Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

Film Study: Good, bad and ugly of Packers’ offense

For 17 minutes Sunday, the offense of the Green Bay Packers looked unstoppable against Mike Zimmer’s vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense.

The Packers gained 198 yards on 22 plays (9.0 yards per play) — scoring three straight touchdowns to lead 21-0 — and reached the Minnesota 28 on their fourth drive.

Then Geronimo Allison fumbled, and Green Bay didn’t score again. The Packers totaled 137 yards over their final 47 plays (2.9 average), punting eight times.

What the heck happened?

The good:

-Run game

The final numbers weren’t eye-popping (144 yards on 33 carries, 4.4 average), but the Packers’ ground game was extremely steady. Of 33 runs, 17 gained at least 4 yards and 24 gained at least 2.

Instead of the Vikings’ touted D-line pinning its ears back, the Packers’ front dictated tempo, getting consistent push in Matt LaFleur’s zone scheme. They excelled sealing the backside to open cutback lanes, and rookie Elgton Jenkins — rotating with Lane Taylor at left guard — brought extra pop.

Even in obvious running situations, Green Bay’s front got push. All six rushes on the final drive gained yardage, totaling 25 critical yards to bleed clock, a rarity against a defense selling out vs. run.

-LaFleur’s script

LaFleur’s opening script was the primary reason for the Packers’ roaring start, starting with a staple play-action deep shot with a twist to attack Minnesota.

As Marquez Valdes-Scantling ran a shallow cross, Davante Adams started a typical deeper crosser from the other side. But after initially stemming inside, Adams broke to the corner, fooling safety Harrison Smith and coming wide open in the Cover-2 void. It was perfect for Zimmer’s split-safety coverages (Cover-2 and Cover-4) and gained 39 yards.

LaFleur committed to play-action much heavier than in Week 1. Just as important, the offensive line sold play-action better, driving off the ball low — to simulate run-blocking — after several unconvincing reps in Chicago.

LaFleur also built plays off each other with a purpose. He tried two play-action deep shots with Adams actually breaking inward, drawing a 25-yard interference penalty and just missing a big play (more on that below) on another.

He also installed a two-RB package (called “pony”) with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, creating the opening TD. On the game’s second snap, Jones went in jet motion left on a run-pass option for a flare screen, while the O-line blocked a run for Williams to the right. Rodgers hit Jones for 6 yards.

Two plays later, Green Bay showed the same exact look and motion, but Rodgers faked the flare and flipped a screen to Williams, who scurried in for a 15-yard score.

-Rodgers’ accuracy

It sounds obvious, but Rodgers simply threw the ball much better Sunday than in Chicago. He even had gorgeous incompletions, including two deep balls that hit receivers’ hands, both thrown off his back foot with pinpoint ball placement.

The bad:

-Missed opportunities

Both were heavily contested, but Adams and Valdes-Scantling each failed to hang on for gains of 36 and 38 yards, respectively, with the latter on third-and-6 to start the fourth quarter.

Rodgers also had narrow back-to-back misses in the fourth. First, he threw too high for Valdes-Scantling, who couldn’t get his feet down inbounds, preventing an 18-yard gain.

Then, Rodgers threw just behind Jones’ wheel route, allowing Eric Kendricks to bat it away. Placed in front of Jones, it might have been a touchdown, as LaFleur’s design had cleared out that side of the field.

The ugly:

-Self-inflicted wounds

Allison’s fumble was one a critical error, and the Packers also lost the ball late in the first half because Rodgers didn’t realize it was fourth-and-1.

Then after halftime, a fumbled snap set up the Vikings’ second touchdown. Corey Linsley appeared to snap before Rodgers was ready, and it also came out low.

-Untimely pressure

Another drive ended with Danielle Hunter beating Jimmy Graham one-on-one for a sack, a major mismatch. (Jones was set to double-team Hunter, but Kendricks’ blitz superseded that assignment.) LaFleur likely wants that call back.

Elsewhere, typical stalwart left tackle David Bakhtiari followed an up-and-down Week 1 with more leaks in protection. He allowed a hit when late off the snap and permitted bull-rush pressure on several others.

Moving forward:

Coaches never like drops, fumbles or game-management errors, but those are relatively easy fixes. Green Bay’s scheme was sound, creating defined reads to keep Rodgers on-schedule when necessary and allowing him to improvise when appropriate. The offensive line bullied a stout front in the run game, which LaFleur’s scheme is built on.

Those are major reasons for optimism despite Sunday’s drought over the final 43 minutes.

Extra points:

-Like any good schemer, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan certainly watched what other top offenses did in Week 1. Marquise Goodwin’s walk-in touchdown on a leak concept (one of Shanahan’s favorites) was a mirror image of the Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins’ second score in Week 1. Shanahan also ran the same double-pass throwback screen the Patriots used in their opener.

-Chargers running back Austin Ekeler’s 35-yard grab in Detroit on Sunday was just another reminder of how versatile and dangerous he is. Out wide facing a safety (Tracy Walker) in off-man coverage, Ekeler ran a perfect double move, faking a short in-cut before breaking deep and easily snagging a line-drive throw. Few backs have such route-running chops or comfort adjusting to vertical throws.

-Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has long lived and died on aggression, but if he’s not going to be more conservative, he must disguise better. Philadelphia has allowed receivers wide open on post routes — running away from outside-leverage cornerbacks one-on-one — four times already in two games. Two of those, including Calvin Ridley’s touchdown Sunday night, didn’t even feature an Eagles blitz, with the mismatch simply a product of aggressive safety play. That’s too easy for opposing offenses.

–By David DeChant (@DavidDeChant), Field Level Media

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

The Ryan Tannehill trade by the Miami Dolphins to the Tennessee Titans on Friday apparently gave Colin Kaepernick some ideas.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback expressed interest in replacing Tannehill as the starting quarterback in Miami, according to a CBS Sports report.

Kaepernick is “training hard and ready to play,” a source close to the onetime star told CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora. The source indicated that the Miami job interests Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has not been an active player in the NFL since the 2016 season, having gone unsigned in free agency during the past two seasons after opting out of a contract with the 49ers.

In February, he settled a collusion grievance with the NFL. Kaepernick filed his grievance in October 2017, alleging collusion by NFL owners to keep him out of the league.

A number of owners, executives, coaches and other figures were deposed as part of the grievance, and a motion by the NFL to have the grievance dismissed was denied in August.

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice created controversy throughout the country in 2016.

While compiling a 28-30 record as the 49ers starting quarterback from 2012-16, he led them to a Super Bowl XLVII appearance after the 2012 season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

Report: Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, $21M

The Denver Broncos have signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year, $21 million contract, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday evening.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

Callahan started 10 of 13 games played last season and recorded 45 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and defended six passes. He missed the final three games of the season after he broke his left foot in the Bears’ 15-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday night game.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they have re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was a free agent following the 2018 season. Multiple sources report the two-year deal is worth $9 million.

The three-year veteran is coming off his best professional season to date. Last season, the 26-year-old recorded 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games (10 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

Broncos add CB Callahan for three years, reported $21M

The Denver Broncos signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year contract on Friday evening.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is worth $21 million with $10 million guaranteed.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

Callahan started 10 of 13 games played last season and recorded 45 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and defended six passes. He missed the final three games of the season after he broke his left foot in the Bears’ 15-6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in a Sunday night game.

Also Friday, the Broncos announced they have re-signed tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was a free agent following the 2018 season. Multiple sources report the two-year deal is worth $9 million.

The four-year veteran — who missed his entire rookie season to a torn ACL — is coming off his best professional season to date. The 26-year-old recorded 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games (10 starts) in 2018 before going on injured reserve with broken ribs.

Heuerman has missed 27 games to injury through four seasons since being drafted in the third round in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins traded

NFL transactions: Dolphins trade Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins traded quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans on Friday, receiving a 2020 fourth-round pick and 2019 seventh-rounder while also sending a 2019 sixth-rounder to Tennessee.

Tannehill restructured his existing contract and will have a fully guaranteed one-year, $7 million deal with the Titans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, $5 million of which will be paid by the Dolphins. The value could climb to $12 million with performance incentives. The QB was previously due a base salary of $18.75 million in 2019.

Tannehill, 30, started 11 games in 2018 and completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He missed five games with an injured throwing shoulder.

To make room for Tannehill, the Titans released quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

–Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, NFL Network reported.

Bortles, a 2014 first-round pick, was released earlier this week after the Jaguars signed Nick Foles. Incumbent Rams backup Sean Mannion is a free agent, leaving an opening behind Jared Goff.

— The Denver Broncos signed former Chicago Bears slot cornerback Bryce Callahan to a three-year. ESPN reports the deal is worth $21 million, with $10 million guaranteed.

The move reunites Callahan, 27, with new Denver head coach Vic Fangio, who was the Bears’ defensive coordinator during Callahan’s first four seasons in the league. Callahan has four interceptions in 45 games (29 starts).

The Broncos also re-signed starting tight end Jeff Heuerman on a two-year deal worth a reported $9 million.

–Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal, the team announced.

According to multiple outlets, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

–New England is releasing defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a move that clears about $4 million in cap space.

Clayborn, 30, broke the news on Twitter and thanked the Patriots for granting his release.

–Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has come out of retirement to sign with the Washington Redskins.

Rodgers-Cromartie retired midseason with the Oakland Raiders last season before deciding this spring to return.

–The Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one year after signing him to a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

NFL Network reported the 29-year-old veteran declined to take a pay cut. Releasing him saves $3.25 million while leaving $3.5 million in dead money.

–The Cincinnati Bengals signed free agent guard John Miller to a three-year contract. The deal is worth $16.5 million, according to multiple reports.

The Bengals also brought former Cleveland Browns and Patriots defensive tackle Danny Shelton in for a visit, according to ESPN.

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers added former Broncos outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett on a one-year deal worth a reported $5 million.

The team also signed guard Earl Watford, per multiple reports, and re-signed cornerback De’Vante Harris and defensive tackle Rakeem Nunez-Roches.

–The San Francisco 49ers released defensive end Cassius Marsh, saving $4.7 million against the cap in 2019.

Marsh had 5.5 sacks and 14 quarterback hits last season but was apparently deemed expendable after the acquisition of Pro Bowler Dee Ford earlier this week.

The 49ers also re-signed linebacker Mark Nzeocha, per the team, and restricted free agent running back Raheem Mostert, per his agent, on three-year deals.

–The Los Angeles Chargers retained safety Adrian Phillips on a one-year deal. Phillips was a Pro Bowler in 2018 as a special teamer.

–The New York Giants are likely to sign former Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Mike Remmers, his agent said. Remmers was primarily a right tackle before switching to guard last season.

Meanwhile, the Giants signed defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who had 5.5 sacks under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher when both were with the Cardinals in 2017.

–The New Orleans Saints signed former New York Giants defensive lineman Mario Edwards on a two-year deal. The contract is worth $5 million with up to $1.5 million additional in incentives, per Pro Football Talk.

–The Baltimore Ravens signed former Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Justin Bethel to a two-year deal. Bethel made three Pro Bowls from 2013-15 as a special teamer.

–The Green Bay Packers re-signed restricted free agent wideout Geronimo Allison on a one-year deal, CBS Sports reported.

Per the report, the deal will pay Allison more than his restricted free agent tender and has additional incentives, after other teams expressed interest in the 25-year-old.

–The Raiders signed speedster wideout J.J. Nelson and defensive end Josh Mauro, while re-signing linebacker Jason Cabinda and guard Chaz Green.

Mauro’s one-year deal is reportedly worth $1.4 million.

–Former Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard is visiting the Kansas City Chiefs, per multiple reports.

–The New York Jets signed former kicker Chandler Catanzaro, after Pro Bowler Jason Myers left in free agency.

–The Browns signed former Houston Texans right tackle Kendall Lamm to a two-year deal worth $7 million, per the Houston Chronicle.

–The Texans signed former Browns cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun on a one-year deal worth a reported $900,000. Houston also worked out former Bengals second-round offensive tackle Jake Fisher, who is trying to transition to tight end.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars signed former Cowboys tight end Geoff Swaim.

–The Bears signed former Falcons wideout/returner Marvin Hall to a one-year deal.

–Former Saints offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod visited the Carolina Panthers but left without a deal, per multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los

Report: Ex-Jags QB Bortles to visit Rams

Former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles will visit the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, NFL Network reported Friday evening.

The Jaguars released Bortles on Wednesday, less than two hours after officially signing free agent Nick Foles.

The Rams have an opening behind starter Jared Goff, with incumbent backup Sean Mannion an unrestricted free agent.

Bortles, who turns 27 next month, signed a three-year, $54 million extension with the Jaguars last offseason, but he threw for 2,718 yards, 13 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while going 3-9 as a starter before being benched for Cody Kessler. Jacksonville was willing to eat $16.5 million in dead money from Bortles’ contract to move on from him this offseason.

A first-round pick in 2014, Bortles has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 17,646 yards, 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions in his career, with a passer rating of 80.6 and a record of 24-49.

–Field Level Media

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OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

New head coach Bruce Arians is bringing

OL Watford joins Bucs on one-year deal

New head coach Bruce Arians is bringing a familiar face to Tampa Bay, with the Buccaneers signing offensive lineman Earl Watford to a one-year deal on Saturday.

Watford, who spent last season with the Cleveland Browns, was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in 2013 and spent his first five seasons playing for Arians.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Watford joins a Buccaneers offensive line that has four returning starters.

He’ll likely get a shot at the open right guard position, but he can provide flexibility across the line.

Watford, 28, has played both guard spots and right tackle over his NFL career, which spans 55 games and 22 starts.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

–Field Level Media

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Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

Jaguars sign WR Conley, OL Ogbuehi

The Jacksonville Jaguars stayed busy in free agency, announcing the signings of wide receiver Chris Conley and offensive lineman Cedric Ogbuehi on Saturday.

The moves follow the Jaguars’ big free-agent splash when they signed former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles on Wednesday.

Contract terms for the two players were not announced.

Conley, 26, played for the Kansas City Chiefs over his first four seasons, making 104 catches for 1,238 yards and six touchdowns. He emerged as a scoring target for Patrick Mahomes last season, catching 32 passes for 334 yards and five touchdowns.

Conley and Foles were teammates in Kansas City in 2016, and the wide receiver cited the signing of Foles as a big factor in his decision.

“There was opportunity here to begin with, but then the addition of him at quarterback … that sealed the deal for me,” Conley said.

Ogbuehi figures to replace offensive tackle Jermey Parnell, who was released as part of the Jaguars’ efforts to free up money for Foles.

Ogbuehi, 26, started 25 of 35 games over his first four seasons, all with the Cincinnati Bengals, but appeared in just two games last season. A Texas A&M product, he was the Bengals’ first-round draft pick in 2015.

–Field Level Media

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Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett ‘told me I should just quit’

Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett 'told me I should just quit'

Ex Cowboy Irving: Garrett ‘told me I should just quit’

When suspended Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman David Irving shared a post – in which he appeared to be smoking marijuana – on Instagram and announced his retirement last week, it was with coach Jason Garrett’s encouragement, he said.

“He told me I should just quit, smoke all the weed I want, the team didn’t need me,” Irving told USA Today in an interview. “I’m a distraction to the team.

“He views marijuana as a drug, whereas I view it as a medicine. It’s not a good situation.”

Two weeks ago, the NFL suspended Irving indefinitely for a third violation of its policy regarding banned drugs.

“Basically, guys, I quit,” Irving said in his post. “I don’t want to talk about a suspension and all this other nonsense. I’m outta there. I’m not doing this (junk) no more. You know, it’s a lot of reasons.

Now, he said, rather than give up the drug, he will make his living through it. He already has an agreement to market two products — cannabidiol pre-rolls (joints) and cannabidiol vape pens.

Irving said he suffers from mental illnesses that he attributes to football and that players should have the option to treat their ailments with cannabis.

“People need to understand I’m not doing this – I didn’t quit football to smoke weed,” Irving said. “That would be idiotic. I understand that.

“It’s about wellness, about rights. People need to understand that.”

While the Cowboys didn’t respond to USA Today’s request for comment, Irving said owner Jerry Jones understands him.

“Basically, Jerry, he is supportive of me,” Irving said. “He understands my situation and what I was dealing with. Our hands were pretty much tied. His hands were tied.”

Irving, 25, spent the past four seasons with the Cowboys after entering the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. He appeared in 37 games (10 starts) and recorded 12.5 sacks, five forced fumbles and 56 tackles. Irving played in just two games in 2018, notching one sack.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

Reports: Saints C Unger retiring after 10 seasons

New Orleans Saints center Max Unger retired Saturday in a surprising development, multiple outlets reported.

Unger, who turns 33 next month, completed his 10th NFL season and earned his third Pro Bowl selection in 2018. He had one year left on a three-year, $22 million contract and was set to earn $5.1 million in base salary in 2019.

With his help, New Orleans ranked third in the league last year in scoring at 31.5 points per game and Drew Brees was only sacked 17 times, fewest of any quarterback in the NFL with at least 10 starts.

Unger started 130 regular season and 12 postseason games with the Seattle Seahawks (2009-14) and Saints (2015-18).

He missed only one of the Saints’ 64 games over the past four seasons. He led the team with 1,013 offensive snaps in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal on Friday, the team announced.

According to spotrac.com, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

Darby totaled four interceptions in 17 games over two seasons with the Eagles after being acquired from the Buffalo Bills. He played in just eight games in 2017 after suffering a dislocated ankle in September.

Darby was a second-round pick in 2015 by the Bills. He had two interceptions in 29 games with Buffalo.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

Steelers to release S Burnett

The Pittsburgh Steelers will release safety Morgan Burnett on April 1, his agent, Kevin Conner, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Burnett asked the team in January to release him before free agency.

Burnett indicated he wants to join a team that will use him in a pure safety role, after playing what he believes was out of position at dime linebacker in Pittsburgh, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported at the time.

Burnett, 30, joined the Steelers on a three-year, $14.4 million deal as a free agent last March, but he started just two of 11 games in 2018 as the third safety. Sean Davis primarily played free safety, with rookie first-round draft pick Terrell Edmunds taking the strong safety spot and Burnett playing in sub packages, logging 55.7 percent of the defensive snaps.

The Steelers reportedly told Burnett that the delay in releasing him is due to accounting issues. Burnett is set to count just under $6.5 million against the cap in 2019. His release would save Pittsburgh about $3.6 million in cap space, while bringing a $2.8 million dead-money hit.

After eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Burnett registered 30 tackles and six passes defensed in his first season with the Steelers in 2018. In 113 career games (104 starts), he has 747 tackles, 50 passes defensed and nine interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject

Report: Patriots owner Kraft to reject plea deal

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors on charges of soliciting prostitution, sources told CNN on Wednesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, any defendant who accepts the deal must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, told CNN the offer was standard for first-time offenders, and that none of the people charged had accepted as of Wednesday morning.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The charges came in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Edmondson told CNN, however, that those misdemeanor charges generally result in no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

Report: Kraft's team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress

Report: Kraft’s team seeks to suppress evidence

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is seeking to suppress video evidence that authorities assert support the solicitation of prostitution charges filed against him, ESPN reported Wednesday.

ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn said a motion filed Wednesday by Kraft’s attorneys is intended to make sure the video, which he said has been described as “graphic and damning,” never is released. He added it is a “warning shot” to prosecutors that Kraft’s team will challenge that police had probable cause even to collect the video as evidence.

That news comes after a source told CNN on Wednesday that Kraft will reject a conditional plea deal offered by Florida prosecutors to settle the case.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, any defendant who accepts the deal must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, told CNN the offer was standard for first-time offenders, and that none of the people charged had accepted as of Wednesday morning.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

The charges came in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Edmondson told CNN, however, that those misdemeanor charges generally result in no more than a 60-day sentence in county jail.

–Field Level Media

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Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held

Bosa focuses on meetings at Ohio State Pro Day

Ohio State held its Pro Day on Wednesday, and defensive end Nick Bosa was there just to talk.

Bosa, the potential No. 1 pick in next month’s NFL draft, did not participate with the rest of the Buckeyes’ pro hopefuls after performing well in drill work at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.

“I just trust the people who advise me. They told me it was unimportant,” Bosa told the NFL Network about Pro Day. “I’m here to meet all the teams that want to meet with me, and that’s what’s really important. I’m just doing what I’m told.”

He said he had meetings scheduled later Wednesday with the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the No. 2 pick, and the New York Giants, who pick sixth. He interviewed with all the top teams at the combine, including Arizona, which picks first.

Bosa said he will have further discussions with the Cardinals, who might otherwise be focusing on Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray. Either way, Bosa is expected to be in high demand at the top of the draft.

“I have a lot of visits coming up, so my next three weeks are super busy, flying all over the place, meeting with teams,” he said.

His message to those teams?

“Just how much I love the game and how much I want to continue to get better,” he said.

“Obviously, there is a lot of doubt with how long it has been since I played. But I have played this game my whole life and I have put on film the player that I am, and if the film isn’t good enough, I don’t know what else I could have done.”

His junior season ended early because of a bilateral core muscle injury. He had 29 tackles for loss, including 17.5 sacks, in 29 career games for the Buckeyes.

Bosa (6-foot-4, 266 pounds) put up 29 reps at 225 pounds on the bench press at the combine, had a 33.5-inch vertical and ran a 4.79 40-yard dash. All those numbers were better than what his brother, Joey, a Los Angeles Chargers defensive end, did at the combine before being selected No. 3 overall by the franchise in the 2016 draft.

He said when he’s not meeting with teams across the country, he’s training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with his brother. But he doesn’t brag about the combine results.

“I was not the happiest my with 40 anyway,” he said. “So there is no trash talk at all.”

Bosa told ESPN he would love to play with edge rusher Dee Ford, acquired by the San Francisco 49ers in a trade this month with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“He played a bunch with my brother,” Bosa said. “I’ve seen him a lot.”

–Field Level Media

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Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears

Bears re-sign punter, backup QB

The Chicago Bears re-signed two players Wednesday — starting punter Patrick O’Donnell and reserve quarterback Tyler Bray.

O’Donnell, 28, has been the team’s punter for the past five seasons after being selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Miami. He has a franchise-best career average of 44.9 yards per punt and set the team’s single-season record of 47.0 in 2017.

O’Donnell averaged 45.0 yards last season on 62 attempts, tying a career high with 28 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Bray, 27, spent much of the 2018 season on the practice squad in his first season in Chicago and figures to go to camp as the third-stringer. He spent his first five NFL seasons with the Chiefs, appearing in one game and attempting one pass.

–Field Level Media

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Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seahawks WR Baldwin staring at third offseason surgery

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin underwent shoulder and knee surgeries after last season, but his medical problems might not all be fixed.

He told Sports Radio 950 KJR in Seattle on Wednesday that “more surgeries on the way, most likely,” while the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo cited a source to report that Baldwin is scheduled to meet with Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia in early April about a potential sports hernia.

Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at the NFL Scouting Combine late last month that Baldwin was expected to be ready for the start of the 2019 season, but another surgery could change expectations.

Baldwin, 30, missed two games in September with the knee injury, which bothered him even before the start of the season. His shoulder problem arose later in the campaign.

In 13 regular-season games last season, Baldwin caught 50 passes for 618 yards and five touchdowns. Baldwin had three receptions for 32 yards in a playoff defeat to the Dallas Cowboys in January. He is entering his ninth season with Seattle.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian

Jets to bring in QB Siemian on 1-year deal

Quarterback Trevor Siemian has agreed to a one-year deal with the New York Jets, his agent said on social media Wednesday.

Siemian, expected to provide an experienced backup to second-year pro Sam Darnold in 2019, will earn $2 million, with another potential $1 million in incentives, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. The Jets also have 2017 third-rounder Davis Webb, who has yet to attempt an NFL pass.

Siemian spent all of last season on Minnesota’s active roster, although he did not play as Kirk Cousins’ backup after the Vikings acquired him in a trade with Denver last March.

Siemian, 27, started 24 games for the Broncos over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, passing for 5,686 yards and 30 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

He was a seventh-round pick out of Northwestern in 2015 and appeared in one game, without a pass attempt, as a rookie in Denver.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings sign OG Kline

Vikings sign OG Kline

The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced

Vikings sign OG Kline

The Minnesota Vikings, in search of help at offensive guard, announced the signing of Josh Kline, who was released last week by the Tennessee Titans.

The deal is for three years and $15.75 million, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Kline started all 46 of his games at right guard in his three seasons with Tennessee, which reportedly wanted him to take a pay cut before he entered the second season of a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

Kline joins Danny Isidora as the only guards on the Vikings’ roster with regular-season experience. Minnesota previously released guard Mike Remmers, and guards Tom Compton and Nick Easton moved on in free agency.

Kline, 29, spent his first three NFL seasons with New England (2013-15), making 18 starts in 33 regular-season games.

–Field Level Media

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Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

Haskins' Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz

Haskins’ Pro Day gives Giants something to chew on

There is plenty of buzz about the New York Giants potentially selecting Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins with the sixth pick in the NFL Draft. The team’s biggest decision-makers received up-close looks in recent days.

Much of the team’s top brass — including head coach Pat Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula, senior vice president of player personnel Chris Mara — took Haskins to dinner Tuesday night and then studied his on-field drills at the Buckeyes’ Pro Day on Wednesday.

Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network summed up the action: “Strong workout for Haskins. Improved foot quickness, excellent anticipation and pace on the ball.”

Haskins could be the choice if New York is ready to try to draft the replacement for Eli Manning, but there could be competition as other quarterback-needy teams assess their draft position. Haskins said he would soon meet with the Oakland Raiders (who hold the No. 4 pick), the Denver Broncos (No. 10), the Miami Dolphins (No. 13) and the Washington Redskins (No. 15).

“All my NFL friends tell me it’s not how early you go, it’s where you go,” Haskins told ESPN on Wednesday.

Haskins is widely considered one of the top two quarterbacks available, along with Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, a potential No. 1 overall pick. Haskins’ best features are his pocket-passing skills, decision-making and arm strength, while Murray has electrifying athleticism (and quite a good arm, too).

Haskins ran an official 5.04-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. He hoped to counter criticism of his straight-line speed with quick footwork at the Pro Day.

“You put me in any playbook, I’ll make it work,” Haskins said. “So, to be able to show off-platform throws, moving to my left, moving to my right, being able to move off spot and still be accurate, is what I wanted to show because during the season I had a couple of throws that I missed that I still remember and I worked on all offseason.

“I definitely felt like I did a good job with that.”

Haskins threw for 4,831 yards in his lone season as a starter at Ohio State, working almost exclusively from the pocket.

Said ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay: “He’s the most natural passer in this year’s draft class.”

–Field Level Media

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Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict

Bengals release LB Burfict after seven seasons

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict was released by the Cincinnati Bengals after seven seasons, the team confirmed on its website Monday afternoon.

“As we continue to build our roster for the 2019 season, we felt it best to give both the team and Vontaze a fresh start,” said Bengals first-year head coach Zac Taylor in a statement. “Vontaze has been a good player here — the team appreciates that, and I know a lot of fans appreciate that — but our focus is on the future. Our goal is to build a successful team for the upcoming season, and we felt that making this change now was best for everyone.”

Burfict had two seasons remaining on a $33.2 million contract extension, but releasing him results in a cap charge of only $1.8 million.

Burfict managed to play in only 43 games in the past five seasons, encountering repeated head injuries — seven documented concussions — and three suspensions.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Burfict amassed more than $4 million in on-field conduct fines. He was suspended by the NFL to start both the 2016 and 2017 seasons for violation of player-safety policies and in 2018 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He was a physical force for the Bengals in the middle of Marvin Lewis’ defense, but when the Bengals parted with Lewis, a change at linebacker was expected under Taylor.

Later on Monday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Burfict may be of interest to the Oakland Raiders, who reportedly are already hosting fellow free-agent linebackers Manti Te’o and Aaron Lynch.

Burfict had 298 tackles in his first two seasons with the team and played in every game.

Burfict, 28, was an undrafted free agent signee with Cincinnati after an All-America career at Arizona State.

A poor performance at the NFL Scouting Combine — he ran a 5.09 40-yard dash and reportedly failed a drug test — coupled with concerns about his temperament and decision-making on and off the field left Burfict looking for work after the 2012 draft.

–Field Level Media

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