NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE NEWS & NOTES

 

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According to ESPN.com, Barkley doesn’t plan to make any significant purchases with his NFL salary, as he bought his parents a house with his endorsement money.

In fact, Barkley hasn’t even yet signed his rookie contract with the Giants. But once he does, he will have a plan in place.

“Once I realized when I declared for the NFL draft and kind of realized where I was going to be drafted, that was something I was like, ‘You know what? Kind of want to follow the Marshawn Lynch method. I don’t want to touch that. I want to invest it, put it in the right peoples’ hands and learn as I continue to make investments. And just live off the endorsement deals,'” Barkley said, via espn.com.

While Barkley plans to spend responsibly, taking care of his family was a must. “I’ve been promising my mom, I think since I could talk, honestly 2 or 3 years old I know it sounds crazy, but I swear I’m not lying to you guys that I’m going to buy [my mom] a house one day,” Barkley said. “My family has been through so much and made so many sacrifices for my brothers and sisters. By Alex Brzezinski

There’s nothing like Proclamation Season, with coaches and players hyping the potential of unheralded individuals at every turn. Typically, I just ignore these shout-outs, chalking them up to offseason fodder. But occasionally, some of the bluster — when it’s bold, but also sensible — grabs my attention.

After hearing former Kansas City Chiefs edge rusher Tamba Hali raving about Patrick Mahomes on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” this week, I’m beginning to buy into the hype that’s swelling around the second-year quarterback.

“You’re going to get a complete player,” Hali said. “I mean, he’s a smart player. He can throw the ball. Athletically, he’s gifted. You don’t have to coach it. In practice, I’d watch him just look guys off. Eric Berry, you look him off and complete the ball. He did it to Marcus Peters a lot. People don’t know what’s coming. I don’t want to hype him, but I compare him to Brett Favre. He runs around the field and he throws the ball and he’s just having fun.” By Bucky Brooks

Quarterbacks captured a large percentage of the offseason spotlight, in large part because of the quarterback-rich 2018 NFL draft class, but also because of what seemed like a musical-chairs cycle of movement among veterans at the position: The Kansas City Chiefs, who wanted to clear their starting gig for sophomore Patrick Mahomes, traded Alex Smith to the Washington Redskins, who let Kirk Cousins escape for big money with the Minnesota Vikings, who allowed Case Keenum to head west and sign with the Denver Broncos, who traded Trevor Siemian to the aforementioned Vikings. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Bills traded Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns, then signed ex-Cincinnati Bengals backup AJ McCarron.

In the meantime, the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders overhauled their receiver corps, and the San Francisco 49ers continued their roster reshaping by bringing in a new starting running back. Yes, it was as busy an offseason as ever, and if you missed any of the big moves or perhaps took off a portion of it — hey, those fantasy baseball, basketball and hockey seasons can be distracting — you’ve got a good amount of homework to do catching up. By Tristan H. Cockcroft

Nearly a decade after emerging from Canadian Football League and coming off two of his strongest seasons, Miami Dolphins All-Pro pass rusher Cameron Wake might see fewer snaps in 2018.

“Could I play every down? Obviously, yes, I’ve shown that,” Wake said during an interview with the Palm Beach Post. “Is that in the best interest of the team? Is that in the best interest of myself? Question mark.”

Wake, now entering his 10th season in Miami, remains one of the most prolific pass rushers in the NFL and an integral piece of the Dolphins defense. He recorded 22 sacks over the past two years, more than any of his current teammates and among the top marks around the league over the same stretch.

Even so, Wake turned 36 this past January and has a significant injury in his recent past. The All-Pro defensive end ruptured his left Achilles midway through the 2015 season, limiting him to nine games and his lowest sack total since his first season in Miami. To keep Wake productive and preserve his health, the team could reduce his workload and feature him mostly in obvious passing situations.

However, the Dolphins must balance those interests against the need to generate a consistent pass rush. Wake accounted for more than a third of the team’s total sack production a season ago, with no other defender registering more than 4.5 individually. Even more of the burden could fall on Wake in 2018 after Miami released All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh earlier this offseason. Newly acquired defensive end Robert Quinn should help, but the coaching staff will depend on Wake to deliver another big year. By Jason B. Hirschhorn

Written by Paul Gutierrez, what’s that saying about seeing a light at the end of a tunnel and hoping it’s not an oncoming train? Reintroducing, then, the Oakland Raiders‘ first-round pick from the 2017 draft, cornerback Gareon Conley.

“It’s been a dark world that he’s been in, this young man,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of Conley during minicamp. “He’s had a terrible injury he had to rehab from, he’s had to change coaches, learn a new system, and it’s been a slow and steady process.

“But, man, is he a good player. When he’s feeling good, you can see why we picked him [in the first round].”

Indeed, Conley’s on-field skills were rarely questioned coming out of Ohio State. Pro Football Focus had him giving up a passer rating of just 14.0 when targeted during the Buckeyes’ 2016 season, then the lowest such mark among college corners since PFF began tracking colleges in 2014. He was seen as a top-10 pick, a shutdown cornerback whose game would elevate the pass rush.

For the first time in, well, quite some time, the Jacksonville Jaguars are entering a season with significant expectations.

Much of the responsibility of handling and attempting to live up to those expectations falls on the shoulders of quarterback Blake Bortles, and by relation, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. If you recall Jacksonville’s postseason run in early 2018, Hackett drew plenty of praise for his artful schemes that maximized Bortles’ production (relatively speaking) while also minimizing his potential mistakes. The result was beautiful — that is, until Jacksonville needed Bortles to rally it back late against New England.

That situation ultimately sent the Jaguars home one win shy of the Super Bowl, but Hackett is happy to be back with a familiar cast, even if the expectations are greater this season. By Nick Shook

Austin Proehl has always wanted to get his foot in the door of the NFL, written by Mike Rodak.

The son of longtime NFL wide receiver Ricky Proehl attended his first game weeks after he was born in 1995 and would accompany his father in the locker room not long after he started walking.

Back in 2016, superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions sent shockwaves throughout the NFL. The elite receiver surprised everyone when he decided to call it a career at 30 years old.

Johnson’s decision reminded the Lions faithful of Barry Sanders’ sudden retirement at 31 while he was still playing at a very high level. Sanders walking away when he did was surprising to say the least and took quite some time for the franchise to recover. Johnson making the same move also set the Lions back as they had one of the best quarterback-receiver duos in the league. TMZ Sports recently caught up with Johnson and asked the future Hall of Famer whether he might make a comeback. “I don’t want to play,” Johnson said. By 

Building a Super Bowl-worthy roster is never easy. However, after years of hard work, calculated risks and plenty of luck, Rick Spielman and the Minnesota Vikings are in position to make another legitimate run at playing in February as we head into 2018.

It’s my opinion, though, that the process is never complete. As strong of an offseason as the Vikings had, more improvements could be made. Even before training camp gets under way, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for Minnesota to tap into the free agency market to see if there isn’t a big name or two out there capable of helping their cause this season.

If that truly is the case, then the following free agents should be considerations in the coming month. The Vikings still have gaps to fill, and enough flexibility to create cap space if needed. Although most of the names on this list aren’t top-priority talents, they could serve a role in Minnesota if given the opportunity. By Gil Alcaraz IV

After a disappointing rookie season, Pharoh Cooper found his niche during his second year in the NFL.

The former South Carolina standout, who played in just 10 games as a rookie and battled injuries, blossomed into one of the NFL’s best special teams’ performers and played a hand in the Los Angeles Rams’ playoff run.

Cooper was second in the league in kickoff returns with 932 yards and averaged 27.4 yards per return. He was also second in punt returns with 399 yards, was a Pro Bowl selection and a first team Associated Press selection.

“I’m more smart and a complete player as far as special teams and a receiver,” Cooper said Friday at DJ Swearinger’s Charity basketball game. “I’m just out there doing my job. It’s more of a business out there as we all know. You just have to go down, do your work every day and secure your job. By Lou Bezjak

Dez Bryant continues to wait on the open market. David Kent Star-Telegram archives

Wide receiver Dez Bryant said recently that the “last problem” he has is finding a team for the 2018 season, but the veteran remains unsigned since being released by the Cowboys this offseason.

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick, one of his former teammates in Dallas, said he’s a “little bit” surprised that Bryant hasn’t landed with a new team yet and suggested his current team when asked where he thinks Bryant would be a good fit. By  

When Peyton Manning missed all of the Colts’ training camp in 2008, it showed in his play early that season. He returned from a bursa sac injury in his knee to throw 10 touchdowns, nine interceptions, a 79 passer rating and a 3-4 record. It was very un-Peyton-like.

“When Peyton came back it was a horrendous start to the season for the team,” then backup quarterback Jim Sorgi said, via Kevin Bowen of 1070 The Fan. “You could tell he was waiting a little bit longer at the beginning of the season to see things a little more clearly rather than anticipating things. I think that comes from reps you get in practice, knowing where they are going to be and when they are going to be there.”

Fast forward to 2018 when another Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck, is trying to come back after not taking practice reps in team drills since December 2016. Manning said last month that “getting as many reps as possible is key. By Charean Williams

Former Buccaneers, Jaguars and Chiefs defensive tackle Roy Miller says he will retire from the NFL rather than try to return after serving a six-game suspension for a domestic violence allegation.

Although Miller did not address any of the specifics of his wife’s accusations, he released a statement on Instagram saying that she wants to ruin his career.

“I am officially retiring from the NFL,” Miller wrote. “Unfortunately my ex is trying everything she can to ruin any opportunity for me to work for my kids. This has caused me much pain. had some interest [from] teams but until the divorce goes through I can’t even contemplate putting a team through the drama.” By 

By CHARLOTTE CARROLL, Odell Beckham Jr. could go the Tim Tebow route and get into baseball if his football career doesn’t work out.

Beckham took batting practice at Yankee Stadium ahead of the Yankee-Red Sox game Friday. During his time hitting ball, the New York Giants wide receiver hit a home run.

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