9 News Denver's Mike Klis reports the Broncos have not yet begun discussing a long-term contract with free agent OLB Von Miller.
Longtime Broncos beat writer Klis takes this as an "indication" Miller will be hit with the franchise tag before the March 1 franchise deadline. The Broncos appear to be taking the same approach with Miller as they did with Demaryius Thomas in the 2015 offseason. Thomas received the franchise tag last March 2, then signed a five-year, $70 million deal two weeks before training camp.
9 News Denver's Mike Klis reports the Broncos "have begun negotiating in earnest" with free agent DL Malik Jackson.
The Broncos have not done the same with fellow free agent Brock Osweiler, a tactic taken "out of respect" for Peyton Manning, per Klis. Klis does clarify that "not enough progress has been made" at this point to prevent Jackson from testing the open market, where the 26-year-old could strike it filthy rich. Klis expects the Broncos to use the franchise tag on free agent OLB Von Miller.
ESPN Colts reporter Mike Wells doesn't see impending free agent Matt Forte as a fit for Indianapolis.
Frank Gore isn't the Colts' long-term answer at running back but neither is Forte, who turned 30 in December. The idea of Gore and Forte forming a one-two punch, though appealing to the Colts, probably wouldn't interest Forte. Instead of pursuing a running back, the Colts would be wise to beef up their offensive line to create more running room for Gore.
Eagles DC Jim Schwartz said Connor Barwin "fits real well" at defensive end in his 4-3 scheme.
An outside linebacker in outgoing DC Billy Davis' 3-4, Barwin is being projected as a rotational end under Schwartz, sharing time with LE Vinny Curry and RE Brandon Graham. "I think most of the plays that he made were rushing the passer," Schwartz said of Barwin. "I think that size-wise, effort-wise, skill set-wise, he fits well there." We still wouldn't be entirely shocked if Barwin went on the offseason trade market.
ESPN Rams reporter Nick Wagoner does not expect the Rams to use the franchise tag this offseason.
Starting corners Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are both headed for free agency but neither is a serious candidate for the franchise tag. The Rams would like to retain both players and it's possible they could use the transition tag to keep one of them from hitting the market. If it comes down to that, Wagoner believes the Rams are more likely to tag Jenkins than Johnson.
Aaron Rodgers said his surgically repaired knee feels great.
Rodgers had his left knee scoped last month, but was back on the golf course this week for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. "It was just good to be out there walking normally," he said. "It’s nice to not have any clunking around or anything, so it was good." It looks like Rodgers' recovery is going smooth.
After doing his initial tape review of college wideout prospects, NFL.com's Matt Harmon came away believing Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard is "bar none" the best route runner in this year's receiver class.
Harmon is perhaps the premier wide receiver evaluator in media today. Shepard was an ultra-productive collegiate, tallying 233 career receptions and averaging 14.9 yards per catch. Harmon says Shepard has earned the title of "my favorite" wideout in the 2016 class, "showing great ability to execute even the most in-depth and nuanced aspects of route assignments like an NFL veteran." Harmon noted Shepard was especially successful versus man coverage. Only 5-foot-10, 193, Shepard figures to be a bit of a polarizing prospect due to his shortage of size. He's drawn comparisons ranging from Tyler Lockett to Antonio Brown.
The Charlotte Observer expects the Panthers to sign DT Kawann Short to a long-term contract this offseason.
He's entering the last year of his rookie contract and is due for a raise after earning PFF's fourth-highest defensive tackle grade out of 70 qualifiers in 2015. Carolina will also have to make a decision on Star Lotulelei, whose fifth-year option must be exercised by May. Short was among the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in football this past season. Lotulelei struggled in that area but was better against the run.