July 2015 - Football Wiretap

Tom Brady, NFL Set For Aug. 12 Settlement Talks

Jul 31, 2015 7:31 PM

Settlement talks between Tom Brady and the NFL are set for Aug. 12.

Richard Berman asked Brady's lawyers and the NFL to file a memo stating their positions on Aug. 7. Berman scheduled a conference for Aug. 12, requesting that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Brady be in attendance. Berman encouraged the two sides to continue to work on a potential settlement. Barring that, Berman also set an Aug. 19 date for both parties to meet again and either continue to conference or hear oral arguments.

The NFL upheld Brady's four-game suspension this week.

Gregg Rosenthal/NFL.com

Tags: New England Patriots, Suspension

Mike Kensil 'Main Source' Of ESPN's Incorrect Deflategate Report

Jul 31, 2015 4:55 PM

Mike Kensil was the “main source” for ESPN’s inflammatory and ultimately incorrect report that 11 of 12 Patriots footballs used in the first half of the AFC Championship Game “were inflated significantly below the NFL's requirements”, reported WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan Show.

Kensil is the NFL's Vice President of Game Operations and was the driving force behind the investigation.

Kensil was the Jets director of operations for nearly 20 years. His tenure overlapped Bill Parcells (and Bill Belichick’s) time with the Jets and he would have been part of a Jets front office incensed by Belichick’s 2000 resignation as Jets head coach.


Kensil suspected the Patriots of tampering with footballs long before the AFC Championship Game, a source says.

Kensil walked up to Patriots equipment manager Dave Schoenfeld on the sideline after halftime and said, “We weighed the balls. You are in big f------ trouble.” 

The “11 of 12” report was born on the Wednesday evening after the AFC Championship Game. It inferred a calculated effort by the Patriots to deflate footballs since, at that time, the media and general public wasn’t considering the fact inflated items lose pressure in cool weather.

Tom E. Curran/Comcast

Tags: New England Patriots, Suspension

Sheldon Richardson Arrested For Allegedly Driving 143 MPH

Jul 31, 2015 3:52 PM

Sheldon Richardson was arrested earlier this month and charged with resisting arrest and several traffic violations, according to court records.

Richardson was arrested in St. Charles County, Mo., on July 14 after officers observed him driving 143 mph, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He had apparently been racing another vehicle on a highway when officers attempted to stop him.

Richardson had two other men and a 12-year-old child in the 2014 Bentley Silver Spur with him. He was also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.


Officers also found a loaded handgun under the driver's seat.

The arrest occurred less than two weeks after the NFL handed Richardson a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

Richardson was a Pro Bowl selection last season for the New York Jets.


Dan Gartland/Sports Illustrated

Tags: New York Jets, Suspension

Russell Wilson Agrees To Four-Year, $87.6M Extension With Seahawks

Jul 31, 2015 11:14 AM

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks have agreed upon a four-year, $87.6 million contract extension.

Wilson's annual average ranks second in the NFL behind just Aaron Rodgers.

Wilson was scheduled to make $1.54 million this season, the fourth and final year of his rookie contract. The deal includes a $31 million signing bonus and approximately $60 million in guarantees.

"Blessed to be w/ this organization for 4 more years! Can't wait to get on field w/ the fellas!" wrote Wilson on Twitter.

Peter King/Sports Illustrated

Tags: Seattle Seahawks, Misc Rumor, Signing

Chip Kelly: Eagles' Moves Were About Money, Not Culture

Jul 30, 2015 9:53 PM

Chip Kelly admitted most of the Philadelphia Eagles' moves this offseason were about changing the team's salary structure and not the culture.

“Almost all the maneuvers we made with people going out were because of contracts,” Kelly said, via CSNPhilly.com. “People making too much money in our opinion of what the evaluation for what the pay for play is. Every guy we released, we offered in a trade to everybody in the league, and no one took the trade. Why? Because the contract is too high. [They] all sign somewhere else after they get released for less money than they were getting paid because you’re not going to trade for that.”

DeSean Jackson and Evan Mathis were productive players for the Eagles but were overpaid, which is why Jackson took less money with Washington and Mathis remains unsigned.

“They had one common denominator — they were all very expensive,” Kelly said. “I think that’s just the nature of contracts in this league. A lot of them are back-end loaded. Then decisions have to be made. So guys are making $10, $11 million a year, you have to make a decision on them.”

Michael David Smith/Pro Football Talk

Tags: Philadelphia Eagles, IQ, Misc Rumor

Chris Mortensen To Finally Address Erroneous Initial Deflategate Story

Jul 30, 2015 9:46 PM

Chris Mortensen of ESPN will address his initial story that 11 of 12 New England Patriots' footballs were 2.0 pounds under the 12.5 PSI minimum in the AFC Championship Game. The story turned out to be false.

Mortensen has never addressed or explained the story publicly, but he'll do so Friday morning on WEEI radio.

At a minimum, the NFL failed to dispute or to correct the erroneous report, with the Patriots not knowing the true reading until late March and the rest of us not knowing the truth until the release of the Ted Wells report in May.

Adam Schefter appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show on Thursday, and he addressed the criticism of Mortensen’s 11-of-12 footballs report.

“First of all, I’ve never had in-depth conversations with Chris about the story,” Schefter said. “Chris is as good a reporter as there is. And he’s been a pioneer in this industry. So when he decides to do things, he has a reason for doing them. And I’ll just stand behind him as a reporter and as a man. I love him.

“And I don’t know the particulars of what happened. I really don’t, OK?. But I can tell you this, somebody wanted information out. You’re blaming him. But I will say this. Number one, I’m sure he has an explanation. Number two, any reporter in the country, if they have high level people calling them, giving them this information, almost anyone’s gonna run with it.”

Someone must have lied to or misled Mortensen.

“If that is indeed the case that one, two, three high-level individuals intentionally misled him to try to smear the Patriots, I saw more shame on those people than Mort,” Schefter said.

The NFL has quickly corrected other information with which it disagrees, such as Schefter's report that Tom Brady only had four hours to present his case on appeal. But the NFL didn't correct the record on the PSI report from Mortensen.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Tags: New England Patriots, Suspension

Russell Wilson, Seahawks Pessimistic On Deal Before Camp

Jul 30, 2015 4:11 PM

There is pessimism that the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson will reach agreement on an extension before their self-imposed deadline.

Wilson and the Seahawks have been in talks trying to get a deal done.

The gap between the two sides is based on cash up front and guaranteed money. Most of the significant guarantees in the current discussions are for injury only.

Wilson has stated several times he's willing to play out the final year of his rookie contract, which pays him a $1.54 million base salary.

Ian Rapoport/NFL.com

Tags: Seattle Seahawks, Misc Rumor

Stanford Expert: Sports Stadiums Don't Generate Local Economic Growth

Jul 30, 2015 12:06 PM

Roger Noll, a Stanford professor emeritus in economics, argues sports stadiums do not generate significant local economic growth.

"NFL stadiums do not generate significant local economic growth, and the incremental tax revenue is not sufficient to cover any significant financial contribution by the city," said Noll, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He has written articles and books and given talks on the public financing of sports stadiums.

Stadium proposals for NFL teams are circulating in St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Diego and Cleveland, while San Francisco and other cities and states like Wisconsin are considering public funding for new or improved sports facilities. Local officials in Oakland, Calif., are expected to respond to a "Coliseum City" proposal in August with a December deadline for closing any deal.

Basketball and hockey arenas are a better deal for cities, he said. "Arenas are used more often."

Noll believes the current wave of stadium proposals may signal the end of an era when large "modern" venues are built.

One possibility, according to Noll, is that as professional sports generate greater revenues from Internet distribution, real-world stadium attendance will shrink, leading to smaller but more luxurious facilities.

"Another possibility is that all future facilities will be embedded in larger commercial and residential projects, with the sports team being like an anchor tenant at a shopping center," he said.

Clifton B. Parker/Stanford.edu

Ryan Kerrigan Agrees To $57.5M Extension With Washington

Jul 30, 2015 11:30 AM

Ryan Kerrigan and Washington have agreed upon a five-year, $57.5 million contract with $24.28 million guaranteed.

Kerrigan will also receive a $16 million signing bonus.

"When you come to the NFL you get drafted by a certain team, you immediately develop a certain affinity for that team, that organization, that city," Kerrigan said. "I certainly feel that way about the Redskins. For them to give me that kind of vote of confidence to hopefully finish my career out as a Redskin means the world to me."

Kerrigan is now the third-highest paid linebacker in the NFL behind Justin Houston and Clay Matthews.

"I've always been a guy that works hard, but now with the contract and what that means and me being an older guy in the room, I have to work even harder to do the right things to an even greater level," Kerrigan said.

John Keim/ESPN

Tags: Washington Redskins, Misc Rumor, Signing

Judge Rules Tom Brady's Suit Moved To New York

Jul 30, 2015 11:27 AM

U.S. District Judge Richard H. Kyle in Minnesota ordered Thursday that the NFLPA's lawsuit on behalf of Tom Brady be transferred to the Southern District of New York.

"This court perceives no reason for this action to proceed in Minnesota," Kyle wrote in his ruling.

On Wednesday, the NFLPA filed suit in Minnesota alleging that Brady's punishment was not fair and consistent. It also claims that the appeal hearing "defied any concept of fundamental fairness" and that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was partial in his decision to uphold the suspension.

The players association filed the suit in Minnesota where they had won previous litigation against the NFL.

Kevin Patra/NFL.com

Tags: New England Patriots, Suspension

Jerry Jones: Roger Goodell Doing 'Outstanding Job'
Jerry Jones voiced his support for Roger Goodell on Wednesday.

Todd Archer/ESPN

Kam Chancellor Threatening To Hold Out
Kam Chancellor has three seasons remaining on the deal he signed in 2013 and is scheduled to count $5.65 million against the salary cap.

Michael David Smith/Pro Football Talk

David Fluellen Agrees Upon Two-Year Deal With Titans
David Fluellen has agreed upon a two-year deal with the Titans.

RealGM Staff Report

Brady: Phone Controversy Manufactured As Distraction
Tom Brady said he has "never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January."


Brady Offered NFL Every Individual He Communicated With On Phone
The NFL refused to attempt to track down the people Tom Brady communicated with.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Robert Kraft Calls NFL's Brady Decision 'Unfathomable'
Robert Kraft said he was wrong to put his faith in the NFL.

RealGM Staff Report

Eric Berry Cleared To Return To Practice After Cancer Treatment
Eric Berry was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, which accounts for about 10 percent of lymphoma cases and is considered to be highly curable.

Terez Paylor/Kansas City Star

Tom Brady Offered Reduced Suspension If He Admitted Guilt, Apologize
The NFL offered to reduce Tom Brady's suspension to two games and possibly one.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Brady, NFL Were Moving Towards One-Game Suspension Settlement
Tom Brady reportedly wanted the records sealed as part of the deal.

Judy Battista/NFL.com

Brady's Agent: The Appeal Process Was A Sham
Tom Brady's agent and attorney, Don Yee, released a statement in response to the NFL upholding his four-game suspension.

RealGM Staff Report

Owners Discussed How To Handle 'Concussion' Movie Fallout
Will Smith stars as Dr. Bennet Omalu who discovers CTE in the brains of two NFL players that later leads them to suicides.

Mike Florio/Pro Football Talk

Le'Veon Bell Suspension Reduced From Three To Two Games
Last season, Le'Veon Bell was second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,361) and receptions for a running back (83).

Jarrett Bell/ESPN

NFL Upholds Tom Brady's Four-Game Suspension
Roger Goodell cited new information that on or shortly before March 6, Tom Brady had directed that the cell phone he had used for the prior four months be destroyed.

Mike Reiss/ESPN

Muhammad Wilkerson Will Report To Jets' Camp
Muhammad Wilkerson is scheduled to make $6.97 million as part of the team's fifth-year option.

Manish Mehta/New York Daily News

ESPN Changes QBR Formula, Wilson Jumps From 12th To 8th In Rankings
How interception returns, pressure and credit for yards after the catch are factored were changed.

Sharon Katz/ESPN

49ers' OC: Colin Kaepernick Didn't Regress In 2014
Colin Kaepernick had a career high in passing yards and his completion percentage improved but he threw more interceptions, fewer touchdowns and also took 13 more sacks.

Conor Orr/NFL.com

Vikings To Give Adrian Peterson As Many Carries As Possible
The Vikings will pay Adrian Peterson $26 million over the next two seasons.

Chris Wesseling/NFL.com

Dolphins Re-Sign Josh Freeman
The Dolphins have re-signed Josh Freeman just four days after cutting him.

Kevin Patra/NFL.com

Cardinals Hire NFL's First Female Coach
Jen Welter is a former collegiate rugby player who played 14 seasons of pro football, mostly in the Woman's Football Alliance.

Darren Urban/NFL.com

Browns Willing To Consider Johnny Manziel As Starting QB
Johnny Manziel will enter training camp as the Browns' backup quarterback, but he can still win the job with a strong showing in the preseason.

Pat McManamon/ESPN