Darius Slay inks 4-year, $48M Lions contract extension

Le’Veon Bell is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy via missed drug tests, and the Steelers running back is planning his defense.

Bell told the media Thursday he plans to appeal the suspension “sometime in August” and that he was notified of a missed test and his suspension in March, according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed that Bell’s appeal will not be heard until the second week of August.

“I don’t want to be a distraction to my teammates or to Steelers Nation,” Bell added. “So I’m just going to keep moving forward and let everything handle itself.”

The appeals process is bound to interrupt Bell’s rehab from his season-ending knee injury, but the running back added he was confident that he’d be ready for the start of the season, whether or not he’s suspended.

The four-game ban, which NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last Friday, is Bell’s second in two years; he had a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Policy and Program on Substances of Abuse reduced to two games in 2015. Per Rapoport, Bell will have the opportunity to explain why he missed the test, but the NFL’s policies are so stringent that there might not be much wiggle room.

“I don’t really think it’s a curse,” Cimini replied. “They don’t have a quarterback! If they have a quarterback, they wouldn’t have this problem. How many franchise quarterbacks have they had since Namath? Maybe there’s a quarterback curse.”

The Jets are still searching for that defining franchise star to succeed Namath. But to watch Fitzpatrick finally bring stability to the position, then walk over a couple million dollars, would have been maddening.

That won’t be the case now. The Jets have their QB and bring back a strong defense that got better in the offseason. This is a team that can make some noise if things break the right way.

Of course, things never break the right way for the Jets. So forget it. There’s no need to take them seriously. You should probably focus elsewhere. Just how the quarterback likes it.

Agent’s Take: Four veterans on shaky ground coming out of the draft

Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants

Cruz hasn’t played since tearing the patellar tendon in his right knee six games into the 2014 season. A calf injury cost him the 2015 season. During his absence, 2014 first-round pick Odell Beckham, Jr. replaced him as quarterback Eli Manning’s go-to guy while emerging as one of the game’s best young wide receivers.

Cruz, who was arguably the NFL’s best slot wide receiver prior to hurting his knee, wisely took a paycut to remain with the Giants. He reduced his $7.9 million 2016 base salary to $2.4 million with an additional $3 million of per-game active roster bonuses ($187,500 per game) and $2.5 million in not-likely-to-be-earned incentives based on his receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns this season. Cruz’s 2017 and 2018 salaries are still $7.5 million and $8.5, except $1 million of each base salary was shifted to newly created third-day-of-league-year roster bonuses.

The 2011 All-Pro recently declared himself 100 percent healthy. Cruz will need to stay that way and return to form after the Giants spent the 40th-overall pick on wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who has drawn comparisons to him because he excelled in the slot at Oklahoma.

Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson, WRs, Washington

The Redskins taking wide receiver Josh Doctson with the 22nd-overall pick was a bit of a surprise. The selection prompted speculation that either Pierre Garcon or DeSean Jackson, who both turn 30 before the end of the season, could be released.

Garcon and Jackson are in contract years, with each scheduled to make $8 million this season. Although the Redskins could pick up $8 million and $6.75 million of cap room, respectively, from releasing Garcon and Jackson, the departure of either one would put added pressure on Doctson and second-year wideout Jamison Crowder in Washington’s attempt to repeat as NFC East champions. Doctson living up to his first-round billing and Crowder, who set a franchise rookie record with 59 receptions in 2015, continuing to develop will give the Redskins flexibility to let one or both of the veteran pass catchers leave in free agency next year.

The Jets and Ryan Fitzpatrick continue to play the world’s most boring game of chicken. New York is unwilling to pay what Fitz wants and Fitz is unwilling to take less in order to return to Chan Gailey and make another run.

Former Jets linebacker and CBS Sports analyst Bart Scott, appearing on Sirius XM with Pat Kirwan, said he thinks the quarterback is making a grave mistake. And Bart, because this is what Bart does, put Fitzpatrick on blast for it.

“At this point everyone pretty much knows who he is. Another 20 teams in the league he would be a backup. And the only teams he would start for have bad quarterback situations. He’s a bridge guy, a glue guy,” Scott said. “I’m not going to give you $15 — he wants $15 [million] because [of what Brock] Osweiler [got from the Texans]. [Osweiler] hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. But they’re paying for his potential, what he might be able to become. It’s all downhill right now for Fitz.

Actually, that’s not what it means, it just means that you can continuously update the cookbook with your own recipes and recipes that TB12.com will send you.

The TB12 Nutrition Manual is designed to be modified and expanded over time using its unique screw post binding: as we periodically update this manual with new or modified recipes, we will send additional pages to all purchasers of the manual.
Basically, you get sent recipes for your entire life.

Maybe this is a good deal.

Bengals players taking their hatred of Pittsburgh to the soccer field

It doesn’t look like Julian Edelman is going to be in pads anytime soon. Accordingto ESPN.com, the Patriots wide receiver underwent foot surgery recently and is expected to be out until the beginning of training camp in late July.

The surgery has to be at least mildly concerning for the Patriots because it’s the second time in six months their No. 1 receiver has had to have a procedure done on his left foot.

The 29-year-old originally broke his foot last season during a Week 10 game against theGiants. Shortly after suffering the November injury, Edelman had a screw inserted into the foot. According to NFL.com, Edelman’s second surgery was done to reinsert the screw.

After the first surgery, Edelman missed a total of eight weeks. If the receiver misses the same amount of time following his second surgery, he should have no problem returning to the field in time for training camp.

Although Edelman doesn’t put up Gronk-like numbers in the Patriots offense, he is one ofTom Brady’s favorite weapons. Edelman caught 61 passes for 692 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015, and he put up those numbers despite the fact that he missed the final seven games of the season after suffering his foot injury.

After Edelman went down in Week 10, the previously 9-0 Patriots went 3-4 during his absence.

The Patriots will be keeping their fingers crossed that Edelman doesn’t suffer any setbacks. Although he’s productive when he’s on the field, the receiver has struggled with injuries over the past few years. Since 2012, Edelman has missed a total of 16 games due to injury.

The Baltimore Ravens struggled to defend the pass last season. Though they finished the year 10th in passing yards allowed, they also ranked 19th in opponent’s completion percentage, 17th in yards allowed per attempt, 22nd in touchdowns allowed, dead last in interceptions, 27th in opponent’s quarterback rating, and 25th in Football Outsiders’ pass defense DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, which adjusts performance for down, distance, and opponent).

Not typically big spenders in free agency, the Ravens made one big move early this offseason to help solidify the back end of their defense, signing former Chargerssafety Eric Weddle. On Saturday, they made another move to improve the secondary, inking former Colts and Cardinals cornerback Jerraud Powers to a one-year deal. The Ravens announced the deal via their official website.

Because Powers was signed after May 12, he will not cost the Ravens in the compensatory pick formula for the 2017 draft. After losing guard Kelechi Osemele to the Raiders on a big deal, they’re likely in line to receive either a third or fourth-round pick next year.

Having spent the last three years mostly playing the slot in Arizona, Powers should be able to slide right into a large role in the Baltimore defense. It’s also possible that he competes for a starting role on the outside opposite Jimmy Smith and bumps down inside when the Ravens go into their nickel and dime looks. Either way, he should provide a much-needed boost to one of the NFL’s weakest units.