August 24, 2018 / 12:53 AM / in 2 months

NFL notebook: Giants, OBJ reportedly making progress

The New York Giants and Odell Beckham Jr. have made progress recently on what is expected to be a record-breaking extension, according to an ESPN report Thursday.

Aug 1, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. looks on during training camp in East Rutherford. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK

Per the report, “there is reasonable optimism from both sides” that a deal can be reached before the Sept. 9 season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Beckham, 25, is scheduled to make just under $8.5 million in 2018, on the fifth-year option of his rookie contract. The league’s highest paid wideout is Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown at $17 million annually, while Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans holds the record for guaranteed money ($55 million).

Beckham has yet to play in a preseason game as he works back from a broken ankle that ended his 2017 campaign after four games, but he has ramped up his intensity in recent practices with an eye on getting in game shape.

—Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley will not play at all this preseason, and quarterback Jared Goff might not play either, head coach Sean McVay told reporters.

There had been no expectation that Gurley would play in Saturday’s dress-rehearsal preseason game against the Houston Texans, but McVay had previously indicated Goff would play versus Houston.

That likelihood has shifted with the health of starting offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and John Sullivan, who will miss Saturday’s game. Right tackle Rob Havenstein also could miss the game with an ankle injury, which could leave Goff with unproven protection against J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney & Co.

—Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews and defensive end Derrick Morgan are each recovering from knee injuries, and Morgan could miss regular-season games, according to NFL reporter Paul Kuharsky.

According to the report, Matthews is working his way back from an early August procedure to repair a torn meniscus and could come off the physically unable to perform list as early as next week. The report adds that Morgan suffered “a similar injury” in the team’s second preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday and could be out four to five weeks.

That would leave Morgan unlikely to play in the Titans’ season opener at the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 9 and perhaps a question mark for Week 2 versus the Houston Texans and Week 3 at the Jacksonville Jaguars.

—Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is not on the trade block.

One day after former NFL personnel man Mike Lombardi said Cobb was known to be available via trade in league circles, NFL Network countered to the contrary, reporting Cobb will be in Green Bay this season to play out the final year of his contract.

Speaking on The Ringer’s GM Street podcast Wednesday, Lombardi said many teams around the league are looking to add a receiver, and the Packers appear willing to move Cobb.

—Running back Adrian Peterson will debut with the Washington Redskins in Friday’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos.

Peterson, 33, signed with the team on Monday amid a rash of injuries at the position, including rookie second-round pick Derrius Guice. Head coach Jay Gruden said his appearance Friday will be essential to test Peterson’s comfort in the system and knowledge of the playbook.

“I’d like to see where he is after contact,” Gruden said. “I want to see the explosion in the hole, his vision, all that good stuff. I don’t think he’s going to lose that, but it’s just a matter of taking the hits, play after play after play and see where he stands as far as stamina goes.”

—San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman announced that he is launching a fantasy sports site, Daily Number.

The site will feature paid contests in 23 states, according to ESPN.

Sherman has co-founded the business with CEO Tom McAuley, and the cornerback will appear in an upcoming ad campaign. He is believed to be the first NFL player to have a stake in a fantasy game from the start.

—The lawyer for Cleveland Browns rookie wide receiver Antonio Callaway said he is working to get charges of marijuana possession against his client dropped.

A hearing on the matter had been set for 8:30 a.m. Thursday, but Spellacy instead faxed his request for a continuance. The hearing was rescheduled for Sept. 20 in Strongsville (Ohio) Mayor’s Court.

Callaway was cited for marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license early Aug. 5, according to a police report.

—One prominent member of the Pittsburgh Steelers said he is in the dark when it comes to Le’Veon Bell’s next step.

“I wish I knew,” center Maurkice Pouncey told ESPN. “He’s kind of kept to himself about it.”

Bell is not with the team because he doesn’t want to risk injury playing under the franchise tag. He will earn $14.5 million in 2018 but isn’t under contract until he signs the deal. The two sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a long-term contract. The same thing happened last August, and Bell reported and signed his one-year franchise tender at the start of Week 1.

—The Steelers signed Pro Bowl kicker Chris Boswell and inside linebacker Vince Williams to extensions.

Boswell’s deal is for five years, putting him under contract through 2022, while Williams signed a four-year deal.

Terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports peg the value of Boswell’s contract at $19.7 million ($3.94 million annually). Williams’ deal is worth $20.6 million ($5.3 million annually), according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

—The Steelers have built four two-story pillars to hold a tarp that can be raised to obscure the view of one of their practice fields from prying eyes.

The Steelers’ facility, which is shared with the University of Pittsburgh’s team, is visible from a number of nearby buildings, including a taller building that was recently constructed. The area, between the Monongahela River and East Carson Street, is relatively commercialized.

“You know how it is, man,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “This is interesting times, drones and so forth, you know? We do what we got to do to prepare and be ready to play — and play on a level, fair, competitive playing field.”

—The San Francisco 49ers traded outside linebacker Eli Harold to the Detroit Lions for a draft pick, both teams announced.

The specific pick was not disclosed, but multiple reports said it is a conditional seventh-round pick. Per ESPN, the pick will be conveyed in 2020 if Harold is on the Lions’ roster for at least four weeks.

Harold, 24, has played in all 48 games in his career and started 24 over the last two seasons, tallying 71 tackles and 5.0 sacks. A third-round pick in 2015, he was pegged as a pass rusher coming out of Virginia, but he has just 5.0 sacks and 14 quarterback hits in his career.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed running back Charles Sims III on injured reserve.

The fifth-year player injured his knee Saturday as he blocked on the opening kickoff at Tennessee.

The Bucs picked Sims, who turns 28 next month, in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He signed a one-year contract to stay with the team in April as an unrestricted free agent.

—Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and former Dallas Cowboys personnel man Gil Brandt have been named the two contributor finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2019, the entity announced.

Each will now require 80 percent approval from the 48-member selection committee on Feb. 2, one day before Super Bowl LIII, to gain induction to Canton.

—Safety Obi Melifonwu, a second-round pick in 2017, was waived/injured by the Oakland Raiders.

Melifonwu will be subject to waivers. If he goes unclaimed, he would revert to the Raiders’ injured reserve list. It is unclear if the team would release him with an injury settlement in that scenario or keep him and give him a chance to make the roster in 2019.

As a rookie, Melifonwu started and finished his rookie year on injured reserve with a knee injury and hip injury, respectively, each of which required surgery. He played in five games (one start) in the middle of the season, making six tackles on 34 defensive snaps.

—The status of running back Marlon Mack for the Indianapolis Colts’ season opener remains uncertain as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Mack, 22, is the odds-on favorite to start for the Colts after veteran Frank Gore left in free agency. A fourth-round pick in 2017, he had 358 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as a rookie, as well as 21 catches for 255 yards and a score through the air.

—Buffalo Bills linebacker Keenan Robinson has chosen to retire, a month after he signed with the Bills as a free agent, the team announced.

Robinson, who turned 29 on July 7, signed a one-year deal with Buffalo on July 24 worth a reported $835,000.

—Field Level Media

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