Charles Robinson

  • Tom Brady's best shot in his appeal could be turning over texts, emails to Roger Goodell

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 2 days ago

    If New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is seeking a route toward overturning his four-game deflate-gate suspension, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appeared to hand him a roadmap on Wednesday: Hand over email and text communications.

    Speaking from the league's annual spring meetings in San Francisco, Goodell said he looked forward to speaking with Brady about the deflate-gate matter and would be open to considering any new information from the quarterback.

    "I look forward to hearing directly from Tom," Goodell said. "If there's new information or there's information that can be helpful to us in getting this right, I want to hear directly from Tom on that. … Is there any new information, or information that he can bring more clarity to? Or something that wasn't considered in the Wells report?"

  • Was standing down Patriots' plan all along to force Roger Goodell to reduce Tom Brady's four-game ban?

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 3 days ago

    New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was never going to go full-on Al Davis. He wasn't going to sue the NFL, dragging himself and his franchise – and moreover, his iconic quarterback – into a courtroom. He wasn't going to wade deeper into the deflate-gate swamp, where winning anything would still be losing, if only by furthering an already absurd spectacle.

    Whether Patriots fans want to believe it or not, a courtroom win was unlikely. Not unless Tom Brady fell into line with the team's fight, which very likely would have necessitated him turning over electronic communications. And even in that case, a settlement would have been the likeliest outcome, further dirtying the mud-splattered NFL brand, right up to the Windsor knots of both Kraft and commissioner Roger Goodell.

    But rather than further stirring the ugliness, Kraft chose the most diplomatic path, standing down on Tuesday. Not happily, mind you. But likely with some leverage that may lessen the hit on Brady. And that's what this is all about now: saving Brady and the 2015 season.

  • Six early QB camp battles to watch include Marcus Mariota, Johnny Manziel and Geno Smith

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago

    As the price on the No. 2 draft pick went up, and trade offers were brutally pancaked by the weight of the Tennessee Titans' demands, an NFL draft reality emerged earlier this month. The Titans weren't treating Marcus Mariota as a centerpiece quarterback – they were valuing him like a once-in-a-decade franchise-changer.

    We'll see if Mariota is that guy starting Friday, with Tennessee's rookie minicamp – and Zach Mettenberger's season of discontent – kicking off in high anticipation. Mettenberger, the Titans' second-year quarterback, finds himself in the understudy spot in this competition. He's not alone, of course. A number of other incumbents across the NFL appear to be in inevitable chasing positions when it comes to starting jobs, including the New York Jets' Geno Smith, the Buffalo Bills' EJ Manuel and the Cleveland Browns' Johnny Manziel.

    Whether or not Mettenberger, or any of those other players, can reshuffle the deck in their favor remains to be seen. But in all of those places, that process is starting now, in the next few weeks of offseason workouts and minicamps.

    So, yeah, this one might have been over before it started.

  • Why NFL's punishment of Tom Brady and Patriots is a warning for all franchises

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    The so-called puppet for NFL owners severed his strings on Monday. Whether his instrument of freedom was knife, scissors or sword, one thing is clear: When commissioner Roger Goodell finishes with the New England Patriots, he'll be pointing something sharp at every other franchise in the league, too.

    And NFL owners should all be a little worried.

    The penalty for deflate-gate is as harsh as it is unprecedented: a four-game suspension for quarterback Tom Brady; a $1 million fine for Patriots owner Bob Kraft; and two forfeited draft choices – a first-rounder in 2016 and a fourth-rounder in 2017. To the New England faithful, it's a crushing outcome. But before Patriots rivals go skipping through the streets with glee, they might want to consider the broader implications of the punishment.

    Goodell didn't just raise the bar on top-to-bottom accountability. He sharpened it and then dangled it overhead like a guillotine.

    As one league source said to Yahoo Sports after the penalties were announced:

  • Cowboys' Randy Gregory project features plan to bulk him up and mentorship from a Hall of Famer

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 11 days ago

    IRVING, Texas – Somewhere on the drive to the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp last week, a cell phone conversation with an AFC personnel man took a detour into jealous indignation. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had just signed undrafted rookie La'el Collins, a first-round selection who fell off every NFL board after he was sought for questioning in a murder case in which he wasn't a suspect. Now the LSU All-American had been added to a team that was already filthy rich in offensive line talent.

    "It figured he'd end up there," the personnel man said with a tinge of annoyance over the signing. "[Jerry Jones] is in his gear now. When your owner is the general manager, it's just a little easier. He can just make that decision and it's done. He wants him, whatever he decides the process is, boom – done.

    "[Jerry will] walk closer to that line and take chances if he thinks it's coming together. But signing La'el might actually be safer than a couple of their other moves lately." 

    Not that you needed a signal for the obvious. Dallas is getting wild again.

    And the rest of his potential issues? The immaturity? The failed drug tests?

  • Deflate-gate: Don't expect harsh punishment for Brady, Patriots

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 16 days ago

    There are two ways that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can frame the New England Patriots right now.

    One is felonious and institutional: that this is a renegade franchise with tarnished leaders who ran afoul of the integrity of the game and damaged the league's brand for the second time in eight years. First with coach Bill Belichick and spygate, and now with quarterback Tom Brady and deflate-gate.

    The other setting is less jagged: that New England is itself a victim of a player and lower-level personnel taking it upon themselves to gain an (arguably immeasurable) advantage in a football game. In this view, deflate-gate would be determined to be something resting on the shoulders of a small cadre of cheaters who will ultimately endure the punishment.

    Based on some of the NFL's recent investigations, expect this to be the latter – a hammer that falls on a few, but falls short of charging the franchise with a mortal sin. And that alone will likely limit the extent of this punishment.

  • Should LSU's La'el Collins sit out 2015 after Round 1 draft fall?

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 21 days ago

    CHICAGO – As the draft picks slipped by Thursday night, it became apparent that no NFL team was going to step in and catch LSU offensive tackle La'el Collins. Instead he plummeted, right out of the first round, due to concerns over an investigation into the shooting death of a pregnant woman who may have been Collins' ex-girlfriend.

    Collins has not been named a suspect, but there's no more doubt: the nightmare hanging over him is real and has become very damaging. The concern over an open case – and the fact that police want to speak to Collins about the woman – has already cost him millions of dollars. Considered by many to be a high-to-mid first-round pick, nobody is sure when or if Collins will be chosen in this draft. How far he falls was a non-stop conversation Thursday, as teams, agents, media and fans have all marveled at what could be the worst case of negative circumstance in the history of the draft. 

    Stick it out in 2015

    Reapply in 2016

    The proponents of reapplying suggest that if you can maintain Collins' high status, it makes no financial sense to allow him to play under a contract in 2015.

  • Jags could make another surprise pick at No. 3 (Amari Cooper), triggering run on WRs

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 24 days ago

    A year ago, it was the rare quarterback stunner at the top of the draft – the Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed Blake Bortles with the No. 3 pick, completing one of the more impressive personnel concealments in recent memory, and leaving quarterback needy teams (like the Minnesota Vikings) scrambling for other options.

    One AFC personnel man – whose team is selecting outside of the top 10 picks – claims he saw the Bortles ruse coming a year ago, and thinks the Jaguars are primed to stun the top of the draft again.

    "I think the third spot could shock people [again]," the personnel man said, referring to Jacksonville. "I think they like [Amari] Cooper more than they are letting on. You hear things and they have been pretty good about what's getting out there. It's a lot like it was last year." 

    That radio silence seemingly threw off most NFL front offices. But the AFC personnel man said Caldwell tipped his hand late on Bortles in an unexpected way – with a comment to the media just days before the first round kicked off.

  • Who is really in play for potential Adrian Peterson trade?

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 26 days ago

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    Rarely has a veteran player dominated an NFL draft run-up the way Adrian Peterson has. While this is the portion of the offseason typically overrun with pro days, propaganda and draft subterfuge, Peterson has remained the veteran question mark curling around the month of April.

    Who is in the running for a trade? Are the Minnesota Vikings listening to anyone? What's the price for Peterson? How many Valentine's Day cards did Jerry Jones send to his supposed favorite running back?

    It's the story that has driven some NFL front offices nuts (we're looking at you, Cowboys) and made some head coaches uneasy about sharing opinions (hey there, Bruce Arians).

    In hopes of burning off some of that vapor and bringing clarity to a still-undecided situation, Yahoo Sports spoke to six high-level NFL sources about what is going on with Peterson – including several among front offices who have discussed a pursuit of the Vikings' running back. Here is what we learned:

    As of the start of draft week, the Dallas Cowboys have NOT gotten involved

    There are two viewpoints in play here.

    The Arizona Cardinals do not want to surrender their first-round pick

  • Sources: Jameis Winston scored respectable 27 on Wonderlic test

    Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Jameis Winston's lofty draft status won't be the only similarity he'll share with future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. His Wonderlic test score rivals Manning's, too.

    Multiple league sources told Yahoo Sports that Winston scored a 27 out of 50 on the league's general aptitude test that is administered at the annual NFL scouting combine prior to the draft. That's a respectable score for quarterbacks, and just one point shy of the 28 Manning scored prior to the 1998 draft. It also stacks up favorably with several recent Super Bowl winners, including the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (28), the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson (28), the Baltimore Ravens' Joe Flacco (27) and the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (25). 

    While Wonderlic scores are becoming less relevant in draft equations, they still carry weight at some decision-making positions such as quarterback, an AFC personnel source told Yahoo Sports.

    But it certainly doesn't guarantee NFL success. For example, former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert scored a very impressive 42 on the test and has struggled mightily in the NFL.