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Monday, February 18, 2019

Football

Kyler Murray says he is at peace with decision to pursue NFL career

Kyler Murray

Kyler Murray does not sound like a man harboring any regrets about choosing the NFL over Major League Baseball.

Murray said Monday that his life has been more peaceful since making his NFL decision, and going with his gut has made him happier.

Murray is expected to be a first-round pick in April’s draft, and he certainly appears to be doing exactly what he wanted to be doing all along. The Oakland Athletics may harbor dreams of convincing him to come back to baseball, but it certainly doesn’t sound like Murray is all that interested.

Jaguars exercise option on DL Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell

The Jacksonville Jaguars are retaining a big piece of their defense.

The Jaguars have exercised their option on defensive lineman Calais Campbell, ensuring that he will remain with the team through 2019.

Campbell was a big part of Jacksonville’s 2017 success, and helped the rebranding of the defense. His numbers dropped slightly in 2018, going from 14.5 sacks to 10.5 sacks, but he’s clearly a veteran leader in the locker room who is also a strong contributor to the team’s pass rush. Expect him to be a key part of any Jacksonville resurgence next season.

Report: Cowboys want to keep Demarcus Lawrence ‘at all cost’

DeMarcus Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys have work to do if they want to retain star defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, but they appear to be ready to do it.

According to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram, the Cowboys likely won’t use the franchise tag on Lawrence at this point, preferring instead to try to negotiate a long-term contract extension. The deadline to use the franchise tag is March 5, and the Cowboys will do it if they must.

The Cowboys will reportedly keep Lawrence “at all cost,” but a second consecutive franchise tag would make him unhappy and risk him skipping offseason activities and potentially even regular season games.

Lawrence had big demands of Dallas last season in talks over a long-term deal. After a second straight season with double-digit sacks, it’s unlikely that price has gone down.

Report: Patriots were most aggressive team pursuing Odell Beckham

Talk of the New York Giants potentially trading Odell Beckham Jr. will not seem to go away, and that could be because they explored doing just that as recently as last offseason. If they entertain offers again heading into 2019, football fans may be terrified to learn which team has expressed the most interest.

Chris Simms of Bleacher Report said on Monday that he was told by multiple sources that the New England Patriots were “most aggressive” in pursuing Beckham a year ago. Simms said the Patriots worked all offseason in an attempt to acquire him, and he thinks the Giants got cold feet when one of the most respected organizations in sports wanted the star wide receiver.

There are plenty of teams that do not want to be responsible for helping the Patriots continue their insane run of success, and the Giants are probably one of them. Plus, New England rarely ever overpays for star players, so it would stand to reason that New York could get a better deal elsewhere.

In any event, the fact that the Giants were reportedly close to trading Beckham could be an indication that this reporter’s prediction is going to come true. With the Eli Manning era looking like it will come to an end in the near future, the Giants could enter a full-blown rebuild. Trading Beckham makes some sense if they decide to go that route.

Marquise Brown will miss combine, Pro Day after foot surgery

Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, a projected first-round draft pick, will not get the chance to prove himself to teams at pre-draft workouts.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Brown had surgery to correct a Lisfranc problem last month, and will not be able to participate in the NFL Combine or Pro Day. He is, however, expected to be ready for summer camp with his new team.

Brown was hurt in the Big 12 Championship and played through the injury in the College Football Playoff semifinal, but clearly wasn’t himself. It doesn’t sound like the issue will significantly impact his draft stock.

Antonio Brown has reportedly scared off at least one team with critical tweets

Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown has clearly been using social media as a means of trying to pressure the Pittsburgh Steelers into trading him, but it’s fair to wonder if those antics could backfire on the star wide receiver.

In his weekly column for NBC Sports, Peter King said he has been told that at least one team has been scared off by the controversial tweets Brown sent over the past week or so. While that could be strategy from a team that actually wants to trade for the veteran wideout, it would not be a surprise if certain teams would prefer to not deal with the headache and the salary Brown is owed.

Brown wants the Steelers to trade him, but he is making that more difficult by taking his issues public. Interested teams know it is highly unlikely that Pittsburgh will bring him back in 2019, which means they could try to acquire him for pennies on the dollar.

As for which tweets have turned at least one potential trade partner off, it could be the recent ones Brown sent about his conflict with Ben Roethlisberger. If there’s a belief that Brown has trouble getting along with his coach and quarterback, that probably hurts his trade value as well.

Top 10 NFL players who might change teams this offseason

Antonio Brown

The NFL offseason is expected to be a busy one, and some big names are likely to find new homes next season. There will inevitably be some players hit with the franchise tag or retained by their teams, but there are plenty of high-profile players who will be traded or allowed to leave their current teams for a new home elsewhere.

Here are ten big names who could be in a new uniform when the next NFL season kicks off.

10. Jordan Hicks, LB, Eagles

Drafted by Philly in 2015, Hicks’ rookie deal with the Eagles is expiring. He emerged as a force on the team’s defense last season, recording 91 tackles, 3 sacks, 6 quarterback hits and 5 passes defended in 12 games. Injuries are a question with Hicks – he suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in 2017 and missed a month this season due to a calf injury. Still, when he’s on the field, he makes things happen. He even has 7 interceptions in 43 games. He’s expected to test free agency.

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