Jones was getting in a car to go to downtown New York for a dinner with the Giants before he officially pulled a reverse
If you couldn’t guess by Jacoby Jones’ "I Love Bmore" hat that he wanted to stay with the Ravens, the electric Pro Bowl returner proved it by abruptly ending his visit with the New York Giants on Wednesday and taking less money to remain in Baltimore.
"I’m in the [Giants] facility walking around and I think I came to my senses really that this is probably the only place that will let me be myself," Jones said Thursday.
Jones was getting in a car to go to downtown New York for a dinner with the Giants before he officially pulled a reverse.
"I told the driver, head toward Newark. Take me to the airport," Jones said. "I told my agent that I knew I was coming home."
Jones signed a four-year, $12 million deal that includes $4.5 million guaranteed. How much less was the Ravens’ offer compared the one from the Giants?
"I don’t know," Jones said with a smile. "I’m not good at math."
One incentive to stay was the addition of Gary Kubiak as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator. Kubiak was Jones’ head coach for five seasons (2007-11) when both were with the Houston Texans.
Jones referred to Kubiak as his "biological father" because he never knew his own father. He remembered a conversation during his time in Houston when Kubiak sat him down after he was a self-described "knucklehead."
"He told me when you slow down and mature, you’re going to have a chance to make a lot of money," Jones said.
Jones was cut by the Texans in May 2012 after he mishandled a punt that led to Houston’s playoff loss at Baltimore. He joined the Ravens and redefined himself as one of the top playmakers in the league.
In two seasons, Jones has scored 10 touchdowns in 28 games. Since 2012, his 29.8-yard kickoff return average ranks third in the NFL and his four returns for touchdowns (three kickoff and one punt) is tied for the most in the league over that span.
Coach John Harbaugh insisted that the Ravens brought back Jones to be more than a returner, even though he has caught 67 passes in two seasons in Baltimore.
"He’s also a quality receiver," Harbaugh said. "He’s a special-teams player, but he’s also a guy that can do the things that you need to do to move the chains when you need to move them. It’s something that he’s probably grown into over the last three or four years as a football player. Without question, we believe his best football is in front of him."
Replacing a legend is never easy. The Philadelphia Eagles have learned that the hard way.
It has been five years since Philadelphia let safety Brian Dawkins, one of the most popular players in franchise history, walk in free agency. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie loved Dawkins, but he allowed the man known as Weapon X to get on a plane bound for Denver and a visit with the Broncos. By the time Lurie realized his mistake and called Dawkins and begged him to come back, it was too late. Dawkins signed with Denver, and the Eagles have been looking for an adequate replacement ever since.
Malcolm Jenkins is just the latest player Philadelphia hopes can step into Dawkins’ sizeable shadow and provide the leadership, tenacity and production that Dawkins did for all of those years he roamed the Eagles’ defensive backfield.
Shortly after free agency began on Tuesday, the Eagles lured the 26-year-old Jenkins away from New Orleans with what ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported was a three-year, $16.25 million contract. Right before that move, the Eagles released Patrick Chung, whom they signed from New England in free agency last year. He was a massive disappointment in 10 starts last season.
Also Tuesday, Philadelphia continued its offseason trend of re-signing its own players, inking punter Donnie Jones to a three-year contract. This offseason the Eagles also re-signed wide receivers Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, center Jason Kelce, five-time all-pro offensive tackle Jason Peters, and defensive end Cedric Thornton.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman was expected to take a measured approach to free agency, having learned a hard lesson in 2011 after the lockout when the Eagles signed a slew of big-name free agents. That situation was a nightmare, with some incumbent starters upset about the money the team lavished on free agents like cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.
Roseman has since gone back to the Eagles formula for success during Andy Reid’s heyday: Build through the draft, supplement through free agency.
But Jenkins fills an obvious need for the defense, which exceeded expectations last season in Bill Davis’ first year as defensive coordinator, but needs upgrades throughout the secondary.
The Saints used the 14th pick in the 2009 draft to select Jenkins out of Ohio State. A cornerback in college, Jenkins moved to free safety in 2010 and started 15 games, intercepting two passes (and returning one for a touchdown), forcing one fumble and recovering two others.
Jenkins started 57 games at safety for the Saints, was a two-time captain and had a reputation as a dedicated, hard-working player who lived in the film room. While Jenkins thrived early last season under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and has versatility having played cornerback in college, he also often has been more about potential than production. Jenkins has been inconsistent in coverage and missed some tackles.
That said, for Philadelphia, Jenkins will be an upgrade over Chung. He joins a team that made the playoffs in Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach and enters 2014 with significantly higher expectations.
“We really liked Malcolm’s versatility," Kelly said. "He can line up at either safety spot, can come in and make a tackle and can play man-to-man as well. I had a chance to study him on tape leading up to the playoff game and really liked what I saw. He’s a sharp kid and is ultra-competitive. We are really happy to have him in Philadelphia.”
Is Jenkins Brian Dawkins? No. No one is. But he should be the best option at safety Philadelphia has had since Dawkins was in uniform.
It appears the Minnesota Vikings won’t be bringing one of new coach Mike Zimmer’s former defensive pupils to the Twin Cities
The Minnesota Vikings brought back another one of their free agents on Monday morning, re-signing linebacker Larry Dean, who has made his mark on special teams more than anywhere else during his last three seasons in Minnesota.
The undrafted free agent played all 16 games last season, forcing and recovering a fumble in addition to making 13 tackles. He made $555,000 last season, and was a restricted free agent headed into 2014.
As some of you have pointed out, the Vikings’ linebacking group mostly consists of young, unproven players (Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti) and backup types (Dean and Jasper Brinkley) in addition to Chad Greenway and Audie Cole, who got some experience at the end of last season. The Vikings will bring in former Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain for a visit Monday, and could pursue Bengals restricted free agent Vincent Rey, who wouldn’t cost the Vikings a draft pick if they signed him. Otherwise, though, the Vikings could be relying on a young group and the upcoming draft, where a number of intriguing linebacker options could be there for the Vikings at No. 8.
Dean, though, was mostly brought back to help on special teams, and the fact he’s been an important cog there is why he’s got a new deal with the Vikings.
It appears the Minnesota Vikings won’t be bringing one of new coach Mike Zimmer’s former defensive pupils to the Twin Cities.
According to a league source, the team is out of the running for former Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, who posted 11 ½ sacks in Zimmer’s defense in 2012 and figures to be one of the hottest targets when free agency opens on Tuesday. The source said the Vikings didn’t turn down Johnson; rather, things just didn’t pan out between the two sides.
The Vikings had expressed interest in Johnson shortly after the start of the free-agency negotiating period on Saturday afternoon, but finished a five-year, $42.5 million deal with Everson Griffen on Sunday morning. That seemed to reduce the chances of Johnson coming to Minnesota, since the Vikings had committed $33.15 million in guaranteed money to Griffen and Brian Robison in a pair of contracts over the past five months. The Vikings would still have the cap room to pursue Johnson and possibly use Griffen in a variety of roles, but for whatever reason, Johnson won’t be coming to Minnesota.
At this point, the Vikings might be better served spending a good chunk of their remaining money on their leaky secondary. They had expressed interest in Tennessee Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner, who is believed to have a number of suitors and could sign shortly after the start of free agency on Tuesday. The Vikings also could use a nose tackle, and brought in former Baltimore Ravens linebacker D’Qwell Jackson for a visit on Monday.
However they plan to stock their defense, they won’t be doing it by bringing Johnson to Minnesota. We’ll see how the rest of the Vikings’ plan unfolds once free agency starts on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cleveland Browns made a bit of a head-scratching behind-the-scenes move Friday.
The team decided to part ways with Aaron Shea, the team’s Player Engagement Director. Shea was a Browns draft pick in 1999 and a productive player. He spent six years in the organization, the last three as Player Engagement Director (a job some teams call player development). His departure appears to be the fallout from the change in GM and coach.
A coach and GM often want their own guy. That’s fair, and Shea probably understands that. But when a team lets go of an employee who handled his job as adeptly and well as Shea it creates a need that didn’t exist.
The team is not commenting extensively on the decision.
“The Browns would like to thank Aaron for his years of service to the team,” a team spokesman said. “The organization is going to be moving in another direction with the player-engagement role.”
The Browns do lose something with this move. They lose continuity, an established way of doing things, and a way that worked. Shea did that good a job. As the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin issue developed in Miami, I started to think about why it happens with some teams and not others. So I started to ask trustworthy folks, with and not with the team, about the Browns. Folks who would know.
They all said the most overlooked person in the Miami situation was the player-engagement person. That person is in the locker room as much as anyone, they said, and he is the one who should notice what’s taking place and make sure the coach addresses it.
Greg Bedard confirmed this in a recent story, when he wrote that many in the league wondered about the player development guy in Miami. As one player said: “That’s the guy we all go to when we have any problems. If they can’t help us [themselves], we know they’re going to get us the help we need with no repercussions.”
I asked a few of the Browns players about Shea. Starters, backups, rookies, veterans … all said he did a tremendous job and, combined with the character of the team’s leadership, kept a lid on issues. Guys from Ahtyba Rubin to Joe Thomas to T.J. Ward all spoke glowingly of him.
Player development has morphed into a multi-task job. It entails things as varied as making sure players find housing to players being on time for meetings. He also monitors the locker room culture. With the Browns, rookies had to earn their way, but there wasn’t the usual hijinks of shaved heads and other over-the-top nonsense.
It was not a coincidence.
If the Browns wanted to make this move, there was nothing stopping them. They could. But as we often teach our kids, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
A team takes a hit when it gets rid of good people who do good jobs.
Maybe it would be different for Knowshon Moreno if some things had happened more quickly for him than they did. Or maybe it would be different if some things hadn’t happened at all.
But in the wake of a season in which he finally turned potential into production for the Denver Broncos — when he rebounded from injuries, grew up and became the most reliable option in the Broncos’ run game — Moreno will soon be one of the most proven running backs on the open market.
Because that’s where the Broncos’ chief football decision-maker, John Elway, said all of the team’s unrestricted free agents were headed with "I think they have to hit the market, the market sets those [contracts]."
After Montee Ball missed a blitz pickup in a preseason loss in Seattle and quarterback Peyton Manning took what was perhaps the biggest hit he’s taken in his Broncos tenure, Moreno was largely the running back of choice in any situation. Moreno became the best option in pass protection when the Broncos were in their three-wide-receiver set, which was on roughly three of every four plays they ran last season, and he was the top choice in the run game as well.
And when all was said and done in the team’s record-setting performance on offense, Moreno — a player whose maturity, preparation and attention span were questioned at times in his first five seasons in Denver — was suddenly the standard bearer.
Moreno’s a guy who, as running backs coach Eric Studesville put it, "if one of our other guys wants to see how to do it, how to come to work and work, no matter where you are on the depth chart, Knowshon is the guy to look at … I always say, I’d like to think I played a small role in that, but Knowshon did that. Knowshon made himself into what he is."
Moreno rushed for 1,038 yards (his first 1,000-yard season) and scored 10 rushing touchdowns, one of five Broncos players with at least 10 touchdowns last season. He also caught 60 passes and three more touchdowns. Toss in the fact he was the best option as a pass protector in the backfield as well, and the Broncos have plenty of work to spread around in a run game that is expected to be a priority in the coming months.
"When you talk about Knowshon, he had a tremendous year for us," Elway said. "You look at the year — he was reliable, he caught the ball, ran the football for us and was also tremendous in pass protection. Knowshon was a big part of what we did this year."
But Moreno had a torn ACL repaired in 2011 to go with a stem-cell procedure on his knee last offseason after he was injured in the playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens. He also missed much of two training camps early in his career with injuries and the Broncos have begun the plan to move on over the past two years having selected Ronnie Hillman in the third round of the 2012 draft and Ball in the second round of the 2013 draft.
Moreno will turn 27 in July, so in the world of running backs he’s still considered by personnel executives to have some miles left on the career odometer. The knee injuries will be a concern for some evaluators, especially if Moreno’s representatives are looking for a longer-term deal.
The Broncos could give Moreno a look later in free agency on their terms, but he is expected to draw a better offer elsewhere.
The Broncos will look for Ball to go from productive No. 2 option — 559 yards rushing at 4.7 yards per carry this past season — to starter in the coming weeks. Ball, who lost three fumbles by Nov. 24 last season, settled in nicely the rest of the way, playing well down the stretch and into the postseason. Ball also caught 20 passes last season and his role in the passing game will be the part of his skill set that will need the most attention in the offseason. With Manning at quarterback, the No. 1 back in the Broncos’ offense is always going to be a threat for 50 receptions.
Hillman is facing a critical offseason. The Broncos handed him the starting job last May and into training camp.
Not only did Hillman not keep the job, he didn’t respond well with the competition as the season wore on and was a non-factor for much of the year and especially in the postseason.
There is a crop of bigger running backs in this draft — there were 17 running backs at this year’s scouting combine who weighed in at 218 pounds or more compared to 10 at the 2013 combine and 14 in 2012 — and the Broncos will give several of those runners a long look in the draft.
But in the end they certainly like what Moreno became this past season. Now they want Ball to be all that, and perhaps even a little more.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome finally has a big pot of money at his disposal.
The NFL told teams last week that the league will increase the salary cap in 2014 to $133 million, the highest amount in league history. The previous high was $127 million in 2009.
The bump represents about a $10 million increase from last season, and is welcome news for teams like the Ravens that typically spend very close to the cap.
“We have more salary cap space, so that makes it a little brighter situation,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said during an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The increase in the salary cap, along with new deals for outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and tight end Dennis Pitta, and the cuts of linebacker Jameel McClain and fullback Vonta Leach, gives the Ravens reportedly $26 million in cap space heading into free agency.
That could give the Ravens an opprortunity to be active on the open market.
“I think this year we’ll probably use every avenue to make our team better,” Newsome said at the combine. “If we feel like there’s a free agent that could come in and impact our football team, then I think that would be someone that we would be attracted to. We will use every avenue this year to make our team better.”
In addition to targeting some unrestricted free agents or cap casualties, the Ravens are also interested in re-signing their own players. The team has been in negotiations with left tackle Eugene Monroe and inside linebacker Daryl Smith, and Harbaugh said he was optimistic about the possibility of keeping them in Baltimore.
Other key players like defensive lineman Art Jones, cornerback Corey Graham, wide receiver Jacoby Jones, right tackle Michael Oher and safety James Ihedigbo are also set to become free agents. The new money could allow the Ravens to work out deals with some of them before they hit free agency.
he Ravens have until 4 p.m. today to either re-sign left tackle Eugene Monroe or place the franchise tag on him.
Placing the franchise tag on Monroe would ensure he would be a Raven for at least one more season, and buy Baltimore more time to a long-term deal negotiate.
But it’s an expensive proposition.
The franchise tender for offensive tackles this year is $11.65 million, costing nearly as much as coveted wide receivers and cornerbacks. It’s so high because tackles often garner big contracts and the franchise tag is the average of offensive linemen’s top deals.
All of that money would go towards this year’s salary cap as well, whereas a long-term deal could be spread out over the course of the contract.
The Ravens and Monroe have made “some progress” in negotiations towards a new deal, according to The Baltimore Sun, but still reportedly remain financially far apart.
Both sides have said they would like to reach an agreement. Monroe’s wife is from the Baltimore area and he enjoyed his time with the Ravens after coming from Jacksonville early in the season.
The Ravens would like Monroe, who is only 26 years old and regarded as the top tackle potentially to hit the market, to anchor the left side of their line. He was the Ravens’ best lineman and the 12th-best tackle in the entire NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.
Baltimore also gave up fourth- and fifth-round picks to bring Monroe to Baltimore. If he did sign elsewhere, however, the Ravens would likely recoup those picks (or close to it) the following year in compensatory selections.
If the Ravens do put the franchise tag on Monroe, they would have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal and avoid having him play the entire season under the tag. The Ravens have signed every franchise player in team history to long-term contracts except for one, center Wally Williams in 1998.
Byrd has been Buffalo’s best defensive back since being selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Oregon
Contract talks between the Bills and safety Jairus Byrd were at a standstill on Sunday, a day before Buffalo faces a deadline to apply the franchise tag on the three-time Pro Bowl selection.
People familiar with the situation told The Associated Press talks have stalled and no further discussions are scheduled after the Bills made a lucrative, multiyear offer to Byrd. Without revealing the full value and length of the offer, one person said Byrd would have been paid about $30 million over the contract’s first three seasons.
The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither side has publicly discussed negotiations.
Unless a deal is reached, the Bills have until 4 p.m. Monday to apply the franchise tag on Byrd and retain the player’s rights before he would be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11.
The Bills took that approach last offseason, which led to Byrd playing under a one-year, $6.9 million franchise tag. The price for Buffalo to do so again would increase to about $8.4 million this year.
Byrd has been Buffalo’s best defensive back since being selected in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Oregon.
He enjoyed a breakout season as a rookie, when he finished tied for the NFL lead with nine interceptions — a rookie franchise record.
Last year, Byrd finished tied for the team lead with four interceptions, and added a sack and a forced fumble despite missing the entire offseason before reporting to the team in late August, when he accepted his one-year contract. Byrd then missed the first five games of the season because of plantar fasciitis in both feet.
Despite the time he missed, Byrd still earned his third Pro Bowl selection.
Byrd has 22 interceptions and 11 forced fumbles in 73 career games.
Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Erin Henderson, who was released by the team on Feb. 7, will make his first court appearance Monday to face five charges stemming from his Jan. 1 arrest for drunken driving and drug possession.
Henderson, who was arrested in Chanhassen, Minn., after a single-car accident on New Year’s Day, was charged with second- and third-degree DWI, as well as one count of marijuana possession over 1.4 grams and one count of drug paraphernalia possession, according to Carver County court records. He was also charged with driving under a limited driver’s license condition, which occurred as a result of his initial DWI arrest on Nov. 19 in Eden Prairie, Minn.
He is facing two fourth-degree DWI charges, a drug possession charge and a careless driving charge from the first arrest, and will appear in Hennepin County court for that case in April.
The Vikings moved Henderson from weak-side linebacker to the middle of their defense before last season, but the 27-year-old lost his job to Audie Cole after the Nov. 19 arrest, and a subsequent personal matter that kept Henderson out of the Vikings next game. After the first arrest, Henderson said he had been struggling with the pressure of trying to keep his starting job in the NFL, but said two days before the second arrest that he believed he’d made significant personal strides.
Henderson could face additional NFL discipline following the two arrests. He has not signed with a team for the 2014 season.
"We’re always going to be there for Erin in any type of capacity if he needs support in any way, shape or form," general manager Chris Spielman told reporters at the team’s Arctic Blast charity event the day after the Vikings released Henderson. "He’s done a lot of great things for our organization. I know he’s had a rough stretch down here, and those are tough decisions to make, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care about Erin Henderson the person."
In the past two days, the Detroit Lions have been given an idea of what the team might see when free agency starts March 11.
And they have had to make no moves of their own to do so.
By Philadelphia re-signing wide receiver Riley Cooper and Baltimore hanging on to tight end Dennis Pitta, two of the positions the Lions will potentially look to the most in free agency, Detroit now has a base of what could be expected.
Cooper signed a five-year, $25 million contract after a breakout season where he caught 47 passes for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. In a deep crop of free agents at his position, Cooper was part of a tier of player that the Lions are likely going to look at to potentially fill a need, so this gives them a market value to work off of.
Pitta’s signing, as first reported by the Baltimore Sun, does more to shape Detroit’s free agency than Cooper’s will. Pitta’s contract will be five years for $32 million, according to ESPN Insider Adam Schefter, and it could give an idea of what the Lions’ own comparable tight end in the free agent market, Brandon Pettigrew, might want.
It would be logical to think that Pettigrew would at least seek out a deal similar in value to Pitta and depending how Detroit feels about that situation, could give an early indication whether the team might feel that is worth it to pursue.
Pettigrew actually put together better statistics than Pitta during the overlapping parts of their careers — Pettigrew has one more year of service than Pitta — but they are capable of doing similar things. Both are tight ends who are considered dual-purpose, meaning they can block and catch, so that helps set the market even further.
The final piece of this, and perhaps the reason why Pettigrew might end up leaving Detroit, is he might now be the top free-agent tight end. With New Orleans using the franchise tag on Jimmy Graham and the signing of Pitta, Pettigrew and Buffalo’s Scott Chandler are now the top free-agent tight ends likely to hit the market in less than two weeks.
That could drive the value for Pettigrew higher than it might have been had Pitta not re-upped with the Ravens.
Detroit general manager Martin Mayhew said at the NFL combine a week ago that Pettigrew is a priority free agent for the Lions, but like with every move the team makes, everything will be interconnected both with comparative value through the rest of the league and also how it fits with other free agents the Lions are going to try and acquire.
The Detroit Lions are keeping their continuity snapping the ball in 2014.
The team, which brought back center Dominic Raiola last month, re-signed veteran long snapper Don Muhlbach to a one-year contract. The deal was announced Thursday.
The base salary on the deal is $955,000, according to NFLPA records. The Detroit Free Press is reporting Muhlbach is also receiving a $65,000 signing bonus. He received the same bonuses in 2012 and 2013.
The 32-year-old from Texas A&M has played in 148 games for Detroit since going undrafted in 2004 — almost primarily as the team’s long snapper.
Muhlbach was named to the Pro Bowl in 2012.
To understand a little bit more about what Muhlbach actually does, here’s a look from last season at the Detroit Lions punting operation.
The Chicago Bears agreed to terms on a one-year contract with veteran tight end Dante Rosario, the team announced on Thursday.
Earlier on Thursday the Bears re-signed starting center Roberto Garza to a one-year, $1.5 million contract that included a $100,000 signing bonus and $75,000 workout bonus.
Rosario, a seven-year NFL veteran, was acquired by the Bears via a trade with the Dallas Cowboys on September 2. Rosario appeared in 15 games (three starts) and caught just one pass for 13 yards but did record five special teams tackles.
For his career, Rosario has 100 receptions for 1,119 and eight touchdowns in 106 games and 29 starts.
The Bears could still look to add another tight end to the mix in free agency or the NFL draft to compliment starter Martellus Bennett, who caught a career-high 65 balls for 759 yards in 2013, to go along with five touchdowns.
So what if Chicago Bears center Roberto Garza turns 35 in less than a month? The team absolutely made the right decision in shrugging off age and instead focusing on production in deciding to bring back Garza for what will be his 1oth season in Chicago.
The Bears also made the right move to come up from the original minimum offer the sides discussed shortly after the conclusion of the regular season.
A captain for each of the past three seasons, Garza has started in eight postseason contests, and anchored a revamped offensive line in 2013 that featured four new starters. The Bears finished last season as one of just three teams in the NFL to start the same five offensive linemen for all 16 games.
So bringing back Garza only enriches the continuity along the offensive line, which should be even better in 2014 in Year 2 in Marc Trestman’s offensive system.
Bears general manager Phil Emery referenced Garza’s consistency when discussing in January the potential difficulty of bringing back the starting center after a 2013 campaign which was arguably Garza’s best in Chicago.
“A year ago, he was at 11 total [hits, sacks and knockdowns allowed] for the season,” Emery said. “This year, he was at five. So I’ve told him I thought he made a big push up. He got a lot better with his overall body position and his hip placement. He’s obviously very important in terms of calling signals for our offensive line and making point adjustments.”
Garza also brings a selfless attitude that has proved to be contagious in the locker room. In making a decision on whether to sign the seven-year extension with the Bears, quarterback Jay Cutler talked about the desire of teammates to win championships over chasing dollars.
“I talked with [Matt] Forte, [Brandon Marshall], Garza and all the guys,” Cutler explained. “We’re here to win championships, not to make so and so amount of dollars.”
It’s apparent the Bears used the recent deal signed by Detroit center Dominic Raiola, who is 35, as the framework for Garza’s contract. Raiola signed a one-year deal earlier in February worth $1.5 million.
So while Garza’s deal doesn’t exactly break the bank, it’s cap friendly and rewards one of the fixtures on Chicago’s offensive line who hasn’t shown any signs he’s regressing.
Jonathan Martin has made it clear that he wants to play in the NFL in 2014, but what’s not quite clear yet is where Martin will play.
The 24-year-old offensive lineman is under contract with the Dolphins for two more seasons, but that doesn’t mean he’s staying in Miami. According to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, conversations didn’t go too well when Martin’s camp met with the Dolphins at the NFL combine.
A trade could send Martin anywhere, but one place he’d probably feel comfortable and where he’d see a lot of familiar faces is Indianapolis. In an interview with on NBC Sports Network’s Pro Football Talk show on Wednesday, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck said he’d be in favor of bringing his former Stanford teammate to Indy.
Specifically, Luck was asked what he would tell the Colts’ front office if he were asked about Martin, "I’d say I love Jon, we had a great time at Stanford together, still stay in touch with him regularly and I think he’s a great man," Luck said.
Just to be clear though, the Colts quarterback was also asked if he’d be 100 percent in favor of bringing Martin to Indianapolis, "Yes," Luck said.
Luck also added that he’s spoken to Martin within the past couple of days.
If Martin’s looking for welcoming locker room, Indianapolis might be his best bet. The Colts are basically Stanford-east. Besides Luck, the Colts also have three more of Martin’s former Stanford teammates — Coby Fleener, Griff Whalen and Delano Howell — plus Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton had the same job at Stanford while Martin was there.
Luck might be in favor of bringing Martin to Indianapolis, but the real question is: Would the Colts front office be in favor of it?
Seattle Seahawks quarterback and former minor league second baseman Russell Wilson will be in camp with the Rangers next Monday, the team announced. He is expected to participate in the club’s morning work out and be in uniform for their afternoon game against the Indians. It’s unlikely he will play, however.
Wilson, 25, spent two years in the Rockies’ farm system before giving up baseball and pursuing a career in the NFL. He led the Seahawks to their Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Denver Broncos last month, so obviously the career choice has worked out quite well.
The Rangers selected Wilson from Colorado in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft back in December. They aren’t hoping to convince him to return to baseball, however. The team said they want Wilson in camp so he can talk their young players and be a motivational tool.
Wilson hit .229/.354/.356 with five home runs in 93 Single-A games for the Rockies from 2010-11. He was their fourth round pick in the 2010 draft.