Earlier this week, news broke that the Baltimore Ravens are being investigated for violating the collective bargaining agreement by having rookies wear pads during non-contact drills. Though the penalty for this kind of infraction is usually nominal, the Ravens could be in danger of losing a draft pick down the line.
If a team commits multiple violations in a league year, the NFL is at liberty take away one of its draft picks. Head coach John Harbaugh claims he was unaware that rookie minicamps fall under the same rules as other organized team activities, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reports the league isn't buying that explanation. And regardless, the NFL's season-long suspension of Sean Payton during Bountygate set the precedent that ignorance isn't an excuse.
The harsh disciplinary precedent set by Roger Goodell should be a concern to all teams. There is no longer room for nuance or interpretation when it comes to handing down punishments. It's all up to the whims of Emperor Goodell, meaning the Ravens better mind their P's and Q's this season.
PLAYERS WANT TO LAUNCH A MEDICAL MARIJUANA "REVOLUTION"
Sporting News has published a lengthy piece on a number of NFL players, including Ravens offensive lineman Eugene Monroe, who are campaigning to allow an exception for medical marijuana in the CBA. Given the ongoing opioid crisis, it makes sense to explore the prospect of using marijuana as an alternative to treating chronic pain opposed to prescription opioid pain killers.
The NFL also seems to be open to considering the idea. Goodell said in his pre-Super Bowl press conference the league is always reviewing its drug policy.
WIN TOTALS FUN:
Bovada has released its first win total projections for the 2016 NFL season, and the Cleveland Browns have the lowest over/under, at 4.5. But at least they received some encouraging news on the Joe Haden injury front ...
JOE HADEN VOWS HE'LL PLAY WEEK 1
Haden, who had ankle surgery earlier this offseason and missed 11 games last year, says he won't miss any regular season games. That's a good thing, Browns fans!
CAN THE COWBOYS TURN BACK THE CLOCK?
The Dallas Cowboys have loaded up at running back this offseason, adding rookie Ezekiel Elliott and veteran Alfred Morris to the backfield mix. With an elite offensive line in place, the Cowboys have the personnel to play an old-school, smashmouth style of football.
Though that idea may seem blasphemous in a passing league, it could be a way to exploit smaller defenses that lack dependable run-stoppers. Last season showed the Cowboys can't rely solely on Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to get it done offensively. They must have another plan of attack.
The Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders are trolling each other on Twitter, with the Raiders saying the Broncos' reign atop the AFC West is over.
One has to believe the Broncos have the advantage here considering, you know, they're the defending Super Bowl champions and the Raiders haven't enjoyed a winning season since 2002.
WILL ALEX SMITH'S GOOD FORTUNE RUN OUT?
Smith has just missed one game due to injury since arriving in Kansas City three years ago. But during his seven-year stint in San Francisco, he missed a total of 32 contests. Does that mean Smith is due to miss significance time this season, considering players usually don't get healthier as they age?
It's a question worth asking, especially because the Chiefs' backup quarterback is currently slated to be either Aaron Murray, Tyler Bray or the immortal Kevin Hogan.
49ERS CEO JED YORK RESPONDS TO DAMNING DINNER BILL ACCUSATIONS
Longtime 49ers beat writer Tim Kawakami revealed on his podcast this week that York stuck him with a $2,100 dinner bill because of a lost bet over when the team would finish construction on Levi's Stadium. "If I thought Jed was sticking it to me, I’d almost be okay with it. I don’t even think he knew. I don’t think he knew what $2,100 means to a sportswriter who didn’t inherit a billion-dollar team," Kawakami said.
Well, York responded on Wednesday, saying he's happy to speak with Kawakami and move forward. If the conversation happens, he should probably bring his checkbook.
KEVIN FAULK IS A PATRIOTS HALL OF FAMER
The Patriots announced Wednesday running back Kevin Faulk will be inducted into the team's Hall of Fame this year. His performance at the NFL Draft sealed the deal.