National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Chancellor (neck) to have scan this summer
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The future of Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor remains up in the air, and that won't change until at least June or July, general manager John Schneider told reporters on Monday.

    • Schneider said at his pre-draft press conference that Chancellor will undergo a scan on his neck in late June or early July to determine whether or not he will be medically cleared to continue playing.

      Based on that timeline, Chancellor won't be able to participate in any offseason activities, and a determination on his future won't be made until just a few weeks before the start of training camp, which usually begins in mid-July.

      Chancellor, who turned 30 earlier this month, missed the last seven games of 2017 due to a neck injury suffered in November. Head coach Pete Carroll characterized his injury as potentially career-threatening, telling reporters after the season that the four-time Pro Bowler might "have a hard time playing football again."

      Former teammate Richard Sherman told the Seattle Times in February that Chancellor had been traveling with his wife and was unable to do rehab, but added that the safety intended to return for a ninth NFL season.

      "He is in great spirits," Sherman said. "Everything is just testing. He has to go back and get an MRI every couple of months, so there's not much he can do, like any rehab. He can do the healing. So just have to make sure the pictures look OK."

      The Seahawks have reinforced the safety position this offseason by re-signing Bradley McDougald and bringing in Maurice Alexander via free agency. They have also entertained trade offers for All-Pro Earl Thomas, though Thomas has reiterated his desire to remain in Seattle.

      Chancellor signed a three-year, $36 million extension before the 2017 season, and his $6.8 million salary for 2018 became guaranteed on Feb. 9. If he retires, he could forfeit up to $12 million in guarantees, while the Seahawks could face a dead-money charge of $14.3 million.

      Meanwhile, Schneider did not offer an update on defensive tackle Malik McDowell, who missed his entire rookie season after suffering a concussion and facial injuries in an ATV accident last summer.

      The 35th overall pick in 2017, McDowell is reportedly expected to be released soon without ever suiting up for Seattle. A Yahoo report last week said McDowell suffered "extensive brain/eye trauma" in the accident last summer and is "an extremely long shot" to ever play football again.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Panthers to pick up LB Thompson's option
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Carolina Panthers will pick up linebacker Shaq Thompson's fifth-year option before the May 3 deadline, according to an NFL Network report.

    • Thompson, who turned 24 on Saturday, is set to make about $1.9 million in 2018, the fourth year of his rookie contract. The fifth-year option for 2019 -- which would be guaranteed only for injury -- would pay him an average of the third through 25th highest salaries at his position, a figure currently pegged at $9.2 million.

      Taken 25th overall in 2015, Thompson has seen his playing time steadily rise from 33.2 percent of defensive snaps as a rookie to 50.0 percent in 2016 to 64.3 percent last season. He is expected to take a larger role in 2018 as longtime linebacker Thomas Davis enters what he has said will be his final NFL season.

      Davis played 79.2 percent of the snaps in 2017 but is suspended for the first four games of 2018 for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

      Through three NFL seasons, Thompson has 167 tackles, 3.0 sacks, an interception and eight passes defensed in 42 career games (36 starts), missing two games in each season. He totaled 61 tackles and 2.0 sacks in 2017 while starting all 14 games he played in.

      --Field Level Media

  • Chargers will pick up RB Gordon's fifth-year option
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Los Angeles Chargers will pick up running back Melvin Gordon's fifth-year option before the May 3 deadline, general manager Tom Telesco told reporters at his pre-draft press conference on Monday.

    • Gordon, who turned 25 earlier this month, is set to make $1.9 million in base salary in 2018, the fourth year of his rookie contract. The team's option for 2019 -- which would be guaranteed only for injury -- would pay him an average of the third through 25th highest salaries among running backs, a figure currently around $5.6 million.

      Taken 15th overall in 2015, Gordon is coming off his best season, finishing with 1,105 rushing yards and eight touchdowns while starting all 16 games for the first time in his career. He also nabbed 58 passes for 476 yards and four scores.

      Through three NFL seasons, Gordon has 722 carries for 2,743 yards (3.8 average), 132 catches for 1,087 yards (8.2 average) and 24 total touchdowns while playing in 43 of 48 possible games.

      The Chargers also announced that restricted free-agent wide receiver Tyrell Williams signed his second-round tender. A former undrafted free agent, Williams will make $2.91 million in 2018.

      The 26-year-old has 112 catches for 1,787 yards and 11 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cowboys DE Irving being investigated for assault
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Dallas Cowboys defensive end David Irving is under investigation by police in Frisco, Texas, for three alleged assaults, according to published reports.

    • According to the Dallas News, the Frisco Police Department are investigating Irving after a woman who claimed to be his girlfriend called on Sunday and said she was a victim of domestic violence. The woman released a statement on Monday retracting her allegations.

      Officers told the newspaper that Irving is being investigated for assault to bodily injury, assault by impeding breath and unlawful restraint. Police are still gathering additional facts. Irving hasn't been arrested.

      According to reports, the Cowboys are researching the incident per Irving's status with the team. The team declined comment on Monday.

      The woman reportedly called police two separate times on Sunday to file complaints.

      On Monday, the woman said in a statement released to SportsDay that her allegations were made falsely as a result of her emotions following a "vocal argument" with Irving.

      "I was very upset and made some allegations that were false at the time due to our vocal argument and my emotional state," she said, in part. "I had no intentions of getting David into trouble, I was just very emotional and upset. I would like to be clear, although our relationship is not (sic) prefect, we love one another and David did not put his hands on me at any time. I'm deeply sorry this has caused both of us so much unwanted and undue attention."

      Irving once was suspended during his college career at Iowa State for alleged domestic abuse. He was charged in Nov. 2013, and the charges were dropped two months later.

      Irving served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy at the start of the 2017 season. He has played in 35 games for Dallas over the past three seasons and has 11.5 career sacks, including seven last season in eight games.

      --Field Level Media

  • 2018 NFL Draft: Darnold, Allen lead polarizing QB class
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    1. Sam Darnold*

    • Southern Cal

      6-3, 220, 40 time: 4.85

      Projection: First round

      OVERVIEW

      Darnold is a cinch to become the sixth redshirt sophomore quarterback to be drafted in the first round. Scouts swoon over his intangibles and bloodlines - grandfather, Dick Hammer, played basketball at USC and was on the Olympic volleyball team, while Sam's father, Mike, played football at Redlands College. Darnold redshirted behind Cody Kessler and Max Browne in 2015 and become the starter in 2016. Darnold completed 67.2 percent of his passes as a freshman, starting nine games, with 31 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. Ball security and decision-making became concerns for scouts observing Darnold as a sophomore, when he had 24 total turnovers, including 13 fumbles. He was still the All-Pac-12 first-team quarterback (coaches) in 2017 with 4,143 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.

      ANALYSIS

      A pro-ready passer with the arm strength and pocket presence to survive a flawed wind-up release. Likely to be in the running for the No. 1 overall pick and considered a lock in the top-10, Darnold could benefit from a season on the sideline to perfect his footwork and sync a throwing motion that can tip defenders to the intended target. Darnold plays with grit, can deliver the ball on time from a moving pocket and was praised by college coaches and teammates for his natural leadership traits.

      With 21 fumbles in 27 career games at USC, scouts are split on whether improving technique on his drop back will help Darnold curb the issue. His process can be sped up by pressure, but Darnold generally responds with clutch throws under duress. Decision-making could improve with NFL coaching. Could thrive in an up-tempo system that accentuates his instant trigger and velocity.

      2. Josh Allen*

      Wyoming

      6-5, 237, 40 time: 4.75

      Projection: First round

      OVERVIEW

      From the farm to JUCO and Wyoming to the NFL?

      That's the current trajectory for Allen, who has gone from afterthought to potential top-five pick. Reedley Community College was the only program to offer Allen a chance out of high school, and Wyoming was the only FBS program to offer a scholarship after a year at the JUCO level.

      Following a redshirt season in 2015, Allen put himself on the NFL radar in 2016 with 3,203 passing yards and 35 total touchdowns. He returned for the 2017 season, but his top two rushers and three top receivers did not, and Allen's production and on-field play dropped.

      He finished with 1,812 passing yards and 21 total touchdowns in 2017, while also missing two games due to a right shoulder injury. Allen still declared early for the 2018 NFL Draft, and scouts are excited about his physical traits.

      ANALYSIS

      Elite physical tools can help mask other deficiencies, which is the case with Allen. He has outstanding size, athleticism and arm strength to deliver strikes to all levels of the field. Allen uses athletic feet to buy extra time and move with agility within the pocket, stressing the defense with his movements. He shows an understanding of touch, adding velocity or taking some off his fastball as needed.

      Allen tends to rely too much on his arm to do the work, which leads to spotty mechanics and over-striding. That messy, inconsistent technique consequently affects his accuracy.

      Allen is undeveloped from a mental perspective, telegraphing throws and not making whole-field reads, but his physical traits, coachable attitude and potential will be enough to earn a spot in the top half of the first round.

      3. Baker Mayfield

      Oklahoma

      6-1, 215, 40 time: 4.84

      Projection: First Round

      OVERVIEW

      From two-time walk-on to Heisman Trophy winner, Mayfield's prospect snapshot is entirely unique.

      He had few options out of Lake Travis in Austin, Texas, and decided to walk on at Texas Tech. Mayfield was pressed into immediate action and had 15 touchdowns. With no scholarship offer from the coaching staff and an uneasy relationship with coaches, Mayfield transferred to Oklahoma. He became the Sooners' starting quarterback as a sophomore in 2015 and showed steady improvement the past three years, culminating with his Heisman Trophy season as a senior. Mayfield completed 70.5 percent of his passes in 2018 with 4,627 passing yards, 43 touchdowns and six interceptions.

      ANALYSIS

      Preseason grades on Mayfield placed him in the middle rounds, but with each brilliant performance, doubts were erased and scouts came around to the idea of the Heisman Trophy winner landing in the first round of the 2018 draft. Mayfield is a snap passer with enough arm strength. His calling cards are competitiveness and above-average accuracy. His placement on throws outside the hashes allow only his receiver to make a play. He thrived against suspect Big 12 defenses, but his play didn't see a dramatic drop off vs. SEC (Georgia) or Big Ten (Ohio State) defenses.

      Mayfield benefited from a strong offensive line, although the ability to improvise and thrive when facing the unrehearsed helps set him apart. He doesn't run a 4.5 40-yard dash but uses his legs and instincts to create. His super-competitive nature, which led to moments some teams viewed as immaturity, will lead to heated discussions in NFL draft rooms around the league.

      Most general managers see the type of field general other players want leading the team. With his lack of size and sometimes unorthodox skill set, Mayfield is not be for every team, but he has the talent to be start in the NFL.

      4. Josh Rosen*

      UCLA

      6-4, 226, 40 time: 4.92

      Projection: First Round

      OVERVIEW

      Rosen, the top prep recruit in the country coming off of a high school state title, signed with UCLA and was first true freshman in school history to start the season opener at quarterback. After a promising first season, Rosen started the first six games as a sophomore before suffering a season-ending tear in muscle in his throwing shoulder. He returned in 2017 and had an up-and-down junior season during which head coach Jim Mora Jr. was fired. Rosen was second-team All-Pac-12 despite missing the bowl game and a regular-season contest with Kansas State due to concussions.

      ANALYSIS

      Rosen looks the part and is very natural as a pocket passer. Has a set-up, footwork and throwing mechanics, moving very efficient from snap-to-throw. Was a nationally ranked youth tennis player and footwork reflects that training. Rosen has enough arm to spin balls to all levels of the field and excels when adding touch to his throws. Because of some talent gaps, carried much of the offense on his right shoulder which prompted overaggressive decisions and poor mistakes.

      Bright and has natural football instincts, the ability to read defenses and deliver dimes in tight coverage. Some have questioned his mindset and Rosen will need to sell himself to a franchise to be given the keys to an offense.

      The greater concern is the past injuries, most notably multiple concussions in 2017 that took him off the field. Just 21 years old, Rosen (Feb. 10 birthday) could take an NFL redshirt and benefit from learning the ropes as a pro. Some red flags suggest Rosen has a bust factor. He rates as the top pure pocket passer in the 2018 draft class.

      5. Lamar Jackson*

      Louisville

      6-2, 216, 40 time: 4.42

      Projection: First Round

      OVERVIEW

      The numbers are tough to fathom: Consecutive 3,500-yard passing and 1,500-yard rushing seasons? Jackson was the first in college football history to achieve that feat. He was also the first underclassman to top 7,000 career passing yards and 3,000 career rushing yards.

      Jackson ran away with the Heisman Trophy in 2016 with 3,543 passing yards, 1,571 rushing yards and 51 total touchdowns. And he surpassed several of his sophomore year numbers as a junior in 2017, finishing with 3,660 passing yards, 1,601 rushing yards and 45 total scores. Bottom line: he was a touchdown machine in college, averaging 3.7 per game after becoming the full-time starter as a sophomore.

      ANALYSIS

      The most electric quarterback prospect since Michael Vick, Jackson is an explosive athlete and moves at speeds that are noticeably different than everyone else on the field. It is easy to get excited about his highlight reel runs, leaving defenders in his dust. But NFL teams and their evaluations will focus more on his development as a passer, which is why there are so many varying opinions in the scouting community.

      Jackson, who never reached 60-percent completions in any of his three seasons in college, has shaky body and base mechanics, which alter his tempo and accuracy as a passer. There are no questions about his arm strength, firing unforced fastballs with a simple throwing motion, but he is a very streaky downfield thrower, hitting his man in stride or missing by 10 yards (without much in between).

      Jackson is a first-round athlete with impressive leadership skills, but it will take a creative offensive coordinator willing to open up the playbook to get the promising quarterback comfortable with the speed of the NFL.

      6. Mason Rudolph

      Oklahoma State

      6-4 5/8, 235, 40 time: 4.90

      Projection: Second round

      OVERVIEW

      Born into a football family - his father, Brett, played linebacker at North Carolina - Rudolph was a finalist for South Carolina's Mr. Football Award as a senior in high school. An injury forced him into action at Oklahoma State during what was supposed to be a redshirt freshman year, and he went on to start 42 games for the Cowboys.

      Rudolph was uber-productive in coach Mike Gundy's fast-paced offense, throwing for 4,091 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions as a junior and 4,904 yards, 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions as a senior. A foot injury kept him from taking part in the Senior Bowl, but he attended anyway to participate in measurements and interviews, before participating fully on the field at the Scouting Combine.

      ANALYSIS

      With a large frame and a good-to-very-good arm, Rudolph is built in the mold of a classic pocket passer. He has the strength to attack all parts of the field while displaying above average mechanics and accuracy, including an advanced feel for touch on vertical throws. He can also slide and maneuver effectively in the pocket, occasionally shedding would-be sackers with strength.

      However, Rudolph doesn't have the mobility to routinely evade pass rushers or threaten defenses with his legs, and his throws can lose energy when he's forced to operate from a muddy pocket. He also played in a system that relied heavily on screens, slants and verticals, raising questions about whether he can process quickly and deliver with anticipation against more complex defenses at the next level.

      7. Mike White

      Western Kentucky

      6-4 5/8, 224, 40 time: 5.09

      Projection: Third-Fourth round

      OVERVIEW

      Once pegged as a potential MLB pitcher, White became the Florida Class 3A Player of the Year in high school before heading to South Florida. After struggling as a freshman and sophomore with the Bulls, he transferred to Western Kentucky and sat out 2015 before taking the reins in 2016.

      White dazzled in his first year as the Hilltoppers' starter with 4,363 passing yards (10.5 per attempt), 37 touchdowns and seven interceptions. After taking a step back as a senior (4,177 yards on 7.5 per attempt, 26 TDs and 8 INTs), White impressed at the Senior Bowl, going 8-of-11 passing for 128 yards and a score through a quarter of work before Kyle Lauletta stole the show and claimed game MVP honors.

      ANALYSIS

      With good size and an excellent arm, White has the tools that scouts look for in potential starters. His accuracy improved during his senior season, and when he gets hot, he can carve up defenses with zippy precision. White is also willing to hang in the pocket, step up and deliver with bodies around him.

      Plenty of polish is needed, however. White's accuracy remains inconsistent and he rarely throws with proper touch, often sailing fastballs over receivers' heads on vertical throws that demand a higher, softer trajectory. He also tends to lock onto receivers and stall in his progression at times, making him a beat slow to deliver.

      Skeptics will point to the disastrous results in White's toughest college test (at Alabama in 2016), but others will see a piece of clay worth molding.

      8. Luke Falk

      Washington State

      6-3 5/8, 215, 40 time: 4.85

      Projection: Fourth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A lifelong Tom Brady fan, Falk has patterned his game after No. 12, which shines through in his rotational delivery. After a redshirt year in Pullman, Falk played in five games in 2014 before taking over full-time in 2015.

      He was remarkably consistent as a redshirt sophomore and junior, posting 4,561 yards (7.1-yard average per attempt), 38 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 2015 and 4,468 yards (7.1 average), 38 scores and 11 picks in 2016. Falk struggled as a senior while suffering a concussion and reportedly playing with a broken left wrist, getting benched at times and averaging 6.7 yards per attempt with 30 touchdowns and a career-high 13 interceptions.

      Falk impressed coaches and scouts on and off the field during Senior Bowl week, but missed the game to attend former teammate Tyler Hilinski's funeral. He did take part in the throwing drills at the Scouting Combine.

      ANALYSIS

      Tall but with a limited arm, Falk makes hay with sharp mechanics and precision accuracy. Given a clean pocket, he consistently works through progressions and delivers with great ball placement. He throws a very catchable ball and shows a great feel for touch when needed.

      Issues arise when the pocket gets muddy, requiring Falk to throw off-platform and exposing his lack of zip. Too often he attempts ambitious throws that his arm can't make, leading to turnovers. Falk also shows a tendency to lead defenders to his target with poor eye discipline.

      With proper coaching, Falk might have the accuracy and maturity to become a starter in the Kirk Cousins mold, but many will see him as a product of Mike Leach's system with backup-level talent.

      9. Kyle Lauletta

      Richmond

      6-3, 217, 40 time: 4.81

      Projection: Fourth round

      OVERVIEW

      A talented lacrosse player in high school, Lauletta blossomed into a legitimate quarterback recruit his final season at Downingtown East. Quarterback is in his blood - his dad played the position at Navy and his older brother at Bucknell.

      Lauletta received nibbles from FBS programs and a few programs offered him a scholarship, but he elected to sign with FCS-level Richmond. Lauletta became the starter as a sophomore and his production improved each season, becoming the first passer in school history with multiple 3,000-yard passing seasons. He had 3,737 yards and 28 touchdowns with 12 interceptions as a senior.

      ANALYSIS

      For a quarterback with mediocre arm strength, he better be above average in other areas to compensate.

      The former CAA Offensive Player of the Year doesn't have a cannon for an arm, but he understands touch and pacing of his throws, getting the ball out on time and making smart decisions. He is a decent athlete outside the pocket and buys himself more time with his feet.

      Lauletta will bird-dog receivers and force the ball to his first read, but more times he finds the vulnerable matchup and extends drives - which is something he did in the Senior Bowl game en route to MVP honors in the game.

      10. Kurt Benkert

      Virginia

      6-2 5/8, 218, 40 time: 4.95

      Projection: Sixth Round

      OVERVIEW

      Benkert began his collegiate career at East Carolina and was set to start as a redshirt sophomore in 2015, but a torn ACL ended his season before it began. After losing the job in 2016 -- and having earned his degree in three years -- he transferred as a graduate to Virginia, where he threw for 2,552 yards, 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 10 starts.

      Benkert built on those numbers as a senior (3,207 yards, 25 TDs, 9 INTs) but averaged only 6.3 yards per attempt and finished under 60 percent in completion rate for the second consecutive year. He flashed playmaking ability at the Senior Bowl but was otherwise uneven in Mobile.

      ANALYSIS

      Benkert's size, arm and athletic ability are all above average for the position, helping him produce many explosive plays outside the pocket. When he gets hot, he can carve up defenses with tight-window throws and then create off-schedule plays down the field.

      But with the highs come major lows, often in the same game (see 2017 at Miami; 384 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 5 sacks). Benkert's mechanics and accuracy go through erratic stretches, and he rarely works smoothly through progressions to find open targets. He repeatedly locks onto receivers and gets antsy when they aren't open, often dropping his eyes to look for pressure. His pocket movement is unpredictable at times, leading to bad sacks and turnovers.

      Benkert has tools and playmaking ability to get excited about, but he needs a sturdier foundation to build upon.

      11. Chase Litton

      Marshall

      6-5, 232, 40 time: 4.94

      Projection: Seventh Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star recruit out of Florida, Litton passed for 8,000 yards and 64 touchdowns and scored more than 1,000 career points as a basketball player in high school. He passed on a chance to remain in-state with Florida Atlantic for chance to play immediately at Marshall, but only after spending the 2014 season working exclusively with a quarterback coach.

      Litton started the final 11 games and posted a 9-2 record in 2015. He went on to play in 34 games for the Thundering Herd, posting 8,335 yards and 72 touchdown passes in three seasons but also had 31 interceptions.

      ANALYSIS

      Litton left Marshall with one year of eligibility remaining, and it's no surprise he's ready to bet on himself. He receives a high competitive grade but also plays with a fearlessness that gets him in trouble, trusting his arm to get the ball through tight windows rather than taking advantage of weak spots in the defense. Accurate short and has the touch to deliver when the pocket shrinks, but Litton is not an accurate deep ball passer.

      Litton is tall with a clean release and quick trigger but is limited as a passer outside the pocket. His ability to spark an offense and the overall arm talent make Litton a solid developmental option and could lead to a lasting opportunity as a backup in the NFL.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former Steelers TE Cunningham dies at 63
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Former Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Bennie Cunningham, who also starred at Clemson, died Monday of cancer at age 63, Clemson announced.

    • Clemson said that Cunningham died at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

      Cunningham played 10 seasons for the Steelers (1976-85) and was named to the franchise's 75-year anniversary team in 2007. He was a two-time, first-team All-American at Clemson from 1972-75 and named to the Atlantic Coast Conference's 50th Anniversary Team in 2003.

      "Bennie Cunningham was one of our greatest players, arguably the greatest tight end in our history and ACC history," Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said in a news release. "He set the standard for players at that position. But, more importantly was the way he represented Clemson as a professional athlete and in his life after football.

      "With his passing, the Clemson football program remembers him and his family with highest regard today."

      Cunningham caught 64 passes for 1,044 yards and 17 touchdowns at Clemson before the Steelers made him a first-round pick in the 1976 NFL Draft.

      He caught 202 passes for 2,879 yards and 20 touchdowns for the run-oriented Steelers. He established career highs of 41 catches and 574 yards in 1981.

      Cunningham was part of two Super Bowl championship teams with the Steelers. He also caught a touchdown passes in a victory over the Houston Oilers in the 1979 AFC title game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Raiders pick up Cooper's option, reportedly likely to sign Worley
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Oakland Raiders picked up the fifth-year option on receiver Amari Cooper's contract, the team announced Monday.

    • The option for the 2019 campaign is worth $13.924 million.

      Cooper, 23, caught 203 passes for 2,903 yards and 18 touchdowns over his first three NFL seasons. He topped 1,000 yards in each of his first two campaigns before dropping off last season to 48 receptions for 680 yards in 14 games.

      He caught 72 passes as a rookie and 83 in 2016, and was selected to the Pro Bowl after both seasons.

      New coach Jon Gruden has made it clear he expects Cooper to bounce back from his lackluster 2017.

      "We think Cooper is going to be a great player," Gruden told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "He'll be the focal point of our offense ... the headliner in our offense."

      The Raiders also are reportedly close to adding cornerback Daryl Worley, according to published reports.

      Worley was recently traded from the Carolina Panthers to Philadelphia but the Eagles cut him April 15 after he was arrested following an alleged confrontation with Philadelphia police during which authorities reportedly used a taser on Worley.

      Worley, 23, had two interceptions last season and has three in his two-year career. He started 25 games in his two seasons with the Panthers, who took him in the third round of the 2016 draft out of West Virginia.

      --Field Level Media

  • Broncos trade punter Dixon to Giants
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    The Denver Broncos traded punter Riley Dixon to the New York Giants on Monday for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2019.

    • Dixon became expendable when the Broncos recently signed Marquette King as a free agent after the latter was released by the Oakland Raiders.

      Dixon will have a shot to be New York's punter after the team released Brad Wing last month.

      Dixon was a seventh-round pick by Denver in 2016 and averaged 45.7 yards as a rookie and 45.6 last season.

      He had two punts blocked in 2017 after not having one swatted away as a rookie. Dixon placed 51 punts inside the 20-yard line during his two seasons with the Broncos.

      --Field Level Media

  • 2018 NFL Draft: Ridley lone 'lock' among wide range of WRs
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Calvin Ridley*

    • Alabama

      6-0 1/2, 189, 40 time: 4.43

      Projection: First Round

      OVERVIEW

      The top receiver recruit in the nation, Ridley chose Alabama and thrived as a true freshman despite not enrolling until fall of 2015, totaling 1,045 yards and seven scores on 89 catches in 15 games (11 starts).

      His production dipped a bit from 2016-17 (135 catches, 1736 yards, 12 TDs in 29 games) as the Tide threw less and ran more, but he averaged 15.3 yards per catch in 2017 (up from 11.7 in 2015,10.7 in 2016) and earned first-team All-SEC honors.

      He tied for sixth among wideouts at the NFL Scouting Combine in the 40-yard dash (4.43 seconds) but did very poorly in the vertical (tied third-to-last at 31 inches) and broad (last with 110 inches) jumps.

      ANALYSIS

      Despite fewer opportunities from 2016-17, Ridley is a polished all-around receiver with big-play explosiveness. He has easy speed (4.43-second 40-yard dash) and fluidity, and runs a full route tree with precision, making every route look the same off the line. When throws are off, he can track the ball and adjust for the catch. He lined up everywhere and grew mentally during college.

      Ridley's biggest concern is a lean frame and lack of play strength, which is most concerning against press coverage. He must get stronger or develop better tricks in his release, or production will be inconsistent. His lack of strength also shows up at the catch point, and while he's elusive, he's not a tackle-breaker. He also had 20 college drops.

      Ridley is old (turns 24 in December) for a junior, but he's mature and should start from Day 1. His progress against press will determine his ceiling.

      2. D.J. Moore*

      Maryland

      6-0, 210, 40 time: 4.42

      Projection: First-Second Round

      OVERVIEW

      Moore was considered the top receiving recruit out of the state of Pennsylvania in the 2015 recruiting cycle, but not everyone was sold, including Penn State, which recruited him as a safety. He arrived in College Park and took the No. 1 receiver baton from the departing Stefon Diggs (and also his No. 1 jersey).

      Despite the constant cycle of quarterbacks at Maryland, Moore was consistently productive for the Terrapins, catching a pass from eight different quarterbacks over his three seasons. As a junior in 2017, Moore became the third Terps receiver to reach 1,000 receiving yards in a season and quietly led the Big Ten in receiving, setting the single-season school record with 80 receptions for 1,033 yards and declaring early for the 2018 NFL Draft.

      ANALYSIS

      A playmaker in the truest sense, Moore was routinely able to uncover on film with his polished route running and explosive gears, getting defenders off-schedule. Although not the tallest target, he busts his behind in the weight room and that translates to the field, winning contested balls and not allowing defenders to slow his route. Moore is also a terror after the catch, using his spatial instincts and quick ball skills to be a dangerous catch-and-go threat.

      NFL scouts had Moore listed at 5-10 with 4.55 speed on their sheets during the season, but he was a rare case of measuring taller (6-0) and faster (4.42) at the Scouting Combine. Already considered a top-50 prospect before Indianapolis, his encouraging measurables only enhanced his draft stock, likely in the top-35 range.

      3. Christian Kirk*

      Texas A&M

      5-10 3/8, 201, 40 time: 4.47

      Projection: First-Second Round

      OVERVIEW

      A five-star recruit, Kirk chose the Aggies over UCLA so he could play in the SEC, and he delivered as a true freshman with 80 catches for 1,009 yards and seven scores.

      Primarily a slot receiver, he remained productive through his final two seasons despite inconsistent quarterback play in 2017, finishing with 234 career catches for 2,856 yards and 26 TDs in 39 games (36 starts).

      He also thrived as a returner, scoring on six of 38 career punt returns and adding another score via kick return. He earned first-team All-SEC honors as a wideout and returner in 2016 and 2017.

      ANALYSIS

      Though short (5-10 3/8), Kirk is well built (201 pounds) and muscular, and he moves with excellent stop-and-start suddenness. He bursts in and out of breaks with great control and is dangerous before and after the catch. His elusiveness pops on punt returns, where he is a demon in the open field. Coaches laud his maturity and professional approach, suggesting a smooth NFL transition.

      Kirk is not an elite prospect because he might be limited to the slot. He's certainly not slow, but he's quicker than fast with a limited catch radius, so he rarely threatens defenses vertically. While he shows strong, natural hands, he was inconsistent in traffic and also must improve his ball security (eight career fumbles).

      Kirk should contribute from Day 1 as a slot receiver and returner and should be a steady, if not game-breaking, pro.

      4. Courtland Sutton*

      SMU

      6-3, 218, 40 time: 4.54

      Projection: Second Round

      OVERVIEW

      Sutton was lightly recruited after playing in a run-first offense in high school. After Colorado pulled a scholarship offer, SMU offered a scholarship to Sutton to play safety.

      During his redshirt year in 2014, Sutton moved to offense and quickly emerged as one of the nation's most impressive wideouts. In Chad Morris' offense, he posted back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons as a sophomore and junior, collecting 31 touchdown catches the last three seasons.

      ANALYSIS

      The built-in-a-lab wide receiver frame helps Sutton stand out. He has a tall, rangy frame, filled-out build and loose body control. He is an impressive athlete with powerful strides to eat up soft coverage and stack cornerbacks on vertical routes. Cornerbacks will crowd him on underneath throws, but he plays with confidence even with draped on his back, boxing out and attacking the catch point to make 50-50 balls look more like 80-20.

      Sutton's inconsistent ability to separate puzzles some evaluators, especially with elite-level testing in the short-area agility drills -- 6.57 three-cone drill. Sutton has the lower-body athleticism to uncover although his route running is a major work in progress.

      With NFL coaching and refined sink-and-snap, Sutton is one of the few receivers in this draft class with the potential to be a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL.

      5. D.J. Chark

      LSU

      6-2 7/8, 199, 40 time: 4.34

      Projection: Second Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star wideout recruit and track star in college, Chark played in just 11 games through his first two years at LSU, catching no passes but taking an end-around 79 yards for a score on his first career touch.

      He started six of 12 games as a junior and caught 26 passes for 466 yards and three scores, and then caught 40 balls for 874 yards and three TDs as a senior. He also scored on a pair of punt returns in 2017.

      He tore up the pre-draft process, showing off explosiveness at the Senior Bowl and running faster (4.34-second 40-yard dash) and jumping higher (40-inch vertical) than any other wideout at the NFL Scouting Combine.

      ANALYSIS

      Like many recent LSU receivers, Chark didn't have the quarterback play to show off his full ability. Incredibly gifted with top-end speed (4.34-second 40-yard dash), height (6-2 7/8) and length (32 3/8-inch arms), he's deadly on vertical routes (20.5 career yards per catch). He flashes ball-tracking ability and will fool DBs by waiting to show his hands. He also displayed punt-return pop as a senior and impressed coaches as a team captain.

      Chark is far more talented than polished. He runs a limited route tree with maddening inconsistency, wasting movement with limbs flying and poor body control. He's not as laterally quick as he is fast, and not as dangerous after the catch as his speed suggests. With a thin frame (199 pounds) he lacks functional strength, leading to issues against press coverage.

      Chark should become a terrific deep threat, but he needs plenty of refinement to be much more.

      6. Anthony Miller

      Memphis

      5-11, 201, 40 time: 4.49

      Projection: Second Round

      OVERVIEW

      Despite a productive high school career in football and track, Miller went vastly under-recruited. And instead of going the FCS-level route, he decided to bet on himself and walk on at Memphis. Five years later, he is the most prolific wide receiver in school history, breaking several of Isaac Bruce's Memphis receiving records, finishing with 238 catches for 3,590 yards and 37 receiving scores.

      Miller's stats were aided by pass-happy offenses with a pair of draftable quarterbacks (Paxton Lynch, Riley Ferguson) throwing him the ball. But he was able to get open from anywhere on the formation, posting back-to-back seasons with 95-plus catches, 1,400-plus receiving yards and 14-plus touchdown catches as a junior and senior.

      ANALYSIS

      With his speed, ball skills and competitive nature, it is easy to appreciate Miller's game. He introduces various gears into his routes to lure defenders off-balance, snapping with body control to gain separation. Miller will have focus drops from time-to-time, but his vacuum hands allows him to make acrobatic grabs look routine, bailing out inaccurate passes.

      Miller is one of the best in this draft class after the catch, quickly transitioning from pass-catcher to ballcarrier to reset his eyes and elude defenders. He proved to be a three-level wideout at Memphis, stressing the defense in the short, intermediary and deep parts of the field. Miller did suffer a Jones fracture in his right foot in the bowl game, sidelining him for the Scouting Combine. As long as the doctors give the all-clear, Miller is a strong contender to be the first senior drafted at his position.

      7. Dante Pettis

      Washington

      6-0 1/2, 186, 40 time: N/A - ankle

      Projection: Second-Third Round

      OVERVIEW

      Son of five-time MLB Gold Glove-winner Gary Pettis and cousin of former St. Louis Rams receiver Austin Pettis, Dante claimed the Huskies' punt returner job as a true freshman and never looked back.

      In four years, he returned 93 punts for 1,274 yards (13.7-yard average) and an NCAA-record nine touchdowns. He wasn't too shabby as a receiver, either, catching 163 balls for 2,256 yards and 24 scores in 53 games (36 starts), including 15 TDs in 2016 alone.

      A November ankle injury kept him from participating at the Senior Bowl, the NFL Scouting Combine or his pro day.

      ANALYSIS

      Pettis wields a great combination of above-average tools and route-running polish. He can run a full route tree outside or in the slot with nuanced precision, changing speeds and bursting sharply out of breaks. He also shows the ability to track poor throws and catch away from his frame, along with elite vision and acceleration in the open field, especially as a returner.

      Pettis' elusiveness indicates speed and burst. Some believe he's slower than production indicates, but an ankle injury has prevented him from running a 40-yard dash. Other concerns include his slight frame (186 pounds) and lack of play strength -- an issue against press coverage -- plus a large portion of production collected against inferior opponents.

      Though Pettis' numbers slipped without John Ross (No. 9 pick overall in 2017) to draw attention, his tape didn't. He should thrive immediately as a punt returner and become a versatile No. 2 wideout in time.

      8. James Washington

      Oklahoma State

      5-11, 213, 40 time: 4.54

      Projection: Second-Third Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star wideout recruit, Washington was more productive than the Cowboys could ever have hoped.

      He collected 28 catches for 456 yards and six scores as a true freshman before racking up 124 catches for 2,467 yards and 20 TDs from 2015-16. He earned unanimous All-America honors and the Biletnikoff Award with a 74-1,549-13 line as a senior.

      Washington was impressive at the Senior Bowl but disappointed at the NFL Scouting Combine, tying for 23rd among wideouts in the 40-yard dash (4.54 seconds), 22nd in the 3-cone drill (7.11 seconds), 14th in the vertical jump (34.5 inches) and 18th in the broad jump (10 feet).

      ANALYSIS

      Washington was a big play waiting to happen in Stillwater, averaging 19.8 yards per catch and 42.2 yards per touchdown in his career. He plays faster than his timed speed and thrives on vertical routes, but he's also dangerous underneath, using his vision and thick build (213 pounds) to become a running back after the catch. He also shows suddenness to separate and strong hands to pluck throws.

      Washington needs significant polish. He showed little nuance in a limited route tree, rounding off breaks too often and failing to use hesitation or different speeds to his advantage. He rarely faced press coverage and was often schemed wide open against horrible Big 12 defenses, so the NFL transition could be steep.

      For all the big plays, numbers suggest Washington isn't an elite athlete relative to NFL peers, so development will be key, but he should be dangerous as a No. 2 receiver in time.

      9. Deon Cain*

      Clemson

      6-1 7/8, 201, 40 time: 4.43

      Projection: Second-Third Round

      OVERVIEW

      A wildcat quarterback in high school, Cain joined the Tigers as a five-star wideout recruit. He helped replace an injured Mike Williams as a true freshman reserve in 2015, catching 34 balls for 582 yards and five touchdowns, but was suspended for the College Football Playoff for failing a drug test.

      Despite remaining a reserve, he improved as a sophomore with 38 grabs for 724 yards and nine scores in 2016. As a junior, he started 13 of 14 games and posted a 58-734-6 line, opting to leave early for the NFL draft.

      He showed good movement at the NFL Scouting Combine, finishing tied for sixth among wideouts in the 40-yard dash (4.43 seconds) and fifth in the 3-cone drill (6.71 seconds).

      ANALYSIS

      Like several Clemson receivers before him, Cain offers a good blend of size (almost 6-2), speed (4.43-second 40-yard dash) and athleticism. He moves fluidly through his routes, showing precise footwork and tempo. He uses size and strength to pluck throws away from his body and looks comfortable amid traffic. He also can break big plays on double moves downfield or after the catch, unleashing a mean stiff-arm.

      Cain's production never quite matched his tools, however. He has significant issues with concentration drops and garnered a reputation for being a bit entitled early in his career. While a solid route runner, he still has much room for refinement, and his route tree must grow more branches.

      For teams that are comfortable with his character, Cain profiles as a solid No. 2 wideout with explosive upside.

      10. Equanimeous St. Brown*

      Notre Dame

      6-4 3/4, 214, 40 time: 4.48

      Projection: Second-Third Round

      OVERVIEW

      Son of a two-time Mr. Universe bodybuilder and a German mother, Equanimeous Tristan Imhotep J. St. Brown lived in France briefly as a kid and is fluent in English, German and French.

      A four-star high school recruit, he played seven games on special teams for the Irish as a true freshman before a season-ending shoulder injury. He thrived as DeShone Kizer's top target in 2016, hauling in 58 passes for 961 yards and nine touchdowns, but his production dipped in Kizer's absence in 2017 (33-515-4).

      His size (nearly 6-5 with 33" arms) and strength (20 reps on 225-pound bench press) stood out at the NFL Scouting Combine, and he still managed to tie for 12th in the 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds) among wideouts.

      ANALYSIS

      With a massive frame and more than adequate speed, St. Brown has tools that threaten defenses. He's very well built, having weight-trained under his father since age 5, but also shows fluid movement and covers ground deceptively quickly. His speed and length make him a dangerous deep threat who can go up and get it, and he has experience lining up all over the field.

      That said, St. Brown doesn't optimize his size and strength, showing major issues getting knocked off routes by physical cornerbacks. He's also inconsistent in traffic and on contested catches, failing to win as many 50-50 balls as you'd expect. While he's not a poor route runner and doesn't suffer many bad drops, there is room for improvement in both areas.

      Tremendously gifted, St. Brown could develop into a terrific weapon, but significant progress is needed before he'll produce with regularity.

      11. DaeSean Hamilton

      Penn State

      6-0 5/8, 203, 40 time: 4.47-4.52 (pro day)

      Projection: Third Round

      OVERVIEW

      The son of parents who both served in the U.S. Marine Corps, Hamilton was born in Japan and lived in Hawaii, Chicago and Virginia, where he developed into a three-star high school recruit. Hamilton took a medical redshirt with a wrist injury in 2013 before racking up a Big Ten-leading 82 catches for 899 yards and two touchdowns in 13 starts in 2014.

      His production dipped as a sophomore and junior, as he totaled 79 grabs for 1,086 yards and seven scores over that span, but he bounced back with 53 catches for 857 yards and nine TDs as a senior to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors and leave as PSU's all-time leader with 214 career receptions.

      A strong performance at the East-West Shrine Game earned him a late Senior Bowl invitation and he impressed in Mobile, turning cornerbacks around and creating separation much of the week. He parlayed that into an invitation to the Scouting Combine as well.

      ANALYSIS

      Lauded throughout college for his smarts, character and maturity, Hamilton is significantly more polished than a typical college wideout. He's a crafty, nuanced route runner, employing various release techniques to beat press coverage and using tempo and great feet to separate from cornerbacks at the proper depth. Though not particularly big (6-0 5/8), he also shows the ability to track the ball and make contested catches.

      That said, Hamilton lacks the explosive burst or open-field elusiveness to be a game breaker, and he may struggle to separate against better athletes. Though he moves fluidly, his athleticism is about average, and his steady-but-never-standout production generally matches the tape. He also has some issues with drops and bobbles, letting the ball into his chest too often.

      Hamilton will likely never be a star, but he should find a home in the slot as a reliable chains-mover, and he'll be a great addition to any locker room.

      12. Antonio Callaway*

      Florida

      5-10 5/8, 200, 40 time: 4.41

      Projection: Third-Fourth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A four-star high school recruit, Callaway starred as a true freshman at Florida, catching 35 passes for 678 yards and four touchdowns. He also averaged 15.0 yards per punt return, scoring twice.

      He was accused of sexual assault after his freshman season. At a Title IX hearing, he said he was "so stoned" on the date in question that he did not want to have sex with anyone, and was ultimately cleared of charges.

      As a sophomore, Callaway caught 54 passes for 721 yards and three TDs and added a score on a rush and another on an onside-kick return. He was cited for marijuana possession in May of 2017 and later suspended for the entire season for his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with teammates. He declared for the draft after sitting out 2017.

      ANALYSIS

      On the field, Callaway is electric, with the ability to win short, intermediate and deep. His 4.41-second 40-yard dash (tied third among wideouts at the NFL Scouting Combine) matches the tape, and he has sudden lateral agility to separate or break away after the catch. He flashes at times against press coverage and shows a natural feel for leveraging cornerbacks to create space.

      Callaway makes some mental mistakes, needs polish as a route runner and has inconsistent hands, both catching the ball and securing it (six career fumbles). Far more worrisome, he has a series of significant off-field concerns that make it difficult to trust him.

      A potential first-round pick absent character issues, Callaway is a complete wild card, both in terms of where he'll be drafted and how he will respond to the NFL environment.

      13. Michael Gallup

      Colorado State

      6-0 3/4, 205, 40 time: 4.51

      Projection: Third-Fourth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star high school recruit, Gallup's SAT scores were too low to accept Power 5 offers, leading him to Butler County Community College. He thrived there with 780 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman, but an ankle injury kept him out almost all of 2015 and he again lost out on potential Power 5 offers.

      Colorado State proved beneficiaries, as he racked up 176 catches for 2,685 yards and 21 touchdowns over two seasons for the Rams, becoming a Biletnikoff Award finalist and first0team All-MWC performer in 2017.

      He attended the Senior Bowl and had a solid week of practice before making a few explosive plays in the game (three catches, 60 yards) and earning an invite to the Scouting Combine.

      ANALYSIS

      Despite coming from JUCO and a Mountain West school, Gallup is already relatively refined. He lined up all over the formation, is adequate against press coverage, runs a full route tree with discipline and can adjust his routes mid-play based on coverage reads. He also offers a good blend of size and athleticism, adjusting well to back-shoulder throws and flashing suddenness as a runner after the catch.

      Though well-rounded, Gallup doesn't have an elite trait that scares defenses, limiting his ceiling. He also shows inconsistency over the middle - appearing skittish of charging safeties - and can be late to get his head around to track the ball on deep throws. Despite good overall ball skills, he has some focus drops as well.

      There are areas for improvement and Gallup isn't likely to be a star, but he profiles as a polished No. 2 wideout who could help a team early.

      14. J'Mon Moore

      Missouri

      6-2 5/8, 207, 40 time: 4.60

      Projection: Fourth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star high school recruit, Moore redshirted in 2013 and had just two catches in 2014 before earning a starting role in 2014 and catching 29 passes for 350 yards and three touchdowns.

      He racked up 128 grabs for 2,094 yards and 18 scores across his final two seasons, earning second-team All-SEC honors both times.

      Moore showed steady progress at the Senior Bowl in and was quietly terrific at the NFL Scouting Combine. Despite an underwhelming 40-yard dash (4.60 seconds), he finished fourth among all prospects in the 3-cone drill (6.56 seconds) and eighth in the 20-yard shuttle (4.04 seconds). Among wideouts, he was third in the bench press (21 reps) and tied for fourth in the vertical jump (38 inches).

      ANALYSIS

      With great size, length and fluidity, Moore is a toolsy prospect who turns his gifts into explosive plays. He has enough speed and quickness to make his gangly frame a threat downfield, where he tracks the ball and adjusts to poor throws effectively. He's also dangerous after the catch, showing one-step-and-go suddenness.

      Moore still needs serious development, however. He almost exclusively lined up outside the left field numbers and ran a limited route tree, feasting on screens, hitches, comebacks and verticals. He shows little nuance as a route runner, rounding off corners and looking sluggish on patterns with multi-step breaks. And while rangy, he struggles on contested catches and against physical corners due to his scrawny build and lack of functional strength.

      Despite game-breaking flashes, Moore remains raw and needs time to hone his tools and fill out his frame before becoming a dependable starter.

      15. Keke Coutee*

      Texas Tech

      5-9 3/4, 181, 40 time: 4.43

      Projection: Fourth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star high school recruit, Coutee committed to Texas as a sophomore but reconsidered after Mack Brown's retirement and joined the Red Raiders instead.

      After catching just 11 passes as a true freshman, he had 55 grabs for 890 yards and seven touchdowns in 2016. As a fulltime starter in 2017, he caught 93 passes for 1,429 yards and 10 scores, adding a 92-yard kick-return TD.

      One of the smallest players at the NFL Scouting Combine, he tied for sixth among wideouts in the 40-yard dash (4.43 seconds) and fifth in the 20-yard shuttle.

      ANALYSIS

      With terrific speed and quickness, Coutee is explosive at all levels of the field. He primarily ran short routes in college, showing a knack for settling into voids in zones and breaking off big gains with dynamic ability in space (averaged 8.5 yards after catch). He also excelled as a vertical threat despite limited opportunities, tracking the ball well and turning just 18 deep targets (thrown 20-plus yards downfield) into 542 yards in 2017.

      Coutee is both undersized (5-9 3/4) and scrawny (181 pounds), raising concerns about durability and play strength. He is easily re-routed by physical cornerbacks and press coverage, and he's unreliable in traffic or on contested catches. He also ran a limited route tree without much nuance and had a few too many drops.

      Coutee has the potential to be an excellent slot receiver with vertical upside. He's also worth a look as a returner, despite limited experience in that area.

      16. Tre'Quan Smith*

      Central Florida

      6-2, 210, 40 time: 4.49

      Projection: Fourth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A basketball player growing up, Smith first tried football as a high school freshman and quit before picking it back up as a junior. He developed into a three-star recruit and redshirted at UCF in 2014.

      Over the next three seasons, he started 36 of 38 games and steadily caught more passes (52 in 2015, 57 in ‘16, 59 in ‘17) while turning them into more yards (724, 853, 1,171) and touchdowns (four, five, 13) each season.

      As a redshirt junior graduate, he was invited to the Senior Bowl, where he had an up-and-down week, showing off his physicality but also a lack of quick-twitch explosiveness.

      ANALYSIS

      Tall and well-built (6-2, 210 pounds), Smith uses his power effectively to fight off press coverage. He shows deceptive speed that builds on downfield routes, where he combines good ball-tracking, body control and length (33 3/8-inch arms) to make acrobatic grabs. He also flashes as a runner with tackle-breaking ability after the catch. His intangibles are excellent, as he's smart, coachable and durable.

      Smith isn't as effective on contested catches as his size suggests, and he too often lets the ball get into his body. He lacks polish as a route-runner, showing sluggish footwork at times and struggling to sink his hips. Also, it's worth wondering if his lack of elite speed or suddenness will become a bigger issue against better athletes at the next level.

      Still a youngster in football experience, Smith needs some work, but he flashes upside as a big, above-the-rim target.

      17. Allen Lazard

      Iowa State

      6-5, 225, 40 time: 4.55

      Projection: Fourth-Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      Rated the top high school recruit in the state of Iowa, Lazard drew offers from major programs like Notre Dame and Stanford but chose Iowa State, where his father and older brother played.

      He started from Day 1, finishing with 45 starts in 48 career games. After 101 grabs for 1,401 yards and nine scores through his first two seasons, he caught 140 passes for 1,959 yards and 17 touchdowns from 2016-17, earning first-team all-Big Ten honors in both years.

      He accepted a Senior Bowl invitation and showed off his contested-catch ability in Mobile.

      ANALYSIS

      You won't find many bigger wideouts than Lazard (6-5, 225 pounds). He wields that size effectively, using great play strength in his routes and manhandling corners at the catch point by boxing out and snaring passes with strong hands. Though not dynamic, he is disciplined as a route runner and a great leaper (38-inch vertical). A two-year captain, coaches praise his mental toughness, and he often did dirty work as a motioned-in run-blocker.

      However, there is nothing sudden about Lazard's movement, as he often looks like a tight end. His speed (4.55 seconds in the 40-yard dash) doesn't back coverage off and he lacks the lateral agility to shake sticky man defenders or create after the catch. Despite his strength, his hands are inconsistent against press.

      Lazard primarily separates with his body as a shield, not movement, limiting his ceiling at the next level. That said, he could be a dangerous red-zone weapon and perhaps move to tight end, as he shows plus blocking skills.

      18. Cedrick Wilson

      Boise State

      6-2, 197, 40 time: 4.55

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      Wilson played quarterback in high school and didn't have FBS programs beating down his door with scholarship offers. Rather than enrolling as a walk-on, Wilson chose to enroll at Coffeyville Community College where he was switched to wide receiver, a position he was playing for the first time.

      Wilson was no stranger to the position. His father, Cedrick, played the position for seven years in the NFL. After two productive seasons at Coffeyville, Wilson transferred to Boise State and quickly established himself as the No. 1 target for the Broncos. He set the single-season school record for receiving yards (1,511) as a senior.

      ANALYSIS

      One of the better in-stride receivers in the 2018 draft, Wilson's best work are on collision course routes -- slants, crossers and verticals -- tracking the ball into his hands to catch-and-go.

      With a lean, wiry build, he doesn't have the play strength to break tackles or overwhelm defenders at the catch point, but he locks onto the ball and will fight for position. Wilson can improve his strength to beat the jam and improve route running.

      He returned kickoffs and punts in college and can be a fourth wideout on the depth chart early in his NFL career, but don't bet against Wilson fighting his way into a regular role.

      19. Simmie Cobbs*

      Indiana

      6-3, 220, 40 time: 4.64

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      Cobbs changed high schools temporarily but returned to Oak Park (Ill.) and was an all-state wide receiver and basketball standout, receiving scholarship offers for both sports from Purdue and Ball State. Because Purdue asked him to play safety, Cobbs balked and opted to attend Indiana.

      He played in every game as a receiver as a freshman and caught seven passes, then started 13 games in 2015 and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten with 60 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the first series of the 2016 season before catching a pass and was granted a redshirt season.

      Cobbs came back strong with 12 starts, 72-841-8 in 2017, playing almost exclusively as the "X" receiver on the left side of the formation, and bypassed his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

      ANALYSIS

      Cobbs is a fluid athlete if not a polished wide receiver. He tends to freelance on routes, which could be a byproduct of changing offenses and inconsistent quarterback play, and might need a season to acclimate to a professional environment and refine his route running.

      He's a bull to contend with for undersized cornerbacks because of his height, width, length and strength. Plays to his 4.6 speed but does show an extra gear on verticals and deep crossers. Not as limited as expected after the catch and has light feet with some spring to extend plays as evidenced by 30 plays of 20-plus yards in this career.

      20. Deontay Burnett*

      Southern Cal

      5-11 5/8, 186, 40 time: 4.53

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star recruit, Burnett changed his commitment from Washington State to Arizona State and then finally to Southern Cal on signing day - joining former Serra wide receivers Adoree Jackson, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods to become Trojans in recent years.

      After seeing limited action his freshman season (10 catches, 161 yards), Burnett found himself in the starting lineup five times during a solid sophomore campaign (56 catches, 662 yards, seven TDs). He became the clear favorite target of QB Sam Darnold as a junior, hauling in a conference-leading 86 passes for 1,114 yards and nine touchdowns. He was named second-team All-Pac-12 in 2017 and chose to skip his senior season to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

      ANALYSIS

      Burnett spent the bulk of his time in the slot. He's quick and sudden in and out of his breaks, and a zone breaker able to find the soft spots over the middle. He's decent after the catch, accelerating quickly with the ball in his hands. Did a nice job staying active while Darnold kept plays alive with his feet. Great athleticism allowed him to make a bunch of impressive diving catches.

      Play strength isn't great. Excellent against zone but will struggle to get open against physical corners at the next level. Struggles to compete for contested catches. Small hands hurt him with drops and fumbles. Much of the separation he was able to get was the result of USC's spread offense. Burnett will be limited to the slot at the next level. He'll need to add strength to survive press coverage, but his ability to find space in zones and his athleticism will earn him a role in the NFL.

      21. Marcell Ateman

      Oklahoma State

      6-41/2, 216, 40 time: 4.62

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A four-star recruit from Texas, Ateman combined for 42 catches in primarily a backup role through his first two seasons and seemed poised for a big year after a strong junior season (45 catches, 766 yards, five TDs). Unfortunately, a foot injury that required surgery forced him to take a medical redshirt for the 2016 season. He more than made up for it last season, posting 59 catches for 1,156 yards and eight scores (second on the team behind Biletnikoff Award finalist James Washington). He was named second-team All-Big 12 for his efforts while also being named Academic All-Big 12 in 2017.

      ANALYSIS

      Ateman has great size and length. He really excels on back shoulder throws, attacking the football and catching it at its highest point. His basketball background comes through when the ball is in the air, boxing out defenders along the boundary. Ateman uses long strides to get on top of corners quickly and has sneaky quick feet when making his breaks. He doesn't track deep balls well and will mistime his jump on occasion. Route tree was limited - lots of hitches, hitch-and-go's, back shoulder throws and fades - and could be better securing the football after the catch.

      Ateman's size and ball skills will intrigue NFL teams, but he'll need to refine his route running to gain consistent separation at the next level. He has quickness and adequate speed to get better, but his early reps will be earned from winning 50-50 balls and as a red-zone threat.

      22. Jordan Lasley*

      UCLA

      6-1, 203, 40 time: 4.50

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      Lasley has been extremely productive on the field but has run into trouble off of it. He was a three-star recruit coming out of Junipero Serra in Southern California, redshirting his freshman season at UCLA. He flashed as a sophomore (41 catches, 620 yards, five TDs) before having a monster junior season.

      Lasley caught 69 passes for 1,264 yards (18.3 yards per catch) and nine TDs despite playing in only nine games due to a suspension - one of multiple suspensions during the course of his Bruins career for undisclosed violations of team rules. He was named honorable mention All-Pac-12 and decided to forgo his senior season for the NFL draft.

      ANALYSIS

      Lasley is an explosive athlete who jumps off the line and accelerates quickly. He's tremendous at changing speeds and gaining a step on corners. His game speed looks much faster than the 4.50 he ran at the Scouting Combine. Good after the catch, often making the first defender miss. He tracks deep balls with ease and uses his hands to get extra space with the ball in the air, but had issues with concentration drops throughout his career. He's a little skinny and can be re-routed by physical DBs.

      From an on-the-field standpoint, Lasley looks like an easy Day 2 pick with his explosiveness and ability to take the top off a defense. The troubles off the field and the concentration lapses on it will give NFL teams pause, making Lasley a tough projection. If he matures, he has plenty of potential at the next level.

      23. Auden Tate*

      Florida State

      6-4 7/8, 228, 40 time: 4.68

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A four-star recruit from Tampa, Tate dealt with injuries to start and end his time at Florida State. He played just six games as a true freshman and did not record a catch. After a promising junior season (25 catches, 409 yards, six TDs), Tate had a strong junior campaign, hauling in 40 catches for 549 yards and 10 TDs in 12 games despite the Seminoles losing starting quarterback Deondre Francois in Week 1.

      Tate separated his shoulder in the final game of his college career and decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

      ANALYSIS

      Tate's size is obviously his biggest asset. He's long limbed with big hands. He does well using his large frame to wall off defensive backs on slants and comebacks, but wasn't asked to run an expansive route tree. He lacks the speed and athleticism to get consistent separation but does have sneaky quickness coming out of his breaks.

      Tate improved from 2016 to ‘17 catching the ball away from his body and using his hands. He has strong, reliable hands even while being contested. Not much wiggle after the catch but runs hard and is tough to bring down. He does well using his hands to get some breathing room late in routes.

      If you're looking for a burner, Tate isn't your guy. He has size and knows how to use it. If he's in 1-on-1 coverage, he's open. He'll need to learn the nuances of the position and improve his raw route-running, but he should be a strong red-zone threat at the next level.

      24. Korey Robertson*

      Southern Miss

      6-1, 212, 40 time: 4.56

      Projection: Fifth-Sixth Round

      OVERVIEW

      Robertson was a three-star recruit who didn't get on the field as a redshirt freshman, but his production steadily increased over the next three seasons. He enjoyed a breakout redshirt junior season, catching 76 passes for 1,106 yards and 12 scores, including 100-plus receiving yards against Kentucky and Tennessee. Nicknamed "D-Block," Robertson was named to Conference USA's 2017 First Team after leading the conference in receiving yards and touchdowns and opted to forgo his senior season to enter the 2018 NFL Draft.

      ANALYSIS

      Robertson is solidly built with long arms. His straight-line speed is just OK but he's quick in and out of his routes. He's pretty slippery after the catch, generally making the first guy miss in the open field. He does an excellent job on 50-50 balls, timing his leaps well and plucking the ball out of the air with strong hands.

      His play speed isn't great and Robertson will have to rely on his quick feet to gain separation. Doesn't shy away from physical battles with corners. There's nothing flashy to Robertson's game; he runs solid routes, catches the ball out in front of his body and can make something happen after the catch.

      Robertson is pretty good at everything asked of a wideout, but there's no specific skill that stands out as elite. His short-area quickness could make him a candidate for the slot, but he played on the left side as the Golden Eagles' "X" receiver and has enough size and adequate speed to play on the outside.

      25. Daurice Fountain

      Northern Iowa

      6-2, 209, 40 time: 4.54 (Pro Day)

      Projection: Fifth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A two-star recruit from Wisconsin, Fountain chose Northern Iowa over South Dakota after not being offered a scholarship by the Badgers. He was an outstanding overall high school athlete, lettering in baseball and track and field as well as football. After getting his feet wet as a freshman at UNI, Fountain went on to lead his team in receiving yards in each of the next three seasons.

      He enjoyed a breakout senior campaign, hauling in 66 passes for 943 yards and 12 TDs in 2017 to be named first-team All-MVFC. He took home MVP honors during the East-West Shrine Game (three catches, 61 yards), but surprisingly did not score an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine.

      ANALYSIS

      The freakish athleticism Fountain showed at his pro day (42.5-inch vertical, 11-2-broad jump) does match the player you see on tape. He ran track at Northern Iowa, and has the speed to beat a defense over the top and quickness to get away from corners on short and intermediate routes. He also shows flashes excellent footwork along the boundaries, often getting two feet in.

      Fountain is a tremendous athlete but an extremely raw football player. He's not a great route runner and can get knocked off his routes by physical defenders. His ball skills are inconsistent. His height is adequate but he is a little skinny. Great production during his senior year but never truly dominated against a lower level competition.

      Fountain showed enough at Northern Iowa to warrant a look at the next level. He needs to be coached up and may not be able to contribute right away. He did show off some return skills during the East-West Shrine Game (two punt returns for 40 yards).

      26. Trey Quinn*

      SMU

      5-11 3/8, 203, 40 time: 4.55

      Projection: Sixth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A former baseball star who threw a no-hitter in the 2008 Little League World Series, Quinn also competed in track and field and was a four-star football recruit. The Louisiana native played his first two collegiate seasons at LSU, but he struggled to produce in the Tigers' run-heavy offense, combining to catch just 22 passes for 276 yards and no touchdowns.

      Quinn opted to transfer to SMU, where he joined coach Chad Morris, who was the offensive coordinator when Clemson tried to recruit him. After sitting out the 2016 season, Quinn went on to lead the nation with 114 catches last year, recording 1,236 yards and 13 TDs.

      ANALYSIS

      Quinn is the prototype for a slot receiver. He can run any route in the tree with precision. He's smooth and sudden in and out of his breaks. He does an excellent job setting up DBs on routes. Quinn is solidly built to take a beating over the middle and possesses extremely reliable hands.

      He's limited athletically, running a 4.55 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine that seems about right on the tape. He played outside but at 5-11? and without the long speed to take the top off a defense, he's a slot receiver at the next level. Tore up lower level competition at SMU.

      Quinn was a highly-recruited receiver and was able to get on the field in the SEC. He doesn't burst off the line and will be looked at exclusively as a slot receiver, but could be an intriguing option for a team that could best utilize his skill set.

      27. Dylan Cantrell

      Texas Tech

      6-2 7/8, 226, 40 time: 4.59

      Projection: Sixth Round

      OVERVIEW

      A four-star recruit from Whitehouse, Texas, where he played with current Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahones, Cantrell struggled with injuries early in his collegiate career. After combining for 29 catches in 17 games from 2013-14, he took a redshirt year in 2015. Cantrell returned in 2016 and broke out with 58 catches for 675 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing two games.

      In 2017, he put together his best season, hauling in 71 passes for 816 yards and seven touchdowns. Cantrell received All-Big 12 honorable mention honors in 2017, and was named Academic All-Big 12 first team three consecutive years.

      ANALYSIS

      Cantrell doesn't shy away from physical corners and has sneaky hand usage while the ball is in the air. He high-points the football and times his jumps extremely well. Cantrell shows his hands late, not giving DBs a chance to make a play on the football. Tremendous athlete with outstanding body control. Willing and capable blocker down field.

      Cantrell lacks the speed and the quickness to get open consistently. He will struggle with press coverage, lacking the long speed to beat any corners. The athletic ability and agility he showed at the NFL Scouting Combine don't show up in his route running.

      Cantrell is a one-trick pony who makes circus catches look routine, but he has to in order to make up for his lack of separation. His production increased every year in college and Cantrell has experience at the "X" and "Z" receiver positions, although his best projection to the NFL may be as a hybrid H-back.

      28. Darren Carrington

      Wide Receiver, Utah

      6-2 1/4, 199, 40 time: 4.78 (Pro Day)

      Projection: Sixth-Seventh Round

      OVERVIEW

      The San Diego native was a multi-dimensional threat in high school and comes from a highly athletic family. His father played eight seasons in the NFL, reaching two Super Bowls, while his mother ran track at Northern Arizona and two sisters also played college sports. Carrington had offers from Ohio State and Michigan, but Oregon was always his No. 1 choice.

      After redshirting in 2013, Carrington caught 37 passes for 704 yards and four touchdowns in 2014. He added 32-609-6 the following season but was suspended for the CFP National Championship against Ohio State for reportedly failing an NCAA-mandated drug test. While serving a suspension during the first half of the 2016 season, he was cited by police for an open container violation and was accused of shoving a man after a game that resulted in a broken arm, although Carrington was not charged. He went on to catch 43 passes for 606 yards and five touchdowns as a junior.

      The final straw in Carrington's turbulent time in Eugene was snapped when he was charged with a DUI last July. Carrington reached a plea deal but was dismissed from the Oregon program and wound up at Utah as a graduate transfer, going on to set career highs with 70 catches for 980 yards with six TDs and being named second-team All-Pac-12.

      ANALYSIS

      On the field, Carrington is a gifted athlete with good speed and acceleration, using his height and long arms to catch the ball away from his body. He is an excellent vertical threat who tracks the ball well while being aware of the sideline. Highlight-reel catches are common. And despite his off-field concerns, Carrington graduated with his degree and has played through nagging injuries.

      The laundry list of poor decision-making weighs heavily on Carrington's draft stock. He also lacks ideal play strength and won't do a lot of damage after the catch. But his ability to work various levels of the field and present a big downfield target in today's pass-happy NFL will present him an opportunity to land a roster spot and prove that he has matured.

      29. Javon Wims

      Georgia

      6-3, 215, 40 time: 4.53

      Projection: Sixth-Seventh Round

      OVERVIEW

      A basketball-first athlete growing up, Wims played football his senior season in high school, but he wasn't able to make a big impact in a Wing-T offense and went overlooked as a recruit. He started his college football journey at NAIA-level Belhaven University, but that experience was short-lived, suffering an injury after three games. Wims spent a season outside of football before resurfacing at Hinds Community College in 2015, impressing enough to garner multiple SEC offers.

      After spending the 2016 season learning the Georgia offense, he blossomed into the team's top wide receiver target as a senior in 2017, leading the team with 45 catches, 720 yards and seven receiving scores. He was invited to the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl, but was sidelined from both due to a shoulder injury.

      ANALYSIS

      A good-looking athlete on the hoof, Wims is flexible with the quick reflexes to easily adjust to the ball, which is illustrated time after time on film with the high volume of back-shoulder throws in the Georgia playbook. He is quick to secure the football, but wasn't a consistent threat to create after the catch.

      Although he lacks the route prowess to easily separate, Wims doesn't allow cornerbacks on his back to disrupt his focus. Despite a run-heavy attack and a true freshman quarterback starting most of the season, Wims was still able to leave his mark in Athens, attracting NFL attention in the process.

      30. Marquez Valdes-Scantling

      South Florida

      6-4, 206, 40 time: 4.37

      Projection: Seventh Round

      OVERVIEW

      A three-star recruit and track star out of Lakewood, Fla., Valdes-Scantling started his collegiate career at NC State. After two seasons and 44 catches for 538 yards and one touchdown in 23 games (11 starts), he transferred to South Florida. After sitting out the 2015 season because of transfer rules, Valdes-Scantling got to show off his ability as a deep threat, catching 22 passes for 415 yards (18.9 yards per catch) in 2016.

      He then established career highs across the board with 53 catches for 879 yards and six TDs as a senior and accepted an invitation to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He capitalized on a strong week there with an invited to the Scouting Combine, where Valdes-Scantling opened eyes with a blistering 4.37-second 40-yard dash, second among all wide receivers.

      ANALYSIS

      Valdes-Scantling's size/speed combo is elite, and the track speed shows up on tape. He gets on top of DBs quickly with long strides and accelerates quickly for being so long. He just doesn't play to his 6-4 frame. He's not a natural hands catcher and doesn't attack the football like a player of his size should. Also doesn't track deep balls well. He's a little tough to evaluate because of a run-heavy offense and an inaccurate QB. Route running needs a lot of work.

      There are times where Valdes-Scantling flashes and you can imagine an NFL team drooling over his size and speed. But with his inability to use his size, catch the football naturally and consistently, and his poor route running, Valdes-Scantling is very much a project. A project worth taking on, but likely not until the latter part of Day 3.

      31. Jaleel Scott

      New Mexico State

      6-4 3/4, 218, 40 time: 4.56

      Projection: Seventh Round

      OVERVIEW

      If it wasn't for Scott's poor academic record, the three-star recruit might have wound up at Kentucky or Maryland. Instead, he started at Hutchinson Community College (Kansas) before an off-field incident forced him to go to Ellsworth Community College (Iowa). He played well enough at the JUCO level to get an offer from New Mexico State.

      Scott had solid junior campaign before breaking out in his senior year. In 2017, the former high school basketball player had 76 catches for 1,079 yards and nine scores. He was named first-team All-Sun Belt and earned invitations to the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine, where he ran a mediocre 4.56 40.

      ANALYSIS

      Scott has tremendous size and athleticism. His basketball background shows up in his ability to leap and come down with contested catches. Has excellent body control and times his jumps very well. He uses his hands late in routes and at the catch point to get extra breathing room. Does a good job staying alive and coming back to the QB on broken plays. His speed is only average, and it takes him a while to accelerate. He's not particularly quick and has a tendency to round off his routes.

      Scott's size and athleticism will warrant him a look at the next level. He plays to his 6-4 3/4 size but the rest of his game is pretty raw. You might be able to blame some of that on bouncing around at the JUCO level. There appears to be untapped potential here, but Scott is likely not worth a look until late on Day 3.

      32. Braxton Berrios

      Miami (Fla.)

      5-9, 184, 40 time: 4.52

      Projection: Seventh Round/Free Agent

      OVERVIEW

      Berrios is a highly intelligent individual and might find greener pastures away from the field. The Ivy League recruit said no to Harvard and Yale because of his deep love of the Hurricanes.

      He became valedictorian of Miami's business school as a double major. On the field, Berrios also found success as a senior, leading the team with 55 catches for 679 yards and nine touchdowns. His accomplishments earned him the 2017 Jim Tatum Award, which goes to the top senior student-athlete in the ACC.

      ANALYSIS

      Some might call it a stereotype, but Berrios is the prototypical slot receiver in a lot of ways. He is undersized, agile and tough. Berrios has excellent hand-eye coordination and tracking skills to locate and make a play on the ball, but his short arms and smallish features make him a small target for quarterbacks, forcing throws to be pinpoint.

      While he will likely be limited to a specific niche in the NFL due to his size, Berrios can add value as a punt returner, averaging 10.4 yards per return in college, which almost matched his 11.8 yards per catch.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Brady's agent expects him to play in 2018
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    An offseason full of speculation about whether Tom Brady will or won't play in 2018 may have just heard its most informed opinion on Monday.

    • And Patriots fans have to like what they hear.

      Brady's agent, Don Yee, told ESPN's Adam Schefter that he expects the Patriots quarterback to play this upcoming season.

      "Tom's intentions have not changed," Yee told Schefter. "He's consistently said he'll play beyond this contract and into his mid-40s, or until he feels he isn't playing at a championship level. I understand the constant speculation, but this is one point he's been firm about."

      Brady's future has been a hot topic in New England since seemingly as soon as the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in Super Bowl LII in February.

      Last week, ESPN reported that Brady did not give "official word" that he's planning to be with the Patriots. Brady, who turns 41 in August, was not present at the start of the offseason program last week; he has missed the offseason program twice before in his career.

      "My money would be on him playing football for the foreseeable future, but what goes on away from the football field, I don't know," one source told ESPN at the time.

      Brady is signed through 2019 and is due $14 million each of the next two seasons. That ranks him around the middle of the pack for NFL starting quarterbacks right now, and well below what former backup Jimmy Garoppolo now makes in San Francisco.

      Part of the motivation to deal Garoppolo, according to ESPN's Seth Wickersham, was a power struggle between Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. The spin was Brady did not want to be looking over his shoulder and felt he had earned the right to decide when to pull the plug on his career with the Patriots.

      There was also a reported struggle over the presence of Brady's personal trainer and nutritionist, Alex Guerrero, because of the shadow it cast over the Patriots' training staff. Guerrero had his Gillette Stadium office and seat on the team's plane to road games taken away.

      New England acquired a second first-round pick for Thursday's draft in a deal that sent wide receiver Brandin Cooks to the Los Angeles Rams earlier this month, sparking speculation the Patriots could be primed to climb up for Brady's eventual replacement.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ravens secure WR Snead after Saints decline match
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Restricted free agent wide receiver Willie Snead is set to the join the Baltimore Ravens on a two-year, $10.4 million deal.

    • The New Orleans Saints on Monday declined their refusal rights and will not match the contract offer. The Ravens actively restocked at wide receiver this offseason, signing Michael Crabtree and John Brown in addition to Snead.

      Snead is scheduled to make $7 million in salary and $3.4 million in incentives.

      Hours after news of the Saints' decision broke, Snead tweeted a thank you to the Saints organization and fans, from late owner Tom Benson (who died last month) "down to the Chef in the kitchen."

      Snead struggled in 2017 with a hamstring injury and had only eight receptions.

      In the two seasons prior, the possession receiver had 141 catches for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns.

      --Field Level Media

  • Steelers exercise option on LB Dupree
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Linebacker Bud Dupree will earn just over $9 million in 2019 after the Pittsburgh Steelers picked up the fifth-year option on the contract of the 2015 first-round pick.

    • Dupree, drafted No. 22 out of Kentucky, posted a career-best 6.0 sacks in 2017 and has 14.5 career sacks.

      Dupree could still be released if he doesn't meet expectations in 2018. The fifth-year option is guaranteed for injury only.

      Pittsburgh used its first-round pick on T.J. Watt in 2017 and could invest in another pass rusher this week.

      --Field Level Media

  • 2018 NFL mock draft: Intrigue high at the top
    By Field Level Media / Monday, April 23, 2018

    Not since 2006 -- when the Houston Texans signed Mario Williams on draft day eve despite widespread belief they would take Reggie Bush -- has the team picking first truly shocked us during draft week.

    • Seven of the last 11 top overall picks have been quarterbacks, and each was a clear favorite or virtual lock well in advance. In three of the last six years (2016, 2015 and 2012), the No. 2 pick was also all but official.

      But days away from action getting underway in Dallas, we still aren't sure what the Cleveland Browns will do. Many favor USC's Sam Darnold, but others insist general manager John Dorsey will take Wyoming's Josh Allen. There are even whispers it could be Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield.

      Things aren't much more settled at No. 2. The New York Giants don't seem likely to take a QB, but it's possible. If not, Saquon Barkley, Bradley Chubb and Quenton Nelson are all in play, and the specter of a trade remains a constant.

      The only thing seemingly written in stone is that the New York Jets will take a QB at No. 3. But which one?

      It's time to embrace the unknown in what could be one of the most fascinating drafts in years.

      1. Cleveland Browns: QB Sam Darnold, USC

      Despite GM John Dorsey's history of swinging for the fences, Darnold is the pick. The 20-year-old brings tremendous upside without nearly Josh Allen's level of bust potential.

      2. New York Giants: DE Bradley Chubb, NC State

      The Buffalo Bills offer a treasure trove of picks, but Dave Gettleman has no history of trading down. Chubb isn't the hog molly Quenton Nelson is, but he could step right in for traded DE Jason Pierre-Paul and thrive.

      3. New York Jets (from Indianapolis): QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

      With Darnold gone, we get introduced to "Broadway Baker." A relentless competitor, Mayfield should push Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater for the starting job early.

      4. Cleveland Browns (from Houston): CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State

      The Browns might love Chubb, but he's not available. Ward is small, but he plays physical and is almost as sticky as they come in man coverage.

      5. (Projected trade) Buffalo Bills (from Denver): QB Josh Allen, Wyoming

      A Bills trade up for a quarterback seems to be a matter of "when," not "if," and Allen looks like the likely target. Despite lots of homework on signal-callers, Denver seems to be angling for a trade down.

      6. (Projected trade) Miami Dolphins (from New York Jets via Indianapolis): QB Josh Rosen, UCLA

      Saquon Barkley's slide makes this interesting, but the Colts still appear to be seeking another trade down, so I'll stick with this pick. The Dolphins jump up to grab an intellectual precision passer for Adam Gase.

      7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: RB Saquon Barkley, Penn State

      Need and value line up perfectly here for the Bucs, who sprint to the podium. Barkley steps right in for the departed Doug Martin and should be a top-five NFL back from Day 1.

      8. Chicago Bears: OG Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame

      Nelson's college position coach, Harry Hiestand, recently joined the Bears, who have a hole at left guard after releasing Josh Sitton. A perfect fit for one of the best guard prospects in years.

      9. San Francisco 49ers: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia

      With Reuben Foster's future very much up in the air, the Niners lock in an instinctive linebacker who will set the defensive tone for years to come.

      10. Oakland Raiders: OT Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame

      Defensive help is far more pressing, but with Ward and Smith off the board, the Raiders fill the only hole on their offensive line and plug in a steady starter at right tackle.

      11. (Projected trade) Indianapolis Colts (from Miami): S Derwin James, Florida State

      After nabbing yet another second-rounder (giving them a whopping five picks in the top 49) in another trade-down, the Colts opt for one of the draft's best athletes. James and Malik Hooker could be an incredible duo.

      12. (Projected trade) Denver Broncos (from Cincinnati via Buffalo): LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech

      Ward and Smith are potential targets, but with both off the board, Denver opts for a 19-year-old athletic freak. Edmunds needs polish and coaching, but his gifts are exceedingly rare.

      13. Washington Redskins: DT Vita Vea, Washington

      A leaky run defense must be patched, and there's no better place to start than a behemoth like Vea. He's the rare 350-pounder who could also affect quarterbacks on a regular basis at the next level.

      14. Green Bay Packers: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama

      The Packers' recent investments in the secondary have yet to pan out, and the team already gave up on Damarious Randall. Fitzpatrick could be a rich man's Micah Hyde, thriving in all sorts of positions.

      15. Arizona Cardinals: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville

      The Cardinals need a QB, but Lamar Jackson seems like an odd fit. Instead, they take the extremely agile and feisty Alexander to play opposite Patrick Peterson.

      16. Baltimore Ravens: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama

      Was the offer sheet to Willie Snead a sign the Ravens won't take a wide receiver early, or a well-timed smokescreen to get other teams off the scent? I'll go with the latter and trust Ozzie Newsome's love for the Crimson Tide.

      17. Los Angeles Chargers: DT DaRon Payne, Alabama

      Sporting a roster with surprisingly few holes, L.A. must get better against the run, making Payne and fellow Tide defender Rashaan Evans ideal options. The 20-year-old Payne still has plenty of untapped upside.

      18. Seattle Seahawks: DE Harold Landry, Boston College

      The Seahawks might trade down, but pass rush is needed considering the departure of Michael Bennett and uncertainty surrounding Cliff Avril. Landry might be the best edge bender in the class.

      19. Dallas Cowboys: DB Josh Jackson, Iowa

      Calvin Ridley and D.J. Moore are possibilities here, but Dallas opts to reinforce the secondary instead, where Jackson could wind up playing safety.

      20. Detroit Lions: DE Marcus Davenport, UTSA

      The Lions need more pass rush, especially with Ezekiel Ansah's long-term future unclear. Davenport might not slip this far, but Detroit should pounce if he does.

      21. Cincinnati Bengals (from Buffalo): G Isaiah Wynn, Georgia

      The Bengals' line was a sieve in protection in 2017, and even worse in the run game. A left tackle in college, Wynn will likely kick inside to guard, but he should be very reliable.

      22. (Projected trade) Denver Broncos (from Kansas City, via Buffalo): G Will Hernandez, UTEP

      With the second of two first-round picks acquired from the Bills, the Broncos find a plug-and-play mauler to fill a hole at right guard.

      23. New England Patriots: QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville Cardinals

      It's unclear if the Patriots could move up high enough for Rosen, while Jackson might not even make it to No. 23. Either way, they should prioritize finding a long-term option at quarterback.

      24. Carolina Panthers: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State

      Greg Olsen is 33 and coming off an injury-plagued season, with little behind him on the depth chart. Goedert dominated lower-level competition and could become an excellent two-way tight end.

      25. Tennessee Titans: Rashaan Evans, Alabama

      Leighton Vander Esch could be in consideration here as well. Either way, Tennessee could use a three-down linebacker who has both physicality and speed, and Evans can rush the passer a bit, too.

      26. Atlanta Falcons: DT Taven Bryan, Florida

      Dan Quinn loves opportunities to mold explosive athletes, and Bryan is downright twitchy despite standing 6-foot-4 at nearly 300 pounds. He'll help reinforce a depleted defensive line.

      27. New Orleans Saints: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina

      Josh Hill is entering a contract year, and 37-year-old Ben Watson signed for just one year. Hurst is a solid blocker and receiver, though Mike Gesicki could be the pick if New Orleans prefers a pure pass-catcher.

      28. Pittsburgh Steelers: ILB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State

      There have been whispers about a neck issue for Vander Esch, but he remains a talented, three-down linebacker. Pittsburgh must shore up the position with Ryan Shazier's future unclear.

      29. Jacksonville Jaguars: QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

      A sixth QB in Round 1? It could happen. The Jaguars kicked the can down the road with Blake Bortles, but they must provide competition at some point. Rudolph faces a steep transition from Mike Gundy's offense but was super productive in college.

      30. Minnesota Vikings: DT Maurice Hurst, Michigan

      The Vikings let Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen depart in free agency and signed Sheldon Richardson for just one year. The incredibly disruptive Hurst would provide some insurance at 3-technique.

      31. New England Patriots: OT Kolton Miller, UCLA

      Miller's tape isn't first-round caliber, but uber athletic tackles usually get overdrafted. New England has a need, and Miller might remind them of the departed Nate Solder.

      32. Philadelphia Eagles: RB Derrius Guice, LSU

      The Eagles have few holes to fill, so they opt for a dynamic weapon. Powerful, agile and quietly talented as a pass-catcher, Guice would serve as insurance for Jay Ajayi, who is entering a contract year.

      --David DeChant, Field Level Media

  • Report: Raiders to pick up WR Cooper's option
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    The Oakland Raiders are expected to pick up wide receiver Amari Cooper's fifth-year option "imminently," according to an ESPN report.

    • Cooper, who turns 24 in June, is set to make $3.5 million in 2018, the fourth year of his rookie contract. As a former top-10 pick, Cooper's fifth-year option -- guaranteed only for injury -- would be worth the average of the top-10 wide receiver contracts in the NFL, currently a shade under $14 million.

      The deadline to pick up the option is May 3.

      Taken fourth overall in 2015, Cooper had 155 catches for 2,223 yards and 11 touchdowns through two NFL seasons before finishing with 48 catches, 680 yards and seven scores last season. A whopping 22.9 percent of Cooper's receptions (11) and 30.9 percent of his yards (210) in 2017 came in one game, a Thursday night shootout with the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7.

      New head coach Jon Gruden voiced his confidence in Cooper at the league meetings in Orlando, Fla., last month, adding that the fourth-year wideout must bounce back from a down season.

      "We need him to be the player he was the first two years," Gruden told reporters. "We're going to make him the main vein of our passing offense and move him around a lot. ... We're really excited about him. I think he's entering the prime of his career."

      Cooper battled a foot injury as a rookie and an ankle injury last season, but he has played in 46 of 48 possible contests through three years, making 41 starts.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Cowboys to pick up DB Jones' fifth-year option
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    The Dallas Cowboys are expected to pick up defensive back Byron Jones' fifth-year option before the May 3 deadline, according to an NFL Network report.

    • Jones, 25, is set to make $1.6 million in base salary in 2018, the fourth year of his rookie contract. His fifth-year option would be worth the average of the third through 25th highest salaries at his position in 2019, with the figure guaranteed only for injury. Among safeties, that number is currently estimated to be $6.17 million, but it would be around $9.07 million among cornerbacks.

      The 27th overall pick in 2015, Jones played primarily cornerback as a rookie before spending the past two years at safety, but he is expected to move back to corner full time in 2018. It is unclear how Jones' position would be determined for salary calculations in relation to the fifth-year option.

      There is no recent precedent for his situation among defensive players. However, tight end Jimmy Graham lost a grievance to be classified as a wide receiver instead of as a tight end -- a difference worth more than $5 million in salary at the time -- after the New Orleans Saints gave him the franchise tag in 2014.

      Jones has played in all 48 games through three NFL seasons, starting each of the past 42 games (43 starts total) for the Cowboys while collecting two interceptions, 24 passes defensed and 236 tackles.

      His playing time dipped slightly in 2017 (86.8 percent of defensive snaps after 93.2 percent in 2016) as the Cowboys rotated in rookie Xavier Woods, who is expected to start full time in 2018 with Jones moving back to cornerback.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former NFL kicker Feely calls prom photo with gun 'a joke'
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, April 22, 2018

    Former NFL kicker Jay Feely is defending himself on Sunday over a photo he tweeted on Saturday night that featured him holding a gun standing with his daughter and her prom date.

    • Feely says the tweet "was obviously intended to be a joke."

      "Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom #BadBoys," read the original tweet, with a photo of Feely, gun held low at his side, as he stood with his daughter's boyfriend on one side and his daughter smiling up at him from the other.

      On Sunday, he responded to criticism of the photo.

      "The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking.

      I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue," Feely tweeted.

      Feely played for six teams over 14 seasons and currently works for the CBS Sports Network. He last played for the Chicago Bears in 2014.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Former NFL DL Hardy set for MMA debut
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy is set to make his MMA debut as part of the "Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series" in a heavyweight fight June 12, according to multiple reports.

    • Hardy has gone 3-0 in his amateur fights since his last game in the NFL with the Cowboys in 2015. All three of his wins have come via knockout.

      Hardy will reportedly fight Brandon Sayles (5-1) in the first episode of the upcoming season. At least one participant in the "Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series" is offered a multi-fight deal by UFC at the end of each episode.

      Hardy made the Pro Bowl and was second-team All-Pro as a member of the Panthers in 2013. The 29-year-old was arrested in 2014 after allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug charge in 2016.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rodgers buys minority stake in Milwaukee Bucks
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, April 21, 2018

    Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has purchased a minority stake in the Milwaukee Bucks, the team announced during Friday night's game against the Boston Celtics.

    • Rodgers was sitting courtside with his girlfriend, racecar driver Danica Patrick, and fellow Bucks owner Wes Edens for the game, which the Bucks won 116-92 to cut the Celtics' series lead to 2-1.

      "I have proudly called Wisconsin my home for the past 13 years, and I am thankful for the friendships and the opportunities I have been given to live and play here," Rodgers in a statement released by the team. "I am excited and honored to deepen my connection to the region by joining Wes Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan, Mike Fascitelli and the ownership group of the Milwaukee Bucks. As a huge fan of the NBA and the sport of basketball, this is a dream come true for me, and I look forward to furthering my affinity for Wisconsin sports as a minority owner in a team I love and support."

      Rodgers, 34, is the first active NFL player to own a piece of a major sports franchise based in his own team's market.

      He joined the Packers in the 2006 draft and splits his time between Green Bay and southern California. Rodgers is originally from Chico, Calif.

      "Aaron is a winner, a Wisconsin icon, and we are honored to welcome him to our partnership group of the Milwaukee Bucks," the Bucks ownership group said in a statement. "With our team in the playoffs and our new world-class arena opening this fall, it's an exciting time for this city and the Bucks. We are thrilled for Aaron to be with us."

      --Field Level Media

  • Luck still not throwing, but Colts confident in his health
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Indianapolis Colts general manager said quarterback Andrew Luck is still not throwing regulation footballs as he rehabs his right shoulder, but the team remains confident Luck will make a full recovery.

    • As evidence of the team's faith, Ballard pointed to the trade with the New York Jets last month, in which Indianapolis picked up three second-round picks to move from No. 3 to No. 6 in the first round of Thursday's draft.

      "We traded the third pick in the draft to move back to 6," Ballard told reporters at his pre-draft press conference Friday. "I think that said we're pretty confident in where he's at."

      The move made it clear the Colts do not intend to draft a quarterback high in the first round, despite several prospects potentially available who are considered worth of early selections.

      Luck, 28, hasn't thrown an NFL football since October and hasn't played in a game since New Year's Day of 2017, but the team is not rushing his recovery. After his initial surgery in January 2017, Luck suffered a setback two weeks after returning to practice in October and has since taken more gradual steps in preparing to return.

      Ballard said the team will "let the process play out the right way."

      "(We are) very comfortable where he's at," he said. "Working on his strength part of it, throwing motion. But he's in a good spot, guys. I feel good where he's at, feel good about where he's going. Keep working and getting back to playing football. His health is our No. 1 priority.

      "...A lot pressed last year, he pressed to get back. Everybody heals at a different rate, Things didn't work out where he could play last year. Step-by-step, he's not going to skip a step this time. Not that he did last time, but he wanted to play. I think he's going take every step necessary to be ready to go and to be ready."

      Earlier this month, Luck declined to share his expected timetable, but he said he wants to begin training camp "without a governor," hoping to be practicing fully without restrictions.

      While the trade-down with the Jets demonstrated confidence in Luck, the Colts have not yet discarded their safety net at QB despite the possibility of a substantial return. The Indianapolis Star reported in March that the team resisted trade overtures this offseason for backup Jacoby Brissett, who started 15 games in Luck's absence in 2017.

      Brissett, 24, is under contract for about $1.6 million over the next two seasons, making him one of the league's most affordable backup plans. He completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions while taking a league-high 52 sacks in his first year with the Colts.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Ravens sign Saints WR Snead to offer sheet
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    The Baltimore Ravens have signed New Orleans Saints restricted free agent wide receiver Willie Snead to a two-year offer sheet, according to multiple reports.

    • Per ESPN, the deal is worth $7 million, with an additional $3.4 million achievable through incentives and a $2 million signing bonus.

      The Saints have five days to decide whether to match the offer. Because Snead was tendered at an original-round level, New Orleans would receive no compensation if it declines.

      Snead, 25, went undrafted in 2014 and joined the Saints in December of that year after being cut by the Cleveland Browns in the preseason and spending a short stint with the Carolina Panthers. He didn't see the field until 2015 but played in 30 games (13 starts) from 2015-16, catching 141 passes for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns.

      His 2017 campaign got off to a slow start with a three-game suspension for a DWI arrest and a hamstring injury that lingered into the season. He finished with just eight catches for 92 yards and no scores in 11 games (seven starts) while taking a smaller role behind Ted Ginn and Brandon Coleman.

      The Saints agreed to bring back Coleman -- a restricted free agent who could have signed elsewhere after going untendered by the team -- on Wednesday, a week after adding former Chicago Bears restricted free agent wideout Cameron Meredith on a two-year deal worth $9.6 million. With Pro Bowler Michael Thomas and Ginn also on the depth chart, the Saints appear likely to pass on Snead's offer sheet.

      The Ravens have overhauled their receiving corps this offseason, releasing Jeremy Maclin while bringing in free agents Michael Crabtree and John Brown. They also agreed to sign free agent wideout Ryan Grant before a failed physical nixed the deal and have been mentioned as a possible suitor for the recently released Dez Bryant.

      Additionally, slot receiver Michael Campanaro left in free agency. Snead primarily played in the slot in New Orleans.

      --Field Level Media

  • Broncos trade P Dixon to Giants, sign RFAs Paradis, Barrett
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    The New York Giants will send a conditional 2019 seventh-round pick to the Denver Broncos for punter Riley Dixon, according to multiple reports.

    • The condition has not yet been reported, but it likely pertains to Riley's roster status in New York during the upcoming season.

      A 2016 seventh-round pick, Dixon became expendable when the Broncos signed former Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl punter Marquette King to a three-year, $6 million deal earlier this month.

      Dixon, 24, finished 22nd in the league last year in net punting average (40.2), with two punts blocked and one returned for a touchdown. He put 23 of 73 punts inside the 20-yard line, with three touchbacks. As a rookie, Dixon finished ninth in net punting average (41.3) while putting 28 of 89 punts inside the 20, with six touchbacks. He also completed a 16-yard pass on a fake punt.

      The Giants released incumbent punter Brad Wing in March after he finished the 2017 season dead last among qualified punters in net average (36.7). He also had two punts blocked and one returned for a touchdown while placing 19 of 95 boots inside the 20, against eight touchbacks. The Australia native has a career net average of 39.1 yards in four seasons with the Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers.

      Elsewhere, the Broncos will officially return all of their restricted free agents. Center Matt Paradis signed his second-round tender (worth $2.914 million) on Friday, while outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett is expected to sign his on Monday.

      Paradis, 28, has not missed a snap in the last three seasons, despite requiring surgery on both hips last offseason.

      Barrett, 25, has played in all 48 games (14 starts) over the last three seasons as a rotational edge rusher, tallying 109 tackles, 11 sacks and nine forced fumbles in that span.

      Each player will make more than four times as much as their 2017 base salaries ($615,000), when they were exclusive rights free agents.

      --Field Level Media

  • NFL notebook: Eagles QB Foles gets raise in reworked deal
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    The Philadelphia Eagles and Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles agreed to a restructured contract that reportedly gives the quarterback a raise, according to multiple reports Friday.

    • NFL Network's Mike Garafolo originally reported the deal. While the final financial terms have not been disclosed, both Garafolo and ESPN's Tim McManus reported that the new contract includes a $2 million signing bonus, several million dollars more in potential performance- and playing time-based incentives and a mutual option for 2019.

      Foles was reportedly scheduled to make a total of $7 million in 2018, the final year of a two-year deal he signed before last season. With the mutual option, he will still have the chance to hit the open market after next season; the option would seem to also lessen the likelihood the Eagles would look to trade Foles during the season rather than risk losing him for nothing next spring.

      After a shaky finish to the regular season, Foles sparkled in the postseason, culminating with the MVP performance in the 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

      --Longtime NFL backup quarterback Luke McCown announced his retirement.

      The 36-year-old McCown didn't play in the NFL last season after being waived by the Dallas Cowboys. He saw action for five different teams during an NFL career that began in 2004.

      McCown started 10 NFL games and played in 62 total in stints with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. He passed for 2,370 yards, nine touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

      --The Minnesota Vikings will open the season without linebacker Kentrell Brothers, who was suspended for four games without pay for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the NFL announced.

      Brothers can still participate in offseason and preseason activities, but will be ineligible as soon as the regular season starts. He can return immediately after the Vikings' Sept. 27 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

      Brothers apologized to the team, staff and fans in a statement released on Twitter. He also acknowledged his own responsibility for determining what goes into his body. Brothers, a fifth-round pick out of Missouri in 2016, is primarily a special teams player for Minnesota.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Eagles, Foles agree to restructured deal with '19 option
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    The Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Nick Foles just keep on winning together. Even in April.

    • According to multiple reports Friday, the Super Bowl champs and their Super Bowl MVP agreed to a new contract which reportedly gives Foles a raise and potentially keeps the Eagles from having to make a league-altering decision during the season.

      NFL Network's Mike Garafolo originally reported the deal. While the final financial terms have not been disclosed, both Garafolo and ESPN's Tim McManus reported that the new contract includes:

      --A $2 million signing bonus

      --Several million dollars more in performance- and playing time-based incentives

      --A mutual option for 2019

      NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman referred to the deal as "a raise." Foles was reportedly scheduled to make a total of $7 million in 2018, the final year of a two-year deal he signed before last season. With the mutual option, he will still have the chance to hit the open market after next season; the option would seem to also lessen the likelihood the Eagles would look to trade Foles during the season rather than risk losing him for nothing next spring.

      Foles was even drawing pretty frequent trade speculation this offseason. The issue for the Eagles was the status of starting quarterback Carson Wentz, who suffered torn knee ligaments in Week 14 last season, an injury which opened the door for Foles' heroics.

      After a shaky finish to the regular season, Foles sparkled in the postseason, culminating with the MVP performance in the 41-33 win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

      Ten minutes after Garafolo tweeted the news of the contract agreement Friday, Foles tweeted a photo with his family which read "Bring your family to work day!" -- seeming to confirm he was at Eagles headquarters.

      --Field Level Media

  • Vikings LB Brothers suspended four games for PED violation
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    The Minnesota Vikings will open the season without linebacker Kentrell Brothers, who was suspended for four games without pay for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, the NFL announced on Friday.

    • Brothers can still participate in offseason and preseason activities, but will be out as soon as the regular season starts. He can return immediately after the Vikings' Sept. 27 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

      Brothers apologized to the team, staff and fans in a statement released on Twitter. He also acknowledged his own responsibility for determining what goes into his body.

      Brothers, a fifth-round pick out of Missouri in 2016, is primarily a special teams player for Minnesota.

      The Vikings also play the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills in the first four weeks.

      --Field Level Media

  • Former NFL OL Mathis sells Mantle rookie card for record $2.88M
    By Field Level Media / Friday, April 20, 2018

    Former NFL offensive lineman Evan Mathis has apparently found a very unique -- and lucrative -- way to supplement his income in retirement.

    • Record-setting baseball card dealer.

      A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle -- one of the two most famous cards in all of collecting -- sold at auction Thursday night for $2.88 million. It is the most ever paid for a '52 Topps Mantle, and the second-most paid for any card in history. Arguably the most famous card in the collecting world, a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner, sold for more than $3 million in October 2016.

      The card -- one of six '52 Topps Mantles graded a 9 (there are three known 10s in the world) -- was sold through Heritage Auctions. The seller was Mathis.

      Speaking on ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Wednesday, the 12-year NFL veteran talked about his decision to sell the card, which he said he bought the card a little more than two years ago by trading "90 percent" of his existing collection and using a payment plan to cover the difference.

      "The No. 1 reason I am selling it is to buy ... my wife and three daughters' dream home in Tennessee," Mathis told host Bob Ley, "and also free up a little more buying power to go out and hunt for more collections and buy more stuff and just keep the money moving."

      Mathis, who was a first-team All-Pro with Philadelphia in 2013 and a Super Bowl winner with Denver in February 2016, also offered an estimate on the value of Evan Mathis cards.

      "My rookie card has a little value because it was a limited print run," Mathis said, "but most of my other cards are very, very, very cheap."

      --Field Level Media