Cowboys close to three offensive line deals

The Cowboys have long prioritized keeping their offensive line strong, and are close to a series of moves to bolster it.

Via David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys are close to a deal to bring back veteran backup Joe Looney, with a deal likely as soon as today.

The 23-year-old was allegedly in possession of a firearm when police found him passed out at the wheel of his car. Worley was asleep in his vehicle blocking the freeway , and he allegedly became combative when police approached him. A taser was used to subdue him. Worley, a third-round pick in 2016, was expected to compete for a starting role with Philadelphia this upcoming season. He could face disciplinary action from the NFL regardless of how his case plays out. Believe it or not, he was actually the second NFL player who had a Taser used on him this offseason.

Saints coach Sean Payton told me Saturday he thinks New Orleans still would have chosen Wisconsin tackle Ryan Ramczyk with the 32nd overall pick last April, even if the 49ers hadn’t jumped ahead of the Saints to grab the 31st overall pick, which was used on Foster. I was in the 49ers draft room last year , and the most dramatic point of the weekend was the Niners feeling they struck gold by stealing Foster from the Saints. Foster told the Niners—and later told me—that Payton was on the phone with Foster minutes before it was going to be the Saints’ choice and said the Saints were going to pick Foster.

But as a friend, I would have loved to see him on the field that day. Amendola and Butler are both now with different teams. Amendola signed with the Dolphins this offseason, while Butler got a huge payday from the Titans . Who knows how things might have been different had Butler actually played in the Super Bowl. It’s entirely possible that the Pats would be two-time defending champs, and both players would still be in New England.

I wouldn’t be surprised if only one of these guys is left standing in four or five years, and if so, I’d guess it would be Sam Darnold.

Ex-Dolphins cheerleader claims she was mocked for her virginity, Christianity

Former Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ware has filed a complaint against the team and the NFL, alleging she had been discriminated against for her gender and Christian beliefs, including her desire to remain a virgin until marriage.

The New York Times reported that Ware’s complaint with the Florida Commission on Human Relations alleges she was harassed because of her faith during her three years with the team, while players are allowed to openly profess their religious beliefs in interviews, on-field prayers, etc. She left the job in spring 2017.

Ware claims her troubles began in 2016, after she posted an image of herself being baptized. After that, she claims cheerleading director Dorie Grogan targeted her with “discipline, ridicule, harassment and abuse” for her beliefs. She also alleges other cheerleading officials mocked her for being a virgin.

The Dolphins released a statement saying, “We are seriously committed to providing a positive work environment for everyone associated with the organization. We hold every member of our organization to the same standards and do not discriminate as it relates to gender, race and religious beliefs.”

Ware’s attorney, Sara Blackwell, also represents former Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis, who has sued the Saints and the NFL claiming there are double standards for male and female employees.

Arguably the best receiver in the NFL from 2012-14, when he averaged 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns per season, injuries have diminished his effectiveness in recent years and prompted speculation he could be on his way out. The Cowboys already have added free-agent receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson this offseason.

“I asked if he was going to play another year,” Doering told Sporting News in a telephone interview. “I was doing whatever it took to get signed and continue playing. To me, football was the most important thing.

“He had no feeling like that, no concerns about whether he was going to play or not. He was comfortable with hanging up the cleats forever. That was completely OK because he had found a bigger purpose.”

Josh Allen believes he showed “accuracy, touch and footwork” at Pro Day

Josh Allen worked out in front of a lot of scouts from quarterback-needy teams. Besides the Browns’ large contingent, which included owner Jimmy Haslam, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, Jets General Manager Mike Maccagnan, Seahawks General Manager John Schneider and Broncos senior adviser Gary Kubiak also made their way to Wyoming.

Everyone knows Allen has a strong arm, and he displayed that again at the end of the workout with several 60-plus-yard throws. But scouts wanted to see him show touch and accuracy.

They’re not all the same, but they do some things that are somewhat interchangeable.If you aren’t a hard-core Rockies fan, you probably didn’t notice.They didn’t wait around to find out.After a back-and-forth battle leading into the final minutes, eventually took over the game on both ends of the floor.A lot of them seem to think they understand CTE and the dangers, but I wonder if they really do.

The crazy part here is that Schefter wasn’t joking. This wasn’t some gag.

Playing devil’s advocate here for a second, when you consider that Washington did pretty well for itself drafting two quarterbacks in 2012, one could convince oneself that this is a legitimately viable solution to Cleveland’s perpetual dearth of talent at the quarterback position.

The Steelers wait on linebacker. Pittsburgh has drafted a linebacker in the first round in four of the last five drafts, including Jarvis Jones (2013), Ryan Shazier (2014), Bud Durpee (2015) and T.J. Watt (2017). Then again, the position remains the focal point of the Steelers’ defense.

Stanford safety Justin Reid is a popular second-round pick across several mock drafts, and he would be a good fit for Pittsburgh. As for running back, this would be a good time for the Steelers to draft Rashaad Penny, an all-around college star back who finished with 2,974 all-purpose yards at San Diego State last season. That’s 645 more all-purpose yards than Penn State’s Saquon Barkley.

Ryan Shazier injury update: Steelers LB stands as honoree at Ohio State game

Ryan Shazier continues to make his rounds in the sports world.

The Steelers linebacker was honored at his alma mater Saturday during the Ohio State football spring game.

Shazier, who played three seasons for the Buckeyes from 2011-13 before being selected by the Steelers with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, served as an honorary captain for the matchup. He drove a golf cart to midfield and stood briefly without assistance as he received roaring cheers from the crowd at Ohio Stadium.

The Broncos will think about quarterback, for sure, but Barkley would fill their more pressing offensive skill need and would be the best player available. Should a team such the Bills or Cardinals trade up ahead of them to draft Josh Allen, the Broncos won’t force the issue with Baker Mayfield. Allen’s availability would make things more tempting, but Barkley is the more logical choice as a player can help John Elway’s team win now with Case Keenum getting a lot of money to start at QB the next two years.

Pat Shurmur and Case Keenum are out, and John DeFilippo and Kirk Cousins are in. But despite some changes, Minnesota and its trusty defense figure to be contenders in the NFC playoff hunt this season. That is, if they can navigate what appears to be a tough 2018 schedule.

Below is a breakdown of the Vikings’ 2018 schedule. Details of Minnesota’s regular-season schedule, including dates and kickoff times, will be added when the NFL makes it available.

Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

Toughest tests: The aforementioned Eagles game is the first of several challenges. Another postseason rematch, against the Saints, is just as tough. Beyond those game and the always-dangerous NFC North contests, road trips to LA to play the Rams and to New England to play the Patriots are the Vikings’ key games.

Browns schedule 2018: Cleveland’s priority is first win after 0-16 season

The Browns’ 2018 schedule features another uneasy path for a franchise coming off an 0-16 season that set a rebuild in motion with new GM John Dorsey in the offseason.

Hue Jackson is back, and the coach will have to show some progress after compiling a 1-31 record over the last two seasons. The goal should be simple against the usual AFC North rivals and cross-over games against the NFC South and AFC West: Win one game and go from there.

Bottom line: This is Cleveland, so there are no easy games on the schedule. If you look at the first six weeks of the last two seasons, Cleveland had six one-score losses. If the Browns can flip one or two of those into close victories regardless of competition, it could build some momentum in the right direction. Here is a not-so-fun fact for Browns fans: Cleveland is 1-18 in openers since returning to the NFL in 1999, and that includes 13 straight Week 1 losses and an 0-14 record at home. A Week 1 victory would be a giant step in the right direction. Record prediction: 4-12

Foster faces allegations that he inflicted great bodily injury, forcefully attempted to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possession of an assault weapon. He is also being charged with misdemeanor possession of large capacity weapon magazine.

“As previously stated, [Foster’s] future with the team will be determined by the information revealed during the legal process,” the Niners’ statement said Sunday.

If Foster is convicted on all of these accounts, he could face more than 11 years in prison.

“Our focus is on holding accountable those who hurt their intimate partners,” Prosecutor Kevin Smith said in a statement. “Our Office handles between four and five thousand domestic violence cases each year. We only hope that this case illuminates the tragic regularity of the rest.”

San Francisco released a statement Thursday acknowledging the charges against Foster.

Dak Prescott: Dez Bryant release was ‘not my decision’

Dez Bryant felt let down by some of his teammates following his release from the Cowboys, but one in particular claims to have had no part in his dismissal.

Despite the wide receiver blaming the team captains for playing a role in his departure, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott insisted the choice wasn’t his to make.

“I’m in my second year so as much as you want to say, ‘I want a say and this and that,’ those guys get paid a lot more than me, and that’s what those guys are there to do,” Prescott said, via the Dallas Morning News. “That’s not my decision.

“All I can do is just continue to get better at my job and do the best I can.”

The Cowboys have already have added free-agent receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson to the roster this offseason, and the team freed up $8.5 million in salary cap space by cutting Bryant.

Foster faces allegations that he inflicted great bodily injury, forcefully attempted to prevent a victim from reporting a crime and possession of an assault weapon. He is also being charged with misdemeanor possession of large capacity weapon magazine.

“Foster, 24, physically attacked the 28-year-old woman during a February argument at their Los Gatos home, leaving her bruised and with a ruptured ear drum,” the DA’s statement read.

If Foster is convicted on all of these accounts, he could face more than 11 years in prison.

“Our focus is on holding accountable those who hurt their intimate partners,” Prosecutor Kevin Smith said in a statement. “Our Office handles between four and five thousand domestic violence cases each year. We only hope that this case illuminates the tragic regularity of the rest.”

San Francisco released a statement Thursday acknowledging the charges against Foster.

Browns sign WR Jarvis Landry to 5-year extension, report says

Jarvis Landry apparently finally has the deal he was after.

The Browns are finalizing a long-term contract extension with the fifth-year wide receiver that averages about $15 million per year, ESPN first reported Thursday.

Hamilton served as an efficient receiver at Penn State where he averaged 16.2 yards per reception with nine touchdowns last season. He’s underrated, runs well and is looking like a potential Day 3 gem that could work into a receiver rotation that still needs more depth.

The Lions finished 0-16 in 2008 and their response was to draft Matthew Stafford with the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. There have been ups and downs since, but Detroit has made three playoff appearances and is coming off back-to-back winning seasons heading into 2018. While that might seem like modest success at best, the Browns would take that over the next decade. It’s yet another reason to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.

Donald just completed a dominant fourth season in the NFL for which he earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. With only a fifth-year option remaining on his rookie contract, the star defensive tackle has his eyes on a long-term extension. Donald pushed for a new contract last year, holding out through the preseason before returning to the team on Sept. 7.

General manager Les Snead said publicly that the Rams have ” budgeted ” for the multiyear deal needed to keep Donald in Los Angeles but also stated in January that the team has higher priorities to consider . As such, it remains unclear whether Donald’s absence from the offseason program represents nothing more than a player opting to skip voluntary workouts or the beginning of another prolonged contract stalemate.

Teams have no legitimate reason to ask players about kneeling

When the national anthem controversy erupted in 2016 and became an even bigger issue for the league in 2017, the NFL made one point very clear publicly: Players have the right to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the national anthem. Privately (and at times publicly), some of the NFL’s teams have sent a very different message.

This duality has resulted in a collusion grievance from free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and a collusion grievance could (in theory) be the path that free-agent safety Eric Reid eventually chooses to follow.

With the Bengals, a team that has routinely provided sanctuary to players with off-field issues, being the ones to pose clearly inappropriate questions to Reid in the apparent hope that he’ll commit clearly and unequivocally to not kneeling before the Bengals will offer him a contract, the problem becomes even more glaring.

With Kaepernick, the NFL’s teams had a chance to fix the problem before it got out of hand. With Reid, the window is still open. Once it closes, however, the NFL could end up with a second player claiming that the league and/or its teams are working in coordination to keep out of football one of the players who have been at the core of the issue of protests during the national anthem.

“Brown, according to the source, initiated discussion regarding the issue of kneeling during the anthem. The conversation almost exclusively centered on the topic, with Brown explaining that he intends to prohibit it—and with Brown at one point asking Reid for his response.

“Reid, caught off guard by the line of questioning, wasn’t willing to make a commitment on the spot. Last month, Reid said he’s currently not planning to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the anthem. But Reid, who is considering other options for bringing attention to societal issues he considers to be important, hasn’t made any final decisions, and he wasn’t willing to do so at the direct request and behest of Brown.”

Reid, 26, began kneeling during the national anthem with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 season to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Kaepernick became a free agent after that season and has not been signed to a team since, leading many to believe his form of protest is the basis for the NFL’s cold shoulder.