Former Raiders coach convicted of felony battery

Former Oakland Raiders assistant coach Randy Hanson faces up to four years in prison after being convicted of felony battery for hitting a man in the face with a beer bottle, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.

Hanson was found guilty of hitting James Kelsey, who suffered a broken nose and cuts, in an incident in a bar in San Luis Obispo last Aug. 4, when Hanson worked at Cal Poly as an assistant football coach.

Hanson is famously (or infamously) known for being on the receiving end of a broken jaw in 2009 from then-Raiders head coach Tom Cable, who knocked him out of a chair. No criminal charges were filed against Cable, though Hanson later sued.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

Martin Mayhew: Never say never on Tim Tebow

Within hours of Tim Tebow’s release Monday morning from the New York Jets, teams across the league were letting the word slip out.

We’ve got no interest.

Perhaps there is a home out there somewhere for the former Heisman Trophy winner from Florida and the first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 2010. The Detroit Lions didn’t slam the door on the idea, at least.

General manager Martin Mayhew, in a radio interview on 97.1-FM The Ticket in Detroit, didn’t rule it out completely.

I feel good about our quarterbacks right now,” Mayhew said, according to Justin Rogers of MLive.com. “We've got four on our roster and we typically go with four. But I'm the kind of guy who never says never.”

It’s difficult to imagine the Lions wanting to incorporate a Tebow package of sorts that would take starting quarterback Matthew Stafford off the field. Who knows? Maybe Tebow will be playing a new position? We’ll see if the quarterback clears his way through waivers at 4 p.m. ET.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Zach Ertz, Chip Kelly on the same side now

Zach Ertz sent a handwritten thank you note to Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly after an interview at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Now, the second-round draft pick can thank the first-year coach with plays on the field. The Eagles made Erztz the second tight end to come off the board on Friday night and Kelly didn’t have to go to the team’s college scouts or personnel department for information on the 6-5, 249-pound playmaker.

At Oregon, Kelly saw firsthand what Ertz could do. It was a disputed touchdown catch by Ertz that forced overtime in Stanford’s 17-14 victory over the Ducks. That will give the coach and his new player plenty to go back-and-forth about.

You could never isolate him into one spot, and whenever they got the mismatch he created, he made plays,” Kelly said, according to Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “I didn't relish coaching against him, and I'm very, very happy that he is on our side now.”

Ertz put up big numbers last season despite a lot of turnover at Stanford with quarterback Andrew Luck departing. It will be interesting to see how Kelly deploys the big target in his scheme.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Cardinals moving on from Adam Snyder

The Arizona Cardinals used the seventh pick in the draft last Thursday on North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper and they wasted little time clearing a spot for him.

The Cardinals released veteran guard Adam Snyder Monday, creating a spot in the starting lineup for Cooper and moving on from an error of a year ago.

According to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic, the Cardinals signed Snyder to a $17 million, five-year deal with a $5 million signing bonus last year. The team freed up $3 million in cap room with the release. Goldberg started 14 games in 2012 for the Cardinals.

The 31-year-old veteran joined Arizona after seven seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He had 83 career starts and should find work, but for a lot less money, elsewhere after battling with an elbow injury for much of last season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Inside Aaron Rodgers' new deal

Aaron Rodgers became the highest paid player in NFL history (average yearly salary) by signing a five-year, $110 million contract extension with the Green Bay Packers. He had two years remaining on his contract with $9.75 million and $11 million salaries this year and next year.

The deal contains $54 million in guarantees, including a $35 million signing bonus. Rodgers’ $9.5 million first day of the league year roster bonuses in 2014 and 2015 are guaranteed for skill and injury. His $54 million is the fifth-largest amount of guaranteed money ever received in an NFL contract, trailing only Drew Brees ($60.5 million), Peyton Manning ($58 million), Tom Brady ($57 million) and Tony Romo ($55 million).

Rodgers has unguaranteed $4.5 million, $900,000, $1 million, $11.5 million, $12.55 million, $19.8 million and $20 million base salaries during his 2013 through 2019 contract years. The deal also contains annual $500,000 workout bonuses and per game active roster bonuses totaling $600,000 ($37,500 per game) in each of the extension years (2014-2019).

Rodgers is getting $62.5 million in the first three years of his contract, which is the best three year cash flow in the NFL and narrowly eclipses Joe Flacco’s $62 million. Rodgers has only been topped by the $70.2 million Manning had in the first three years of the contract he signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2011. Unlike Manning, Rodgers should play these years in his new deal.

The Packers are using an additional $2.25 million of salary cap room on Rodgers under the new contract. His 2013 cap number goes from $9.75 million to $12 million. The cap numbers steadily increase each year from $17.9 million in 2014 to a high of $21.1 million in 2019, the last year of the deal.

Aaron RodgersAaron Rodgers new contract contains $54 million in guarantees.

Rodgers’ cap numbers are manageable, particularly for a contract of its size. By contrast, Flacco has an NFL-high $28.55 million cap number in 2016 when there are three years left on his deal. He also has the largest cap number in 2017 when it peaks at $31.15 million. Tony Romo’s $21.773 million 2014 cap number is the NFL’s highest next year. His $25.273 million cap number in 2015 ranks right behind Brees’ league-leading $26.4 million 2015 cap number. Brees drops to number two in the NFL in 2016 with a $27.4 million cap number, which is the final year of his contract.

Overall, the deal is reasonable for Rodgers but more favorable to Green Bay. Rodgers gave the Packers a slight hometown discount especially considering that Manning reportedly turned down a contract averaging $25 million per year from the Tennessee Titans, with more guaranteed money and better structure than his Broncos contract. Quarterbacks with contracts expiring in the next two years, particularly Matt Ryan and Matthew Stafford, may be a little disappointed that the deal isn’t more lucrative. However, Rodgers’ contract is more front-loaded than his 2008 extension, which was signed when he had one and half years left on his rookie deal. He receives 30.6%, 39% and 47.8% of his money through the first, second and third years of his new contract. Rodgers was at 19.9%, 33.1% and 43.1% in those years with the 2008 deal.

The Packers recognized that Rodgers had outperformed his contract and was grossly underpaid. They could have waited until he was entering his contract year to start negotiations on a new deal and seemed to utilize it in the negotiations given the contract’s structure. Rodgers didn’t set a record for contract guarantees, but Green Bay deviated from their standard conventions by giving the quarterback roster bonus guarantees in his second and third contract years. He is the only player on the Packers with a veteran deal that has guarantees after the first contract year.

Rodgers could be helping to establish a precedent for top quarterback deals by accepting per game roster bonuses. Matt Schaub, who is the seventh-highest paid quarterback (by average yearly salary), is the only other quarterback among the ten highest paid with per game active roster bonuses. He has per game bonuses totaling $1 million ($62,500 per game) in his 2014 through 2016 contract years. The Texans wanted protection because of Schaub’s injury history. He had missed 16 games over his five seasons in Houston—including the last six games of the 2011 season and the playoffs—when he signed his deal right before the start of 2012 season. The same concern doesn’t exist with Rodgers because of his durability. He has only missed one game due to injury since becoming a starter in 2008.

Green Bay has $13,533,765 of cap room remaining after completing the Rodgers deal. It will take slightly over $6.1 million of the cap for the Packers to sign their 11 draft picks. There will be enough cap room left to extend at least one priority player (James Jones, B.J. Raij or Sam Shields) scheduled to become a free agent after the 2013 season unless the Packers decide to carry over their unused cap room to 2014.

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Joel Corry is a former sports agent who helped found Premier Sports & Entertainment, a sports management firm that represents professional athletes and coaches. Prior to his tenure at Premier, Joel worked for Management Plus Enterprises, which represented Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ronnie Lott. You can email Joel at jccorry@gmail.com

Mathieu's agent disputes he'll do deal with no guarantees

Tyrann Mathieu was a calculated risk for the Arizona Cardinals in the third round.

But his agent disputes a report that Mathieu will sign a contract with the club that includes no guaranteed money. Peter King of Sports Illustrated reported the defensive back will have a contract with no guaranteed money.

But Mathieu, who the Cardinals have said will be used at safety, apparently will have a deal with guarantees. His agent Pat Lawlor told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com that was “ridiculous” and is “not gonna happen.” Lawlor said he expects the team to seek protection in the deal but that there will be guarantees for Mathieu.

King also reported the Cardinals plan to randomly drug test Mathieu as often as once per week. He was booted off the team at LSU after reportedly failing more than 10 drug tests. Lawlor said the player has agreed to that because the Cardinals wanted it and it will help ensure the player remains clean.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Defensive end Idonije visits Titans

The Tennessee Titans hosted free agent defensive end Israel Idonije of the Chicago Bears on Monday.

The news was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter and confirmed by TitanInsider.com.

Idonije, who spent nine years in the NFL all with the Bears, is somewhat of a late bloomer, having posted 20.5 of his 28.5 career sacks during the past three seasons.

The Titans are still looking for potential pass rush help, though they took Lavar Edwards of LSU in the fifth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. One focus for the Titans defensive line is to improve the depth behind starters Kamerion Wimbley and Derrick Morgan, both of whom wore down from overuse last season.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

Mayhew insists character important factor for Lions

The Detroit Lions have had more than their share of names in the police blotter over the last year-plus.

While high-profile players were arrested a year ago, this offseason defensive end Ronnell Lewis and safety Amari Spievey have been busted. Lewis was arrested last week in Norman, Okla., after police used a Taser to subdue him following an altercation.

General manager Martin Mayhew said Lewis showed up in his office to apologize, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

I respect him for that,” Mayhew said. “But I explained to him how I felt about that situation.”

Since Jan. 1, 2012, there have been six arrests involving the Lions. Spievey was arrested in March following a domestic dispute. Mayhew insisted character is a significant concern for the organization.

“Interestingly enough, there’s this sort of I guess thought that we’re attracting these guys that have all these problems,” Mayhew said. “Ronnell Lewis has never had any problems with the law and Amari Spievey has never had any problems with the law until these last two incidents. So we vet these guys, we get into their backgrounds, we dig into them. It’s unfortunate what happened and it can’t happen again. But it was a surprise to us.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Door remains open for Ronde Barber in Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t using all of their resources to rebuild the team’s secondary.

But it sure seems like it.

The Bucs have loaded up since free agency opened, signing safety Dashon Goldson before trading to acquire cornerback Darrelle Revis. Then, the Bucs added Mississippi State cornerback Johnathan Banks in the second round of the draft on Friday.

Now?

The club is still hopeful veteran Ronde Barber will return for another season even if a starting role is no longer an option, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. Goldson will play the free safety spot Barber held last year and the starting corners are set with Revis, Eric Wright and now Banks in the mix.

“When Ronde reaches out, we’ll have a conversation and we’ll talk through that,” Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.

Barber could lend a guiding hand to some of the younger players but it’s possible he’ll decide to hang ’em up.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

Report: Jaguars part with two in front office

Whenever a new regime takes over, those who take charge usually want their own people in place.

When it comes to changing players and coaches, in a new regime, those things usually happen fairly quickly after the season for coaches and in the free agency period for players.

But in the case of front office people, they are usually kept on until after free agency and the draft in order to keep continuity in the evaluation of personnel.

Now that the draft is over, a flurry of activity on the front office level can be expected. It apparently has started in Jacksonville where new GM David Caldwell has relieved director of player personnel Terry McDonough and director of pro personnel Louis Clark of their duties with the Jaguars, per ProFootballTalk.com.

Both were long-time employees of the organization, as Clark had first come to the Jaguars in 1997. McDonough arrived in 2003.

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com