The Daily Briefing Thursday, May 11, 2017

AROUND THE NFL

NFC NORTH

 

MINNESOTA

The Vikings have signed WR MICHAEL FLOYD, once a first round pick of the Cardinals and now an Arizona jailbird.  He’s from the Twin Cities.  Ben Gossling at ESPN.com looks at the implications:

 

The Minnesota Vikings’ decision Wednesday to sign Michael Floyd, to a one-year contract worth $1.5 million, can’t be fully contextualized until we have two pieces of information: how much guaranteed money the Vikings gave the St. Paul native, and what kind of a suspension the NFL will issue for Floyd’s DUI arrest in December.

 

Floyd is serving a 120-day jail sentence (including 96 days on house arrest) until June 17, meaning he can’t leave Arizona — where the arrest happened during his time with the Cardinals — until after the conclusion of the Vikings’ mandatory minicamp. The Vikings’ full evaluation of the 27-year-old, then, will happen during training camp, and Floyd will have to be good enough there to convince Minnesota to keep him around when he returns from whatever suspension the league might dole out.

 

But the decision to sign Floyd — who would add a deep threat to the Vikings’ roster — continues the team’s offseason attempt to flood the zone with competition behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen at wide receiver. And even though the Vikings have expressed optimism about Laquon Treadwell’s second season, their maneuvers suggest they’re not putting themselves in a position where they have to bank on a big jump from the 23rd overall pick in last year’s draft.

 

Treadwell caught just one pass on three targets as a rookie, dealing with injuries at various points during the season and struggling to master the nuances of the position in the NFL. Floyd might not be available in Week 1, by the time the NFL hands down its discipline, but he’s been a productive receiver with a similar frame (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) to Treadwell and the speed to run downfield. If he’s motivated and cooperative, Floyd could create a solid three-receiver set with Diggs and Thielen. In that scenario, Treadwell — and everyone else — would be fighting for playing time behind them.

 

The terms of Floyd’s house arrest this spring, and his possible suspension this fall, mean Treadwell and the Vikings’ other young receivers will have opportunities to assert themselves without the sixth-year receiver around. But we’d do well to remember that Diggs and Thielen — a fifth-round pick and an undrafted free agent, respectively — played ahead of two former first-rounders in Treadwell and Cordarrelle Patterson (not to mention Jarius Wright, a fourth-rounder whom the Vikings had given a contract extension) in 2016.

 

Coach Mike Zimmer mostly sticks to a meritocracy when he assigns playing time; draft status doesn’t have much say in whether a player will see the field frequently. That reality — and the addition of Floyd to the roster — means an offseason that offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur already has called “critical” for Treadwell just got even more important.

 

NFC EAST

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

After looking at the plight of lovelorn and emotionally frazzled Matt Harvey, pitcher of the Mets, Gary Myers of the New York Daily News turns his sights on WR ODELL BECKHAM, Jr. of the Football Giants.

 

Odell Beckham Jr. has a little too much Matt Harvey in him. It’s up to the Giants to knock it out of him.

 

OBJ and Harvey are the brightest homegrown stars to hit the big city in the last five years, but their behavior has at times been infuriating, disturbing and just plain dumb.

 

Just to be clear, OBJ has not reached the depths Harvey sunk to last weekend. Beckham has never called in sick three hours before kickoff. He’s never even been late to practice. The Giants have never had to send security to his house late at night to check up on him.

 

But the Giants need to finally exhibit tough love with Beckham, and he needs to grow up and mature at the age of 24 after three years in the NFL or his diva act could bring down what potentially could be a Super Bowl year for Big Blue.

 

Tom Coughlin, desperate to keep his job, enabled Beckham by not benching him in the Josh Norman meltdown game in 2015, and the Giants’ hands-off approach didn’t end until Jerry Reese said the day after the Green Bay playoff loss last season that OBJ needed to grow up.

 

But let’s see what happens if Beckham goes off the rails this season and hurts the team.

 

Will Reese have the courage to suspend him?

 

Beckham can be charming and entertaining. He is a bright kid. He comes from a solid family. He might be the most talented offensive player in Giants history and the most unstoppable player in the league right now. The Giants put up with a lot of stuff with Lawrence Taylor — mainly drugs — because he was the best defensive player in NFL history. OBJ is testing the Giants in other ways, mostly dealing with too much too soon in a city that swallows up the young guys who can’t handle it.

 

“I’ve said this about him several times before. I’m just not worried about him,” Giants co-owner John Mara said this week on the Rich Eisen show, reiterating what he said at the league meeting in March. “You know, he really is a good young man. Trying to mature, trying to deal with all the fame and celebrity that comes his way. I had a great chat with him about two weeks ago, he came up to my office, and I sat with him for awhile. I think he’s got his head on the right way.”

 

Harvey is a real problem for the Mets. OBJ has mostly been a knucklehead, but it doesn’t take much for knuckleheads to transition into becoming a problem child. Harvey’s career has been in decline. Beckham’s star keeps getting brighter. Harvey appears to have succumbed to the temptations of being a big-time star in New York, although he hasn’t pitched well since the first eight innings of Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

 

Beckham has put up all-world numbers except in the biggest game of his life.

 

That’s where my issue is with Beckham and where the Giants can help him.

 

OBJ’s embarrassing game against Norman when he was with the Panthers was not repeated in the two games he faced Norman last year with Washington. So, that’s a good thing. His three-week romance with the kicking net last season was kind of comical, although he could have really hurt himself when they first met and he slammed the net and it bounced back to hit him in the face.

 

I know many members of Big Blue Nation rationalized his trip to Miami, hanging out all night with Justin Bieber and the boat trip the next day because it was still seven days before the playoff game in Green Bay and players can do what they want on their day off.

 

That, of course, is true.

 

What about the team, the team, the team?

 

Taking that 24-hour vacation with Victor Cruz, who should have known better, and rookies Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis, made Beckham the story during playoff week. He became a huge distraction. Then he went out and played the worst game of his career. He folded under the pressure and scrutiny.

 

He dropped an easy third-down pass on the Giants’ first possession. He dropped a touchdown catch he makes all the time on the second possession. The Giants lost 38-13, but the game might have turned out much differently if they took early control with Beckham playing to his usual standards. Eli Manning targeted him 11 times, they connected only four times for 28 yards and Beckham then punched a hole in the wall outside the Giants dressing room.

 

Beckham displayed terrible judgment taking that trip to Miami. Players cherish off-days to get off their feet late in the season. Instead, he pulled an all-nighter. He was playing the first playoff game of his career and the Giants were in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. His entire focus should have been on preparing to play Green Bay.

 

I’m tired of people making excuses for Beckham and the Miami trip. As it turned out, he needed to wait only one week and he could have gone on his own time. He’s now had the entire offseason to do as he pleases, touring with Drake in Europe, going to the NCAA basketball championships and going to the dentist the week of Eli Manning’s passing camp at Duke and missing the workouts with his quarterback.

 

Beckham will benefit having Brandon Marshall in the receivers’ room this season. After turbulence early in his career, Marshall has become a mentor and a leader, and he and Beckham apparently have a good relationship. If Beckham needs someone to get in his face, Marshall won’t be intimidated.

 

“I think with Odell the thing is just he needs to learn to control his emotions a little bit better. I think he’s working on that. He’s just so competitive,” Mara said. “And that’s the reason that I say that I’m not particularly worried about him. Because he has so much pride, wants to win so badly, I’ll deal with issues like that any day of the week when you have a guy that really wants to win that badly and deep down is a really good person.”

 

The Giants don’t want Beckham to be their Dark Knight of Gotham. They need him to be their Jerry Rice of the Meadowlands.

 

AFC WEST

 

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Some teams draft kickers in the second round.  Others sign them off the Internet.

 

Kicker will be one of several jobs up for grabs when the Los Angeles Chargers open training camp in a little more than two months at their new home in Costa Mesa, California.

 

The Chargers signed undrafted rookie Younghoe Koo out of Georgia Southern just after the draft to compete for the starting place-kicker job with incumbent Josh Lambo.

 

In this ESPN Insider story, draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. identifies Koo as one of 25 undrafted rookies who have a chance to make a team’s final roster during training camp.

 

Koo was Kiper’s third-ranked kicker in this year’s draft. The Georgia Southern product will battle it out against Lambo, who has converted just 81.3 percent of his field goals over the past two seasons, 29th in the NFL over that time frame.

 

Lambo has a strong leg. The Texas A&M’s product led the NFL in touchbacks last season with 67.

 

However, Lambo had a field goal and three extra points blocked in 2016 and sailed four kickoffs out of bounds during the year. Lambo was 0-for-3 on field goals from beyond 50 yards last season.

 

Koo missed only one field goal at Georgia Southern last season (19-of-20), a 54-yarder. Koo made eight kicks of 40 or more yards during his career at Georgia Southern.

 

And as a defensive back in high school, Koo finished with six interceptions and 59 tackles during his senior year at Ridgewood High in New Jersey, so he should be able to cover kicks.

 

Chargers special teams coordinator George Stewart will get his first look at Koo during his team’s rookie minicamp, which begins on Friday at Chargers Park.

 

“I’ve always had competition for kickers and punters in camp because you can find that diamond in the rough,” Stewart said earlier this year. “I had a young man named Michael Husted years ago in Tampa. We drafted a young kicker [Daron Alcorn]. We brought Michael in as a free agent and he ended up getting the job. So it’s always good to have competition.”

 

A finalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s top kicker, Koo finished his career at Georgia Southern making 31 of 35 field goals (88.6 percent), including a long of 53 yards.

 

Koo created a stir on Twitter after the draft when fans got a look at a video of him making a kick while doing a backflip.

 

The backflip kick can be seen here.

 

Koo’s only miss in 2016 came on a 54-yarder.  He was 9-11 in his career from 40+ yards out.

 

AFC NORTH

 

PITTSBURGH

In a commencement address at Robert Morris University, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin refers to the Patriots.

 

Mike Tomlin was self-deprecating during Friday’s commencement address at Robert Morris University, even working the New England Patriots into his 16-minute dialogue.

 

“I’ll proceed with a couple of assumptions,” the Pittsburgh Steelers coach said. “And I realize that assumptions are very dangerous. There’s a cliché about assuming, isn’t it? It can make Patriots out of you and me.”

 

Tomlin was making light of Antonio Brown’s Facebook Live broadcast that caught Tomlin using profane language in the postgame locker room while discussing plans for a matchup with the Patriots in last season’s AFC title game.

 

Tomlin seemed on high alert for cameras during his speech.

 

“I’ll proceed with the assumption that, in some form or fashion, one or more of you out there are somehow live-streaming this on the internet,” Tomlin said. “And I’ll behave accordingly.”

 

Tomlin, one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches after 103 wins in 10 years, told the crowd that his first coaching job out of college, as an assistant at VMI, paid $12,000.

 

“Don’t be shortsighted,” Tomlin said. “Chase your passions.”

 

And this on the late Dan Rooney, the Steelers chairman who passed away on April 13, and his wife Patricia:

 

“This is probably the most difficult element of my address this evening, to put into words, to express what they’ve meant to me personally and maybe a lesson or two that I’ve learned from them. And I’ve thought long and hard about how to capture it in a small number of words. And I settled on this:

 

“A lot can be written and said about Ambassador Dan Rooney, his greatness, all of which I’m sure is true. [Pauses.] (Excuse me.) In the recent days, I think the memory that I reflect upon the most is just how thoughtful he was. I fight every day to emulate it. I challenge you to do the same. Very powerful and influential man, Dan Rooney. A lot on his plate, a lot of things that he wanted to do not only for his company but for his community, his city, his nation.

 

“In the midst of pursuit of all those things, he was always shockingly thoughtful. I can’t give you enough examples to display his level of thoughtfulness. A phone call, a stop by your office, a small conversation, a handwritten note in the mail when I just had lunch with him. How many of us in today’s society take the time to express ourselves to those that we care about, those that we interact with in the form of the written word? A note, a few lines of thoughtfulness, expression, appreciation for a job well done or a few words of an encouragement.

 

“That was Ambassador Dan Rooney. That’s what I think about when I think about how he impacted me personally and professionally.”

 

AFC SOUTH

 

INDIANAPOLIS

Thoughts from GM Chris Ballard.  Josh Alper at ProFootballTalk.com:

 

Before Chris Ballard became the Colts’ General Manager, he admired quarterback Andrew Luck from a distance and things haven’t changed with his new proximity.

 

Ballard said it is “really special” to see how much Luck cares about his teammates and the team’s success, something that waned over the last two years under former G.M. Ryan Grigson. Even in the first three years when the Colts were making the playoffs, Grigson was criticized for not finding the right talent to complement the quarterback and Ballard said that he’s committed to changing that.

 

“Everybody knows how hard that position is to find,” Ballard said, via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com. “When you have a guy with special talent at the position and he’s got special character on top of it, that’s a pretty good thing. But the one big thing I’ve made a point of here, it’s not just Andrew. We’ve got to have the best 53-man roster, and that includes Andrew. That’s how we’ll help him, by making the roster around him better both offensively and defensively. That’s what we’re gonna do. It can’t be just about Andrew.”

 

Ballard identified the defensive front seven as a place in need of improvement and went with a volume approach to addressing it by signing Johnathan Hankins, Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, Sean Spence, Barkavious Mingo, Al Woods and Margus Hunt as free agents before drafting three more players in the front seven. If that group can gel over the next few months, the Colts should be putting a better defense on the field than they’ve had the last couple of years and that would make for an encouraging start to Ballard’s run in Indy.

 

 

JACKSONVILLE

Michael Lombardi, writing in The Ringer, follows up on last week’s anti-BLAKE BORTLES Twitter rant.  After starting with his unshakable belief that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone, did not act alone:

 

It isn’t just matters as vast and sensitive as a national tragedy that I refuse to change my mind about. There are even small things in the NFL about which I am unshakable in my opinion. One thing in the league that I refuse to change my mind on given the ongoing evidence: Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles is not a franchise player, or even a quality starter in the NFL.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

I readily admit that determining whether a player is a franchise quarterback is not as easy as passing “The Door Test” from A Bronx Tale.

 

It takes time and an open mind, things that don’t seem to exist in Jacksonville. Just read these comments from the man who drafted Bortles: “I think you guys know how we feel about Blake,” general manager David Caldwell said last month. “We’ve got a lot of new eyes on Blake from a new coaching staff and have gotten good feedback from those guys, guys that haven’t been around and who don’t have anything vested in the kid. We still think … he’s got a lot of room to improve.”

 

New eyes? Head coach Doug Marrone — who had the “interim” tag removed this offseason — has watched Bortles play for the past 32 games (first as an assistant head coach beginning in 2015), as has former QB coach and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, and Ron Middleton, the tight end coach. Only newly installed quarterback coach Scott Milanovich has never worked with Bortles. Does that count as a lot of new eyes?

 

Am I to assume that new Jaguars executive vice president Tom Coughlin has watched the tape over the past two years — witnessing eight wins and 24 losses in those 32 games — and determined that Bortles’s flaws are just a matter of technique and fundamentals? Am I also to assume that Coughlin has ignored that in the first half of those games Bortles has thrown 20 touchdowns and 19 interceptions with just 27 completions over 25 yards?

 

What makes Bortles’s numbers so alarming is that over the same span Ryan Fitzpatrick — currently out of work — has thrown 22 touchdown passes and seven picks in the first half. Most NFL fans, and especially the six teams that “Fitzy” played for, believe he is at best a journeyman backup. Yet the powers that be in Jacksonville think Bortles can improve. Even bad quarterbacks can play well to start games — but not Bortles.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

What has Bortles accomplished to deserve to have his fifth-year option exercised, which the Jags did last week?

 

Here is Caldwell’s explanation:

“We look at two-year values on our contracts. I think this year he’s scheduled to make about $3.2 million in cash, and then the $19 million next year is just a little over $22 million, it’s a two-year, $11 million average on what is considered a new deal, and that puts him not in the Top 16 of quarterbacks.”

 

Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me. Why are the Jags so eager to wager $19 million on the belief that Bortles will play well? Granted the option is guaranteed only for injury and Bortles has not missed a game since his rookie season in 2014. But why risk it? Why potentially expose $19 million on a hunch with no documented evidence it will pay off. After 45 starts, haven’t they seen enough to know?

 

Over the past five years no team in the NFL has been as generous with free-agency money as Jacksonville. The Jags consistently reward players for playing well on other teams. Then when they arrive in Jacksonville, after cashing their checks, they go into witness protection. From Zane Beadles, to Jared Odrick, to Julius Thomas, to Toby Gerhart, to Davon House, the list goes on and on. Busts abound. Currently, four of the top five highest-paid players on the Jags have come via the free-agent spending sprees. Of that five only Allen Hurns, who was signed after going undrafted, is homegrown.

 

Besides losing money with each free-agent mistake, the Jags front office also loses the confidence of the players in the locker room. Putting Bortles on notice would have been a wiser choice. The players know Bortles is the favorite of the front office, and after the draft they missed a chance to send a strong message to the locker room that they are no longer tolerating losing. Being 15–49 since 2013 isn’t good. The time is now for everyone to do better. Including Bortles.

My solution for the Jags would be to create competition. The only way the Jags are going to convince themselves Bortles is not good enough is to allow another quarterback to compete for the starting job. Don’t give anything away — make Bortles earn it. Call the Bears, see if they might be interested in moving Mike Glennon now that they have Mitchell Trubisky. Call the Packers and ask if Brett Hundley is available for trade. Call the Pats. Call everyone. Sitting back and hoping Bortles turns it around is not the answer. Don’t ever confuse hope for a plan. The Jags need to be proactive and force Bortles to prove himself. Now is the time for planning. If Bortles proves me and others wrong, then great. Just stop giving it away.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

I am not buying the “his supporting cast is horrible” theory, so don’t try to sell it to me. Great quarterbacks are like great deodorants — they make everything smell better. A talented quarterback can take mediocre talent and get into the playoffs. There is no better example of the impact quarterbacks make than the Colts team with Peyton Manning in 2010 and without him in 2011. In 2010 the Colts won 10 games; in ’11, just two. Yes, Manning is a Hall of Fame talent, and Hall of Fame talents make their teammates better. But even without Manning, the 2012 Colts surprised the NFL and went back to their double-digit-winning ways. Here’s why: Andrew Luck. The reason quarterbacks are the highest-paid players in the sport is their ability to raise the game of others. Their impact is often immediate and profound.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

Why do the Jags have so much faith in a player who has thrown 69 touchdown passes over his career — only five of which have come with the team leading the game? How can they have this much faith when in the fourth quarter of games that the Jags are actually in a position to win, Bortles has thrown seven touchdowns against eight picks? Does Caldwell leave the game before this happens like Dr. Evil assuming “it all goes to plan”? Thirty-two of Bortles’s 69 touchdown pass have occurred when the Jags have been down by more than a touchdown. More than half of his touchdowns have come in what could be considered garbage time.

 

Once again, Fitzy is better than Bortles in this respect. In the past 30 games, Fitzpatrick has thrown 43 touchdown passes and 32 picks. Twenty-three of those touchdowns have occurred when playing with the lead or tied. In those situations, Fitzpatrick has thrown only five picks. Just five. Like most quarterbacks, things fall apart for Fitzy when he is losing. Down by seven or less, he has thrown 12 interceptions. Down by eight or more: eight picks. Down by 15 or more: seven picks. Add it up, and he has thrown 15 of his 32 picks when trailing by more than seven points.

Even in the fourth quarter, when it’s just a one-score game, one way or the other, Fitzpatrick averages 7.5 yards per attempt and Bortles just 5.7.

 

This makes perfect sense. When Fitzpatrick’s team falls behind, he tries to be a hero and often makes bad decisions. Bortles is the opposite. He comes to life when trailing. He plays his best when the defense’s opponent is the clock, not the Jags. If Bortles were in the NBA, he would get all his rebounds off of missed free throws — the ones that are hardly contested.

 

Above all else, Jacksonville is protecting its draft pick. Bortles has sponsorship from the front office — they are fully invested in his play. They are willing to overlook warts, make endless excuses, and convince themselves that time and improved fundamentals will make the problems go away. Meanwhile, Fitzy has never had any real sponsorship. He was a late-round pick, so how could he be any good?

 

Don’t take my word for it: Call the Jags front office and ask who is a better player, Bortles or Fitzpatrick. They will say Bortles without a doubt — and without any evidence to support their conclusion other than he is their draft choice. The best teams in the NFL can accurately and objectively evaluate their own players. The bad ones begin with the end in mind — a predetermined judgment.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But

Brett Favre once told a former coach: “For a quarterback to become great, he has to pass the keyhole test.” Favre believed all QBs entering pro football could accurately throw the ball through a door opening. The more accurate ones can hit the doorknob. The ones destined for greatness can precisely hit the keyhole. For Favre, pinpoint accuracy matters. Once again, I will ask Jags fans: Does Bortles have that keyhole accuracy?

 

Ignore that for his career he has a completion percentage below 60. Those numbers can be misleading, as we’ve learned from the rise of the bubble screen pass play in the NFL. When Bortles has to put the ball in the right spot — a spot where only his receiver can make the catch — he’s as wild as Ricky Vaughn from Major League. For every throw his supporters claim is pinpoint accurate, I can show you 10 that fail to hit the strike zone.

 

By the way, Fitzy’s completion percentage is 58.3 over the past 30 games. Bortles’s is 58.8. Fitzpatrick is still an unsigned free agent. Just saying.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

How can a team believe that a quarterback is the centerpiece of a franchise if he’s won just two road games in his career? The sounds of silence in the stands after a road win are intoxicating, and the best measuring stick for evaluating teams is how much success they find away from home. Winning on the road takes mental toughness, focus, concentration, and talent to win away from home.

 

Bortles has never beaten an AFC South team on the road. Does Caldwell attend road games? How could he not see a quarterback incapable of succeeding on the road?

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

How many more offensive coaches are going to lose their jobs over not being able to develop Blake? First Jedd Fisch, then Greg Olson. Now Nathaniel Hackett has the responsibility. That’s three offensive coordinators in just four years. At what point does the front office realize that it’s not the coaching, it’s the talent?

 

The Jags have spent money in free agency while hiring and firing a slew of coaches, all to help preserve their hope that Bortles can be their savior. No offense can function properly without an accurate passer who can anticipate throws. The team can hire whomever they want — the Bortles issues will continue to surface.

 

I Don’t Hate Blake Bortles, But …

Do the Jags need a meeting with a Mr. X–like figure to lay it all out? Or is Tom Coughlin the Mr. X the Jaguars have been waiting for? Either way, the team needs to understand who they have under center, and soon. Because understanding, as Nicholson told us, is “the elixir of life.”

 

 

TENNESSEE

Did WR TAJAE SHARPE beat up a Nashville man shortly after learning that the Titans had drafted a first round receiver?  Stacy Barchenger in The Tennessean:

 

A Nashville man has filed a federal civil lawsuit alleging a Tennessee Titans football player beat him up while another player served as a lookout.

 

Dante R. Satterfield filed the lawsuit on Wednesday against wide receiver Tajae Sharpe and offensive lineman Sebastian Tretola. Satterfield’s lawyer, Alex Little of Nashville, said Satterfield was also working with Nashville police.

 

“The alleged victim who is named as a plaintiff in the lawsuit came to the Midtown Hills precinct (Wednesday) and met with the investigation team and we do have an open investigation taking place,” Nashville police spokesman Don Aaron said.

 

Tretola’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

“The claims are ridiculous,” Sharpe’s agent, Blaine Roche, told The Tennessean. “Tajae unequivocally denies any and all involvement and he looks forward to vindicating his name, clearing his name of any and all wrongdoing here.”

 

A Titans spokesman told The Tennessean on Wednesday they were “aware of the lawsuit.”

 

The federal lawsuit says Satterfield was at Tin Roof bar on Demonbreun Street late on April 27, the first night of the NFL draft. Sharpe and Tretola were also at the bar, according to the lawsuit.

 

Satterfield and the players were discussing the draft when Sharpe allegedly became upset that the Titans used a first-round pick to select wide receiver Corey Davis, the lawsuit says.

 

The lawsuit says Sharpe “took exception” to Satterfield’s comments about Davis. The pick could mean Sharpe would get less playing time.

 

About midnight, Sharpe and Tretola asked Satterfield to leave the bar out the back door into an alley, the lawsuit says.

 

Satterfield, 27, described what happened next during a Wednesday interview at his lawyers’ office in downtown Nashville.

 

“As soon as I walked out of the back of Tin Roof, that’s when I get punched to the face,” he said.

 

The lawsuit says Sharpe repeatedly hit Satterfield, rendering him unconscious. The filing alleges Tretola served as a lookout during the assault.

 

A passerby noticed him in the alley and called 9-1-1, the lawsuit says.

 

Aaron confirmed police were called to the bar and a man was found unconscious there. Satterfield was taken by ambulance to a hospital, the lawsuit says.

 

Satterfield was unconscious for 12 hours and suffered broken bones in his face, a concussion, massive face bruising, a perforated eardrum and other injuries, according to the lawsuit.

 

The lawsuit asks a jury to award Satterfield at least $500,000.

 

“Dante can’t unbreak his nose and take away his concussion and fix his hearing,” Little said. “The only thing the courts can do in that situation is compensate for the injuries that the plaintiffs caused.”

 

Sharpe and Tretola are entering their second season in the NFL after being selected in the fifth and sixth rounds, respectively, of the 2016 draft.

 

AFC EAST

 

BUFFALO

Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News with some info on how the Bills’ new power structure is intended to work.  Think Kansas City.

 

When Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula formally introduces Brandon Beane as the team’s new general manager during a news conference Friday, he’s expected to explain, either without solicitation or in answer to a question, that Beane will control the 53-man roster.

 

That will confirm a report Wednesday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport that Beane has been given such control and would “work closely with coach Sean McDermott.”

 

@RapSheet

Source: New #Bills GM Brandon Beane does have control of the 53-man roster. He’ll work closely with coach Sean McDermott.

 

The Buffalo News has learned that the Bills’ model will pretty much replicate that of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs’ GM, John Dorsey, has a significant say in the assembling of the 53-man roster, but there is no mistaking that coach Andy Reid is in charge of the entire football operation and has final say.

 

An NFL source said McDermott would function in the same manner as Reid, who gave McDermott his first job in the league with the Philadelphia Eagles and has long served as his professional mentor. Unlike his predecessor, Doug Whaley, who virtually disappeared from public view after McDermott became the Bills’ coach last January, Beane is expected to be more visible, as is the case with Dorsey.

 

But McDermott and Beane, who joins the Bills after spending the past two seasons as assistant GM of the Carolina Panthers, are expected to be consistent in delivering the same message on behalf of the team.

 

Besides the Bills and Chiefs, the only other team that has a coach calling the football shots for the organization is the New England Patriots, who do everything the Bill Belichick way.

 

 

NEW ENGLAND

There seems to be a glimmer that RB LeGARRETTE BLOUNT could return to the Patriots.  Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com:

 

With the passing of May 9 came the expiration of the impact of free-agency contracts upon the compensatory draft-pick formula. With one important exception.

 

For any teams that made a tender offer to any of its unrestricted free agents before May 9, the team secures two key rights, per a league source with knowledge of the situation.

 

First, the team acquires exclusive negotiating rights with the player, if he doesn’t sign elsewhere before July 22. From July 22 through the Tuesday after Week 10 of the regular season, the player can sign only with his prior team. Second, if the May 9 tender is made and the player signs with a new team before July 22, the transaction counts toward the compensatory draft pick formula for 2018.

 

The Patriots, PFT has learned, made the May 9 tender to running back LeGarrette Blount. The offer amounts to 110 percent of his total pay in 2016, which was $1 million.

 

It’s a rarely-used device, as one source explained it to PFT. Over the years since the free agency system was put in place, similar offers have been made only a handful of times.

 

So Blount has an offer of $1.1 million for one year, and if he signs elsewhere before July 22, the departure will count toward New England’s compensatory draft picks. After July 22, he can only sign with the Patriots for 2017.

 

Blount has been linked in recent days to the Lions and the Giants.

 

The Patriots did not extend a May 9 offer to their other two remaining unrestricted free agents: receiver Michael Floyd (who has signed with the Vikings) and defensive end Greg Scruggs.

 

 

THIS AND THAT

 

 

KAEP

Charles Robinson at YahooSports.com tries to take a balanced look at why QB Colin Kaepernick is unsigned.

 

The NFL draft is in the books. Free agency is running on fumes. Offseason quarterback programs are in full swing and full-squad minicamps commence next month. For quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the reality is sinking in: the offseason clock is running out.

 

And with each passing day, it’s looking more and more like the NFL is determined to leave him behind. Perhaps inexplicably and maybe permanently.

 

That’s what the absolute silence is suggesting now – that 32 franchises (with at least 32 different decision-makers) have all come to the same conclusion: the 29-year-old former Super Bowl quarterback isn’t even worthy of a tryout. That’s in contrast to the likes of Geno Smith, Mark Sanchez, Matt Barkley, Nick Foles and many others who have all found new teams this offseason. Blaine Gabbert joined that list on Wednesday after he reportedly got a deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Meanwhile, nearly 10 weeks into free agency, not a single franchise has been confirmed to have even called about Kaepernick.

 

Which – regardless of Kaepernick’s politics – is a remarkable reality considering the NFL is a quarterback-driven league that never seems to have enough talent at the position. Despite that reality, Kaepernick hasn’t secured even a single visit in free agency.

 

There has been no shortage of theories for that, of course. In fact, since the San Francisco 49ers‘ season ended, there seems to be a new brand of reasoning every few weeks. With that in mind, Yahoo Sports spoke to a handful of NFL evaluators and those also familiar with Kaepernick to gain some realistic perspective on the free-agent silence surrounding the quarterback.

 

Among the theories …

 

1. Health

 

One side of the story: Kaepernick’s weight dipped to as low as 205 pounds after recovery from injuries to his knee, thumb and non-throwing shoulder. Surgeries and weight loss raised concern over whether he would ever be a player who could once again take the punishment incurred by his playing style. His arm strength and movement on tape wasn’t what it once was. And magnifying the issue was vague concern over Kaepernick’s vegan diet, specifically whether he could retain a weight and build necessary for his NFL job.

 

The other side of the story: A source familiar with Kaepernick’s offseason workouts told Yahoo Sports the QB has recovered to his playing weight of 230 pounds and is also fully recovered from all his past surgeries. In short, he’s feeling 100 percent healthy and willing to showcase the arm strength and movement to prove it. And the vegan diet? It’s worth noting that Tony Gonzalez, Arian Foster and Ricky Williams all posted high-level performances after adopting diets that were either fully vegan or extremely close to it. There is no proven data suggesting a vegan diet has any impact on NFL performance. Suggestions to the contrary appear to either be conjecture or opinions based on stereotype.

 

2. Money

 

One side of the story: Kaepernick opted out of a contract that would have paid him $14.5 million in base salary in 2017 and was seeking $9 million to $10 million in base salary with any new suitor.

 

The other side of the story: Sources close to Kaepernick deny that he has spoken to any team about a salary, let alone had discussions about a contract or signing. And thus far, not one NFL source has been able to confirm to Yahoo Sports any number that Kaepernick is looking for in terms of contract price or even structure. In turn, not even one NFL team is confirmed to have had any financial talks with Kaepernick. By all accounts, the financial barrier to Kaepernick landing with a team appears to be bogus at this stage.

 

3. Performance

 

One side of the story: One personnel evaluator told Yahoo Sports that Kaepernick has shown an erosion of skills since being sidelined by a spate of injuries in 2015. Another said his mechanical discipline has suffered as well – either due to injuries or the departure of Jim Harbaugh following the 2014 season. Whatever the factors have been, Kaepernick is being billed as a player who has declined from his peak season in 2013. How widely that opinion is shared is a matter of speculation, but it has been a strong theme since last season in media reports.

 

The other side of the story: Statistically, Kaepernick’s passing numbers in 12 games last season were fairly solid among starting quarterbacks (2,241 passing yards, a 59.2 percent completion rate, 16 touchdown passes against four interceptions and a 90.7 quarterback rating). He also ran for 468 yards and two touchdowns. At worst, his numbers put him in the lower third among NFL starting quarterbacks.

 

The most optimistic of supporters would argue he was a middle-tier starter. What’s not up for argument is whether the 49ers were a bad team operating under a significant malaise regarding the future of head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke. In terms of work environments, it wasn’t a great place to be in 2016 – further evidenced by the clean sweep in the front office and coaching staff after the season. Given that reality, Kaepernick kept the 49ers’ offense competitive in a few games down the stretch. Particularly after a 31-24 loss to Miami on Nov. 27. He accounted for a surprising 409 yards of total offense in that defeat, along with three passing touchdowns. He followed that up with an overtime loss to a bad New York Jets team, a road win over the sinking Los Angeles Rams and a close home loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

 

While it might be a stretch to label Kaepernick’s last six starts as impressive (or even above average), it would be fair to say a poorly built 49ers team managed to compete down the stretch. In truth, that’s more than can be said about a number of quarterbacks signed by other NFL teams this offseason.

 

It’s one thing to argue that based on performance, Kaepernick isn’t starting material in the NFL. But it’s a whole other to argue he isn’t even worth a look.

 

4. Social activism

 

One side of the story: The evaluators who spoke with Yahoo Sports were careful about wading deeply into the pool where it concerned Kaepernick’s social stances. The blanket terms that typically apply to Kaepernick having knelt for the national anthem and spoken in depth about racial issues in America are “baggage” and/or “distractions.” In the parlance of the NFL, these are terms applied when teams avoid players whose potential public relations or locker room challenges outweigh their performance on the field. Essentially, teams will embrace players who may be unpopular in some respect – so long as they produce at a high level. But the league has also frowned historically upon players who place some other pursuit above football. In some quarters, Kaepernick is questioned along all those lines: public relations, team chemistry, fan support and outside pursuits. The latest example came from MMQB’s Peter King this week, when he said some in the 49ers organization questioned whether Kaepernick “might actually rather do social justice work full-time than play quarterback.”

 

The other side of the story: Those close to Kaepernick see the whole “more interested in social justice than football” as the latest iteration of excuses for why NFL teams won’t even look at Kaepernick. On one hand, there’s no denying that Kaepernick’s social activism is important to him. He has stated that plainly and repeatedly in the past. But Kaepernick’s backers also point out that he hasn’t been arrested. There’s no video of him punching a woman in the face or sucking down bong hits through a gas mask. He’s not in the league’s drug-testing program and has never been suspended for PED use. The point? There are hundreds of different headaches in the NFL that teams deal with over and over. And many of those players still have job opportunities. As do other players who took their own social stances last season (including some during the national anthem). But for some reason, because Kaepernick is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to rights advocacy or giving away suits to former convicts who have lined up job interviews, he’s seen as being more interested in that than football. Meanwhile, no team has sought out a meeting or workout with Kaepernick to ask him personally where his passions lie. Again, it stacks up more along the lines of assumption than informed opinion based on first-person interaction.

 

One or many of these reasons could be billed as why NFL teams aren’t reaching out to Kaepernick. Or it could simply be a matter of perception. Teams don’t perceive his football worth as outweighing whatever they’d encounter by working him out, meeting with ownership for approval, going to the bargaining table, and then managing whatever portion of the fan base responds negatively.

 

There are 32 teams with 32 different stories. Maybe some don’t need Kaepernick. Maybe some don’t believe in his talent or ability. Or maybe some simply don’t want him in their organization. Regardless of the reason, everyone in the league is moving forward now. And the later it gets into the offseason, the more likely it becomes that the NFL is leaving Kaepernick behind.

 

But this tweet from Albert Breer:

 

@AlbertBreer 

The No. 1 reason Colin Kaepernick is unsigned: He’s not considered a starting-caliber player by any NFL evaluator anymore. Work from there.

 

 

BROADCAST NEWS

Tony Romo can hit a 6-iron 225 yards.  Then after doing so, he spoke on how he perceives the challenges of being a game analyst on CBS with Todd Archer of ESPN.com:

 

To Romo, the practicing he does on the range helps him on the golf course just by sheer repetition. He believes that the repetitions in broadcasting will help him before the red light comes on for real this summer when he works his first preseason game. He will conclude his first season with CBS calling Super Bowl LII with Jim Nantz.

 

“[Getting better], that’s going to be the same thing for me in broadcasting,” Romo said. “I think I understand that I’m coming in without an experience in that world, and it’s exciting. It’s a little nerve-wracking. It’s all these things in one, and that’s why you love to do things, because you’re coming into the unknown and it’s something I have to get better at. And I like a challenge.

 

“I also know that I’ll probably stink for a while, but hopefully I’ll continue to improve at that and then hopefully I’ll get better.”

 

 

MARIJUANA NEGOTIATIONS

If NFL players want to use marijuana, for medicinal purposes of course, then they will have to give something back to the NFL.  Nicki Jhabvala in the Denver Post:

 

The NFL Players Association has been down this road before.

 

Although the union is pushing for changes to the collectively bargained substance-abuse policy, it knows it will require some give-and-take with owners.

 

“That has not been our experience with the league or the Management Council unfortunately in most cases,” NFLPA assistant executive director George Atallah said in an interview with ProFootballTalk on Monday. “This is clearly one that falls into that health-and-safety space. We know exactly how players feel after the games, what their careers are like, and what their lives are like after they’re done playing football. It’s incumbent upon all of us to take the hard look and see how we can help players. And it’s a little bit challenging at times to feel like the only entity who cares about these players as human beings, as men, as family men, when they’re facing health and safety issues. And clearly we’ve made some significant advances over the last six-to-eight years, but on this particular issue I think it’s incumbent on the league office to — and pardon my pun — keep up with the Joneses.”

 

Over the past couple of years, players past and present have advocated for change to the substance-abuse policy, which is currently the most stringent among American professional sports leagues.

 

The union recently developed a pain management committee to assess an array of issues, including the potential use of marijuana in treating players’ football-related pain.

 

The NFLPA has planned to propose to the league a “less punitive” and more “therapeutic” approach to marijuana, but it has yet to be presented and specifics of the proposal have not been released.

 

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and COO/executive vice president Stephen Jones have recently spoken out, privately and publicly, about considering changes.

 

“In my opinion, we should take a long, hard look at how we’re doing this and see if there’s a way, a better way to do it,” Stephen Jones told PFT last week. “What that is, I don’t have the answer. But we have a lot of smart people that can get in there and analyze something and really make some good decisions and see if there need to be changes.”

 

The current CBA expires after the 2020 season, but, like in 2014, players and owners could renegotiate the current substance-abuse policy at any time if both sides agree to do so.