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  • NFL notebook: Gronkowski 'no doubt' will be ready for opener
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 24, 2017

    New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says there is "no doubt" he will be ready for the start of the 2017 season despite undergoing the third back surgery of his career.

    • "Yes, for sure," Gronkowski told Cari Champion on ESPN when asked if he expects to play in Week 1. "No doubt."

      Gronkowski, who underwent season-ending back surgery in December, played only eight games during the 2016 season after missing time earlier in the season with a hamstring injury and bruised lung.

      Gronkowski's injury history has put his future in question, with the 27-year-old Pro Bowler undergoing eight surgeries as an NFL player. He finished the 2016 season with 25 catches for 540 yards and three touchdowns but had to watch from the sideline as his teammates rallied from a historic 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI.

      --The NFL awarded 32 compensatory draft picks to 16 different teams for the 2017 draft, the league announced

      Four different teams were awarded four choices -- the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. The Miami Dolphins were given three selections.

      Based on NFL compensatory rules, a team that lost better free agents than it acquired in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory picks. The formula is based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.

      The compensation picks begin after the conclusion of the third round. Eleven third-round picks were distributed beginning with the Dolphins having the 97th overall pick. The NFL Draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

      --The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver DeAndre Carter to a two-year deal.

      Carter, 23, stood out among a group of players who worked out for the new 49ers' coaching staff and scouting staff earlier this week, according to the Sacramento Bee.

      The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Carter originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent on May 8, 2015. He was waived in August that year and was signed to the Oakland Raiders' practice squad on Sept. 16, 2015. Following his release from the Raiders on Dec. 1, 2015, Carter was signed to the New England Patriots' practice two weeks later.

      After spending training camp with New England in 2016, he was waived on Sept. 3.

  • 16 teams awarded compensatory picks
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 24, 2017

    The NFL awarded 32 compensatory draft picks to 16 different teams for the 2017 draft, the league announced on Friday.

    • Four different teams were awarded four choices -- the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. The Miami Dolphins were given three selections.

      Based on NFL compensatory rules, a team that lost better free agents than it acquired in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory picks. The formula is based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.

      The Bengals lost five free agents -- including receivers Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu and safety Reggie Nelson -- and didn't sign any.

      The Browns lost six free agents -- including center Alex Mack -- while signing just one.

      The Broncos lost seven free agents -- including quarterback Brock Osweiler, defensive end Malik Jackson and linebacker Danny Trevathan -- and signed three.

      The Chiefs lost five free agents and signed only one.

      The compensation picks begin after the conclusion of the third round. Eleven third-round picks were distributed beginning with the Dolphins having the 97th overall pick.

      The rest of picks break down this way: Six after the fourth round, nine after the fifth, three after the sixth and three after the seventh.

      The NFL Draft will be held April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

  • 49ers ink WR Carter to two-year contract
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 24, 2017

    The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver DeAndre Carter to a two-year deal, the team announced Friday.

    • Carter, 23, stood out among a group of players who worked out for the new 49ers' coaching staff and scouting staff earlier this week, according to the Sacramento Bee.

      The 5-foot-8, 190-pound Carter originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent on May 8, 2015. He was waived in August that year and was signed to the Oakland Raiders' practice squad on Sept. 16, 2015. Following his release from the Raiders on Dec. 1, 2015, Carter was signed to the New England Patriots' practice two weeks later.

      After spending training camp with New England in 2016, he was waived on Sept. 3.

      The native of San Jose, Calif., attended California State Sacramento, where he appeared in 41 games throughout his four-year collegiate career (2011-14) and finished with 207 receptions for 2,760 yards and 35 touchdowns.

  • Patriots' Gronkowski: 'No doubt' he will be ready for 2017
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 24, 2017

    New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski says there is "no doubt" he will be ready for the start of the 2017 season despite undergoing the third back surgery of his career.

    • "Yes, for sure," Gronkowski told Cari Champion on ESPN when asked if he expects to play in Week 1. "No doubt."

      Gronkowski, who underwent season-ending back surgery in December, played only eight games during the 2016 season after missing time earlier in the season with a hamstring injury and bruised lung.

      Gronkowski's injury history has put his future in question, with the 27-year-old Pro Bowler undergoing eight surgeries as an NFL player.

      "I still love playing the game, and as of right now, I want to play as long as I can possibly play. My mindset is to keep on going," Gronkowski said.

      Gronkowski finished the 2016 season with 25 catches for 540 yards and three touchdowns but had to watch from the sideline as his teammates rallied from a historic 25-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI.

      Tom Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards, two touchdowns and one interception to win his fifth championship ring and record fourth Super Bowl MVP Award.

      NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Brady for four games to open the 2016 season over the Deflategate scandal, presented the Lombardi Trophy to Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

      "It was great to see him hand over that trophy, for sure," Gronkowski said of Goodell. "I was super happy for Tom."

      Gronkowski was asked whether Goodell could come back to Foxborough anytime soon.

      "To tell you the truth? I really don't think so," Gronkowski told ESPN. "The fans are nuts. They are wild. They have the Patriots' back no matter what. They have Tom's back, I'm telling you. (Goodell) won't get through the highway if the fans saw him. I don't even think he can land in the airport in Boston, because Patriots fans are the best fans. They're the most loyal fans.

      "I'm telling you, they might just carry out Roger themselves. They couldn't even get to the stadium in Foxborough, if he landed in Boston."

      Kraft said before the Super Bowl that he would invite Goodell for the Patriots' 2017 season opener if they won another title.

      Goodell hasn't attended a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium since January 2015 when New England defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game that started the Deflategate saga.

  • NFL Combine preview: Medical exams are priority No. 1
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 24, 2017

    The NFL Scouting Combine is an annual invitation-only event at which 300-plus prospects are put through a grueling-job interview process that tests them both physically and mentally. The combine can basically be broken down into four separate categories: medical evaluations, interview process, agility/positional drills and verified measurements.

    • When high school students apply to college, they rely on their grade-point average, extracurricular activities and athletics, but that is not quite enough. Admissions departments need SAT and ACT scores, or in other words, they want to know how students test. High school transcripts and grades aren't on the same level around the country with the curriculum varying in different regions. But standardized testing (right or wrong) puts all students on a level playing field.

      That is the NFL Scouting Combine.

      The 330 invited prospects who will travel to Indianapolis next week represent 330 different situations and game tapes. But for one week, Tuesday through March 6, they will all be evaluated in the same environment at Lucas Oil Stadium.

      Below are 15 prospects in each of the four categories with a lot on the line depending on how they test at this year's Scouting Combine.

      MEDICAL EVALUATIONS

      The Combine started in the early 1980s as a way for teams to perform medical checks at a neutral site instead of forcing all the players to travel from city to city, going through the same exams. And that is one of the main reasons the Combine is in Indianapolis, because of the medical equipment available. Over 350 MRIs are conducted in only a handful of days, making it difficult on a host city to accommodate the demands.

      Medical information is the most important aspect of the Combine.

      Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State

      Dating back to high school, Cook has undergone three shoulder surgeries, and the long-term effects of those injuries are the only road block keeping him from landing in round one.

      Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU

      Fournette missed five games in 2016 and parts of others due to a "reoccurring" issue with ligaments in his left ankle. Teams are crossing their collective fingers that there isn't any permanent damage.

      James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

      Conner was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last offseason, but in one of the best stories in sports over the past calendar year, he was announced as being cancer-free last May. He also tore the MCL in his right knee during the 2015 season, so his check-up will be important.

      John Ross, WR, Washington

      A candidate to run the fastest 40-yard dash in Indy, Ross has speed to burn. However, the most important step for him at the Combine is the medicals. Since the 2014 season, he has had surgeries on both knees and plans to have another operation in March to repair a torn labrum. The medicals, not the 40-yard dash, likely will determine whether Ross lands in round one.

      Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

      Unfortunately, teams won't have the opportunity to see Davis run at the Combine due to recent ankle surgery. The issue has been described as minor, but the medical information still will be crucial to his evaluation.

      Jake Butt, TE, Michigan

      Following an ACL tear in his right knee in the bowl game, Butt won't be able to work out at Lucas Oil Stadium, but teams will have the chance to be updated on his rehab.

      Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin

      Ramczyk is the best offensive line prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft class, but he is recovering from hip surgery. The medical reports will be crucial to him landing in the top 20.

      Carl Lawson, DE/OLB, Auburn

      Lawson put together a much needed healthy season in 2016, but his injury history is still a concern. He missed the 2014 season with an ACL tear in his left knee and sat out most of the 2015 season due to a cracked hip.

      Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

      With his violent playing demeanor, Foster is bound to have bumps and bruises lingering from the 2016 season. He has a history of shoulder stingers, he sustained a concussion last October, and he recently underwent right rotator cuff surgery.

      Jarrad Davis, LB, Florida

      A first-round player on tape, Davis probably won't land in round one due to his extensive injury history, including two season-ending injuries: a torn meniscus in his left knee (2014) and a badly sprained ankle (2016).

      Alex Anzalone, LB, Florida

      Another talented but oft-injured linebacker from Florida, Anzalone just couldn't stay healthy in college, most notably due to a banged-up right shoulder that cost him most of his first three seasons in Gainesville. He also broke his left arm, which ended his 2016 season prematurely.

      Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

      Although he stayed healthy in 2016, Lattimore struggled to stay on the field his first two seasons in Columbus due to a history of chronic hamstring issues, dating back to his high school days. Doctors will need to sign off on his medicals before a team uses a top-10 pick on him, which is where Lattimore's talent belongs.

      Malik Hooker, FS, Ohio State

      Hooker isn't expected to work out prior to the draft due to recent hernia and labrum surgeries. How is his rehab? Will he be 100 percent for training camp? Two key questions that need answered before a team invests a top-10 pick on the talented Buckeyes safety.

      Eddie Jackson, FS, Alabama

      A broken leg in October ended Jackson's career at Alabama and has kept him sidelined to this point. Will he work out at the Combine? When will he be 100 percent?

      Marcus Maye, SS, Florida

      Maye, who also has a few older injuries (including a torn MCL) that need to be checked, missed the final three games of the 2016 season and the Senior Bowl due to a broken left arm he sustained last November.

      INTERVIEW PROCESS

      The medicals are the most important aspect of the Combine. Second is the interviews. Each team can schedule up to 60 15-minute sit-down interviews with prospects, making it basically a speed-dating exercise.

      DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame

      I feel confident saying there will be several NFL teams who have Kizer as the No. 1 quarterback on their board. But there will be important questions for him to answer during meetings, including why the Irish managed only four wins in 2016. NFL teams have seen the tape and will have their own opinions, but they will want to hear Kizer's opinion.

      Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech

      Mahomes should test and throw well at Lucas Oil Stadium -- the tape shows that. But where is he mentally in his development? He is still very young in football years, and these meetings will be key for NFL teams in terms of projecting when Mahomes will be ready to see meaningful NFL snaps.

      Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech

      In his one season in Blacksburg, Evans flashed intriguing ability, but consistency was an issue. Why not return to school and further his development? Why enter the NFL Draft now? His answers will be important.

      Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee

      Although he is well-liked within the Volunteers program, Kamara has an immature past, including two suspensions during his time at Alabama, which led to Nick Saban booting him from the program. He was also arrested after he left the Tide on suspicion of driving on a suspended license and failure to appear. It doesn't sound as if teams are too worried about his character, but that won't hold back clubs from asking the tough questions.

      Joe Williams, RB, Utah

      Williams has speed to burn and might run a legitimate 4.3 in the 40-yard dash. But more important, he needs to nail the interviews and provide answers that help teams feel more comfortable about his four-game "retirement" early in his senior season. Williams was also kicked off the team at Connecticut in 2013 after an arrest on suspicion of larceny and theft of a credit card. His red flags are brighter than the Utes' jerseys.

      Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma

      Factoring in the NFL's new Combine policies, it is a surprise Westbrook even received an invite. He has been arrested three times, including twice for domestic-violence incidents that involved the mother of his children. Westbrook also has some focus issues that have scouts concerned about his mental commitment to the game.

      Speedy Noil, WR, Texas A&M

      A quick-twitch athlete oozing with talent, Noil was never able to find consistent production with the Aggies. His questionable makeup is one of the culprits, including multiple marijuana-related suspensions and issues in the locker room that concern NFL scouts.

      Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama

      Although the district attorney decided not to purse prosecution, Robinson still will need to answer for an incident last May in which he was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and a stolen gun.

      Chad Wheeler, OT, USC

      The medicals will be crucial to Wheeler's final evaluation, but so will his interviews. He was arrested in December 2015 after an allegedly belligerent encounter with police at the apartment of his girlfriend and their young child. Bean bag rounds were required to subdue him, and Wheeler was later taken to the hospital and held for psychiatric evaluation.

      Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE/OLB, Miami (Fla.)

      Talent isn't the question with this prospect. Muhammad was one of three defenders dismissed from the Miami program last summer following an investigation into their relationship with a luxury car rental company. Muhammad, who also missed the 2014 season due to suspension after a fight with a former student, has been training for the draft since his dismissal last August, but what kind of shape is he in? What has he been doing to train the past six months?

      Tim Williams, DE/OLB, Alabama

      Labeled as potentially another Randy Gregory situation, Williams needs to ace interviews and quell the notion that marijuana and other activities are more important to him than football if he wants to land in round one.

      Malik McDowell, DL, Michigan State

      Based strictly on talent, McDowell belongs in the top five overall of the 2017 draft class. But his football makeup is a concern, and teams will want to know why he appeared to shut things down once Michigan State's season went south in 2016.

      Charles Walker, DL, Oklahoma

      Walker, who also has a history of concussions, left the Sooners' program midseason to start his preparation for the NFL Draft. The move wasn't well received by Oklahoma coaches and some of his former teammates. NFL teams will be eager to hear his explanation.

      Jarron Jones, DL, Notre Dame

      Jones flashes legitimate first-round talent, but there is no consistency to his game. Also factor in that he "wore down" the Notre Dame coaching staff, according to one source, and teams will have plenty of questions for Jones about his character.

      Teez Tabor, CB, Florida

      A brash player on the field, Tabor has the cocky attitude that will sometimes extend off the field as well, rubbing some the wrong way. And those immature tendencies led to multiple suspensions while he was at Florida.

      AGILITY/POSITIONAL DRILLS

      The sexiest aspect of the Combine: the athletic testing. The 40-yard dash, vertical, broad jump, bench press and a few others. They allow NFL teams to match quantitative data with a player's tape. The drills help provide context with each prospect participating on the same field, in the same setting and under the same circumstances (unlike campus pro days where scouts have to adjust for tracks, grass, wind, weather and several other factors).

      Some label the Combine as nothing more than the "Underwear Olympics," but longtime NFL scout C.O. Brocato, who was one of my mentors, once told me: "Those who don't value the Combine don't know how to properly use it."

      Tarik Cohen, RB, North Carolina A&T

      At only 5-foot-6 and 178 pounds, Cohen won't impress during the weigh-in portion, so his athletic skills will need to grab the attention of scouts. Cohen, who anchored his high school's state championship 400-meter relay team, ran away from defenders at the FCS level. NFL teams are eager to get exact numbers on this talented athlete.

      Mike Williams, WR, Clemson

      No one expects the talented Clemson wideout to run a 4.3 40-yard dash. But is Williams a 4.52 athlete? Or more of a 4.58 athlete? With Western Michigan's Corey Davis unable to work out due to an ankle injury, Williams has the stage to prove why he should be the first wide receiver drafted.

      Chad Hansen, WR, California

      Hansen, who ran track at Idaho State before transferring to Cal, should finish as one of the top performers across the board. He has the long-speed, short-area quickness and change-of-direction movements that translate to the next level.

      Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington

      Kupp will ace the interview process, and he offers the most prolific wide receiver resume the FCS has ever produced. He has vacuum hands and makes himself available in his routes, but running a solid 4.5 time in the 40-yard dash would help teams feel better about his evaluation.

      JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC

      There is plenty to like about what Smith-Schuster offers a NFL team. But on tape, he doesn't have the dynamic speed to consistently separate. His numbers in the 40-yard dash and short-area quickness drills will be important.

      David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.)

      A national champion high jumper in high school, Njoku has freakish athleticism and could leave Indianapolis as one of the big winners. He shows impressive speed, agility and burst on film, but producing the numbers to match could give him the edge over O.J. Howard as the draft's top tight end for some teams.

      Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

      A prospect with "wow" tape, Shaheen dominated Division II competition, running by and over defenders with ease. He looks like a 4.7 athlete on film, which would be truly impressive for a 275-pounder, but facing players from programs like Lake Erie and Michigan Tech can make it tough to truly gauge his athletic skill set. I expect Shaheen to create a lot of buzz in Indianapolis.

      Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee

      Barnett has excellent tape and overall production, moving well with natural bend. But he isn't a twitched-up athlete who explodes by blockers with speed and burst alone, and his workout numbers likely will back that up.

      Takkarist McKinley, DE/OLB, UCLA

      With McKinley's current shoulder issue, medicals will be crucial to his draft grade. But his workouts at Lucas Oil Stadium will take the focus off his injury and allow everyone to appreciate his impressive athleticism. McKinley, who ran a 10.71 in the 100 meters as a 235-pounder in high school, might break the 4.5 mark in the 40-yard dash at 250 pounds.

      Tyus Bowser, DE/OLB, Houston

      Bowser, who also played two seasons on the Houston basketball team, looks like a bodybuilder and is a silky smooth mover at 244 pounds. He is already considered a day-two prospect by many around the league, and his numbers in Indianapolis should confirm that.

      Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford

      A projected top-10 pick, Thomas is going to "drop jaws" with his workouts, according to a Stanford assistant coach. At 6-foot-2 and 270 pounds, he has some tweener traits, but with his blend of speed, burst and power, coaches and scouts will bang the table to add him to the defensive line rotation.

      DeMarcus Walker, DL, Florida State

      With 45 tackles for loss over his career, Walker has first-round production. But his tape tells a different story, and his athletic testing should confirm that with average-at-best times in the 40-yard dash, short shuttle and three-cone drill.

      Haason Reddick, LB, Temple

      After his Senior Bowl performance, the secret of Haason Reddick is already out. But that doesn't mean he can't help himself even more with his athletic testing. A former defensive back, Reddick is an explosive mover with the fluidity that will impress in Indianapolis.

      Kevin King, CB, Washington

      King, who opted not to participate at the Senior Bowl, will impress with his height and length, but his jumps during athletic testing will also create buzz. King is a strong candidate to reach 40 inches in the vertical and 11 feet in the broad jump, which both would be outstanding numbers.

      Adoree Jackson, CB, USC

      While there are some question marks about his best fit in the NFL, Jackson has special athleticism, and no one debates that. He won the Pac-12 outdoor long jump title in 2015 and 2016 and placed 10th at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials. Jackson is a strong candidate to run the fastest 40-yard dash in this class.

      Josh Jones, DS, North Carolina State

      Somewhat of an under-the-radar prospect, Jones is a junior who came out early and should be much more well-known after the Combine. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Jones plays with outstanding range and explosive hitting ability, which should show in his testing times.

      VERIFIED MEASUREMENTS

      The verified measurements are important, especially for the underclassmen. Scouts have official numbers for many of the seniors from all-star games and campus visits in the fall. But at the Combine, each player is measured with the same scale, and the results are much more uniform.

      Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

      Listed at 6-foot-3, Trubisky might not reach that mark during official measurements, but as long as he comes in over 6-foot-2, NFL teams will be satisfied.

      Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

      A lean-muscled athlete, Watson doesn't have ideal body armor for the position, and scouts are interested to see if he comes in over or under 215 pounds. And if under -- how much bulk can he add? Is his body maxed out?

      Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

      Regardless of his playing weight, McCaffrey will be more of a versatile weapon than true workhorse at the NFL level. But is he closer to 215 pounds or 200 pounds? A physical build would help teams feel confident in his durability.

      Donnel Pumphrey, RB, San Diego State

      Coming in at 169 pounds in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, Pumphrey has had a month to add good weight to his frame. He should perform well during the agility workouts, and scouts are hoping those numbers come with him at 175 pounds or more.

      D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas

      The nation's leading rusher in 2016, Foreman looks like a tank, but how much weight is he carrying? And is it all good weight?

      Gerald Everett, TE, South Alabama

      After tipping the scales in the 240-pound range during the fall, Everett was only 227 pounds at the Senior Bowl. He should test well in Indianapolis, but it will mean much more if he runs a 4.65 40-yard dash at 240-plus pounds and not sub-230.

      Garett Bolles, OT, Utah

      While he should perform well during the athletic testing, Bolles has core strength issues that give scouts pause. The soon-to-be 25-year-old's official measurements and build will be important to projecting him forward in an NFL strength and conditioning program.

      Damien Mama, OG, USC

      Although he has worked hard to shed bad weight, Mama ballooned to near 400 pounds as a freshman two years ago. Scouts are eager to see his current weight and body.

      Pat Elflein, OC, Ohio State

      Elflein, who has been training with former Ohio State and NFL center LeCharles Bentley, is working to trim up his frame. Since he wasn't at the Senior Bowl, his current measureables compared to what scouts have on record from the fall should be interesting.

      Myles Garrett, DE/OLB, Texas A&M

      The presumptive No. 1 overall pick, Garrett is a fantastic athlete with an NFL frame, but how much weight is he carrying? And how long are his arms?

      T.J. Watt, DE/OLB, Wisconsin

      With tweener traits, Watt isn't the easiest evaluation. When I recently asked a pro scout who he most wanted to see during Combine weigh-ins, the Wisconsin linebacker was the first player he mentioned.

      Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington

      Since he enrolled at Washington, Qualls has seen his weight fluctuate between 280 and 330 pounds. He was carrying some bad weight in his midsection last year, and scouts want to see him hold steady in the 310-315 range.

      Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

      A physically impressive corner, Humphrey could be a big winner if he comes in at over 6-foot-1, 200 pounds and 33-inch arms.

      Sidney Jones, CB, Washington

      A lean-framed corner, Jones was pushed around by physical receivers on tape, especially in press. He arrived at Washington under 170 pounds and played this season around 180 pounds. Scouts are hoping to see him reach 190 pounds at the Combine.

      Budda Baker, FS, Washington

      History tells us that most sub-200 pound safeties don't last long-term in the NFL due to the physicality of the position. And while most NFL scouts I've spoken with love his game, Baker might not hit certain size thresholds that several teams use for the first round.

      --Dane Brugler is senior analyst of NFLDraftScout.com, published and operated by The Sports Xchange, in cooperation with CBSSports.com.

  • NFL notebook: Dolphins QB Tannehill passes major knee tests
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed a battery of tests on his ACL and Grade 2 MCL sprain and is expected to be available for all of the team's offseason program, the Miami Herald reported on Thursday.

    • Tannehill missed the Dolphins' last three regular-season games and their playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a severe knee sprain. The 28-year-old elected against full reconstructive surgery and instead opted for rehabilitation with adult stem cell treatment, the Miami Herald reported.

      Tannehill is expected for a full workload by the start of training camp in July and likely will wear a knee brace throughout the season.

      The eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft, Tannehill suffered a sprained ACL and MCL in his left knee in the Dec. 11 game against the Arizona Cardinals. Tannehill completed 67.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 93.5 passer rating in 13 games.

      --The New York Jets announced a pair of cost-saving moves, releasing veteran kicker Nick Folk and veteran offensive tackle Breno Giacomini. The moves will save approximately $7.5 million in salary cap space.

      In seven seasons with the Jets, Folk converted 175 field goals and his 81.3 kicking percentage is the highest of any kicker in team history with at least 100 attempts. In 2013, Folk established a team-record with a 91.7 field goal percentage and his 33 field goals were the second-most in team history.

      Giacomini signed with the Jets in March 2014 after helping the Seattle Seahawks win their first Super Bowl. He appeared in 16 games in each of his first two seasons with the Jets but never got untracked in 2016 due to a back injury.

      --The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released cornerback Alterraun Verner, reportedly saving $6.5 million in salary-cap money.

      Verner, 28, had one season remaining on a four-year, $25.5 million contract he signed as a free agent in 2014.

      Verner had just four interceptions in 46 games (23 starts) in his three seasons with Tampa Bay. He had just 12 tackles and one interception in 2016. Verner played his first four seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He had a career-best five interceptions in 2013 when he made the Pro Bowl.

      --The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that the Arizona Cardinals will face the Dallas Cowboys in next season's Hall of Fame Game.

      The game will take place Aug. 3 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, two days before the class of 2017 is inducted. Last year's Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was cancelled shortly before kickoff due to poor field conditions.

      Arizona is appearing in the game for the fifth time, with the franchise playing the New York Giants to a 21-21 tie in the first Hall of Fame Game in 1962. Dallas is appearing in the game for the sixth time.

      Both teams have a representative in the seven-member class with former Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and Dallas owner Jerry Jones going into the Hall of Fame.

      --Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston lamented "poor word choice" after making stereotypical gender comments during a speech at an elementary school on Wednesday.

      While speaking to third through fifth graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Fla., Winston demanded that the male students stand up while telling the female students to remain seated.

      Winston told the boys they were strong and then said in part, "but the ladies, they're supposed to be silent, polite, gentle."

      Winston's words immediately came under fire, especially in the context that it was coming from a player who faced sexual assault allegations while at Florida State. The quarterback was never charged with a crime in the incident, but Winston settled a federal lawsuit filed by the woman in December.

      --Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton was sporting a cast on his left arm, leading many on social media to wonder about his injury.

      Shelton took to Twitter and revealed he had he is ready for a big season after undergoing minor wrist surgery.

      Shelton recorded 1.5 sacks and 59 tackles in his second season with the club. A first-round pick of the 2015 draft, Shelton has collected 95 tackles in his career with Cleveland.

      --The Minnesota Vikings named Darrell Hazell as the team's wide receivers coach.

      Hazell spent his last six seasons as a head coach in the collegiate ranks, with two years at Kent State (2011-12) before spending the last three-plus with Purdue (2013-16). Hazell managed only a 9-33 record with the Boilermakers before being fired.

      The 52-year-old New Jersey native has spent 14 of his 30 years of coaching experience working directly with wide receivers. While with Ohio State, Hazell coached future wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes and Terrelle Pryor.

      Minnesota also tabbed Derik Keyes as its assistant strength and conditioning coach on Thursday. Keyes held the same position with the Houston Texans in 2012 and the Cleveland Browns for the last four years.

  • Buccaneers release CB Verner
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released cornerback Alterraun Verner on Thursday, reportedly saving $6.5 million in salary-cap money.

    • Verner, 28, had one season remaining on a four-year, $25.5 million contract he signed as a free agent in 2014.

      Verner had just four interceptions in 46 games (23 starts) in his three seasons with Tampa Bay. He had just 12 tackles and one interception in 2016.

      The strong play of rookie Vernon Hargreaves last season helped cement his departure.

      Verner played his first four seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He had a career-best five interceptions in 2013 when he made the Pro Bowl.

  • Jets release K Folk, OT Giacomini
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    The New York Jets announced a pair of cost-saving moves Thursday, releasing veteran kicker Nick Folk and veteran offensive tackle Breno Giacomini.

    • The moves will save approximately $7.5 million in salary cap space.

      Folk joined the Jets in free agency in 2010 after beginning his career with the Dallas Cowboys. In seven seasons with the Jets, he converted 175 field goals and his 81.3 kicking percentage is the highest of any kicker in team history with at least 100 attempts.

      In 2013, Folk established a team-record with a 91.7 field goal percentage and his 33 field goals were the second-most in team history.

      Last year Folk made 27 of 31 field attempts for the 4-12 Jets.

      "It's a sad day, but that's the business side of things," Folk told the team's website. "I had a great seven years here. I think the only thing that would've topped it off would've been a couple of Super Bowl wins.

      Giacomini signed with the Jets in March 2014 after helping the Seattle Seahawks win their first Super Bowl. He appeared in 16 games in each of his first two seasons with the Jets but never got untracked in 2016 due to a back injury.

      Giacomini injured his back early in training camp and was on the team's physically unable to perform list for the seven games. He made five starts but re-injured his back in Week 13 against the Indianapolis Colts.

      Before joining the Jets, Giacomini was a fifth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2008. He signed with Seattle on Sept. 29, 2010 and made 40 regular-season starts with the Seahawks.

  • Vikings tab Hazell as receivers coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    The Minnesota Vikings named Darrell Hazell as the team's wide receivers coach on Thursday.

    • Hazell spent his last six seasons as a head coach in the collegiate ranks, with two years at Kent State (2011-12) before spending the last three-plus with Purdue (2013-16). Hazell managed only a 9-33 record with the Boilermakers before being fired.

      The 52-year-old New Jersey native has spent 14 of his 30 years of coaching experience working directly with wide receivers. While with Ohio State, Hazell coached future wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr., Santonio Holmes and Terrelle Pryor.

      Minnesota also tabbed Derik Keyes as its assistant strength and conditioning coach on Thursday. Keyes held the same position with the Houston Texans in 2012 and the Cleveland Browns for the last four years.

  • Dolphins QB Tannehill passes tests on ACL and MCL sprain
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill passed a battery of tests on his ACL and Grade 2 MCL sprain and is expected to be available for all of the team's offseason program, the Miami Herald reported on Thursday.

    • Tannehill missed the Dolphins' last three regular-season games and their playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers with a severe knee sprain. The 28-year-old elected against full reconstructive surgery and instead opted for rehabilitation with adult stem cell treatment, the Miami Herald reported.

      Tannehill is expected for a full workload by the start of training camp in July and likely will wear a knee brace throughout the season.

      The eighth overall pick of the 2012 draft, Tannehill suffered a sprained ACL and MCL in his left knee in the Dec. 11 game against the Arizona Cardinals.

      Tannehill completed 67.1 percent of his passes, throwing for 2,995 yards, 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a 93.5 passer rating in 13 games.

  • Cardinals to face Cowboys in Hall of Fame Game
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday that the Arizona Cardinals will face the Dallas Cowboys in next season's Hall of Fame Game.

    • The game will take place Aug. 3 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, two days before the class of 2017 is inducted.

      Arizona is appearing in the game for the fifth time, with the franchise playing the New York Giants to a 21-21 tie in the first Hall of Fame Game in 1962. The Cardinals' most recent appearance in the game was in 2012 against the New Orleans Saints.

      Dallas is appearing in the game for the sixth time. The Cowboys last played in the game in 2010 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

      Both teams have a representative in the seven-member class with former Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and Dallas owner Jerry Jones going into the Hall of Fame.

      Last year's Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was cancelled shortly before kickoff due to poor field conditions.

  • Browns DT Shelton set to 'kill it' after minor wrist surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Danny Shelton was sporting a cast on his left arm, leading many on social media to wonder about his injury.

    • Shelton took to Twitter and revealed he had he is ready for a big season after undergoing minor wrist surgery.

      "I'm all good. Just had my wrist cleaned up so I can kill it this season," the 23-year-old Shelton posted on Twitter.

      Shelton recorded 1.5 sacks and 59 tackles in his second season with the club. A first-round pick of the 2015 draft, Shelton has collected 95 tackles in his career with Cleveland.

  • Bucs' Winston uses 'poor word choice' during school speech
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston lamented "poor word choice" after making stereotypical gender comments during a speech at an elementary school on Wednesday.

    • While speaking to third through fifth graders at Melrose Elementary in St. Petersburg, Fla., Winston demanded that the male students stand up while telling the female students to remain seated.

      "All my young boys, stand up. The ladies, sit down," the 23-year-old Winston said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. "But all my boys, stand up. We strong, right? We strong! We strong, right? All my boys, tell me one time: I can do anything I put my mind to. Now, a lot of boys aren't supposed to be soft-spoken. You know what I'm saying? One day y'all are going to have a very deep voice like this (in deep voice). One day, you'll have a very, very deep voice.

      "But the ladies, they're supposed to be silent, polite, gentle. My men, my men (are) supposed to be strong. I want y'all to tell me what the third rule of life is: I can do anything I put my mind to."

      Winston later said that he was trying to keep the attention of the group.

      "I was making an effort to interact with a young male in the audience who didn't seem to be paying attention, and I didn't want to single him out, so I asked all the boys to stand up," Winston said, according to the newspaper. "During my talk, I used a poor word choice that may have overshadowed that positive message for some."

      Winston's words immediately came under fire, especially in the context that it was coming from a player who faced sexual assault allegations while at Florida State. The quarterback was never charged with a crime in the incident, but Winston settled a federal lawsuit filed by the woman in December.

      Florida State also agreed to pay the woman $950,000 in January 2016 to settle a lawsuit she filed against the school for its handling of her Title IX complaint.

  • Chiefs' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Kansas City Chiefs breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Kansas City Chiefs must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 12-4 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Chiefs' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      So close, and yet so far is the way some see the Chiefs. They achieve in the regular season but then don't break through in a big way during the playoffs.

      Head coach Andy Reid appears committed to quarterback Alex Smith, despite rumblings of possible interest in Tony Romo. Whether that is accurate will be revealed quickly.

      The Chiefs are trying to retain two key free agents: safety Eric Berry, who says he won't play the season under the franchise tag as he did in 2016, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe.

      The pass rush is aging, but overall, the Chiefs remain formidable.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 1st in AFC West (12-4)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 343.0 (20th)

      RUSHING: 109.3 (15th)

      PASSING: 233.8 (19th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 368.5 (24th)

      RUSHING: 121.1 (26th)

      PASSING: 247.4 (18th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      EDGE PASS RUSHER

      The futures of Justin Houston (knee) and Tamba Hali (knee/age) are cloudy. Dee Ford stepped up in 2016 with 10 sacks, but the defense had only 28 total.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OLB:

      Chandler Jones, Arizona (27, $2.04M)

      Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April, $5.05M)

      Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers (28 in April, $2.1M)

      DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July, $10M)

      Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37, $8.67M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/18 Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/26 Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1

      3/27 Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1

      4/31 Haason Reddick, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2

      5/48 T.J. Watt, Wisconsin, 6-4, 243, 4.76, 2 (underclassman)

      DE:

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Jason Pierre-Paul, N.Y. Giants (28, $10M)

      Calais Campbell, Arizona (DT; 31 in September, $11M)

      Jabaal Sheard, New England (28 in May, $5.5M)

      &Mario Williams, Miami (32, $8.5M)

      Charles Johnson, Carolina (31 in July, $3M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Proj. Rd.)

      1/1 Myles Garrett, Texas AM, 6-4, 268, 1 (underclassman)

      2/3 Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 6-2, 275, 1 (underclassman)

      3/17 Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 6-3, 265, 1 (underclassman)

      4/28 Taco Charlton, Michigan, 6-5, 272, 1

      5/32 Charles Harris, Missouri, 6-3, 255, 1-2 (underclassman)

      RUNNING BACK

      The days of relying on Jamaal Charles are over; three surgeries on his knees in less than 18 months create doubts.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (25, $1.03M)

      *Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (32 in March, $14M)

      LeGarrette Blount, New England (31 in December, $1M)

      Latavius Murray, Oakland (27, $567K)

      Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (27 June, $848K)

      Darren McFadden, Dallas (30 in August, $1.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/5 Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-11, 206, 4.43, 1 (underclassman)

      2/9 Leonard Fournette, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.45, 1 (underclassman)

      3/24 Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 6-0, 202, 4.48, 1 (underclassman)

      4/60 Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 5-10, 215, 4.62, 2 (underclassman)

      5/86 Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, 6-1, 226, 4.50, 3 (underclassman)

      CORNERBACK

      The Chiefs found a stud in 2015 with Marcus Peters. They need to conjure up another corner to handle the opposite side of the defense.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      UFA KEEPERS

      S Eric Berry (29 in December, $10.8M)

      DT Dontari Poe (27 in August, $2.83M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Alex Smith. Backups -- Nick Foles, Tyler Bray.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- *Jamaal Charles, FB Anthony Sherman. Backups -- Knile Davis (UFA), *FB Trey Millard, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Travis Kelce. Backups -- Demetrius Harris, James O'Shaughnessy, Ross Travis.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Chris Conley, Jeremy Maclin. Backups -- *Kenny Cook, Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson, De'Anthony Thomas, Albert Wilson.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Eric Fisher, *LG Parker Ehinger, C Mitch Morse, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitchell Schwartz. Backups -- C/G Zach Fulton, G Mike Person (UFA), G/T Jah Reid, T Bryan Witzmann.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *LDE Jaye Howard, DT Dontari Poe (UFA), *RDE Allen Bailey. Backups -- DT T.J. Barnes, DT Jarvis Jenkins (UFA), DL Chris Jones, DE David King, DE Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DE Kendall Reyes (UFA).

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SOLB Justin Houston, *SILB Josh Mauga, *WILB Derrick Johnson, WOLB Tamba Hali. Backups -- ILB D.J. Alexander, OLB Dee Ford, ILB Justin March-Lillard, *OLB Dadi Nicolas, ILB Terrance Smith, ILB Ramik Wilson, OLB Frank Zombo.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Marcus Peters, RCB Phillip Gaines, FS Ron Parker, SS Eric Berry (UFA). Backups -- CB Kenneth Acker, *CB Vernon Harris, CB Terrance Mitchell, CB Eric Murray, CB Steven Nelson, S Daniel Sorensen, CB/S D.J. White.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Cairo Santos, P Dustin Colquitt, KOR/PR Tyreek Hill, LS James Winchester.

  • Chargers' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Los Angeles Chargers breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Los Angeles Chargers must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 5-11 record from last season

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Chargers' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Is it fair to say one of the team's needs will be fans? The Chargers have their work cut out with their move to Los Angeles, as they will play in a 30,000-seat stadium that necessitated high ticket prices. The adjustment could prove difficult.

      On the field, the offseason goal will be to upgrade the offensive line to help quarterback Philip Rivers while implementing a switch to a 4-3 defense with the arrival of Gus Bradley as coordinator.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 4th in AFC West (5-11)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 356.8 (14th)

      RUSHING: 94.4 (26th)

      PASSING: 262.4 (8th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 347.1 (16th)

      RUSHING: 97.9 (10th)

      PASSING: 249.2 (20th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE TACKLE

      In addition to off-field issues, King Dunlap has a body that can't be counted on at left tackle to protect the team's most precious asset, and one that is aging: quarterback Philip Rivers. Upgrades are needed here. The edges weren't sharp, and in the AFC West, that is a recipe for sacks. The Chargers also might have to swallow some coin to improve on right tackle Joe Barksdale.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

      *Russell Okung, Denver (29 in October, $10.6M)

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      4/53 Taylor Moton, Western Michigan, 6-5, 330, 5.31, 2

      5/59 Roderick Johnson, Florida State, 6-6, 308, 5.34, 2 (underclassman)

      CORNERBACK

      On paper, the Chargers look good. However, Jason Verrett isn't "Ironman," and Brandon Flowers likely has taken his last snap. The unit is thin.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      DEFENSIVE END

      In switching from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3 under new coordinator Gus Bradley, the end position needs some attention opposite standout Joey Bosa. Darius Philon is the only other end on the roster, and his skills don't include providing a pass rush off the edge. Bosa will get some additional help.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Jason Pierre-Paul, N.Y. Giants (28, $10M)

      Calais Campbell, Arizona (DT; 31 in September, $11M)

      Jabaal Sheard, New England (28 in May, $5.5M)

      &Mario Williams, Miami (32, $8.5M)

      Charles Johnson, Carolina (31 in July, $3M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Proj. Rd.)

      1/1 Myles Garrett, Texas AM, 6-4, 268, 1 (underclassman)

      2/3 Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 6-2, 275, 1 (underclassman)

      3/17 Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 6-3, 265, 1 (underclassman)

      4/28 Taco Charlton, Michigan, 6-5, 272, 1

      5/32 Charles Harris, Missouri, 6-3, 255, 4.74, 1-2 (underclassman)

      UFA KEEPERS

      LB/DE Melvin Ingram (28 in April, $2.1M)

      S Jahleel Addae (27, $2.55M)

      DL Damion Square (28, $725K)

      RB Danny Woodhead (32, $2.75M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING UPDATE

      --Head coach Anthony Lynn replaces Mike McCoy.

      --DC Gus Bradley replaces John Pagano.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Philip Rivers. Backup -- Kellen Clemens (UFA).

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- *Melvin Gordon. Backups -- *Danny Woodhead (UFA), *Branden Oliver, FB Derek Watt, *Kenneth Farrow, Ronnie Hillman (UFA), Andre Williams, *Dexter McCluster (UFA).

      TIGHT ENDS: Starters -- Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry. Backups -- Sean McGrath, Asante Cleveland, *Jeff Cumberland (UFA).

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- *Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams. Backups -- Travis Benjamin, *Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman, *Javontee Herndon.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Matt Slauson, RG D.J. Fluker, RT Joe Barksdale. Backups -- T Tyreek Burwell, G/T Kenny Wiggins, G/T Chris Hairston, C/G Spencer Pulley, *G Donavon Clark, *T Tyler Johnstone.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DLE Joey Bosa, *NT Brandon Mebane, DRE Corey Liuget. Backups -- DLE Darius Philon, NT Damion Square (UFA), DRE Kaleb Eulls, *NT Sean Lissemore (UFA), *DT Caraun Reid, *DT Zamir Carlis, *NT Tenny Palepoi.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- OLB Melvin Ingram (UFA), ILB Denzel Perryman, *ILB Manti Te'o (UFA), OLB Kyle Emanuel. Backups -- OLB Tourek Williams (UFA), OLB Christopher Landrum, ILB Jatavis Brown, ILB Korey Toomer, ILB Joshua Perry, *ILB Nick Dzubnar, *OLB Jerry Attaochu.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- *LCB Jason Verrett, *RCB Brandon Flowers, FS Dwight Lowery, SS Jahleel Addae (UFA). Backups -- RCB Casey Hayward, RCB Trevor Williams, LCB Trovon Reed, LCB Craig Mager, RCB Robert McClain, SS Adrian Phillips, FS Darrell Stuckey, FS Dexter McCoil.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Josh Lambo, P Drew Kaser, KOR/PR Isaiah Burse, LS Mike Windt (UFA).

  • Raiders' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Oakland Raiders breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Oakland Raiders must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 12-4 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Raiders' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Armed with a contract extension, head coach Jack Del Rio seeks to continue the ascent the Raiders experienced in 2016 before an injury to quarterback Derek Carr derailed the end of their season. Carr is back with an excellent receiving corps, but the ground game has to be addressed, especially if free agent Latavius Murray departs.

      The defense was a disappointment, and that is where Del Rio will put most of his attention in the offseason.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 2nd in AFC West (12-4-0)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 373.3 (6th)

      RUSHING: 120.1 (6th)

      PASSING: 253.2 (13th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 375.1 (26th)

      RUSHING: 117.6 (23rd)

      PASSING: 257.5 (24th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      DEFENSIVE TACKLE

      The Raiders finished last in the NFL in sacks despite the presence of Khalil Mack because they had no interior push. They need a three-technique to press the pocket.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kawann Short, Carolina (28, $1.16M)

      Dontari Poe, Kansas City (27 in August, $2.83M)

      Domata Peko, Cincinnati (33 in November, $4.5M)

      Vince Wilfork, Houston (possibly retiring; 36 in November, $4.5M)

      Nick Fairley, New Orleans (29, $3M)

      Alan Branch, New England (33 in December, $2.15M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/2 Jonathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3, 291, 4.82, 1

      2/22 Malik McDowell, Michigan State, 6-5, 276, 4.89, 1 (underclassman)

      3/50 Caleb Brantley, Florida, 6-2, 297, 5.05, 2 (underclassman)

      4/56 Carlos Watkins, Clemson, 6-4, 312, 5.06, 2

      5/66 Chris Wormley, Michigan, 6-5, 297, 4.92, 2-3

      6/71 Elijah Qualls, Washington, 6-1, 321, 5.37, 2-3 (underclassman)

      CORNERBACK

      Starters David Amerson and Sean Smith are both tall, long press corners. A smaller slot cornerback would help immensely.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      LINEBACKER

      Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr. are both free agents, and both struggle in pass coverage. The Raiders may need to fill two starting positions.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      OLB:

      Chandler Jones, Arizona (27, $2.04M)

      Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April, $5.05M)

      Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers (28 in April, $2.1M)

      DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July, $10M)

      Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37, $8.67M)

      ILB:

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OLB:

      1/18 Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/26 Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1

      3/27 Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1

      4/31 Haason Reddick, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2

      5/48 T.J. Watt, Wisconsin, 6-4, 243, 4.76, 2 (underclassman)

      ILB:

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      UFA KEEPERS

      RB Latavius Murray (27, $567K)

      TE Mychal Rivera (27 in September, $566K)

      T Menelik Watson (29 in December, $ 1.2M)

      LB Malcolm Smith (28 in July, $3.5M)

      LB Perry Riley Jr. (29 in May, $760K)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --OC Todd Downing replaces Bill Musgrave.

      --John Pagano named assistant head coach/defense.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Derek Carr. Backups -- Matt McGloin (UFA), Connor Cook.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- Latavius Murray (UFA), FB Jamize Olawale. Backups -- Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Taiwan Jones.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- *Lee Smith. Backups -- Clive Walford, Mychal Rivera (UFA), *Gabe Holmes.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- SE Michael Crabtree, FL Amari Cooper. Backups -- Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes (UFA), Johnny Holton.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Donald Penn, LG Kelechi Osemele, C Rodney Hudson, RG Gabe Jackson, RT Menelik Watson (UFA). Backups -- RT Austin Howard, T/G Vadal Alexander, G Denver Kirkland, G/C Jon Feliciano.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- RE Khalil Mack, NT Dan Williams, DT Justin Ellis, LE Mario Edwards Jr. Backups -- E/T Jihad Ward, E/T Denico Autry, DT Darius Latham, DT Stacy McGee (UFA), E Branden Jackson.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Malcolm Smith (UFA), MLB Perry Riley Jr. (UFA), SLB Bruce Irvin. Backups -- MLB *Ben Heeney, OLB Tyrell Adams, OLB James Cowser, OLB Daren Bates (UFA), OLB Cory James, *OLB Neiron Ball, *OLB Shilique Calhoun.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB David Amerson, RCB Sean Smith, SS Karl Joseph, FS Reggie Nelson. Backups -- *Slot CB DJ Hayden (UFA), CB TJ Carrie, CB Dexter McDonald, CB Antonio Hamilton, S Nate Allen (UFA), S Brynden Trawick (UFA).

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Sebastian Janikowski, P Marquette King, KOR/PR Jalen Richard, LS Jon Condo (UFA).

  • AFC West offseason shopping lists
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    ==============

    • DENVER BRONCOS

      ==============

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Denver Broncos must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 9-7 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Broncos' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Much will be different in Denver after the retirement of head coach Gary Kubiak and the staff shakeup that followed with a new head coach (Vance Joseph), offensive coordinator (Mike McCoy) and defensive coordinator (Joe Woods).

      The defense should again be a strength even with the departure of coordinator Wade Phillips. On offense, the line needs shoring up, and the new brain trust (along with general manager John Elway) must decide if they will hitch their wagon to one of their young quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, or take the plunge and pursue Tony Romo.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 3rd in AFC West (9-7)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 323.1 (27th)

      RUSHING: 92.8 (27th)

      PASSING: 230.3 (T21st)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 316.1 (4th)

      RUSHING: 130.3 (28th)

      PASSING: 185.8 (1st)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      Free agency could yield some immediate help, but the Broncos need multiple long-term reinforcements to take pressure off the defense.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OT:

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      Matt Kalil, Minnesota (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

      G/C

      T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

      Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

      JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26, $644K)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OT:

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      OG:

      1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

      2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

      C:

      1/64 Ethan Pocic, LSU, 6-6, 307, 5.18, 2

      2/80 Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-2, 300, 5.22, 2-3

      DEFENSIVE TACKLE

      The Broncos need more push and a stouter presence on the inside. With defensive coordinator Wade Phillips gone, there likely will be adjustments up front.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kawann Short, Carolina (28, $1.16M)

      Dontari Poe, Kansas City (27 in August, $2.83M)

      Domata Peko, Cincinnati (33 in November, $4.5M)

      Vince Wilfork, Houston (possibly retiring; 36 in November, $4.5M)

      Nick Fairley, New Orleans (29, $3M)

      Alan Branch, New England (33 in December, $2.15M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/2 Jonathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3, 291, 4.82, 1

      2/22 Malik McDowell, Michigan State, 6-5, 276, 4.89, 1 (underclassman)

      3/50 Caleb Brantley, Florida, 6-2, 297, 5.05, 2 (underclassman)

      4/56 Carlos Watkins, Clemson, 6-4, 312, 5.06, 2

      5/66 Chris Wormley, Michigan, 6-5, 297, 4.92, 2-3

      6/71 Elijah Qualls, Washington, 6-1, 321, 5.37, 2-3 (underclassman)

      TIGHT END

      Jeff Heuerman and A.J. Derby came on late, but this year's tight end class is the best in recent memory.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Martellus Bennett, New England (30 in March, $5.1M)

      Jared Cook, Green Bay (30 in April, $2.75M)

      Jordan Cameron, Miami (29 in August, $7.5M)

      Vernon Davis, Washington (33, $2.4M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Proj. Rd.)

      1/11 O.J. Howard, Alabama, 6-6, 249, 4.57, 1

      2/30 David Njoku, Miami (FL), 6-4, 240, 4.53, 1-2 (underclassman)

      3/45 Evan Engram, Mississippi, 6-3, 236, 4.64, 2

      4/72 Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech, 6-6, 245, 4.78, 2-3 (underclassman)

      5/75 Gerald Everett, South Alabama, 6-3, 227, 4.68, 2-3

      UFA KEEPERS

      DT Sylvester Williams (29 in November, $1.895M)

      OLB DeMarcus Ware (35 in July, $10M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --Head coach Vance Joseph replaces Gary Kubiak

      --OC Mike McCoy replaces Rick Dennison

      --DC Joe Woods replaces Wade Phillips

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Trevor Siemian. Backup -- Paxton Lynch.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- *C.J. Anderson, FB *Andy Janovich. Backups -- Devontae Booker, *Kapri Bibbs, FB/RB Juwan Thompson, Justin Forsett (UFA).

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Virgil Green. Backups -- A.J. Derby, Jeff Heuerman, Henry Krieger-Coble.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders. Backups -- Jordan Taylor, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Jordan Norwood (UFA), Kalif Raymond, *Marlon Brown.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Russell Okung (option not expected to be exercised), LG Max Garcia, C Matt Paradis, RG Michael Schofield, RT Donald Stephenson. Backups -- C James Ferentz, G/T Ty Sambrailo, G Billy Turner, *G/C Sam Brenner.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DE Derek Wolfe, NT Sylvester Williams (UFA), *DE Vance Walker (UFA). Backups -- DE Jared Crick, DE Billy Winn (UFA), DE Adam Gotsis, NT Kyle Peko.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- OLB Von Miller, OLB *DeMarcus Ware (UFA), ILB Brandon Marshall, ILB Todd Davis. Backups -- OLB Shane Ray, OLB Shaquil Barrett, ILB/OLB Dekoda Watson (UFA), ILB Corey Nelson, ILB Zaire Anderson, ILB Quentin Gause.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- CB Aqib Talib, CB Chris Harris Jr., SS T.J. Ward, FS Darian Stewart. Backups -- CB Bradley Roby, *CB Kayvon Webster (UFA), S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons, CB Lorenzo Doss, CB Taurean Nixon.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Brandon McManus, P Riley Dixon, KOR/PR Kalif Raymond, LS *Casey Kreiter, LS Thomas Gafford (UFA).

      ==================

      KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

      ==================

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Kansas City Chiefs must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 12-4 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Chiefs' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      So close, and yet so far is the way some see the Chiefs. They achieve in the regular season but then don't break through in a big way during the playoffs.

      Head coach Andy Reid appears committed to quarterback Alex Smith, despite rumblings of possible interest in Tony Romo. Whether that is accurate will be revealed quickly.

      The Chiefs are trying to retain two key free agents: safety Eric Berry, who says he won't play the season under the franchise tag as he did in 2016, and defensive tackle Dontari Poe.

      The pass rush is aging, but overall, the Chiefs remain formidable.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 1st in AFC West (12-4)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 343.0 (20th)

      RUSHING: 109.3 (15th)

      PASSING: 233.8 (19th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 368.5 (24th)

      RUSHING: 121.1 (26th)

      PASSING: 247.4 (18th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      EDGE PASS RUSHER

      The futures of Justin Houston (knee) and Tamba Hali (knee/age) are cloudy. Dee Ford stepped up in 2016 with 10 sacks, but the defense had only 28 total.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OLB:

      Chandler Jones, Arizona (27, $2.04M)

      Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April, $5.05M)

      Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers (28 in April, $2.1M)

      DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July, $10M)

      Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37, $8.67M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/18 Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/26 Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1

      3/27 Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1

      4/31 Haason Reddick, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2

      5/48 T.J. Watt, Wisconsin, 6-4, 243, 4.76, 2 (underclassman)

      DE:

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Jason Pierre-Paul, N.Y. Giants (28, $10M)

      Calais Campbell, Arizona (DT; 31 in September, $11M)

      Jabaal Sheard, New England (28 in May, $5.5M)

      &Mario Williams, Miami (32, $8.5M)

      Charles Johnson, Carolina (31 in July, $3M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Proj. Rd.)

      1/1 Myles Garrett, Texas AM, 6-4, 268, 1 (underclassman)

      2/3 Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 6-2, 275, 1 (underclassman)

      3/17 Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 6-3, 265, 1 (underclassman)

      4/28 Taco Charlton, Michigan, 6-5, 272, 1

      5/32 Charles Harris, Missouri, 6-3, 255, 1-2 (underclassman)

      RUNNING BACK

      The days of relying on Jamaal Charles are over; three surgeries on his knees in less than 18 months create doubts.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (25, $1.03M)

      *Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (32 in March, $14M)

      LeGarrette Blount, New England (31 in December, $1M)

      Latavius Murray, Oakland (27, $567K)

      Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (27 June, $848K)

      Darren McFadden, Dallas (30 in August, $1.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/5 Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-11, 206, 4.43, 1 (underclassman)

      2/9 Leonard Fournette, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.45, 1 (underclassman)

      3/24 Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 6-0, 202, 4.48, 1 (underclassman)

      4/60 Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 5-10, 215, 4.62, 2 (underclassman)

      5/86 Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, 6-1, 226, 4.50, 3 (underclassman)

      CORNERBACK

      The Chiefs found a stud in 2015 with Marcus Peters. They need to conjure up another corner to handle the opposite side of the defense.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      UFA KEEPERS

      S Eric Berry (29 in December, $10.8M)

      DT Dontari Poe (27 in August, $2.83M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Alex Smith. Backups -- Nick Foles, Tyler Bray.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- *Jamaal Charles, FB Anthony Sherman. Backups -- Knile Davis (UFA), *FB Trey Millard, Spencer Ware, Charcandrick West.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Travis Kelce. Backups -- Demetrius Harris, James O'Shaughnessy, Ross Travis.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Chris Conley, Jeremy Maclin. Backups -- *Kenny Cook, Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson, De'Anthony Thomas, Albert Wilson.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Eric Fisher, *LG Parker Ehinger, C Mitch Morse, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RT Mitchell Schwartz. Backups -- C/G Zach Fulton, G Mike Person (UFA), G/T Jah Reid, T Bryan Witzmann.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *LDE Jaye Howard, DT Dontari Poe (UFA), *RDE Allen Bailey. Backups -- DT T.J. Barnes, DT Jarvis Jenkins (UFA), DL Chris Jones, DE David King, DE Rakeem Nunez-Roches, DE Kendall Reyes (UFA).

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SOLB Justin Houston, *SILB Josh Mauga, *WILB Derrick Johnson, WOLB Tamba Hali. Backups -- ILB D.J. Alexander, OLB Dee Ford, ILB Justin March-Lillard, *OLB Dadi Nicolas, ILB Terrance Smith, ILB Ramik Wilson, OLB Frank Zombo.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Marcus Peters, RCB Phillip Gaines, FS Ron Parker, SS Eric Berry (UFA). Backups -- CB Kenneth Acker, *CB Vernon Harris, CB Terrance Mitchell, CB Eric Murray, CB Steven Nelson, S Daniel Sorensen, CB/S D.J. White.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Cairo Santos, P Dustin Colquitt, KOR/PR Tyreek Hill, LS James Winchester.

      ====================

      LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

      ====================

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Los Angeles Chargers must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 5-11 record from last season

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Chargers' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Is it fair to say one of the team's needs will be fans? The Chargers have their work cut out with their move to Los Angeles, as they will play in a 30,000-seat stadium that necessitated high ticket prices. The adjustment could prove difficult.

      On the field, the offseason goal will be to upgrade the offensive line to help quarterback Philip Rivers while implementing a switch to a 4-3 defense with the arrival of Gus Bradley as coordinator.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 4th in AFC West (5-11)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 356.8 (14th)

      RUSHING: 94.4 (26th)

      PASSING: 262.4 (8th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 347.1 (16th)

      RUSHING: 97.9 (10th)

      PASSING: 249.2 (20th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE TACKLE

      In addition to off-field issues, King Dunlap has a body that can't be counted on at left tackle to protect the team's most precious asset, and one that is aging: quarterback Philip Rivers. Upgrades are needed here. The edges weren't sharp, and in the AFC West, that is a recipe for sacks. The Chargers also might have to swallow some coin to improve on right tackle Joe Barksdale.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

      *Russell Okung, Denver (29 in October, $10.6M)

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      4/53 Taylor Moton, Western Michigan, 6-5, 330, 5.31, 2

      5/59 Roderick Johnson, Florida State, 6-6, 308, 5.34, 2 (underclassman)

      CORNERBACK

      On paper, the Chargers look good. However, Jason Verrett isn't "Ironman," and Brandon Flowers likely has taken his last snap. The unit is thin.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      DEFENSIVE END

      In switching from a 3-4 alignment to a 4-3 under new coordinator Gus Bradley, the end position needs some attention opposite standout Joey Bosa. Darius Philon is the only other end on the roster, and his skills don't include providing a pass rush off the edge. Bosa will get some additional help.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Jason Pierre-Paul, N.Y. Giants (28, $10M)

      Calais Campbell, Arizona (DT; 31 in September, $11M)

      Jabaal Sheard, New England (28 in May, $5.5M)

      &Mario Williams, Miami (32, $8.5M)

      Charles Johnson, Carolina (31 in July, $3M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Proj. Rd.)

      1/1 Myles Garrett, Texas AM, 6-4, 268, 1 (underclassman)

      2/3 Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 6-2, 275, 1 (underclassman)

      3/17 Derek Barnett, Tennessee, 6-3, 265, 1 (underclassman)

      4/28 Taco Charlton, Michigan, 6-5, 272, 1

      5/32 Charles Harris, Missouri, 6-3, 255, 4.74, 1-2 (underclassman)

      UFA KEEPERS

      LB/DE Melvin Ingram (28 in April, $2.1M)

      S Jahleel Addae (27, $2.55M)

      DL Damion Square (28, $725K)

      RB Danny Woodhead (32, $2.75M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING UPDATE

      --Head coach Anthony Lynn replaces Mike McCoy.

      --DC Gus Bradley replaces John Pagano.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Philip Rivers. Backup -- Kellen Clemens (UFA).

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- *Melvin Gordon. Backups -- *Danny Woodhead (UFA), *Branden Oliver, FB Derek Watt, *Kenneth Farrow, Ronnie Hillman (UFA), Andre Williams, *Dexter McCluster (UFA).

      TIGHT ENDS: Starters -- Antonio Gates, Hunter Henry. Backups -- Sean McGrath, Asante Cleveland, *Jeff Cumberland (UFA).

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- *Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams. Backups -- Travis Benjamin, *Stevie Johnson, Dontrelle Inman, *Javontee Herndon.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT King Dunlap, LG Orlando Franklin, C Matt Slauson, RG D.J. Fluker, RT Joe Barksdale. Backups -- T Tyreek Burwell, G/T Kenny Wiggins, G/T Chris Hairston, C/G Spencer Pulley, *G Donavon Clark, *T Tyler Johnstone.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DLE Joey Bosa, *NT Brandon Mebane, DRE Corey Liuget. Backups -- DLE Darius Philon, NT Damion Square (UFA), DRE Kaleb Eulls, *NT Sean Lissemore (UFA), *DT Caraun Reid, *DT Zamir Carlis, *NT Tenny Palepoi.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- OLB Melvin Ingram (UFA), ILB Denzel Perryman, *ILB Manti Te'o (UFA), OLB Kyle Emanuel. Backups -- OLB Tourek Williams (UFA), OLB Christopher Landrum, ILB Jatavis Brown, ILB Korey Toomer, ILB Joshua Perry, *ILB Nick Dzubnar, *OLB Jerry Attaochu.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- *LCB Jason Verrett, *RCB Brandon Flowers, FS Dwight Lowery, SS Jahleel Addae (UFA). Backups -- RCB Casey Hayward, RCB Trevor Williams, LCB Trovon Reed, LCB Craig Mager, RCB Robert McClain, SS Adrian Phillips, FS Darrell Stuckey, FS Dexter McCoil.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Josh Lambo, P Drew Kaser, KOR/PR Isaiah Burse, LS Mike Windt (UFA).

      ===============

      OAKLAND RAIDERS

      ===============

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Oakland Raiders must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 12-4 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Raiders' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Armed with a contract extension, head coach Jack Del Rio seeks to continue the ascent the Raiders experienced in 2016 before an injury to quarterback Derek Carr derailed the end of their season. Carr is back with an excellent receiving corps, but the ground game has to be addressed, especially if free agent Latavius Murray departs.

      The defense was a disappointment, and that is where Del Rio will put most of his attention in the offseason.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 2nd in AFC West (12-4-0)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 373.3 (6th)

      RUSHING: 120.1 (6th)

      PASSING: 253.2 (13th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 375.1 (26th)

      RUSHING: 117.6 (23rd)

      PASSING: 257.5 (24th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      DEFENSIVE TACKLE

      The Raiders finished last in the NFL in sacks despite the presence of Khalil Mack because they had no interior push. They need a three-technique to press the pocket.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kawann Short, Carolina (28, $1.16M)

      Dontari Poe, Kansas City (27 in August, $2.83M)

      Domata Peko, Cincinnati (33 in November, $4.5M)

      Vince Wilfork, Houston (possibly retiring; 36 in November, $4.5M)

      Nick Fairley, New Orleans (29, $3M)

      Alan Branch, New England (33 in December, $2.15M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/2 Jonathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3, 291, 4.82, 1

      2/22 Malik McDowell, Michigan State, 6-5, 276, 4.89, 1 (underclassman)

      3/50 Caleb Brantley, Florida, 6-2, 297, 5.05, 2 (underclassman)

      4/56 Carlos Watkins, Clemson, 6-4, 312, 5.06, 2

      5/66 Chris Wormley, Michigan, 6-5, 297, 4.92, 2-3

      6/71 Elijah Qualls, Washington, 6-1, 321, 5.37, 2-3 (underclassman)

      CORNERBACK

      Starters David Amerson and Sean Smith are both tall, long press corners. A smaller slot cornerback would help immensely.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      LINEBACKER

      Malcolm Smith and Perry Riley Jr. are both free agents, and both struggle in pass coverage. The Raiders may need to fill two starting positions.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      OLB:

      Chandler Jones, Arizona (27, $2.04M)

      Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April, $5.05M)

      Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers (28 in April, $2.1M)

      DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July, $10M)

      Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37, $8.67M)

      ILB:

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OLB:

      1/18 Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/26 Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1

      3/27 Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1

      4/31 Haason Reddick, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2

      5/48 T.J. Watt, Wisconsin, 6-4, 243, 4.76, 2 (underclassman)

      ILB:

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      UFA KEEPERS

      RB Latavius Murray (27, $567K)

      TE Mychal Rivera (27 in September, $566K)

      T Menelik Watson (29 in December, $ 1.2M)

      LB Malcolm Smith (28 in July, $3.5M)

      LB Perry Riley Jr. (29 in May, $760K)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --OC Todd Downing replaces Bill Musgrave.

      --John Pagano named assistant head coach/defense.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Derek Carr. Backups -- Matt McGloin (UFA), Connor Cook.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- Latavius Murray (UFA), FB Jamize Olawale. Backups -- Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Taiwan Jones.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- *Lee Smith. Backups -- Clive Walford, Mychal Rivera (UFA), *Gabe Holmes.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- SE Michael Crabtree, FL Amari Cooper. Backups -- Seth Roberts, Andre Holmes (UFA), Johnny Holton.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Donald Penn, LG Kelechi Osemele, C Rodney Hudson, RG Gabe Jackson, RT Menelik Watson (UFA). Backups -- RT Austin Howard, T/G Vadal Alexander, G Denver Kirkland, G/C Jon Feliciano.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- RE Khalil Mack, NT Dan Williams, DT Justin Ellis, LE Mario Edwards Jr. Backups -- E/T Jihad Ward, E/T Denico Autry, DT Darius Latham, DT Stacy McGee (UFA), E Branden Jackson.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Malcolm Smith (UFA), MLB Perry Riley Jr. (UFA), SLB Bruce Irvin. Backups -- MLB *Ben Heeney, OLB Tyrell Adams, OLB James Cowser, OLB Daren Bates (UFA), OLB Cory James, *OLB Neiron Ball, *OLB Shilique Calhoun.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB David Amerson, RCB Sean Smith, SS Karl Joseph, FS Reggie Nelson. Backups -- *Slot CB DJ Hayden (UFA), CB TJ Carrie, CB Dexter McDonald, CB Antonio Hamilton, S Nate Allen (UFA), S Brynden Trawick (UFA).

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Sebastian Janikowski, P Marquette King, KOR/PR Jalen Richard, LS Jon Condo (UFA).

  • Broncos' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Denver Broncos breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Denver Broncos must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 9-7 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Broncos' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Much will be different in Denver after the retirement of head coach Gary Kubiak and the staff shakeup that followed with a new head coach (Vance Joseph), offensive coordinator (Mike McCoy) and defensive coordinator (Joe Woods).

      The defense should again be a strength even with the departure of coordinator Wade Phillips. On offense, the line needs shoring up, and the new brain trust (along with general manager John Elway) must decide if they will hitch their wagon to one of their young quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch, or take the plunge and pursue Tony Romo.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 3rd in AFC West (9-7)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 323.1 (27th)

      RUSHING: 92.8 (27th)

      PASSING: 230.3 (T21st)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 316.1 (4th)

      RUSHING: 130.3 (28th)

      PASSING: 185.8 (1st)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      Free agency could yield some immediate help, but the Broncos need multiple long-term reinforcements to take pressure off the defense.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OT:

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      Matt Kalil, Minnesota (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

      G/C

      T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

      Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

      JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26, $644K)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OT:

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      OG:

      1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

      2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

      C:

      1/64 Ethan Pocic, LSU, 6-6, 307, 5.18, 2

      2/80 Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-2, 300, 5.22, 2-3

      DEFENSIVE TACKLE

      The Broncos need more push and a stouter presence on the inside. With defensive coordinator Wade Phillips gone, there likely will be adjustments up front.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kawann Short, Carolina (28, $1.16M)

      Dontari Poe, Kansas City (27 in August, $2.83M)

      Domata Peko, Cincinnati (33 in November, $4.5M)

      Vince Wilfork, Houston (possibly retiring; 36 in November, $4.5M)

      Nick Fairley, New Orleans (29, $3M)

      Alan Branch, New England (33 in December, $2.15M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/2 Jonathan Allen, Alabama, 6-3, 291, 4.82, 1

      2/22 Malik McDowell, Michigan State, 6-5, 276, 4.89, 1 (underclassman)

      3/50 Caleb Brantley, Florida, 6-2, 297, 5.05, 2 (underclassman)

      4/56 Carlos Watkins, Clemson, 6-4, 312, 5.06, 2

      5/66 Chris Wormley, Michigan, 6-5, 297, 4.92, 2-3

      6/71 Elijah Qualls, Washington, 6-1, 321, 5.37, 2-3 (underclassman)

      TIGHT END

      Jeff Heuerman and A.J. Derby came on late, but this year's tight end class is the best in recent memory.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Martellus Bennett, New England (30 in March, $5.1M)

      Jared Cook, Green Bay (30 in April, $2.75M)

      Jordan Cameron, Miami (29 in August, $7.5M)

      Vernon Davis, Washington (33, $2.4M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., Proj. Rd.)

      1/11 O.J. Howard, Alabama, 6-6, 249, 4.57, 1

      2/30 David Njoku, Miami (FL), 6-4, 240, 4.53, 1-2 (underclassman)

      3/45 Evan Engram, Mississippi, 6-3, 236, 4.64, 2

      4/72 Bucky Hodges, Virginia Tech, 6-6, 245, 4.78, 2-3 (underclassman)

      5/75 Gerald Everett, South Alabama, 6-3, 227, 4.68, 2-3

      UFA KEEPERS

      DT Sylvester Williams (29 in November, $1.895M)

      OLB DeMarcus Ware (35 in July, $10M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --Head coach Vance Joseph replaces Gary Kubiak

      --OC Mike McCoy replaces Rick Dennison

      --DC Joe Woods replaces Wade Phillips

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Trevor Siemian. Backup -- Paxton Lynch.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starters -- *C.J. Anderson, FB *Andy Janovich. Backups -- Devontae Booker, *Kapri Bibbs, FB/RB Juwan Thompson, Justin Forsett (UFA).

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Virgil Green. Backups -- A.J. Derby, Jeff Heuerman, Henry Krieger-Coble.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders. Backups -- Jordan Taylor, Bennie Fowler, Cody Latimer, Jordan Norwood (UFA), Kalif Raymond, *Marlon Brown.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Russell Okung (option not expected to be exercised), LG Max Garcia, C Matt Paradis, RG Michael Schofield, RT Donald Stephenson. Backups -- C James Ferentz, G/T Ty Sambrailo, G Billy Turner, *G/C Sam Brenner.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- DE Derek Wolfe, NT Sylvester Williams (UFA), *DE Vance Walker (UFA). Backups -- DE Jared Crick, DE Billy Winn (UFA), DE Adam Gotsis, NT Kyle Peko.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- OLB Von Miller, OLB *DeMarcus Ware (UFA), ILB Brandon Marshall, ILB Todd Davis. Backups -- OLB Shane Ray, OLB Shaquil Barrett, ILB/OLB Dekoda Watson (UFA), ILB Corey Nelson, ILB Zaire Anderson, ILB Quentin Gause.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- CB Aqib Talib, CB Chris Harris Jr., SS T.J. Ward, FS Darian Stewart. Backups -- CB Bradley Roby, *CB Kayvon Webster (UFA), S Will Parks, S Justin Simmons, CB Lorenzo Doss, CB Taurean Nixon.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Brandon McManus, P Riley Dixon, KOR/PR Kalif Raymond, LS *Casey Kreiter, LS Thomas Gafford (UFA).

  • Cardinals' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Arizona Cardinals breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Arizona Cardinals must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their disappointing 7-8-1 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Cardinals' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Close losses doomed the Cardinals in 2016, and they enter the 2017 offseason seeking ways to improve while trying to re-sign several key players.

      Quarterback Carson Palmer will return, as will wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. However, the defense needs improvements from the cornerback position and the pass rush.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 2nd in NFC West (7-8-1)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 366.8 (9th)

      RUSHING: 108.3 (18th)

      PASSING: 258.5 (9th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 305.2 (2nd)

      RUSHING: 94.9 (9th)

      PASSING: 210.3 (4th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      CORNERBACK

      After trotting out three different players to try to complement Patrick Peterson, Arizona will be tempted to use its first pick on a top-tier prospect.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      QUARTERBACK

      Carson Palmer is 37, so the Cardinals would be wise to find a QB in the first few rounds who can sit and learn from him for a year or two.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kirk Cousins, Washington (29 in August, $19.95M)

      *Tony Romo, Dallas (37 in April, $18M)

      Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (28 in December, $776K)

      Brian Hoyer, Chicago (32 in October, $2M)

      *Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo (28 in August, $18M)

      *Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (30 in November, $19M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/12 Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, 6-3, 220, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/20 DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, 4.76, 1 (underclassman)

      3/29 Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-2, 215, 4.64, 1-2 (underclassman)

      4/70 Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, 6-2, 229, 4.84, 2-3 (underclassman)

      5/99 Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL), 6-4, 210, 4.84, 3 (underclassman)

      INSIDE LINEBACKER

      Deone Bucannon is a converted strong safety, and Kevin Minter is a free agent. The Cardinals could stand to make an upgrade here, possibly early in the draft.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      &D'Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis (34 in September, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      4/108 Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, 6-1, 235, 4.63, 3-4 (underclassman)

      5/112 Kendell Beckwith, LSU, 6-2, 252, 4.82, 3-4

      UFA KEEPERS

      OLB Chandler Jones (27, $2.04M)

      DE Calais Campbell (31 in September, $11M)

      S Tony Jefferson (25, $1.67M)

      TE Jermaine Gresham (29 in June, $3.5M)

      DL Frostee Rucker (34 in September, $2.16M)

      C A.Q. Shipley (31 in May, $785K)

      LB Kevin Minter (27 in December, $1.1M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Carson Palmer. Backups -- Drew Stanton, Zac Dysert.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- David Johnson. Backups -- Andre Ellington (UFA), Kerwynn Williams, *Chris Johnson (UFA), Stepfan Taylor (UFA).

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, J.J. Nelson. Backups -- *Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden, Jeremy Ross (UFA), Marquis Bundy.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Jermaine Gresham (UFA). Backups -- Darren Fells, *Ifeanyi Momah, *Troy Niklas, Hakeem Valles.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *LT Jared Veldheer, LG Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley (UFA), *RG Evan Mathis (UFA), RT D.J. Humphries. Backups -- C/G Evan Boehm, *G Taylor Boggs (UFA), T/G John Wetzel, G/T Earl Watford (UFA), *T Ulrick John, T Givens Price, G Cole Toner.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LDT Calais Campbell (UFA), NT Corey Peters, RDT Frostee Rucker (UFA). Backups -- LDT Robert Nkemdiche, LDT Ed Stinson, NT Xavier Williams, NT Olsen Pierre, RDT Josh Mauro, RDT Rodney Gunter.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SLB Chandler Jones (UFA), *SLB Deone Bucannon, ILB Kevin Minter (UFA), WLB Markus Golden. Backups -- SLB Alex Okafor (UFA), SLB Sio Moore, SLB Zaviar Gooden, ILB Scooby Wright, WLB Kareem Martin, *ILB Alani Fua, *ILB Gabe Martin.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB Marcus Cooper (UFA), *SS Tony Jefferson (UFA), *FS Tyrann Mathieu. Backups -- LCB Justin Bethel, RCB Brandon Williams, RCB/FS Harlan Miller, SS D.J. Swearinger (UFA), FS Trevon Hartfield, *RCB Elie Bouka, *FS Tyvon Branch, *RCB Mike Jenkins.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Chandler Catanzaro, P Matt Wile, KR/PR Brittan Golden, PR Patrick Peterson, LS Aaron Brewer.

  • Rams' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Los Angeles Rams breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Rams must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 4-12 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Rams' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Last season, the Rams transitioned from St. Louis to Los Angeles and played worse. This year, they will transition from the Jeff Fisher era to Sean McVay and other coaching changes. That includes defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who will implement a new scheme to a talented defense led by defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

      The issue remains offense as the Rams try to build around quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley but with an offensive line that needs help.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 3rd in NFC West (4-12)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 262.7 (32nd)

      RUSHING: 78.3 (31st)

      PASSING: 184.4 (31st)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 337.0 (9th)

      RUSHING: 103.8 (16th)

      PASSING: 233.3 (10th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      The Rams need an overhaul of this unit. Aside from right tackle Rob Havenstein, no one should be assured of a job or spot on the roster, most of all underachieving left tackle Greg Robinson.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OT:

      Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

      Russell Okung, Denver (option not expected to be exercised; 29 in October, $10.6M)

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      Matt Kalil, Minnesota (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

      OG/C

      Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (G; 27 in March, $1.89M)

      T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

      Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

      JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26, $644K)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OT:

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      OG:

      1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

      2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

      C:

      1/64 Ethan Pocic, LSU, 6-6, 307, 5.18, 2

      2/80 Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-2, 300, 5.22, 2-3

      WIDE RECEIVER

      The Rams lack a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver and have virtually no one who strikes fear in the hearts of opposing defenses.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      DeSean Jackson, Washington (31 in December, $6M)

      Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (27, $14.6M)

      Pierre Garcon, Washington (31 in August, $8.5M)

      Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland (28 in June, $1.67M)

      Anquan Boldin, Detroit (37 in October, $2.75M)

      Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota (26 in March, $1.8M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/8 Mike Williams, Clemson, 6-3, 225, 1 (underclassman)

      2/16 Corey Davis, Western Michigan, 6-3, 213, 1

      3/19 John Ross, Washington, 5-11, 190, 1 (underclassman)

      4/37 Curtis Samuel, Ohio State, 5-11, 200, 1-2 (underclassman)

      5/42 Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 5-11, 175, 2

      LINEBACKER

      The Rams are thin behind current starters Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron, so help is needed to play coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      OLB:

      Chandler Jones, Arizona (27, $2.04M)

      Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April, $5.05M)

      Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers (28 in April, $2.1M)

      DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July, $10M)

      Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37, $8.67M)

      ILB:

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OLB:

      1/18 Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/26 Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1

      3/27 Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1

      4/31 Haason Reddick, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2

      5/48 T.J. Watt, Wisconsin, 6-4, 243, 4.76, 2 (underclassman)

      ILB:

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      UFA KEEPERS

      CB Trumaine Johnson (27, $13.95M)

      WR Kenny Britt (29 in September, $4.58M)

      S T.J. McDonald (26, $732K)

      K Greg Zuerlein (30 in Dece,ber, $1.25M)

      RB Benny Cunningham (27 in July, $1.67M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --Sean McVay replaces Jeff Fisher as head coach.

      --QB coach Greg Olson replaces Chris Weinke (McVay did not hire an OC).

      --DC Wade Phillips replaces Gregg Williams.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Jared Goff. Backups -- Sean Mannion, Case Keenum (UFA).

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Todd Gurley. Backups -- *Benny Cunningham (UFA), Malcolm Brown, Chase Reynolds (UFA), Aaron Green, *FB Zach Laskey.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Kenny Britt (UFA), Tavon Austin, Brian Quick (UFA). Backups -- Pharoh Cooper, Michael Thomas, Nelson Spruce, Paul McRoberts, *Bradley Marquez, *Marquez North.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Lance Kendricks. Backups -- Tyler Higbee, Temarrick Hemingway, *Cory Harkey.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Greg Robinson, RT Rob Havenstein, LG Rodger Saffold, RG Jamon Brown, C Tim Barnes. Backups -- G David Arkin, C Demetrius Rhaney, T Pace Murphy, *T Darrell Williams, G Cody Wichmann, G Andrew Donnal.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *DLE Robert Quinn, DLT Michael Brockers, DRT Aaron Donald, DRE William Hayes. Backups -- DE Ethan Westbrooks, DE Matt Longacre, DE Eugene Sims, DE Morgan Fox, DT Cam Thomas (UFA), DT Dominique Easley (UFA), *DT Louis Trinca-Pasat.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Mark Barron, MLB Alec Ogletree. Backups -- MLB Bryce Hager, MLB Nicholas Grigsby, WLB Cory Littleton, *MLB Josh Forrest.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Trumaine Johnson (UFA), RCB E.J. Gaines, Slot CB Lamarcus Joyner, SS T.J. McDonald (UFA), FS Maurice Alexander. Backups -- CB Blake Countess, CB Troy Hill, CB Michael Jordan, FS Cody Davis, SS Isaiah Johnson, *S Brian Randolph, *DB Marqui Christian.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Greg Zuerlein (UFA), P Johnnie Hekker, KOR Benny Cunningham, PR Tavon Austin, LS Jake McQuaide.

  • 49ers' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    San Francisco 49ers breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the San Francisco 49ers must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 2-14 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the 49ers' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      For the fourth consecutive season, the 49ers will have a new head coach, but the six-year deal given Kyle Shanahan (along with a six-year contract for new general manager John Lynch) indicates the newcomers will be around for a while to lead a roster that needs serious help.

      Front and center is what Shanahan will do at quarterback, where Colin Kaepernick likely will opt out of his contract unless Shanahan believes there is a chance he can play at a high level. Whoever the quarterback turns out to be, pass-catching help is necessary, and the defense needs reinforcements.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 4th in NFC West (2-14)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 308.1 (31st)

      RUSHING: 126.2 (4th)

      PASSING: 181.9 (32nd)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 406.4 (32nd)

      RUSHING: 165.9 (32nd)

      PASSING: 240.5 (14th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      QUARTERBACK

      What will happen faster: The 49ers terminating Colin Kaepernick, or he washing his hands of them? New coach, new offensive philosophy; a new quarterback is much needed.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kirk Cousins, Washington (29 in August, $19.95M)

      *Tony Romo, Dallas (37 in April, $18M)

      Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (28 in December, $776K)

      Brian Hoyer, Chicago (32 in October, $2M)

      *Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo (28 in August, $18M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/12 Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, 6-3, 220, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/20 DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, 4.76, 1 (underclassman)

      3/29 Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-2, 215, 4.64, 1-2 (underclassman)

      4/70 Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, 6-2, 229, 4.84, 2-3 (underclassman)

      5/99 Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL), 6-4, 210, 4.84, 3 (underclassman)

      WIDE RECEIVER

      The new general manager must answer this question: Is there another Odell Beckham Jr. in this draft? And if so: Can the 49ers trade down and still get him?

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      DeSean Jackson, Washington (31 in December, $6M)

      Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (27, $14.6M)

      Pierre Garcon, Washington (31 in August, $8.5M)

      Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland (28 in June, $1.67M)

      Anquan Boldin, Detroit (37 in October, $2.75M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/8 Mike Williams, Clemson, 6-3, 225, 1 (underclassman)

      2/16 Corey Davis, Western Michigan, 6-3, 213, 1

      3/19 John Ross, Washington, 5-11, 190, 1 (underclassman)

      4/37 Curtis Samuel, Ohio State, 5-11, 200, 1-2 (underclassman)

      5/42 Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 5-11, 175, 2

      INSIDE LINEBACKER

      Replacing Patrick Willis has proven to be even tougher than replacing wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      &D'Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis (34 in September, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      4/108 Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, 6-1, 235, 4.63, 3-4 (underclassman)

      5/112 Kendell Beckwith, LSU, 6-2, 252, 4.82, 3-4

      UFA KEEPERS

      None

      ROSTER REPORT

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --Kyle Shanahan replaces Chip Kelly as head coach.

      --DC Robert Saleh replaces Jim O'Neil.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Colin Kaepernick. Backups -- Blaine Gabbert (UFA), Christian Ponder (UFA), *Thad Lewis.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- *Carlos Hyde. Backups -- Shaun Draughn (UFA), DuJuan Harris (UFA), Mike Davis, Raheem Mostert.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- *Vance McDonald. Backups -- Garrett Celek, *Blake Bell, Jim Dray (UFA), Je'Ron Hamm.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- *Torrey Smith, Jeremy Kerley (UFA), *Bruce Ellington. Backups -- *Eric Rogers, *Quinton Patton (UFA), Rod Streater (UFA), Chris Harper, Aaron Burbridge, DeAndre Smelter.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, *C Daniel Kilgore, RG Joshua Garnett, RT Trent Brown. Backups -- T John Theus, G Andrew Tiller, G Andrew Gardner (UFA), *G/C Marcus Martin, G/C Alex Balducci.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LE DeForest Buckner, NT Quinton Dial, *RE Arik Armstead. Backups -- DE Ronald Blair, DE Tony Jerod-Eddie (UFA), NT Glenn Dorsey (UFA), NT Chris Jones, NT Mike Purcell, NT Zach Moore.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- OLB Ahmad Brooks, *ILB NaVorro Bowman, *ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong, OLB Aaron Lynch. Backups -- OLB Eli Harold, OLB Tank Carradine, ILB Gerald Hodges (UFA), *ILB Nick Bellore (UFA), ILB Michael Wilhoite (UFA), *ILB Shayne Skov, ILB Carl Bradford, ILB Wynton McManis.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Tramaine Brock, *RCB Jimmie Ward, SS Antoine Bethea, *FS Eric Reid. Backups -- *CB Chris Davis, CB Rashard Robinson, CB Keith Reaser, CB Dontae Johnson, *CB Will Redmond, CB Prince Charles Iworah, SS Jaquiski Tartt, SS Vinnie Sunseri, FS Marcus Cromartie, FS Marcus Ball.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Phil Dawson (UFA), P Bradley Pinion, *PR Bruce Ellington, KR JaCorey Shepherd, LS Kyle Nelson.

  • Seahawks' free agency, draft shopping list
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    Seattle Seahawks breakdown: Free agency, draft shopping list

    • As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Seattle Seahawks must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 10-5-1 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Seahawks' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Some retooling is necessary, but the Seahawks remain a team to contend with. The defense is still tough, especially at home, but the biggest difference has been the departure of running Marshawn Lynch and an offensive line with too much shuffling.

      Still, a talent like Lynch makes a line look good, and the Seahawks are on the lookout for a back who can control a game and, most important, stay healthy.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 1st in NFC West (10-5-1)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 357.2 (12th)

      RUSHING: 99.4 (25th)

      PASSING: 257.8 (10th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 318.7 (5th)

      RUSHING: 92.9 (7th)

      PASSING: 225.8 (8th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      Inconsistency plagued Seattle all season. Outside of a strong season from Justin Britt, the rest of the group struggled. Help at both tackle positions is sorely needed. Line coach Tom Cable is being asked to perform miracles with an odd assortment.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OT:

      *Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

      *Russell Okung, Denver (29 in October, $10.6M)

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      Matt Kalil, Minnesota (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

      G/C:

      Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (G; 27 in March, $1.89M)

      T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

      Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

      JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26, $644K)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OT:

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      OG:

      1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

      2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

      C:

      1/64 Ethan Pocic, LSU, 6-6, 307, 5.18, 2

      2/80 Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-2, 300, 5.22, 2-3

      CORNERBACK

      With DeShawn Shead a restricted free agent and having a torn ACL, and several unproven depth options, the Seahawks need to add some competition here.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      RUNNING BACK

      Seattle had to use 11 running backs during the 2016 season as injuries mounted. While Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise are promising when healthy, additional depth is required.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (25, $1.03M)

      *Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (32 in March, $14M)

      LeGarrette Blount, New England (31 in December, $1M)

      Latavius Murray, Oakland (27, $567K)

      Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (27 June, $848K)

      Darren McFadden, Dallas (30 in August, $1.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/5 Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-11, 206, 4.43, 1 (underclassman)

      2/9 Leonard Fournette, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.45, 1 (underclassman)

      3/24 Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 6-0, 202, 4.48, 1 (underclassman)

      4/60 Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 5-10, 215, 4.62, 2 (underclassman)

      5/86 Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, 6-1, 226, 4.50, 3 (underclassman)

      UFA KEEPERS

      K Steven Hauschka (32 in June, $2.85M)

      TE Luke Willson (27, $585K)

      LB Mike Morgan (29, $1M)

      ROSTER REPORT

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Russell Wilson. Backup -- Trevone Boykin.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Thomas Rawls. Backups -- C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, *Troymaine Pope, Terrence Magee, J.D. McKissic, FB Marcel Reece (UFA), *FB Will Tukuafu (UFA), *FB Tre Madden, *FB Brandon Cottom.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Jimmy Graham. Backups -- Luke Willson (UFA), Nick Vannett, Brandon Williams (UFA), *Ronnie Shields, *Joe Sommers.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Doug Baldwin, *Tyler Lockett. Backups -- Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Tanner McEvoy, Kasen Williams, *Tyler Slavin.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT George Fant, LG Mark Glowinski, C Justin Britt, RG Germain Ifedi, RT Garry Gilliam. Backups -- T Bradley Sowell (UFA), T/G Rees Odhiambo, C Joey Hunt.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LE Cliff Avril, NT Ahtyba Rubin, 3T Jarran Reed, RE Michael Bennett. Backups -- DE Frank Clark, DE Cassius Marsh, DT Tony McDaniel (UFA), DT John Jenkins (UFA), *DE Quinton Jefferson, *DE Damontre Moore (UFA), *DT Garrison Smith, *DE Tavaris Barnes.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB K.J. Wright, MLB Bobby Wagner, SLB Mike Morgan (UFA). Backups -- Kevin Pierre-Louis, Brock Coyle, Dewey McDonald, Ronald Powell.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Richard Sherman, RCB DeShawn Shead, *FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor. Backups -- CB Jeremy Lane, CB DeAndre Elliott, CB Neiko Thorpe (UFA), S Steven Terrell, S Kelcie McCray (UFA), S Jeron Johnson (UFA), *CB Mohammed Seisay, *CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Steven Hauschka (UFA), P Jon Ryan, *LS Nolan Frese, *KR/PR Tyler Lockett, KR/PR Devin Hester, LS Tyler Ott.

  • NFC West offseason shopping lists
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 23, 2017

    =================

    • ARIZONA CARDINALS

      =================

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Arizona Cardinals must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their disappointing 7-8-1 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Cardinals' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Close losses doomed the Cardinals in 2016, and they enter the 2017 offseason seeking ways to improve while trying to re-sign several key players.

      Quarterback Carson Palmer will return, as will wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. However, the defense needs improvements from the cornerback position and the pass rush.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 2nd in NFC West (7-8-1)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 366.8 (9th)

      RUSHING: 108.3 (18th)

      PASSING: 258.5 (9th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 305.2 (2nd)

      RUSHING: 94.9 (9th)

      PASSING: 210.3 (4th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      CORNERBACK

      After trotting out three different players to try to complement Patrick Peterson, Arizona will be tempted to use its first pick on a top-tier prospect.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      QUARTERBACK

      Carson Palmer is 37, so the Cardinals would be wise to find a QB in the first few rounds who can sit and learn from him for a year or two.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kirk Cousins, Washington (29 in August, $19.95M)

      *Tony Romo, Dallas (37 in April, $18M)

      Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (28 in December, $776K)

      Brian Hoyer, Chicago (32 in October, $2M)

      *Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo (28 in August, $18M)

      *Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco (30 in November, $19M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/12 Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, 6-3, 220, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/20 DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, 4.76, 1 (underclassman)

      3/29 Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-2, 215, 4.64, 1-2 (underclassman)

      4/70 Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, 6-2, 229, 4.84, 2-3 (underclassman)

      5/99 Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL), 6-4, 210, 4.84, 3 (underclassman)

      INSIDE LINEBACKER

      Deone Bucannon is a converted strong safety, and Kevin Minter is a free agent. The Cardinals could stand to make an upgrade here, possibly early in the draft.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      &D'Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis (34 in September, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      4/108 Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, 6-1, 235, 4.63, 3-4 (underclassman)

      5/112 Kendell Beckwith, LSU, 6-2, 252, 4.82, 3-4

      UFA KEEPERS

      OLB Chandler Jones (27, $2.04M)

      DE Calais Campbell (31 in September, $11M)

      S Tony Jefferson (25, $1.67M)

      TE Jermaine Gresham (29 in June, $3.5M)

      DL Frostee Rucker (34 in September, $2.16M)

      C A.Q. Shipley (31 in May, $785K)

      LB Kevin Minter (27 in December, $1.1M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Carson Palmer. Backups -- Drew Stanton, Zac Dysert.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- David Johnson. Backups -- Andre Ellington (UFA), Kerwynn Williams, *Chris Johnson (UFA), Stepfan Taylor (UFA).

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown, J.J. Nelson. Backups -- *Jaron Brown, Brittan Golden, Jeremy Ross (UFA), Marquis Bundy.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Jermaine Gresham (UFA). Backups -- Darren Fells, *Ifeanyi Momah, *Troy Niklas, Hakeem Valles.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *LT Jared Veldheer, LG Mike Iupati, C A.Q. Shipley (UFA), *RG Evan Mathis (UFA), RT D.J. Humphries. Backups -- C/G Evan Boehm, *G Taylor Boggs (UFA), T/G John Wetzel, G/T Earl Watford (UFA), *T Ulrick John, T Givens Price, G Cole Toner.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LDT Calais Campbell (UFA), NT Corey Peters, RDT Frostee Rucker (UFA). Backups -- LDT Robert Nkemdiche, LDT Ed Stinson, NT Xavier Williams, NT Olsen Pierre, RDT Josh Mauro, RDT Rodney Gunter.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- SLB Chandler Jones (UFA), *SLB Deone Bucannon, ILB Kevin Minter (UFA), WLB Markus Golden. Backups -- SLB Alex Okafor (UFA), SLB Sio Moore, SLB Zaviar Gooden, ILB Scooby Wright, WLB Kareem Martin, *ILB Alani Fua, *ILB Gabe Martin.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Patrick Peterson, RCB Marcus Cooper (UFA), *SS Tony Jefferson (UFA), *FS Tyrann Mathieu. Backups -- LCB Justin Bethel, RCB Brandon Williams, RCB/FS Harlan Miller, SS D.J. Swearinger (UFA), FS Trevon Hartfield, *RCB Elie Bouka, *FS Tyvon Branch, *RCB Mike Jenkins.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Chandler Catanzaro, P Matt Wile, KR/PR Brittan Golden, PR Patrick Peterson, LS Aaron Brewer.

      ================

      LOS ANGELES RAMS

      ================

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Rams must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 4-12 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Rams' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Last season, the Rams transitioned from St. Louis to Los Angeles and played worse. This year, they will transition from the Jeff Fisher era to Sean McVay and other coaching changes. That includes defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who will implement a new scheme to a talented defense led by defensive lineman Aaron Donald.

      The issue remains offense as the Rams try to build around quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley but with an offensive line that needs help.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 3rd in NFC West (4-12)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 262.7 (32nd)

      RUSHING: 78.3 (31st)

      PASSING: 184.4 (31st)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 337.0 (9th)

      RUSHING: 103.8 (16th)

      PASSING: 233.3 (10th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      The Rams need an overhaul of this unit. Aside from right tackle Rob Havenstein, no one should be assured of a job or spot on the roster, most of all underachieving left tackle Greg Robinson.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OT:

      Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

      Russell Okung, Denver (option not expected to be exercised; 29 in October, $10.6M)

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      Matt Kalil, Minnesota (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

      OG/C

      Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (G; 27 in March, $1.89M)

      T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

      Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

      JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26, $644K)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OT:

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      OG:

      1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

      2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

      C:

      1/64 Ethan Pocic, LSU, 6-6, 307, 5.18, 2

      2/80 Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-2, 300, 5.22, 2-3

      WIDE RECEIVER

      The Rams lack a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver and have virtually no one who strikes fear in the hearts of opposing defenses.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      DeSean Jackson, Washington (31 in December, $6M)

      Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (27, $14.6M)

      Pierre Garcon, Washington (31 in August, $8.5M)

      Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland (28 in June, $1.67M)

      Anquan Boldin, Detroit (37 in October, $2.75M)

      Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota (26 in March, $1.8M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/8 Mike Williams, Clemson, 6-3, 225, 1 (underclassman)

      2/16 Corey Davis, Western Michigan, 6-3, 213, 1

      3/19 John Ross, Washington, 5-11, 190, 1 (underclassman)

      4/37 Curtis Samuel, Ohio State, 5-11, 200, 1-2 (underclassman)

      5/42 Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 5-11, 175, 2

      LINEBACKER

      The Rams are thin behind current starters Alec Ogletree and Mark Barron, so help is needed to play coordinator Wade Phillips' scheme.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      OLB:

      Chandler Jones, Arizona (27, $2.04M)

      Nick Perry, Green Bay (27 in April, $5.05M)

      Melvin Ingram, L.A. Chargers (28 in April, $2.1M)

      DeMarcus Ware, Denver (35 in July, $10M)

      Julius Peppers, Green Bay (37, $8.67M)

      ILB:

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OLB:

      1/18 Zach Cunningham, Vanderbilt, 6-3, 230, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/26 Takkarist McKinley, UCLA, 6-2, 258, 4.58, 1

      3/27 Tim Williams, Alabama, 6-3, 252, 4.76, 1

      4/31 Haason Reddick, Temple, 6-1, 237, 4.54, 1-2

      5/48 T.J. Watt, Wisconsin, 6-4, 243, 4.76, 2 (underclassman)

      ILB:

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      UFA KEEPERS

      CB Trumaine Johnson (27, $13.95M)

      WR Kenny Britt (29 in September, $4.58M)

      S T.J. McDonald (26, $732K)

      K Greg Zuerlein (30 in Dece,ber, $1.25M)

      RB Benny Cunningham (27 in July, $1.67M)

      ROSTER REVIEW

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --Sean McVay replaces Jeff Fisher as head coach.

      --QB coach Greg Olson replaces Chris Weinke (McVay did not hire an OC).

      --DC Wade Phillips replaces Gregg Williams.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Jared Goff. Backups -- Sean Mannion, Case Keenum (UFA).

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Todd Gurley. Backups -- *Benny Cunningham (UFA), Malcolm Brown, Chase Reynolds (UFA), Aaron Green, *FB Zach Laskey.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Kenny Britt (UFA), Tavon Austin, Brian Quick (UFA). Backups -- Pharoh Cooper, Michael Thomas, Nelson Spruce, Paul McRoberts, *Bradley Marquez, *Marquez North.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Lance Kendricks. Backups -- Tyler Higbee, Temarrick Hemingway, *Cory Harkey.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Greg Robinson, RT Rob Havenstein, LG Rodger Saffold, RG Jamon Brown, C Tim Barnes. Backups -- G David Arkin, C Demetrius Rhaney, T Pace Murphy, *T Darrell Williams, G Cody Wichmann, G Andrew Donnal.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- *DLE Robert Quinn, DLT Michael Brockers, DRT Aaron Donald, DRE William Hayes. Backups -- DE Ethan Westbrooks, DE Matt Longacre, DE Eugene Sims, DE Morgan Fox, DT Cam Thomas (UFA), DT Dominique Easley (UFA), *DT Louis Trinca-Pasat.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB Mark Barron, MLB Alec Ogletree. Backups -- MLB Bryce Hager, MLB Nicholas Grigsby, WLB Cory Littleton, *MLB Josh Forrest.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Trumaine Johnson (UFA), RCB E.J. Gaines, Slot CB Lamarcus Joyner, SS T.J. McDonald (UFA), FS Maurice Alexander. Backups -- CB Blake Countess, CB Troy Hill, CB Michael Jordan, FS Cody Davis, SS Isaiah Johnson, *S Brian Randolph, *DB Marqui Christian.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Greg Zuerlein (UFA), P Johnnie Hekker, KOR Benny Cunningham, PR Tavon Austin, LS Jake McQuaide.

      ===================

      SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

      ===================

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the San Francisco 49ers must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 2-14 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the 49ers' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      For the fourth consecutive season, the 49ers will have a new head coach, but the six-year deal given Kyle Shanahan (along with a six-year contract for new general manager John Lynch) indicates the newcomers will be around for a while to lead a roster that needs serious help.

      Front and center is what Shanahan will do at quarterback, where Colin Kaepernick likely will opt out of his contract unless Shanahan believes there is a chance he can play at a high level. Whoever the quarterback turns out to be, pass-catching help is necessary, and the defense needs reinforcements.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 4th in NFC West (2-14)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 308.1 (31st)

      RUSHING: 126.2 (4th)

      PASSING: 181.9 (32nd)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 406.4 (32nd)

      RUSHING: 165.9 (32nd)

      PASSING: 240.5 (14th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      QUARTERBACK

      What will happen faster: The 49ers terminating Colin Kaepernick, or he washing his hands of them? New coach, new offensive philosophy; a new quarterback is much needed.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Kirk Cousins, Washington (29 in August, $19.95M)

      *Tony Romo, Dallas (37 in April, $18M)

      Mike Glennon, Tampa Bay (28 in December, $776K)

      Brian Hoyer, Chicago (32 in October, $2M)

      *Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo (28 in August, $18M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/12 Mitch Trubisky, North Carolina, 6-3, 220, 4.74, 1 (underclassman)

      2/20 DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, 4.76, 1 (underclassman)

      3/29 Deshaun Watson, Clemson, 6-2, 215, 4.64, 1-2 (underclassman)

      4/70 Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech, 6-2, 229, 4.84, 2-3 (underclassman)

      5/99 Brad Kaaya, Miami (FL), 6-4, 210, 4.84, 3 (underclassman)

      WIDE RECEIVER

      The new general manager must answer this question: Is there another Odell Beckham Jr. in this draft? And if so: Can the 49ers trade down and still get him?

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      DeSean Jackson, Washington (31 in December, $6M)

      Alshon Jeffery, Chicago (27, $14.6M)

      Pierre Garcon, Washington (31 in August, $8.5M)

      Terrelle Pryor, Cleveland (28 in June, $1.67M)

      Anquan Boldin, Detroit (37 in October, $2.75M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/8 Mike Williams, Clemson, 6-3, 225, 1 (underclassman)

      2/16 Corey Davis, Western Michigan, 6-3, 213, 1

      3/19 John Ross, Washington, 5-11, 190, 1 (underclassman)

      4/37 Curtis Samuel, Ohio State, 5-11, 200, 1-2 (underclassman)

      5/42 Dede Westbrook, Oklahoma, 5-11, 175, 2

      INSIDE LINEBACKER

      Replacing Patrick Willis has proven to be even tougher than replacing wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      Dont'a Hightower, New England (27 in March, $1.93M)

      Lawrence Timmons, Pittsburgh (31 in May, $9.6M)

      Malcolm Smith, Oakland (28 in July, $3.5M)

      Akeem Dent, Houston (30 in September, $2.25M)

      &D'Qwell Jackson, Indianapolis (34 in September, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/7 Reuben Foster, Alabama, 6-1, 236, 4.72, 1

      2/41 Raekwon McMillan, Ohio State, 6-2, 240, 4.78, 2 (underclassman)

      3/44 Jarrad Davis, Florida, 6-1, 238, 4.78, 2

      4/108 Anthony Walker Jr., Northwestern, 6-1, 235, 4.63, 3-4 (underclassman)

      5/112 Kendell Beckwith, LSU, 6-2, 252, 4.82, 3-4

      UFA KEEPERS

      None

      ROSTER REPORT

      MAJOR COACHING CHANGES

      --Kyle Shanahan replaces Chip Kelly as head coach.

      --DC Robert Saleh replaces Jim O'Neil.

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Colin Kaepernick. Backups -- Blaine Gabbert (UFA), Christian Ponder (UFA), *Thad Lewis.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- *Carlos Hyde. Backups -- Shaun Draughn (UFA), DuJuan Harris (UFA), Mike Davis, Raheem Mostert.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- *Vance McDonald. Backups -- Garrett Celek, *Blake Bell, Jim Dray (UFA), Je'Ron Hamm.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- *Torrey Smith, Jeremy Kerley (UFA), *Bruce Ellington. Backups -- *Eric Rogers, *Quinton Patton (UFA), Rod Streater (UFA), Chris Harper, Aaron Burbridge, DeAndre Smelter.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, *C Daniel Kilgore, RG Joshua Garnett, RT Trent Brown. Backups -- T John Theus, G Andrew Tiller, G Andrew Gardner (UFA), *G/C Marcus Martin, G/C Alex Balducci.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LE DeForest Buckner, NT Quinton Dial, *RE Arik Armstead. Backups -- DE Ronald Blair, DE Tony Jerod-Eddie (UFA), NT Glenn Dorsey (UFA), NT Chris Jones, NT Mike Purcell, NT Zach Moore.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- OLB Ahmad Brooks, *ILB NaVorro Bowman, *ILB Ray-Ray Armstrong, OLB Aaron Lynch. Backups -- OLB Eli Harold, OLB Tank Carradine, ILB Gerald Hodges (UFA), *ILB Nick Bellore (UFA), ILB Michael Wilhoite (UFA), *ILB Shayne Skov, ILB Carl Bradford, ILB Wynton McManis.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Tramaine Brock, *RCB Jimmie Ward, SS Antoine Bethea, *FS Eric Reid. Backups -- *CB Chris Davis, CB Rashard Robinson, CB Keith Reaser, CB Dontae Johnson, *CB Will Redmond, CB Prince Charles Iworah, SS Jaquiski Tartt, SS Vinnie Sunseri, FS Marcus Cromartie, FS Marcus Ball.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Phil Dawson (UFA), P Bradley Pinion, *PR Bruce Ellington, KR JaCorey Shepherd, LS Kyle Nelson.

      ================

      SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

      ================

      Free agency, draft shopping list

      As they wade through free agency and prepare to evaluate draft prospects at the Indianapolis Scouting Combine (March 1-6), the Seattle Seahawks must decide which players to keep as they seek to improve upon their 10-5-1 record from last season.

      The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com evaluated the Seahawks' roster and created a shopping list to use in free agency and to reference during the Combine.

      Some retooling is necessary, but the Seahawks remain a team to contend with. The defense is still tough, especially at home, but the biggest difference has been the departure of running Marshawn Lynch and an offensive line with too much shuffling.

      Still, a talent like Lynch makes a line look good, and the Seahawks are on the lookout for a back who can control a game and, most important, stay healthy.

      THE BREAKDOWN

      2016 finish: 1st in NFC West (10-5-1)

      STATISTICS

      TOTAL OFFENSE: 357.2 (12th)

      RUSHING: 99.4 (25th)

      PASSING: 257.8 (10th)

      TOTAL DEFENSE: 318.7 (5th)

      RUSHING: 92.9 (7th)

      PASSING: 225.8 (8th)

      NEEDS, SHOPPING LIST

      &=Released

      *=Vet who may be released or option not exercised

      TOP THREE NEEDS

      OFFENSIVE LINE

      Inconsistency plagued Seattle all season. Outside of a strong season from Justin Britt, the rest of the group struggled. Help at both tackle positions is sorely needed. Line coach Tom Cable is being asked to perform miracles with an odd assortment.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, previous contract's average annual salary)

      OT:

      *Andrew Whitworth, Cincinnati (36 in December, $9M)

      *Russell Okung, Denver (29 in October, $10.6M)

      Rick Wagner, Baltimore (28 in October, $576K)

      Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville (G; 26 in November, $5.3M))

      Matt Kalil, Minnesota (injury; 28 in July, $4.94M)

      G/C:

      Kevin Zeitler, Cincinnati (G; 27 in March, $1.89M)

      T.J. Lang, Green Bay (G/injury; 30 in September, $5.2M)

      Ronald Leary, Dallas (G; 28 in April, $2.55M)

      JC Tretter, Green Bay (C; 26, $644K)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      OT:

      1/14 Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, 5.29, 1 (underclassman)

      2/25 Cam Robinson, Alabama, 6-6, 310, 5.28, 1 (underclassman)

      3/38 Garett Bolles, Utah, 6-5, 296, 4.97, 1-2 (underclassman)

      OG:

      1/33 Dan Feeney, Indiana, 6-4, 304, 5.09, 1-2

      2/35 Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky, 6-4, 305, 5.12, 1-2

      C:

      1/64 Ethan Pocic, LSU, 6-6, 307, 5.18, 2

      2/80 Pat Elflein, Ohio State, 6-2, 300, 5.22, 2-3

      CORNERBACK

      With DeShawn Shead a restricted free agent and having a torn ACL, and several unproven depth options, the Seahawks need to add some competition here.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      A.J. Bouye, Houston (26 in August, $1.67M)

      Trumaine Johnson, L.A. Rams (27, $13.95M)

      Logan Ryan, New England (26, $693K)

      Stephon Gilmore, Buffalo (27 in September, $3.02M)

      Brandon Carr, Dallas (31 in May, $10M)

      Prince Amukamara, Jacksonville (28 in June, $5.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/10 Marshon Lattimore, Ohio State, 6-0, 195, 4.47, 1 (underclassman)

      2/15 Teez Tabor, Florida, 6-0, 201, 4.50, 1 (underclassman)

      3/21 Marlon Humphrey, Alabama, 6-1, 196, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      4/23 Sidney Jones, Washington, 6-0, 181, 4.49, 1 (underclassman)

      5/34 Desmond King, Iowa, 5-11, 206, 4.53, 1-2

      RUNNING BACK

      Seattle had to use 11 running backs during the 2016 season as injuries mounted. While Thomas Rawls and C.J. Prosise are promising when healthy, additional depth is required.

      UFA TARGETS (Age, 2016 salary)

      Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh (25, $1.03M)

      *Adrian Peterson, Minnesota (32 in March, $14M)

      LeGarrette Blount, New England (31 in December, $1M)

      Latavius Murray, Oakland (27, $567K)

      Eddie Lacy, Green Bay (27 June, $848K)

      Darren McFadden, Dallas (30 in August, $1.5M)

      DRAFT TARGETS (Rating pos/overall, Player, School, Ht., Wt., 40 time, Proj. Rd.)

      1/5 Dalvin Cook, Florida State, 5-11, 206, 4.43, 1 (underclassman)

      2/9 Leonard Fournette, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.45, 1 (underclassman)

      3/24 Christian McCaffrey, Stanford, 6-0, 202, 4.48, 1 (underclassman)

      4/60 Alvin Kamara, Tennessee, 5-10, 215, 4.62, 2 (underclassman)

      5/86 Joe Mixon, Oklahoma, 6-1, 226, 4.50, 3 (underclassman)

      UFA KEEPERS

      K Steven Hauschka (32 in June, $2.85M)

      TE Luke Willson (27, $585K)

      LB Mike Morgan (29, $1M)

      ROSTER REPORT

      DEPTH CHART

      Starters and backups are listed according to their status at the end of the season, but players who were starters before being injured are included.

      * Indicates player who ended 2016 season on reserve.

      & Indicates player released since the Super Bowl.

      QUARTERBACKS: Starter -- Russell Wilson. Backup -- Trevone Boykin.

      RUNNING BACKS: Starter -- Thomas Rawls. Backups -- C.J. Prosise, Alex Collins, *Troymaine Pope, Terrence Magee, J.D. McKissic, FB Marcel Reece (UFA), *FB Will Tukuafu (UFA), *FB Tre Madden, *FB Brandon Cottom.

      TIGHT ENDS: Starter -- Jimmy Graham. Backups -- Luke Willson (UFA), Nick Vannett, Brandon Williams (UFA), *Ronnie Shields, *Joe Sommers.

      WIDE RECEIVERS: Starters -- Doug Baldwin, *Tyler Lockett. Backups -- Jermaine Kearse, Paul Richardson, Tanner McEvoy, Kasen Williams, *Tyler Slavin.

      OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LT George Fant, LG Mark Glowinski, C Justin Britt, RG Germain Ifedi, RT Garry Gilliam. Backups -- T Bradley Sowell (UFA), T/G Rees Odhiambo, C Joey Hunt.

      DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: Starters -- LE Cliff Avril, NT Ahtyba Rubin, 3T Jarran Reed, RE Michael Bennett. Backups -- DE Frank Clark, DE Cassius Marsh, DT Tony McDaniel (UFA), DT John Jenkins (UFA), *DE Quinton Jefferson, *DE Damontre Moore (UFA), *DT Garrison Smith, *DE Tavaris Barnes.

      LINEBACKERS: Starters -- WLB K.J. Wright, MLB Bobby Wagner, SLB Mike Morgan (UFA). Backups -- Kevin Pierre-Louis, Brock Coyle, Dewey McDonald, Ronald Powell.

      DEFENSIVE BACKS: Starters -- LCB Richard Sherman, RCB DeShawn Shead, *FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor. Backups -- CB Jeremy Lane, CB DeAndre Elliott, CB Neiko Thorpe (UFA), S Steven Terrell, S Kelcie McCray (UFA), S Jeron Johnson (UFA), *CB Mohammed Seisay, *CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste.

      SPECIAL TEAMS: K Steven Hauschka (UFA), P Jon Ryan, *LS Nolan Frese, *KR/PR Tyler Lockett, KR/PR Devin Hester, LS Tyler Ott.

  • Marino, 5 others, sign 1-day contracts to officially retire as Dolphins
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Dan Marino is calling it a career, a short 18 years after playing his final game for the Miami Dolphins.

    • The legendary Dolphins quarterback had yet to officially retire despite not playing since 1999, but he signed a one-day contract along with five others on Wednesday and will retire as a Dolphin on Thursday.

      "This organization, the team, this city, football, it all means so much to me," Marino said at a press conference. "It's been my whole life besides family. My first love was football. To sign a contract for a day, I'm very proud of it.

      "... I just love being a Miami Dolphin. Even if it's for a day, that's fine with me."

      The 55-year-old Marino was joined by former Dolphins quarterback Bob Griese, offensive lineman Larry Little, wide receiver Nat Moore, linebacker/defensive end Kim Bokamper and cornerback Sam Madison in signing one-day deals to retire with Miami.

      All six played their final NFL game with the Dolphins, but technically ended their careers as free agents.

      "In this day and age, we try to get players to retire as Dolphins," Miami executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said. "This means a lot to us, our legacy. We're all so proud of it and all the contributions you guys have made, it means a lot to all of us. We thank you guys and we're proud that you're Dolphins."

      The six Dolphins stars combined for two NFL MVP Awards, 14 first-team All-Pro and 25 Pro Bowl selections.

      Marino ranks fifth all-time on the NFL's passing yards (61,361) and touchdowns list (420) and is the Dolphins' franchise record-holder in both categories over his 17 seasons dating back to 1983. Griese, who spent 14 seasons with Miami, ranks second in both categories (25,092 yards, 192 TD).

      "The fact that I've been a free agent for 16 years and no one's called is kind of upsetting to me," Marino quipped.

  • 49ers' new brass meets with Kaepernick
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Colin Kaepernick met with newly hired San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch on Wednesday to discuss his future with the organization.

    • It was the first meeting between the 49ers' embattled quarterback, Shanahan and Lynch since the latter two joined the organization during the offseason.

      "I would characterize it as just a really positive discussion," Lynch said in a radio interview with KNBR, adding that he and Shanahan committed to being completely honest with Kaepernick.

      Kaepernick, 29, can opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent next week.

      "And I think as Kyle and I believe, the evaluation process is still very much fluid," Lynch told KNBR. "We've only been on the job a couple of weeks, and I can tell you we both very much enjoyed being around Colin, and he seems like he's in a real good place."

      Kaepernick drew a national spotlight early last season for kneeling during the national anthem. He started the campaign as the 49ers' backup behind Blaine Gabbert before taking over as the starter on Oct. 16 against the Buffalo Bills.

      With Kaepernick under center, the 49ers lost nine straight and 10 of 11 overall to finish the season with the second-worst record in the NFL at 2-14.

      Kaepernick threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions while fumbling a career-worst seven times.

      San Francisco also announced Wednesday that assistant general manager Tom Gamble is leaving the organization.

      Gamble has 29 years of NFL experience, including 10 with the 49ers.

      "The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service," Lynch said in a statement. "He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him.

      "After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future."

      Gamble originally joined the 49ers in 2005 and served eight seasons in the personnel department, including two as the team's director of player personnel. He left to join the Philadelphia Eagles as the vice president of player personnel in 2013-14 before re-joining the 49ers in January 2015 as a senior personnel executive.

      He was promoted to assistant general manager on July 25, 2016, under Trent Baalke, who was fired along with coach Chip Kelly in January.

      "I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on," Gamble said.