Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

He’ll get his chance to make good on his word with the Titans, who need someone to push second-year wideout Dorial Green-Beckham, a physical talent who has struggled mentally to master the playbook and stay dedicated to remain in football shape. Tennessee’s receiving corps might also be a bit too crowded for a 35-year-old veteran, with Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and 31-year-old Harry Douglas joining Green-Beckham.

Tennessee has claimed the near-end of other illustrious receiving careers in the past, most notably that of Randy Moss, who was claimed by the Titans in 2010 after being cut mid-season by the Vikings, but faded into the oblivion of the sidelines and his first retirement stint.

That scenario likely won’t happen to Johnson, who has shown he still has the fire to play. Whether he’ll perform remains to be seen.

Darius Slay wanted to get paid like a top-seven cornerback. He got paid Friday.

The Detroit Lions announced Slay’s contract extension on Friday. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Slay signed a four-year deal with the Lions worth $48 million, with $23.1 million guaranteed, according to a source who has seen the contract. Slay was entering the final year of his rookie contract. He’ll make $50.2 million over the course of five years.

Pro Football Talk first reported the news.

The total guaranteed currently ranks Slay seventh among corners.

While the national press has mostly ignored Slay’s growth, the 6-foot cornerback has blossomed into one of the best in the NFL and developed into a legitimate shutdown corner in 2015. Pro Football Focus rated Slay its No. 2 overall at his position last season, eighth in pass coverage.

Make no mistake: The logical Jets fan enters this new one-year adventure with eyes open. Fitzpatrick remains — last season’s stretches of Fitzmagic aside — a thirtysomething journeyman until he proves otherwise. He got lucky at times last year. He faces an uphill battle to match his 2015 numbers. One of the toughest schedules in the NFL won’t help.

But Fitzpatrick is a far better option than the GenoCoaster and — this is important — a fun guy to root for. Jets fans don’t get nice things. The succession of bad quarterbacks in the post-Joe Namath landscape speaks for itself. Last summer, I asked longtime Jets beat man Rich Cimini if a “Curse of Broadway Joe” explained the team’s 40-plus year Super Bowl drought.

Glaring needs remain for three NFC teams after the draft

The Giants were one of the most aggressive teams in free agency, committing almost $200 million with more than $105 million in guarantees to defensive end Olivier Vernon, cornerback Janoris Jenkins and defensive tackle Damon Harrison in an attempt to overhaul a defense that ranked last in the NFL overall and against the pass during the 2015 season. The offensive line wasn’t given attention in the draft either. None of the team’s six draft picks were used on players in the trenches. Guard John Jerry and tackle Marshall Newhouse currently man the right side of the offensive line. Veteran free agent options that could be upgrades include Jahri Evans and Louis Vasquez at right guard and Jake Long at right tackle. The Giants kicked the tires on Long, the first-overall pick of the 2008 draft, before he signed with the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Atlanta Falcons: Edge Rusher

Increasing pressure on opposing quarterbacks is crucial after generating a league-worst 19 sacks in 2015. Atlanta native Bruce Irvin expressed a desire to reunite with head coach Dan Quinn, his former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator, last offseason shortly after his 2016 fifth-year option for $7.751 million wasn’t picked up. After Irvin took a four-year, $37 million contract (worth a maximum of $39 million with incentives) from the Oakland Raiders that contained $19 million in guarantees, Derrick Shelby, who had a career high 3.5 sacks in 2015 with the Miami Dolphins, received a four-year, $18 million contract (with a maximum value of $21 million through salary escalators). Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was also re-signed to a two-year, $8.5 million deal (worth up to $14 million with incentives and salary escalators).

The Falcons went with coverage linebacker Deion Jones in the second round (52nd overall) after there was a run on pass rushers before the Falcons picked. Quinn hasn’t ruled out a return of O’Brien Schofield, who started 10 games at outside linebacker last year. Hardy is the most talented pass rusher available, but his baggage may make him more trouble than he’s worth. Dwight Freeney, 36, could be worth a look after showing that he still has some gas left in the tank with the Arizona Cardinals last year. The seven-time Pro Bowler led the Cardinals with eight sacks in 11 games despite not signing until mid-October.

The NFL Draft can have a domino effect on around the league. If teams fill needs in the draft, veterans could lose their roster spots. For example, Khaled Holmes, who started the first seven games at center for the Indianapolis Colts last year, became expendable with Ryan Kelly being taken 18th overall.

Veteran players may be put on notice that the allusion of long-term security no longer exists because a potential replacement is now waiting in the wings. The season can essentially become a 16-game league-wide audition for another contract.

Here’s a look at a few veterans who should feel put on notice coming out of the draft.

“They surrounded him by tremendous talent. You can’t get your feelings hurt. This is business. Whoever his agent is has to understand this is the market. He’s Hoyer. That’s who you are. Accept it. You made a lot of money in this league and now you’re going to try to play hardball and not have a team in a tremendous situation to really change the trajectory of your career, so people can change what they think about Ryan Fitzpatrick the quarterback?”

The only reason to really disagree with Scott here is that he says it’s not about the money. It is about the money, and there aren’t many chances to get paid by NFL teams when you play. Fitzpatrick already got one huge contract from the Buffalo Bills (when he worked with Jets OC Chan Gailey the first time) and he shouldn’t worry about cashing in twice.

NFL reportedly rejects written affidavits submitted by players named in PED report

News broke Friday morning that Steelers star running back Le’Veon Bell is reportedly facing a four-game suspension due to a missed drug test. Assuming the suspension stands, Bell would be absent for a quarter of the season. As a result, he’s dropped outside of the top-five players at the position in our consensus rankings. Going first overall in many fantasy drafts, Bell is now likely to fall to the second round.

While the immediate take on the situation is negative, there is a silver lining. Coming off of a major knee injury (MCL and PCL) that sidelined him for the final 10 contests of last season (including postseason action), Bell now has a chance to further recover and potentially avoid any setbacks. A stud when healthy, Bell averaged 14.5 fantasy points per game in the six games he played last season and was the second overall fantasy producer at the position for that span of time.

Those players: The Steelers’ James Harrison (you can read his affidavit here), and the Packers’ Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.
NFL rejected written affidavits from James Harrison, Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers; demands to interview them at training camp, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 22, 2016

In a longer Facebook post, Schefter included free agent Mike Neal in that group of players. According to Schefter, the NFL will start with Neal, which makes sense given the PED report could be hurting his stock on the open market:

NFL confirmed receipt of written statements by Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, James Harrison, Mike Neal. NFL rejected the union’s view that affidavits constitute reasonable cooperation by the players and confirmed that they are required to participate in in-person interviews. The PED policy reflects the NFL and NFLPA’s shared commitment to protect the fairness and integrity of the competition on the field, and league believes it owes it to the players, clubs and fans to fully address any claims of this nature. NFL advised NFLPA that to move forward to resolve the allegations, league would first proceed with the Neal interview after which it would follow with the other player interviews.

That Al Jazeera report, which surfaced in December, also claimed Manning ordered human-growth hormone under his wife’s name. Manning bashed the report as “garbage” and Charlie Sly, the source of the report, recanted his account.

The Cowboys have yet to release a statement on the matter, but ESPN’s Josina Anderson provided a comment from a team source:
“The kid, we’ve done our research on him (before he became a Cowboy), it doesn’t point to that (being) part of his nature. That’s all I know.” The source added, “There’s been no history or anything like that.”

The Star-Telegram reported something similar. According to Drew Davison, “The team believes the allegations are suspect and that Elliott had been trying to end a relationship.”