The man with the self-proclaimed “best motor” in the 2017 NFL Draft class now has a contract.
The Atlanta Falcons announced Thursday they have agreed to terms with first-round pick Takkarist McKinley, who was selected No. 26 overall last month.
A two-year starter at UCLA, McKinley logged 99 total tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, six forced fumbles and 10 passes defensed in his three years in Westwood. Atlanta traded up five spots to select him last month.
The Falcons also announced Thursday they have agreed to terms with three other draft picks: linebacker Duke Riley, running back Brian Hill and tight end Eric Saubert.
Have the Eagles hit a bump in the road with Brandon Graham?
On the heels of a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane that Graham is poised to hold out for a new contract, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Wednesday that the defensive end is expected back with the team soon for optional and mandatory workouts. Garafolo added there’s no sense that Graham is pushing for a new contract at this point, according to the source.
The eighth-year lineman inked a four-year, $26 million contract in 2015. The pact pays Graham $6.5 million both this season and next, an amount apparently not sitting well for a player making less than teammate Vinny Curry, who has never logged an NFL start.
Graham, meanwhile, was Philly’s top-performing end last season and said of his contract in January: “We’ll worry about that when it comes, I guess. But I’m just going to try and make sure I’m working hard and hopefully things happen.”
On Wednesday, Graham refused to comment on his absence, saying via text, per McLane: “Can’t talk about contract stuff right now.”
It ultimately remains to be seen if Graham will be the first of many players league-wide to play a game of chicken with their employer over new cash. Each of these players will find out by September what they truly mean to the teams they toil for.
The assumption among the football world was the New York Giants selected Eli Manning’s heir when Big Blue snagged Davis Webb in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Giants CEO John Mara pumped the breaks on that supposition during a Tuesday appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
“I am in the room with [general manager Jerry Reese] and I do give the final approval to everybody that we take,” Mara said of the Webb pick. “But I was hoping that we would take a quarterback at some point. I’ve always held the belief that you could never draft too many of them. I think it’s a little too premature to be anointing this guy as the heir apparent to Eli. [Webb] hasn’t set foot on the field yet. But he has a lot of talent and we’re looking forward to seeing what we’ve got when he gets here. But let’s not, as Bill Parcells used to say, let’s not get his bust ready for Canton just yet.”
The key for Mara is to let Webb develop before deciding whether he can be the future of the franchise.
“But no, listen, he’s a talented guy but let’s let him get on the field and let’s let him play in the preseason and develop,” Mara said. “If he’s the successor, that’s great, but if not, then we’ll find somebody else.”
The Giants admitted this year that Eli Manning is on the “back nine” of his career. With Manning turning 36 years old, New York is prudent to begin thinking about a successor.
Webb entered the draft with most analysts believing he needs time to mature into a starting-caliber quarterback. Learning behind Iron Man Manning could be the best education if Webb is to be the next torchbearer in New York. Of course, some Giants fans thought they had the next hot young project when they used a 2013 fourth-round pick on Ryan Nassib, who is now a free agent.
New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall is already talking retirement.
The six-time Pro Bowler revealed Saturday that he plans to play just two more years.
“I just decided that last week. Two more years, get my Super Bowl, have a little bit more fun, and then I’m going to go change the world in the mental health space,” Marshall said at the NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo at MetLife Stadium.
It’s no surprise that Marshall has plans to bring awareness to mental health. He was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, also known as BPD.
The wideout just signed a two-year, $12 million deal as a free agent with the Giants this offseason. He was slated to make $7.5 million with the Jets this year before he was released.
Marshall has eight 1,000-yard seasons since he was drafted in 2006. According to NFL research, Marshall has been the most productive receiver in football over the last decade in terms of both catches (921) and receiving yards (11,752).
Marvin Lewis is calling the race early.
The Bengals coach quickly put the kibosh on a proposed 40-yard dash-off between his first-round pick John Ross and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton, telling Cincinnati reporters Friday, “John is not a circus act.”
Hamilton first suggested the race between the 40-yard dash champion and himself, saying that the two could test each other’s speed “for a charity event” or something of the kind. Ross responded Friday, saying he’s up to it, but not right now.
“It would be awesome to do that and we could probably work out something later,” Ross told ESPN’s Katherine Terrell on Friday. “Right now I’m just focused on being a Bengal. I don’t know what the future holds, but if he wants to do something for the community later or for charity, that would be awesome. Right now I’m just focused on being a football player.”
We’re sure Lewis and Ross are objectively in the right here, choosing to prevent the first-round wideout from potentially aggravating an injury rather than racing a Red. But where’s the fun in that?
On top of supporting charities, a 40-yard dash between Mr. 4.22 and baseball’s best base-stealer would promote a very worthy cause: Keeping us football die-hards entertained during the pigskin-poor summer doldrums. Do it for the fans. That’s charitable enough.