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Content provided by Rotoworld Player News - Saturday, April 5th, 2014

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Derek Sherrod competing for left tackle job 04-05-2014
Derek Sherrod T GB
Derek Sherrod is expected to compete for the Packers' starting left tackle job.

ESPN.com
Sherrod is healthy for the first time this offseason after spending the last two years recovering from a compound leg fracture. The Packers aren't committed to David Bakhtiari as their starting left tackle, so Sherrod will be given an opportunity in training camp. Bryan Bulaga (ACL surgery) is expected to remain at right tackle.
Chiefs won't target Avant until after draft 04-05-2014
Jason Avant WR CAR
ESPN's Adam Teicher doesn't expect the Chiefs to consider signing free agent Jason Avant until after the draft.

ESPN.com
Avant played under Andy Reid for seven seasons in Philadelphia and could provide depth for Kansas City's shallow receiver corps. Wherever Avant ends up, he shouldn't require more than the veteran minimum.
Tony Jefferson could start strong safety 04-05-2014
Tony Jefferson DB ARZ
ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss considers Tony Jefferson a candidate for the Cardinals' strong safety job.

ESPN.com
Jefferson appeared in all 16 games as an undrafted free agent, making two starts and recording 24 tackles. He should enter training camp ahead of Rashad Johnson on the depth chart, but will likely face competition from a rookie. Jefferson could also see playing at free safety if Tyrann Mathieu (knee) isn't ready for the start of the season.
Steelers to prioritize extension for Pouncey 04-05-2014
Maurkice Pouncey C PIT
The Steelers are expected to prioritize a long-term extension forÿcontract-year C Maurkice Pouncey.

ESPN.com
Pouncey is coming off a torn ACL that cost him all but eight snaps last year, so it's possible the sides will wait until next offseason before getting a deal done. A three-time Pro Bowler, Pouncey should command top-five center money if healthy. Pouncey is seven months removed from knee surgery and should be ready for the start of training camp.
Steelers could re-sign Brett Keisel 04-05-2014
Brett Keisel DE PIT
ESPN's Scott Brown believes the Steelers should re-sign free agent DE Brett Keisel.

ESPN.com
The Steelers need depth on their defensive line and could use Keisel in a rotation opposite Cameron Heyward. Keisel showed obvious signs of decline last year and has yet to generate free-agent interest, but has no intention of retiring. With Pittsburgh currently just $432,896 under the 2014 cap, Keisel would have to accept a veteran minimum deal to return.
Panthers in talks with Colin Cole 04-05-2014
Colin Cole DT CAR
The Panthers are in contract talks with free agent DT Colin Cole.

Charlotte Observer
Cole would return as Carolina's backup nose tackle behind Star Lotulelei. The Panthers have sophomore DT Kawann Short stationed behind Dwan Edwards.
Ravens view Darian Stewart as fallback option 04-05-2014
Darian Stewart S BAL
ESPN Ravens blogger Jamison Hensley considers Darian Stewart a "fallback option" at free safety.

ESPN.com
Stewart is currently penciled in the starting lineup opposite Matt Elam, but has a history of injury concerns and has struggled to play above replacement-level when healthy. The Ravens would be smart to draft a safety in the first or second round, allowing Stewart to be used in a situational role. Stewart has yet to play a full season in his four-year career.
Jaguars need big offer to land Alex Mack 04-05-2014
Alex Mack C CLE
A league source told the Florida Times Union the Jaguars would likely have to create an offer sheet worth at least $22 million guaranteed over the first three years to lure transition-tagged C Alex Mack out of Cleveland.

Ryan O'Halloran on Twitter
Per OverTheCap.com, the Browns currently have $30.78 million in cap space, the most in the league and over $5 million more than the Jaguars. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport tweeted Saturday that there's a "very good possibility" Jacksonville extends Mack an offer sheet, but Cleveland has both the means and right to match. Because Mack was transition tagged and not franchise tagged, the Browns would receive no draft-pick compensation if they declined to match.
Jordan Mills (foot) could participate in OTAs 04-05-2014
Jordan Mills T CHI
Bears RT Jordan Mills (foot) is on track to participate in OTAs.

ESPN.com
Mills underwent foot surgery in January, but isn't expected to miss a significant portion of the Bears' offseason program. A fifth-round pick last year, Mills started all 16 games as a rookie and will return as the first-team right tackle when healthy.
Report: Jaguars visited with Alex Mack 04-05-2014
Alex Mack C CLE
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo reports the Jaguars met with free agent C Alex Mack on Friday.

Mike Garafolo on Twitter
It's Mack's first known visit since being assigned the transition tag. The Jaguars have yet to make a formal offer, but there's "ongoing discussions" between the sides. With Brad Meester retired, Mack would be a massive upgrade over projected starter Mike Brewster. The Browns have to ability to match any contract Mack receives from Jacksonville.
Bucs finalizing deal with WR Lavelle Hawkins 04-05-2014
Lavelle Hawkins WR TB
The Bucs are finalizing a deal with free agent WR Lavelle Hawkins.

Rick Stroud on Twitter
Hawkins will give the Bucs depth behind Vincent Jackson following the trade of Mike Williams, but shouldn't be higher than their No. 4 receiver if he makes the final roster. A 2008 fourth-round pick, Hawkins has experience on special teams and is a candidate for kick return duties.
Geno Smith considered favorite to start 04-05-2014
Geno Smith QB NYJ
ESPN New York's Rich Cimini expects Geno Smith to open the season as the Jets' starter.

newyorkjets.com
"They want Geno to be the guy," Cimini told the Jets' official site. "He would have to have a really bad preseason to lose it [his starting job.]" The Jets signed Michael Vick to a one-year deal to provide competition in training camp, but Cimini believes Geno remains the favorite to start. Smith was among the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in the league as a rookie and will be on a short leash if he manages to hold off Vick.
Burleson officially visits with Browns 04-05-2014
Nate Burleson WR CLE
Free agent Nate Burleson visited with the Browns on Saturday.

Nate Ulrich on Twitter
Burleson visited with the Dolphins on Friday, but left without a contract. He's also drawn interest from the Cowboys and Tennessee. Burleson would provide the Browns with veteran depth behind Josh Gordon and Andrew Hawkins.
Duke Williams to compete for free safety job 04-05-2014
Duke Williams S BUF
Bills.com writer Chris Brown "really liked" what he saw from second-year FS Duke Williams in both the practice setting and preseason last year.

buffalobills.com
Williams appeared in just six games as a rookie, but is a hard-hitting safety with coverage skills that could develop into a starter. The Bills are currently expected to let Williams, Corey Graham, and Jonathan Meeks compete for their free safety job. Buffalo could also be a fit for a player like Florida State CB/S Lamarcus Joyner in the second-round, who has a profile similar to Jairus Byrd.
Bills could use Manny Lawson at defensive end 04-05-2014
Manny Lawson LB BUF
The Bills website considers SLB Manny Lawson a candidate to move to defensive end.

buffalobills.com
Lawson graded out as the top linebacker in coverage last year by Pro Football Focus, so it's a questionable fit even with the Bills moving to a 4-3 defense. Barring an upgrade in the draft, Lawson should remain at strong-side linebacker. Jerry Hughes is expected to see the majority of snaps opposite Mario Williams.
Bills 'all in' on Manuel as franchise QB 04-05-2014
EJ Manuel QB BUF
The Bills are "all in" on E.J. Manuel as their franchise quarterback.

buffalobills.com
It confirms Buffalo won't be targeting any of the top three quarterbacks at the No. 9 overall pick. Manuel is coming off an injury-riddled first season and was inconsistent when healthy, but the Bills want to see what he can do over a full season before making a decision on his future. He's been cleared for the start of OTAs and is three months removed from his latest knee scope. Manuel shouldn't face any competition for his starting job in 2014.
Marcus Spears retires from NFL 04-05-2014
Marcus Spears DE BAL
Free agent DL Marcus Spears has officially retired.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter
Spears never fully recovered from a 2013 knee injury, appearing in just five games with the Ravens last year before being waived. He spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Cowboys as a five-technique defensive tackle and situational run stopper. Spears, 31, has signed with the SEC Network and will pursue a career in broadcasting.
Rams unlikely to pursue Chris Johnson 04-05-2014
Chris Johnson RB NYJ
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the Rams are unlikely to pursue free agent Chris Johnson.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Mark another team off the list. Johnson is expected to pick a team as early as next week, but the list he is choosing between becomes smaller by the report. Even though the Jets have yet to contact Johnson, New York seems like the most likely landing spot for the former 2,000-yard rusher.
Packers 04-05-2014
Micah Hyde CB GB
ESPN's Rob Demovsky believes the Packers will definitely select a safety in the draft, perhaps even as early as the first round.

ESPN.com
Rumors had been second-year CB Micah Hyde would be transitioned to safety in Green Bay's base packages, but the selection of a player like Louisville S Calvin Pryor in the first round would change those plans. The Packers gave up the fifth most passing touchdowns in the leagues last season.
Redskins release Hull, Mouton, and Bellamy 04-05-2014
Ryan Mouton CB WAS
Redskins released ILB Josh Hull, WR Josh Bellamy, and CB Ryan Mouton. A third-round pick in 2009, Mouton missed all of 2013 with a hamstring injury. His best fit is as a slot/reserve corner. Hull and Bellamy are nothing more than special teams players.
Daneils will have 'big role' with Ravens 04-05-2014
Owen Daniels TE BAL
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team has "big plans" for new tight end Owen Daniels.

Carroll County Times
"Just couldn't be more happy, more excited," said Harbaugh. "I guarantee his role will be plenty big." Daneils has become injury prone as of late, but he is a solid receiver who was on pace for a 77-807-10 line last season before fracturing his tibial plateau in Week 5. With Daniels on board, the Ravens are likely to make heavy use of "12 personnel" to create mismatches for Daniels and Dennis Pitta.
Meredith and Cousins will battle for RG job 04-05-2014
Oniel Cousins OG TB
The Buccaneers' vacant right guard position is currently a battle between G Jamon Meredith and G Oniel Cousins, but the team could look to address the position via the draft or free agency.

ESPN.com
Both are underwhelming options, but Meredith at least was not the swinging door in pass protection Cousins has been. The Bucs would be smart to find another option at right guard.
Titans looking to add 'all-around' back 04-05-2014
Shonn Greene RB TEN
Titans GM Ruston Webster said the team was looking to add a back with "all-around ability."

ESPN.com
The Titans are a lock to pick a running back during the draft, perhaps even as early as the second round. Arizona RB Kadeem Carey, Auburn RB Tre Mason, and West Virgina RB Charles Sims all fit the "all-around" mold and should be available in the middle rounds. Whoever the Titans choose will be given a strong opportunity to earn the better half of a split with veteran plodder Shonn Greene.
49ers expected to us more 3-wide next season 04-05-2014
Colin Kaepernick QB SF
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh hinted the team will use more three wide sets in 2014.

Sacramento Bee
It is doubtful San Francisco drops their run-first approach, but these comments coupled with the 49ers pursuit of several wide receivers this offseason point to a more open offense in 2014. That would be big fantasy news for Colin Kaepernick, who managed to finish as the tenth best fantasy quarterback despite throwing the ball only 416 times in 2013. With a more open offense and a healthy receiving corps, Kaepernick could make a serious run at the top-5 next season.
Jets have yet to contact Chris Johnson 04-05-2014
Chris Johnson RB NYJ
New York Daily News' Manish Mehta reports the Jets have yet to reach out to free agent Chris Johnson.

Manish Mehta on Twitter
This obviously does not preclude the Jets from contacting Johnson in the future. Johnson would make some sense for New York as a change of pace option behind Chris Ivory, but CJ?K would have to accept both a committee role and a salary less than the $8 million he was scheduled to make with the Titans to make the deal happen. Johnson is likely looking for more, but with the running back market as weak as it is, more may be hard to find. The Falcons and Bills are reportedly interested in Johnson as well.
Watford struggled with mental side of game 04-05-2014
Earl Watford G ARZ
Second-year G Earl Watford struggled to earn playing time his rookie season due to mental errors.

azcardinals.com
Arizona hoping Watford can take a big step forward in 2014. Incumbent RG Paul Fanaika was a disaster last season, and Arizona has not done much to address the position in free agency. If Watford can pick up the mental side of the game, he has all the physical skills to win the starting job and be a solid starter for the Cardinals.