NFL News: Player News and Updates for 3/29/14
NFL Updates: DeSean Jackson, RB Signings, Off-Season Schedule and More
March 29, 2014
Now that the NFL owners’ meetings have wrapped up, we’ve got over a month left until the next big item on the league’s off-season schedule, which is the draft (May 8-10). In the meantime, we’ll continue to see news trickling in from all around the NFL, so with that in mind let’s take our daily look at the headlines.
Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta head coach Mike Smith made some comments about the RB position at this week’s owners’ meetings, and his statements were mostly positive toward the team’s lead back Steven Jackson. Smith stressed the importance of having a “big back” like Jackson, but lamented the fact that Jackson was injured in 2013 and didn’t get to flourish as he should have.
Smith was alluding to Jackson’s early-season hamstring pull, which dampened his numbers until late in the season. He scored six times in the last six games.
Hopes are high for 2014, so we should see a redoubled effort on the running game in Atlanta during this upcoming season.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
DeSean Jackson, WR, Free Agent: We’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about Jackson today, as his release was the most talked-about move of the week. The Eagles cut ties with the talented but troubled wide receiver yesterday, after concerns about his work ethic and possible gang affiliations emerged (and the team likely learned something it simply couldn’t handle after an article about his alleged gang ties emerged this week, which would explain them cutting the cord instead of trading him). For the record, Jackson denies the gang claims.
After news broke that he’d been released, Jackson’s agent reportedly fielded calls from as many as six different NFL teams interested in acquiring his services. That said, teams are likely to be very cautious here and will do their due diligence in investigating his associations before offering him a contract.
RB Signings Yesterday: Although the news was buried beneath the Jackson saga, a couple of running backs found new homes yesterday. One was Maurice Jones-Drew, the former Jaguars veteran. He signed with Oakland after visiting the Raiders Thursday and Friday. His deal is for three years.
Then there’s LeGarrette Blount, who reportedly agreed to a deal with the Steelers. It had been widely reported that the Patriots wanted to retain him, but it appears that Pittsburgh simply offered him more money. He’ll serve as a one-two punch behind second-year man Le’Veon Bell and provide an instant upgrade to their backfield.
Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals coach Bruce Arians offered us a glimpse into the 2014 Arizona offense this week, and it’s looking like the attack will be built around dynamic RB Andre Ellington. Arians said Ellington will ideally get around 20 carries and 10 catches per game, with Stepfan Taylor or Jonathan Dwyer filling in on the rest of the touches.
Ellington showed some real promise in 2013, providing 652 yards on just 118 carries, which is an average of 5.5 YPC. He also racked up 371 yards on 39 receptions.
NFL Key Dates: We’re now back to full-on anticipation mode for the 2014 campaign. Here’s a look at some of the noteworthy dates from this off-season period that should keep us occupied until the league kicks off again.
Important 2014 Dates:
February 3: Waiver System Starts (Teams can make transactions, cuts, etc.)
February 17-March 3: Franchise Tag Designation Period
February 19-25: NFL Combine (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN)
March 8: Contract Negotiations for Unrestricted Free Agents Can Begin
March 11: League Year Officially Begins (4:00 PM ET)
March 23-28: Annual Owners Meetings (Orlando, FL)
May 8-10: NFL Draft
July 24: Training Camp Opens
September 4: First Game of the 2014 Season
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