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The NFL is amazing. It’s able to make news, fill notebooks, and attract television cameras practically all year long. And Wednesday was no different.
As teams around the league began or continued their offseason conditioning programs, coaches, players, and general managers spoke with reporters throughout the league.
And there was interesting stuff. So let’s go around the league:
Colts Are Better
In Indianapolis, coach Frank Reich has a new quarterback in Matt Ryan and new defense that is being installed by new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, with the additions of defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
And after a couple of days and with veteran receiver T.Y. Hilton still unsigned (at the time he was speaking,) Reich already thinks the Colts are better than they were a season ago.
“I mean, of course I feel that way, I really do because of the collective of the pieces that we added,” Reich said. “You add two marquee players on defense. I mean marquee players, proven production at high level. That right there, I mean, that right there – I can’t even tell you.
“I know I’m the offensive coach, so to speak. As Chris (Ballard) and I have talked, I’m like, ‘You get Matt Ryan and a great defense and we’re good. We’re good. We’ll figure it out.’ I’m just confident we’re going to be good on offense. We already had a good defense, and now we just added two marquee players and a marquee quarterback. I feel good about this team.”
Tua Talks Head Coaches
Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa spoke to reporters for the first time since the end of the 2021 season and a lot has happened in Miami since then — namely, Brian Flores was fired after three seasons and Mike McDaniel was hired as head coach.
And Tagovailoa showed he’s already a big fan of the new guy. And wasn’t a huge fan of the last guy.
“There are a lot of changes and a lot of good changes, I guess, with the people that we’ve picked up and the guys that we’ve acquired as well,” Tagovailoa said. “The locker room feels different. We’re all excited. This is the first time I’ve seen a lot of guys show up to Phase I of OTAs and a lot of veterans are showing up to it.
“I think that speaks a lot to Mike and the relationship he has with a lot of the guys on the team and the amount of respect that he has from the players in the locker room.”
Tagovailoa said McDaniel has been “very supportive.”
“He wants to hang out,” the quarterback said. “I go up there to his office and tell him I’ve got a couple of the guys coming over to hang out, and he feels bad that he didn’t get an invite to come over and hang out. It’s been a really cool relationship. It’s been different, but it’s been super cool.”
Flores, who coached Tagovailoa in 2020-21, wanted to trade for Deshaun Watson and wasn’t convinced Tagovailoa would become an elite quarterback. It’s obvious Tagovailoa recognized that disconnect and declined to comment on the Flores firing.
And when he was asked to describe his relationship with Flores, his bland quote about a coach he played for the last two seasons said it all.
“That’s a big question,” he said. “Well, I’ll tell you this. I’m very thankful that he drafted me to come here to play for the Miami Dolphins. That’s what I’d say.”
Giants still have a James Bradberry dilemma
New York Giants general manager Joe Schoen has been counting his salary cap pennies since he took over. It hasn’t been easy managing the situation, and no part of it could be harder than figuring out what to do about cornerback James Bradberry.
Bradberry, 29, is effectively in the final year of deal that has him counting approximately $21 million on the New York cap in 2022. And that’s way, way, way too much for a good but not great player.
So Schoen has to figure out what to do with the cornerback — trade him, cut him, keep him — without creating a huge void on the roster or simply giving the player away.
And, yes, trading him remains an option in the forefront of possibilities:
“We’ve gotten calls on James Bradberry, yes,” Schoen confirmed Wednesday.
The Giants can save approximately $12 million by trading Bradberry, but obviously no team wants to take on his $13.4 million salary and give up a significant draft pick.
So Schoen, who needs about $6 million more in cap space just to sign the draft class that includes his current picks, is talking about contingencies for keeping Bradberry. This while everyone knows Schoen would really like to trade Bradberry (for cap purposes) and get a good draft pick in return.
“James Bradberry is a great person, good player,” Schoen said. “He is. I know the two people very well that were in Carolina that drafted him: Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott. He’s a player we talked about.
“I like the kid. I like the skillset. It’s just the situation we’re in from a financial standpoint. It is what it is. But there are ways we can still make it work and James can be here. People say, ‘Why don’t you cut him or trade him?’ Then, there’s a huge void.
“We’re going to play it out, see how the draft goes, see what the roster looks like. There’s still contingency plans where we can keep James on the roster.”
Does Von Miller regret signing with the Buffalo Bills?
He was on the Super Bowl champions. He was playing for the Los Angeles Rams and living in the city outskirts, surrounded by rolling hills and a swimming pool.
And now Von Miller is going to play for the Buffalo Bills.
Miller admitted Wednesday that on his flight to Buffalo, he thought about backing out before actually signing his contract.
And then other stuff happened…
Love the honesty and the transparency.
Von Miller will be beloved. In Buffalo.
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero