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NFL Notes: Browns, Jaguars, Lions, Steelers & Vikings

 

Browns

According to Pat McManamon of ESPN.com, Browns 2013 third-round pick CB Leon McFadden could have a hard time cracking the team’s the 53-man roster.

McFadden, 23, wound up appearing in nine games during his rookie season, but was limited to playing just 247 snaps.

Cleveland made a conscious effort to upgrade their cornerback depth during the draft when they used the No. 8 overall pick on Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert and later came away with Lindenwood CB Pierre Desir in round four.

McFadden still has three years remaining on his four-year, $2.999 million contract with reasonable base salaries. However, should the Browns be willing to part ways after a little over a year, they could save $201,312 in cap space, according to OverTheCap.com.

Jaguars

Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com doesn’t see the Jaguars parting ways with former second-round pick DE Andre Branch.

There has been a lot of speculation in recent years that Jacksonville could move from Branch, and previous reports indicated that he could actually be on the trading block.

However, DiRocco makes some good points about the Jaguars current situation and where Branch fits in.

DiRocco points out that Jason Babin (34) and Chris Clemens (32) are both into their thirties and could see limited reps in order to ensure that they are both healthy and effective next season. On top of that, DiRocco mentions Branch was much better in the second half of last year and has already looked “very quick” during OTA workouts.

Branch, 24, showed a better work ethic last year, which led to a six-sack season — five of them in the final eight games of the season.

Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 32 defensive end in a 4-3 system and a particularly strong run-defender.

Lions

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News reports that Lions G Rob Sims is hoping to reach an agreement with the team on a long-term contract that would allow him to finish out the remainder of his career in Detroit.

Sims, 30, is entering the final year of his four-year, $14.2 million contract and has a base salary of $2.2 million coming his way this season.

Since coming over from the Seahawks in a trade, Sims hasn’t missed a single game for the Lions.

Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 38 guard in the league out of 81 qualifying players. Sims struggled as a run-blocker, according to their rankings, but he was an above-average pass-protector.

This could be a situation to watch in the coming months.

Steelers

Scott Brown of ESPN.com writes that, assuming fourth-round pick WR Martavis Bryant is able to make the team’s 53-man roster — which is expected, — the Steelers would have three receivers competing for the team’s final roster spot in training camp.

This group figures to consist of Derek MoyeDarrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Brown.

Brown points to Heyward-Bey’s  experience, pedigree and speed as the three things that could give him an edge. But Justin Brown has reportedly “stood out” during the team’s OTAs and could end up giving Heyward-Bey a run for his money.

Brown doesn’t rule out either player seeing “significant snaps” this season in the event that Bryant isn’t ready to contribute right out of the gate.

Vikings 

Ben Goessling of ESPN.com doesn’t see the Vikings restructuring the contracts of RB Adrian Peterson or WR Greg Jennings next year, even though there will be no guaranteed money left in Jennings’ deal and Peterson will be among the highest paid running backs in the league.

There is certain a case to be made for reworking their contracts, but as Goessling points out, there needs to be an incentive for the players to do so.

Instead, Goessling mentions that a restructure or release could be coming for OLB Chad Greenway, who could be on the outs in Minnesota.

Earlier in the offseason, Greenway agreed to reduce his 2014 salary from $6.5 million to $5.5 million to remain with the team.

He appeared in all 16 games last season and totaled 134 tackles and three sacks. Pro Football Focus rated him as the second worst outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense last year.

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