Potential No. 1 overall pick Sam Darnold shines at soggy pro day

Given an out, USC quarterback Sam Darnold declined to move up his throwing session at his school’s pro day on Wednesday, choosing instead to throw under a steady rain in front of a throng of NFL decision-makers.

I don’t think it would have been fair to change the schedule with all of the other guys training for the pro day, Darnold said. So I just wanted my guys to be comfortable — my teammates — that was first and foremost.

Darnold said he has a couple visits lined up before the draft in April, but he did not disclose the teams.

Sam is not the kid you speed date; he’s the kid you marry. … People will fall in love the more they get to know him.

Darnold did not throw at the NFL scouting combine in February. However, he said it was important to answer questions about his throwing mechanics at his pro day, and he believes he’s worthy of the No. 1 overall pick.

I feel like I’m definitely capable of going No. 1, Darnold said. What the Browns are doing right now is really good. They’ve got a lot of good pieces right now. I think going there and being able to lead the way I lead and play the way I play, I think it would be a good situation.

The team also agreed to a three-year deal to keep linebacker Brock Coyle, who started 10 games last season before undergoing offseason shoulder surgery.

General manager John Lynch said McKinnon and Richburg were both high on the team’s priority list in free agency and he was glad to be able to lock both of them up as soon as the new league year started.

We see Weston as one of the top young interior offensive linemen in the NFL,Lynch said. His athleticism, intelligence and attitude are a perfect fit for our scheme. Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very difficult matchup for defenses. We can’t wait to get them on the field with their teammates and coaches later this spring.

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NFL recommends simplifying language as to what defines a catch

The NFL has announced the final portions of a proposal to revise its controversial catch rule, one that would most notably eliminate the requirement to maintain control of the ball throughout the process of going to the ground.

We know the league is trying to avoid more controversial catch calls. But how can they do it? Here’s what the competition committee is likely to propose, its potential flaws and more.

The NFL has considered making similar changes in the past but decided against it because, former officiating chief Dean Blandino told ESPN, it would likely swap one set of controversies for another.

The Bills are suddenly now within striking distance to leapfrog the Jets in the draft.

If Cousins spurns the Jets, Maccagnan better be prepared to trade up with the Colts to secure the third pick. That would leave him with, at worst, the third Quarterback of the Future on his board.

He should also inquire about the first-overall pick to draft Sam Darnold (Browns GM John Dorsey also holds the fourth pick).

Dave Gettleman and the Giants own the second pick. Just imagine what he’d be asking should Maccagnan be forced to inquire about moving up. In that scenario, it would be called begging.

The Jets know from nightmares. It is up to Maccagnan to make sure this isn’t another one.

The 49ers started free agency Wednesday by getting some needed help for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, agreeing to a four-year contract with versatile running back Jerick McKinnon and a five-year deal with interior offensive lineman Weston Richburg just after the start of the new league year.

The two deals fill holes on the roster with McKinnon expected to replace departing starter Carlos Hyde and Richburg able to step in immediately as the starter either at center or guard.

McKinnon had his most productive season last year, when he ran for a career-high 570 yards while setting personal bests with 51 catches for 421 yards.

McKinnon replaces Carlos Hyde, who is leaving as a free agent for Cleveland. McKinnon has more speed and is a better receiving threat than Hyde and should fit well into coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

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Clay Helton: No issues with Sam Darnold’s competitive fire

Former USC quarterback Sam Darnold chose not to throw at the Scouting Combine. NFL Network chose to criticize Darnold for his decision, suggesting that he’s not a true competitor because he was unwilling to compete in something that, frankly, isn’t even a competition.

Darnold’s coach at USC takes issue with that characterization.

In my 24 years of experience all in college I have never been around a man that is more competitive than Sam Darnold, Helton told PFT Live. He loves to compete and loves to be able to show what he can do. When the timing is right he will.

Don’t be fooled by James Daniels’ positional designation. Pat Elflein is the Vikings’ starting center. But the offense needs help at both guard spots, as Nick Easton is still available in free agency and Joe Berger is pondering retirement, per Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.

Daniels began his collegiate career by playing guard and offensive tackle before making the switch to center as a sophomore. The 6’3, 306-pound lineman is an outstanding athlete, and he excels with his reach blocks, getting to the second level and working in space. He shouldn’t have any problem moving back to guard, either.

James is a hell of a developmental prospect, if you will, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said, per Land of 10’s Scott Dochterman. In my mind, he could go and play guard for anybody next year, just about anybody in the league.

They’d have become unrestricted free agents on March 14 had the team not picked up the extra years.

Dotson’s been one of the steadiest players on their roster, lending a physical presence to their offensive line. But he’s coming off a knee injury which cost him the final five games of the year. Conte’s a regular starter, and Robinson’s a core special teamer.

The full guarantee at signing is $3 million, and only $3 million. Another $4 million should be earned in 2018, if he passes the preseason physical. After that, it’s up to the 49ers as to whether the deal continues into 2019.

The full base value of the deal is $21.15 million, with another $18 million tied to per-game roster bonuses, annual 90-percent playing-time incentives, an annual Pro Bowl incentive, and an annual All-Pro incentive.

To get the full $39.15 million, Sherman will need to play all 48 regular-season games over the next three years, be on the field for at least 90 percent of the snaps, make it to the Pro Bowl every year, and qualify for the All-Pro team every year.

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Richard Sherman takes aim at Pete Carroll in war with Seahawks

Richard Sherman’s war of words against his former team wages on.

Following a social media exchange Wednesday with the newly retired Joe Thomas, the 49ers cornerback took the former Brown up on his offer, appearing on the ThomasHawkpodcast, where he suggested the Seattle brass lost their way a little bitin terms of evaluating players following a mediocre 9-7 campaign last season.

I’m vengeful in that way,Sherman told MMQB.com.

Sherman isn’t the only member of the vaunted defense who was forced to flee the coup this offseason. Defensive end Michael Bennett was traded to the Eagles, whereas cornerback Deshawn Shead signed with the Lions.

As for the fate of Carroll, Sherman noted the Seahawks’ 2018 performance could factor into 66-year-old Carroll’s decision on the future.

I think that it depends on how this season goes for them. If they do great, get to the playoffs and continue to have the success, then I think he continues to go. But if things don’t go as planned and they don’t get to the playoffs and they have a rough year, then I think that’ll weigh into his decision. The legacy begins to get tainted at that point,Sherman said.

What is the most important thing in life is to be happy,McDonough told WEEI in Boston on Thursday. As much as it was a great honor to be the voice of ‘Monday Night Football’and you guys know me well enough, and certainly a lot of my friends and family do it wasn’t a tremendous amount of fun the last two years. When I took my ego out of it, when the conversation about a reboot of ‘MNF’ came up, when I took the ego part of it out, and rationalized it, I really could be fine with not being the voice of ‘MNF,’ then it became easy.

The nationally coveted gig was built for his sidekick, Jon Gruden. The event-television had been conceived around the longtime, personable head coach, with McDonough serving more as a straight man to Gruden’s X’s-and-O’s shtick.

And McDonough had a back-seat role for games that were not what they once were. Despite the $1.9 billion ESPN pays the NFL annually for the primetime package, the games that have gotten the billing have gotten increasingly worse.

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Browns continue to support Josh Gordon

Browns receiver Josh Gordon is an exclusive rights free agent. Which mean he isn’t a free agent at all. Which means the Browns have dibs on whether to offer him a one-year contract for the minimum salary for a player with his level of experience.

Based on comments from Browns G.M. John Dorsey to PFT Live at the Scouting Combine, it sounds like the Browns will.

The Phillies’ offseason work extended well into spring training and might not be finished yet, as they still look like a good fit for one of the remaining veteran free-agent starters. Yes, that’s true even after last week’s splashy signing of former Cubs ace Jake Arrieta . The signing allowed the Phillies to jump over the threshold between sellers and buyers into what could turn out to be what Scott Boras — Arrieta’s agent — likes to call Playoffville. If the Phillies ended up in the seller group, it wouldn’t have made much difference, as they have virtually nothing in the way of expiring contracts to be moved. Maybe that’s as good a sign as any that the slow-burning rebuild is finally coming to fruition. Indeed, things seem to be percolating in Philadelphia.

Hamels, 34, is coming off an uncharacteristically poor season in Texas. The lefty posted a 4.20 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and 1.98 SO/BB. The ERA was Hamels’ worst since 2009. The strikeout and walk numbers represented the worst figures the 12-year pro has posted in the majors.

Still, there’s reason to believe Hamels can bounceback and reinvent himself as a viable starter for years to come. Hamels owns a 3.37 ERA in over 2,300 career innings. We’re looking at a veteran that will likely figure it out and pitch well again soon.

It was a crazy process but obviously for me to be able to come back, I’m excited about that,McCown told The Post in a phone interview. I’m just looking forward to being able to continue to build with these guys and the chemistry and all that. I’m excited about being back.

For McCown, he had to wait for Kirk Cousins to pick a team before knowing where he would go. The Jets had a strong interest in Cousins but he chose the Vikings, where he will reportedly get a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million deal.

I just knew that he was kind of the prize, so to speak,McCown said. Everybody was going after him. I was just kind of waiting and being patient. It seemed like everybody kind of had their order of what they were going to do if they got Kirk and if not what would they do, what was Plan B. It was a matter of waiting that out.

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Flu could keep Ohio State DL Tyquan Lewis out of drills

Center Billy Price and defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis are two of three players to play 55 games in their careers at Ohio State. That durability has been replaced by bad luck at the Scouting Combine.

Nobody in the NFL has a larger contract relative to the other players at his position than Juszczyk. The Harvard product is in line to make $15.5 million in the first three years of his deal when no other active fullback deal calls for more than $6.6 million over the same time frame. Given that the fullback continues to be de-emphasized in offenses in favor of a third wideout or a second tight end, it’s unlikely that we’ll see many enormous contracts at the position anytime soon.

The two nine-figure contracts handed out to wide receivers under the current CBA are long gone, as Calvin Johnson has retired and Larry Fitzgerald is on a one-year, $11 million extension. Brown once had one of the biggest bargain veteran contracts in all of football, but after making $37.3 million over five years on his second deal, Brown got a huge raise to $17 million per year after the 2016 season.

Wilkerson was released by the Jets after a dismal 2017 season that saw him have little impact on the field before getting benched in Week 15 as a result of a missed team meeting. That was the latest in a string of missed meetings or late arrivals and Wilkerson did not play again for the Jets.

In Green Bay, Wilkerson will have the chance to renew acquaintances with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine after the men worked together with the Jets in 2011 and 2012. He’ll also have the chance to make his case that he’s a more committed player than he appeared to be at the end of his run with the Jets.Titans will release Matt Cassel, Eric Weems

The Titans announced on Thursday that running back DeMarco Murray will be cut loose and they added three more veterans to the discard pile on Friday.

In addition to confirming the release of safety Da’Norris Searcy, the Titans also announced that they’ve told quarterback Matt Cassel and wide receiver Eric Weems that they will be dropped from the roster as well.

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