"The [49ers'] decision to exercise the option does not mean they are overlooking these incidents."
-David Fucillo, Niners Nation
The San Francisco 49ers exercised their fifth-year option on outside linebacker Aldon Smith. The team had until 11:59 p.m. on Friday to exercise said option, which will pay Smith more than $9.7 million in 2015. However, the 49ers can release Smith prior to the beginning of the 2015 league year and the option will be void, though it becomes fully guaranteed on the start of that league year and is already fully guaranteed against injury.
Why would the 49ers ever do such a thing? Smith has multiple off-the-field issues. He has multiple DUIs, is being brought up on weapon possession charges, was arrested in April due to an incident that had him reportedly making a false bomb threat and may need another stint in rehab due to the latest incident likely involving alcohol. Smith is an incredibly productive player, and the 49ers used the option for that reason, but it's likely a long road to him getting a big contract extension and actually seeing the field again.
"It's not something we're counting on."
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was suspended indefinitely from the NFL for violating the league's substance abuse policy last season, and team general manager Dave Caldwell isn't optimistic about Blackmon's potential return for the 2014 season. "It's not something we're counting on," Caldwell said, according to CBS Sports. Previously, head coach Gus Bradley noted that the Jaguars need to get some new players in at the receiver position.
Blackmon was a very productive receiver when playing, putting up 93 receptions for 1,280 yards and six touchdowns between 2012 and 2013. It's unclear what the league will do at this point -- many have expected Blackmon will be allowed back at some point, but it seems likely the Jaguars simply don't want to rely on that without knowing for certain. They'll likely deal with what to do with Blackmon when that time comes, and proceed as if they won't have him going forward.
"But frankly, I would probably change the name."
-Senator John McCain on Washington Redskins name
Arizona Senator John McCain is now one of the more high-profile people to speak out on the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins' name. On Friday, McCain visited the Dan Patrick Show and suggested that he would "probably change the name" if it were up to him, according to Will Brinson of CBS Sports.
McCain said that there are Native Americans who are offended by the name, and that it's up to owner Dan Snyder to meet with them to discuss what can be done. As Brinson points out, meeting with Native American leaders would definitely result in them asking him to change the name, which he doesn't want to do, which is why such a meeting will never happen.
"The clear understanding is that any team that wants to get to No. 1 will have to pay dearly for it."
-Dan Hanzus, NFL.com
The Houston Texans already know who they want to pick with the No. 1 overall choice in the 2014 NFL Draft, as noted at Battle Red Blog. But there's also been plenty of talks surrounding a potential trade. The Atlanta Falcons have been noted as the most likely trade partner, but Dan Hanzus of NFL.com noted that the Buffalo Bills could be a sleeper for moving up to No. 1.
NFL Mock Draft
NFL Mock Draft
Buffalo holds the No. 9 overall pick, and it would take a lot more than it would the Falcons at No. 6 to move up. As to who the Bills are after, many believe it's wide receiver Sammy Watkins, though with Jadeveon Clowney in the mix, it's anybody's guess. Any team in the league would love to have Clowney on the roster, so any number of teams could be in on a potential trade.
"I do not believe Khalil Mack can be dismissed from the conversation at the No. 1 pick."
-Adam Schefter, ESPN
While most figure the Texans would be after either quarterback Johnny Manziel or Clowney at the first overall pick, ESPN's Adam Schefter added another name to the mix on SportsCenter Friday. Schefter said that Khalil Mack can not be "dismissed from the conversation at the No. 1 pick."
Mack is a consensus top-five pick and has an incredibly high ceiling, so moving him up a couple spots is certainly not the weirdest thing we've ever heard. It's unclear if Mack would be going to Houston at No. 1, or if a team would be trading up to try and get him. However, if that were the case, it seems unlikely it would be a team in the top six or so moving up, as they already stand a solid chance to get Mack.