Cardinals DB Tyrann Mathieu has shed the brace on his surgically-repaired left knee.
Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL on December 8 and has now "accepted the likelihood" that he'll miss most -- if not all -- of training camp. His rehab remains on schedule, but Mathieu is trying to take a "veteran's approach" and wants to be 100 percent before returning to the field. The Cardinals reportedly can't keep him out of the facility since the season ended. Mathieu's Week 1 status is up in the air.
ESPN Dallas reports there are "nearly seven teams" interested in free agent DE/OLB Anthony Spencer.
This sounds like it's coming straight from Spencer's agent, but it's notable nonetheless. After being one of the bigger name free agents the past two seasons (before being designated as the Cowboys' "franchise" player each time), Spencer hasn't been linked to any teams since last season ended. He played in just one game due to microfracture surgery. That could be a significant turnoff for a 30-year-old, though Spencer should be nearing 100 percent.
The Houston Chronicle reports the Texans "won't be trading for" QB Ryan Mallett.
Beat writer John McClain is on top of everything Texans. While the dots connect between Mallett and Houston coach Bill O'Brien, Mallett still means a lot to the Patriots as Tom Brady's backup. The Texans have numerous holes to fill and aren't going to deal significant draft pick compensation for a quarterback who has attempted just four career passes and remains an unknown throughout the league. McClain thinks Cleveland's Brian Hoyer would make a better trade target.
The Charlotte Observer reports the Redskins and Eagles are showing the "most interest" in free agent FS Mike Mitchell.
The Bears, Broncos, and Falcons are a notch below the two NFC East clubs. With Jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward expected to land lucrative deals as the top two free agent safeties, Mitchell might be viewed as more of a bargain. He should have no trouble landing a multi-year deal at $4-5 million annually.
Bryan Broaddus of the Cowboys' official website doesn't anticipate the team re-signing free agent RG Brian Waters.
Waters, 37, appeared in seven games last season before landing on I.R. with a torn triceps and showed that he still has plenty of game left. After trying to sort through offensive line issues last offseason, Dallas appears to be in pretty good shape up front with their starters. Waters will only play close to his Texas home.
The Patriots are expected to make a decision on Danny Amendola's roster spot by Tuesday.
If Amendola is employed by New England on Wednesday, $2 million of his $3 million base salary becomes guaranteed. Longtime NFL writer Dan Pompei reported last week that Amendola's name had been floated in trade talks. If the Patriots can't deal him, there's a chance Amendola could be designated as a post-June 1 cut. The Patriots would take on a $1.2 million dead money hit.
The Washington Post reports the Redskins have shown interest in free agent OT Anthony Collins.
Collins, 28, might not get paid like Branden Albert or Eugene Monroe this week, but he's every bit as good in pass protection. The Bengals badly want to re-sign him, but he seems intent on testing the open market. Collins has also been linked to the Dolphins and Panthers in recent weeks. Arizona could also show interest.
ESPN Chicago confirms free agent DT Henry Melton will test the open market.
Per reporter Michael C. Wright, Melton already has "multiple suitors." Free agency's top defensive tackle, Melton is likely going to command more money than the cash-strapped Bears can afford. He's coming off October ACL surgery, but is one of the best three-techniques in the game when healthy.