Falcons have ‘no time frame’ on Matt Ryan extension

Atlanta Falcons:Matt Ryan

Waiting for the Atlanta Falcons to re-sign Matt Ryan and reset the quarterback market? Don’t hold your breath.

Even though the Falcons would like to dictate the pace of the inevitable QB carousel, as NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, Atlanta is in no rush to finish Ryan’s extension before the start of free agency, when Kirk Cousins is expected to break the bank with record figures.

“I’m not concerned,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff told reporters when asked about Ryan’s contract Wednesday. “Like I’ve said before, our focus is on Matt and getting him secured here for years to come. He wants to be with us, we want him to be here. As I’ve said, I don’t think it’s a complicated situation. I think it’s a significant situation. He’s a very important part to the organization. There’s no time frame on it right now.

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“I think you would like to go into the season making sure that things are secured but there’s no time frame as far as people saying, ‘Well, do you want to get this done before free agency?’ Of course you’d like to get it done tomorrow, just because it’s a load off your mind.”

Ryan is entering the final season of a five-year, $103.8 million extension he signed in 2013. The 2016 league MVP is slated to make $19.25 million in 2018, the highest base salary among QBs behind Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers — who is also up for an extension.

Since Ryan last signed a contract, QB numbers have increased steadily. Just last year alone, Derek Carr ($25M), Matthew Stafford ($27M) and Jimmy Garoppolo ($27.5M) each held the title, albeit briefly, of Highest-Paid Player in the League Based on Average Salary (HPPLBAS, for short?).

Will Ryan earn that moniker at some point? The league year begins March 14. After that, all bets are off.

Adam Gase: Dolphins’ Jay Cutler set to play Thursday

Jay Cutler looks set to make his Dolphins jersey debut this week.

Adam Gase: Dolphins’ Jay Cutler set to play Thursday

Coach Adam Gase told reporters Tuesday that the quarterback “looks like” he’s going to play in Thursday’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens jersey.

Cutler has been with Miami for a little over a week after coming out of a brief retirement.

The reunion between Gase and Cutler happened in large part because of the quarterback’s familiarity with the coach’s system stemming from their time together in Chicago. With Cutler getting up to speed re-learning the offense, it makes sense to give him some run this week to help work on his rapport with new teammates in a live setting.

How much time Cutler spends on the field remains to be seen. Even a few drives will give the Dolphins an indication of where he is with the offense and show the rest of us the status of his arm and authentic jerseys for sale after undergoing surgery that ended his 2016 campaign.

Here are the other injuries we’re monitoring on Friday:

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1. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton continues to rehab after offseason shoulder surgery. Friday, he took another big step. Newton threw to wide receivers during team drills for the first time since July 30 when trainers cut his day short due to fatigue. Friday, Newton threw passes for about 10 minutes during individual drills.

In other Panthers news, rookie running back Curtis Samuel told reporters he is being “cautious” with the hamstring injury initially suffered in minicamp, calling it a “minor strain.” Samuel has not been an active participant in practice since his conditioning test on the first day of camp, but has been catching passes from Newton off to the side.

2. Minnesota Vikings running back Bishop Sankey is done for the season after an MRI revealed he suffered a torn ACL in Thursday’s preseason tilt against the Buffalo Bills, a source informed of the injury told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. Sankey was hoping to find a role in Minnesota after spending two seasons in Tennessee, but the knee injury will hold his NFL football jerseys cheap out of the entire 2017 season.

3. Seattle Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is fine after teammate K.J. Wright fell on his leg, coach Pete Carroll said, per the Seattle Times. Baldwin won’t play Sunday, though the injury isn’t serious.

4. Trent Murphy was slated to miss the first four games while suspended for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Now he’ll miss the entire season.

The Washington Redskins pass rusher suffered a torn ACL in Thursday’s preseason opener, Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported. Murphy has previously missed just one game in his previous three seasons. He is coming off of a career-high nine-sack season.

5. The Detroit Lions saw the return of tight end Eric Ebron jersey and offensive tackle Ricky Wagner to practice. Ebron hasn’t practiced since the first day of camp when he strained his hamstring. The starting tight end will not play in Detroit’s exhibition in Indianapolis on Sunday, but should see game action going forward. Wagner left practice with an undisclosed injury Thursday.

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NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Cutler is Miami’s top choice if the team decides to add a veteran to compete with Matt Moore, who took over first-team duties after Tannehill’s injury.

“We’ve had a lot of people call us, we’ve talked to a few people,” Gase said. “We’re keeping all our options on the table. A lot of the things that are out there aren’t really what we’re doing. It’s kind of funny to watch jersey for cheap.”

Cutler enjoyed his most efficient season in 2015 when Gase was the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears jersey. The veteran signal-caller’s familiarity with the system could help make the quick transition easier if the sides eventually agree to a deal.

Gase said Saturday that Cutler made no demands on starting if he joins Miami.

The Dolphins continue to ponder whether Tannehill will undergo surgery that would end his season. Adding Cutler would likely hinge on that decision and how comfortable the team is with Moore as its year-long starter. Moore reportedly had an up-and-down day in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Nathan Peterman’s solid preseason continues for Bills

The Buffalo Bills expect Tyrod Taylor back for Week 1, but the team had to like what they saw from potential stand-in Nathan Peterman in the preseason finale on Thursday.

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The rookie started and led the Bills on two scoring drives to open the contest versus the Detroit Lions. Peterman went 9-of-11 passing for 81 yards, guiding Buffalo to a 10-0 lead early before exiting in the Bills’ 27-17 win.

“Nate Peterman is developing,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said. “It’s important he goes through the process. I was proud of the way he played.”

On Thursday general manager Brandon Beane praised the fifth-round pick out of Pitt, saying Peterman owns “the moxie, the pocket presence, the leadership,” and “seems to be natural” leading the team.

Facing Lions backups — many of whom will be cut this weekend — Peterman displayed all those attributes.

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The Bills employed a bevy of three-step drops with Peterman in (likely to help keep him healthy). The rookie quarterback displayed good pocket presence, got the ball out quickly, showed good accuracy and timing with receivers. In two drives, he completed passes that went for 15, 12, 11, 11 and 10 yards.

Facing backups takes some of the shine off Peterman’s performance (facing the Jets starters would be a different beast if he’s forced into action in Week 1), but it should bring a modicum of comfort to coaches that the rookie hasn’t seemed overwhelmed by the moment throughout the preseason. The Bills could be in worse shape if Taylor isn’t cleared for the season opener.

Atlanta Falcons will NOT suffer Super Bowl hangover in 2017

The Super Bowl hangover isn’t a myth. It’s real. History and the eyeball test in the salary cap era tell you it is the truth: Losing on the game’s biggest stage can have repercussions that last long after Super Sunday.

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Since 2000, half of the Super Bowl losers failed to even make the postseason in the following campaign. Just two got back to the conference title game — none returned to the Super Bowl.

The most recent hangover victim? Carolina. The Panthers went from an NFL-best 15-1 in 2015 to 6-10 and dead last in the NFC South last fall. Cam Newton followed up his league MVP campaign with the worst statistical season of his professional life.

So, given this preamble, it’s easy to foresee Atlanta suffering a Super Bowl hangover of epic proportions, right? After all, this team blew a 25-point, second-half lead in Super Bowl LI, handing the Patriots their fifth Lombardi Trophy. Can you imagine the figurative pounding headache that comes from that kind of choke job?

But here’s the thing: I believe in the 2017 Falcons. I think Atlanta’s only gotten better this offseason. I think February’s unthinkable heartbreak is going to fuel this prideful bunch. I think the experience has only made these Falcons stronger.

I can easily see Atlanta getting right back to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis next February.

These Falcons, under general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn, are spectacularly built. The roster oozes talent, starting on the offensive side of the ball.

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Nike Falcons #2 Matt Ryan Red Team Color Men’s Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey

Matt Ryan is a star and now has an MVP trophy to prove it. Having just turned 32, Ryan’s squarely in his prime, fresh off a season where he put up some crazy numbers, including a 69.9 percent completion rate, a 9.3 yards-per-attempt figure and a 117.1 quarterback rating. Now, Ryan did lose his offensive coordinator when Kyle Shanahan took the head-coaching gig in San Francisco. That’s a blow, no doubt. But I loved the Steve Sarkisian hiring. And Ryan still has quite a set of toys at his disposal.

Julio Jones might be the best receiver in the game today. The guy’s an absolute beast who can single-handedly take over a game. (Just ask the Packers.) And Atlanta boasts strong pass-catching depth beyond Jones. Mohamed Sanu’s a quintessential professional, while Taylor Gabriel’s a speed merchant last seen embarrassing Pats stud Malcolm Butler. Tight end Austin Hooper showed plenty of promise in his rookie season, bringing some more speed up the seam.

The Falcons’ $1.4 billion new home, which is set to open August 26, will rise to 30 stories high, feature a retractable roof that can open and close in seven minutes and many amazing views of Atlanta’s skyline.

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However, all of that will be overshadowed — figuratively and possibly literally — by this gigantic stainless steel bird. The statue is 41.5 feet tall and weighs 73,000 pounds. It was created by Gabor Miklos Szoke, who has a thing for nightmarish birds, having constructed the largest bird monument in Europe for the Hungarian football club FTC.

One Twitter user noticed its resemblance to another intimidating bird figure here in the U.S.

The man with the self-proclaimed “best motor” in the 2017 NFL Draft class now has a contract.

The Atlanta Falcons announced Thursday they have agreed to terms with first-round pick Takkarist McKinley, who was selected No. 26 overall last month.

A two-year starter at UCLA, McKinley logged 99 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, six forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed in his three years in Westwood. Atlanta traded up five spots to select him last month.

The Falcons also announced Thursday they have agreed to terms with three other draft picks: linebacker Duke Riley, running back Brian Hill and tight end Eric Saubert.

Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes victim of aggravated robbery

Kansas City Chiefs first-round pick Patrick Mahomes got out of a sticky situation unscathed.

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The Chiefs quarterback and three others were robbed Friday night in Tyler, Texas, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to NFL Media.

Sgt. Darrell Coslin with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office said Mahomes and three friends returned home after attending a baseball game. Upon pulling into the driveway, another car blocked them in. A robber got out of his vehicle and approached Mahomes and the others, acting as if he had a gun in his cheap jerseys and waistband. The robber demanded the victims’ goods, who complied.

Per police, the robbery was random and Mahomes, who is from Tyler, was not targeted.

After getting a description of the vehicle, police found the car in the area a short time later. The stolen property was found in the car. No gun was seen during the robbery and no gun was recovered, police said.

Police arrested Michael Pinkerton and Billy Ray Johnson. Pinkerton confessed to the robbery during an interview with deputies, according to police. He is charged with felony aggravated robbery and being held on bond. According to police, it’s unclear if Johnson was in the car when the robbery took place. He is charged with felony tampering with evidence (he was found with some items) and possession of narcotics.

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General manager John Dorsey and head coach Andy Reid moved up 17 spots to select Mahomes 10th overall because they saw a rare talent with a skill set that reminded them of Brett Favre. They also gave up two picks (a first-rounder next April and a third-rounder last Friday) because they believe in the environment they are plopping him into for the next couple of years. Dorsey and Reid understand that talent isn’t the only thing that makes quarterbacks succeed in the NFL. The right fit has plenty to do with that happening, as well.

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This is why we’ve heard so much about Dorsey being a part of the Green Bay front office when the Packers selected Aaron Rodgers in the first round of the 2005 draft, despite having Favre still in his prime. It’s why Reid’s well-documented history of developing quarterbacks is so noteworthy, as is the way current starter Alex Smith goes about his business. Yes, Mahomes has the type of cannon that is best described as a gift from the heavens. More importantly, he has three men around him who understand that arm strength won’t be the biggest reason why he becomes an effective signal-caller at the next level.

In fact, when a reporter asked Reid — who also served as Favre’s position coach with the Packers in 1997 and ’98 — for a reasonable timetable for Mahomes to become a starter, the coach said, “I don’t know. We’ll get in and see how it goes. The one nice thing is, we have a good quarterback here. You look at what Dorsey went through with Aaron Rodgers. It took time. (Rodgers spent three seasons sitting behind Favre.) We’re OK. I’m just glad we got him. It’s kind of a neat deal. It’s a positive thing. It gives an opportunity for Kansas City to have that position in pretty good hands for a long period of time.”

It’s critical for Reid to soften expectations as to when Mahomes will play, because he knows the outcry will come quickly. The first time Smith endures a bad game — or even throws one too many check-downs — the fans in that town will be clamoring for the rookie who was videotaped throwing a football 80 yards in the air. The future can’t come soon enough for those who support the Chiefs. The reality is that Mahomes will require delicate care and ample time to become the player the Chiefs envision.

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For all of Mahomes’ upside, there are plenty of analysts who have criticized his noticeable flaws: the penchant for taking too many chances with the football, the raw footwork, the lack of time under center and the fact that he didn’t have to call plays in the huddle for a college team that won just 13 of the 29 games he started. It’s no secret that quarterbacks who come from spread offenses in college have to learn plenty about playing quarterback in the NFL. It’s also well-known that signal-callers who thrive in the “air raid” system that spawned Mahomes have an even tougher mountain to climb.

“Listen, Alex Smith, his four years here, has the fourth-winningest record in the National Football League since he’s been here. That guy understands — this is his team. And the young guy understands — he’s going to learn and develop these certain traits that it takes to be a quarterback in this league.”

We’re now firmly in tightrope-walking season. If the Chiefs were so amazed by Smith’s sports jerseys for cheap record, why would they be looking to move on in the first place? Is Smith actually thrilled, or is he simply smarter now having gone through this in San Francisco with Colin Kaepernick? Also, does Patrick Mahomes really plan on sitting for two seasons?

Kansas City is one of the few markets that might be able to handle a baton-passing scenario, though none of them seem to go according to plan. Chiefs fans are well aware of the team’s veteran-laden roster and possess some high expectations for 2017. Would they hesitate for a moment to boo Smith if he wasn’t maximizing the talent around him?

At least for now, the Chiefs are doing the right thing by trying to keep everyone happy. A true test of their plan will be how long this honeymoon period lasts.

Allen: Redskins ‘close’ to finalizing front-office plan

Months after the Washington Redskins jersey fired general manager Scot McCloughan, the position remains unfilled.

Redskins president Bruce Allen told reporters the team is getting close to adding to their front office.

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“We met with over a dozen people from the outside, talked to everybody on the inside. We’re getting close to having a final plan,” Allen said, via the Washington Post.

Allen danced around the question of whether the team would hire an actual GM or simply add to the player personnel and scouting staff.

“From the beginning, you know, I’m real proud of what the guys did with wholesale football jerseys this year in free agency and in this draft,” Allen said. “As I’ve said, we have a lot of quality people who performed well under some tough situations this year. This draft class, the excitement it’s brought to our locker room, it’s exciting, so we’re looking to add to [the front office], we’ll see who that is.”

That is some grade-A evasive maneuvering from Allen cheap jerseys.

As NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport noted, it would be a surprise if the Redskins hire an actual GM to replace McCloughan.

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Nike Redskins #8 Kirk Cousins Black Men's Stitched NFL Limited 2016 Salute to Service JerseyNico Marley, the grandson of late legendary reggae artist Bob Marley, has been signed by the Washington Redskins as an undrafted free agent, the team announced on Tuesday.

Marley, a linebacker from Tulane, tried out for the team during its rookie minicamp over the weekend. As a senior, the undersized Marley (5-foot-8, 200 pounds) led the Green Wave with 88 tackles, including 14 for losses, and three sacks. He was a two-time first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick over his last two college seasons.

Jones started the first seven games of the 2016 season before being a healthy scratch the rest of the way.

The Redskins drafting Samaje Perine in the fourth round to team with Rob Kelley and third-down back Chris Thompson signaled the end of Jones’ time in D.C.

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Jones, a bruising 6-foot-2, 232-pound runner showed promise as a rookie, toting 144 times in 2015 for 490 yards and catching 19 passes for 304 yards. He immediately fell out of favor in Washington in 2016, with Kelley taking over the big-back role.

Fumbles sealed Jones fate. In two seasons, the running back coughed up the ball eight times, losing six. Coaches do not suffer running backs who fumble.

Jones skipping OTAs feels like the first step in the third-round pick’s eventual release. Whether the Redskins grant him that discharge now or make him wait remains to be seen.

Given his youth and natural talent, Jones should latch onto another squad once he’s cut loose. If he can’t fix the fumbling problem, however, his second chance won’t last long.

International players added to four practice squads

Four NFC South teams are adding some international flavor to their rosters.

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The NFL announced Thursday, the four teams — Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers — will each carry an additional overseas player on their practice squads during the 2017 season as part of a new International Player Pathway program.

The NFC South teams are granted an exemption for an 11th practice squad member to accommodate the program. These players cannot be activated during the season.

The league said it chose the division to receive the international players in a random.

The players include three players from the United Kingdom and one from Germany:

Atlanta Falcons: Alex Gray jersey, tight end, a former England Sevens star rugby player. He is the first English rugby union pro to quit to take up American football.

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Carolina Panthers: Efe Obada, defensive end, raised in London after moving from the Netherlands at age 10, was signed by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015 but never made it off a practice squad.

New Orleans Saints: Alex Jenkins, defensive end, from the U.K. and played college football at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Eric Nzeocha, linebacker, from Germany, played three years at the University of Wyoming.

The quartet has been training for the past three months in Florida under the tutelage of Osi Umenyiora and NFLUK head of football development Aden Durde.

The Tampa Bay Police report Martin’s BMW was hit Thursday afternoon by a car that ran a stop sign. During the crash, Martin’s vehicle was pushed off the road before it collided with an air-conditioning unit outside a local business.

Martin sustained minor cuts and bruises as a result of the crash, according to the police. Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reported Martin is “fine” after the accident, but needed stitches for a cut on his chin.

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Martin later confirmed on Twitter he was fine.

“Doug was the unfortunate victim in an auto accident earlier today after leaving our team facility,” Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement. “While Doug’s vehicle sustained a large amount of damage, we are pleased to report that he received only minor cuts and bruises. He has been evaluated by our medical staff and has headed home.”

Nike Buccaneers #40 Mike Alstott Black Men's Stitched NFL Limited Gold Salute To Service JerseyThe driver of the other car was cited for committing a stop sign violation before hitting Martin’s vehicle.

Martin, who is taking part in the Bucs’ offseason program, was suspended at the end of the 2016 season violating the NFL’s drug policy. He still has three games to serve on the four-game ban.

The suspension voided the guaranteed money in Martin’s contract, which could allow the Bucs to jettison the running back without penalty.

“I mean, how old is he?” Bucs wideout Adam Humphries told Pewter Report. “He runs so smooth, take the ball he caught [deep ball over Vernon Hargreaves last week], he makes it look so easy. It is a blessing what he has, the way he runs. It is just fun to watch.”

According to Next Gen Stats, Jackson’s top-end speed actually improved last year, as did his average yards per reception — a stunning 17.9 on 56 catches.

He is exactly the type of boom-or-bust player that can set a team’s offseason hype train on a runaway course — and alongside O.J. Howard and Mike Evans, Jackson has done just that.

Jackson will be turning heads in practice all summer, but it will be quarterback Jameis Winston’s ability to use him in practical moments that will actually cement the hype.

As a Bucs fan, this summer will be a steadily increasing tease. Between nuggets like this from Humphries, the inevitable Hard Knocks bump and the steady stream of positive vibes coming from coach Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay is becoming harder and harder to ignore within the NFC South. Jackson will either define their rise or their disappointment in 2017.

Buffalo Bills fire general manager Doug Whaley

The Buffalo Bills have parted ways with general manager Doug Whaley after four seasons, the team announced Sunday. The news comes hours after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft.

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Whaley joined the team as assistant general manager in 2010 and was later hired as general manager in 2013 after Buddy Nix stepped down following that year’s draft. In Whaley’s four seasons as general manager, the team finished 30-34 and had just one winning season (2014).

The Bills also terminated the professional and amateur scouting departments, Pegula said at a press conference Sunday.

Whaley seemed to at least be on the hot seat, if not nearing the end of his tenure when he admitted he wasn’t included in the conversations surrounding the firing of head coach Rex Ryan.

The timing of Whaley’s firing was curious, of course, considering it came less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the 2017 NFL Draft. Bills owner Terry Pegula said keeping Whaley (and the scouting department) around through the draft completed the group’s work.

“The decision was made now because this is the end of the scouting year,” Pegula said. “We ran a process and as a result of that process after the draft we made the decision.”

“He put the whole thing together,” Pegula said of Whaley’s involvement with the 2017 draft.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the scouting community expected the move, adding new Bills head coach Sean McDermott had a heavy hand in Buffalo’s draft-night trade.

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Nike Bills #83 Andre Reed White Men's Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited JerseyThe Bills announced that they interviewed Panthers assistant general manager Brandon Beane on Thursday.

In addition, Don Gregory, the Panthers’ director of player personnel is considered a potential candidate for the vacancy as is Brett Veach, the Chiefs’ co-director of player personnel, Rapoport reported. Buffalo has also received permission to interview Texans director of pro personnel Brian Gaine, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported.

McDermott will be consulted by ownership during the GM search, Pegula said.

“Sure, I will ask Sean questions,” Pegula said. “We will use every resource available.”

Whaley’s draft tenure was marred by injuries to his lone two first round picks — receiver Sammy Watkins and defensive end Shaq Lawson — and later-round selections that failed to stick, as well as the albatross he immediately inherited and for which he was forced to find an alternative in E.J. Manuel. The Watkins selection became uglier after repeated struggles with foot issues, as well as the fact Whaley dealt away a 2015 first-round pick (and fourth-round selection) to move up to grab the wideout.

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“During our search for a new general manager, Brandon stood out to Kim [Pegula] and I as he embodies the type of leader and type of person we want in our organization,” Bills owner and CEO Terry Pegula said in a statement released by the team. “Brandon has excelled in a variety of roles for a Panthers team that has consistently competed at a high-level in this league. We feel his vast understanding and experience in many facets of football operations will be invaluable to our club moving forward.”

In Carolina, Beane worked under one of the league’s top GMs in Dave Gettleman. The understudy also had a front-row seat to watch McDermott evolve into a bright and sought-after defensive mind.

“I am very excited for Brandon Beane. Brandon is a guy who started at the bottom and worked his way up,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “He started as an intern here, starting in the football operations department and eventually became the head of the football operations department. He started evaluating talent and learned that part of the business as well. He became our assistant general manager and has been a tremendous help to me over the last few years as we made our runs in the playoffs – three straight NFC South division champions. Brandon played a big part in that.”

If the timing of Whaley’s firing was somewhat surprising, the decision itself was long coming. McDermott has been given considerable power to shape the Bills in his image and select his own lieutenants.

There’s no question McDermott and Beane believe they can make this work. The issue in Buffalo is whether team brass — one rung up the ladder — will exhibit the requisite patience to allow the Bills to grow and develop over the course of multiple seasons.

Aaron Rodgers: I’m starting back nine of my career

It’s hard to believe that Aaron Rodgers is entering his 13th NFL season. After a mesmerizing 2016 campaign in which he threw 40 touchdowns versus only seven interceptions, the Green Bay Packers quarterback is still at the top of his game.

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Rodgers, who turns 34 in December, knows he’s far removed from being a spring chicken in the league. Yet, despite his possible advancement to a new stage in his career, Rodgers holds one clear advantage over several other quarterbacks creeping up in age.

“I think I’m on the back nine of my career,” Rodgers said Tuesday in an interview with NFL Network’s Alex Flanagan at the Gatorade Player of the Year awards. “But I think I’m just kind of starting the back nine. This will be my 10th year starting, I got to sit for three years. So I’m not the typical 13-year pro, having the opportunity to sit for three years and not take the wear and tear to learn the discount jerseys game.”

Once a quarterback hits his mid-30s, it’s hard not to think about looming retirement and contingency plans at the position. Rodgers was squarely in the middle of such a situation early in his career, which involved his predecessor Brett Favre. The Packers’ current gunslinger believes his ability to play at a high level for a decade has been a product of one key factor: Remaining in Green Bay.

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Nike Vikings #22 Harrison Smith White Men's Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey“I think we all have numbers,” Rodgers said. “When I was a young player, I remember thinking as I looked at some of the older guys, if I got to five that’d be cool, or eight, or anything after 10 would be amazing. For me, I think the cheap soccer jerseys online longevity is tied to being a Green Bay Packer. I’d like to finish my career in Green Bay.”

As long as Rodgers is at his peak behind center, the Packers should always be considered contenders for the Lombardi Trophy. After holding off the Steelers to win the 2011 Super Bowl, however, it’s been a disappointing stretch filled with jerseys cheap crushing playoff losses.

Despite entering last postseason with “hottest team in the league” status in the wake of ripping off six straight wins to end the season, Rodgers and co. failed to reach the Super Bowl for the sixth straight year. Over that span, the Packers have only had a first-round bye twice and home-field advantage throughout once.

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The Packers have cost themselves better playoff seeding with stagnant stretches in the middle of each of the past two seasons. Rodgers hopes the team doesn’t fall into the same trap again.

“Well, we got to start faster,” Rodgers said. “We didn’t start fast last year, we lost four in a row in the middle there. We’re a tough team to beat late in the season, as we’ve shown the last couple years. But we’re really tough to beat at home, especially the last three, four, five years.

“We got to get those home playoff games again. We all feel like if we get that No. 1, No. 2 seed and it’s coming through Green Bay in the playoffs, it makes it really tough on other teams.”

Jones: Tony Romo one of best Cowboys players ever

The Dallas Cowboys officially parted ways with quarterback Tony Romo on Tuesday.

Romo will join CBS as the station’s lead analyst.

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Upon Romo’s retirement, owner Jerry Jones called the quarterback, who had been with the Cowboys for 14 seasons, one of the best players in the franchise’s illustrious history.

“We wish Tony and his family nothing but the best,” Jones said in a statement. “As an organization, we did what he asked us to do in terms of his release, and we wanted to do what was ultimately in his best interest and in the best interest of his family.

“Tony has been a wonderful representative of the Cowboys organization for 14 years, and he left everything he had on the field. He will leave us with many great memories and a legacy of being, truly, one of the greatest players in Cowboys history. We are thrilled for him and his family that he will be able to continue working as a professional in the game he so dearly loves.

“He is a young man who is just getting started on a long journey in life. All the best my friend.”

Despite questions about his future, and the Cowboys’ delay in releasing Romo, it’s clear that his relationship with the organization never deteriorated.

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“Tony Romo has a unique combination of athletic ability, arm talent, vision, and instincts for the game,” coach Jason Garrett added. “What separates Tony from many other players, however, is a rare competitive spirit. Tony loves to play. Tony loves to compete. The best ones always do. In practice. During games. On the field. Off the field. Tony competes to the end in wholesale jerseys that he does.

“That relentless spirit that Tony plays with is contagious. He makes his teammates better. He makes his coaches better. He makes his team better. He has grown so much as a player and as a person over the course of his career and has made a significant impact on the lives of so many. I consider myself fortunate to be at the top of that list. It has been one of the great privileges of my life to work with Tony Romo, one of the greatest players in Dallas Cowboys cheap jerseys history.”

Baylor’s Seth Russell, who has spent the offseason recovering from an ankle dislocation that ended his season last year, threw for the Cowboys staff on “Dallas Day” at team headquarters along with SMU’s Matt Davis, Virginia Tech’s Jerod Evans, Tulsa’s Dane Evans, West Virginia’s Skyler Howard and UT-San Antonio’s Jared Johnson, per the Dallas Morning News. “Dallas Day” is the Cowboys’ annual workout for local prospects.

Russell threw for 2,100 yards in each of two injury shortened seasons for the Bears. A neck injury ended his junior season after seven games. For his career, he threw 60 touchdown passes with 18 interceptions. Davis was a late entry to the draft field after an unsuccessful attempt to attain a sixth year of NCAA eligibility, while the Hokies’ Evans was an early draft entry after only one season as a starter in college.

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Nike Cowboys #82 Jason Witten Navy Blue Thanksgiving Men's Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Throwback JerseyThe Cowboys won’t host any quarterbacks among their allotted 30 pre-draft visits, per the report.

The club will host 18 draft prospects this week, 17 of them on the defensive side of the ball, led by some of the top talent available in the 2017 NFL Draft. The list, per Albert Breer of MMQB, includes USC CB Adoree’ Jackson, Ohio State CB Gareon Conley, Tennessee DE Derek Barnett and Michigan DE Taco Charlton. The lone offensive player in this week to see the Cowboys is USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster.

The Cowboys hold the No. 28 overall pick of the draft and have defensive needs both in the secondary and at defensive end. NFL clubs are permitted to host only 30 prospects on pre-draft visits, so Dallas will burn through more than half of theirs this week alone.

Other defensive prospects visiting the Cowboys this week include Washington CB Kevin King, UConn DB Obi Melifonwu, UCLA CB Fabian Moreau, Clemson CB Cordrea Tankersley, Louisiana Tech S Xavier Woods, Oregon State CB Treston DeCoud, Florida CB Teez Tabor, Colorado CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado S Tedric Thompson, Ohio DE Tarell Basham, UCLA DE Takk McKinley, Florida CB Quincy Wilson and Villanova DE Tanoh Kpassagnon.

If you were counting along, that was nine cornerbacks and five defensive ends. Although he’s not visiting the Cowboys this week, Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt has been scheduled as well. It might be premature to say the Cowboys are going to emphasize defense in the draft, but it’s fairly obvious that they’ll explore that possibility this week.