The BS Meter: NFL players in ‘the best shape of my life’

Of all the annoying and meaningless rituals associated with the NFL preseason, this one’s my favorite: the annual parade of players proclaiming with 100 percent certainty, and for all the world to hear, that they are, without a doubt, in the Best Shape of their Lives.

After all this BS talk, we decided to investigate all the other “Best Shape of my Life” claims that were made this summer.

Tim Tebow

BS Line: “I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” Tebow declared at the end of July in yet another attempt to return to the NFL.

BS Level: 10. Tebow — the guy who is willing to do anything on earth to make his QB dreams come true (except, ya know, go play in the CFL) — was so confident in his life-altering conditioning that shortly after this statement he quit football altogether to pursue a baseball career.

Knile Davis

BS Line: “He came back in the best shape of his life,” said Chiefs special-teams coach Dave Toub at the start of camp.

BS Level: 3. Seems legit, at least to Toub, who added: “The conditioning test, I think he was first out of all of those guys. He’s lean, he’s ready to go, he’s focused and he’s ready to compete.”

Le’Veon Bell

BS Line: “I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in,” Bell declared on his Facebook page this summer.

BS Level: 0. Uh, have you seen the workout videos the Steelers running back posted? A few examples: here, here and here. Have you seen him run during camp? But last year, the 244-pound Bell posted a medical report that listed his body fat as 2.9 percent. Now, who actually believes he’s in better shape this season? Well, me for one.

Rob Gronkowski

BS Line: “This is actually the best shape I’ve been in for the beginning of camp for the first five days,” Gronk told Sirius Radio during camp.

BS Level: 8. The proof Gronk used to back up his claim? He really got intense and super-focused with his training for the entire two weeks before camp opened.

What was it like to play Arena League football, and that game in particular? has the video and spoke with the quarterbacks — Jay Gruden of the Tampa Bay Storm and Kurt Warner of the Iowa Barnstormers — for details. (They’re now known as Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden and surefire Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, but you’ve probably made the connection already.)

On this particular day, Gruden’s Storm held off Warner’s Barnstormers with a late goal-line stand to win 42-38.

With the news, Blount is now my No. 33 running back, tops among Patriots backs but still 12 spots behind where I initially had Lewis (21st). White, meanwhile, has moved up to 48th, though he’d earn a ranking closer to Blount’s in PPR formats.

During Tuesday’s joint practice with the Cleveland Browns, Aguayo went 3 for 6 on field goal attempts, and Bucs fans booed him loudly.

“He’s struggling,” coach Dirk Koetter said after practice. “He’s struggling a little bit right now. He’s gotta work his way through it.”

The first miss came on his first attempt of practice at 35 yards out. After making the next two attempts, he backed up to 45 yards, and shanked it. He attempted a 45-yarder again and missed, with the ball sailing wide left.

Through two preseason games, he’s missed two field goals and an extra point. During his entire time at FSU, he was 198-for-198 on extra points and only missed nine field goals in three years.

Back injury brought Greg Olsen to his knees, but he should be ready for opener

The New York Giants signed kicker Randy Bullock on Monday.

The move comes less than a week after kicker Josh Brown was suspended one game for violating the league’s conduct policy. Brown’s ban stems from a domestic violence charge in 2015 after an incident with his now ex-wife.

Brown, 37, will miss the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 11.

The signing puts Brown’s future with the Giants in question. Giants coach Ben McAdoo said last week that he supported Brown as a man, as a father and as a player. That was before his ex-wife’s allegations of over 20 physical violent incidents emerged publicly.

Some of Brown’s Giants teammates defended him Monday, including defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

When asked if the Giants should cut Brown, Pierre-Paul didn’t think it was necessary.

Olsen has led the Panthers in receptions and receiving yards the past three seasons. He has accounted for 36.9 percent of the team’s receptions with 234 and 25.4 percent of its yards with 3,744.

He also has accounted for 23.1 percent of the team’s touchdown catches with 19.

So don’t be surprised if Olsen sits out the final two preseason games to be ready for the Sept. 8 opener at Denver.

Not that Olsen likes to be a spectator. He hasn’t missed a start since the 2011 season when he and Jeremy Shockey were part of a two-tight end set.

“It was a weird feeling not going to the game and sitting home watching it,” Olsen said of watching Saturday’s 26-16 victory over Tennessee from his couch. “It was a different feeling. I haven’t missed many games. I haven’t missed road trips. It happens.”

Packers RB Eddie Lacy believes he’s ‘more explosive’ this season

Just how much thinner Lacy is this year has been — and probably will continue to be — debated at length. His personal trainer, P90X founder Tony Horton, said Lacy lost 22 pounds. But Lacy himself has regularly declined to talk in specifics about his weight and regular observers of Packers practice can rightfully question whether he’s lost even half of that total.

However, Lacy’s 6.0-yard average on a small sample size from the first preseason game is at least a solid start. By unofficial count, more than half of his 24 rushing yards on Friday came after contact.

“Off to a good start,” Packers offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett said of Lacy. “That was one of the goals going into the game. We wanted to run the football, and I think starting the game that first unit, they did a really nice job of that. Obviously, we were emphasizing the fundamentals, but he did a nice job. Broke tackles, which that’s another thing that we measure our backs — not just our backs, but everyone — by their ability to break tackles.”

Lacy likely won’t get a high volume of work in the preseason, so it won’t be known until he’s in the grind of the regular season whether his production will spike significantly from last year’s 758-yard season. Given that coach Mike McCarthy wants to run the ball more consistently this year, it’s imperative that Lacy comes through.

“You see him finishing runs,” Bennett said Sunday. “Look at practice today, he’s finishing all the way on the other end of the field, getting that conditioning in. We just have to continue down that path being consistent.”

In a wide-ranging interview with GQ, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton told the magazine he doesn’t think he is subjected to extra scrutiny because he is black.

“It’s not racism,” Newton told GQ. “Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion.”

Newton has been critiqued for his playing style and demeanor on and off the field throughout his five seasons in the NFL, and some have pointed to Newton’s race as part of the reason he receives such criticism.

The quarterback, however, dismissed that idea to GQ.

“I don’t want this to be about race, because it’s not. It’s not,” Newton said. “Like, we’re beyond that. As a nation.”

Before Super Bowl 50, Newton created headlines when he described himself as “an African-American quarterback that may scare a lot of people because they haven’t seen nothing they can compare me to.” He later eased off those comments in the run-up to his first Super Bowl appearance, when he became the sixth black quarterback to start the NFL’s title game.

Online version of Orlando Pace’s speech had St. Louis parts cut out

I buy McCarthy’s explanation that it was an honest mistake. The NFL has no reason to deliberately remove Pace’s comments about St. Louis. It’s hard to imagine they’d desire to erase the St. Louis history; it’s not like we don’t remember the Rams playing there less than a year ago.

But of all the things to have been cut out of a Hall of Fame speech …

Even if the mistake was honest, the optics are horrendous. It’s not like Pace’s comments were out of line.

“To the St. Louis Ram fans, I’m so proud to say we brought that city a championship,” Pace said. “Thank you for the support you gave us during that run. No one can ever take that away from you. Thank you.”

The NFL quickly got Pace’s full speech on their YouTube channel. But for St. Louis fans who aren’t too happy with the NFL these days, the omission was just another jab, whether it was accidental or not.

To reach 2,000 receiving yards in a single season — that is, to do what’s never been done before in NFL history — a wideout would need to average 125 receiving yards per game. Yet, according to Falcons receiver Julio Jones, that’s entirely possible.

“It’s definitely difficult to even think about doing,” Jones told SiriusXM NFL Radio. “My thing is, when I go (into) games, for me, personally, I don’t think about 2,000 yards. I had 1,800 yards last year, but I wasn’t even think about it. Everyone was like, ‘Oh, man, you’re so close, you’re so close. Are you trying to get it? Are you trying to get it?’ I’m like, ‘I’m trying to go out here and get a W, I’m trying to win the game.’

“But I think it’s possible, though. I definitely think it’s possible, but it depends on the defense, if they’re going to let that guy beat them that day.”

Jones came up just 129 yards short last season and, before him, Calvin Johnson recorded a 1,964-yard season in 2012, so the 2,000-yard marker is not entirely out of the picture. Factor in the quality of quarterbacks that Johnson and Jones caught passes from during those seasons — Matt Stafford and Matt Ryan — and it’s clear that a top-level quarterback isn’t needed. Competent and solid (or just named Matt, apparently) will do just fine.

Virginia Gov. wants the Redskins: ‘I view this as a Virginia team

Washington has been exploring options to get out of FedEx Field for a few years. The stadium in Landover, Md. was built just before a new era of very expensive, lavish stadiums around the NFL. The Redskins’ stadium felt inadequate almost immediately, and less than two decades after it opened owner Daniel Snyder is looking for something better. He has already hired a stadium architect, the Post said, even though the team’s lease at FedEx Field runs through 2027.

Washington D.C. and Maryland have also expressed interest in being the Redskins’ new home, whenever they move, but Virginia is pushing hard. McAuliffe hosted Snyder, team president Bruce Allen and other Redskins officials at his mansion on Thursday night, the Post said. The team is in a unique position, being able to have a bidding war between two states and Washington D.C. without having to officially relocate. It increases their odds of getting a stadium that is mostly funded by taxpayers. There will likely be multiple offers.

In an interview with, McNabb said the Eagles’ current approach to the quarterback position is “dumb.”

It was “dumb,” McNabb said, for the Eagles to “sign Sam Bradford to a multiyear deal and give him big money, then you trade picks to move up to No. 2 [in the draft] — that was dumb. I mean, nothing against Carson Wentz, but why would you do that? That’s just a bad business decision from the Philadelphia Eagles.”

In ’99, the Eagles held the No. 2 pick in the draft. Before the draft, they hired Reid as head coach, and Reid signed Pederson — then a backup quarterback in Green Bay — as a free agent. A couple of months later, the Eagles drafted McNabb.

Pederson’s role was to run the Eagles’ offense while McNabb learned the system. McNabb took issue with the idea that Pederson’s role also called for him to mentor the rookie from Syracuse.

“Was Doug brought in to mentor me, so to speak?” McNabb said. “No. Absolutely not. Doug was brought in to run the offense and give me a chance to learn the offense and be under Andy Reid.

“I don’t want to take anything away from Doug because it is unfair to Doug. Doug was the backup quarterback to Brett Favre, and Doug was brought over to Philly because it was giving him an opportunity to start.”

Houston Texans

1 to 10 percent: Vince Wilfork made five Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls, but nose tackles — even great nose tackles — do not do well through this process. … Duane Brown took a step backward last season and broke his Pro Bowl streak at three.

It’s one thing to say that J.J. Watt is on the path to having a valuable career that would eventually, viewed as a whole, be worth a spot in the Hall of Fame. That’s not the point I’m making, though. Watt has done enough to make it to the Hall of Fame right now. If he retired tomorrow, Watt’s résumé would include four first-team All-Pro appearances and three Defensive Player of the Year trophies. Every eligible player who has won the trophy twice has been enshrined. Watt’s already ahead of them.

Agent’s Take: Making sense of all the money talk following the NFL Draft

Adrian Peterson, whose contract expires after the 2017 season, is the only running back with a deal averaging more than $10 million per year. There may not be any when the decision needs to be made on Elliott’s option unless Le’Veon Bell is able to break the barrier on his next contract.

Elliott should be a leading candidate to be the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year running behind arguably the game’s best offensive line as Dallas tries to replicate the success it had with Murray in 2014. If Elliott is successful, the chances that he plays under his option salary or signs an extremely lucrative second contract may be compromised because of his high mileage at a position that has a relatively short shelf life.

2. What Paxton Lynch means to Von Miller’s bottom line

Denver Broncos franchise player Von Miller expressed optimism last week that he could be signing a new contract any day. General manager and executive vice president of football operations John Elway trading up five spots to the 26th pick to select quarterback Paxton Lynch could help the Super Bowl 50 MVP in his quest to become the NFL’s highest-paid non-quarterback. The distinction is currently held by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who received a six-year, $114.375 million contract containing $59.955 million fully guaranteed from the Miami Dolphins last year as an unrestricted free agent.

Miller doesn’t have to contend with the prospect of the Broncos having a high-priced quarterback on the books. Once Lynch takes over at quarterback, he will be one of the NFL’s lowest-paid starters at the position. He is expected to sign a four-year, $9,496,307 contract where his largest salary cap number in 2019 will be slightly more than $3 million. If Lynch is the long-term solution at quarterback, he won’t be able to sign a contract extension until 2019 when the guaranteed money under any long-term deal Miller signs this year will have run out.

3. Just how much money is Tunsil set to lose on his rookie deal

A video of Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil smoking out of a bong with a gas mask being leaked from his hacked Twitter account minutes before the start of the draft was costly. The Baltimore Ravens passed on Tunsil with the sixth-overall pick because of the video. He was taken by the Miami Dolphins with the 13th pick. Ronnie Stanley, who the Ravens selected, is expected to sign a fully guaranteed four-year, $20,484,433 deal. Tunsil’s fully guaranteed four-year contract should be worth $12,457,648. There’s a $7,996,785 difference in the two deals. The discrepancy is even greater when the value of fifth-year options is considered. Top-10 picks get the transition tender (average of the ten highest salaries) for a player’s position in the fourth year of his contract. With players selected outside of the top ten (picks 11-32), the fifth-year salary is the average of the third through twenty-fifth highest salaries at a player’s position. The two offensive line option-year salaries are currently $11.902 million and $8.821 million.

“The weight thing’s not a big thing with me,” Fangio said. “He’s going to weigh somewhere between 230 and 235. That’s just what he’s going to weigh. We knew that before we drafted him. So it’s not an issue. We knew that and that’s a fact and that’s what he is.”

So, to sum up, Floyd’s “job,” which will pay him somewhere around $15 million,consists of hunting down quarterbacks and eating as much food as he wants. That doesn’t sound awful.

Who was he (very briefly) hanging out with backstage? None other than rapper/Snapchat superstar DJ Khaled. What were they doing? Having a (very brief) “mogul talk,” according to Khaled.

Jones then went and shook some hands of people that are not DJ Khaled. Looks like Khaled thought he was a major key, but he played himself. Or something. I’m not totally sure what his Snapchat lingo is, but I’m pretty sure I’ve heard both of those sayings before

Anyway, yeah. So Beyonce, DJ Khaled and Jerry Jones walk into a stadium …

The Baltimore Ravens may have run afoul of the collective bargaining agreement. According to a report from ESPN, the NFL will investigate the Ravens for the use of full pads during their recent rookie minicamp. Under the CBA negotiated by the owners and the players association in 2011, the use of full pads during practice is not prohibited until training camp.

Prior to the season, Baseball America ranked Chicago’s system 23rd out of the 30 teams. They have two blue-chip prospects in shortstop Tim Anderson and right-hander Carson Fulmer, both of whom could be made available in the right deal. They are not going to give them away, though.

Secondary prospects like righty Spencer Adams, outfielder Adam Engel, third baseman Trey Michalczewski, and catcher Jacob May all figure to be on the table. Right-hander Erik Johnson, who has been going up and down between Triple-A and MLB for a few years now, could be another trade chip. You’ve got to give something to get something, remember.

The White Sox could also offer considerable salary relief at the trade deadline. Adam LaRoche’s sudden retirement has left an extra $13 million burning a hole in the team’s pocket. Being able to take on money at the deadline is rather valuable, and it also helps lower the prospect cost. Chicago can absorb considerable salary at midseason.

What Are Their Biggest Needs?

That 24-14 record is not an accident. The White Sox are 12th in MLB in runs scored per game (4.42) and are fourth in runs allowed per game (3.42). They’re getting the job done on both sides of the ball. The ChiSox need supporting pieces, not an overhaul. Here are positions that could use an upgrade.

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 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, 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, 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.