stats-recaps1
National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • 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.

  • 49ers ink CB Williams to 1-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    K'Waun Williams is joining the San Francisco 49ers on a one-year deal, the team announced Wednesday.

    • Williams, a 25-year-old cornerback, spent his first two seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He recorded 69 tackles, 10 passes defensed, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pair of sacks in 26 games.

      He is expected to compete with Will Redmond, Keith Reaser and restricted free agent Chris Davis for the 49ers' nickel job.

      Williams also had interest from the New York Jets, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins and Minnesota Vikings, ESPN reports.

      The former Pittsburgh standout joined the Browns as an undrafted free agent in 2014 and was waived on Aug. 29, 2016, after being suspended and fined for saying his ankle was too sore to play in a preseason game.

      He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears on Aug. 30 and was waived two days later after a physical revealed Williams needed surgery to remove bone spurs in his ankle.

      Williams did not play in 2016 because of the ankle injury. He filed a grievance against the Browns seeking his entire $600,000 base salary for the 2016 season and the cost of his ankle surgery.

  • NFL notebook: Bears seek to trade QB Cutler
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    If the Chicago Bears can find a trade partner, quarterback Jay Cutler will be relocating this offseason.

    • Cutler, 33, has a $17 million cap number and four years remaining on a deal he signed during Phil Emery's tenure as general manager.

      Current coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace afforded Cutler the chance to nail down the job in 2015 and 2016, but the Bears missed the playoffs each year.

      With no guaranteed money remaining in the deal, Cutler's approval could be part of trade talks. The Jets, 49ers, Texans and Broncos -- Cutler's original team -- are considered to be teams probable to chase a veteran quarterback.

      --The Bears dipped into the college ranks to hire Zach Azzanni as wide receivers coach after he spent the last four seasons at the University of Tennessee.

      The Bears announced Wednesday the hiring of Azzanni along with Brandon Staley as outside linebackers coach and Derius Swinton II as assistant special teams coach to join head coach John Fox's staff.

      Azzanni arrives in the NFL with 18 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, including the past two seasons as the Volunteers' wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He joined Tennessee in 2013 receivers coach/recruiting coordinator and prior to that spent one season as the wide receivers coach at Wisconsin in 2012.

      --Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, who was forced out of the AFC Championship Game because of a groin injury, is not expected to need offseason surgery.

      Bell appears to have avoided an operation, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported Wednesday.

      Bell made the rounds with the media during Super Bowl week, telling reporters he was still in the process of determining whether he would need surgery for the groin injury. He has not scheduled surgery, which would have happened by now if necessary, according to Rapoport.

      --Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas reportedly passed his physical with the Miami Dolphins to clear the way for the expected trade to be finalized next month.

      According to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, Thomas "got the thumbs up" from the Dolphins after the exam and that his visit with the team will wrap up on Wednesday. He visited the Dolphins' facility and met a couple of coaches.

      The Jaguars plan to send Thomas to Miami for a seventh-round pick in this year's draft but the trade can't be officially announced until March 9, the day the NFL begins its new league year and the trade period begins.

      --Ed Garvey, who was the NFL Players Association's first executive director, died Wednesday. He was 76.

      Garvey died at a nursing home in Verona, Wis., after a battle with Parkinson's disease, the Capital Times reported.

      Garvey, who graduated from Wisconsin Law School in 1969, was the players' union counsel and executive director from 1971 to 1983. He was a labor lawyer for a Minneapolis firm representing the NFLPA, working alongside union president John Mackey.

  • Surgery unlikely for Steelers RB Bell
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, who was forced out of the AFC Championship Game because of a groin injury, is not expected to need offseason surgery.

    • Bell appears to have avoided an operation, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported Wednesday.

      Bell made the rounds with the media during Super Bowl week, telling reporters he was still in the process of determining whether he would need surgery for the groin injury.

      Bell has not scheduled surgery, which would have happened by now if necessary, according to Rapoport.

      Bell rushed just six times for 20 yards during the Steelers' 36-17 loss in the AFC title game to the New England Patriots. After the game, Bell admitted to reporters that he managed the groin injury for "a couple weeks" and aggravated it against the Patriots.

      "People don't understand I was kind of fighting that through the playoffs," Bell told NFL Network on Feb. 1. "I really hurt it in the Miami game. I played through the whole Kansas City game with it. The beginning of the Patriots game, I felt it."

      The NFL is investigating whether the Steelers improperly withheld Bell's groin injury from injury reports during the playoffs.

      The Steelers rode Bell to the playoffs in 2016, and now they are faced with trying to re-sign him. The franchise tag could be coming, with the deadline for that on March 1.

      Bell set franchise single-game rushing-yardage records in the first two postseason games this season. He racked up 167 yards in a victory over Miami in the AFC wild-card round and bettered that with 170 in the victory over Kansas City in the divisional round.

      The 25-year-old Bell rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns during the regular season.

  • Ex-NFLPA head Garvey dead at 76
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Ed Garvey, who was the NFL Players Association's first executive director, died Wednesday. He was 76.

    • Garvey died at a nursing home in Verona, Wis., after a battle with Parkinson's disease, the Capital Times reported.

      Garvey, who graduated from Wisconsin Law School in 1969, was the players' union counsel and executive director from 1971 to 1983. He was a labor lawyer for a Minneapolis firm representing the NFLPA, working alongside union president John Mackey.

      Garvey led the players through two strikes in 1974 and 1982. The 1982 walkout resulted in the season being shortened from 16 to nine games.

      Garvey's stint as executive director also saw the union win a lawsuit invalidating the "Rozelle Rule," which limited players' ability to move to other teams by giving then-commissioner Pete Rozelle the right to assign compensation to any team losing a free agent. But the court ruling did not eliminate the compensatory element, instead writing the formula for determining it into the collective bargaining agreement rather than a ruling by the commissioner.

      The NFLPA did not achieve free agency until 1993, after the owners granted the players the move in exchange for a salary cap.

      Garvey returned to Madison, Wis., in 1983 as assistant to then-Attorney General Bronson La Follette, before opening a private practice as a labor attorney.

      Garvey ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat in the U.S. Senate race against incumbent Republican Sen. Robert Kasten in 1986, and lost to incumbent Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1998.

  • Bears hire Azzanni as WRs coach
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    The Chicago Bears dipped into the college ranks to hire Zach Azzanni as wide receivers coach after he spent the last four seasons at the University of Tennessee.

    • The Bears announced Wednesday the hiring of Azzanni along with Brandon Staley as outside linebackers coach and Derius Swinton II as assistant special teams coach to join head coach John Fox's staff.

      Azzanni arrives in the NFL with 18 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, including the past two seasons as the Volunteers' wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. He joined Tennessee in 2013 receivers coach/recruiting coordinator and prior to that spent one season as the wide receivers coach at Wisconsin in 2012.

      "We are really excited for Zach and his family," Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said in a statement. "I have known Zach for a long time and this is a path he has wanted to pursue for some time. We can't thank him enough for his loyalty, dedication and hard work over the past four years to our football program."

      Azzanni also worked at Western Kentucky in 2011 as offensive coordinator/receivers coach and was Florida's passing game coordinator and receivers coach in 2010. He was assistant head coach and receivers coach at his alma mater, Central Michigan, from 2007-09.

      Azzanni will be the Bears' third receivers coach in as many seasons. He replaces Curtis Johnson, who left the Bears after one season to return for a second stint on Sean Payton's staff with the New Orleans Saints as receivers coach.

      Staley joins the Bears with 11 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level at John Carroll (2013, 2015-16), James Madison (2014), Tennessee (2012), Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College (2010-11), St. Thomas (2009) and Northern Illinois (2006-08).

      Staley was defensive coordinator/secondary coach last season at John Carroll. He replaces Clint Hurtt, who left the Bears after three seasons to become defensive line coach of the Seattle Seahawks.

      Swinton returns to the Bears in the same position he held in 2015. He spent the 2016 season as special teams coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers.

      Swinton previously coached with the then-St. Louis Rams (2009-11), Kansas City Chiefs (2012) and Denver Broncos (2013-14). In Denver, he worked under Fox and special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers.

      Swinton replaces Richard Hightower, who left after one season to become special teams coordinator with the 49ers.