Enemy Intel: How'd the Jets do in the draft?

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Enemy Intel: How'd the Jets do in the draft?

By Tom E. Curran
CSNNE.com

Mike Tannenbaum has become one of the NFL's most aggressive and risk-welcoming general managers. Theballsy moves the Needham native has swung include dealing for Brett Favre, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie. He also went way up in the first round in 2009 to draft Mark Sanchez, so his draft day adventurousness is proven as well. And Tannenbaum went aggressive again in this draft. Picking at 30, the Jets got the best player available for them in Temple DEDT Muhammad Wilkerson. The knock on him was that he played against a lower level of competition and is still raw, but the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Wikerson is just perfect in terms of athleticism, potential and frame to be a success in the Jets 3-4 scheme. Kenrick Ellis was the Jets' third-round pick and they got a talented, tough and competitive nose tackle who goes 6-5, 346. The reason he was there at 94? He's facing a felony assault charge after breaking the jaw and nose of a man last April. The story goes that Ellis was approached by this bat-wielding fella and it didn't turn out well for the bat-wielder. It goes to trial in July. Ellis was kicked out of South Carolina for reportedly failing drug tests. The Jets took running back Bilal Powell from Louisville with the 126th pick. He's a good one-cut runner and decent pass-catcher. His profile in Pro Football Weekly's Draft Preview begins, "Neglected academics, ran with the wrong crowd, and was stabbed after his sophomore season as a Florida prep before moving in with a coach's family and turning his life around."Their next two picks - wide receiver Jeremy Kerley from TCU and Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy - were less risky. Kerley's a good little slot guy who can do some return work. McElroy is a smart, tough, hard-working quarterback who is good depth but not starter material. Tannenbaum came back in the final round and drafted Colorado wideout Scotty McKnight, a longtime friend of Sanchez. SUMMARY:The Jets could wind up with absolutely nothing to show from the 2011 draft. Taking a semi-project, a guy who could end up in jail, and some roster-fillers? Yeesh. The Jets could also wind up hitting the mother lode if Wilkerson plays to his capability, Ellis doesn't go to jail, Kerley becomes a successor to Jerricho Cotchery and Powell steps in when LT steps out. The linchpins of this draft, though, are Wilkerson and Ellis. This is a defensive-oriented team and the Jets either set up their defensive line for the long haul or missed out big.

Tom E. Curran can be reached at tcurran@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran

Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

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Despite discord, Goodell's reign may not be nearing end

Monday may have marked a low point in the relationship between the NFL and its on-field employees.

The fight between the league and its best player of the past two decades was in the headlines again. Tom Brady, tied to the NFL’s bumper and dragged around for almost 500 days, had his NFLPA legal team baring its teeth again in the Deflategate mess. The eye-gouging and hair-pulling in that imbroglio over a puff of air allegedly being removed from footballs has cost the league and the PA about $25M so far.

Meanwhile, NFLPA President Eric Winston was saying the league "cannot be trusted to do the right thing when it involves players.” That comment flowed from a Congressional report alleging the NFL tried to exert influence over who would conduct studies regarding Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), the condition that’s been blamed for a myriad of former players winding up addled, incapacitated or dead.

I say “may have marked” because the relationship between the two sides has cratered so frequently over the past two years, it’s hard to know exactly what the low point has been. Or how much lower it can go.

And, with the 10-year Collective Bargaining Agreement only half done, there is ample opportunity for things to get worse. Because, really, why would they get better?

With the NFL’s owners safe knowing that their emperor/puppet/human shield is still in place to take the hits and do their dirty work, there’s seemingly no groundswell among that group to relieve Roger Goodell of his duties. Despite reports of growing owner discontent over Deflategate, the Ray Rice investigation, and an appeal of a case in which the league was found to have withheld $100M from players, there is no Sword of Damocles dangling over the league to cut ties with Goodell.

He was able to oversee the league’s re-entry in Los Angeles (though that “triumph” was fraught with owner acrimony), is going to get a game played in China, keeps edging closer to getting a franchise based in Europe and may even land one in Las Vegas, has enhanced the league’s reach on social media (the announcement of some games being aired on Twitter) and keeps making billions hand over fist.

Goodell’s presence won’t be an impediment to a new labor deal getting done for another five years. By then, when the issues of Goodell’s role in player discipline, drug testing and his relationship with the union come to the fore, the owners might feel compelled to cut him loose after 15 seasons in charge.

But even then, the league’s owners will be in the business of pointing out to the players how good they’ve had it under the current CBA. The league’s salary cap structure – decried as a disaster in the first years of the deal – has seen the cap grow from $120M in 2011 to $155M this year. Players’ practice time and the wear and tear on their bodies has been reduced thanks to the new limits on contact enacted. Benefits are better. Retired players are getting better care. Players have more off-field marketing opportunities with companies that want to affix themselves to the most popular sport in the United States.

As bad as the headlines have been for Goodell, in five years (or probably fewer since negotiations on a new CBA will begin in 2020) who will remember the disaster that’s been Deflategate? How inspired will players be to miss games and paychecks for the satisfaction of knowing Goodell can’t be his own arbitrator anymore?

To sum it up, Goodell’s dark disciplinary reign may well continue unabated for a few more seasons. But as long as the league rains money on its players through the end of this decade, the clock isn’t ticking on Goodell and the owners in the form of labor strife.

Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

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Smith: Brady made an 'incredibly generous offer' to settle Deflategate

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith joined the Dan Patrick Show -- hosted by Ross Tucker on Monday -- to discuss the petition that was eventually filed to the Second Circuit requesting a rehearing for Tom Brady's case. 

During the discussion, Smith insisted that Brady made a settlement offer long ago that might've resolved things. But because the NFL wanted more, a deal was never struck. Now here we are, almost 500 days since the AFC Championship Game in January of 2015, and Deflategate is still a living, breathing thing. 

"Tom's a standup guy," Smith said. "And I think he made a settlement offer to resolve this. The league chose not to take it, and that's where we are . . . I don't want to go into details, but it was an incredibly generous offer to resolve this. The league asked for something that no man should agree to do."

Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran explained on Monday's episode of Quick Slants that Brady was willing to accept a one-game suspension for a lack of cooperation at the outset of the investigation. But the league was looking for a face to take the blame, Curran explained. 

Both Jim McNally and John Jastremski were willing to take the heat off of Brady, but Brady insisted that he would not throw anyone else under the bus because he believed that there was no wrongdoing on his part or anyone else's when it came to the preparation of game footballs. 

With no one offered up to shoulder the blame, the NFL declined to agree to any proposal from Brady's camp. At that point, it would have been almost impossible to predict that this case would one day be only a step or two from getting the US Supreme Court involved. 

Yet here we are.