost their depth.
— It will be hard for either of these prospects to drop into the Eagles range at the end of the first round, but Florida State’s Josh Sweat and Boston College’s Harold Landry had good Sundays. Sweat measured in at nearly 6-foot-5, 251 pounds with a wingspan of 84 1/8 inches, and that was before he ran a 4.53 40 and posted a 39.5-inch vertical. Sweat’s testing might bump him into the first round. Landry checked in at 6-foot-2, 252 pounds and ran a 4.64 40 and posted 24 reps in the bench press.
— The Eagles might be in the position to add another body to the middle of their defensive line, depending on what happens with Beau Allen’s contract this offseason. Washington’s Vita Vea is one of the top defensive tackles, and while he’ll likely be gone by the time the Eagles pick at No. 32, it’s worth highlighting his 41 reps at 225 in the bench press and 5.10 40.
— Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle checked in at 6-foot-2, 329 pounds, and while some of his numbers — 5.37 in the 40, 23.5 inches in the vertical jump and 96 inches in the broad jump — don’t jump off the page, he seems like he could be an interesting project for an NFL team, including the Eagles.
— Da’Shawn Hand signed with Alabama in the Class of 2014 as the nation’s No. 1 recruit, but he never quite matched production with hype during his college career. But Hand’s measurables at the combine show someone who can be a physical presence on a defense. If the Eagles can somehow pick up a second or third-round pick, it might be worth keeping Hand’s name in mind.
Draft’s top linebackers turn in some eye-catching performances
— Linebacker could emerge as a need for the Eagles depending on what happens with Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks. And even if the Birds hang on to one or both of those players, it might be nice for the Birds to add a youth infusion to Jim Schwartz’s unit.
— Arizona State’s Christian Sam is a potential mid-round pick, and he was solid Sunday with a 4.75 40 and a 114-inch broad jump. NFL.com’s grade for him gives him the chance to become an NFL starter.
— Ohio State’s Jerome Baker has a great physical frame at 6-foot-1, 229 pounds, and he added some solid testing numbers to that. He ran the 40 in 4.53 seconds, posted 22 reps in the bench press and covered 126 inches in the broad jump. The Eagles don’t have a second or third round pick right now — which is where Baker projects — but he’s the type of prospect who could fall. Then maybe the Eagles could snag him.
— Shaquem Griffin has been an inspirational story during the combine. First, it was his 20 reps in the bench press while using a prosthetic on his left arm. Then Sunday it was his 40 time of 4.38 seconds, which led all linebackers. Griffin is projected as a mid-round pick, but it’s clear the team that selects him will get a top notch athlete.
PITTSBURGH — A Pennsylvania family has filed a lawsuit against Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis, claiming he posted a video on social media mocking their teenage son.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the 24-year-old Davis uploaded a video to Snapchat of the teen working at a Chick-fil-A drive-thru in Cranberry Township, located about 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. Davis is heard saying: “This kid like 8 years old. No wonder the lines be so long.”
An attorney who represents the family said their son, whom the complaint describes as “very small for his age,” didn’t know about the video until he was bullied at school afterward.
The lawsuit filed Friday includes claims of libel and cyberbullying, and it seeks an unspecified amount in damages. It says the teen has suffered from headaches, depression, sleeplessness and anxiety.
Davis’ attorney Eugene Lee called the lawsuit frivolous. He said Davis did not intend to demean the teen.
“From our perspective, it was a commentary on a billion-dollar corporation,” Randy Fisher, general counsel of the firm that represents Davis, told the Gazette. “It had nothing in particular to do with this young man.
“What they’re alleging goes completely against everything Sean stands for and how he lives his life.”
At one point last season, it seemed like the 49ers would have their pick of top players in the draft.
An elite pass rusher? N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb was realistic. A shut-down cornerback? Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick made sense. A road-grading guard or a once-in-a-decade running back? Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson and Penn State’s Saquon Barkley were in range.
The team’s late-season surge under quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, however, means those players probably are out of reach and the 49ers – and their fans – must recalibrate. Here are the most plausible fits for San Francisco, which either will have the ninth or 10th pick in the draft’s opening round:
LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech – Edmunds would give the 49ers versatility on defense. He’s big and powerful enough to hold the point of attack and to rush the passer from the team’s strong-side linebacker position. He may be even better suited for inside linebacker, which could become an area of need for San Francisco if Reuben Foster continues to be problematic.
CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State – Cornerback Marshon Lattimore turned out to be an excellent first-round pick last year for the New Orleans Saints. His one-time Ohio State teammate is thought to be nearly as good. Ward, however, is listed at 5-10. The 49ers, who like their cornerbacks to be at least 6 feet tall, will be very interested in his official measurement this week.
OL Connor Williams, Texas – The 49ers don’t have a need at offensive tackle now, but they could in coming years. Given the fact that tackles are hard to find in free agency, general manager John Lynch and Co. might be wise to cross off this big-ticket item in the draft. The beauty of picking Williams is that he’s a very strong run blocker and might be able to bide his time at guard until there’s an opening at tackle.
DE Harold Landry, Boston College – The prototype for the 49ers’ “Leo” position is an athletic and explosive pass rusher capable of beating left tackles to the quarterback. Landry seemed to fit that billing perfectly in 2016, when he registered 16 1/2 sacks and showed the type of bend and flexibility common to the NFL’s best sack masters. His numbers fell off last year, however, and there’s some question about whether Landry is big enough to be an every-down defensive end. His weigh-in also will be closely watched.
DE Marcus Davenport, UT-San Antonio – At 6-6, he’s certainly the most physically imposing of the defensive-end prospects the 49ers could take in the first round and he offers the highest upside. He’s also a gamble. His 8 1/2 sacks last year were nice, but shouldn’t a potential first-round pick have more against the likes of Texas State, North Texas and Rice? Davenport will require plenty of study between now and April.
CB Josh Jackson, Iowa – He has the size that Ward lacks, as well as elite ball skills. Jackson led the nation last year with eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. The worry is that he’s not nearly as athletic as Ward and isn’t fast enough to keep pace with top receivers. The draft is deep at cornerback. What the 49ers do at the position in April will have everything to do with whom they add in March during free agency.
One day into the NFL’s franchise tag period, only one tag has so far been used — by the Miami Dolphins on receiver Jarvis Landry.
But that move — and a couple of others that are rumored to potentially happen soon — may impact Seattle’s ability to keep free agent receiver Paul Richardson, as well as what the Seahawks could do to replace him if he does depart.
Landry was regarded as the top receiver who could potentially become a free agent before getting tagged on Tuesday, which would pay him $16.2 million in 2018.
That the tag was placed on Landry on the first day has led to speculation that the Dolphins may just be trying to trade Landry.
Regardless of Miami’s motives, the tag makes Landry the third-highest paid receiver in the NFL next year, according to OvertheCap.com, behind Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant and further sets the receiver market while taking one of the top free agents out of the mix.
Also, it is generally expected that Jacksonville will tag receiver Allen Robinson and that the Rams could tag Sammy Watkins, further depleting what has generally been considered an underwhelming class of free agent receivers.
And all of which could make it that much more difficult for the Seahawks to retain Richardson, generally considered among the top 10 or so free-agent receivers available and moving up the ladder as others get tagged.
Richardson, Seattle’s first pick in the 2014 draft at No. 45 overall, is coming off his best season, with 44 receptions and six touchdowns, but maybe most importantly for him — and teams assessing what he might add — an average of 16.0 yards per catch.
Pro Football Focus has rated Richardson as the third-best deep threat available in free agency (behind Buffalo’s Deonte Thompson and Baltimore’s Mike Wallace) stating “catching all eight of his catchable deep targets, Richardson ranked 18th in deep passing yards (300) among wide receivers with at least four deep targets last season.’’
Conversely, Richardson ranked last in PFF’s ratings of the top 21 receivers available in free agency in catch rate, dropping eight of what PFF assessed were 52 catchable passes, 15.4 percent.
Still, in a thin receiver market Richardson’s big-play ability and age — he turns 26 in April — will prove intriguing, with Spotrac.com judging his market value at $6.3 million for four seasons.
While there can be a danger in reading salary cap space too literally — space can always be created and the Seahawks will likely make some moves soon to open some up — Seattle by any measure doesn’t figure to have a whole lot as it enters free agency, at the moment assessed as having just $14.1 million available for 2018, more than just seven other teams.
And as may hardly need to be stated, the Seahawks have lots of other questions heading into the offseason, such as the futures of Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, Sheldon Richardson, etc.
Paying $25 million or so over four years to a receiver who has had some durability concerns — playing just one game in 2015 due to knee and hamstring injuries, for instance — along with really having produced consistently in just one of his four seasons might be too rich for the Seahawks.
But the question then is what Seattle does at receiver.
Tight end Jimmy Graham is also regarded as almost certainly not returning and number two tight end Luke Willson is also a free agent.
Doug Baldwin is under contract through 2020 and Tyler Lockett through 2018 but otherwise the Seahawks are looking at a largely unproven core of receivers returning if Graham and Richardson get away.
The only other two receivers to really play much last season (if you consider J.D. McKissic as a running back) were rookie Amara Darboh, who had just eight receptions last season and Tanner McEvoy, who had just five along with one critical drop and a fumble.
The Seahawks appeared to indicate their concern over long-term depth when they promoted rookie David Moore off the practice squad to the 53-man roster late in the year (recall that Moore at the time took the spot of Dwight Freeney on the 53-man) a move made to prevent Moore from going to an active roster elsewhere. Moore played in only one game last year, the season finale, but promoting him was aimed more at the future than 2017.
Seattle, of course, could look for cheaper free agents to help fill the void (Atlanta’s Taylor Gabriel or Dallas’ Brice Butler, maybe?), and to the draft. But having just one pick in the first three rounds (at the moment, anyway) obviously limits what Seattle may be able to do the first two days.
As for Richardson, his injury history (two ACLs, one in college and another as a rookie) and coming off his best season in the NFL seem to make it a given he will test the market and see what is out there for him. He may find more than he or the Seahawks expected.
The Oakland Raiders may be in need of a wide receiver if they wind up parting ways with Michael Crabtree. While a name like Jarvis Landry and a few potential 2018 NFL Draft prospects have been mentioned as replacements, it seems that SportsLine believes that one name specifically would make a ton of sense for the Raiders and Jon Gruden.
In a breakdown of the odds for the top five wide receivers who are hitting free agency, Adam Thompson of SportsLine touched on Landry, Allen Robinson, Marqise Lee, Sammy Watkins and Terrelle Pryor. His choice for the only name who the Raiders could be one of the favorites for?
Pryor. Here’s a look at what odds he offered and what he had to say:
TERRELLE PRYOR SR.
Cleveland Browns 3/1
Washington Redskins 3/1
Oakland Raiders 6/1
San Francisco 49ers 8/1
The Field 5/1
Pryor turned down a long-term deal with the Browns to join the Redskins for 2017 on a one-year deal, but the season was a bust. He managed just 20 catches for 240 yards and one TD before being placed on injured reserve (ankle) in November. He had 77 catches for 1,007 yards in 2016 with Cleveland.
PICK: Washington is in need of a playmaker for new QB Alex Smith. Pryor is already there and might be its best option.
But Pryor is clearly close with at least one of his former teammates and was a big fan of coach Hue Jackson, and could be a nice addition at a reasonable price for the Browns, allowing them to spend on other areas of need. Go with the Browns.
It’s interesting to see that Pryor is the only name who wound up being linked to the Raiders, and the 6/1 odds are certainly high. With that said, Pryor would be a nice red zone target for Derek Carr, and more importantly, he likely wouldn’t break the bank after a down year in 2017.
Obviously, many things could change if the Raiders free up additional cap space, but if Crabtree is let go, then the team will unquestionably need to address the position sooner than later.
The Oakland Raiders have their new coach and plenty of red-hot news coming with him! Want the latest news sent straight to your inbox? – Sign up for our FREE Raiders newsletter now!
It’s pretty evident that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers struggled to live up to their potential and high offseason expectations in 2017. The Bucs finished 5-11 in one of the most disappointing seasons this team has had in years after being deemed a surefire pick to notch a ticket to the playoffs. Meanwhile, a few hours north of Tampa Bay, the Jaguars managed to make a playoff run and found quite a bit of success after finishing their 2016 campaign 3-13.
So, Jags linebacker Telvin Smith recently weighed in on the difference between the Bucs and Jaguars and why the Bucs were unfortunately unable to make a comeback like they did.
“I am telling you that is how you know this game is crazy,” Smith said, according to Mark Cook of PewterReport.com. “Everybody saying when they [the Buccaneers] came in [to Jacksonville] ‘That is a playoff team, they added a couple pieces.’ But it is hard to say. You just have to get the right pieces, and each season is its own. You don’t go into next season saying, ‘Yeah that is the same team.’ Every year it is a different team, a different attitude. You will never have the same guys. But sometimes one guy can make all the difference.”
The Jaguars made all the right moves last offseason to ensure they have a much better outcome this year. From landing Leonard Fournette, to hiring Doug Marrone as head coach all the way to signing Calais Campbell, the Jaguars made waves this year. Though the Bucs did acquire many of their own weapons such as O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin and DeSean Jackson, the pieces still aren’t gelling as well as they need to be together at this time which is something that takes time and is something that will undoubtedly be addressed.
NBC analysts Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison discussed new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and the team’s new defensive coordinator Dean Pees during a media availability at Super Bowl LII.
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – Rodney Harrison pumped his fist when he heard his former defensive coordinator had come out of retirement to join one of his former teammates in Tennessee.
New Titans coach Mike Vrabel, who played alongside Harrison on defense with the Patriots, convinced Dean Pees to join him with the Titans.
Harrison, a safety who played 15 NFL seasons with the Chargers and Patriots, thinks it’s a great pairing. He has great memories of them all together in New England.
Sitting at a table just behind him here at Super Bowl LII, fellow NBC analyst Tony Dungy complimented Vrabel.
“I think he is going to be outstanding,” Dungy said. “Mike will do well, and they have a good young team.”
But Dungy didn’t necessarily have warm and fuzzy feelings while talking about Pees, who spent the last six seasons (2012-17) as defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens after spending six seasons (2004-09) coaching for the Patriots. Make no mistake, Dungy likes and respects Pees. It was just no fun to coach against him.
“Dean Pees I coached against many times,” said Dungy, a former head coach with the Colts and Buccaneers. “And the times we played against them, it was so hard to move the ball. He’s a really good defensive coach, and he is going to do a good job, no doubt in my mind.
“His defense will be sound, solid, and physical. And they don’t make mistakes.”
The 2012 Ravens team won Super Bowl XLVII and Pees became just the eighth defensive coordinator in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl with two different teams. Three (2014,’15,’16) of his six years as defensive coordinator for the Ravens resulted in top 10 rankings on defense.
Three of his four years (2007,’08,’09) as the defensive coordinator, saw the Patriots rank in the top 11 in total defense. Over the four-year period, New England ranked second in the NFL in points allowed (17.3/game).
“That’s great,” Harrison said of the Pees hiring. “You look at the job that Dean Pees has done with the Baltimore Ravens over the years, they have been a top 5, top 6 defense for years. They are going to bring a lot of situational stuff, because that is one of those things those guys always talk about, situational football. You look at Tennessee, that’s how they lose games. So they have to be better managers of the football, and on top of that have to do a good job of making sure Marcus Mariota become a better player.”
On Tuesday, the Titans also hired Matt LaFleur as offensive coordinator on Vrabel’s first staff.
The former Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator will look to make improvements on the offensive side of the ball.
Harrison believes Vrabel, his teammate six seasons with the Patriots, will do a great job in Tennessee.
“We had a lot of smart guys on our team, but Mike was probably considered the smartest guy on our defense. I mean, like brilliant,” Harrison said. “And the cool thing about coach (Bill) Belichick and Romeo Crennel and Dean Pees, our former defensive coordinators, they allowed us as players to kind of coach within each other. So there are a lot of adjustments made with Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi and things like that.
“Mike is a natural leader, and as a player he is going to tell it like it is, and he’s not going to hold back.”
The Change the Mascot campaign on Monday applauded the Cleveland Indians for agreeing to remove the Chief Wahoo logo from their uniforms in 2019 and challenged the NFL’s Washington Redskins to discontinue the use of their own “hurtful” nickname.
“The Cleveland baseball team has rightly recognized that Native Americans do not deserve to be denigrated as cartoon mascots, and the team’s move is a reflection of a grassroots movement that has pressed sports franchises to respect Native people,” Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter, who is the leader of the campaign, said in a statement.
“Cleveland’s decision should finally compel the Washington football team to make the same honorable decision. For too long, people of color have been stereotyped with these kinds of hurtful symbols — and no symbol is more hurtful than the football team in the nation’s capital using a dictionary- defined racial slur as its team name. Washington Owner Dan Snyder needs to look at Cleveland’s move and then look in the mirror and ask whether he wants to be forever known as the most famous purveyor of bigotry in modern sports, or if he wants to finally stand on the right side of history and change his team’s name. We hope he chooses the latter.”
The Change the Mascot campaign has been a long-standing critic of the Redskins’ name and describes itself as “a grassroots campaign that works to educate the public about the damaging effects on Native Americans arising from the continued use of the R-word.”
The Redskins declined comment when contacted by ESPN.
Snyder has resisted calls to change his team’s nickname and logo and got a boost in a trademark fight last year when the Supreme Court ruled that a trademark law barring disparaging terms infringes on free speech rights.
A Washington Post poll in 2016 found that 90 percent of Native Americans aren’t offended by the Redskins’ nickname and an overwhelming majority consider it an unimportant issue.
“The Washington Redskins team, our fans and community have always believed our name represents honor, respect and pride. Today’s Washington Post polling shows Native Americans agree,” Snyder said in a statement at the time. “We are gratified by this overwhelming support from the Native American community, and the team will proudly carry the Redskins name.”
Team president Bruce Allen said in 2015 that Washington would not change the name even if it helped them secure a new stadium in the District of Columbia. The Redskins are looking for a new stadium site, though their lease is not up until 2027.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has consistently defended the Redskins’ nickname. In the wake of the Indians’ decision Monday, he is likely to be asked again about his stance at a scheduled news conference Wednesday in Minneapolis as part of Super Bowl LII festivities.