- HC Mike Pettine mentioned that they could employ a “running back by committee” approach this year.
“I think in the AFC North, you have to be running back by committee,” Pettine said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “You’d like to have a guy that can carry most of the load, but also be able to alternate guys … you’ve got to be able to get fresh legs out there.”
Free agent acquisition Ben Tate is likely to be the team’s starting running back coming out of training camp, but third-round pick Terrance West figures to be worked in to some degree as well.
- Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Jaguars signing WR Cecil Shorts to a contract extension before the start of the season, but believes it’s more likely that a deal could be in place during the first half of the season.
- Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times Union previously mentioned that Shorts could target a similar salary as WR Doug Baldwin received from the Seahawks not too long ago.
Baldwin managed to secure a three-year, $13 million contract that includes $8.5 million guaranteed.
Interestingly enough, the two players production is actually fairly similar to one another.
- Baldwin (25): Three years, 46 games, 130 catches, 1,932 yards and 12 touchdowns.
- Shorts (26): Three years, 37 games, 123 catches, 1,786 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Shorts is entering the final year of his rookie contract and stands to make just $739,383 for the 2014 season. He has been the Jaguars most reliable receiver for the past few years and is clearly due for a raise.
Jacksonville has said that they are no longer counting on former first-round pick Justin Blackmon, which prompted them to use a second and third-round pick on USC WR Marqise Lee and Penn State WR Allen Robinson, so there is an increased amount of competition at the receiver position.
Keeping Shorts would give them a much improvement receiver tandem for first-round pick Blake Bortles to work with in the coming years.
Last season, Shorts caught 66 receptions for 777 yards receiving and three touchdowns.
- Nate Freese and Giorgio Tavecchio are battling for the Lions’ kicker position. (Josh Katzenstein)
- Scott Brown of ESPN.com still expects the Steelers to re-sign veteran DL Brett Keisel at some point.
However, Brown admits that a move may not happen until right before the start of training camp.
Brown adds that Keisel’s would be a “terrific mentor” for second-round pick Stephon Tuitt while also contributing on the field.
Keisel, 35, has spent all of his 11 years of his NFL career with the Steelers. In 2013, Keisel accumulated four sacks and 29 tackles over the course of 12 games.
Pro Football Focus has Keisel rated as the No. 31 overall defensive end in a 3-4 system last year, but also an above-average run-defender, which could allow him to see snaps in early downs.
We have Keisel rated as the No. 15 player in our recently updated Top 50 – Best Available Free Agents list.