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Todd McShay’s mock draft fits Cowboys’ needs, but is the order right?

With what the Dallas Cowboys have and have not done in free agency, the direction they need to take in the upcoming draft is becoming clear.

In his two-round mock draft, ESPN Insider Todd McShay read the tea leaves as well, selecting Florida cornerback CJ Henderson for Dallas in the first round at No. 17 overall and Michigan defensive end Josh Uche at No. 51 overall.cheap nfl nike jersey

The Cowboys lost Byron Jones to the Miami Dolphins, kept Anthony Brown and C.J. Goodwin, and added Maurice Canady to a group led by Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Henderson is considered the second-best cornerback in the draft behind Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, so grabbing him in the first round makes sense. Henderson is fast. He has good size. He has made some plays on the ball.

I always like to check who was selected later in these mock drafts and see if there are better fits. At Nos. 18 and 19 went safeties Xavier McKinney and Antoine Winfield Jr. to the Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders, respectively. Safety remains a Dallas need even with the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on a one-year deal.7

Then at No. 27 went LSU pass-rusher K’Lavon Chaisson. McShay called him the second-best edge rusher in the draft behind Ohio State’s Chase Young. Chaisson, a season removed from a serious knee injury, had 6.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss for the national champions.

Now think about what the Cowboys have and have not done in free agency with pass-rushers. Robert Quinn and his team-best 11.5 sacks left for Chicago. Dallas has added interior players Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe, but has a hole at right defensive end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. Tyrone Crawford is a solid, versatile player whom the Cowboys should keep, but he is coming off surgeries to both hips. Randy Gregory might be reinstated and his return would help.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

This isn’t to say Uche would be a bad pick.

He had 8.5 sacks last season, but when people see “Michigan” they will think Taco Charlton, which is an unfair label. Uche has the speed to capture the edge and seems to have a feel for getting to the quarterback, but he needs to add strength.

With the Cowboys picking at No. 51, McShay had cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson (No. 53, Philadelphia), Jeff Gladney (No. 57, Houston) and Noah Igbinoghene (No. 63, Kansas City) available in the second round.

Would you feel better about a Henderson-Uche pairing or, say, a Chaisson-Gladney pairing?

Packers’ Aaron Rodgers details frenzied departure from Peru

Aaron Rodgers and his travel party that included three other people got out of Peru nine days ago, within minutes of the airport closing due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Green Bay Packers quarterback revealed Friday on a radio show.

Rodgers told Pat McAfee and former Packers teammate A.J. Hawk, who co-hosted the show, that it was “quite the ordeal.”cheap new nike nfl jerseys

“Have you seen the movie ‘Argo’?” Rodgers asked. “The scene at the end where they’re racing to the airport. Nobody was chasing us, thankfully, or holding us. We didn’t have to speak Farsi to get back into the country, but there were some moments where we worried we were not going to get out. It was absolute pandemonium at the airport.”7

Rodgers returned to his home in Malibu, California, and has followed stay-at-home guidelines along with girlfriend Danica Patrick. He said that of the four people on the trip, none had any symptoms at the time or in the days since.nike jersey nfl cheap

He said he had planned other parts of his trip to South America, but they cut it short. The group flew via private plane, which Rodgers said helped them get out of the country quickly. Had they flown commercial, he said, he does not think they would have gotten out when they did.

“Probably not, not right away,” Rodgers said. “I know there’s been some planes and some folks who were down there who’ve gotten brought back [since then]. … When we rolled up to the airport at, like, 7 in the morning, it was wall-to-wall people, and you couldn’t move. I was thinking, ‘This isn’t very safe.’ Not many masks on, and there was definitely a panic in the air. But somehow [we] made it down, and then they shut the airport down because it was really bad weather. They had a drop-dead time where they were going to shut the entire airport down. We made it by about 15 minutes.”

Rodgers said his group was in remote areas near Cusco, Peru, where there are not any reported cases of the coronavirus.

TE Jimmy Graham responds to critics of Bears’ move: ‘I’m still fast’

The Bears’ decision to sign veteran tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year contract that included $9 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause — on the heels of him being released by division rival Green Bay — was arguably the most universally panned move in free agency, but Graham insisted on Thursday that he still can perform at an elite level.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“I’m still fast. … I still have the ability to make big plays,” Graham said during a conference call with Chicago media.

A third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 NFL draft, Graham quickly emerged as the game’s most feared pass-catching tight end, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in just his second season (2011) with 99 receptions, 1,310 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Graham, 33, would eventually be named to five Pro Bowls over stints with New Orleans (2010-14) and Seattle (2015-17) before agreeing a free-agent deal with Green Bay in 2018.
Green Bay released Graham on March 12.6

“Obviously, it was a tough pill to swallow,” Graham said. “It was the first time I lost my job. And I work extremely hard. I’ve sacrificed everything for this game. I’ve given it everything I have, and obviously to go through that, it was difficult. Now I have the opportunity to win a bunch of games this year and I’m very grateful for that, and I’m obviously grateful for the opportunity and the friendships I did make just up north there. But for me, it’s lit a fire.

“I know what player I am and I know what I can do. I think I was able to show a little bit of that in the playoffs with some of the opportunities I was given. And after being 10 years in, I’ve only missed six games. That’s coming off of, at times, all kinds of injuries … at times I’ve kind of been on ice the last two years, so my knee right now is the best it’s felt in four or five years. This is the best that I’ve ran, this is the fastest I’ve been in the last four or five years. I’m going to get back to being me. I’m going to get back to making big plays and scoring touchdowns because I think I’m somewhere in the top of scoring touchdowns and I want to continue that. I want to continue climbing that list and get to where I’m supposed to be.”

Chicago had the NFL’s least productive group of tight ends in 2019. The Bears did not have a tight end reach 100 receiving yards — J.P. Holtz led the team with 91 — or 15 receptions as Chicago, overall, ranked near the bottom in total offense, points scored, rushing offense and passing offense.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

Graham joins a tight end room that includes often-injured Trey Burton (guaranteed $6.7 million in 2020), 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen (26 career catches for 249 yards), Ben Braunecker and veteran Demetrius Harris, whom Chicago added in February.

The Bears are also in the midst of a quarterback competition. Chicago traded a fourth-round compensatory draft pick to Jacksonville for veteran quarterback Nick Foles, who is expected to challenge 2017 second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job.

Selection of Jordan Love in first round would be decisive move for Bill Belichick, Patriots

The New England Patriots have three quarterbacks who account for less than $3 million in salary-cap space in Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler, easily the lowest financial total at the position in the NFL.

The top question facing the budget-conscious team is obvious: Which low-cost option rises up? With the Patriots so snug to the salary cap, they are limited in what type of significant free-agent addition they might be able to make, which leads to another question: Could a high 2020 NFL draft pick be an avenue they consider?nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Patriots haven’t selected a quarterback in the first round since 1993, when Drew Bledsoe (No. 1 overall) was the pick. That was a different era, when Bill Parcells had just arrived as coach, and hope was restored to a region starved for winning football.4

Under coach Bill Belichick (2000-present), the highest quarterback selected was Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 — in the latter portion of the second round (No. 62 overall). Third-rounders Kevin O’Connell (2008, No. 94), Ryan Mallett (2011, No. 74) and Jacoby Brissett (2016, No. 91) are next in line.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

So if the Patriots follow through on what ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. says is possible in his latest mock draft — tabbing Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the No. 23 pick — it would be a decisive move that breaks the Belichick mold.

In that scenario, the Patriots would have to be confident Love is an upgrade from Stidham, who in 2019 had the best preseason of any rookie quarterback under Belichick. They would also have to be willing to concede that Love projects more to 2021 than 2020; considering there will be limited practice time in the offseason — if any during the coronavirus pandemic — relying on any rookies for big things this season seems like risky business.

The Patriots also have several other needs to address, and going with a quarterback would push the team’s opportunity to focus on other spots into the late third round (No. 87), which is when they pick next.

Why Dolphins happily draft QB of future in Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock

The Miami Dolphins filled a bunch of holes in NFL free agency but finding a long-term quarterback remains a top priority headed into the 2020 NFL draft. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is the beloved incumbent quarterback, and the 37-year-old is comfortable being a bridge starter and mentor for whoever Miami brings in as the quarterback of the future.

Since 1979, the Dolphins have drafted two quarterbacks in the first round — Dan Marino (1983) and Ryan Tannehill (2012). Since Tannehill was selected No. 8 overall in 2012, the Dolphins haven’t drafted a quarterback before the seventh round. That lack of quarterback investment helped land them in this situation, but that should change during April’s draft during which Miami is expected to secure its franchise quarterback in the first round.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has the Dolphins selecting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall selection. Tagovailoa is projected as the second quarterback off the board — behind Joe Burrow to Cincinnati — and a pick that certainly would make a lot of Dolphins fans very happy.3

Tagovailoa is a perfect fit for the Dolphins and the city of Miami. It’s a win for the franchise to land him without having to trade up. Tagovailoa, during three seasons under coach Nick Saban, displayed a propensity to rise in the biggest moments, an elite accuracy and field vision that makes him seem near ready for the NFL, and an innate leadership that would make him a great figure to build an ascending franchise around. Simply put, Tagovailoa has “it” on and off the field.nfl cheap jerseys nike

It’s not a pick without risk, as Tagovailoa’s injury history, most notably his dislocated right hip and posterior wall fracture suffered in November, presents a valid concern — particularly in a year when predraft visits, pro days and medical evaluations have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dolphins will have to feel confident that Tagovailoa will return to his previous playing ability. But the benefit here is that the Dolphins don’t have to rush Tagovailoa on the field in 2020, and he learn the NFL and work on his rehab while sitting behind Fitzpatrick for a season.

The Dolphins have two more first-round picks — assuming those aren’t used to trade up for Tagovailoa — and Kiper addresses two of Miami’s biggest needs with them in his mock, projecting Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (No. 18) and Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones (No. 26) to Miami. The Dolphins finished tied for worst in sacks allowed (58) and last in rushing (72.3 yards per game) in 2019, so the additions of Swift and Jones would help Miami close out Round 1 on a strong offensive note.

Show me the money? Ex-stars say cash isn’t always king in NFL free agency

The first time he entered free agency, former NFL linebacker Bart Scott wasn’t afraid to make a tough call. He had survived a rough Detroit neighborhood. He prided himself on playing through pain, having endured Michigan winters and playing on dirt fields. And he arrived in the NFL as an undrafted free agent — from a school that flew a chartered UPS plane to games.

“It had no windows,” Scott said, “We landed and I was asleep and I thought we were f—ing crashing.”

Not much fazed him. He, and other former NFL players, understand the decisions many current players must make once free agency begins Wednesday. Money is a motivator, but there are other factors players consider as well.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Here’s a look at different perspectives from three prominent former players as they were about to hit free agency for the first time: Scott, running back Fred Taylor — both were Pro Bowlers — and defensive lineman Ziggy Hood — the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round pick in 2009.6

“If I’m able to garner this amount [on an offer] at that time, what happens if I get a full year and an opportunity to show what I can do?” he said. “It was me betting on myself and taking a shorter deal to show what I could do.

“Why lock myself down until I’m 30 and sign a deal under market [value] when I know it will change?”

Baltimore’s deal would allow Scott to hit free agency again as he entered his prime. His first season as a full-time starter in Baltimore (this time next to Lewis) worked out perfectly: Scott finished with a career-high 135 tackles, 9.5 sacks, two interceptions and nine passes defensed.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Two years later, he wanted to cash in on free agency but also consider life after football. When his defensive coordinator in Baltimore, Rex Ryan, became New York Jets coach, Scott knew where he wanted to go. He signed a six-year deal worth $48 million; Scott said Baltimore made him an identical offer.

“I wanted to be in a place I could make a transition off the field,” he said. “I knew New York had never seen such brash bravado from the Jets. I knew they’d be attracted to the in-your-face, unapologetic, tough, physical, braggadocio mentality me and Rex would bring.”

Scott said that sort of attitude helped him post-NFL. After he retired from the Jets following the 2012 season, he spent five years working for CBS Sports and currently has a radio show on ESPN New York with Alan Hahn.

Will Tom Brady match Jason Hanson’s record of 21 seasons with same team?

“I did know it. Nobody cares that I have the record, but now that Tom is close — and ESPN puts it up there — I have friends who take screenshots and they send it to me. And they remind me that I’m about to fade into obscurity,” he joked in a phone interview. “So I’m taking all the accolades for it while it lasts.”

Hanson kicked for the Lions from 1992 to 2012, and his name appears atop a graphic that has been shown on various ESPN shows in recent weeks. It’s Hanson and then Brady (20, Patriots), Darrell Green (20, Redskins) and Jackie Slater (20, Rams).nfl nike jerseys for cheap

The 49-year-old Hanson is having some humble fun with it, noting there is a significant difference between kicking 21 seasons for the same team and playing quarterback for one franchise over that span.7

“Obviously, if and when he does that, he will be the focus of that record. And he could go beyond it,” he said.

But there is no guarantee Brady will be back in New England, as other NFL teams can negotiate with his agents starting Monday at 12 p.m. ET (assuming the league does not adjust its offseason schedule because of the coronavirus). The official start of free agency is scheduled for 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Hanson never reached the point where he seriously considered leaving the Lions. The 49-year-old is married with three children, and he still lives in the Detroit area.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“I always appreciated it in the sense of the family. To be part of one organization and one community, and to really have that stability for them — in life, and connections, and friends — that’s something you don’t get in professional sports, and we had it,” he said.
“For the first half of my career, to two-thirds, it was always ‘I want to just stay here, they wanted me, and we got contracts done early.’ Maybe towards the end, if there was any thought of doing it, I kind of switched into the mode of, ‘As long as they want me, I want to be here.’ Obviously we struggled as an organization. I thought it would be great to be part of something that was getting it right, but that never happened. Then at the very end, I had played 21 years and had a few mild injuries, the organization was more like, ‘Let’s think about what we want to do here.’ And I was like ‘Do I want to keep playing?’

“So I retired. It never got to the point of intentionally pursuing another city and organization.”

Hanson doesn’t have a strong connection to Brady, with Brady’s college career at Michigan one of the primary ties between them. But Hanson said he references Brady during speaking events, which often shows his humorous side.

“He’s double-dipping in popularity where I am,” Hanson cracked. “He’s a double legend here.”

Source: Jets to release high-priced CB Trumaine Johnson

In a long-anticipated move, the New York Jets have informed cornerback Trumaine Johnson that he will be released in the coming days, a league source confirmed Monday.

The Jets must make the transaction by March 20, when Johnson’s $11 million salary for 2020 — guaranteed for injury only — becomes fully guaranteed.

Uncertainty regarding the proposed collective bargaining agreement could affect the timetable for the decision. Under a new CBA, the Jets can designate Johnson a June 1 cut, which would allow them to spread his salary-cap hit over two seasons — $4 million in 2020, $8 million in 2021.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Absent a new CBA, the Jets would incur the entire $12 million cap hit in 2020. In that case, they’d save only $3 million by releasing Johnson, whose cap charge is scheduled to be $15 million.7

The New York Daily News first reported that Johnson was told of the team’s plans to cut him.

Johnson, who turned 30 in January, will be remembered as one of the Jets’ worst free-agent signings. Desperate for a shutdown corner, they gave him a five-year, $72.5 million contract in 2018 free agency. The deal included $34 million guaranteed at signing, including a $20 million signing bonus.

The Jets are thin at cornerback — no proven starters under contract — but there was never any doubt about their desire to move on from Johnson. For $34 million, the Jets got only 17 games out of him. He missed nine games last season with a pair of ankle sprains and five games in 2018 with a strained quadriceps.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

He was a healthy scratch in the final game of the 2018 season because he violated team rules. Johnson quickly fell out of favor with the new coaching staff in 2019, as he was benched in Weeks 2 and 3. He improved his practice habits, according to the staff, and returned to the starting lineup in Week 4.

Despite the injuries and the benching, Johnson managed to intercept five passes in two seasons, including four in 2018 (one returned for a touchdown). But he also hurt the team with ill-timed penalties and lapses in pass coverage that resulted in big plays.

Before joining the Jets, Johnson spent six seasons with the St. Louis and Los Angeles Rams. He made 18 interceptions and played the 2016 and 2017 seasons under the franchise tag.

Two-time Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams announces retirement

Two-time Pro Bowl safety Mike Adams is retiring after a 16-year career, announcing his decision Wednesday on NFL Network.

Adams, who turns 39 on March 24, played for the Houston Texans last season after signing in October while safety Justin Reid was dealing with a shoulder injury. Adams played in six regular-season games and had three tackles.nfl jersey for cheap

He has been in the league since 2004, when he signed with the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted free agent out of Delaware. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2014 and 2015, when he played for the Indianapolis Colts.2

Before joining the Texans, Adams started all 32 regular-season games for the Carolina Panthers over the 2017 and 2018 seasons.nfl jerseys cheap authentic

He also has played for the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos and has 30 career interceptions with 930 tackles, 6 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and 2 touchdowns. He made six tackles during Denver’s Super Bowl XLVIII loss in February 2014.

By giving up playcalling, Bill O’Brien shows faith in OC Tim Kelly

When Bill O’Brien announced last week that he was handing over playcalling duties to Tim Kelly, the Houston Texans coach praised the job his young offensive coordinator already was doing before quickly joking that he better not speak too highly of him because he wants to keep him in Houston.official nfl jerseys cheap

In O’Brien’s six seasons with the Texans, he has continued to gain more influence in the organization, outlasting two general managers — Rick Smith and Brian Gaine — to take over the job himself. Now that he has control of the front office in addition to his head-coaching duties, it’s on O’Brien even more to produce a winning team. That has led to the realization that to be successful, he has to prioritize keeping his bright young coaches in the organization.

“[Kelly is] a really bright guy,” O’Brien said. “He’s a really good coach. Players really respect him. He just does a great job. Great knowledge of the whole offense from the passing game to the running game.”1

Kelly, 33, has been with O’Brien since serving as a graduate assistant on his staff at Penn State. Although Kelly wasn’t calling plays during the regular season in his first year as offensive coordinator, he was in charge of many meetings.

New defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver is in a similar situation as Kelly after taking over for Romeo Crennel. Promoting from within is something new for O’Brien, who watched quarterbacks coach Sean Ryan move on to the Detroit Lions after the 2018 season to pursue his aspirations of one day calling plays in the NFL.

Of course, O’Brien hopes that giving up the playcalling also frees him up to take a look at the bigger picture on game day as well. At the NFL combine last week, O’Brien said he doesn’t think this will change his in-game role “too much,” but that it does allow him to focus more on the whole game instead of sitting on the bench between series with quarterback Deshaun Watson, Kelly and the rest of the offense.nfl jersey for cheap

“I think I’m not going to do probably as much of that,” O’Brien said. “I think I’ll do more about being able to focus on the whole game, how the game is being played and things like that.”

The biggest picture that O’Brien must put into focus will be how to get this Texans team past the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.