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Monday, February 27, 2017

Football

Darrelle Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Darrelle Revis

The only way the New York Jets will keep Darrelle Revis on their roster next season is if the veteran defensive back agrees to restructure his contract, and it sounds like Revis is open to it.

According to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, Revis recently hinted that he is willing to take less money while chatting with fans on social media.

Interacting with fans on Instagram, Revis all but confirmed he’s willing to take a pay cut to stay with the Jets, saying he doesn’t deserve to be one of the 10 highest-paid cornerbacks. That’s stating the obvious, but it still amounted to a noteworthy comment, considering his career-long obsession with the bottom line.

Cimini notes that the 10th-highest cornerback salary for 2017 at the moment is $8.5 million, and Revis is on the books for $15 million next season. If he admits he no longer deserves to be paid like a top-10 corner, that means Revis might be willing to cut his salary in half. He has $6 million remaining on his deal, so that could be the target number for the Jets.

Of course, there are suddenly far more factors to consider in addition to Revis’ rapidly declining skills. Revis is facing several charges stemming from a recent brawl in Pittsburgh, though the Jets reportedly believe he did not throw a punch. Still, the 911 call from the incident (listen to it here) painted a very disturbing picture.

There has been talk of Revis taking less money and shifting to safety, but it will be interesting to see if the Jets would rather just move on from him at this point.

Matt Elam arrested on marijuana charges

Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam was arrested on drug charges in Miami over the weekend.

According to police records, Elam is facing several charges stemming from possession of marijuana.

Police say Elam was pulled over for driving recklessly before officers found 126 grams of marijuana and three grams of oxycodone in his vehicle.

Elam, 25, was Baltimore’s first-round draft pick back in 2013. He is scheduled to become a free agent next month. Elam played primarily on special teams last season and has largely been a disappointment for the Ravens.

Had Elam stuck to the job he was working at a few offseasons ago, he may have been able to stay out of trouble with the law.

Could Jamaal Charles be an option for Eagles?

Jamaal Charles

The Philadelphia Eagles will be looking for reasonably-priced help this offseason, and one name that could suit them is Jamaal Charles.

ESPN’s Tim McManus speculates that Charles could fit in with the Eagles if the Kansas City Chiefs opt to part ways with him. He likely would come at a discount due to his injury history, and Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was his offensive coordinator for three years with the Chiefs.

Such a move would be a risk. Charles is 30 years old and coming off knee surgery, having torn both his ACLs during his NFL career. Those injuries have made him essentially a non-factor since 2014, and he had just 12 carries in 2016.

The Chiefs haven’t completely committed to Charles for 2017. He’s owed $6 million and the team is short on cap space. They also added C.J. Spiller via free agency. He’ll definitely find a landing spot if Kansas City does let him walk.

Could 49ers be interested in Reuben Foster as No. 2 pick?

Reuben Foster Deshaun Watson

The San Francisco 49ers could be looking to Alabama once on the clock for the No. 2 overall selection.

Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News says he has heard buzz that Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster could be the team’s selection at No. 2, and the player may not fall out of the top five.

The only thing that might hinder Foster is his health. He had shoulder surgery recently and won’t be participating in any of the physical activities at the NFL Combine, but if his medical information checks out fine, he’ll go very high in the draft.

The Butkus Award winner is known for his big hits. He led the Crimson Tide with 115 tackles last season, including five sacks.

H/T Rotoworld

Tom Coughlin hedges on commitment to Blake Bortles as quarterback

Jacksonville Jaguars vice president Tom Coughlin didn’t exactly give quarterback Blake Bortles a ringing endorsement on Friday.

Coughlin would only say that Bortles, like everyone else, has a lot of work to do – particularly in cutting down turnovers.

“There’s plenty of work for everybody to do, Blake included,” Coughlin said Friday, via Michael DiRocco of ESPN. “To raise the game to a higher level, it takes all components, though. … And that’s why I mentioned the protection, first of all. [It also entails] people being in the right place at the right time, the timing, taking care of the football, which is paramount to that position.

“There can be no way the ball is turned over to that extent, so I think he’d be the first one to say that he has a lot of work to do. But we all have a lot of work to do, so I’m going to put it that way.”

Coughlin had previously backed Bortles as quarterback, but perhaps he’s reconsidered his stance. Ultimately, though, unless they get involved in the draft or the Jimmy Garoppolo trade market, there aren’t really any replacements that aren’t just veteran retreads. Bortles will probably get another shot, but it may be the last one he gets.

Ranking the top 10 NFL free agents

Le'Veon Bell

The NFL begins its new league year on March 9, which also means the official start to free agency gets underway. And as every football fan knows, those early days of free agency are some of the craziest and most exciting moments the NFL has to offer during the offseason.

This year will be no different as teams aim to retool in hopes of making a Super Bowl run in 2017, but the pickings will be a bit slim. The free agent market isn’t exactly stocked full of game-changers, but there are certainly some out there.

Here’s a look at 10 of the top pending free agents.

10. Dont’a Hightower (linebacker, New England Patriots)

This space could have just as easily gone to Melvin Ingram, Kevin Zeitler, Stephon Gilmore or even possibly Martellus Bennett, but Hightower ultimately get the nod because he’s potentially elite in any system that fits his ability.

In 2016, Hightower recorded 65 tackles (31 solo), one stuff, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and 2.5 sacks. He’s tallied 18 sacks and 96 quarterback pressures over the past three seasons, but it’s his ability to play in close quarters and stop the run that makes him a potential impact player in the right system.

Of course, that’s what makes Hightower a potential gamble in free agency. He fits in well with the Patriots, but would he have the same sort of impact elsewhere? Those are the things NFL general managers will have to consider when evaluating him.

If a general manager gambles and gets him in the right situation, they would receive an impact linebacker who can dramatically change the complexion of a defense.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Patriots have the option of franchise-tagging Hightower to keep him in 2017.

Potential destinations: New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Redskins

9. A.J. Bouye (cornerback, Houston Texans)

(more…)

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49ers sign DT Earl Mitchell to four-year deal

Earl Mitchell

The San Francisco 49ers are already getting to work on spending some of the small fortune they have saved under the salary cap.

The Niners signed defensive tackle Earl Mitchell to a four-year, $16 million deal on Friday, according to multiple reports. NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo says he will earn $5.5 million in 2017.

Mitchell was released by the Miami Dolphins last week and had visits with the Seahawks and Broncos before deciding to sign with San Francisco. He will rotate up front with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner as part of the Niners’ new 4-3 defense.

Mitchell had 17 tackles in nine games last season.

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