Eddie Lacy-Thomas Rawls showdown highlights Seahawks’ camp duels



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Open competition is a hallmark of Pete Carroll’s coaching philosophy, and nowhere is that on display more than training camp.

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The Seattle Seahawks jersey will take the field Sunday for the first time this summer. Here is a look at some of the bigger camp duels to keep an eye on.

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It’s telling that the Seahawks aggressively pursued running backs in free agency, eventually landing Lacy. Both players will get touches, but how the workload is divided will be determined by how productive they are on the field.

Wholesale Jason Witten jersey C.J. Prosise will be the third-down back and figures to be a big factor in the passing game. If he can prove he’s durable, Prosise could carve out an even bigger role than anticipated.

George Fant jersey vs. Luke Joeckel jersey jersey jersey: The coaches have gone out of their way to praise the work Fant has done this offseason. He was put in an impossible spot as a rookie, starting 10 games at left tackle after having not really played football since the eighth grade. Fant will have to show that he’s improved significantly, but he’s the favorite to start at left tackle.

The Seahawks signed Joeckel to a one-year, $8 million deal in the offseason. He’ll compete at left tackle but seems more likely to fit in at left guard. Offensive line/assistant head coach Tom Cable said Joeckel played as well as any left guard in the NFL last season, even though he started only four games there.

Ethan Pocic jersey vs. the right side of the OL: Pocic’s versatility in college made him a favorite of the Seahawks’ staff, and the 2017 second-round pick will get a chance to compete at both right guard and right tackle as a rookie. At the very least, he’ll give Seattle a backup who can play multiple positions (including center). But Pocic could push right guard Mark Glowinski jersey and right tackle Germain Ifedi jersey for a starting job.

Jermaine Kearse jersey vs. Tyler Lockett jersey vs. Paul Richardson jersey: The Seahawks are primarily an 11 personnel team (one RB, one TE, three WRs). But which three receivers will play the most snaps? One will be Doug Baldwin jersey, but beyond that, nothing is certain. Kearse is coming off a down year. Lockett is trying to bounce back from a season-ending broken leg. And Richardson, who is entering the final year of his contract, will look to build on the momentum from the end of last season.

All of the active receivers generally rotate in, and if Lockett is healthy (or close to it), he’ll definitely be one of the top three. But the Seahawks will use training camp and the preseason to figure out roles and playing time.

Jeremy Lane jersey vs. Shaquill Griffin jersey vs. Neiko wholesale jersey Thorpe: The cornerback spot opposite Richard Sherman jersey is up for grabs. DeShawn Shead jersey started there last year and played well, but he’s rehabbing from a knee injury and is unlikely to be ready at the start of the season. The most likely scenario is that Lane starts at right corner and shuffles inside in nickel, but he’s coming off a down 2016 season.

According to Football Outsiders’ charting, the Seahawks ranked 27th against wide receivers who lined up in the slot last year. That can’t be blamed completely on Lane, but it backs up the eye test in regards to his play.

The coaches love Griffin, but he’ll have to prove he can play the ball in the air and eliminate big plays down the sideline. Thorpe will have a chance to win the job as well.

Michael Wilhoite jersey vs. Terence Garvin: Sam linebacker is probably the least significant position in the Seahawks’ defense. Whoever wins this job will be on the field only on base downs and will be replaced in nickel coverage. Seattle signed both Wilhoite and Garvin in free agency, and one of them will replace Mike Morgan jersey.

Blair Walsh jersey jersey vs. a new kicker: Seattle has pegged Walsh to replace Steven Hauschka jersey, who signed with the Buffalo Bills jersey in free agency. But if Walsh looks shaky, the Seahawks could bring in competition. Meanwhile, there’s a long-snapper duel between Nolan Frese and Tyler Ott.

Rams’ long-term success begins and ends with Jared Goff



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ESPN recently put together power rankings based on how each NFL team is positioned for the next three seasons. The Los Angeles Rams jersey finished 28th. That is, um, not good. It’s not good because, well, 28th is bad. It’s really not good because of what the next three seasons represent for this franchise. Thanks to heavy rainfall in a city that never experiences heavy rainfall, these next three years now constitute the buildup to the Rams — and the Los Angeles Chargers jersey — moving into their vast, opulent $2.6 billion stadium in Inglewood, California.

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The Rams — 13 years removed from their last playoff appearance, 14 years removed from their last winning season — want to become legitimate contenders as quickly as possible. More specifically, they want to ensure they are a playoff-caliber franchise by the time they move into that new stadium. ESPN’s Louis Riddick, Mike Sando and Field Yates don’t believe they will be — at least not as currently constructed. The trio graded each team’s roster, quarterback, draft, coaches and front office, and crunched the numbers to come up with a final score. The result: 27 of the 31 other teams are, in their minds, better positioned for success from 2017 through 2019.

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The Rams really need Jared Goff jersey to solidify himself as their starting quarterback. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsNo. 1: Figure out the quarterback position.

Cheap Jeremy Vujnovich jersey The Rams’ offensive struggles aren’t just a last year thing. They aren’t just a Jeff Fisher thing, either. The franchise’s ineptitude in this department runs a whole lot deeper. Ten years, to be exact. The Rams’ offense has ranked outside of the top 20 in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) every year since 2007. Yes, 2007. That stretches through five head coaches — two of them on an interim tag — and seven offensive coordinators. It’s a plague.

During that 10-year run from 2007 to ’16, the Rams saw 14 different quarterbacks make starts for them. They are, in some semblance of order: Marc Bulger, Gus Frerotte, Brock Berlin, Trent Green, Kyle Boller, Keith Null, Sam Bradford jersey, A.J. Feeley, Kellen Clemens jersey, Austin Davis jersey, Shaun Hill jersey jersey, Nick Foles jersey jersey jersey, Case Keenum jersey and Jared Goff jersey.

Now, about that last guy …

The Rams moved up 14 spots to draft Goff No. 1 overall in 2016, as you probably already know. It didn’t go well. You might have heard that, too. Goff, widely considered relatively raw coming out of Cal, never challenged for a starting spot during training camp and never won a game during the season. He took control of the offense during the final seven weeks, completing 54.6 percent of his passes, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt, throwing five touchdowns to seven interceptions, and finishing with a Total QBR of 22.9, dead last among those who started at least five times.

But is it really fair to judge Goff off that one season? Aside from the fact that it’s only a seven-game sample size, and that he was only 22, and that he was transitioning out of a collegiate offense that didn’t require him to call a play from the huddle or take a snap from under center, his supporting cast was atrocious. The Rams’ offensive line was a mess, enough of one that Todd Gurley jersey, the Offensive Rookie of the Year just a season earlier, barely had room to breathe. Their receiving corps continued to be less than adequate. And the entire Fisher-led staff entered 2016 with one season of directly coaching NFL quarterbacks.

You don’t have to be some wide-eyed optimist to believe we might see a completely different Goff this year, now that offensive-minded Sean McVay has taken over as head coach and now that Goff has an entire year of NFL football under his belt. There’s talent there. You don’t get drafted before everybody else without it, regardless of whatever circumstances played into it. It’s all about whether the wholesale jersey Rams can actually tap into it and finally develop a legitimate, reliable starting quarterback, the kind this organization hasn’t had since Bulger hung it up.

Yes, Sean Mannion jersey jersey, a third-round pick in 2015 — and the man Eric Dickerson jersey wants as his quarterback — looms in the background. Sure, Kirk Cousins jersey will probably be available next offseason. And of course, next year’s draft looks a little bit more promising at quarterback, especially if USC’s Sam Darnold declares early. But what the Rams really need is for Goff to solidify himself as the guy. It’s why he’s the focus of the final entry in this series. Goff becoming a bust could set this franchise back another half-decade. Goff figuring it out can help make the Rams a sustainable winner quickly.

Goff added about 10 pounds since the start of the 2017 calendar year. He was exceedingly present throughout the offseason program, and he has already impressed teammates on the field.

He’s doing everything he can.

“He wants to be great,” said offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who spent the last two years working with Matt Ryan jersey jersey and the Atlanta Falcons jersey. “He’s doing everything that we’ve asked him to do, and then some. He’s working hard every day. I think he’s getting better every day.”

(Previously: 5, solidify the offensive line; 4, keep the defensive core intact; 3, McVay must learn fast; 2, draft better.)

Cowboys open training camp with no doubts: It’s ‘Dak’s team’



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OXNARD, Calif. — As Dak Prescott jersey came off the field Monday following the Dallas Cowboys jersey’ first training camp practice, fans on each side of the field screamed his name. The crowd swelled as he began to sign autographs, and media followed him like ants to a crumb.

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It was a stark contrast to a year ago, when Prescott could slip on and off the practice field at camp barely noticed. He was the Cowboys’ third quarterback, behind Tony Romo jersey jersey and Kellen Moore jersey. Depending on whom you talked to behind the scenes, he might have been tied for third with Jameill Showers jersey.

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When the Cowboys selected Dak Prescott jersey in the fourth round last year, they thought they were getting a developmental quarterback who would need a year or two to be ready to play. AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker”But once I got on the plane, once I was in here, all that’s out the window and it’s about being the best quarterback I can be for all these guys in this locker room and for this organization,” Prescott said. “There’s a lot that went on in the offseason, but it means absolutely nothing. The only thing that matters is what I do and this team does next.”

Cheap T.J. Clemmings jersey The focus is on 2017, but the Prescott story, at least with the Cowboys, starts with the day last summer, when Moore suffered a broken ankle and was lost for the season in the first week of camp. The Cowboys flirted with the idea of adding a veteran but decided the price, either in money or draft picks, was too high.

The day after Moore was hurt, Romo was given a day off as he rested his back.

Prescott went from splitting snaps with Showers, who is now a safety on the Cowboys roster, to running the first-team offense.

“I remember [Moore] went down, not knowing exactly what was wrong, but it looked bad,” Prescott said. “I think at that time, I had to step in and finish out his reps, like two plays wholesale jersey or so, and then do mine. That was the end of practice. Then to come in and hear the news and knowing Tony had that next day off, it was going from taking two reps or four reps that day at practice to going to be running the show the next day. But it was just about stepping up. It was an opportunity that happened, unfortunately, and all I could think of at that moment was to just take advantage of it.”

Then Romo went down in a preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks jersey and Prescott became the Cowboys’ starter. He would not relinquish the job again. The Cowboys went 13-3 with Prescott. He threw 23 touchdown passes and had just four interceptions.

“Obviously, when we walked into camp last year, this was Tony’s football team, and we’ll miss Tony,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “Still, I will tell you at the top of the list for Jerry and I is that we didn’t get done putting a team good enough to win a Super Bowl around Tony. But, as you know, now you walk into camp and this is Dak’s team, which is a huge difference.

“He not only put together one of the greatest rookie quarterback seasons in the history of the game — which is saying a lot when you think of all the great men who’ve played, all the Hall of Famers who played the position — he put on one of the best rookie seasons ever, and he’s embraced it.”

The Cowboys didn’t know what they had in Prescott when they took him in the fourth round last year. They thought he was a developmental quarterback who would need a year or two to be ready to play. The Cowboys wanted to select a quarterback much earlier in the draft than where they got Prescott but were thwarted a few times. In truth, they lamented the day they would have to replace Romo.

Now?

“A lot more comfortable than I ever thought I would be this time last year or beyond not having Romo,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “So that has everything to do with the year that Dak had and more importantly the way Dak is approaching this year. It is a really good feeling.”

There is a lot that comes with being the Cowboys quarterback. Prescott can thank Don Meredith, Roger Staubach jersey, Troy Aikman jersey and, yes, Romo for that. Expectations are as high for Prescott this season. A year ago, he acknowledged he had difficulty in spitting out a 12-word play in the huddle to his teammates.

“Last year I came in and I was just trying to figure everything out,” Prescott said. “.. [Now] everything I say, people are listening to. Everything I do, they’re watching. Not just you guys but my teammates, the coaches as well. But that’s fun to me. That’s something that I embrace. I want that. Just that I have to be my best at all times, and it’s something I take pride in.”

Preston Smith tops Redskins’ list of players with something to prove



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The list of Washington Redskins jersey facing critical junctures doesn’t include only starters. It includes backups who could play a prominent role this season or in the future. It features former high draft picks and a onetime standout pass-rusher.

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There are, of course, many players facing critical junctures. But these seven stand out for various reasons, whether because of their ability to help now or in the future:

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Still, Smith worked as the starter throughout the spring. He remains a talented player, though one who needed to mature in terms of his work habits. Last offseason, Smith talked about how he altered his diet. Word is, he did the same in 2017 — and invested more into his workouts. That’s a good step. Players have said his talent reminds them of Aldon Smith jersey. Now he must go from being close to big plays to making them.

Cheap Freddie Bishop jersey The Redskins need linebacker Preston Smith jersey’s productivity to match his talent. Photo by Daniel Kucin Jr./Icon SportswireCornerback Bashaud Breeland jersey: A few plays definitely went against him in 2016, but Breeland remains a starter. He is definitely capable of a strong season once again; he steadily improved each of his first three years. He also is entering the final year of his contract, and the Redskins have drafted corners in the third round of the past two drafts (Kendall Fuller jersey and Fabian Moreau jersey). In other words, possible replacements are in house.

Linebacker Junior Galette jersey: He’s trying to complete a difficult task — return from missing two seasons thanks to consecutive Achilles injuries. Galette’s get-off was tremendous in the past, and if it remains close to what it was when recording a combined 22 sacks in 2013 and ’14, he can help Washington. Galette said in the spring that he weighed in the upper 240s. That’s on the lighter end for an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense — Smith and Ryan Kerrigan jersey both weigh at least 259 — but it doesn’t mean Galette can’t withstand an every-down role. But the Redskins do have players who can handle run responsibilities; they need pass-rushers. If that’s all Galette becomes, he can still make a big impact.

Quarterback Nate Sudfeld jersey: With uncertainty regarding Kirk Cousins jersey’ future beyond 2017 — although some predict his future is certain and won’t include Washington — Sudfeld’s development is worth watching. At this time last year, former general manager Scot McCloughan was telling people Sudfeld could become a starter in a year or two. Sudfeld, though, struggled in his first camp and threw too many interceptions. However, it’s all about growth, and after an offseason of work, how much progress will he have made? A lot of it will come down to what coaches call upper-body twitch; it’s what they feel separates Cousins from Sudfeld and Colt McCoy jersey — the suddenness of a throw. A good starter must have wholesale jersey that ability.

Sudfeld just needs to show that he’s worth developing. If Cousins isn’t around in 2018, the Redskins need a younger player to groom behind McCoy. How Sudfeld progresses will determine part of the Redskins’ direction at quarterback in the offseason.

Receiver Josh Doctson jersey: There will be natural growing pains for Doctson, who missed 14 games last season and most of the summer. But he was a first-round pick in 2016 and was the only receiver the Redskins wanted in the opening round, so they clearly like his talent. After losing two proven, veteran receivers — Pierre Garcon jersey and DeSean Jackson jersey — the Redskins need production from their high-level talent. That’s Doctson. This isn’t about making an instant impact, but he must at least contribute immediately and show steady growth.

Receiver Ryan Grant: The coaches have raved about his route running for the past three seasons, calling it the best on the team. Grant has caught a combined 39 passes in three seasons. In the past two years, Cousins’ passer rating when targeting Grant was 75.2, and his completion percentage was 59.6, a low figure given that the average yards per attempt was 6.4. Part of the problem for Grant, of course, has been playing behind Jackson and Garcon, which has limited his opportunities. With those two gone and with Doctson still learning the NFL game, Grant can prove his coaches right. Now in his fourth season, it’s time.

Running back Rob Kelley: He was terrific in his first three starts as a rookie last season, averaging 4.79 yards per carry. In his last six, however, he averaged only 3.3 yards per rush. That must change. Coach Jay Gruden has praised Kelley often during the offseason, and Kelley knows he must work on his patience through the hole and help more in the passing game. He will have a serious challenger in Samaje Perine jersey for the job, and the Redskins would like to get third-down back Chris Thompson jersey more touches. Kelley has to know how quickly things can change; a year ago at this time, Matt Jones jersey entered as the No. 1 back by a decent amount. Now? Jones is a long shot to make the roster.

Mobile locker, freshman feeling: Eagles’ Derek Barnett starting all over



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PHILADELPHIA — His locker can be wheeled away at any moment, and that’s OK with Philadelphia Eagles jersey defensive end Derek Barnett jersey for now.

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The 14th overall pick seems to be taking the transition back to life as a little fish in stride. It was just a blink ago when he was breaking Reggie White jersey jersey’s sack record at the University of Tennessee, thereby cementing his place in school and NCAA history. But the counter has since been reset to zero, and Barnett must show his mettle all over again now that he is on the pro level.

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Symbolic of that change in stature, Barnett has been assigned a temporary, moveable locker in the center of the room as opposed to a permanent stall along the wall given to the regulars on the team. It’s nothing more than a positional numbers game, but Barnett played off the concept while speaking to reporters.

Cheap Nick O’Leary jersey “”I like this locker right here,” he said. “I haven’t made no plays yet so I’m cool with this locker until I make some plays.”

Barnett, who averaged 11 sacks over three years with the Volunteers, was selected by the Eagles to help strengthen a defense that finished middle of the pack with 34 QB takedowns last year. He has drawn the praises of veterans like tackle Lane Johnson jersey and the coaching staff alike, even if it comes with the qualifier that the team has yet to strap the pads on.

“What I do love about him is he’s a thermostat, he’s not a thermometer,” said Eagles defensive line coach Chris Wilson. “He’s not trying go in and gauge the temperature of the room. He comes in, he has the right mindset. Those have all been characteristics that I like, but the only way to learn at this level is to play. Getting used to the speed of the game is a big part of his DNA right now.”

Barnett has the opportunity to crack the defensive line rotation as a rookie. Former starting defensive end Connor Barwin jersey is now with the Los Angeles Rams jersey, leaving a void opposite Brandon Graham jersey that the likes of Vinny Curry jersey, Chris Long jersey and Barnett will try to fill. The 21-year-old Barnett passed the first test with a solid showing during the Eagles’ offseason training program.

“Barnett is promising,” wholesale jersey said Johnson. “He can bend the edge really well. They were comparing him to Myles Garrett jersey in the draft. I think he bends the corner probably the best of anybody in the draft. He’s a good player for us, gonna be good for us this year.”

The intensity will be ratcheted up in the coming days and again come September, providing Barnett plenty of proving ground as he states his case once more.

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised but he’s a rook and he’s got a lot of things to learn,” said Wilson. “But what I am pleased with is his overall ability. The talent level is something which will bode well for us and for him.”

Chad Johnson wants someone to take him to Lions training camp



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Chad Johnson hasn’t played in the NFL since 2011. He has never been a member of the Detroit Lions jersey, and other than a season in New England, he spent his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals jersey.

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And yet on Monday night, the six-time Pro Bowler tweeted to the world that he would like someone to take him to Lions training camp next week.

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— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) July 25, 2017

Wholesale Lavonte David jersey This isn’t as random as it might seem, though. Johnson’s daughter, 12-year-old Cha’iel, will be competing in the Junior Olympics in Detroit next week during the first week of Lions training camp. So Johnson will be in town anyway, and it seems like he wants to stop by camp.

His daughter is running in the 400 meters, 800 meters and 1,500 meters, according to Johnson’s Twitter feed. Cha’iel is an incredibly gifted runner, according to Runner’s World.

The good news for the 39-year-old Johnson is that all of next week’s practices are open to the public, so if he really wants to go, he can show up like everyone else. But perhaps the Lions will accommodate the former Bengals star, although it’s not clear if he has a connection to anyone in the current Lions organization.

An appearance by Johnson at Lions camp would cause a stir, though, as he’s still one of the most recognizable faces in the league, years after he played his final game for the Patriots.

Taking in the Lions and watching his daughter run aren’t the only things he will be trying to do in Detroit. A frequent tweeter about many things, including the FIFA soccer video game, Johnson threw down a challenge to anyone in the city that he would like to play them — and beat them — in FIFA. He’ll even bring food and beer.

If you're in Detroit I'll be in town August 1st-6th to beat your arse in FIFA17 as well, please don't be scared, I'll order pizza & beer??

— Chad Johnson (@ochocinco) July 25, 2017

That could be an interesting challenge for some current Lions players. FIFA is one of the most popular games in the locker room. Darius Slay jersey and Golden Tate jersey are among the better video game wholesale jersey players.

Le’Veon Bell wants to be paid like a No. 1 RB and No. 2 WR. Is he worth it?



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Le’Veon Bell jersey is a confident man. The Pittsburgh Steelers jersey running back turned down what appeared to be a lucrative long-term contract to stay in Pittsburgh just before the franchise tag deadline last week, a move that means he’ll play out the one-year tender of $12.1 million before facing either a second franchise tag or unrestricted free agency next offseason. Just like Kirk Cousins jersey, Bell is betting on himself to exceed everyone’s expectations.

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Editor’s PicksThe NFL’s 25 most outsized contractsEric Berry jersey jersey’s offseason contract far surpasses anything the NFL has ever seen for a safety. Bill Barnwell analyzed every contract since 2011 — and adjusted for position — to find the 25 deals that most exceed market value.

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1 Related

Wholesale Cam Worthy jersey Unlike Kirk Cousins jersey, Bell isn’t a quarterback. That’s important because quarterbacks always get paid. As Dan Graziano noted on Twitter, Derek Carr jersey broke his right fibula last December and still got one of the biggest contracts in NFL history. Cousins will get his next offseason. Bell turned down an offer that would have made him the highest-paid running back in the league by a comfortable margin. He reportedly did so because he wants to be paid like the combination of a No. 1 running back and a No. 2 wide receiver.

The stakes are a lot higher for Bell’s bet than they are for Cousins. Was it the right call? Should the Steelers have capitulated? And how many players in the league deserve to be paid like two guys? Let’s answer some of the questions surrounding Bell to break down the entire situation.

Le’Veon Bell jersey had nearly 1,900 total yards in 12 games last season. Dilip Vishwanat/Getty ImagesHow good was the deal Bell turned down?We don’t know the specifics of the offer, but given what we know about how the Steelers structure deals and the current running back market, it looks to be very generous. Reports suggest the Steelers offered Bell a deal averaging more than $12 million per season, with $30 million due over the first two years and $42 million through three seasons.

The Steelers guarantee only the first year of their contracts and weren’t willing to make an exception for wide receiver Antonio Brown jersey, so it’s safe to assume they were intending to do the same with Bell. We don’t have exact figures, but a plausible five-year Bell deal given those baselines could have included a $15 million signing bonus and a $5 million base salary in Year 1 for $20 million in guarantees, with a $10 million unguaranteed base salary in Year 2 and a $12 million base in Year 3.

The $42 million figure is remarkable given the current state of running back contracts. Veteran running backs have signed 12 total deals since the merger that included $20 million or more spread over the first three seasons of the contract. Just two of those deals are currently active, with the top one being LeSean McCoy jersey jersey’s extension with the Bills, which calls for “Shady” to receive $27.3 million over its first three years.

Bell’s deal would have flown past that mark. The 25-year-old is well within his right to turn it down, of course, but we can’t make the same comments about Pittsburgh’s offer as we did about Washington’s desultory contract proposal to Cousins. If anything, it’s easier to make a case that the Steelers are offering Bell too much, given the fact that he has missed 20 of Pittsburgh’s 70 regular-season and playoff games since entering the league in 2013 thanks to injuries and suspensions.

Is Bell as productive as a top running back and a second wideout?I don’t think anybody will argue against the idea that Bell is an upper-echelon running back when healthy. He has averaged 93.7 rushing yards per game over the past three seasons; no other starting back who has been active for all three years over that time frame has topped 82 yards per contest.

As a receiver? It depends on your definition. The 48th most productive wideout in 2016 — the player who would presumably be an average No. 2 wide receiver — was Kenny Stills jersey jersey, who caught 42 passes for 726 yards. Other players in the area include Sterling Shepard jersey, Chris Hogan jersey, DeVante Parker jersey jersey and Ted Ginn jersey Jr jersey. They each have their relative merits, and that’s without offering any utility as a running back.

Bell saw the ball far more frequently than Stills as a receiver, catching 75 passes for 616 receiving yards despite missing four games. He’s a different sort of player than Stills, of course, but a more instructive figure might be targets. Stills generated 726 yards on 81 targets, an average of just under 9 yards per throw. Bell used 94 targets to rack up those 616 yards, an average of just 6.6 yards per pass attempt.

Le’Veon Bell jersey’s value as a receiver is similar to a slot WR like Sterling Shepard jersey. AP Photo/Seth WenigBell averaged only 8.2 yards per reception and is averaging 8.8 yards per catch over the course of his career, which isn’t really No. 2 wideout stuff. It’s closer to what we might see from a slot receiver like Shepard, who averaged 6.5 yards per attempt and 10.5 yards per catch. Jeremy Kerley jersey and Anquan Boldin jersey jersey are in the same ballpark, while Julian Edelman jersey jersey would be a high-volume version of the same player.

Those guys aren’t making a ton of money on the free market.

Bell’s point also ignores the fact that the vast majority of starting running backs do contribute something as a receiver. Take him out of the equation, and the league’s 20 most frequent rushers averaged 36 catches for 307 receiving yards last season. That’s more than most team’s fourth wideouts, so there’s already some amount of money for receiving ability baked into running back contracts. The difference between Bell and a typical back, when healthy, amounts to something like 40 catches and 360 yards.

It’s fair to say Bell is one of the best receiving backs in football, but if a team’s second wideout was averaging just 8.8 yards per catch, they would try to replace him. If Bell were averaging even 11 or 12 yards per catch, that would be a different story. In terms of production, I’d characterize Bell as a No. 1 running back and a slot receiver.

How much is that worth?Let’s take it one position at a time. If Bell is the best pure running back in football, he’s worth more than McCoy, whose three-year value is $27.3 million. That deal was signed in 2015, and it came with an older McCoy safely ensconced in a long-term contract, which should tell you a lot about how the Bills handled negotiations under former GM Doug Whaley. There are injury concerns, but let’s say Bell’s starting point as a running back is $35 million over the first three years of a new deal.

We can’t use that number, though, because the running back figures include some level of receiving ability, and we’re going to calculate Bell’s receiving value separately. Going through the top 20 rushers from 2016 again, you’ll find that 77 percent of their yards from scrimmage come on the ground. Let’s use that figure and round up to suggest that Bell is worth $27 million as a runner and blocker without including any money for receiving ability.

Slot receivers don’t make a ton of money on the free market. Shepard is on his rookie deal, but Boldin and Kerley were available for nothing and close to nothing for most of the summer last year. Boldin is again a free agent, while Kerley’s three-year deal in San Francisco averages $2.8 million per season. Players such as Jarius Wright jersey jersey and Cole Beasley jersey jersey are in the same neighborhood. Edelman attracted virtually no interest around the league during free agency in 2013 before re-signing with the Patriots on a four-year, $17-million pact. His recent extension is for two years and $11 million.

The one outlier is Tavon Austin jersey jersey, who took home $17 million in guarantees on the four-year, $42-million extension he signed with the Rams before last season on a deal that was widely panned at the time and hasn’t looked much better since. Taking an average of the three-year values of those five active veteran contracts (leaving aside Shepard and Boldin) gets us to $14.6 million. Combine those two figures and you get to $41.6 million over three years, which is right in line with what the Steelers offered Bell, $42 million.

Is Bell worth that much?I’d be skeptical, mostly because of the availability concerns. Bell has struggled with injuries throughout his professional career. He has been suspended twice, most recently for missing multiple drug tests. I think he’s the most talented running back in football when healthy, but it’s hard to say he’s the best pure runner in the game when he hasn’t even come within 350 yards of winning a rushing title during his first four years in the league.

There’s also the possibility that the running back market may have changed permanently. Bell’s $12.1 million franchise tag figure isn’t just the largest cap hit for any running back in football; it’s 36.6 percent more than the second-largest cap hit for a back (McCoy at $8.875 million) and 74.4 percent more than the third-largest figure (DeMarco Murray jersey at $6.95 million). If the Steelers franchise Bell again in 2018, he’ll make $14.5 million, which would be way ahead of McCoy and more than double the third-largest cap hit of Ezekiel Elliott jersey. (Devonta Freeman jersey jersey likely will jump into this top three.) At some point, as good as Bell is, even a healthy Bell isn’t worth twice as much as virtually every other back in football. Throw in the availability issues and it’s hard to buy Bell is worth what would amount to a reset of the running back market.

Le’Veon Bell jersey’s cap hit will be nearly 40 percent as much as LeSean McCoy jersey jersey’s in 2017. Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY SportsWould somebody pay Bell what he wants in unrestricted free agency?Former Steelers teammate Ike Taylor suggested Bell would have been willing to sign wholesale jersey a deal in the $15 million per year range, which is closer to the combination of what a top back and second wideout would make. That would peg the three-year value of Bell’s new deal at $45,000,000. The baseline three-year value for running back contracts right now is $23,898,377, which would mean that Bell’s deal exceeded the top 20 contracts at the position by 88.3 percent.

That would be the second most outsized contract in the league, jumping ahead of Eric Berry jersey jersey’s deal with the Chiefs. Berry might stand as a reasonable comparison for Bell, given the safety turned down what would have been a lucrative extension from the Chiefs last offseason before piecing together a career season and earning an unprecedented contract for a safety. If Bell is incredible in 2017 and the Steelers can’t justify paying Bell $14.5 million without any long-term security, it’s not out of the question to imagine Bell hitting $15 million per year on the open market.

A few possible destinations come to mind. We could start with the 49ers, who gave fullback Kyle Juszczyk jersey jersey jersey a deal that tops the outsized contract chart at 202.4 percent and could have a hole at halfback with Carlos Hyde jersey’s contract expiring after the season. They’ll have an easy $90 million in cap space to work with. The Jets could move on from Matt Forte jersey and will have $70 million in cap room; it’s not hard to imagine them justifying the need to grab a star for their famished offense. Washington has an uncertain situation at running back and might want to try and distract their fan base from Cousins’ possible departure. The Bucs will have in excess of $50 million in room if they move on from Doug Martin jersey.

The league probably won’t value Bell at $15 million per year, but it takes only one dissenting team to prove Bell right. It’s plausible — if not probable — somebody will pay Bell the record deal he wants.

Is anybody else in the league worth two players’ worth of contracts?It’s tough to say, in part because we don’t have statistics for the vast majority of positions and skills in the way that we do for Bell as a rusher and a receiver. I’d argue that the great quarterbacks in the league are underpaid and worth more because they can make average receivers look like superstar talents, but that’s not really the same sort of debate. Great return men also get paid for two sets of skills, but most dual-threat players who are great at their position and as return men often get moved off of return duties in an attempt to keep them healthy.

One quarterback who stands out is Cam Newton jersey jersey, who has been both an above-average passing quarterback and a wildly effective short-yardage back over the majority of his pro career. The latter isn’t especially valuable on its own — Mike Gillislee jersey jersey has been one of the most efficient power backs in the league over the past two seasons and the Bills didn’t match the two-year, $6.4-million offer the Patriots made to sign Gillislee away as a restricted free agent — but it certainly doesn’t hurt.

Another notable two-position player is Rob Gronkowski jersey jersey, who’s the most devastating receiving force at the position and a wildly underrated blocker. You probably remember Gronk throwing Sergio Brown jersey out of the club, and he’s a consistent force when healthy as a run-blocker. The Raiders gave former Patriots tight end Lee Smith jersey a three-year, $9.4-million deal to serve primarily as a blocker, and it’s totally reasonable to value Gronkowski’s blocking at a similar level.

There are a few players who suit up on both offense and defense, most notably Falcons center Ben Garland jersey and former Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock jersey jersey. The best example of a player who produces like two men, though, is J.J. Watt jersey jersey. The Texans defensive end is such a productive pass-rusher when healthy that he might as well be two edge rushers in one. In 2014, Watt knocked down opposing quarterbacks 51 times; the Ravens were the only team in football to field a pair of pass-rushers who combined to top Watt’s total. In 2015, when Watt racked up 50 hits, just four teams boasted pairs of players with 51 or more knockdowns. Watt’s like two great pass-rushers rolled into one.

Changes coming for Giants in Year 2 of Camp McAdoo



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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With training camp set to open on Thursday, change is in the air at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. It really always is with coach Ben McAdoo around.

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The status quo is unacceptable. Putting a fifth trophy in the case remains the overall goal for the New York Giants jersey, but on a micro-scale the message needs to be fresh and the program altered. After all, this is a coach who, along with his staff, kept a running list last year on what they could do better. The list had hundreds of ideas and recommendations upon its completion.

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The Giants goal this season is to get a little better each day. Their motto is “Make Gains: 1%.” The slogan was even plastered on T-shirts distributed to the players this spring.

Wholesale Aaron Brewer jersey The idea is that every day the Giants should at least be making minimal gains. No steps backwards. Progression is imperative on a daily basis if they intend to accomplish their ultimate goal, even if they finished 11-5 last season and made the playoffs for the first time in five years.

This thinking holds true throughout training camp, where the plan is for the Giants to commit 1 percent more each day in camp. Apparently that equals gains of 14 minutes, 24 seconds compared to last year.

McAdoo also plans to get more efficient by shortening each night by one minute as camp progresses. Giants training camp is scheduled for July 27-Aug. 15.

There were already changes instituted in the spring (shorter classroom sessions, a new nutritionist, a position flex period, among others) and there will be more this summer. The idea is to keep things fresh. Expect the unexpected.

The players see it as a positive.

“I like the change [McAdoo] had at OTAs with the opportunity meeting,” All-Pro safety Landon Collins jersey jersey said. “They won’t let me play running back but it was a good change to give everyone a little job to do something different and get different aspects of the game.

“I don’t know what is going to happen in Year 2 of the [McAdoo] camp, but definitely looking for some kind of change. It keeps it exciting.”

McAdoo called it a position flex period. It should be noticeable to fans this summer when linebackers are playing tight end, wide receivers are playing cornerback and, maybe, safeties get a crack at running back.

All these tweaks are done with a purpose.

“The more you can do in this league, the greater chance you have to stick,” McAdoo said during minicamp. “We’re giving players the opportunity at the end of practice to grow and play multiple positions. We call it our position flex period and they’ve taken to it.”

The changes last year were drastic given that it was McAdoo’s first year and camp. Even though he kept some of what Tom Coughlin had installed throughout his 12-year regime — such as the clocks remaining five minutes ahead on Coughlin Time — there was a noticeable difference to his program. There were new drills, a fresh schedule, a different off day and a radically different strength and conditioning program.

The players are wholesale jersey expecting more tweaks than radical change this summer and season. And they expect them to be coming from that list from last season.

“I feel like you have to make it a little bit different because you look at the season we had last year and you have to add some of the stuff we need to work on,” wide receiver Sterling Shepard jersey said Saturday while hosting the Hyundai Youth Football Camp in New Jersey. “He’ll probably put more emphasis on some of the stuff we need to work on but I don’t see that being drastically different.”

That begins with protecting the football or, as McAdoo and the Giants like to say, “Protecting the Duke.” They didn’t do a good job of it last season, when they were tied for 21st in turnover differential. Only six teams committed more turnovers last season. It would hardly be surprising to see more and revised ball-protection drills this summer.

This is how McAdoo operates. He locates inefficiencies, consults his staff and lays out a blueprint. They then stick with it throughout the summer or season.

The Giants even have a plan in place to combat what is perceived as a difficult schedule. They have three West Coast trips during a seven-week stretch late in the year (although none are back-to-back) and travel more miles in the second half than they did all of 2016.

McAdoo has told people in and around the building he wants to use this year’s schedule to the Giants’ advantage. It’s not going to be easy but he’s going to try by giving players more days off, having more REM Days to maximize sleep on the most important days of the week, and putting additional emphasis placed on hydration, nutrition, mental conditioning and training loads. The hope appears to be that the Giants’ extra emphasis on these areas will allow them be fresh as the 2017 season meanders into the New Year.

Change is viewed as a positive with Ben McAdoo around.

Robert Griffin III would offer Chargers a backup QB with mobility



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COSTA MESA, Calif. — Los Angeles Chargers jersey head coach Anthony Lynn said training camp will be all about competition, even at the quarterback position.

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Well, it appears that Lynn stayed true to his word. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that former Cleveland Browns jersey and Washington Redskins jersey quarterback Robert Griffin III jersey is scheduled for a workout with the Chargers on Tuesday.

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University of Oregon product Kellen Clemens jersey has served as Rivers’ backup for the last two seasons. The Chargers also have two developmental prospects on the roster in Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins.

Wholesale Brandon Graham jersey But at 27 years old, Griffin could give the Chargers someone to provide a different look for opposing defenses on the oft chance Rivers gets injured.

The Chargers got an up-close look at Griffin last season, as the Baylor product helped lead the Browns to the team’s only win of the season, a 20-17 victory over the Chargers in Cleveland.

Griffin also would be a good fit for Lynn’s run-oriented offense. With the fleet-footed Tyrod Taylor jersey jersey leading Lynn’s offense in 2016, the Buffalo Bills jersey had the No. 1-ranked running team, averaging 164.4 rushing yards per contest.

The last time the Chargers carried three quarterbacks on the active roster was 2013, and could do so again this wholesale jersey year if Griffin is added to the mix for training camp, which starts Sunday.