Daniel Jeremiah updates top 50 NFL Draft prospects
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released the third edition of his top 50 prospect rankings. His list included four newcomers: No. 44 WR Denzel Mims (Baylor), No. 46 CB Jeff Gladney (TCU), No. 48 LB Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), and No. 49 S Antoine Winfield Jr. (Minnesota).
That meant four prospect dropped out of his top 50: S Kyle Dugger (Lenoir-Rhyme, previous rank: No. 43), WR K.J. Hamler (Penn State, No. 46), EDGE Bradlee Anae (Utah, No. 48), QB Jake Fromm (Georgia, No. 50).
Meanwhile, the biggest riser was Wisconsin LB Zack Baun, who moved up nine spots to No. 38.
"Baun is a slightly undersized outside linebacker with excellent athleticism and versatility," Jeremiah wrote. "He spends a lot of time playing over tight ends and gets the best of them in the run and pass games. As a rusher, he has a good initial burst and can really bend at the top of his rush. He has a nifty inside counter move and he can get skinny before closing on the quarterback. He mixes in a stutter/bull rush, but usually stalls out after generating some push. He is very athletic as a dropper in coverage. He is very good as a back-side run defender because of his burst and effort. Teams will differ on where to play him at the next level. He reminds me of former USC LB Uchenna Nwosu, someone whose versatility the Chargers have tapped into. I'd do the same with Baun."
At the NFL Combine, Baun relished the chance to reunite with former Badger Ryan Connelly. Connelly was on his way to being the steal of the draft for the Giants in 2019. The fifth-round pick out of Wisconsin recorded 20 tackles, two interceptions and a sack in the first four games of his rookie year, but then it abruptly ended due to a torn ACL.
"Yeah, that would be awesome [to play with Connelly again]," he said. "Shoutout to Ryan for just getting engaged. But anytime I get to link with a former teammate, a former Badger, would be a true honor for me and I think it would really give me a step up because there's a true brotherhood and mentorship at Wisconsin that are unlike any other places. So to reunite with them would be great."
While he would be excited to play with Connelly again, Baun's game is modeled more like Cleveland's versatile Pro Bowler Joe Schobert, another Wisconsin product. The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Baun said one of the teams this week referred to him as "The Toy" – a do-it-all linebacker.
"I was recruited all over the place, didn't have any offers besides South Dakota State and Wisconsin," Baun said. "I committed to Wisconsin as a gray shirt with coach Gary Anderson. Then my year coming out it was actually the year the coaching change happened with coach Paul Chryst coming in. He upgraded my gray shirt to a full ride offer. Kind of showed me what Joe Schobert did. He was the example. So I'm like, 'This dude is covering, rushing the passer and doing everything? Yeah, I want to do that.'"
The biggest fall on Jeremiah's top 50 was Ohio State CB Damon Arnette, who dropped from No. 36 to No. 50.
"Arnette is an aggressive cornerback prospect with a good combination of size, speed and ball skills," Jeremiah wrote. "He is very physical in press coverage and has plenty of speed to stay on the hip versus vertical routes. He displays some rigidity when he has to flip his hips and open up underneath. He is very twitchy when he plants and drives on the ball from off coverage. He doesn't have any issues locating and playing the football. He is very anxious to get involved in the run game and has a high batting average as a tackler. Overall, Arnette has some stiffness, but he's capable of playing at a high level in man or zone schemes."
NFLPA board extends voting deadline on new CBA
On February 20, owners approved the terms of a potential new collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association. On March 5, the NFLPA sent out official ballots to every NFL player who paid dues in the 2019 season to cast their vote on a new CBA. At the time, the NFLPA set a deadline of Thursday, March 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET, which it has now extended to Saturday, March 14. Ratification requires a majority of its members.
The NFL's statement two weeks ago read in part: "Following more than ten months of intensive and thorough negotiations, the NFL Players and clubs have jointly developed a comprehensive set of new and revised terms that will transform the future of the game, provide for players – past, present, and future – both on and off the field, and ensure that the NFL's second century is even better and more exciting for the fans.
"Since the clubs and players need to have a system in place and know the rules that they will operate under … the membership also approved moving forward under the final year of the 2011 CBA if the players decide not to approve the negotiated terms. Out of respect for the process and our partners at the NFLPA, we will have no further comment at this time."
The following is a summary of the key terms of a proposed collective bargaining agreement renegotiation between the NFL and the NFL Players Association, as provided by NFL.com.
-- 47% of annual revenue in 2020, plus around $100M in new Player Costs above current CBA for 2020
-- Guaranteed 48% share of revenue in 2021, with ability to increase the percentage to 48.5% share through a media kicker which applies in any season the league plays 17 games
-- Projected increase of around $5 billion to players during course of a new 10-year deal
-- $100K increase in 2020 for Rookie Minimums, another $50K increase in 2021 and then $45K increase each year after
-- At least $90K increase in 2020 for other minimum salaried players; $80K to $105K increase in 2021 and then $45K increase each year after
-- Right to use Rookie Distribution pool to provide additional payments to players at minimum salaries to keep minimum salaries in-line with cap growth
-- Increase in minimum salary benefit
-- Creation of new four-year player benefit: up to an additional $1.25M in salary excluded from the cap for up to two players
-- Bonus payment of 1/17 of his paragraph 5 salary up to $250K to any player whose contract runs through a season when 17 games is played
-- Additional cap room per club in 2021 if 17 games is implemented and media kicker does not reach 48.5%
-- Performance-based Pay increased to $8.5M in 2020 and $10M in 2021, with annual increases thereafter
-- Increase average Minimum Team Cash Spending to 90% over tranches of 3-3-4 year periods
-- $100K increase for ROFR Original Round Tender; $250K increase for first- and second-round Tenders for Restricted Free Agents
-- Raises for Practice Squad Players to $10.5K per week; total number of 12 players increasing to 14 players, with two unlimited Accrued Seasons players
-- Guaranteed Funding Rule increase to $15M per club in 2020 and to $17M in 2029
-- Fifth-year Options fully guaranteed for fourth and fifth years at the time option is exercised; Amount of Option dependent on player achievement and no longer based on which slot selected in first round
-- Increase in pay for all offseason activities
-- Proven Performance Escalators for second-round picks; Super Escalator for rounds 2-7 in fourth year
-- Gambling definitions that ensures money is included in players' definition of All Revenue, including portions of non-football activities
Training Camp Hours
-- Introduction of five-day acclimation period
-- 2.5-hour limit on padded and full speed practices
-- Limit time at facility during a given work day
-- Limit of 16 days in pads
- No more than three consecutive days for three out of the five weeks
- No more than two consecutive days for two out of five weeks
-- Three-day weekend at end of camp if 17 games is implemented
-- Two days off in the first week, one day every seven thereafter
-- Limit of four Joint Practices if three preseason games
Improvements to Working Conditions
-- Mandated improvements to visiting team locker rooms
-- Establish standards for rehabilitation facilities, training rooms and equipment for each club
-- Active squad increased by one offensive lineman
-- Development of improved safety metrics for fields
-- Pension increase of 10%
-- 401K matching contribution increased to $30K, annual increases thereafter
-- Annuity increased to $110K per year; increasing by $15K every other year
-- Tuition reimbursement: increases for active and former players
-- Life Insurance
-- HRA increased to $35K with increases thereafter of to $50K per season, with overall limit increasing from $350K to $450K
-- Adding vision coverage to healthcare plan
-- Injury Protection of 100% of salary up to $2.0M and Extended Injury Protection of 100% of salary up to $1.0M
-- Termination Pay: Increase in mid-season signing benefit to 35% of remaining salary or two weeks salary at the applicable minimum salary amount; right to collect a second time in some instances
-- Practice Squad players eligible for $5K of tuition benefits/year and 401K with $1500 match
-- Retroactive increase to $550 per month for all pre-2012 vested players
-- Expand pension eligibility to all former players with three credited seasons
-- Establish a $50,000 HRA for vested veterans with no HRA
-- Creation of new network of hospitals in each team city for former players to receive no cost physicals, preventative care, mental health counseling, and out-patient orthopedic services. Coverage of common surgeries to be phased in during course of deal.
-- Clear parameters for ownership and usage of player data from sensors
-- Overall reduction in on-field fines
-- Reduction in club fines
-- Implementation of a neutral decision-maker for most Commissioner Discipline cases
Changes to Drug Policy
-- Narrows the testing window of THC from four months to two weeks at the start of training camp
-- Reduces the penalties to players who test positive for THC, eliminating any game suspensions strictly for positive tests
--Reduces the number of players subjected to testing for THC
-- Increases the nanogram limit from 35 to 150
-- Right to be paid over a 34-week pay period vs. 17 weeks
-- New workers comp process to enable easier filing for players, making injury care more accessible.
To read it in its entirety, click here.
TE Rhett Ellison retires after eight NFL seasons, three with Giants
Rhett Ellison, a quietly consistent performer who was respected by his teammates and a mentor to his fellow tight ends, yesterday announced his retirement after eight NFL seasons, the last three with the Giants.
"The past few weeks, it's kind of been an emotional rollercoaster," Ellison said. "But the overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude. Just thinking back to all the people in my life, even before I put pads on, that were able to nurture and grow the gifts God put into me and make this career possible. I think that was the biggest thing that was the fun part about the retirement process, which is reflecting on those people, thanking those people, reaching out and just the lessons they taught me, the tools they gave me for my life after football."
Ellison signed with the Giants as a free agent on March 10, 2017, after five seasons with the Vikings. In three seasons with the Giants, he played in 40 games with 36 starts and caught 67 passes for 674 yards (10.1-yard avg.) and four touchdowns. Ellison also made a difference off the field, particularly with Project Kind, an organization that provides aid to the homeless.
"The people I met when I was with the Giants made such an impact on me," Ellison said. "One of the coolest things I got to be a part of was made possible by the Giants and it had nothing to do with playing on the field. The Giants opened up their doors to about 100 homeless people in Newark and created this event off an idea that myself and Jenny (Schumm DePaul) at Project Kind came up with. They just rolled with it without hesitation. It was so cool to see an organization open the doors to their stadium to people in need without any kind of hesitation. When I think back to my time with the Giants and just my football career in general, that was one of the coolest things, if not the coolest thing, that I've been a part of. The Giants really valued that and they valued me that way. I would definitely say the people there made this special for me the past three years."
View photos of TE Rhett Ellison, who announced his retirement on Monday.