The Dolphins are locking up their top receiver before the free agency period
Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry received the first franchise tag of the year Tuesday night. The 25-year-old is the only receiver to catch 400 passes in his first four seasons. However, at 5'11, he does most of his damage on shorter routes; he's yet to compile 10 touchdowns in a season and fell 13 yards short of 1,000 in 2017 despite leading the league with 112 catches. That contrast makes Landry's value hard to pinpoint, and it's a big reason why he and Miami have failed to agree on a long-term contract to this point.
Those negotiations will still continue. If no deal is struck by July 16, the Dolphins will pay Landry the franchise player rate for a wide receiver, roughly $16 million (only DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown are set to make as much). Though it would go against the spirit of the franchise tag designation, there is also speculation that Miami could shop Landry. If the Dolphins end up keeping the wideout, the losers of today's news will be the handful of receiver-hungry teams like the Bears and Browns. Even with Landry, this year's free agent crop was shallow, co-headlined by Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson (both franchise tag candidates in their own right). Outside of those names, the best hope for a big-time acquisition is some team releasing an overpaid veteran.
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WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Jonathan Jones wrote about the next step for athlete activism in the NFL and looked at Cam Newton's off-the-field work ... Peter King guessed the final destination for this offseason's available QBs ... and more.
1. Several teams cut veterans Tuesday to clear cap space before free agency begins. Among the notable names: two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin and Texans all-time leading tackler Brian Cushing.
2. Devin McCourty has reenergized the mystery of Malcolm Butler's Super Bowl benching, saying, "We all knew he wasn't starting all week." In particular, McCourty denied any off-field incidents transpiring before the game. "I just hate that for him character-wise going into free agency. It's just not true," he said. "As far as I know—and I was there all week—not one time did anything come up."
3. American Public Media has attempted to determine the impact of Super Bowl LII on public perception of Minneapolis. Among the findings: 54 percent of Americans knew where the game was played and 37 percent said the media coverage made them more likely to visit the area. Here's the full report.
4. Ann Killion expects the first questions thrown at 49ers' leadership at the combine to be about Reuben Foster, the team's 2017 first-round linebacker who was arrested last week for "suspicion of domestic violence, making criminal threats and possession of an assault rifle."
5. Now here's a story: Nine-year NFL safety Madieu Williams, as an aide to a Maryland state delegate, helped write a bill that would prohibit tackle football before high school. Williams is currently taking night classes for law school. “I didn’t go into this looking to be a face of anything,” Williams said. “It’s more or less being proactive on understanding what the impact a concussion has on not only adults, but also potentially young children who are playing the game of football.”
6. The NFL Network is reporting that hedge fund manager David Tepper is a frontrunner to take over ownership of the Carolina Panthers.
7. Four years ago, John Elway acquired a quartet of major free agents and built a Super Bowl winner. Can he do it again in 2018? Nicki Jhabvala considers the similarities.
8. Orlando "Zeus" Brown Sr. spent over a decade in the NFL before dying in 2011 of diabetic ketoacidosis. Orlando Brown Jr. wore his dad's No. 78 in college and could go in the first round.
9. Former Panther wideout Rae Carruth apologized for the death of Cherica Adams 17 years after her killing. "I take full responsibility for everything," he said. But who should have custody of Carruth and Adams's child, Chancellor Lee, who has been raised by Adams's mother, Saundra? "I can say definitively [Carruth] is not ever going to have custody of Chancellor. Chancellor will be raised either by me or, after I’m gone, by someone else who loves him and who knows him," Saundra said. "He will never be raised by a stranger—someone he doesn’t know and who tried to kill him.”
10. In-house candidate Mike Groh, previously a wide receivers coach, will be the Eagles' next offensive coordinator. Speaking of, as Marcus Hayes points out, Josh McDaniels's indecision could end up hurting the Eagles more than the Colts.
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I'm still not over Elizabeth Swaney's trickless run in the Olympic halfpipe competition.
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