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Chargers’ Russell Okung Looking for Fully Guaranteed Contracts for Players

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As a member of the NFL Players Association executive committee, Los Angeles Chargers left tackle Russell Okung can be the catalyst for change, and he wants to make one, seeking fully guaranteed contracts for players.

“It’s pretty simple: How much risk are NFL players taking on in correlation to how much money that we’re actually getting that’s real cash?” Okung questioned, according to ESPN’s Eric D. Williams. “I think sometimes people are so swayed by whatever is put out in the media, and you sort of have this little caveat next to it that says guaranteed money. But even with that, there’s tons of ways for teams to offset guaranteed money so that it’s not guaranteed.

“So what we want to make sure is that every player that has the privilege to play in the NFL makes the most that they can in this game. It’s just so sad because there’s so many guys that have played in this game that is susceptible to high rates of injury and have nothing to show for it, and the next thing you know they’re a dementia case.”

Okung has a right to be upset. The NFL distributed more than $8 billion in national revenue in 2017, thanks mostly to their lucrative television deals, with each team pulling in $225 million in revenue, so, the money is certainly available to institute fully guaranteed contracts.

“I’m arguing against the whole CBA,” Okung said. “It’s flawed, and I think as things change and the media landscape changes, we have to think about things differently — that includes agents, players and unions, too.

“Players are serious about it — they’re understanding that this is going to be a pivotal time. I don’t think there will be any other time like this in history. This CBA will be the biggest ever. There’s nothing like this because you have cord cutting going on, so technology companies are going to be bidding for our rights. Just in TV revenue alone, we’re looking at $3 [billion] to $4 billion maybe. That’s insane. The money at stake is changing, and the way people are going to watch games is changing. Sports gambling is coming up, and that’s going to be a huge industry for sports teams.”

 

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AFC

Broncos’ John Elway Closes Door on Colin Kaepernick

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While the Denver Broncos will be in the market for a backup quarterback, team president John Elway shut the door on the possibility that the team would entertain signing free agent signal caller Colin Kaepernick, although it has nothing to do with protests.

Elway spoke to reporters on Thursday and officially nixed the idea of the team bringing in the former San Francisco 49ers start quarterback.

“He had a chance to be here, he passed on it,” Elway said, according to USA Today’s Lindsay Jones.

Elway is referring to a nixed deal the the Broncos and 49ers had in place that would have seen Kaepernick in Denver back in 2016, but Kaepernick killed the deal by refusing to trim $5 million from his cap number and take additional pay cuts down the road.

 

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AFC

Browns’ Josh Gordon Did Not Fail Drug Test

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Despite some pubic concerns, Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Josh Gordon did not fail a drug test this offseason and no suspension is anticipated once Gordon makes his return, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot.

Gordon is currently in Florida where he is working on his physical and mental health and there are no assurances that the wideout will be available when the Browns take the field for Week 1 of the 2018 regular season.

Amid reports of interest in former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, the Browns remain in contact with Gordon, who will need approval from his NFL-sanctioned medical team before returning. and they plan to stick with him throughout his recovery.

 

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AFC

Raiders Place Ahtyba Rubin on Injured Reserve

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The Oakland Raiders have placed defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin on injured reserve due to a torn biceps that he suffered during the team’s join practice with the Detroit Lions last week, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Michael Gehlken.

Rubin was entering the final year of a three-year, $12M contract with the Seattle Seahawks back in 2017 but was cut in September. He lated signed on with the Denver Broncos who cut him only two games later.

Rubin later latched on with the Atlanta Falcons where he appeared in 10 games in a reserve role.

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