The New York Jets have tied up the drawstring waistbands on their shorts and hit the field for some OTAs this week. But there are a few people missing, a few of the team's veteran stars and a noted Jets conspiracy theorist at a NYC tabloid sees something bigger than the annual spring rite of vets skipping 7-on-7 drills.
You see, the Jets and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick still haven't agreed to a deal. Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, the Jets' top two receivers, are not at OTAs this week, ergo they're clearly holding out to protest the Jets not signing Fitzpatrick.
Except they probably aren't.
Someone from Marshall's camp said that he was not skipping OTAs to protest the Fitzpatrick situation. Decker hasn't given an indication one way or another, but his wife posted a photo of them on vacation this week. But the story's out there. It's on PFT this morning, and you can't miss the hot takes on your timeline about it. So how did this "protest" get started?
It's out there because of intrepid reporting from the Daily News' Manish Mehta.
"... but if you don't think that Marshall and Decker were sending a subtle message to the powers that be ..."
One paragraph after that:
"I can't believe that two of Fitzpatrick's biggest supporters with incredible work ethic just decided to sit out the first two OTA sessions."
Jets coach Todd Bowles said that the veteran receivers' absence had nothing to do with Fitzpatrick. But you can't take his word for it, right? There's also Marshall denying it. And originally, Nick Mangold was lumped into the protest, but his wife had a baby this week.
And that's how a Jets conspiracy gets started.
REMEMBER GENO? Meanwhile at Jets OTAs, Geno Smith was having a great practice. That's good news.
ROGER GOODELL'S SHELL GAME: The Washington Post fact checked the NFL commissioner's response to a Congressional investigation that found the league was manipulating how and who got research money for head trauma studies. In short, THIS is how you call Roger Goodell a liar.
COLTS COUNTING ON THEIR YOUNG OL: The pressure is on the Colts' young offensive line to keep Andrew Luck upright in 2016. The Colts can bounce back from a down year if their investment in the offensive line pays off.
FUZZZY MATH IN INGLEWOOD: Fired CPA: Inglewood tampered with accounting books to lure an NFL team. The Rams and Stan Kroenke benefiting from some shady accounting? I am shocked. Shocked.
DAN QUINN BREAKS IT DOWN: Falcons head coach Dan Quinn broke down film with the Atlanta media, and it was awesome. Quinn explained not just his approach to teaching this specific style of tackling, but also the proper execution.
BEST DRESSED LIST: 5 NFL players proving NBA players aren't the only athletes with style. No one's quite on Russell Westbrook's level -- yet.
BREES HAS A DEADLINE: Drew Brees applies deadline to talks with Saints on a new deal. The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees still haven't worked out a new deal that reduces his salary cap number for 2016 below $30 million. There's now an apparent deadline for getting a deal done.
BEAST MODE COMING BACK? Marshawn Lynch says he might return after all in 2016. Former Seahawks running back Lynch is already considering coming out of his brief retirement.
NEVER STOP THINKING: Bill Belichick and the Patriots hope DT Terrance Knighton can take advantage of a rule change. A quiet rule change this offseason has sparked the Patriots defensive genius.
GET GORDON GOING: Three ways the Chargers can maximize Melvin Gordon. The Chargers really need to get their first-round running back going in his sophomore season.
NO GUARANTEES FOR BRADFORD: The Eagles offensive coordinator said Wednesday that Sam Bradford was not guaranteed the No. 1 quarterback job. In related news, the Eagles want to win games this season.