The NFL will release its regular-season schedule tonight at 8 ET.

The Buffalo Bills' opponents have already been determined by the NFL's rotating schedule formula, so Wednesday night's announcement will simply add times and dates to those games.

Some burning questions: Will the Bills make their first "Monday Night Football" appearance since 2009? Will they play on Sunday night for the first time since 2007? Will they play the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving?

Those questions will be answered by tonight.

Meanwhile, here's a refresher of the Bills' 2014 opponents:

Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, San Diego Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

Away: Dolphins, Patriots, Jets, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buckle your seat belts: the Buffalo Bills' next major contract negotiation is right around the corner.

Running back C.J. Spiller is able to become a free agent after this season. Speaking to reporters following his first offseason workout Tuesday, Spiller dropped a line that could send shivers down Bills fans' spines.

"It's my first rodeo. I'll take advice from guys that have been there before. I'll reach out to Jairus [Byrd] and see how he handled it," Spiller said. "I haven't talked to him. I've seen him this offseason but I will [reach out] eventually."

[+] EnlargeCJ Spiller
Rick Stewart/Getty ImagesBills running back C.J. Spiller says he'd "love to stay here [Buffalo] and finish my career."
Byrd, of course, was in negotiations with the Bills for over a year until he signed a lucrative, five-year deal with the New Orleans Saints last month, so he's probably not the first person that Bills fans would want talking to Spiller.

Byrd was franchised last offseason and chose not to sign his tender, sitting out the offseason program and most of training camp. Spiller, on the other hand, was with his teammates Tuesday.

"The biggest thing is, I'm here. Last year, Byrd and his situation was different and he didn't show up," Spiller said. "And it worked out in his favor. But I'm here, ready to work."

Spiller was asked if he was taking part in the voluntary workouts as a sign of "good faith" in the upcoming negotiations.

"No, this is a lot of different things. I'm not the type of guy that -- I love being around my teammates. I love working out. So, is that going to boost anything? Who knows," Spiller said. "I can only control what I do. I can't worry about anything else. I understand that this is a business. Decisions have to be made. You have to respect that. But being here has nothing to do with that stuff."

As for any negotiations, Spiller is in the process of hiring an agent. Gary Wichard, who negotiated Spiller's rookie contract in 2010, died in 2011.

"Hopefully I'll get one pretty soon. I'll need one pretty soon. So I kind of got some guys in mind, that I'm looking at. I've had a chance to meet with a couple, so that process has been going pretty well so far," he said. "I just haven't really had enough time to really get into trying to really sit down and see who the best agent would be best for me, with different characteristics that I'm looking for.

"Because my previous guy, I had a unique bond with him and that's kind of what I'm looking for. So it will take a while to try to get a feel for guys, but through a lot of talks and a lot of prayer, I know I'm going to select the right person. So it's nothing to do with trying to delay any negotiations, because I haven't had any time. I've been spending time with my daughter and my family."

Spiller didn't say when he would like to begin negotiations with the Bills' brass.

"I haven't really given it any thought. I'm sure once that time comes, both parties will try to sit down and try to get something down and start negotiating. Right now, I'm pretty sure these guys are getting ready for the draft. I'm getting ready for the season," he said. "I haven't really given it any thought, about this possibly being my last year."

Playing into the contract talks will be the diminished market for free-agent running backs. As explored in a recent piece by ESPN's John Clayton, running backs are having trouble getting paid after reaching free agency.

Spiller still sees the position as valuable.

"If you look at this free agency, running backs really didn't make a big splash in the market. I don't know if teams just decided to make this a passing league, which it already is," Spiller said. "To me, you're always going to need a running back. A quarterback's best friend is the running game. Fortunately for us, that's what we're going to have here in Buffalo. We've had a great running game since I've been here.

"But some reason, some people started looking at that stat sheet, started looking at the age and different stuff, instead of looking at production and what guys done. Take Adrian Peterson, for instance. Look at his production. Look at Chris Johnson, who went for 1,000 yards for six straight seasons. So to me, you got to have a running back. You got to have more than one because of the season."

ESPN NFL Nation writer Kevin Seifert recently examined running backs' performance as they age and found a "cliff" after age 27. Spiller, who turns 27 in August, brushed aside any fears of a possible decline.

"I don't think nothing about it. It's just somebody that came up with a stat. Good on their part," he said. "I don't think my play is going to decline. If you really go look at my body of work, I don't really have a ton of carries. I probably have maybe 600. And this is going into my fifth year. You look at other guys who have almost 2,000 carries, it's a huge difference.

"I don't think about it. I don't pay attention to it. I'll be 27 this year and if people say that's my peak, then that's them. But to me, I'm just going out there and just balling."

Spiller defended his play last season, when he was limited by an ankle injury but rushed for 933 yards.

"I was very pleased. Considering that I was playing on one wheel, really. Almost went for another 1,000-yard season," he said. "That was one of my big goals, trying to get back to that 1,000-yard season. Just came up short. To be able to do it on one wheel, that was pretty impressive."

However, Spiller's production and playing time dipped from the season prior. He and coach Doug Marrone seemed to be on different wavelengths at points last season, with Spiller eventually sitting out one game in October to rest his injured ankle.

"I won't forget what everybody was writing in the papers," Spiller said Tuesday. "What really stung? Everything. 'Should I [have] sat down? Was the 2012 year just a one-year thing?' But it is what it is. You guys get paid to do what you do, and I get paid to do what I do. Like I said, I'm gonna be ready to go this year and hopefully I can get back to that 2012 form."

Despite the potential to test the free-agent market next spring, Spiller said he would welcome a long-term deal with the Bills.

"I would. There's not too many guys that can say that they've played [their whole] career at one spot," he said. "But at the same time, you've got to be a realist with yourself and understand that this is a business, as well. But my goal -- I would love to stay here and finish my career -- but who knows how it'll play out."
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Linebacker Brandon Spikes did not take part in the voluntary portion of the New England Patriots' offseason program last spring, but he was present for the start of the Buffalo Bills' offseason workouts Tuesday.

Spikes, who signed a one-year deal with the Bills last month, said he views the next stop of his career as a challenge.

Spikes
"This offseason program, I'm all in. I'll be here all day, trying to get better," he said. "It just feels right. I've always been the type to embrace challenges."

Spikes has made headlines earlier this month when he called his time in New England "4 years a slave," but brushed off the comments Tuesday.

"It's a free country," Spikes said. "That's what Twitter is for. I use it just to interact with my fans. ... People are gonna love you. People are gonna hate you. I just know how to be myself."

Former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick once called Spikes "a punk at times," and Spikes hasn't shied away from trash talking in his career. He didn't back down from his style of play Tuesday.

"Everybody got a theme. You gotta respect that," he said. "I got a big mouth, I talk a lot of trash. I feel like I can back it up. ... If I can get in a guy's head, I'll take advantage of it."

Spikes then took it a step further.

"You've seen a lot of the greats do it, with Floyd [Mayweather] and [Muhammad] Ali," he said. "I'm not saying on their level, but hey they personally might use it the same way. For me, it just gives me that edge."

Coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday that he met with Spikes to make sure "it was a good fit" before he signed.

"I like his personality," Marrone said. I have no issues at all with his personality."

As for Spikes' remarks on Twitter, Marrone doesn't view them as a problem.

"Obviously we live in a democratic society, where free speech, you would know better than anyone about what we have," Marrone said. "I don't have any issues when players say what they believe and what they really feel is in their hearts. As long as its being productive, productive for the team."

Whether it's on the field or on social media, Spikes' sometimes-edgy comments have even drawn the attention of his mother.

"It just rubs people the wrong way. My momma always tells me, 'Baby, some stuff you shouldn't say. Some people make take offense to it,'" Spikes said. "I say, you got an opinion, you either like it or you don't. The world turns and it'll be over."

Spikes said he looks forward each morning to reading tweets from the "Bills Mafia" and has embraced the fan base in Buffalo.

"Another thing, reason why I came here, was because the fan base here. I never felt that type of love, even though there hasn't been much success around here, really you can't deny, it's right there in your face. I've embraced it, I've used it as an advantage," he said. "I hadn't had that since I was in Gainesville. "Gator Nation" was the same way. It's just good to have it on your side as you were going about it."
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater likes what he sees at this early stage of the 2014 league year, while at the same time acknowledging this is just the start of a long journey.

[+] EnlargeMatthew Slater
Mike Reiss/ESPNMatthew Slater talks to the media at Gillette Stadium.
“There’s a lot to be excited about,” Slater said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium after participating in the second day of the team’s voluntary offseason program, which as expected, had exemplary attendance including quarterback Tom Brady and cornerback Darrelle Revis. “There are some extremely talented players that we’ve added to the roster, along with some extremely talented players that we’ve had here for a while.

“But all that’s on paper and it really doesn’t mean anything right now. We haven’t even had one practice together, so we have a long way to go.”

Slater represented the AFC in the Pro Bowl this year, and he talked Tuesday about spending time with Revis in Hawaii. Now they’re teammates in New England.

“Obviously when you get a player like that, you’re excited about the opportunity to play with him. You know what he brings to the table,” Slater said. “He’s really a good guy, does everything the right way, plays the game the right way, and you respect that about the guy, no matter who he plays for. If he plays the game hard, plays the game the right way, you respect it. And he’s definitely one of those guys.”

Slater, who adds depth to the receiving corps, looks forward to competing against Revis in practice.

“I’m sure that will be fun,” he said. “As competitors, no matter what it is you’re doing, I feel like all of us want to go against the best and we feel like he’s definitely one of the best. He’s proven that. I think it’s just going to make everyone better going against a guy like that, as well as the other guys we’ve added. There will be a lot of competition, as there is every year, and I think that breeds success.”
The Buffalo Bills are hosting Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans on a pre-draft visit Tuesday.

Evans is projected to be selected early in the first round of next month's draft. He's the second top receiver prospect to visit the Bills' facility, following LSU's Odell Beckham Jr.

The Bills are also hosting USC offensive lineman Marcus Martin and Georgia Southern running back Jerick McKinnon on pre-draft visits Tuesday.

The team has now used 23 of its 30 allowed visits.
Sophomore jinx? Not in Sheldon Richardson's world.

On the first day of the New York Jets' offseason program, the outspoken second-year defensive tackle declared, "I feel like you haven't seen the best Sheldon Richardson can play."

Richardson
Mind you, Richardson was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, although he didn't make a lot of impact plays -- only 3.5 sacks and one forced fumble. On offense, he scored two rushing touchdowns. Nevertheless, he understands that he needs to produce more game-changing plays on defense.

“Causing more turnovers on defense,” he said, explaining his second-year goal. “I had a lot of plays around the ball last year, but I felt like I could’ve made a lot more turnovers than what I did. We all felt that way, though.”

Asked if he sees himself as more than a 3.5-sack defensive tackle, Richardson responded with his favorite expression.

"Most deeeefinitely," he said, holding the 'e' longer for emphasis. "Most definitely. That’s not even close to what I have, as far as standards for myself.”

Stand and deliver: Reiterating what he said last month at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Fla., Rex Ryan dropped the "D" word.

"Like I said, it’s time to deliver. We need to deliver," he said. "I'm not going to get into the specifics about what we're delivering, but I know what our fans expect and they're going to get everything we have." He said the Jets have a "great nucleus," adding that he expects to build on the foundation that was set last year.

Dee's time: This is a huge offseason for cornerback Dee Milliner. First of all, as a second-year player, it's his first full offseason in the NFL. It also will be a healthy offseason, something that wasn't the case last year. A pre-draft shoulder surgery caused him to miss the two minicamps and spring practice sessions, putting him way behind. It showed, as Milliner struggled through most of the season. This year, he's being counted on to be the No. 1 corner.

“I think that’s important, that he has a good offseason," Ryan said. "Obviously, he really couldn’t train his body the way you would want to, almost for the entire season. I think it’ll be big for him, just to get confidence, to make sure that he’s physically well. I think that’ll really help. It would help any player, but I think in his case, being here for the [OTAs], for all that kind of stuff will be great.”
As far as Rex Ryan is concerned, it's 2009 all over again.

He can only hope.

Johnson
On Monday, Ryan referenced 2009 when discussing his vision for the New York Jets' backfield, which now includes Chris Johnson. With Johnson, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and, possibly, Mike Goodson, the Jets have an "unbelievable amount of depth" at tailback, according to Ryan. He said it reminds him of '09, the heyday of the Ground-and-Pound era, when they began the season with Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and Shonn Greene.

Ryan refused to be pinned down in terms of his plans for Johnson, insisting his role has yet to be determined. This much appears certain: Johnson won't get 18 carries per game, his career average. Coming off arthroscopic surgery, and approaching his 29th birthday, the former Tennessee Titans star figures to be a complementary back.

"Nothing was ever promised that, 'You’re going to get X amount of carries,'" Ryan claimed. "We're going to have to compete for roles. No role has been determiened for anybody on this football team."

Johnson's surgically repaired knee (torn meniscus) could go a long way toward determining his workload. He has some arthritis in his right knee, according to an ESPN report, but it obviously didn't cause him to flunk the team's physical. Ryan said Johnson will be among several players limited in the offseason program.

Another player is Goodson, whose roster spot could be in jeopardy. Ryan said he hopes to have Goodson, but he didn't sound confident. Aside from the knee injury, he's dealing with pending legal charges (and a possible suspension) stemming from his arrest last May.

lastname
Goodson
"If Goodson comes back, we’ll see what he can provide," said Ryan, adding: "I don’t anticipate anything in the near future that he’ll be able to do, but we’ll see how he progresses."

Goodson was supposed to be the breakaway back last season, but that never materialized. Now it falls to Johnson, who ran a sub-4.3 time in the 40 when he came out of college in 2008. Some of Johnson's new teammates sounded excited about having him.

"He's a highlight reel waiting to happen," defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said.

Quarterback Geno Smith said "the first thing that comes to mind is speed and home-run hitter. I don't know how many times he's broken runs for 50, 60 yards, but it seems like he does almost every week. He brings another explosive dimension into our running-back room."

Johnson doesn't break as many long runs as he used to, but anything is an improvement for the Jets.

Patriots offseason roundtable, Part 1

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
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With the Patriots beginning their voluntary offseason program Monday, Mike Reiss and Field Yates got together for a roundtable to cover some questions surrounding the team (part 1 of 2):

Which signing, or re-signing, has perhaps flown under the radar the most this offseason?

Yates: Mike, I'll go with Ryan Wendell and here's why. Did he struggle last season? Relative to 2012, yes he did. Was his performance detrimental to the offense? No, that's overstating it. What cannot be disputed is Wendell's durability. He played every snap last season, something his quarterback, Tom Brady, undoubtedly appreciated. Would it be a total shock to see the Patriots draft an interior lineman? No, but what they accomplished in re-signing Wendell is continuity at a fair price. If he reverts to his 2012 form, the maximum value of roughly $4.5 million over two years will be a steal.

[+] EnlargeDarrelle Revis
AP Photo/Stephan SavoiaWill Darrelle Revis bring the same edge and confidence to the Patriots' locker room that Aqib Talib did?
Reiss: I'll counter with defensive end Rob Ninkovich, Field. This happens a lot when it comes to evaluating free agency -- we often just focus on the snapshot in front of us that unfolded from the official start of free agency March 11 to now. But Ninkovich, who was in the last year of his contract when he struck an extension last September, should be included in any free-agent analysis. He certainly would be if he was signing with another team.

Bill Belichick always talks about development from Year 1 to Year 2. It's impossible to predict which players will make the biggest leap, but two to keep an eye on are Jamie Collins and Logan Ryan. What are your expectations for them at this time?

Yates: My gut take on Collins is that the team hopes for him to be not just a starter (replacing Brandon Spikes), but also a three-down contributor. Given how small Collins' role was on defense to start the 2013 season, this represents a big leap. But we saw the flashes during the playoffs, giving me confidence that they expect more of the same. As for Ryan, while the cornerback depth chart is stacked right now, he showed far too much ability last season for the team to not try and get him on the field for close to 50 percent of the snaps.

Reiss: I think you nailed it, Field. One of the things that was most impressive to me about Collins last year is that I don't think he missed a practice or game. That helped him use 2013 as a strong foundation year, and I think it's fair to expect more from him in a three-down role. With Ryan, I expect him to compete for the starting cornerback spot opposite of Darrelle Revis for the first four games of the regular season when Brandon Browner is suspended. He has some of the best ball skills in the secondary.

Most football fans agree that the Patriots upgraded from signing Darrelle Revis to replace Aqib Talib. Are there any aspects of Talib's game you think they'll miss, however?

Yates: By all accounts, Darrelle Revis is a terrific teammate, so it's unfair to suppose he won't jell with the rest of the Patriots' secondary. But I will say this, Aqib Talib brought a certain edge and confidence to both the Patriots' defensive meeting room and the secondary on the whole. The increase in confidence and camaraderie was seemingly palpable from the 2012 season to 2013, Talib's only full year in New England. Revis seems like the kind of guy that fits in anywhere, but Talib's personality will be missed.

Reiss: Not only do most football fans agree that Revis is an upgrade, Talib himself said it last year, too. Chemistry would be the one area to focus on, as Talib seemed to fit in very well here. Chemistry can't be forced and we'll see how that evolves with Revis.

Each offseason, players are listed that project as potential “cap casualties.” At this point of the offseason, do you think it's safe to say some of the players carrying a higher number (e.g. Dan Connolly) are safe for 2014? Or might this be something to re-visit come training camp?

Yates: The player that I continue to keep an eye on is guard Dan Connolly, Mike. With a cap charge north of $4 million, the Patriots will have to weigh his “replace-ability” at a cheaper value. They are very high on Josh Kline (who played well in spot duty last year) and could add depth via the draft. If Connolly has any sort of struggles during training camp or the preseason, there's an opportunity for the team to vault a player up the depth chart at a lower price point.

Reiss: Connolly has been working out this offseason with Logan Mankins and one thing that I think helps him is that he could be part of the competition at center as well. Still, if the Patriots were looking for ways to create cap space, it could gain $2.5 million by making a move there. There aren't many other players on the roster that could offer that type of relief.
When the Patriots were forced to shuffle their offensive line in a critical late December game against the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, unheralded rookie Josh Kline was inserted into the mix at left guard for his first career NFL start.

Kline
That vote of confidence, coupled with Kline delivering a solid performance as the Patriots clinched the AFC East title in convincing fashion, reflects how Kline (6-foot-3, 310 pounds) could be a vital player for the team in years to come.

He went undrafted out of Kent State in 2013, but quickly won over his teammates.

“I think the thing that stands out about Josh the most is that you can’t rattle the guy,” center Ryan Wendell said Sunday on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

“He’s a flat-liner emotionally, which goes a long way as an offensive lineman. Nothing is too big for him and he never gets too low. He just keeps trucking. He’ll make a mistake or something like that in practice, and he doesn’t mind getting [yelled at]. He just comes back the next play and works harder at it. Some guys don’t have that kind of mental toughness, but Josh really does. I think that’s what stands out the most about him.”

Wendell’s remarks were delivered as part of Bob Socci’s NFL draft preview show.

A few other soundbites from Wendell, who in late March inked a two-year deal to return to New England:

On his free-agent experience. “It was definitely something different, but it was such a blessing. Just to have the career that I’ve been able to have here at the Patriots, to even have the opportunity to become a free agent, and to market my skills out there and things like that, it was a blessing to have that opportunity. And then to be able to sign back with the Patriots, to be where I want to be, to stay here, to stay home, it was great. I’m very thankful for that.”

Reflecting on joining the team as a rookie free agent in 2008. “Once the draft ends, you start getting phone calls from various teams that are looking for free agents, and these different teams will call with different personnel. I think the importance of who they’re trying to get is who they send to come and call you, and when Bill Belichick calls you and spends 20 minutes on the phone with you trying to convince you to come to New England, it’s hard to turn down.”

Having all offensive linemen return from 2013. “It’s great any time you can get an entire offensive line back. Being able to have those same guys next to you, over time, it goes a long way. I would also say, the guys that are our backups, that have rotated in, have all done a great job – guys like Marcus Cannon, Will Svitek and rookies like Josh Kline. Our guys all do a great job and I think no matter who comes in the room, we’ll all work hard to make a solid unit that can perform every Sunday.”
Nearly four months removed from the feel-good finish to their 8-8 season, the New York Jets return to work Monday for the official start of the offseason -- a nine-week program that gradually increases in intensity and culminates with a mandatory minicamp, June 17-19.

The offseason program is voluntary (wink, wink), although many players are required to attend to collect workout bonuses. The Jets' top storylines:

Smith
Vick
Vick
1. A new locker room culture: The Jets dumped three high-profile players, Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie, all of whom wielded considerable influence in the locker room (for better or worse). The team will experience a natural change in leadership as the new players are integrated. The most compelling dynamic will be the Geno Smith-Michael Vick relationship and how it impacts the team. Smith won the team's respect last season with his resilience; Vick will command it as soon as he walks in the door.

2. The quarterback competition: It will take four months to decide Smith vs. Vick, but you can bet every pass, every action and every word uttered by them and their teammates will be micr0-analyzed by the media. Practices (OTAs) don't start until May 27, so prepare for five weeks of rhetoric, followed by pass-by-pass analysis on Twitter. Hey, it's New York and we love a good quarterback controversy. The pre-camp favorite? All things being equal, Smith gets the job, but Vick has a lot going for him and could outplay Smith in the preseason. Presumably, the Jets won't botch the competition this time, allowing them to -- you know -- actually declare a winner.

3. Sophs under the microscope: The offseason program always is important for second-year players because ... well, it's their first full offseason in the NFL. For cornerback Dee Milliner and guard Brian Winters, it's doubly important. Milliner was forced to sit out last year's workouts because he was recovering from pre-draft shoulder surgery, putting him behind everybody -- and it showed. For Winters, who played tackle in college, this will be his first offseason to train as a guard, where he struggled for most of his rookie season.

4. Learning MartyBall: It's a new-look offense, with possibly four new starters -- Vick, running back Chris Johnson, wide receiver Eric Decker and right tackle Breno Giacomini. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg set a foundation last season in Year 1 of his system, but he may have to circle back because there are so many new pieces -- and that number will grow after the draft. Vick's familiarity with Mornhinweg's offense will help a lot because it means every quarterback in the room knows the system, an important springboard in any offseason.

5. Blissfully quiet: A year ago, the Jets and Darrelle Revis' camp were locked in a dispute over whether the star cornerback had to work out with the team to collect bonus money. It didn't last long, as Revis was sent packing. There are no such distractions this year -- yet.

Offseason workout guidelines

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
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The Patriots open their offseason workout program, and there are several guidelines and restrictions related to these workouts, highlighted below:

General
  • Workouts are strictly voluntary
  • A maximum of four workouts per week (no weekends)
  • One week is the mandatory minicamp (no weekends)
  • Contact work is prohibited in all workouts
  • Intensity and tempo of drills should be at level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority
Phase one (four hours a day)
  • Two weeks. Limited to strength and conditioning activities with only the strength and conditioning coaches allowed on the field
  • 90-minute maximum on the field
  • Clubs can only specify two hours for the players to be at the facility
  • Players choose the other two hours for weights, etc.
Phase two (four hours a day)

Three weeks with the same rules with a few exceptions:
  • All coaches allowed on field
  • Individual and “perfect play” drills allowed
  • No offense vs. defense, no 1-on-1’s, no helmets
Phase three (six hours a day)
  • Four weeks total
  • Three weeks for 10 total OTA’s
  • A maximum of three OTA’s each week for the first two weeks
  • During weeks one and two a fourth OTA is allowed but phase two rules apply
  • A maximum of four OTA’s for the third or fourth week
  • One week for mini camp
  • No pads except protective knee and elbow pads
  • Helmets are permitted
  • No live contract drills between OL and DL or WR and DB
  • 7 on 7, 9 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills will be permitted
Minicamp (10 hours a day)
  • Physicals on Monday but no practice
  • Practices Tuesday-Thursday with a day off on Friday
  • Allowed two practices totaling three and a half hours on the field per day
  • Second practice limited to walk through activities only

Offseason workout guidelines

April, 20, 2014
Apr 20
2:00
PM ET
The Patriots open their offseason workout program, and there are several guidelines and restrictions related to these workouts, highlighted below:

General
" Workouts are strictly voluntary
" A maximum of four workouts per week (no weekends)
" One week is the mandatory minicamp (no weekends)
" Contact work is prohibited in all workouts
" Intensity and tempo of drills should be at level conducive to learning, with player safety as the highest priority

Phase one (four hours a day)
" Two weeks. Limited to strength and conditioning activities with only the strength and conditioning coaches allowed on the field
" 90-minute maximum on the field
" Clubs can only specify two hours for the players to be at the facility
" Players choose the other two hours for weights, etc.

Phase two (four hours a day)
" Three weeks with the same rules with a few exceptions:
" All coaches allowed on field
" Individual and “perfect play” drills allowed
" No offense vs. defense, no 1-on-1’s, no helmets

Phase three (six hours a day)
" Four weeks total
" Three weeks for 10 total OTA’s
" A maximum of three OTA’s each week for the first two weeks
" During Weeks one and two a fourth OTA is allowed but phase two rules apply
" A maximum of four OTA’s for the third or fourth week
" One week for mini camp
" No pads except protective knee and elbow pads
" Helmets are permitted
" No live contract drills between OL and DL or WR and DB
" 7 on 7, 9 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills will be permitted

Minicamp (10 hours a day)
" Physicals on Monday but no practice
" Practices Tuesday-Thursday with a day off on Friday
" Allowed two practices totaling three and a half hours on the field per day
" Second practice limited to walk through activities only

Jets Twitter Mailbag

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
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It's the weekly Jets Mailbag and since Rich Cimini is out of the office this weekend, I'll be tackling your questions.

Vacation time in Miami

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
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It's been non-stop football in this space since the Miami Dolphins started training camp in late July of 2013. Since, I've covered a 3-0 start, a high-profile bullying scandal, a late-season collapse and subsequent firings and hirings.

This week is a good time to take a well-deserved break. I will be away from ESPN.com's Dolphins page and taking vacation until April 28. I provided material in the blog to check out next week and others will provide reaction on the team, when necessary.

Thanks for being loyal readers, Dolphins fans. See you soon.
If Muhammad Wilkerson ever felt underappreciated, his accountant can now set him straight. Jets general manager John Idzik doesn't look like such a thrifty after laying out $6,969,000 for a fifth-year option on the defensive end for 2015. Wilkerson, who has played three full seasons, is now under contract for two more years, decreasing the urgency to give him an expensive, long-term extension.

Wilkerson
It's quite a raise for Wilkerson, who will make $1,212,500 this season according to the NFLPA. Wilkerson was drafted by the Jets with the 30th overall pick in 2011 and has been impressing his coaches ever since.

As negotiations took place this month, Wilkerson was upfront about his desire to stay in New York.

"I told [the front office] at the end of the year last year that I want to be a Jet -- a Jet for life,” Wilkerson said to the New York Post. “I’m from [Linden, N.J.], I’m a local guy, so I would love to be here and finish my career here.”

It doesn’t always work in a player’s financial favor to say he wants to stay with his team, but in this case it appears to have worked. Wilkerson started with a base salary of $375,000 his rookie year, and went to $687,500 before landing at $1 million last season. His option is for nearly seven times that amount, a significant raise.

Last season, Wilkerson had 10.5 sacks. With recent rookie Sheldon Richardson also on the defensive line, the Jets could have a bright future with the group.

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