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NFL News: Player News and Updates for 2/18/14

NFL Updates: Free Agent Speculation, Off-Season Schedule and More

February 18, 2014

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We’ve entered another key off-season period in the NFL, that of the franchise tag designations. That means we’ll be seeing quite a bit of speculation surrounding a handful of players this week--not to mention the excitement of the upcoming combine (which begins tomorrow). With all that to look forward to, let’s take our daily look at some of the noteworthy players out there who are making headlines this morning. Here’s the latest.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: Playing down there in Jacksonville, Lewis hasn’t enjoyed too many big stat-lines over the past few seasons. He’s coming off an 11-game season shortened by injury, during which he produced just 25 receptions for 359 yards and four touchdowns.
That said, the Jaguars reportedly are planning on bringing Lewis back this season, thanks mostly to his veteran presence, blocking talent and red-zone capability. He’s due $6.7 million in salary, but Jacksonville has quite a bit of space under the cap.
This situation is quite the turnaround from earlier in the season, when it was speculated that Lewis would be released after 2013. It looks like his strong play near the end of the year saved his future in a Jags jersey.

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NFL News: Player News and Updates for 2/18/14

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Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams: This will be a big “prove-it” year for Bradford. He’s got $27 million left on the two remaining years of his rookie deal (with nothing guaranteed), and the Rams have said that they won’t be extending his contract.
Bradford got a vote of confidence from coach Jeff Fisher this off-season and will remain the team’s starter in 2014. St. Louis has the No. 2 overall pick, and they’re not expected to use that on a QB.
Still, Bradford is costing the team a lot of money and will have to put up some great stats (and stay healthy) if he wants to avoid getting cut at the end of this season.

Bills QB Situation: In the off-season mode of tape breakdowns and second guessing, the Bills’ quarterback situation has come under fire. The discussion is centered around the inconsistent E.J. Manuel, who posted a 58.8 completion percentage with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 10 starts.
There’s a rising sentiment in the media that the Bills have already become too attached to the young Manuel, and that they should be shopping for a QB. Manuel has already been told he’s the starter this upcoming season, but if the Bills decide to go in a different direction, he might have some competition. Buffalo already has a lot of solid pieces in place, and a consistent QB would only help matters, whether it’s Manuel or someone else.

Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Amid all the Eric Deckers and the Jeremy Maclins out there, there’s one free agent wide receiver who not many people are talking about but could make a big impact for whichever team he decides to sign with. Roberts has been flying under the free agent radar thus far, and assuming he makes it to the open offer period, we should see significant interest.
Roberts had 43 receptions for 471 yards and two touchdowns last year, but his production takes a hit with the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. He’s a versatile and durable receiver, and we’d imagine lots of teams are crossing their fingers that he’ll hit free agency.

NFL Key Dates: Now that we’ve finished up the season in the NFL, it’s now back to 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 Meeting (Orlando, FL)
May 8-10: NFL Draft
July 24: Training Camp Opens
September 4: First Game of the 2014 Season

For the latest article updates, follow Andrew on Twitter @SCPAndrew.


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