Edelman reportedly tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. News of his suspension was leaked on June 7, the final day of Patriots' minicamp.
According to the rest of the story, Edelman and his team plan to launch a "vigorous defense" that will center on two key points. The substance for which Edelman tested positive reportedly wasn't recognized by the league's drug testers (a test is presumptively positive if a player's testosterone to epitestosterone ratio is greater than 4-to-1, according to the league's policy on PEDs). Edelman's defense also plans to highlight the league's apparent mishandling of "documentation and delivery" of the test results.
Related players: Devontae Booker
Freeman is accustomed to being a lead back, as the story goes on to say. He was a four-year starter at Oregon who finished his career with 947 carries for 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns, plus another 79 catches for 814 yards and four receiving touchdowns. It's obviously still early, but it doesn't seem like great news right now for Booker owners who were assuming the back would slide right into a primary role.
A.J. Green—who turns 30 next month—does not appear to feel any urgency to address his own contract situation.
“I signed a deal and I’m comfortable with the deal and I just live with it,” Green told The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sunday. “After that’s up, we go back to the board. I don’t really get caught up in what’s the money like because I signed my deal and it was the highest paid at that point. It’s going to always go up. So you can’t keep up with that.
“…At the end of the day I just want to play football. I got my contract. I’m set for life. Now I can just go out there and play.”
The story was about Green showing support for Julio Jones wanting a new contract, but Green seems to be OK with his situation. As the story said, the two are linked after Green went fourth and Jones sixth in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Donnel Pumphrey looked a little better this spring, but he needs to have a great training camp. Right now, I have the Eagles keeping four running backs: Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, Matt Jones. If they keep five, Pump has a real chance; he’d just need to beat out Wendell Smallwood for that final spot. I think he has a decent chance, but I haven’t seen enough to give him a roster spot. He’s a player I’ll be watching extremely close at training camp.
The return of Sproles really makes it tough to keep Pumphrey in 2018. The emergence of Clement in a passing-down role last year also could indicate Pumphrey make not make it through camp.
When the Saints released tight end Coby Fleener in May, head coach Sean Payton said that Fleener was still dealing with symptoms from the concussion that ended his 2017 season and nothing has changed over the last month.
Fleener spoke to Don Banks of The Athletic about where things stand and said that he’d still like to play during the 2018 season, but that the symptoms are “still there, unfortunately.”
The story went on to say there’s no timetable for that to change and that leaves Fleener, who has been diagnosed with five concussions over the course of his career, unable to say he’ll be back on the field with confidence.
The word from Arizona at the end of the team’s offseason program was that rookie QB Josh Rosen has done well, but that Sam Bradford remains the likely choice to start at quarterback for the Cardinals come September.
Trying to keep that spot on the depth chart hasn’t gotten in the way of Bradford aiding Rosen’s transition to the professional level, however. Bradford told Rosen after the draft that he would be an “open book” for the first-round pick and Rosen said Bradford’s been true to his word.
Rosen said during minicamp that Bradford has been “helping me out a ton” and that he’ll return the favor any way he can during his rookie season, according to the story. This is only good news for those interested in the Cards QB situation, especially given Bradford's injury history. Rosen could be under center as the starter sooner than later.
The Bucs' running back competition is just heating up, and a virtual unknown in rookie Shaun Wilson could push veteran Charles Sims out the door. Wilson, an undrafted free agent out of Duke, showed during minicamp that he has some solid hands and special-teams ability. Considering the team re-signed Sims late this offseason and it's only a one-year deal, his roster spot is far from guaranteed as the Bucs' third-down back, a spot that Jacquizz Rodgers could also hold.
If Sims were cut, this would raise the projected volume for rookie Ronald Jones. There's a lot that needs to shake out in this backfield, but one fewer option on the roster could clear up the mystery surrounding touches in this backfield between Sims, rookie Ronald Jones, Peyton Barber, and Jacquizz Rodgers.
The one-year deal Seattle gave WR Brandon Marshall in May includes only $90,000 guaranteed, which is reflective of his age (34) and uncertain health as he comes off surgeries on his ankle and toe. The Seahawks' ideal scenario would have the 6-foot-5 Marshall getting back to full speed before the season and giving Russell Wilson the big target he lost when Jimmy Graham left in free agency. But if Marshall isn't progressing as well as hoped and/or if the Seahawks decide there's more value in keeping a younger receiver instead, they could move on relatively painlessly before the season begins.
Alex Smith has already seemed to develop a trust in his slot receiver, Jamison Crowder. Washington has other targets who pleased Smith—and he still hasn’t worked with tight end Jordan Reed. That won’t happen until some point in training camp as Reed recovers from toe surgeries.
But Crowder is the most proven of the wide receivers, with three consecutive 60+ catch seasons as he enters his fourth year. There’s a reason Smith smiles when asked about Crowder, a receiver he clearly clicked with this spring.
Crowder has finished as the WR33 and WR31 over the past two seasons, respectively, due to getting fewer than 15 percent of Washington's targets. In fact, no Washington pass-catcher has received more than 16.2 percent of team targets under Jay Gruden. However, the article does note Smith owns a combined 102.8 quarterback rating when targeting slot receivers over the past five years. That’s third-best in the NFL over that time for quarterbacks who have made at least 30 starts, trailing only Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Crowder could be the WR to own in Washington, especially at his ninth-round ADP, but his upside appears limited.
Both Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley and running backs coach Fred Kitchens have suggested that Cleveland will ride the hot hand at running back in 2018.
“Ultimately, all three of those guys can run our running game,” Kitchens said, via the team’s website. “Duke can do a few more things in the passing game. Ultimately, we feel like that is a position of strength. Coach [Bill] Parcells taught me a long time ago, do not turn a position of strength into a weakness. You would like to keep it a strength, and we are fortunate that is where we are.”
It sounds as though there will likely be no clear-cut lead runner in Cleveland between Duke Johnson, Carlos Hyde, and Nick Chubb. However, Kitchens' commentary on Johnson in the passing game does indicate that the team still plans on using him there. His 188 receptions over three seasons and ADP outside of the top 30 at running back are reasons why our own TJ Hernandez can see Johnson as a potential value (full column linked below).
There are a number of factors that keep this from being likely, Taylor's one-year contract for one, but it adds steam to the idea that Taylor could start all year over the rookie if things are going well. Head coach Hue Jackson has been adamant that Taylor is the starter, despite Cleveland using the first overall pick to select the Oklahoma product.
Updating a previous item, Adam Schefter has confirmed that the NFL is planning to suspend Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston three games for violating the league's personal conduct policy. Ian Rapoport also reported that in addition to the suspension, Winston must meet certain criteria related to his conduct in order to return to the field. This suspension could come as early as tomorrow, or next week.
This will not be an ideal start to the 2018 season for Winston, who is now entering year four of his NFL career. Ryan Fitzpatrick figures to start the first three games of the season for the Bucs. In 2017, Fitzpatrick completed just 14-of-33 passes sent the way of top wideout Mike Evans, meaning this suspension could prove to be a huge blow to Evans' early-season value. DeSean Jackson, meanwhile, could stand to benefit from the quarterback swap. He caught 60 percent of his 30 targets from Fitzpatrick in 2017, scoring two touchdowns.
Fitzpatrick also completed 7-of-10 passes to O.J. Howard for 110 yards and a touchdown, while completing 7-of-15 passes to Cameron Brate for 74 yards and a score. The three-game suspension effectively kills Winston’s draft value, which was already lingering in the double-digit rounds.
Now that the legal system has run its course on Anderson's offseason run-ins with the law, we will see what the NFL does in terms of discipline. After being arrested twice in a nine-month span, the league could look to send a message. A suspension would be unlikely to extend past the first two games of the season.
“It would be a mild surprise if the Falcons extended the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver's contract since he has three years remaining,” Corry said. “It's more likely for the Falcons to make a minor adjustment to Jones' contract by adding unlikely-to-be-earned incentives or increasing his 2018 compensation by taking money from his 2019 base salary.”
Similar moves have been made to placate other elite skill players such as Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski. Whether or not this would be enough for Jones to end his holdout remains to be seen, but we've seen time and time again that NFL players lack a lot of leverage in these circumstances. Expect Jones to start out wide for the Falcons come Week 1.
“Obviously, (we want to move Mariota) around, get him out of the pocket,” Vrabel said. “That’s something that he does as a special player with his athletic ability, and his ability to throw on the move.”
Added LaFleur: “You don't ever want to take that element, that creativity, his ability to create off-schedule … you never want to take that away from a quarterback that has the athleticism that Marcus has.”
After accumulating over 2,200 rushing yards in three collegiate seasons, it has been a bit disappointing that Mariota has only rushed for 913 yards in three NFL seasons. That said, it sounds like the new coaching staff is going to take the shackles off of the offense, and that should yield more fantasy production for Mariota. Of 13 quarterbacks with at least 40 rush attempts in 2017, Mariota was second only to Dak Prescott in fantasy points per rush. He should break his career-high of 60 attempts in 2018.
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