CARDINALS TAG JONES

The Arizona Cardinals have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.
The “non-exclusive” tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15.
If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.
Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15m for the coming season.
Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season. Jones has 25.5 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

STEELERS TAG BELL


The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed an exclusive rights franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Le’Veon Bell, ensuring he’ll remain with the team in 2017.

The tag gives the Steelers time to work out a long-term deal with Bell, who could have become a free agent next month.
The 25-year-old led the NFL in average yards from scrimmage last season and became the first player in NFL history to average at least 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving per game.
Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this month the Steelers want to keep Bell with the organization “for life.”
The team has until July 15 to reach an agreement with Bell on a new contract. If not, he will make the average salary of the top five running backs in the league in 2017.

INGRAM THE LATEST TO BE TAGGED

The Los Angeles Chargers have placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Melvin Ingram.
The team announced its decision Monday night to franchise Ingram, the pass-rushing dynamo with 18 sacks over the past two seasons.
Ingram also excels as an edge rusher for the Chargers. He had eight sacks last season, and he has 24 in his five-year career.
The South Carolina product has spent his entire career with the Chargers, who drafted him in the first round in 2012.
Ingram is free to negotiate with other teams under the terms of the non-exclusive tag, but the Chargers have the right to match any offer. If they decide not to match it, they would get two first-round draft picks from the team signing Ingram.

Cleveland Browns and their 2017 NFL Draft radar: Crowquill

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The 2017 NFL Draft gets closer every day and every day there’s a new story about who the Cleveland Browns have on their radar for the No. 1 pick.
With so many blips on the screen, there seems to be no consensus pick for either an individual player or for a particular position. Will the Browns go with a quarterback or defensive lineman? If they go with a quarterback, will it be Deshaun Watson or Mitch Trubisky?

The Browns have an abundance of good players from which to choose. The trick will be to pick the one player who will be more than just a blip on the Browns’ horizon.

TRADE ALERT: Torrey Smith, Tony Romo, Jimmy Garoppolo and Philip Rivers

Tony Romo trade: Chiefs could be a landing spot


 

The Chiefs could be a potential landing spot for Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Romo, who is under contract in Dallas through 2019, is likely to be traded with Dak Prescott solidified as the team’s starting quarterback.
“It was noteworthy when Andy Reid was non-committal to Alex Smith,” Rapoport said on NFL Network Friday. “They’ve made a QB trade in the past, doing so for Alex Smith. They’d have to be considered someone who would be a possibility.”
Rapoport went on to say that if the Chiefs did make a deal for Romo, the team would cut Smith. The Bills are also rumored to have interest in Romo’s services with the organization unsure about whether to pick up Tyrod Taylor’s option that would guarantee him $30.75 million.
The Broncos are reportedly Romo’s top choice, but the Denver may opt to move forward with young quarterbacks Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian instead.
While combing through Romo’s possible destinations is intriguing, he still has to decide if he wants to play next season. Rapoport says that retirement is still an option for him.
Philip Rivers seriously interested in San Francisco 49ers
Rivers has made it clear that he didn’t want the team to move, saying he felt “numb” after learning about the relocation. There were rumors that he wanted to be dealt two years ago, and now there’s a report that claims the signal caller is eyeing a move to another West Coast team.

The San Francisco 49ers are coming off their worst season in team history, which forced the organization to fire both head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. They are looking to replace quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Rivers would be a significant upgrade.
Rivers led the NFL with 19 interceptions in the 2016 season, but he’s still better than most of the league’s signal callers. His 94.7 career passer rating is good for eighth all-time, and he’s thrown at least 26 touchdown passes in nine straight seasons.
But despite Rivers’ reservations about moving to LA, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll be forcing his way elsewhere. Despite his reservations, Rivers has publicly said he’s looking forward his future the Chargers.
Brown will try to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, depending on current draft evaluations
The Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers both have significant question marks at the quarterback position, and both will be active over the next three months in trying to address the position. We know Kyle Shanahan will want to build around a quarterback, and it is no surprise Hue Jackson and the Browns will be on the prowl as well.

 

Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot ran down the Browns-related buzz from the Senior Bowl on Tuesday. Her sources are saying the Browns are interested in New England Patriotsquarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and will try and trade for him depending on how their upcoming draft evaluations progress.
The Browns hold the No. 1 and No. 12 picks of the first round, and with that and a lot of cap space, they are in the drivers’ seat to do a lot of things. Cabot said the team still has interest in DeShaun Watson, but thinks he still has to win over the team. Additionally, she said Mitch Trubisky is gaining momentum among various officials (none identified as being with the Browns) that were at the Senior Bowl.
The 49ers need to figure out what they want to do, and their new dynamic trio of Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch, and Adam Peters will have plenty to figure out over the next three months. Kirk Cousins is someone regularly connected to Shanahan. The team has the assets to trade and sign Jimmy Garoppolo. And of course, with the No. 2 pick, there is a good chance they will have their pick of draft eligible quarterbacks. The Browns are a strong bet to draft Myles Garrett, and barring someone trading up for that pick, the 49ers could take the quarterback they want, if they rate them accordingly.
The next month and a half is going to be long wait. Trades cannot happen until the new league year opens in mid-March. There will be numerous trade rumors at the NFL Combine, and I imagine we will have a good idea of what might happen in the days leading up the open of free agency and the trading period. At that point, we’ll have a good handle on the 49ers plans at the quarterback position, be it a Cousins or Garoppolo, or a rookie and some other veteran option.
Eagles will trade for 49ers Torrey Smith
HOUSTON — In the Eagles search for an upgrade at wide receiver, executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman could round back to a potential target from last season’s trade deadline, according to a report from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
La Canfora suggested Saturday that the Eagles could make another push to acquire San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith this offseason after failing to consummate a deal at the deadline:

 

“It’s all about receivers for the Eagles as well,” La Confora wrote, while listing the top priorities for every NFL team this offseason. “Yeah, the offensive line needs retooling, too, but getting Wentz someone who can line up outside the hash marks and make a play is a required starting point for the 2017 offseason. They might land Torrey Smithin a trade, but they need to draft a receiver high as well.”

5 thing you can learn from the Seahawks about what it took to win Super Bowl 51


The Seattle Seahawks may not have played in Super Bowl 51, but that doesn’t mean there lessons to be learning from watching the Falcons and Patriots.
Super Bowl 51 was highly entertaining, as long as you weren’t a fan of the Atlanta Falcons. For the Seattle Seahawks the game was yet another reminder that they came up short this season. It was also a chance for reflection on ways the team could improve before next season.

Here are five takeaways for the Seahawks from Super Bowl 51:
1. You have to play four quarters

Perhaps the most annoying Pete Carroll cliche is “It is not how you start. It is how you finish.” Sure, there is some truth there. Leading in the first quarter doesn’t matter if you lose the game, just ask the Falcons.
At the same time, it wasn’t the early lead that led to the Falcons’ downfall. It was the fact that they didn’t put together four quarters of good football. They only played about two and a half, which simply wasn’t enough.

Slow starts have been a major problem for Seattle. When the Seahawks have lost games over the last few seasons, it has mostly be a case of the comeback attempt coming up short. That wouldn’t have been an issue if they hadn’t dug a hole in the first half.

Other times the Seahawks have failed to close out an opponent, much like the Falcons yesterday. Seattle dominated Atlanta for 3 out of 4 quarters when they played early this season, but fell asleep defensively in the third quarter and it almost cost them the game.
2. The Seahawks miss Dan Quinn

With no disrespect meant for Kris Richard, who is a good coach in his own right, but the Seattle Seahawks have missed Dan Quinn. Atlanta’s defense looked fast, physical,l and they attacked the football, at least until they got tired.
The Seahawks defense looked like that under Quinn. Since Quinn left for Atlanta, Seattle defense has being more passive and reactive. They don’t attack as much, and consequently they don’t collect turnovers in the same way.
The Seahawks averaged 32 takeaways per year under Quinn. They averaged 21 per season since he left.
There are a lot of factors involved there, but the loss of Quinn should not be overlooked. His young Falcons defense looks a lot like Seattle’s used to look. In last night’s game, it was the turnovers created by the defense that led to Atlanta’s big lead early in the game.
Ultimately, Quinn’s team was undone by a lack of depth on defense and some poor clock management by his offense. He’ll learn and get better, and his team will be back in contention next season.
3. Offensive lines are important

The Patriots struggled to run the football. The also let Brady get pummeled. As a result, their offense sputtered and stalled. Brady became inaccurate and then threw that pick 6.
Conversely, Atlanta did a good job overall of protecting Matt Ryan. They opened holes for Devante Freeman in the running game. The Falcons were able to build a big lead.
The script flipped in the second half. The running lanes disappeared for Atlanta, and Brady had more time in the pocket. That happened, and then the Patriots came roaring back.
Skill position players and run stuffers on the defensive line are nice to have, not they don’t matter much if you cannot block anyone up front on offense. This is a lesson that the Seahawks seem to have forgotten.
When the Seahawks won Super Bowl 48, they had the highest paid offensive line in the NFL. 3 seasons later they have the least expensive. It is no surprise that Seattle’s offense has regressed even as their receiving talent has improved.

4. Inside pass rushers are irreplaceable

He wouldn’t have won the award, but a case could be made for Grady Jarrett to be the Super Bowl MVP if the Falcons had hung on to win. His ability to get pressure up the middle was a huge part of why the Falcons were able to keep the Patriots from getting their offense going until midway through the third quarter.
Jarrett had three sacks, and was a one-man wrecking crew in the middle of that defensive line. His impact cannot be overstated.
All three defensive tackles that played significant minutes in 2016 for Seattle were run stuffers. It showed every time the Seahawks needed to get stop late in games and they couldn’t get pressure on the QB.
The Seahawks haven’t had a player like Jarrett at defensive tackle in the Pete Carroll era. The closest thing on Seattle’s roster would be Clinton McDonald, and he was never the same caliber of player to Jarrett.
The Seahawks need to find an inside pass rusher if they ever to hope to have their defense dominate the way in did in their Super Bowl years.

5.Situational football is king

After an amazing catch by Julio Jones, the Falcons had the ball at the Patriots 22 yard line with under 4 minutes left in the game and an 8 point lead. Had they run the ball three times and kicked a FG, they would have won the game.
Instead they ran it only once. Then Matt Ryan was sacked for a loss of 9 yards. That was followed by a holding penalty and an incomplete pass. The Falcons not only failed to eat up the clock, but they also backed themselves completely out of field goal range.
That sequence cost them the game, and cost them the championship. Kyle Shanahan did a lot of great things this season with that offense, but that series was a terrible mistake that will haunt him.
Unfortunately, we see the Seahawks make these types of makes on a regular basis. End-of-half clock management is not a strength of Pete Carroll. Hopefully, watching one of his disciples make this mistake will help Carroll recognize the importance of clock management.
Here’s to 2018! I honestly can’t wait.