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Jerry Jones will testify Monday in NFL’s effort to force him to pay legal fees

The man who is being pursued for more than $2 million in legal fees will get his chance to tell his side of the story in the quasi-legal proceeding arising from the effort to make him pay.

Via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said at the Scouting Combine that he will testify on Monday in the appeal hearing arising from the seven-figure assessment imposed by the league office. Hill notes that Jones will testify before Commissioner Roger Goodell, which means that Goodell has not opted to exercise his authority to designate the appeal to someone else.

Resolution FC-6 gives the Commissioner final and binding power to resolve the amount of legal fees to be paid. The resolution, however, does not expressly grant Goodell the authority to answer the threshold question of whether club behavior triggered a repayment obligation. Goodell presumably will take the position that he has final say in that regard, too.

However it plays out, this entire escapade highlights one of the concerns Jones raised when pushing back against Goodell’s extension: The Commissioner has too much power, and common sense suggests that the power is about to be exercised in a manner that at least in part reflects a desire to extract a pound of flesh from Jones.

First, despite the relative simplicity of the rookie wage scale, players selected in the first round need to be able to navigate certain nuances and hot spots in the draft order relevant to offset language, guaranteed pay, cash flow, and other structural devices.

Second, a good agent will get the rookie the best possible pre-draft training, ensuring that the player is ready for the various aspects of the pre-draft workouts that follow, and a good agent will cover those expenses.

Third, a good agent will advise the player on whether and to what extent to engage in Scouting Combine activities, and whether and to what extent to engage in pre-draft team visits and private workouts. A good agent will prepare the player regarding what to say and how to say it when meeting with teams. A good agent will serve as the buffer between the player and teams that may not be happy to hear that, for example, the player won’t be visiting the facility or throwing privately for its coaching staff.

Fourth, a good agent will study rosters and depth charts and coaching staffs and schemes, identifying the best destination for the player’s short-term and long-term interests and embark on a plan to get him there.

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Howie Roseman reminds everyone Nick Foles is not a free agent

In the aftermath of Super Bowl LII, many in the media talked about Eagles quarterback Nick Foles as if he’s going to be a free agent. He won’t.

During a Wednesday visit to PFT Live at the Scouting Combine, Eagles executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman made sure there’s no ambiguity on this point.

There is no doubt Americans are craving anything that might bring us together, especially in these divided times, said Mike Mikus, a Democratic political strategist based in Pennsylvania. Despite the many disagreements in politics, people really just want to bond with their neighbors and celebrate things that bring us together.

Unless Mayfield has some previously unknown abilities as a shape-shifter, the slight variance in measurements don’t seem particularly significant. With hours of tape of Mayfield playing football to analyze and the chance to interview Mayfield, other data points will likely determine his landing spot in April.

In New England, he was a piece of Bill Belichick’s carefully intertwined puzzle. With the Giants, Solder will be relied on as the leader of the offensive line and, in some ways, the savior of an offensive line that will have three and possibly four new starters in 2018.

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NCAA considers new rule to reduce kickoff returns, which will get the NFL’s attention

The NFL has already followed the NCAA’s lead in changing a kickoff rule once, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it happen again.

Here’s more from Boone on Ellsbury and Frazier:

Els will be on the trip (Wednesday) … then off (on Friday). Then we have a split-squad (Saturday). Similar situation there (as Thursday). And then we’ll go from there and kind of make a decision exactly which way we’re going to go and kind of map out what his plan will be in the next couple of weeks.

(Frazier) is continuing to do better, so that’s a good thing. The doctor has been here every day, so it’s been hands on with our neurologist. It’s obviously something we’re being very cautious with. We listen to the player a lot and all I can tell you is he continues to improve and we feel some momentum is starting to build and hopefully the baseball activities start ramping up. It’s something to treat conservatively, but he is getting better every day it seems like. I’m hoping baseball activities are almost upon us and it’s just how he progresses. The first time they started to ramp him up it seemed like he had a little bit of a setback. They had to back him off a little bit. So it’s going to be baby steps along the way just to see what he can truly handle.

The old-school GM who had vowed to kick ass on the day he was introduced had his ass kicked when the free-agent frenzy began in earnest.

From hog mollies to hog follies.

Until the old-school GM kicked ass on Wednesday.

Bet on this: The days of the New York Football Giants being bullied are over.

Gettleman absolutely overpaid for Nate Solder (four years, $62 million) in making him the highest-paid left tackle in the game, but try telling that to Eli Manning. Who maybe would have thrown in a couple hundred thousand dollars if it meant sealing the deal.

Solder is 29, coming off a subpar year, but even in his sleep is better at protecting his quarterback’s blind side than Ereck Flowers. How do you suppose Tom Brady would have liked standing behind Flowers for the last three years?

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Dalvin Cook expected to be pretty close to return for OTAs

The Vikings have felt good about running back Dalvin Cook’s outlook for the 2018 season for a while and coach Mike Zimmer said Thursday that Cook may not wind up missing much offseason work after tearing his ACL last year.

Nevertheless, if the Jets pick the right quarterback and he ends the 40-year search for the next Joe Namath, no one will remember what the franchise gave up to get him.

The Jets also had to make an aggressive move like this because the division-rival Bills are also trying to move up in the draft to get a quarterback. The Jets made that harder for them.

Now, Maccagnan must find the right guy, something no one with the Jets has done since Sonny Werblin in 1965 when he signed Namath. Maccagnan has whiffed on Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg already in the draft and the team has played with Band-Aid quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and McCown during the three years under Maccagnan/Todd Bowles.

We’ve played this tag game for a couple years now it seems like, and I think it’s time to get some stability at the most important position in sports, and that’s quarterback, Gruden said, via Kimberley Martin of the Washington Post. It’s very important for us to move forward and let Kirk move on.

If Washington’s not a place that he wanted to be, it’s time for us to move on and get some continuity there at quarterback.

That continuity will come thanks to the four-year deal they’ve agreed to with Smith, and though Gruden wouldn’t refer to him by name, we’re all adults here and know what’s going on.

It means a lot, Gruden said of the Smith deal. Not just for me, but it means a lot for the team and the organization. Knowing where we are and who we’re going to prepare with for the next three, four years. It’s an important process for us to have the quarterback in a position where he can grow with the football team, we can grow with him and move on.

Soon enough, Gruden will be able to say Smith’s name, and Cousins will be very rich someplace other than Washington.

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Rams’ moves have done Trumaine Johnson a favor

Trumaine Johnson is entering free agency as the top cornerback available. His old team, the Rams, has made it clear that they’re moving on by trading for cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, and signing cornerback Sam Shields.

That might seem like it’s a bad sign for Johnson, that the Rams are moving on. But by taking three cornerbacks off the market, they’ve actually done Johnson a favor.

Harrison provides the Steelers defense with schematic flexibility.?The 6’2, 207-pound defensive back can play both free and strong safety. Last season, he primarily served as the play-caller in Alabama’s secondary and as the last line of defense. His presence will allow the Steelers to lean heavily on big nickel situations.?

Sean Davis can start at free safety and still play?some nickel corner. Burnett can help offset Ryan Shazier’s loss by moving into the box in?sub-packages as a nickel linebacker, or play some nickel corner himself. Meanwhile, J.J. Wilcox provides depth, or the Steelers can release the veteran at minimal cost.?

The Jacksonville Jaguars clearly marked tight end as a need entering free agency given their signings of Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Niles Paul. But neither should prevent them from selecting the class’ top tight end prospect, Mike Gesicki.

If you haven’t seen the show before, what the hell? If you have, you know it’s football talk without gimmicks or goofiness but that still has a sharp edge, entertainment value, and a fairly smart sense of humor, especially when Simms says something fairly stupid.

Until Monday arrives, get caught up on the PFT Live podcast, which includes plenty of interviews from Indianapolis, including visits with Raiders coach Jon Gruden, Eagles executive V.P. of football operations Howie Roseman, Saints coach Sean Payton, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, and many more.

Be sure to listen, rate, review, subscribe, lather, rinse, repeat right here.

A sheet of paper hanging Wednesday on a bulletin board in the middle of the Yankees ?clubhouse listed the players who will be hopping a bus at 8 a.m. Thursday for a 2 1/2-hour bus trip to Fort Myers for a game against the Minnesota Twins.

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