Former NFL receiver James Hardy’s death ruled a suicide

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The death of former NFL wide receiver James Hardy has been ruled a suicide by Indiana officials.

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The Allen County Coroner’s Office said Wednesday that the 31-year-old Hardy died of ”asphyxia due to drowning.” Michael Burris, chief investigator for the coroner’s office, says cheap jersey the determination of suicide was based on Hardy’s medical and psychiatric history, his contacts with law enforcement and other evidence, including some found on his body.

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The former Indiana star was a second-round pick of the Bills in 2008. Injuries limited him to 16 games over two seasons. He also played for Baltimore before being released in 2011.

2017 NFL Preview: Cardinals’ time to contend might be running out

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Shutdown Corner is previewing all 32 teams as we get ready for the NFL season, counting down the teams one per weekday in reverse order of our initial 2017 power rankings. No. 1 will be revealed on Aug. 2, the day before the Hall of Fame Game kicks off the preseason.

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View photosA year ago, I believed in the Arizona Cardinals jersey. From last year’s preview:

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Yeah, about that. It didn’t work out that way. The Cardinals weren’t the best team in football. They were 7-8-1.

wholesale sports jerseys Still, I don’t think that was a sign the Cardinals are on their way out. I think they’ll bounce back to some extent in 2017. What’s beyond this season for a team with some aging stars is anyone’s guess.

Cheap James Vaughters jersey A year ago in the Cardinals preview, I laid out the case that Carson Palmer jersey jersey would be just fine after a tough finish the season before. He was an MVP candidate in 2015 until he hurt his finger late in the season. It seemed reasonable that the injury would heal and Palmer would play well again in 2016. He didn’t, but a late surge gives some hope for 2017.

Palmer looked like an old quarterback through November, but turned it around over Arizona’s final five games:

September-November: 252-414, 2,913 yards, 15 TD, 11 INT, 83.3 rating December-January: 112-183, 1,302 yards, 11 TD, 3 INT, 95.9 rating

At 37, Palmer is a year-to-year proposition. He could totally lose it at any time, and it looked for a while like he had already. Going back to the last few games of 2015, including playoffs, Palmer had a long stretch of average (and, sometimes bad) football. However, he also has mostly played well under Bruce Arians and finished last season strong. Palmer considered retirement but came back for another season, which shows how close he is to the end. He’s a mystery going into this season. That’s scary for Arizona.

He’s not the only Cardinals star who might be nearing the end. Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey has said he’ll talk about his playing future only once, as training camp starts. Every season could be his last, and the Cardinals will have a tough time replacing him. Arians’ health problems and his age (64) also makes you wonder how long he’ll coach.

If this Cardinals season was a movie, Palmer, Fitzgerald and Arians would win a Super Bowl this season and ride off into the sunset. That might be asking a lot, but a return to a playoff level isn’t. Stud running back David Johnson jersey jersey and a strong defense form a good foundation.

Johnson had an incredible 2016 season. The Cardinals coaches talked him up all last offseason and he delivered with 2,118 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns. Had Arizona posted a better record, he might have won NFL offensive player of the year. The 373 touches he received are scary, but any cumulative effect of an insane workload shouldn’t take hold yet. And Johnson isn’t shying away from Arians’ proclamation that he could get 30 touches a game.

Arizona also had a defense that didn’t get as much credit as it should have. The Cardinals allowed the second fewest yards in the NFL, finished third in net yards per attempt against the run and the past, tied for fourth with 28 takeaways and led the NFL in sacks. That’s a heck of a defensive season, though some key pieces left via free agency.

The offense wasn’t good enough to match that. The Cardinals relied on Johnson too much because Palmer struggled. The offensive line and an unreliable set of receivers didn’t help either.

The Cardinals were still in the championship contender bin a year ago. They won 34 games from 2013-15 and made an NFC championship game. It seemed in 2016, as they fell out of the playoffs, the window was closing. Maybe they have one more shot before the window closes for good.

Read MoreView photosCarson Palmer jersey jersey and Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey will try to lead the Cardinals back to the playoffs. (AP)MoreRepeating that great defensive season will be tough without defensive end Calais Campbell jersey jersey, safeties Tony Jefferson jersey and D.J. Swearinger jersey jersey and cornerback Marcus Cooper jersey. They all left in free agency. The loss of Campbell, a longtime leader of the defense, is especially tough. And Jefferson was coming off a great season. The Cardinals can replace some of that talent – they really need 2016 first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche jersey to get it together in a hurry to fill Campbell’s spot – but that’s a lot to lose in one offseason. Safety Antoine Bethea jersey jersey and kicker Phil Dawson jersey jersey were the only players that got more than $3 million per season from the Cardinals in free agency. Dawson should help a kicking game that really stung Arizona last season. The draft was strong, as linebacker Haason Reddick jersey and safety Budda Baker jersey should immediately help fill some holes on the defense. Still, it was a tough offseason. Grade: D

The Cardinals became way too dependent on David Johnson jersey jersey and Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey last season. Michael Floyd jersey jersey was unreliable, and eventually cut. That might be addition by subtraction. The hope is that positive reports on receiver John Brown jersey jersey carry over. Brown played last season with a cyst on his spine and through symptoms from sickle-cell trait, and his play suffered. Reports say he is healthy again, and he’s a 1,000-yard receiver if he is. Then maybe there’s more production coming from J.J. Nelson jersey jersey or rookie third-round pick Chad Williams jersey. But there should be more options in the Cardinals offense this season, and that would help tremendously.

If David Johnson jersey jersey goes down – and any running back is at risk of that, especially one with an extreme workload – I don’t know what the Cardinals would do. The drop-off from starter to backup at tailback for the Cardinals has to be one of steepest in the NFL. Kerwynn Williams jersey has been solid in a reserve role but has just 98 career carries. Andre Ellington jersey jersey has done very little since his promising rookie season, and spent the offseason bouncing between receiver and running back. Johnson is a top-three NFL running back and the Cardinals have little depth behind him. If he went down, it seems like the Cardinals season would take a nosedive.

The Cardinals had seven picks in this year’s draft, and none of them were used on a quarterback. Arizona had the 13th pick in the first round, and watched as Mitch Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson jersey were selected ahead of them. Mahomes and Watson went 10th and 12th after teams traded up and ahead of the Cardinals. Apparently the Cardinals didn’t like Davis Webb jersey or Nathan Peterman jersey or any of the other quarterbacks who went after the first round, either. Spending a valuable draft pick on a quarterback when you still have championship hopes is tough. But Carson Palmer jersey jersey will turn 38 years old before the end of the season, and he wasn’t great most of last season. Drew Stanton jersey isn’t a top-level quarterback. Blaine Gabbert jersey isn’t either. Neither one is a reasonable replacement if Palmer retires. You don’t want to have to be searching for a quarterback when you desperately need one but by putting off getting their quarterback of the future, the Cardinals will soon find themselves in that bind.

Defensive back Tyrann Mathieu jersey jersey has never been shy.

“Any time I’m healthy I feel like I’m the best defensive player in the NFL,” Mathieu said, according to the Sporting News.

The Cardinals hope they see that healthy version of Mathieu. Since tearing his ACL late in the 2015 season, it’s been a tough road for one of the league’s best playmakers. He played just 10 games last season due to a shoulder injury, and his numbers were well off his All-Pro season of 2015. With the Cardinals losing so much defensive talent over the offseason, they need Mathieu to be back to his dominant self. Mathieu’s issues last season are a big reason the Cardinals missed the playoffs.

From Yahoo’s Dalton Del Don: “John Brown jersey jersey is coming off a nightmare season in which he posted career-low numbers across the board while dealing with multiple injuries, including a cyst on his spine. As a result, his current ADP sits as the WR41. Brown had the cyst removed during the offseason and reportedly feels much better, and remember, this is a receiver who topped 1,000 yards with seven scores (in 15 games) as a sophomore two years ago, when he also got 9.9 yards-per-target, which was the second highest in football (minimum 100 targets). Michael Floyd jersey jersey is gone, and Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey is 34 years old, so there isn’t a WR going so late with near the amount of upside as Brown.

The Cardinals went from first in the NFL in net yards per pass attempt in 2015 (7.8) to 23rd last season (6.0). That’s a massive drop. It can be blamed on Carson Palmer jersey jersey, his receivers (particularly John Brown jersey jersey’s health issues) or an offensive line that allowed 14 more sacks than the season before. Whatever the cause, the Cardinals need to find a way to fix it. Bruce Arians’ offense relies heavily on taking shots downfield. Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey is great in his new role from the slot. David Johnson jersey jersey is a tremendous receiver out of the backfield. But they aren’t deep threats, and the Cardinals desperately cheap jersey need that for the offense to function properly.


Peterson is one of the NFL’s best, a corner who can shadow the opponent’s best player and fare well. But when the Cardinals don’t have a quality No. 2 cornerback, nobody throws Peterson’s way. Peterson was the least-targeted NFL cornerback last season, with a ball thrown in his way once every 8.5 passes according to the Arizona Republic. That might repeat this season. Marcus Cooper jersey, who started 13 games last season, signed with Chicago. Brandon Williams jersey jersey, who lost his job to Cooper early last season, and Justin Bethel jersey jersey, referred to as a “failure in progress” by Bruce Arians late last season, are the two favorites for the No. 2 cornerback job. Maybe someone further down the depth chart will rise up during preseason. But having a world-class cornerback like Peterson doesn’t matter quite as much if opponents just pick on the corner on the other side.

I’m not going to say Arizona can go to a Super Bowl, but we’re starting to get to the point in the countdown where these teams all have a puncher’s chance. The Cardinals came close two seasons ago. David Johnson jersey jersey gives the team a superstar at running back. If Carson Palmer jersey jersey’s late-season revival carries over and a receiver other than Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey has a big year – we’re talking about John Brown jersey jersey here – then Arizona has a lot to be excited about. Go back and watch last season’s impressive 34-31 Week 16 win at Seattle. That’s what Arizona is capable of.

A lot of this falls on Carson Palmer jersey jersey’s shoulders. He looked like he had really fallen off most of last season. If the Palmer from the first three months of last season shows up in 2017, it’s hard to see the Cardinals going very far. It’s possible that Arizona has another losing season, Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey retire and Bruce Arians follows them. Then we’re looking at the Cardinals going from an NFC championship game in January of 2016 to starting a long rebuild two years later.

Arizona wasn’t that bad last season. The Cardinals outscored opponents by 56 points, which is rare for a team with a losing record. The defense was outstanding and David Johnson jersey jersey was a revelation. I think Arizona will play very well this season. The schedule is among the easiest in the NFL, too. The NFC is really tough and deep so I’m not picking the Cardinals to make the playoffs, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise if they did. This is still a supremely talented roster.

As the Cowboys turn: Dez Bryant shows up three hours late to facility

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The best way to tell the NFL season is getting closer is when there’s an increase in Dallas Cowboys jersey off-field headlines.

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There have been plenty to go around this week. As reports came out that the NFL was wrapping up its investigation cheap jersey into Ezekiel Elliott jersey’s various off-field incidents, the Cowboys were dealing with another minor brush fire with another star.

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Bryant had a good excuse, as he was dealing with a sinus infection and headaches according to Jane Slater of said Bryant regretted not telling the coaching staff beforehand. Bryant hasn’t been in the headlines at all this offseason and him being late Friday doesn’t seem to be anything too serious. But it’s just always something with the Cowboys.

wholesale jerseys [Now’s the time to sign up for Fantasy Football! Join for free]This will blow over quick. The possible suspension with Elliott is a lot more impactful to the Cowboys’ season than Bryant missing a conditioning run he was likely going to pass anyway. But after this blows over, it’s a good bet there will be another story out of Cowboys camp to talk about.

San Francisco 49ers training camp: Three questions facing the team

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The NFL season is inching closer. Through July, Shutdown Corner will examine three big questions for each NFL team as it heads to training camp.

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View photosSan cheap jersey Francisco 49ers jersey Report date: July 27 for rookies and veterans Where: Santa Clara, California

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Hyde, the former Ohio state standout and 2014 second-round pick, has shown plenty of ability during his first three seasons. It’s just a matter of consistently being on the field – he’s already missed 14 games out of a possible 48 – and not suffering mental lapses. He tied a league-worst (for running backs) with five fumbles last year. Make no mistake though: Hyde has the power and enough wiggle to be a star. Last year, he amassed career highs in yards (988), yards per carry (4.6) and touchdowns (nine). It’s simply a matter of putting it all together. New coach Kyle Shanahan will have to figure out in camp if Hyde is a good fit for his zone-blocking scheme.

cheap jerseys At $12 million for two years, Hoyer is a fine bargain. A quality veteran with plenty of starting experience, the 31-year-old has amassed a career 16-15 record as a starter. Better yet, he enjoyed success with Kyle Shanahan back in 2014 when the current 49ers coach was calling plays in Cleveland. To be sure, San Francisco doesn’t have any delusional expectations for this season, but if Hoyer – running Shanahan’s West Coast-based offense – can muster a good year, it certainly would help this franchise as it tries to take a step forward after its utter string of mediocrity.

Cheap Josh Lambo jersey 3. Is this defense ready to make the jump we think it can?

Expectations are robust for a 49ers unit that ranked dead last in the NFL in yards allowed last season. Newly minted defensive coordinator Robert Saleh brings with him the 4-3 and perhaps that will help former first-round picks DeForest Buckner jersey and Arik Armstead jersey, both of whom are in line for breakout campaigns on the defensive line. But scheme only matters so much. Personnel rules in this league, and a talented duo of safeties in Jimmie Ward jersey and Eric Reid jersey have to make a boatload of plays, particularly if the line isn’t getting into the opposing backfield. Don’t forget about Solomon Thomas jersey either. The third pick in April’s draft has all of the tools to become a dominant two-way defensive end. Getting comfortable with Saleh’s new defense will be a big priority as camp begins.

2017 NFL Preview: All aboard the Tennessee Titans’ bandwagon

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Shutdown Corner is previewing all 32 teams as we get ready for the NFL season, counting down the teams one per weekday in reverse order of our initial 2017 power rankings. No. 1 will be revealed on Aug. 2, the day before the Hall of Fame Game kicks off the preseason.

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View photosSome NFL team is going to make a huge jump this season. Last season it was the Oakland Raiders jersey. Just about every season, some team surprises us.

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Tennessee has come together fast, and last season was a nice growth season. Nobody expected them to go 9-7, but it didn’t seem all that fluky. Quarterback Marcus Mariota jersey had a strong season. Running back DeMarco Murray jersey revived his career, and rookie backup Derrick Henry jersey looked like the real deal. The offensive line was the best in the NFL outside of Dallas (and, if you believe some metrics, even better than the Cowboys). The defense wasn’t too bad either. Tennessee finished in the top half of the league in yards per rush, yards per pass, yards per rush allowed and yards per pass allowed. The Titans were solid all around.

cheap jerseys from china After improving by six wins in 2016, I think the Titans will find themselves in the playoffs this season.

Cheap Robbie Gould jersey If there was any complaint last season, it was that Mariota didn’t have enough help. So Tennessee fixed that this offseason. They drafted receiver Corey Davis jersey out of Western Michigan fifth overall. Maybe that was a bit of a reach, but it was the pick obtained from last year’s brilliant trade with the Los Angeles Rams jersey for the No. 1 overall pick. Tennessee had a surplus, and using it on the best receiver in the draft isn’t bad. Eric Decker jersey fell in their laps in June after the New York Jets jersey cut him. Rishard Matthews jersey had a solid 2016 season, but he’s not a No. 1 receiver. He doesn’t have to be anymore. A position of weakness in 2016 looks pretty good now.

The key to the Titans’ resurgence, this season and for the foreseeable future, is Mariota. From Tennessee’s fifth game through its 12th, Mariota had 21 touchdowns and three interceptions. In those eight games Mariota completed 163-of-242 passes (67.4 percent) for 2,073 yards. That’s a 117.7 rating. He did all of that with one of the thinnest receiving corps in the NFL. When you hear that Mariota might turn into a star this season, know that it’s wrong. Mariota has already played like a star. Now the trick is doing it over a full season. He’ll need to prove he’s healthy after breaking his leg late last season, but that’s the only obstacle to him having a big season and being widely recognized as one of the league’s best quarterbacks.

It has been a long road for the Titans. Last season’s 9-7 record was just their second winning mark since 2008. They have missed the playoffs eight straight seasons, and have made it to the postseason just twice in 13 seasons. They haven’t won a playoff game since beating the Baltimore Ravens jersey 20-17 on Jan. 3, 2004.

That seems to be turning around. The Titans have built a competitive roster around their fantastic young quarterback. They play in a division that remains the easiest in the NFL. When the Titans take the next step and get back to the playoffs this season, don’t be too surprised.

View photosMarcus Mariota jersey looks to improve upon a promising 2016 season. (AP)MoreThe Titans knew they needed to upgrade Marcus Mariota jersey’s targets. Corey Davis jersey was the best receiver in this draft. Eric Decker jersey is a consistent veteran who happened to be hurt most of last season. Receiver Taywan Taylor jersey and tight end Jonnu Smith jersey, both third-round picks, were good investments too. You have to respect the way the Titans attacked an obvious deficiency. The Titans added a pair of cornerbacks, free-agent Logan Ryan jersey jersey and first-round pick Adoree’ Jackson. Safety Johnathan Cyprien jersey jersey wasn’t great with the Jaguars, but he’s young and physical. Former Broncos first-round pick Sylvester Williams jersey jersey jersey was added to help at defensive tackle. All of the free-agent losses were players who probably won’t be greatly missed. The Titans had a winning record last season and upgraded the roster in a big way. Grade: A

Read MoreThe Titans are the rare team with a young, exciting quarterback that hasn’t built its entire identity around that quarterback. The Titans’ biggest strength is a fantastic offensive line, led by tackles Jack Conklin cheap jersey jersey and Taylor Lewan jersey. Pro Football Focus ranked the Titans as the best offensive line in the NFL last season, ahead of the Dallas Cowboys jersey. I’d still pick Dallas, but the Titans line is great too and it can push opponents around. Tennessee was third in the NFL in rushing yards and fourth in yards per carry last season. That’s why it was no surprise Tennessee was fourth in the NFL with 476 rushing attempts. DeMarco Murray jersey rushed for 1,287 yards and Derrick Henry jersey came off the bench for 490 yards on just 110 carries. This is a run-based team that just happens to have a future star at quarterback. The Titans have put Mariota in a great spot. He doesn’t need to do everything for Tennessee to win.

The defense, with legendary coordinator Dick LeBeau, was competitive last season but not great. It’s a defense that allowed Jacksonville Jaguars jersey quarterback Blake Bortles jersey jersey to throw for 325 yards – by far his best game in a terrible season – in a 38-17 loss late in the season. Cornerback play was an issue, and the Titans hope they have fixed that. But if the Titans don’t improve as a team, it’s probably because the defense posts another below average season.

It’s probably not smart to brush aside concerns about Marcus Mariota jersey’s health. He has finished both of his NFL seasons on injured reserve. He broke his right leg in late December and he was still rehabbing it in mid-June. Mariota sounded like he was on the right track when he spoke to reporters after a minicamp practice on June 14.

“I think from a strength standpoint I’m good. I’ve been doing everything lifting-wise. My body feels at a point where I can do all those things,” Mariota said, according to Jason Wolf of the Tennessean. “Now it’s getting to the point of trusting myself to do it, because a lot of it, even through this entire rehab process, it’s going through that mental obstacle of, you want to protect it.

“Now it’s good; you’ve done everything. Just trust it, that you can do the movements that you’ve been doing. For me, that’s my next step. I’ve got to just go out and do it.”

That sounds great, but Mariota needs to prove he’s healthy in training camp. Then he needs to show he can stay healthy over a full season.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey jersey is the best defensive player the Titans have. Pro Football Focus’ grades placed Casey as the 71st best player in the NFL last season. Casey is a disruptor in the middle, especially rushing the quarterback. He has made two straight Pro Bowls and at 27 is still squarely in his prime. If the Titans defense moves to above average, it might be because Casey was closer to his 2013 sack total of 10.5 than the five he posted last season.

From Yahoo’s Andy Behrens: “Marcus Mariota jersey has pretty much every individual trait we like to see in a QB for fantasy purposes, and he now has a loaded receiving corps at his disposal. Not only did the Titans add Corey Davis jersey, the consensus top receiver in the 2017 draft class, but they also managed to pluck Eric Decker jersey from the discard pile. Decker is one of the best red-zone receivers of this era. Don’t be a bit surprised if Mariota delivers a top-five positional finish in his third NFL season. He’s accurate, mobile, and he limits turnovers. Mariota is also a year younger than Carson Wentz jersey, so he’s still a young, ascending talent, directing a fun offense.” 

DeMarco Murray jersey led the NFL in carries by a wide margin with the 2014 Dallas Cowboys jersey. After getting almost 500 touches (including postseason) that season, Murray’s yardage dropped 1,143 yards in 2015 with the Philadelphia Eagles jersey. That was the biggest drop ever for a reigning rushing champ. Murray looked like he might be prematurely on the back nine of his career, but he wasn’t. Tennessee struck gold on a low-cost trade, as Murray bounced right back to being one of the best running backs in the NFL. If there’s an issue, it’s the 293 carries Murray got last season. That ranked third in the NFL. Eventually these huge workloads will catch up with Murray. The Titans hope it’s not this year, though they have Derrick Henry jersey ready if Murray slips.


Decker’s 2016 was an injury-filled mess. He played just three games due to shoulder and hip injuries, and had just nine catches for 194 yards. He has turned 30 years old, so a bounce-back to his previous levels isn’t a sure thing, even if he stays healthy. Decker got just $4 million on a one-year deal from Tennessee, which is an indication teams are wary. But Decker had at least 80 catches, 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns three times in a four-season stretch before 2016. Even if Decker doesn’t reach those levels again, he can still be valuable to the Titans. It’s not ideal to rely on any rookie as a No. 1 option, even if he’s as talented as Corey Davis jersey. Decker’s arrival means less pressure on Davis while he learns, and that will probably be a good thing.

Nobody figured on the Raiders improving by five games last season and leading the AFC West when Derek Carr jersey got hurt. The Titans won’t improve by five wins (what a story that would be), but you can see some similarities. And the Titans play in a much easier division than last year’s Raiders. The Titans look like the best team in the AFC South, and their schedule is pretty easy (the sixth easiest in the NFL, according to analyst Warren Sharp). If everything comes together it’s not crazy to believe they could be in the mix for a first-round bye … kind of like the Raiders were last season.

While the Titans’ arrow seems like it’s pointed up, teams that make a huge leap often regress the next season. The Titans won two games in 2014, three in 2015 and nine last season. They also posted a 4-0 record in games decided by three points or less, and that’s fluky. As much as I like the Titans this season, there’s good reason to believe they were out over their skis last year and are due for a correction. That would be tough for a fan base that hasn’t had much to cheer for in a long time.

Whenever I’ve been asked who this year’s surprise team will be, the Titans have always been my answer. I believe Marcus Mariota jersey is the most underrated quarterback in the NFL. I don’t think the Titans’ offensive line is as good as Dallas’ line, but it’s elite. The defense is not great but not weighing Tennessee down either. And Tennessee plays a favorable schedule in a division that has no other top-shelf team. Maybe the Titans don’t quite reach 2016 Raiders levels, but picking them to win the AFC South was easy for me. If everything goes right, the Titans could pile up wins in an easy division while the AFC West and AFC North cannibalize each other, and Tennessee could end up in the hunt for a top-two seed. Tennessee has done a great job building the roster, and this is the year it starts to pay off.

Bears LB Jerrell Freeman saves a man’s life before reporting to camp

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Saves are more a baseball stat than a football one, but Chicago Bears jersey linebacker Jerrell Freeman jersey got a save at the Austin airport on Sunday.

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Freeman saved a man choking on his food at a restaurant inside the airport, the Chicago Tribune reported. Pretty lucky for Marcus Ryan that the Bears’ linebacker was there to perform the Heimlich maneuver.

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“I’ve never done the Heimlich before,” Freeman told the Tribune. “I don’t think I’ve had any training or anything. My mom’s a nurse and she had talked about it. So I just did what I heard you should do. I guess it worked.”

wholesale jerseys from china Maybe it’s some good karma for Freeman and the Bears season.

Chargers prized rookie WR Mike Williams reportedly could miss season

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A move out of San Diego apparently hasn’t helped the Los Angeles Chargers jersey’ injury luck.

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Receiver Mike Williams jersey, who was the seventh overall pick of the draft, might be on the shelf for the entire season before he ever puts on pads for a Chargers practice. ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Williams might need season-ending back surgery. That’s not official, but even if there’s no surgery it seems like Williams will be battling a herniated disc for a while. Schefter wrote Williams got a second epidural in hopes he can be ready for training camp. If it doesn’t come around, surgery is an option.

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This must feel like a terrible joke to the Chargers. Last season the Chargers suffered a heavy injury toll, especially at receiver. Keenan Allen jersey tore his ACL in the first game. Williams was supposed to help give Philip Rivers jersey another target this season, but that might not happen until 2018.

cheap jerseys authentic Williams suffered the herniated disc this offseason, and there seems to be some issue over when it happened. Schefter wrote a source said it was possible Williams hurt his back at the combine and during his pro day – not at a minicamp practice as has been widely reported – and it’s possible Williams “did a good enough job masking it so that teams would not know and his draft stock would not be impacted.” If someone in the organization is saying that (Schefter doesn’t specify if it was a Chargers source), it’s possible this whole ordeal could get ugly.

Cheap Jeff Luc jersey What we do know is that there’s real concern coming out of Los Angeles that Williams will miss all of his rookie season. Even with the Chargers’ recent run of injuries, that would be especially cruel.

Mike Williams jersey (7) is dealing with a back injury that might require season-ending surgery.

Antonio Brown? Odell Beckham Jr.? Julio Jones? Ranking every team’s WRs

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Ask anyone who the top five wide receivers in the league are and you’ll get a spirited debate. It’s hard to argue against the consensus top three — Antonio Brown jersey, Odell Beckham jersey Jr jersey. and Julio Jones jersey jersey — but after that it gets tricky. DeAndre Hopkins jersey jersey is an incredible talent stuck without a reliable quarterback. Mike Evans jersey has had as good a start to his career as almost anyone. A.J. Green jersey jersey is an absolute game-changer when he’s healthy. And none of those six guys led the league in receiving yards last season. That title belonged to T.Y. Hilton jersey jersey.

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[Now’s the time to sign up for Fantasy Football! Join for free]Ranking receiver position units can be even more difficult. It’s a mix of individual skill, stats, age, health and consistency. But how much do you weigh each? There are so many outside factors — quarterback play, offensive system, play-calling, etc. — that have a major impact as well. One way to evaluate a receiving corps is to level the playing field: same quarterback, running back, tight end and line and the same play-calling. But this would significantly devalue players who fit a specific system well. So in order to establish a ranking, it must be a mix of both. Here’s how it went:

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Slot: ArDarius Stewart jersey

wholesale jerseys authentic Depth: Marquess Wilson jersey jersey, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall jersey, Chad Hansen

Cheap Denzel Rice jersey This is among the most fluid depth charts in the NFL. The Jets got rid of their only proven receiver, Eric Decker jersey, to show their commitment to a complete and total rebuild. That move, though, has left their wide receiver corps lacking. Enunwa did show some ability as the de-facto No. 1 receiver last season, and Anderson surprised as a undrafted free agent. But Anderson was arrested this offseason and there’s very little depth here.

31. Los Angeles Rams jerseyOutside: Robert Woods jersey jersey jersey, Tavon Austin jersey jersey

Slot: Cooper Kupp jersey

Depth: Pharoh Cooper jersey, Josh Reynolds jersey

The Rams intend to play Austin on the outside, though he seems like a more natural fit for the slot. In Sean McVay’s first year in Los Angeles, he has a lot on his plate. Even with the additions of Woods and Kupp, building the receiving corps looks to be a long-term project.

30. Kansas City Chiefs jerseyView photosTyreek Hill jersey was a blur last season. Can he be an every-down receiver in 2017? (Getty)MoreOutside: Chris Conley jersey jersey, Tyreek Hill jersey

Slot: Albert Wilson jersey jersey

Depth: De’Anthony Thomas. Jehu Chesson

Given the Chiefs’ run-first system, this low ranking isn’t too much of a big deal. The Chiefs rarely put three wideouts on the field at once anyway. Hill really needs to prove he’s not just a flash in the pan. While his rookie year was sensational, only half of his 12 touchdowns came as a receiver.

29. San Francisco 49ers jerseyOutside: Pierre Gar?on, Marquise Goodwin jersey jersey

Slot: Jeremy Kerley jersey

Depth: Aaron Burbridge jersey, Bruce Ellington jersey, Aldrick Robinson, Trent Taylor

The 49ers actually have a host of recognizable names. Gar?on is one of the toughest wide receivers in the league, and being reunited with Kyle Shanahan should give this offense some life. The issue is the man opposite of him. Goodwin is yet to play in all 16 games in any season, and last year he caught just 29 of his 68 targets, an abysmal 42.6 percent catch rate.

28. Chicago Bears jerseyOutside: Cameron Meredith jersey jersey, Kevin White jersey jersey

Slot: Kendall Wright jersey jersey/Markus Wheaton jersey jersey/Victor Cruz jersey

Depth: Rueben Randle, Deonte Thompson jersey

The Bears should host a show named “Extreme Makeover: Slot Receiver Edition.” Wright and Cruz fell out of favor after long tenures in Tennessee and New York, respectively. Wheaton missed almost all of last year in Pittsburgh. All three guys signed short deals. Will any one of them prove he deserves a second chance?

27. Cleveland Browns jerseyOutside: Kenny Britt jersey jersey jersey, Corey Coleman jersey

Slot: ???

Depth: Rashard Higgins, Ricardo Louis jersey

That Britt surpassed 1000 yards last year in the dreadful Rams offense is a miracle. He’s going to a similarly low-ceiling environment in Cleveland. He’ll be an important part both on and off the field helping teach Cleveland’s young wide receivers. The lack of depth here is concerning, though, as is the uncertainty at quarterback.

Read More26. Baltimore Ravens jerseyOutside: Mike Wallace jersey jersey, Breshad Perriman jersey jersey

Slot: Jeremy Maclin jersey jersey

Depth: Chris Matthews jersey, Chris Moore, Michael Campagnaro

At 30 years old, Wallace had an outstanding year in Baltimore after lost years in Miami and Minnesota. He still has speed to burn; he showed as much by recording 14.1 yards per reception, his best mark since 2011. The Ravens have to replace both Steve Smith jersey and Kamar Aiken jersey jersey, though, and that’s no small task. Expect a good year from former first-rounder Perriman and a bounce-back year cheap jersey for a fully healthy Maclin. If neither happens, Baltimore is in trouble.

25. Minnesota Vikings jerseyOutside: Stefon Diggs jersey jersey, Adam Thielen jersey jersey

Slot: Diggs/Jarius Wright jersey jersey

Depth: Laquon Treadwell jersey, Michael Floyd jersey jersey

Ideally, either Treadwell or Floyd would step up on the outside allowing Diggs to play in the slot, where he took a lot of his snaps last year. But Treadwell had a very disappointing rookie season, and Floyd keeps getting in trouble off the field. The latest fiasco: A four-game substance abuse suspension, supposedly for drinking tea. If either one of these guys plays to his potential, bump the Vikings up a few spots, because Diggs is a legit top receiver, and Thielen was quietly very good last year as well.

24. Detroit Lions jerseyOutside: Marvin Jones jersey Jr., Golden Tate jersey

Slot: Tate

Depth: Jared Abbrederis jersey, TJ Jones, Jace Billingsley, Kenny Golladay jersey, Keshawn Martin jersey

Through the first seven weeks, Jones Jr. was averaging nearly 90 yards per game and had reeled in four touchdowns. Over the next nine games, he averaged about 45 yards per game and didn’t score once. While Tate continues to be one of the most reliable and versatile weapons, the Lions need Jones Jr. to be more consistent. Better yet, they need a third guy to step up. Billingsley could be that guy, according to his teammates.

23. Buffalo Bills jerseyView photosA healthy Sammy Watkins jersey jersey is crucial if the Bills want to end their playoff draught. (Getty)MoreOutside: Sammy Watkins jersey jersey, Zay Jones jersey

Slot: Philly Brown jersey

Depth: Andre Holmes jersey jersey

Watkins is similar to Alshon Jeffery jersey jersey jersey in that if he’s healthy, he makes a wide receiver group way, way better, but he can’t stay healthy. The Bills made some important moves this offseason to help out Tyrod Taylor jersey jersey. Jones, the FBS all-time reception leader, can provide more size and physicality than his predecessors. Brown and Holmes can both help out as well.

22. Carolina Panthers jerseyOutside: Kelvin Benjamin jersey jersey, Devin Funchess jersey jersey

Slot: Curtis Samuel jersey

Depth: Charles Johnson jersey jersey jersey, Russell Shepard, Brenton Bersin jersey

This offseason the Panthers stepped up their efforts to surround Cam Newton jersey jersey with weapons. Samuel will be a versatile addition to the slot, and Christian McCaffrey jersey provides speed and agility out of the backfield. Replacing the speed element of Philly Brown jersey and Ted Ginn jersey Jr jersey. won’t be easy, though. Ginn Jr.’s his ability to take the top off was an important cog in this offense.

21. Philadelphia Eagles jerseyOutside: Alshon Jeffery jersey jersey jersey, Torrey Smith jersey

Slot: Jordan Matthews jersey

Depth: Nelson Agholor jersey, Paul Turner

If Jeffery can somehow stay healthy for an entire season, move the Eagles up as much as 10 spots on this list. He’s that good when he’s on. But the Eagles signed him to a one-year deal for a reason. He’s missed twelve games in the past two seasons, and he never looked quite right last year.

20. Houston Texans jerseyOutside: DeAndre Hopkins jersey jersey, Will Fuller

Slot: Braxton Miller jersey

Depth: Jaelen Strong jersey jersey

Hopkins is a terrific receiver, and that his team barely makes the top 20 speaks volumes about the players and system around him. Fuller started last season strong but fell off sharply, and it remains to be seen whether he can be an every-down player. The Texans simply have no proven pass-catchers outside of Hopkins. That’s why they fall so far.

19. Arizona Cardinals jerseyOutside: John Brown jersey jersey, JJ Nelson

Slot: Larry Fitzgerald jersey jersey

Depth: Jaron Brown jersey, Aaron Dobson jersey

Fitzgerald, who plays both slot and outside, continues to defy father time. But it’s the health and production of John Brown jersey jersey that is key this year. Last year he was diagnosed as a carrier of the sickle-cell trait and later dealt with hamstring issues. If he’s back to 2015 form, that’s a huge boost for this group.

18. Washington Redskins jerseyOutside: Terrelle Pryor jersey jersey, Josh Doctson jersey

Slot: Jamison Crowder jersey

Depth: Brian Quick jersey, Ryan Grant

Pryor spent the first three years of his career as a quarterback. In 2015, his first year in Cleveland, he barely played at any position. Then he caught 77 passes for over 1,000 yards in his first season as a wide receiver. That speaks volumes about how outstanding an athlete he is. It’s not hard to believe he’ll continue to grow leaps and bounds with one year of wide receiver under his belt.

17. Seattle Seahawks jerseyOutside: Doug Baldwin jersey, Jermaine Kearse jersey

Slot: Tyler Lockett jersey

Depth: Amara Darboh jersey, Tanner McEvoy

Only four players have had at least 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns in both of the last two seasons: Odell Beckham jersey, Antonio Brown jersey, Brandin Cooks jersey jersey and Doug Baldwin jersey. That’s some pretty good company for Seattle’s top target, consistently one of the NFL’s most under-appreciated players.

16. Los Angeles Chargers jerseyOutside: Keenan Allen jersey, Mike Williams jersey

Slot: Travis Benjamin jersey

Depth: Dontrelle Inman jersey,, Tyrell Williams jersey

The Chargers have really solid depth, which is good. The issue here is that their far and away best receiver, Allen, is coming off back-to-back seasons that have ended with an injury. If Allen’s healthy and Mike Williams jersey doesn’t miss the season, as he might, per a recent report, Philip Rivers jersey has a really nice supporting cast around him.

15. New Orleans Saints jerseyView photosMichael Thomas jersey is the new No. 1 wide receiver in pass-happy New Orleans. (Getty)MoreOutside: Michael Thomas jersey, Ted Ginn jersey Jr jersey.

Slot: Willie Snead jersey jersey

Depth: Brandon Coleman jersey jersey, Tommylee Lewis

Thomas is one of two rookies ever to post at least 90 catches for at least 1100 yards and at least nine touchdowns. The other? Odell Beckham jersey Jr jersey.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars jerseyOutside: Allen Robinson jersey jersey, Marqise Lee jersey jersey

Slot: Allen Hurns jersey jersey

Depth: Rashad Greene jersey, Dede Westbrook jersey, Arrelious Benn jersey jersey

The issue for the Jaguars isn’t out wide. Robinson is one of the best at the position, and Hurns is a matchup nightmare in the slot. Add the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner (Westbrook) into that mix and you have three really solid players. Who delivers them the ball is the issue.

13. Indianapolis Colts jerseyOutside: T.Y. Hilton jersey jersey, Donte Moncrief jersey jersey

Slot: Phillip Dorsett jersey jersey

Depth: Kamar Aiken jersey jersey

Hilton is one of the most underrated players in the entire league. He’s had four straight 1,000-yard seasons, all with at least five touchdowns. He produces when Andrew Luck jersey jersey is in the lineup, and he produces when Luck isn’t in the lineup. He just produces. If only Moncrief and Dorsett could stay healthy …

12. Tennessee Titans jerseyOutside: Corey Davis jersey, Rishard Matthews jersey

Slot: Eric Decker jersey

Depth: Harry Douglas jersey, Tajae Sharp, Taywan Taylor jersey, Eric Weems jersey jersey

The Titans needed to upgrade their receiving corps, and they did just that. Davis has an NFL-ready body and was one of the most productive wideouts in FBS history. Decker is a great veteran presence in the slot. The Titans have a bunch of good pieces around a good backfield, good line and good tight end. That’s a formula for success.

11. Miami Dolphins jerseyOutside: DeVante Parker jersey jersey, Kenny Stills jersey jersey

Slot: Jarvis Landry jersey jersey

Depth: Leonte Carroo jersey

This ranking is based upon Parker realizing his potential and living up to it in his third year as a pro. He started to show that he could do just that over the second half of last season.

10. Dallas Cowboys jerseyOutside: Dez Bryant jersey jersey, Terrence Williams

Slot: Cole Beasley jersey jersey

Depth: Brice Butler jersey jersey, Lucky Whitehead jersey, Ryan Switzer jersey

The Cowboys went extremely run-heavy last season with Ezekiel Elliott jersey in the backfield, and they should run the ball a lot again this year. So the numbers are going to be down across the board for the receivers, but that shouldn’t impact their ranking too much. Bryant is a true No. 1, and Beasley has developed into one of the more effective slot men in the league.

9. Denver Broncos jerseyOutside: Demaryius Thomas jersey jersey, Emmanuel Sanders jersey jersey

Slot: Carlos Henderson jersey

Depth: Cody Latimer jersey jersey, Bennie Fowler jersey jersey, Jordan Taylor jersey

In the history of the NFL, three players have caught at least 90 passes five years in a row: Torry Holt jersey, Marvin Harrison jersey and Demaryius Thomas jersey jersey. The Broncos were one of four teams (Washington, New Orleans and Oakland were the others) to have two 1,000-yard wide receivers, which speaks volumes about Thomas and Sanders considering who was throwing them the ball.

8. Green Bay Packers jerseyOutside: Jordy Nelson jersey jersey, Davante Adams jersey jersey

Slot: Randall Cobb jersey jersey

Depth: Geronimo Allison, Jeff Janis jersey, Trevor Davis, Malachi Dupre, DeAngelo Yancey

Adams took the jump he needed to take last year, recording more receiving yards than in his first two years combined. But the Packers are always looking to upgrade the weapons available to Aaron Rodgers jersey jersey, as shown by the late-round selections of Yancey and Dupre, both big-bodied targets.

7. Atlanta Falcons jerseyView photosYes, Julio Jones jersey jersey caught this football. (Getty)MoreOutside: Julio Jones jersey jersey, Mohamed Sanu

Slot: Taylor Gabriel jersey jersey

Depth: Justin Hardy jersey jersey, Andre Roberts jersey jersey, Nick Williams jersey

Jones elevates this group to a top-10 ranking almost all by himself. Yes, having Matt Ryan jersey jersey throwing the ball helps, but Jones is an otherworldly talent. His ability to win any one-on-one matchup — with speed, with size, with strength — is unmatched.

6. Oakland Raiders jerseyOutside: Amari Cooper jersey, Michael Crabtree jersey

Slot: Seth Roberts jersey

Depth: Cordarrelle Patterson jersey jersey

Cooper and Crabtree make up the best under-30 tandem in the NFL, and they complement each other well. Cooper has the size, speed and skill to win matchups up and down the field. When things get close to the goal line, Crabtree (17 touchdowns in the last two years combined) produces at an outstanding level.

5. Cincinnati Bengals jerseyOutside: A.J. Green jersey jersey, Brandon LaFell jersey

Slot: Tyler Boyd jersey

Depth: John Ross jersey, Cody Core, Josh Malone jersey

When Green is healthy, you could argue this is the best receiving corps in the league. Regardless, the Bengals are a top-five team even with his uncertain health, especially after the additions of Ross and Malone. There are no excuses for Andy Dalton jersey jersey this season.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers jerseyOutside: Mike Evans jersey, DeSean Jackson jersey

Slot: Adam Humphries jersey

Depth: Chris Godwin jersey

Perhaps no group of wide receivers complements one another as well as the Bucs’ wideouts do. Evans, at 6-foot-5, is terrific in all aspects, but especially so making the tough catches in traffic. Jackson takes the top off defenses, and Humphris operates really well in small spaces.

3. New York Giants jerseyOutside: Odell Beckham jersey Jr jersey., Brandon Marshall jersey jersey

Slot: Sterling Shepard jersey

Depth: Roger Lewis jersey, Dwayne Harris jersey jersey

Yes, Marshall is 33, but his game has aged very well. He’s a big body and terrific possession receiver to put opposite of Beckham Jr. Marshall’s numbers won’t necessarily be outstanding, but the attention he draws will open up things for others.

View photosOdell Beckham jersey Jr jersey. is must-watch TV every Sunday. Is he part of the league’s best wide receiver group, though? (Getty)More2. New England Patriots jerseyOutside: Brandin Cooks jersey jersey, Chris Hogan jersey

Slot: Julian Edelman jersey jersey

Depth: Andrew Hawkins jersey jersey, Danny Amendola jersey jersey, Malcolm Mitchell jersey

Just when you thought the Patriots couldn’t get significantly better, they added Cooks, one of the best wide receivers in the game. This high ranking, of course, is due mainly to how well the receivers fit the Pats’ system. The Patriots have the perfect personnel to keep things running at an elite level.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers jerseyView photosAntonio Brown jersey puts on a show during and after the play. (Getty)MoreOutside: Antonio Brown jersey, Martavis Bryant jersey

Slot: Brown/Eli Rogers jersey

Depth: Sammie Coates jersey, Darrius Heyward-Bey jersey, JuJu Smith-Schuster jersey, Justin Hunter jersey

The Steelers have the best receiver in the league and the best depth in the league. Bryant’s return adds the big-play element the team didn’t have last year outside of Brown. There are so many good options on this roster — even preseason cuts will be very difficult.

Minnesota Vikings training camp: Three questions facing the team

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The NFL season is inching closer. Through July, Shutdown Corner will examine three big questions for each NFL team as it heads to training camp.

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View photosMinnesota Vikings jersey Report date: July 23 for rookies; July 26 for veterans Where: Mankato, Minn.

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Bridgewater will likely start camp on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list after a horrific knee injury just before last season started. Bridgewater has done some work through the offseason, giving hope that he can be back on the practice field sooner rather than later. It would be a tremendous story after he missed all of last season. This is an important season for the Vikings and their quarterback situation, because Bridgewater and new starter Sam Bradford jersey are both slated to be free agents after the season. Minnesota could make a clearer decision if they can see Bridgewater back on the practice field, at least.

cheap sports jerseys 2. Can Dalvin Cook jersey lock up the starting job by Week 1?

Wholesale Jonathan Stewart jersey The Vikings brought in two running backs to replace Adrian Peterson jersey jersey and help a running game that went nowhere last season. They signed former Oakland Raiders jersey starter Latavius Murray jersey, then took Cook in the second round of the draft. Cook was a tremendous college back at Florida State but didn’t test well at the combine and has some off-field concerns. That’s what caused his draft dip, but he’s still a fantastic talent. Murray is slowed by ankle surgery and will start camp on the PUP list. That gives Cook a great opportunity in training camp to secure the starting job from Week 1 cheap jersey on. Murray has more experience and has had NFL success, but Cook offers a much higher ceiling. If Cook ends up being the undisputed starter by the season opener, he might never relinquish the job.

View photosRookie running back Dalvin Cook jersey will be one of the most-watched players in Vikings camp. (AP)More3. Where have you gone, Laquon Treadwell jersey?

Not every rookie receiver is Odell Beckham jersey, but Treadwell was really disappointing after Minnesota took him in the first round last season. He played in just nine games (he was a healthy scratch a few times) and had one catch all season. The Vikings didn’t need Treadwell last season because they got good production from Stefon Diggs jersey jersey and Adam Thielen jersey jersey. Also, coach Mike Zimmer doesn’t love using rookies. That’s fine, but if Treadwell doesn’t do anything this season then there’s real concern. Zimmer has had very positive things to say about Treadwell this offseason, perhaps building his confidence back up after a rough rookie year. Treadwell needs a good camp, so the coaches and Sam Bradford jersey trust him when the regular season starts.

How the Redskins totally botched the Kirk Cousins contract debacle … again

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One year ago, the Washington Redskins jersey told Kirk Cousins jersey to wait on a contract. Then they complained about his refusal of a team-friendly deal and having to pay Cousins $20 million in 2016 under the franchise tag. One year later? Cousins told the Redskins he wanted to wait. So in true Redskins fashion, on Monday the franchise released a grousing statement, bemoaning the lack of a team-friendly, long-term deal – sealing it with language seemingly meant to frame Cousins as greedy.

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Take it all in, folks. Because you may never see a franchise quarterback negotiation this screwed up again. One year ago, the Redskins smacked Cousins with a negotiating stick and expected him to like it. A year later, the franchise handed him the negotiating stick and then complained when he returned the favor.

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“[D]espite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk’s agent this year,” Allen’s statement read. “Kirk has made it clear that he prefers to play on a year-to-year basis. While we would have liked to work out a long-term contract before this season, we accept his decision.”

wholesale sports jerseys Note the language: “We accept his decision.”

Wholesale John Brown jersey Now consider all of this: In 2016, the Redskins undermined their contract talks with poor incremental offers that were never on par with Cousins’ market value. So Washington put the franchise tag on him and asked Cousins to justify a better deal – which he did, while the market for quarterbacks continued to rise. Now in 2017, the Redskins tried to clean that mess up by repeating the same negotiating tactic, offering Cousins a team-friendly, six-year contract with only two years of guaranteed money.

View photosBruce Allen has been with the Redskins since the 2010 season. (AP)MoreThe telling breakdown: Cousins’ new deal would have paid him $53 million guaranteed over the first two seasons. The problem? If the Redskins intend to keep him, that’s basically the same amount Cousins is getting no matter what: this year’s franchise tag ($23.9 million) plus the 2018 transition tag ($28.7 million).

To put it more precisely, the Redskins offered Kirk Cousins jersey $324,080 more in guaranteed money than he is already slated to get under the next two tags. For that $324,080 in extra money, Cousins would be trading off any shot at free agency and also locking in four additional unguaranteed contract years of his prime.

In the NFL agent industry, that’s a sucker deal, and Cousins’ own agent doesn’t even need to say it. His cheap jersey competitors were so incredulous on Monday that the Redskins logo could have been replaced with an eye-roll emoji.

And truth be told, why wouldn’t Cousins want to wait one season anyway? Barring a significant drop-off in play, he’s got a free agent market that is going to be tilting in his favor should he ever be cut loose, to the point that it’s conceivable more than one NFL team will offer Cousins a top-three quarterback deal with $25 to $30 million in salary and $70-$80 million in guaranteed money. He’s bet on himself this far. What’s another season?

And lest anyone forget, the Redskins aren’t exactly a portrait of calm lately. The franchise just lost its top two wide receivers in free agency. It also fired general manager Scot McCloughan a few months ago in the ugliest of fashions – with someone from the inside sliding anonymous character assassinating quotes into The Washington Post. And not that long ago, the organization didn’t seem all that sold on Cousins being their guy anyway, this despite spending several seasons patiently bending over backward for Robert Griffin III jersey during his downward spiral.

View photosKirk Cousins jersey has chosen not to respond to the Redskins offer. (AP)MoreRead MoreSo maybe Cousins will be doing a little assessing of his own the next eight months – much the same way the franchise felt the need to measure him in 2016. Maybe he wants to see what a sturdy commitment looks like, or how the brain trust reacts when he hits a rough patch. Or maybe he’d just like to go a season without some anonymous suggestion to the media that the franchise might be just fine with Colt McCoy jersey as the starter.

If that’s what Cousins is seeking – a longer look at how the team embraces him – then you can be sure that Monday was another eye-opening moment. Look no further than the Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, who failed to get a long-term deal done with Le’Veon Bell Monday and reacted with this:

“Unfortunately, we were unable to agree to terms on a long-term contract with Le’Veon Bell prior to today’s deadline,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. “Le’Veon is scheduled to play this year under the Exclusive Franchise Tag designation. We will resume our efforts to address his contract situation following the 2017 season.”

No mention of money. No shady reaction to what Bell didn’t take. Just a simple “we didn’t get it done” and a move forth toward the season.

Meanwhile, the Redskins and Bruce Allen took another route and another shot. He no longer has the negotiating stick, so he used a press release instead. But it backfired, just another mistake-filled iteration in what will go down as one of the most botched quarterback negotiations in NFL history.