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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Football

Alex Smith shows up to OTAs to support Redskins teammates

Alex Smith

Alex Smith may not be able to play at any point in 2019 after he suffered a devastating knee injury last season, but the veteran quarterback is still making an effort to spend time with his teammates.

On Thursday, the Washington Redskins shared some photos of Smith at organized team activities. He chatted with teammates and coaches and even threw some passes, which was a welcome sight.

It’s possible that Smith will never play for Washington again after they drafted former Ohio State star quarterback Dwayne Haskins in the first round, and he obviously know that. Smith turned 35 this month, which means he’s entering the twilight of his career even without the questions surrounding his recovery from a horrific injury.

Smith being around the team is a good sign, and there have been reports that his injury is not considered career-threatening. Hopefully he’s able to play again in 2020, whether it’s in Washington or somewhere else.

Adam Gase addresses report that he did not want Jets to sign Le’Veon Bell

Adam Gase eyes

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase says he was not against the team giving Le’Veon Bell a massive contract in free agency.

After the Jets fired former general manager Mike Maccagnan, there were reports that Gase wanted him out and disagreed with a number of moves Maccagnan made, one of them being the decision to sign Bell. On Thursday, Gase tried to put some of that talk to rest.

Gase also addressed the speculation that the Jets could try to trade Bell now that Maccagnan is gone.

The Jets have already paid Bell a signing bonus and a bunch of guaranteed money, so trading him was never really an option. That doesn’t mean Gase agreed with signing him to a huge contract.

If what was reported about the way Gase acted during the draft was accurate, the issues between him and Maccagnan had to do with a lot more than just the Bell signing. Even if Gase thinks the money would have been better spent elsewhere, he might as well get the most out of Bell while he has him.

Landon Collins: Giants GM lied to everyone about Odell Beckham trade

Landon Collins

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said publicly last year that the team did not sign Odell Beckham Jr to a massive extension just to turn around and trade him, and the message he sent to the media is apparently the same one he relayed in the locker room.

Former Giants safety Landon Collins, who signed a six-year contract with the Washington Redskins back in March, said on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” Thursday that Gettleman lied to the team about his intentions with Beckham.

“He said he wasn’t gonna trade the man, and he traded him,” Collins said. “We were all surprised by that because that’s one of the best receivers in the game. For him to do that and lie to everybody, that’s not a good look.”

Collins made similar remarks to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan earlier in the week when he said Gettleman “never talked to me” about a contract extension during his final months with the Giants. He also defended Beckham against Gettleman’s assertion that the star receiver created a culture problem in New York.

Gettleman’s explanation for why he decided to trade Beckham seemed a bit suspect, and Collins obviously isn’t buying it. Time will tell if the controversial moves he has made will work out.

Raiders plan to use Antonio Brown in slot

The Oakland Raiders are thrilled about the addition of Antonio Brown to their team, and they want to make the most of his presence.

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal Raiders reporter Michael Gehlkin, the Raiders plan to use Brown in multiple ways this season. That includes having him work in the slot.

Brown is a true No. 1 receiver and typically has operated as the “X” receiver during his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The X receiver lines up on the outside, at the line of scrimmage, is often the primary option on passing plays, and tends to draw the opposing team’s best cornerback. Prior to becoming as dominant as he did with Pittsburgh, Brown served as a slot receiver — the “Z” position, also known as a flanker. That receiver lines up behind the line of scrimmage and typically in between a tight end and another receiver split further out wide. Slot receivers often draw nickel cornerbacks in coverage, which can create the opportunity for a mismatch.

The Arizona Cardinals under Bruce Arians moved their best receiver — Larry Fitzgerald — to the slot to take advantage of such mismatches and help extend his career. If the Raiders are thinking about doing the same with Brown, they are thinking creatively and looking for ways to get the most out of him.

The 7-time Pro Bowl receiver is coming off a 104-catch, 1,297-yard season for Pittsburgh. Brown’s 15 receiving touchdowns last season led the league.

Dallas Cowboys prioritizing Prescott, Cooper in contract talks

Dak Prescott

The Dallas Cowboys have decided where their priorities lie when it comes to discussing contract extensions with their star players.

The Cowboys boast talent at their offensive skill positions in the forms of Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Ezekiel Elliott. The first two players are reportedly at the front of the line for extensions, though Dallas has also had contact with Elliott’s representatives about an extension as well, according to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.

Prescott is the face of the franchise so it only makes sense the Cowboys would want to lock him up long term. Cooper established a rapport with Prescott and had 725 yards and six touchdowns in nine games after being traded from the Oakland Raiders. Elliott has become one of the NFL’s premier running backs.

Prescott is 25 years old and set to become a free agent after the season. The reports about how much money he could make are astounding. Cooper is 24 and also set to be a free agent after the year. He is making nearly $14 million in the upcoming season. Clarence Hill Jr. reported this week that contract talks with him are at a stalemate. Elliott is 23 and under team control through 2020, so the Cowboys are not in danger of losing him as soon as they could lose Prescott and Cooper.

That’s an impressive core to build an offense around. It will likely also be expensive. However, that will be money well spent if each can duplicate their 2018 production going forward.

Did Jets miss opportunity to trade TE Jordan Leggett?

Jets logo

The New York Jets on Monday waived tight end Jordan Leggett, and the reporting that’s followed indicates they may have missed an opportunity to trade him.

The New York Daily News’ Manish Mehta reported on Tuesday that five teams submitted a waiver claim for Leggett. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended up with him because of their position on the waiver wire. The Bills, Packers, Steelers and Titans were the other teams to submit claims for him, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. That much interest in a player indicates there could have been a market to trade the tight end for a conditional pick.

Leggett was a fifth-round pick by the Jets out of Clemson in 2017. He was drafted by previous GM Mike Maccagnan, who was ousted last week in favor of head coach Adam Gase, who was also given interim GM responsibilities. Gase is wasting no time making moves, as he also traded Darron Lee last week.

Leggett only played one game as a rookie due to a knee injury. He had 14 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown last season.

Report: Jets GM candidates concerned with Woody Johnson’s potential role

Jets logo

The New York Jets’ convoluted GM search continues to get more complex, this time due to issues surrounding ownership.

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports, some GM candidates have concerns about the clarity of owner Woody Johnson’s role going forward. Johnson is currently serving as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom and cannot be involved in the team’s day-to-day operations, but it’s unclear whether that role could change at any point.

Johnson’s brother Christopher is currently running the team as chairman and CEO. If Woody Johnson is replaced or resigns, there is no reason he could not retake control over the team and potentially change the organization’s direction.

Right now, it’s Christopher Johnson giving the somewhat strange rationale behind the Jets initiating a GM search now. Clearly, some candidates want to know who they’ll be answering to in two or three years if they get the position.