Thanks, but no thanks.
That’s what free agent running back Pierre Thomas said to the Texans on Wednesday. Thomas was the preferred choice to replace injured bell-cow Arian Foster but apparently wasn’t willing to work for the veteran’s minimum. That would have paid Thomas $870,000.
Turning the Texans down is a curious career choice for Thomas. The 30-year-old hasn’t generated much interest since getting let go by the Saints in March. It’s not Russell Wilson money but $870,000 is more than enough to pay the bills. More importantly, it’s $870,000 more than he’ll make sitting on the couch waiting for a better offer.
Thomas said he’s open to playing for less than $2 million and the Texans do have a little cap space to work with (about $8.4 million) so it’s possible the two sides will revisit this. But for now, the Texans are moving forward with a committee featuring Alfred Blue, Chris Polk, Jonathan Grimes and Kenny Hilliard.
Joe McKnight and Ben Malena also tried out for the Texans on Wednesday but adding one of them would just be a depth signing. If the Texans get really desperate, they can call up BenJarvus Green-Ellis, a favorite of Texans head coach and former Patriots assistant Bill O’Brien.
Blue shouldered the load when Foster went down with a hip injury last season but he didn’t make much of an impact. If you take away his fluke 156-yard game against the Browns in Week 11, the 24-year-old averaged an ugly 2.8 yards per carry on 133 rushing attempts. He surpassed 50 yards twice in 16 contests. None of that screams “fantasy stud.”
ESPN’s Dianna Marie Russini believes Polk will be given the first chance to “hold down the fort” in Foster’s absence. The Texans coaching staff has been enamored with Polk since his days in Philadelphia. Even with LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles ahead of him on the depth chart last year, Polk still managed a respectable 172 yards and four touchdowns. At 5’11” and 222 pounds, Polk is big enough to punch it in from short range and should get most of Houston’s goal line carries.
For that to happen, Houston will have to get close to the end zone. With Foster gone (not to mention the team’s nightmare quarterback situation), that may not be an easy task. Luckily for the Texans, Foster’s injury (his groin needs to be reattached to the bone) doesn’t appear to be season-ending. He’ll go under the knife Friday and could be back for the second half of the season. Of course, that would be the best case scenario. Foster has a long history of injuries and may require more time.
At the very least, Houston’s running back drama should make Hard Knocks more interesting.
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Well, it was pointing up. Floyd hurt his finger at practice Wednesday and now we don’t know what direction the arrow’s pointing.
It was initially reported that Floyd had suffered three broken fingers and would be out at least six weeks. Now they’re saying Floyd’s fingers were actually dislocated, which isn’t as serious. The timetable for that injury is about 3-to-5 weeks. If that holds true, Floyd should be back in plenty of time for September 13’s season opener against the Saints. Of course, it might take a while for him to get back into game shape after missing most of training camp.
With Floyd out of commission, now is the time for Palmer to build better chemistry with second-year receiver John Brown. The 25-year-old was second on the team in catches last season and probably could have done more with a better quarterback. Brown had to put up with 10 weeks of Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley while Palmer watched on crutches.
Now that Floyd’s finger injury has been downgraded from a fracture to a dislocation, it may not have much of an effect on fantasy. If Floyd is slow to recover, you’ll see Brown start to creep up draft boards. At the same time, Floyd’s ADP will begin to go in the other direction. If Floyd falls to the late rounds, he could be a value pick. Floyd’s current ADP on FantasyPros is 88. That puts him 33rd among wide receivers.
It never ends. Seriously. It’s been seven months and we’re still talking about Deflategate.
The 457-page document didn’t offer many surprises. Brady stood his ground, claiming he had no knowledge of any ball tampering and wasn’t even aware of the league’s PSI requirements until a game against the Jets in Week 7. During that game, Brady was unhappy with how hard the balls felt and lashed out at equipment assistant John Jastremski. Brady said the balls for that game were inflated to 16 PSI, well above the league’s 12.5 minimum.
Also included as evidence were 1,408 pages of emails that Brady sent and received between September and March. The emails didn’t reveal a smoking gun but they did provide plenty of info on Brady’s day-to-day life including his sneaker size (12½ or 13) and how much he spends on pool covers ($8,500).
One of the juicier nuggets included this jab at Peyton Manning: “I’ve got another 7 or 8 years left. He has 2. That’s the final chapter. Game on.” Brady also has a habit of calling offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels “babe.”
Aside from the documents released Tuesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh vehemently denied that Baltimore had any involvement in Deflategate. The Ravens had been accused of tipping the Colts off about New England’s footballs. “Any conversation that was had with the Colts had nothing to do with deflated footballs, which is what we've been saying since the very start,” said Harbaugh. “I don't know who is doing what and I really couldn't care less about the whole thing.”
While Brady maintains his innocence, Hall of Famer Jim Kelly thinks Touchdown Tom should either fess up or stand up for himself. "[Brady] is in a situation right now, once you start to lie, you continue to lie, and it keeps backfiring,” Kelly told ESPN. “I don't know whether Tom is telling the truth, but if it is me [and] I have nothing to hide, [I would say], 'What do you need to see? What do you need to prove my innocence?’”
Brady may have put it best in this email exchange with a close friend: “we are the patriots everything is a big deal.” Someday, there will be a Daily Dose where I won’t have to mention Deflategate. Until then, let the circus roll on.
Quick Hits: Bills coach Rex Ryan will eat a dog biscuit Thursday to raise awareness for animal cruelty. “With the name Rex, obviously I’ve eaten a lot of dog biscuits in my day, so this is no problem,” said Ryan … Percy Harvin opened up about his time with the Seahawks Wednesday on ESPN’s First Take. “I just took it as I never was kind of accepted in the receiver group by all the members” said Harvin … Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News said Matt Cassel is leading the Bills’ quarterback competition. Yikes … Martavis Bryant has been practicing with the second unit at Steelers camp. That won’t help his fantasy value … Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post believes running back Damien Williams is the favorite to back up Lamar Miller in Miami this season. Williams recorded 309 all-purpose yards as a rookie last year … Adrian Peterson was supposed to be on probation for two years after pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault on his 4-year-old son. Instead, he had his probation terminated after just nine months … Julian Edelman didn’t suit up for practice on Wednesday. He suffered an undisclosed injury during Sunday’s workout and hasn’t been on the field since … Rob Gronkowski’s new Foot Locker ad is hilarious. Here’s the link … Jimmy Garoppolo completed just 15-of-33 passes at Wednesday’s practice. The kid’s still learning … Cowboys coach Jason Garrett gave veterans Tony Romo and Jason Witten the day off on Wednesday … Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News said Darren McFadden’s hamstring is improving and he could be back on the field as early as Saturday … Andrew Luck was picked off not once but three times on Wednesday. Those were his first interceptions since the start of training camp … Colts owner Jim Irsay said he doesn’t expect Robert Mathis to play until late September. Mathis missed all of last season with a torn Achilles … Philip Rivers has nothing but good things to say about Stevie Johnson. “He’s off to a heck of a start,” said Rivers. “If you asked me one guy who I was most excited about, I'd probably single out him” … Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy agreed to a four-year extension on Wednesday. With Levy squared away, Detroit’s next priority will be to sign DT Haloti Ngata to a long-term contract … Converted Browns wide receiver Terrelle Pryor is headed for an MRI on his injured hamstring. He’s unlikely to play in Friday’s intra-squad scrimmage at his alma mater Ohio State … Niners GM Trent Baalke said the team is hoping to sign Aldon Smith to a long-term contract. He’s in the last year of his rookie deal … Robert Turbin (hip surgery) returned to practice on Wednesday. He totaled 496 yards on 90 touches last season … Earl Thomas has been cleared to practice after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Thomas received PFF’s fifth-highest safety grade out of 87 qualifiers last season … Darryl Slater of the Newark Star-Ledger only expects the Jets to keep three running backs, which means Zac Stacy is probably the odd man out … Zach Ertz has been practicing with Philadelphia’s second unit while Brent Celek works with the starters. Ertz has huge potential as a receiver but doesn’t block well … If you’re not caught up on Game of Thrones (and you definitely should be by now), don’t go to Redskins training camp. Tight end Niles Paul is giving away all kinds of spoilers.