Why Washington and these other landing spots makes sense for Dez Bryant

Jay Asser 15/04/2018
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Dez Bryant could stay in the NFC East by joining one of Dallas' rivals.

Dez Bryant may not be the dynamic wide receiver he once was, but he remains a weapon that could help an offence, particularly inside the red zone.

After being released by the Dallas Cowboys, where he was a franchise cornerstone for so long, Bryant will be a sought-after playmaker in the open market.

Here are four teams Bryant could sign with for next season.

Washington

Any conversation on where Bryant will land has to start in the NFC East. That’s not baseless speculation either, that’s based on words straight from the man’s own mouth as Bryant reportedly said “I’ll see you guys twice this year” on his way out of Dallas’ building.

Looking at the Cowboys’ three divisional foes, it becomes clear that Washington would make the most sense for Bryant, considering their cap space far exceeds what the New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles have to offer.

The Giants are especially out of the race because they’ll likely have to hand Odell Beckham Jr a monster contract, which would make Bryant not just a luxury, but one they would be priced out of.

Philadelphia could certainly use Bryant after losing Torrey Smith and Trey Burton, and they could offer the wideout a chance to stick it to Dallas by contending for a Super Bowl. But the Eagles rank second-to-last in the league in cap space, according to Over the Cap, which would make this a difficult fit, money-wise.

Washington already possess a number of receiving weapons in Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Josh Doctson, as well as the newly-signed Paul Richardson, but they could choose to bolster the group and give Alex Smith more to work with, especially near the end zone.

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have been committed to overhauling their receiving corps after giving Joe Flacco a relatively weak unit to work with last season.

They already signed Michael Crabtree away from Oakland and added former Arizona speedster John Brown. The addition of Bryant would fit nicely with Crabtree on the opposite sideline and give Baltimore a pair of receivers who can go up and fight for the ball.

As far as cap space, Baltimore have $10.7m to work with, which should be enough to work out a contract.

San Francisco 49ers

After a promising finish to last season with Jimmy Garoppolo under centre, the 49ers appear to building great things for the long-haul. It may not be a win-now situation for Bryant, but it’s certainly an up-and-coming team that could contend sooner than expected.

San Francisco have oodles of cap space to play around with ($47m) and need a receiver of Bryant’s ilk, size and ability to be a red zone threat for Garoppolo.

Pierre Garcon is still a sure-handed possession receiver and Marquise Goodwin has his strengths as a downfield threat, but no one on the 49ers roster right now can put as much pressure on opposing secondaries as Bryant is capable of.

Seattle Seahawks

They’ve been moving on from players left and right to save money, so turning around and handing a decent chunk to an aging veteran like Bryant may not make the most sense, even with $9.3m available in cap space.

However, the Seahawks are in need of some size in the receiving corps after losing Jimmy Graham and Richardson, and Bryant would slide in well as a primary target for Russell Wilson alongside Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett.

Plus, Pete Carroll has never been hesitant to add star names or big personalities to his locker room, trusting the culture he has established.

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San Francisco linebacker Reuben Foster facing up to 11 years in prison on domestic violence charges

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Foster is facing three charges following his arrest for domestic violence.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster is facing three charges stemming from his arrest for domestic violence in February, prosecutors said Thursday.

The Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office said Foster had been charged with domestic violence, attempting to prevent the victim from reporting a crime and possessing an assault weapon.

If convicted on all counts, Foster could face as much as 11 years in prison.

The statement said Foster, 24, left his 28-year-old victim with a ruptured ear drum after physically assaulting her at their home in northern California in February.

Reports have said Foster dragged his victim by the hair before punching her eight to 10 times in the head.

“Our focus is on holding accountable those who hurt their intimate partners,” Santa Clara 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.”

The National Football League has cracked down on domestic violence cases in recent years.

Any player involved in a domestic violence case can be banned for up to six games in the first instance. A second incident can lead to a lifetime ban.

“We continue to monitor all developments in this matter which is under review of the personal conduct policy,” the NFL said in a statement on Thursday.

The 49ers said the details of Foster’s charges were “disturbing.”

“We will continue to follow this serious matter,” the team said. “Reuben is aware that his place in our organization is under great scrutiny and will depend on what is learned through the legal process.”

Provided by AFP

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Johnny Manziel plays competitively again in The Spring League as he attempts a comeback to the NFL

Jay Asser 8/04/2018
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Johnny Manziel had 83 yards and a touchdown pass in his debut in The Spring League.

Johnny Manziel took one of the initial steps in a potential return to the NFL by playing his first competitive football game in over two years.

The polarising quarterback strapped on the pads and helmet for about two quarters of action in Austin, Texas on Saturday in The Spring League, a showcase event for players hoping to make it onto the roster of a professional team.

Manziel had his ups and down, including completions on his first seven passes, two scrambles for 11 and 10 yards, and a vintage touchdown toss in which he rolled out to the right and zipped an off-balance throw to the back of the end zone to wide receiver Antwan Goodley.

He was also sacked three times and couldn’t engineer a scoring drive after getting the ball back down four points with two minutes remaining, finishing 9-of-15 for 83 yards in a 11-7 loss.

His return to the field in the modest settings were a far cry from his days as a top prospect in college football with Texas A&M and as a starting NFL quarterback with the Cleveland Browns, but Manziel is working his way back to the game after off-field issues stemming from substance abuse and bipolar disease derailed his career.

“The main thing, #ComebackSZN for me is like no matter where I end up and no matter what happens football-wise, at least my life, at least, you know, I’ve repaired a lot of relationships that needed work, I’ve repaired a lot of myself that needed a lot of work and I’m able to run back on the field, something I didn’t know if I’d ever get a chance to do again,” Manziel said after his debut in The Spring League.

“It’s disappointing, some of the things that happened, but nevertheless this is a huge step for me. I put pads back on.

“A lot of people would have just wrote me off to even get to this point. I’m definitely emotional about it. I’m definitely happy about it. This isn’t the end goal for me, but I’m having fun again.”

Manziel will have one more chance to show what he’s still capable of in The Spring League’s final round of games on Thursday. After that, the 25-year-old will hope to earn interest from an NFL team, with the Canadian Football League (CFL) a secondary option. His rights are currently held by the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

In all likelihood, a two-game sample size in a developmental league won’t sway NFL teams one way or the other on Manziel. The reason why he fell out of the NFL had little to do with his talent as he showed promising glimpses as a playmaker with both his arm and legs in his brief two-year spell.

The real question marks surrounding Manziel have to do with his professionalism and behaviour off the field. NFL teams will want to see if he has developed better habits and that’s exactly what Manziel is hoping to show during his time in The Spring League.

“The message that I’m sending is showing up every day and going to meetings,” he said.

“Being engaged in everything that is going on during practice and in the game. I can’t control what is going on [with NFL teams’ interests] and I don’t know what’s going on in NFL meetings.

“If that’s the case, if the NFL is something that pops up, cool. If not, I’m going to work until I get back there. We’ll see how things play out.”

Before Saturday, Manziel’s last appearance in a competitive game came in the Browns’ 17-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on December 27, 2015, when he threw for 137 yards and an interception, while adding a career-high 108 rushing yards on 11 carries.

In 14 NFL games, Manziel had a completion percentage of 57.0, averaged 119.6 passing yards per game and 6.49 yards per throw, tossed seven touchdowns and seven interceptions for a passer rating of 74.4, and produced 259 rushing yards and one rushing score.

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