July 2015

Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C.J. Wilson is taking time off from the NFL to focus on his health after losing two fingers in a July 4 fireworks accident. The Buccaneers announced on Friday they had placed the defender on the league's Reserve/Retired list. "We know this process has been difficult for C.J. and respect his decision to step away from football," Bucs general manager Jason Licht said in a statement.
If Tom Brady really is the no-good cheater that many folks have made him out to be, there are plenty of people who want to associate with a no-good cheater. From March 1 to May 31, as Ted Wells was investigating Brady for his role in deflate-gate and the NFL was punishing him after the report was published, Brady topped the list of NFL merchandise sales for the first time in his career. The NFLPA released the list on Thursday. Brady finished third in the NFLPA's year-end list for last season. Hey, people needed jerseys to snap the pic of the No. 12 for their Twitter avatar in support of Brady. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] This is probably the proof of "all publicity is good publicity." Wells released his report on May 6. Five days later, the NFL announced penalties for deflate-gate, including a four-game suspension for Brady. Having his name constantly in the news helped at the sales counter. For the list that Brady topped, the NFLPA counts all sales of licensed merchandise including jerseys, figurines, photos and bobbleheads, among other things. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led all players in jersey sales, followed by Brady. In the quarter before this one, Brady was in the news a bit for some positive results. He won his fourth Super Bowl over the Seattle Seahawks in early February, orchestrating a fantastic fourth-quarter comeback against one of the best secondaries in NFL history. That performance solidified what was already a pretty good argument that Brady is the best quarterback in NFL history. That performance also likely helped sales, and so did the controversy. Patriots fans wanted to support Brady as he received what they felt was unfair treatment by the NFL and it seems they did so by buying stuff that had his name and likeness on it. Whatever has been said about how the controversy will affect Brady's legacy and popularity, leading the NFLPA's sales list for the first time ever probably is a better indicator than random speculation. Here's the complete top 10 in the NFLPA's sales list: 1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots  2. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers  3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks  4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers  5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos  6. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans  7. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks  8. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants  9. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans  10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!
A company partly owned by Tony Romo sued the NFL on Tuesday over a canceled fantasy football event in Las Vegas that was to involve the Dallas quarterback and other star players. The Fan Expo LLC alleged in a lawsuit filed in Dallas County that the league intimidated players with threats of fines and suspensions if they attended what the NFL said was a gambling-related event because it was to be held at a facility associated with a casino. The Texas-based company claims the NFL initially approved the event, set for mid-July, by allowing some members of league-owned media outlets to participate.
Russell Wilson isn’t the only quarterback whose contract situation is up in the air. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today!l ] Wilson, who is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract with the Seattle Seahawks, wants to secure a long-term deal to stay in Seattle. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that Wilson hopes to get a deal done before training camp and wants to “to be paid like one of the top quarterbacks” in the league. If things don’t come together before training camp, Wilson will play out this season under his current deal, Rapoport said. Speaking of highly-paid quarterbacks, Eli Manning is also entering the final year of his deal with the New York Giants. He is set to make $17 million in 2015, and according to Rapoport , the team hopes get a long-term deal with Manning done soon – possibly before training camp begins later this month. After a disastrous 2013 campaign in which Manning tossed 27 interceptions, the veteran rebounded nicely in 2014 with 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. It appears the Giants would like Manning, now 34 years old, to play out his career in New York. Additionally, per Rapoport, a raise and extension for Manning could help the team’s salary cap number. Like Manning, San Diego Chargers veteran Philip Rivers is also entering the final year of his contract and is set to earn $15.75 million. And like the Giants hope to do with Manning, Rapoport reported Monday that the Chargers hope to lock up Rivers before the Chargers report to training camp next week. “(The Chargers) have wanted to sign Philip Rivers to a long-term extension for some time knowing that he is a huge part of their future,” Rapoport said Monday on NFL Total Access. And if the deal does not come to fruition, Rapoport says the Chargers will give Rivers the franchise tag in 2016 if “all goes well” with him under center this upcoming season. Unlike Manning and Rivers, new Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford will reportedly play out the final year of his contract in order to potentially maximize his earning potential as a free agent. Bradford is coming off back-to-back torn ACLs from his time with the St. Louis Rams and will earn just under $13 million in 2015. The decision makes sense from both a team and player perspective. Bradford wants to prove he can play at a high level, but the Eagles could be understandably hesitant to offer a deal to a guy coming off two significant knee injuries. If Bradford, who was acquired from the Rams this offseason via trade, can produce on the field, the Eagles could come calling with a long-term deal.  - - - - - - - Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter! Follow @SamDCooper
Former New York Giants teammate Justin Tuck has been in constant contact with Jason Pierre-Paul, Tuck said, since the franchise defensive end blew his right index finger off in a July 4 fireworks accident. Asked at a golf tournament if Pierre-Paul remains in good spirits, per NJ.com , Tuck said: "He is. He'll be the first one to tell you he made a mistake. He's fine. He's going to have a great year." [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today!l ] Very few current teammates, many of whom have reached out to JPP, have been able to reach him. Understandably, Pierre-Paul kept contact to a minimum at first, mostly just family members, after the accient. But Tuck — now entering his second year with the Oakland Raiders after leaving the Giants — and Pierre-Paul are very close, and Tuck said he's giving his former protegé some straightforward advice toward continuing his career and bouncing back. "What I told JPP is go out and play football. I've been in constant conversation with JPP," Tuck said. In addition, Tuck sees no reason why Pierre-Paul can't still be a franchise player. "I think he will be [successful]," he said. "Once he gets used to playing again, you can't deny his athletic ability. He's a terror to block. Hopefully everything else gets healthy around him and if that is the case, I don't see any reason why he wouldn't be the JPP of the second half of the season like he was last year." If Tuck's word that Pierre-Paul's mental makeup is strong, and we're hearing that nine fingers isn't that prohibitive, perhaps the player who notched nine sacks in his final five games really can come back strong. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
The Dallas Cowboys and franchise-tagged wide receiver Dez Bryant agreed to a five-year deal Wednesday, less than an hour before the deadline. The contract is worth $70 million and includes $45 million guaranteed, with a $20 million signing bonus, ESPN reported. A photo of Bryant signing the contract at the Cowboys' facility was tweeted by a reporter for DallasCowboys.com.

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