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Shaun King's mock draft 2.0: Amari Cooper holds WR lead; Randy Gregory remains in top 10 (Yahoo Sports)
There are varying opinions regarding the best WR in this year's draft. All would be upgrades for Oakland, but Cooper represents the least risk.
NFL playoff expansion delayed, LA relocations pondered (AFP)
National Football League team owners postponed a possible expansion of playoff qualifiers for another year and are looking intently at possible relocation of one or two clubs to Los Angeles. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday other issues discussed by the owners included looking at a possible punishment for Greg Hardy in a domestic violence case that did not result in charges and that there is no timeframe for a resolution in the deflated ball investigation into the New England Patriots. Owners had considered adding at least two new teams into the playoff mix and at least two more games to the opening week of the NFL playoffs, possibly with games on Thursday or Monday. The Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers are all looking into a potential move to Los Angeles, which has not been called home by an NFL club since the 1994 season.
Owners shoot down most replay proposals (The Associated Press)
NFL owners shot down nearly every video replay proposal brought to their meetings Tuesday, while approving six safety rule changes. Washington's suggestion to use replay to review personal fouls was withdrawn.
NFL mock draft: Resetting Rounds 1 and 2 after free agency (Shutdown Corner)
With free agency 2015 on life support and the majority of the top talents off the board, NFL teams’ needs have been reshuffled. Now the draft has come squarely into focus, with only a few major veteran options — hello, Adrian Peterson — likely to seismically alter the course from this point on. Here’s a look (without any projected trades, mind you) of how the first two rounds could go with about five weeks until the draft: 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  — Florida State QB Jameis Winston Lovie Smith is playing coy with his team’s draft board, and though a team source told Shutdown Corner no final decision has been made on the pick, it’s believed to be Winston. Maybe the Bucs get blown away with a trade offer, but that’s not likely to happen. Instead, they’ll roll the dice on greatness and find ways to protect Winston and shield him from the distractions of being in the NFL spotlight. 2. Tennessee Titans — USC DT-DE Leonard Williams Our gut feeling right now is that the Titans are not enamored with Marcus Mariota. Short of finding a long-term solution at QB, they’ll instead continue to upgrade a front seven that should be markedly better with Williams, Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo and Co. on the attack. The Titans don’t have the most daunting opposing quarterbacks on their schedule this season and should hope to win close games with defense.   3. Jacksonville Jaguars — Florida DE Dante Fowler Jr. Finding an edge rusher will be one of the primary goals for Gus Bradley, David Caldwell and crew after a fruitful free-agency period. They are seeking to add depth across the board, but they need someone to come rip off the front side and live in the backfield. Even if he plays only 40-50 snaps a game, Fowler and his hot motor will be a huge upgrade. 4. Oakland Raiders — West Virginia WR Kevin White The Raiders didn't land a front-line receiver in free agency and will need to find someone who can help Derek Carr grow. White has been the prospect who has ascended the most in the past calendar year and he fits the old-school Raiders mold of the height-weight-speed prospect who also plays angry. A perfect fit, just edging out the smoother, less explosive Amari Cooper. 5. Washington Redskins — Clemson OLB Vic Beasley New Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan surprised many when he took Aldon Smith with the seventh pick in the draft in 2011 and he could open eyes again by taking Beasley here over a few more hyped pass-rush prospects. Beasley might not have Smith’s length, but he has the rare burst to give the Redskins its first pair of 10-sack players (with Ryan Kerrigan coming off the other side) since 2009. 6. New York Jets — Georgia RB Todd Gurley Shocked? Don’t be. Oh, the Jets are not likely to take Gurley, coming off ACL surgery, this high in the draft. But the Jets brass — which are working out Mariota at week’s end up in Oregon — won’t take a quarterback high if they are not blown away. Instead, they’ll select the player who could be the quarterback’s best friend in time if Gurley's knee looks good at the Indianapolis medical re-test next month. Although I am not projecting trades, the Cleveland Browns could be a team interested in moving into this spot for Mariota, and Gurley still could be on the board when the Jets swing back around. There's also a rumble that the Miami Dolphins are high on Gurley.
NFL Transactions Tracker (Rotoworld)
Nick Mensio keeps track of every offseason transaction for all 32 teams.
Task force members holding line in Chargers stadium tussle (The Associated Press)
Members of Mayor Kevin Faulconer's advisory group are holding the line against Chargers point man Mark Fabiani, who is lobbying for a new stadium downtown even though the task force determined the best spot for a new home for the team is in the area where it plays now. The advisory group members also discount reports that financing a replacement for aging Qualcomm Stadium would require a massive development in Mission Valley. The advisory group was under the impression that Fabiani plans to tell NFL owners meeting in Phoenix this week that the Chargers have figured out what the nine-member panel will include in the financing plan. ''Anyone who suggests they know what's in our plan is lying,'' advisory group chairman Adam Day said Monday.
Rams' L.A. power play allows NFL to maintain its top leveraging weapon (Yahoo Sports)
The NFL gets to trade smaller St. Louis for larger L.A. and keep its relocation threat for all the owners who never actually want to move but are more than happy to bluff.
Giants owner John Mara expects 'one or two' L.A. teams in 2016 (Shutdown Corner)
They say the worst thing you can tell a cop is that you had "one or two" after he pulls you over and asks how many drinks you had. It implies you've had many more. By this metric, there will be roughly 12-15 NFL teams in Los Angeles in the next calendar year. OK, perhaps we're getting ahead of ourselves on that estimation. But judging from the words of New York Giants owner John Mara on the eve of the NFL owners' meetings, it appears that the league is fast-tracking a return to L.A. after 20-plus years of dormancy there without an NFL franchise. Or two, for that matter. "I think there's going to be one or two teams playing in L.A. next year — 2016," Mara told Newsday's Bob Glauber . "Maybe a temporary stadium [next year], but I think — and this is just my opinion — that one or two teams will be playing somewhere in L.A. next year. But we'll see." Which teams? Mara, not shockingly, declines to say. But we have the usual suspects: the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and, by most accounts the most likely and motivated candidates, the St. Louis Rams, whose owner, Stan Kroenke, happens to own a tract of land near the old Hollywood Park that, oh, might just make for a nice stadium for football. Kroenke, per reports, has submitted a report that includes stadiums plans for two teams to co-habitate. Mara said the owners would not vote on the L.A. situation at this week's meetings but will be updated on the progress of the market, an indication that the league is doing advance work on the country's second-biggest TV market and whether it can successfully house two teams. It appears that it's reaching foregone conclusion status quickly, even if this week might not provide more than  rampant speculation. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
Rams owner's NFL stadium proposal for LA would house 2 teams (The Associated Press)
An NFL team owner has designed a Los Angeles-area stadium for two clubs - with two home locker rooms, identical sets of office space and two owners' suites. The Los Angeles Times ( ) says St. Louis Rams' owner Stan Kroenke doesn't need to partner with another NFL team to finance the $1.86-billion venue in Inglewood but that the league wants a stadium for two teams. His plan competes with one by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, who want to share a stadium in Carson. Kroenke hasn't said he plans to move the Rams, but analysts doubt he would invest in a stadium and not use it for his team.
Silva's Pre-Draft Top 150 (Rotoworld)
Evan Silva takes a preliminary stand on the Top 150 non-rookies for the 2015 fantasy football season.
LA closer to getting NFL team after stadium petition: report (Reuters)
(Reuters) - The dream of bringing national football back to Los Angeles was a step closer on Saturday after a petition to build a stadium to be shared by the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders garnered 14,000 signatures - twice as many as needed. The successful petition means the proposal will now go before the city council in Carson, California, which is in Los Angeles County, the Los Angeles Times reported. The petition drive was paid for by the two National Football League teams, which both played in Los Angeles before relocating. A rival stadium project in the city of Inglewood, also in the Los Angeles-area, was unanimously approved by its city council last month.
Proposed Chargers-Raiders stadium near Los Angeles advances (The Associated Press)
Organizers behind a proposed stadium near Los Angeles that could become home for the NFL's San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders say they have hit an important, early benchmark on the path to construction. Supporters announced Saturday they have collected 14,000 petition signatures in the city of Carson - nearly twice the number needed to place the plan before local voters. Chargers attorney Mark Fabiani says organizers are ''extremely encouraged by the sky-high level of support.'' The signatures must be verified by election officials to qualify the plan for the ballot. The Raiders and Chargers are planning a shared stadium in Carson if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their current hometowns.
Los Angeles mayor: Downtown NFL stadium could still happen (The Associated Press)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday that a proposal to build an NFL stadium downtown is not dead. Developer AEG had spent five years and at least $50 million on the project, but the company said last week that it would focus on other downtown projects. The apparent demise of the development was ''overreported,'' Garcetti told KNX Radio during a regular ''Ask the Mayor'' segment. After AEG's decision, there are two clear contenders for the NFL's return to the area for the first time in two decades - both in cities just outside Los Angeles.
Free Agency Risers & Fallers (Rotoworld)
Evan Silva examines players who've gained and lost fantasy value during the NFL's Free Agency Period.
Raiders sign RB Trent Richardson, 3rd shot on NFL team (The Associated Press)
After going from the third overall draft pick to dropped by two teams in three years, running back Trent Richardson knows he is running out of chances to make it in the NFL. Richardson signed a two-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on Tuesday with hopes that a new team can resurrect what once was a promising career. ''That's a taste that you never want to get in your mouth again,'' said Richardson of being let go by a team. Until I'm ready to walk away from the game, I don't want to leave here.'' Richardson entered the NFL as one of the most heralded running backs in years after a successful college career at Alabama.
Trent Richardson signs deal with Oakland Raiders (Shutdown Corner)
The Trent Richardson experience continues. After three disappointing seasons split between the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts, Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft, signed a deal with the Oakland Raiders, the team announced Tuesday. The Raiders have signed free agent RB Trent Richardson. #WelcomeToTheFamily — OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) March 17, 2015 According to Yahoo Sports’ Rand Getlin, Richardson signed a two-year contract with the Raiders worth roughly $8 million. It's a two-year deal worth $3.9M for Trent Richardson and the #Raiders . Max value of roughly $8M, based on incentives. — Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) March 17, 2015 After Richardson rushed for 1,010 yards and 11 touchdowns in 17 games for Cleveland, the Colts famously dealt a first-round pick for Richardson early in the 2013 season but he gained only 977 yards on 3.1 yards per carry in 29 games for the team. Richardson started the 2014 season as the Colts’ starter, but his workload continually decreased as the season progressed and he was eventually suspended during the playoffs. The Colts then released him last week. In Oakland, Richardson joins a squad that was last in the league in rushing yards per game last season. With Darren McFadden signing with the Dallas Cowboys and the retirement of Maurice Jones-Drew, Latavius Murray is the favorite to see the majority of the team’s carries. Still, it’s a good situation for Richardson to get a solid opportunity to earn carries on a young, rebuilding team. - - - - - - - Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter! Follow @SamDCooper
Former No. 3 overall pick getting final chance just three years after draft (NBC on Yahoo Sports)
When most thought the Raiders would chase after DeMarco Murray, they have instead reportedly accepted their loss and inked Trent Richardson to a deal that may be the last hope for the former third overall pick. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio discusses the opportunity for Richardson in Oakland.
Raiders release QB Matt Schaub (The Associated Press)
The Oakland Raiders have released Matt Schaub less than one year after acquiring him to be their starting quarterback. Schaub was beaten out for the starting job by rookie Derek Carr last year and was released Monday just days after Oakland signed Christian Ponder as a backup. The move to cut him saves Oakland $5.5 million on the salary cap.
Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie happy with start of free agency (The Associated Press)
Despite missing out on some of the biggest names on the open market like Ndamukong Suh and DeMarco Murray, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is happy with how the first week of free agency went. McKenzie was able to spend his ample salary cap room to add several starters that he expects will help the team improve on a three-win season and add to a core led by quarterback Derek Carr and Khalil Mack. You're not going to get them all,'' McKenzie said Saturday night. McKenzie acknowledged that the team had interest in Suh before he signed with Miami but safety Charles Woodson said the disappointment on missing out on him is tempered by that fact that the Raiders added so many players who can contribute.
Friday's Sports in Brief (The Associated Press)
Minnesota acquired wide receiver Mike Wallace from the Miami Dolphins on Friday, another attempt by the Vikings to establish a reliable deep threat and a move by the Dolphins for salary cap relief.
Raiders sign former Vikings QB Christian Ponder (The Associated Press)
The Oakland Raiders signed free agent quarterback Christian Ponder on Friday. Ponder, who spent the last four seasons with the Vikings, will be reunited in Oakland with new Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who worked with Ponder while serving in the same position with Minnesota from 2011 to 2013. In Oakland, the former Vikings starter will be vying to back up Derek Carr. The Raiders also have quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt McGloin on the roster.
Saints, running back C.J. Spiller agree on 4-year deal (The Associated Press)
The New Orleans Saints and free agent running back C.J. Spiller agreed to a four-year contract on Friday, a move that bolstered a backfield which also includes Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson. Spiller, 27, has spent his first five NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills, showing the ability to pile up yards as both a ball carrier and receiver out of the backfield. ''Having the injury, that kind of hurt but made me a better person,'' Spiller said. ... My best years are yet to come.'' One reason for Spiller's optimism is Saints coach Sean Payton's scheme, which employs elements of the late Bill Walsh's ''West Coast'' offense, such as short passes to running backs in space.
McFadden set to join Cowboys after Murray bolts for Eagles (The Associated Press)
Darren McFadden will get a chance to replace NFL rushing champ DeMarco Murray in Dallas after the former high draft pick never could find a dominant form in Oakland. The Cowboys signed McFadden on a two-year deal Friday, a day after Murray bolted for NFC East rival Philadelphia on a big contract that Dallas owner Jerry Jones said he couldn't match because of the strain it would have put on the salary cap. McFadden had seven mostly disappointing seasons in Oakland after the Raiders drafted him fourth overall in 2008. Jones said Murray would have remained in Dallas without salary cap constraints.
Mark Davis is not happy Raiders used as Greg Hardy's leverage (Shutdown Corner)
There's a game some agents play. They'll leak some interest, sometimes even a laughable "mystery team" leak, to drive up interest in their client. Even though it's mostly dumb and transparent, it's also relatively harmless. That is, until a team whose owner has been outspoken against domestic violence gets cited as having interest in defensive end Greg Hardy, who was out most of last season because of a domestic violence incident. Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis wasn't happy to read the rumors about his team being interested in Hardy. Davis has been outspoken about domestic violence in the NFL. “False, falser and falsest,” Davis told Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News regarding his team's reported interest in Hardy. “That is not true.” Davis said any talks with Hardy would have had to come through him. And they haven't. And instead of just letting it go, he issued a strong denial. He wouldn't say he'd never sign someone who had a domestic-violence incident in their past, but it won't be Hardy. Hardy's agent is Drew Rosenhaus. “I’m saying that he’s somebody we are not negotiating with and I don’t believe we would be interested in at this point in time,” Davis said to Kawakami. “I can tell you this: It has not been brought up to me and it would have to come to me … " Both Bay Area teams have quickly backed away from any interest in Hardy. The 49ers said they didn't want Hardy, with general manager Trent Baalke saying there's " no interest that we’ve shown, nor will we show, in bringing Greg Hardy into this program," via the Sacramento Bee . Hardy's free agency has been interesting. He's immensely talented, for sure. Teams usually aren't explicit about not being interested in a free agent, but now two have publicly stated in very strong terms they will not be signing him, quickly dismissing rumors. Maybe Hardy can go play defensive end for Mystery Team in the fall. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
Cowboys reportedly sign RB Darren McFadden (Shutdown Corner)
Who are the impact players remaining in NFL free agency? (Shutdown Corner)
Once DeMarco Murray was scooped up by the Philadelphia Eagles, that unofficially ended the first phase of free agency. The big ticket items are all taken now, but that doesn't mean teams with remaining salary-cap room are out of luck. There are plenty of players who can come in and help right away. Let's look at the best of the rest, among those who were still available as of Friday morning: DE Greg Hardy: We all know the deal. If it weren't for the domestic violence issue last year, he'd have been one of the prizes of free agency. But as is, he still waits for a job. The Raiders were rumored to be interested in Hardy, but it might be a tough sell to Raiders owner Mark Davis, who has been outspoken about the domestic-violence issue in the NFL. I honestly figured Hardy would get more attention than he has, because teams conveniently realign their moral values when talented players are involved, but Hardy's market has been either slow or teams are keeping their interest very quiet. WR Michael Crabtree: Apparently people are down on Crabtree. He rushed back from an Achilles injury in 2013, and although he played well for the San Francisco 49ers at the end of that season, he slipped in 2014. Maybe that was because of the quarterback play, but there hasn't been much buzz about him.
Murray, Forsett, Mathews run to paydirt (The Associated Press)
Running backs took their place at the head of the free agency class Thursday, the third day of the NFL's business year. Two of them, 2014 Offensive Player of the Year Murray, the league's leading rusher, and Mathews wound up in Philadelphia. Murray, 27, helped the Cowboys win the NFC East while rushing for a franchise-record 1,845 yards, breaking NFL career rushing leader Emmitt Smith's team mark.
Labor trouble shadows potential NFL stadium near Los Angeles (The Associated Press)
Friction between organized labor and the developers of a potential NFL stadium near Los Angeles threatens to tangle up the project even before construction begins. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is part of a development group planning to build an 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood, roughly 10 miles from downtown Los Angeles. Labor trouble could make a stadium project less appealing to the NFL and its owners, who ultimately decide on possible team moves. The politically powerful unions have been quietly gathering petition signatures in Inglewood that could lead to a local vote on the plan, potentially delaying development of the project and forcing organizers to invest additional time and money.
Chargers appear cool toward Mission Valley stadium site (The Associated Press)
The San Diego Chargers reacted coolly to an advisory group's unanimous recommendation that the Qualcomm Stadium site in Mission Valley, not downtown, is the best location for a new multi-use stadium for what is currently Southern California's only NFL team. As members of the advisory group and former Chargers stars held a news conference in front of aging Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday, team attorney Mark Fabiani was in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson for the beginning of a petition drive for a $1.7 billion stadium proposed by the Chargers and Oakland Raiders if they don't get new stadiums in their current hometowns.
Patriots sign 3 to defense (The Associated Press)
The New England Patriots have signed a cornerback after losing both of their starters on the opening day of free agency. New England also added defensive lineman Jabaal Sheard and linebacker Jonathan Freeny.