2016 Graybeards: Making a team of best free agents

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Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

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— Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

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Free agency reached its fourth week on Monday. If you’re an NFL player reading this, we hope you have a job.

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If you’re still unemployed, don’t lose hope. Even the best teams can’t fill all their needs through the draft. The phone might yet still ring. But even if doesn’t, you have one more option — the St. Louis Graybeards.

That’s right, for the second straight year I’ve put together a roster made up entirely of free-agent veterans who have yet to sign a contract as the calendar turns over to April. For fans of the Graybeards, you’ve surely noticed we have relocated from Los Angeles. Needless to say, we were less than thrilled the NFL declined to give us a seat at the table during the Rams’ protracted moving process, but we’re happy to keep professional football at the Gateway to the West.

Let’s get to it. The goal here is to field a team that can go 6-10. Or at least 4-12. We’d sign off on 2-14. We’ll pound the table to go at least 1-15. I’ve included each player’s age to underline the dangers of turning 30. Don’t get old, kids.

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick (33) Charlie Whitehurst (34)

We have no problem giving Fitzmagic the $16 million annually that he seeks from the Jets. Our money isn’t real, of course, which could complicate things down the line. Bringing Clipboard Jesus in the building is mostly for his hair and overall vibe, plus the possibility of Jewel visits. Running back/Fullback

Arian Foster (30) LeGarrette Blount (29)

John Kuhn (34)

Our backfield is legitimately saucy with Foster and Blount, who bring different skill sets and can do legit damage … when healthy. Kuhn is the only fullback most football fans even know, so it makes him a great value buy here. Sorry, Packers tom brady super bowl jersey fans, the “KUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHN!” chant is ours now! Wide receiver

Anquan Boldin (35) Percy Harvin (28) James Jones Jerseys (32) Andre Johnson (35)

Age/athleticism is certainly a factor at wide receiver. It’s safe to assume we won’t be taking the top off defenses, especially once we have to move Percy to IR in October. Andre Johnson didn’t have much in the tank last season in Indy, but we need to put somebody on the cover of the media guide. Anquan. Boldin. Just. Gets. Open. We won’t allow James Jones Jerseys to wear a hood. Tight end

Vernon Davis (32) Owen Daniels Jerseys (33)

Yep, we’ve decided to pick up the scraps left behind by the world champion Broncos. Success by osmosis! Davis can still move, even if he hasn’t done a damn thing in four years. Daniels actually had some nice moments with Peyton Manning last year, which is impressive when you contextualize what a terrible quarterback The Sheriff was at the end. Offensive line

RT Louis Vasquez (29) RG Jahri Evans (33) C Stefen Wisniewski (27) LG Ben Grubbs (32) LT Jake Long (31)

Dicey times, my friends. Trying to build an entire offensive line off the unemployment line in late March is no way to build a champion. Put it this way: It’s a must to build a passing attack that gets the ball out quickly. I like have a relative youngster Wiz at center, hopefully he can anchor the unit. Long is a total flier who barely saw the field last season. Con: He probably can’t move anymore. Pro: He’s rested!

DEFENSE

Interior line

Jason Hatcher (34) Terrance Knighton (30) Mike DeVito (32) Henry Melton (29)

We were legitimately upset when Nick Fairley walked out of a handshake agreement with the Graybeards to sign with the Saints, but that’s business. What’s left is a still pretty solid collection of cagey vets and good locker room guys. DeVito exemplifies the lunch pail attitude we wish to preach. Edge rushers

Aldon Smith (26) Dwight Freeney (36) Kroy Biermann Jerseys (30)

We are taking a chance on Smith because, frankly, we need an X-factor. Smith can certainly be that if he gets his act together. Freeney showed he could still play last year in Arizona. Biermann has a prominent role in one of the terrible reality programs my wife watches, so this was kind of a nod to her. Greg Hardy Jerseys won’t be on my team. Inside linebacker

Karlos Dansby (34) DeMeco Ryans (32) Donald Butler (27)

Outside linebacker

Tracker: Players | Positions | By grade
Draft coverage:
Mayock’s position-by-position rankings
Jeremiah: Top 50 draft prospects
2016 draft order and team needs
Draft rumors: Connecting players, teams
2016 pro days schedule and results
CFB 24/7: Full ‘Path to Draft’ coverage
Mock drafts:
Brooks 4.0: Broncos land next QB
Jeremiah 4.0: Bears find QB of future
Zierlein 4.0: Dallas powers up run game
Davis 3.0: Goff lands with Eagles
Reuter 5.0: Five-round projection Zach Brown (26) Justin Durant (30)

Not bad, not bad. Dansby was second-team All-Pro and got paid big bucks by the Browns in 2014. Ryans is a former Defensive Rookie Of The Year (granted, that was a decade ago, but still). Recent headline in San Diego: “Donald Butler defrauded Chargers”. Yeah, we’ll put some eyes on him. Cornerback

Antonio Cromartie Jerseys (32) Leon Hall (31) Charles Tillman (35)

Safety

Reggie Nelson (32) Dashon Goldson (31) Roman Harper (33)

That’s right, an all-thirtysomething secondary! What could possibly go wrong? We’re banking hard on the Law Of Cro (he’s good every other year). Hall’s a pretty solid slot guy. We’re asking a lot of Peanut — at age 35 and coming off an ACL — to take on stud receivers on the outside. Admission: We might be putting too much into the “But You Know What They Couldn’t Measure? His HEART” mind-set here. Harper — a.k.a. Mr. Salt-and-Pepper — was destined to one day be a Graybeard.

For those scoring at home, we now have two Walter Payton Man Of The Year winners in the building (Tillman, Boldin). Leadership for days!

SPECIALISTS

K Greg Zuerlein (28)

P Steve Weatherford (33)

LS Don Muhlbach (35)

Zuerlein is on this team mostly because we like his nickname. “Greg The Leg”, baby. Less impressive was his 66.6 percent (20/30) field-goal conversion rate in 2015. Weatherford is yolked and had a legit case to be Super Bowl XLVI MVP. Muhlbach is a Detroit fan favorite who can snap like a BEAST. Total “glue” guy. Coaches

HC: Tom Coughlin (70) OC: Mike Shanahan (64) DC: Marty Schottenheimer (72) ST: Mike Westhoff (68)

We’re killing two birds with one stone here: Coughlin gets another job (which he desperately wants) and we do a solid for the Giants (and their influential ownership group) by luring Coughlin out of the team facility, where he is making everybody crazy uncomfortable. I have concerns about the Coughlin-Shanahan dynamic, but they can work out their issues at their local Elks lodge if need be.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2016 St. Louis Graybeards. Who wants some?

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A year after crash, Cam Newton living life to fullest

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Cam Newton Jerseys’s meteoric rise over the last year has been amazing to watch. Though he has always been a top-tier quarterback, he is now firmly entrenched in the MVP conversation, with no other choices making much sense at the moment.

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Newton is starting dance crazes, wowing the people of Charlotte with his charitable efforts and leading the best team in football through an incredible run that hasn’t seen the team lose a regular-season game in more than a year.

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But Newton will probably agree that the best part of this last year is that he’s here playing at all.

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Wednesday marked the one-year anniversary of a car accident that sent Newton’s truck flipping onto the local interstate. He was t-boned wholesale super bowl jersey at a dangerous intersection near the team’s facility and taken to the hospital. Miraculously, it was revealed that Newton only had two small fractures in his back and he ended up missing just one game while leading the Panthers on a playoff push.

The Charlotte Observer has a great look back, including some quotes from some of Newton’s closest friends a year later.

The funny thing was how they could tell Newton was fine. He wore that trademark smile as he entered the ambulance.

“We knew he was good. From like the pictures, he was smiling,” Philly Brown Jerseys said. “They said he didn’t even really want to go in there. So we knew he’d be all right.”

That didn’t change the fact that Newton’s life probably flashed before his eyes.

This has to be an emotional benchmark for him.

“I’m looking at this truck and thinking someone’s supposed to be dead,” Newton said at the time. “I couldn’t stop smiling.”

“I’m on somebody’s fantasy team, and I think it’s the man upstairs.”

For those who believe in such things, it was an unbelievable example of fate or luck or incredibly fortunate timing. But either way, Newton has taken full advantage of his past year.

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Lions sign Jeremy Kerley to one-year deal

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Nothing the Lions do this offseason will fill the massive void created by Calvin Johnson Jerseys’s retirement, but the team is starting to tip their hand on what an offense without Megatron will look like in 2016.
Remaining free agents
Battista: Five free agency stories to watch
Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
Top free agents available
Free agency winners and losers
Seven riskiest free-agent signings
Brooks: How free agency will affect the draft
Broncos stay course in letting Osweiler walk Watch:
Three teams that won in free agency
Which teams nfl super bowl jersey made the best free agency moves?_dicKeepLinks12
Three teams that lost in free agency

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On Monday, that included signing former Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley to a one-year deal, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

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Kerley, a former fifth-round pick out of TCU, was discovered by the Jets while the team was working out Andy Dalton Jerseys prior to the 2011 draft. In five years, he caught 182 passes for 2,225 yards and nine touchdowns. He also returned 134 punts for 1,250 yards and a score.

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Kerley nfl super bowl jersey was handed a four-year extension by the Jets in 2014 under former general manager John Idzik, but was released by the club earlier this month. He started just one game in 2016.

The Lions now have Marvin Jones Jerseys, Golden Tate Jerseys, Kerley, T.J. Jones and Corey Fuller Jerseys rounding out the top half of their pre-camp wide receiver depth chart. At the moment, it seems like the team is using a smaller, faster approach to the position though it could just be a function of what was available in free agency so far.

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Case Keenum to start for Rams; Nick Foles benched

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Three nfl super bowl fans jerseys months after giving Nick Foles Jerseys a three-year contract, the St. Louis Rams have decided to bench him.

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Rams coach Jeff Fisher announced that Case Keenum Jerseys will start at quarterback for the Rams at Baltimore this week. nfl super bowl fans jerseys Foles has been removed as a starter after two straight losses by the 4-5 Rams.

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“You know, Nick just needs a break,” Fisher said. “Nick just needs a break right now.”

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Foles was acquired in a March trade between teams dealing starting quarterbacks when the Rams sent Sam Bradford Jerseys to the Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys for Nick Foles Jerseys, a 2016 second-round pick and a move up in the middle rounds of last year’s draft. The pick is nice, but this benching is tantamount to admitting defeat in the deal. The Rams’ long-term contract doesn’t include true guaranteed money after this season, so the Rams can move on from Foles if they chose to. It would be a surprise at this point if Foles was even on the roster next year.

The timing of this move still is stunning. Keenum, who went undrafted out of college, has started 10 games in four seasons. All of those starts were with the Texans, although Keenum did spend time with the Rams and Texans last season. He’s been Foles’ backup throughout this season.

Fisher said his offense needs a spark, which is clear to see. Foles has seven touchdowns, six interceptions and five fumbles. The Rams have very few sustainable features on offense. Their only success comes from Tavon Austin Jerseys gadget plays and big runs by rookie Todd Gurley. Foles has a big arm and has connected on the occasional deep ball this season, but he has played particularly poorly over the last month.

Foles was 0-12 on passes thrown over 10 yards Sunday, which was the most attempts on such passes without a completion in the last 10 seasons, according to the Rams’ website. Fisher wasn’t making any promises about how long Keenum would start, but he clearly has the chance to keep the job. St. Louis has a playoff-ready defense, but plenty of challenging games remaining against Cincinnati, Arizona, and Seattle.

Foles might very well get another chance to start at quarterback for the Rams, but Fisher probably hopes it’s not necessary. The Rams are letting their Case Keenum Jerseys flag fly.

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Dallas PD still investigating Johnny Manziel for assault

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Johnny Manziel Jerseys remains under criminal investigation for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend during an argument last month, Dallas police announced Saturday.

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Dallas Police Department spokeswoman Maj. Midge Boyle said detectives continue to investigate a claim of domestic violence assault made against the Cleveland Browns Jerseys quarterback. Police have spoken to Manziel’s former girlfriend, Colleen Crawford, and witnesses. The detective in charge of the case has yet to speak to Manziel about the alleged incident, Boyle said.

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“Up to this point in the investigation, detectives have continued communicating with the complainant, interviewed witnesses, received medical records from the complainant, and obtained video from surveillance cameras,” said Boyle, reading from a statement. “Detectives are continuing with their efforts to fully investigate the facts of this case … As of (Saturday), there has been no determination as to what type of charge, if any, will be filed against Mr. Manziel.”

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In addition to the police probe, Manziel also is under investigation for possible violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

The complaint stems from an alleged altercation between Manziel and Crowley, who said Manziel struck her “several times” during an argument on Jan. 30, according to a Fort Worth (Texas) police incident report.

WFAA-TV in Dallas reported earlier this month that a Texas judge signed a protective order against Manziel that prevents him from making contact with Crowley for two years. In addition to the protective order, WTAA-TV reported the Tarrant County judge ordered Manziel to pay $12,000 in legal fees associated with the case.

According to an incident report released Feb. 4 by Fort Worth police, Crowley alleged Manziel struck her “several times” after they got into an argument at Hotel ZaZa in Dallas. Crowley also stated Manziel struck her several more times while he drove her back to her apartment. After arriving home, she eventually ran to a neighbor’s green bay packers super bowl jersey house, and Manziel fled the scene on foot, the report stated.

Manziel’s agent announced earlier this month he would no longer represent him and his father, Paul, expressed concern for his son to the Dallas Morning News.

“I truly believe if they can’t get him help, he won’t live to see his 24th birthday.”

The Browns will cut Manziel when the new league year begins March 9, Rapoport reported.

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B.J. Raji to take hiatus from NFL after seven seasons

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Seven years in the NFL might be enough for B.J. Raji Jerseys.
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Top 10 free-agent signings of all time
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Raji released a statement Monday saying that he is taking a hiatus from the game.

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“I am taking a cheap super bowl jerseys hiatus from the NFL and will not play during the 2016 NFL season,” Raji said. “This decision was made after hours of conversation with close family members and mentors and considerable self-introspection and is one in which I am absolutely certain. I cannot rule out a return to the NFL in the future, but I will definitely not be playing during the 2016 season.”

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Despite recent contract talks with the Packers and interest from the Panthers, Raji walks away after 78 starts for a Packers franchise that made him the ninth overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft.

Set to turn 30 in July, Raji rebounded last season to start 15 games after missing all of 2014 with a torn right biceps muscle. Signing a series of one-year pacts with Green Bay in recent years, Raji — often battling injuries — never matched his strong campaign from 2010. His future with the club was also in question after the Packers signed fellow tackle Letroy Guion.

With just 11 sacks in his career, Raji operated more as a run-stuffing behemoth for a defense that didn’t see him play more than 65 percent of the team’s snaps since 2012. Still, he was a fan favorite in Green Bay and will be remembered fondly for his on-field handiwork.

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McCarthy: Eddie Lacy can’t play at same weight in 2016

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People were talking about Eddie Lacy Jerseys’s weight before he ever played a down in the NFL. But for all that considerable chatter about the running back’s size, we never once heard the Packers come out and acknowledge there was an issue.

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Until Monday.

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“He’s got a lot of work to do,” coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. “His offseason last year was not good enough and he never recovered from it. He cannot play at the weight he played at this year.”

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The Packers’ problems on offense were manifold in 2015, but Lacy’s inability to play at his expected level complicated matters. Lacy appeared in 15 games (12 starts) but finished with just 187 carries, far off the workload of his first two seasons. He scored just three rushing nfl super bowl jerseys touchdowns, a far cry from the 20 scores he piled up nfl super bowl jerseys over the course of his previous two seasons.

Lacy added 24 carries for 152 yards in two postseason contests, including a career-high 61-yard rumble against the Cardinals on Saturday night. But he had just 28 yards on his other 11 carries in Arizona, a performance emblematic of a frustrating season.

We knew Lacy was in McCarthy’s dog house when the pedestrian James Starks Jerseys moved to the top of the running back depth chart for stretches this season. Starks is set to become a free agent, opening the door for Lacy to become the unquestioned primary back in Green Bay.

But McCarthy’s comments on Monday tells us nothing will be handed to Lacy. He’ll have to work — much harder than he did last offseason.

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Visits tracker: Dolphins hosting Clemons, Weeden

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With Olivier Vernon Jerseys shuffling off to the Big Apple, the Dolphins are looking for help along the defensive line. Could Chris Clemons Jerseys be the answer?

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NFL Media’s Albert Breer reported that the former Seahawks and Jaguars defensive end is setting up a visit with Miami, per a source. Clemons also met with Seattle since being cut by the Jaguars earlier this month.

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At 34, Clemons is coming off an patriots super bowl jerseys underwhelming campaign with three sacks over 16 appearances. His finest career stretch saw the pass rusher notch 11-plus takedowns for three straight years from 2010 to 2012, but those days are over.

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Clemons would give the Dolphins another body to aid the effort, but he’s no replacement for Vernon, who came on strong down the stretch in 2015 before inking a massive deal with the Giants.

Other visits we’re tracking:

1. Former Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis Jerseys has a bevy of meet-and-greets on his plate. We’ve learned this from a source close to the player: His father Joe Laurinaitis, better known to wrestling fanatics as Road Warrior Animal. Per the grappler, the younger Laurinaitis is set to visit Chicago, Washington, New England, San Francisco and the Giants after already meeting with Atlanta and New Orleans.

2. Ex-Browns, Cowboys and Texans passer Brandon Weeden Jerseys is visiting with the Dolphins both Friday and Saturday, per NFL Media’s Rand Getlin. The ‘Fins are looking for backup help with free-agent Matt Moore Jerseys taking visits of his own.

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Buffalo Bills re-sign wideout Leonard Hankerson

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The Buffalo Bills have decided to retain wide receiver Leonard Hankerson Jerseys.
Remaining free agents
Battista: Five free agency stories to watch
Wesseling: Which franchises are on the rise?
Collateral damage: Players hurt by free agency
Top free agents available
Free agency winners and losers
Seven riskiest free-agent signings
Brooks: How free agency will affect the draft
Broncos stay course in letting Osweiler walk Watch:
Three teams that won in free agency
Which teams made the best free agency moves?
Three teams that lost in free agency
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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday that the Bills re-signed the wideout to a one-year deal, per a source involved with the situation.

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Hankerson has a chance to see an uptick in playing time after Buffalo lost receiver Chris Hogan Jerseys to New England in free super bowl 50 jerseys agency. Hankerson joined the Bills late in 2015 after being released by the Patriots. Before signing with New England, he played in eight games with the Falcons last season. The majority of his production in 2015 was logged in Atlanta where he caught 26 passes and had three touchdowns before being released by the team in December.

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The six-year wideout didn’t record any stats during his first campaign in Buffalo but is expected to add depth behind projected starters Sammy Watkins Jerseys and Robert Woods Jerseys

In other news out of Buffalo, offensive tackle Jordan Mills Jerseys signed super bowl 50 jerseys his tender with the Bills, according to NFL Media’s Rand Getlin, per a source familiar with the deal.

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Colin Kaepernick still with 49ers; salary guaranteed

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Not all deadlines spur action.

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As anticipated, the San Francisco 49er Jerseyss opted not to cut Colin Kaepernick Jerseys ahead of Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, meaning the quarterback’s $11.9 million salary will become fully guaranteed for 2016,. Thursday marked the deadline as opposed to Friday because 4 p.m. Thursday marked the deadline for transactions to be submitted prior to April 1. super bowl jersey
Tracker: Players | Positions | By grade
Draft coverage:
Mayock’s position-by-position rankings
Jeremiah: Top 50 draft prospects
2016 draft order and team needs
Draft rumors: Connecting players, teams
2016 pro days schedule and results
CFB 24/7: Full ‘Path to Draft’ coverage
Mock drafts:
Jeremiah 5.0: Goff falls to Rams
Brooks 4.0: Broncos land next QB
Zierlein 4.0: Dallas powers up run game
Davis 3.0: Goff lands with Eagles super bowl jersey
Reuter 5.0: Five-round projection

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NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport has repeatedly reported over the past several weeks that the 49ers had no plans to cut Kaepernick before the deadline. The injury guarantees in his contract might have made it impossible to clip the quarterback anyway. But the Niners had no plans to go that route, vocally stating their belief that Kaepernick can be a quality quarterback under new coach Chip Kelly.

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Despite the deadline passing, don’t expect the Kap trade rumors to dissipate. In February, the quarterback’s agents asked the 49ers for permission to seek a trade and until he has a change of heart, a swap could still come to fruition. A trade scenario is more likely to happen as we inch closer to the draft. Teams needing a quarterback — such as the Denver Broncos Jerseys — could decide to up their compensation. Or the Niners might lower their compensation demands if they land a signal-caller in the first round.

Rapoport noted that the Friday of the draft could be a key day in those negotiations, when those second- and third-round picks are officially on the board.

In the meantime, Kaepernick is expected to show up for offseason workouts — he has a bonus in his contract. With a new coach in town, the 49ers are able to commence meeting on April 4. In the time between those workouts and the NFL draft, it’s possible Kelly could convince Kap to drop the trade request. Or Kelly might decide the quarterback is not a good fit.

The real deadline for any Kaepernick decision is the draft. Thursday’s deadline makes Kap’s money guaranteed, but it doesn’t guarantee the quarterback will wear a 49ers jersey when the season commences.

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