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NFL notebook: Cowboys sign undrafted OL Collins

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Former LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins, a first-round prospect who went undrafted, signed with the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.

The three-year, $1.66 million contract is fully guaranteed, which is rare, if not unprecedented, for undrafted players. But Collins’ case is unique: He went undrafted due to concerns about his involvement in a murder the week before the 2015 NFL Draft.

Collins was never a suspect in the case, according to Baton Rouge police. But they wanted to talk with him.

After Collins met with police Monday, teams started contacting him. He had an impromptu dinner meeting with Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan in Baton Rouge on Monday and had received interest from the New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Carolina Panthers as well.

“This opportunity sitting here in front of this organization, everything that it stands for, everything that these guys are trying to build here, I feel like I represent,” Collins said. “I feel like I fit in. … I had the opportunity to choose from 32 teams where I wanted to be. I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy.”

—Mum is the word in New England one day after the NFL released the findings of Ted Wells’ investigation into Deflategate.

Owner Robert Kraft issued a wordy statement Wednesday disagreeing with findings he deemed less-than-conclusive.

Wells found quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots’ equipment staff were all likely culpable in reducing the psi, mandated at 12.5 pounds, of 11 footballs in the AFC Championship game in January against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts brought the issue to the attention of the league, sparking a four-month investigation.

Punishment is expected from the NFL, but whether the Patriots’ personnel will include Brady is uncertain.

—Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett made it clear Thursday that he does want to be paid more but does not want to be traded.

In an interview with KING-5 TV’s “New Day Northwest,” Bennett said, “I think everyone who has a job (wants) a raise for whatever they’re doing. I’m just like any other American. I think everybody wants to be paid a little bit more, so I don’t think I fall short of that.”

He added, “When you ask for a little more money, they assume that you want to be traded or something like that. But that’s not what I’m trying to go for.”

Asked directly if he wanted to be traded, he said, “No.”

Bennett is in the second year of a four-year, $28.5 million contract. He was paid $10 million in 2014 and his $6 million salary this year is guaranteed.

— Ed Reed, one of the NFL’s greatest safeties, officially retired Thursday during a news conference at the Baltimore Ravens’ headquarters in Owings Mills, Md.

At a gathering attended by several former teammates, the Ravens said Reed will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor on Nov. 22, when the Ravens host the St. Louis Rams at M&T Bank Stadium.

A first-round pick in 2002, Reed became an eight-time All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowl safety in 11 seasons with the Ravens. He was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and won a Super Bowl with them in 2012.

Reed, 36, had not played since 2013, when he split time with the Houston Texans and New York Jets.

Reed appears to be a lock for the Hall of Fame, but he said, “I never thought about making it to the Hall of Fame. I just wanted to be a great football player for my teammates. One day I guess I’ll be there.”

—Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, a first-round pick in 2006 who had 53.5 career sacks, announced his retirement Thursday.

Drafted by the Browns, Wimbley played 123 games with Cleveland, the Oakland Raiders and the Titans. He had two years and $4 million remaining on his contract.

“While I still feel like I could be competitive on the field, at this point in my life, my family is my priority,” Wimbley, 31, said Thursday in a Twitter post. “Although my wife and two young daughters have always been incredibly supportive of my career, I am looking forward to spending more meaningful time with them and never missing another big moment in their lives!”

—Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy’s appeal of a 10-game suspension will be heard May 28 by Harold Henderson.

Hardy was informed of the next steps in the process this week, only days after commissioner Roger Goodell lauded the NFL’s new protocol for punishing violators of the personal conduct policy for “getting it right.”

Hardy spent most of last season on the commissioner’s exempt list, where he drew a $13.1 million salary as the Carolina Panthers’ designated franchise player during the legal proceedings and investigation into Hardy’s alleged physical attack of his then-girlfriend, Nicole Holder.

The case was dropped in North Carolina when Holder did not appear in court. But the NFL pushed to get photos and details of the attack from investigators and was allowed to view pictures and physical evidence.

—Former Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis is eligible to sign with any team after he was reinstated by the NFL on Thursday.

ESPN reported Davis, 29, would not be back with the Redskins.

Washington drafted Davis in the second round of the 2008 draft and he caught 162 passes over six seasons, but off-field issues crept up before the league suspended him indefinitely in February 2014 for his second violation of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Davis claims he was suspended for taking a supplement. His initial NFL suspension was for marijuana.

—The Oakland Raiders have signed first-round wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The team did not announce terms of the contract, but it is expected to be a four-year deal worth about $20 million, including a $12.8 million signing bonus.

Cooper, the fourth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, set Alabama records with 228 receptions, 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns in 40 games over three seasons.

—The Philadelphia Eagles have agreed to terms with wide receiver Nelson Agholor, their first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

The former USC star, picked 20th overall, will sign a four-year deal worth $9.377 million, including a $5.1 million signing bonus and $8.8 million guaranteed, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported.

Agholor, who is 6 feet and 198 pounds, caught 104 passes for the Trojans last year, the third most in the school’s history.

The Eagles also signed defensive end Frank Mays and released wide receiver Will Murphy.

—The Minnesota Vikings announced that they have signed all 10 draft picks, including first-round cornerback Trae Waynes.

The team also signed second-round linebacker Eric Kendricks (UCLA), third-round defensive end Danielle Hunter (LSU), fourth-round offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings (Pittsburgh), fifth-round tight end MyCole Pruitt (Southern Illinois), fifth-round wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Maryland), sixth-round tackle Tyrus Thompson (Oklahoma), sixth-round defensive end B.J. Dubose (Louisville), seventh-rounder tackle Austin Shepherd (Alabama) and seventh-round linebacker Edmond Robinson (Newberry).

The Vikings also released running back Henry Josey, safety Ahmad Dixon, tight end Ryan Otten and offensive tackles Antonio Richardson and Austin Wentworth on Thursday as they prepare for this weekend’s minicamp.

—Tight end Maxx Williams, a second-round draft pick last week, agreed to a four-year, $4.05 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, the Baltimore Sun reported.

According to the newspaper, Williams’ contract includes a $1.2 million signing bonus and $2,261,000 in guaranteed money.

The Ravens also reportedly agreed to a four-year, $2,625,000 deal with cornerback Tray Walker. A fourth-round pick, Walker landed a contract that includes a $345,692 signing bonus, according to the Sun.

—The Cleveland Browns signed second-round linebacker Nate Orchard and sixth-round tight end Randall Telfer.

Orchard, 6 feet 4 and 255 pounds, started 36 of 50 games at Utah, recording 186 tackles, 25 sacks, 10 passes defensed, eight forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

He was named a first-team All-American as a senior in 2014 and earned the Ted Hendricks Award, which is given to the nation’s top defensive lineman.

Telfer, 6 feet 4 and 250 pounds, played in 48 games (34 starts) at USC and caught 65 passes for 648 yards and 12 touchdowns.

—The New York Jets signed third-round linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin, fourth-round quarterback Bryce Petty and seventh-round defensive tackle Deon Simon.

They join fifth-round defensive tackle Jarvis Harrison, who signed Wednesday night, as the first draft choices to sign with the Jets.

Mauldin, a 6-foot-4, 259-pound pass rusher, recorded 16 sacks over the past two years at Louisville.

The Jets moved up one spot with the Jacksonville Jaguars near the top of the fourth round to draft Petty, who threw for 300 yards 16 times for Baylor the past two years.

Simon, who is 6-4 and 332 pounds, started 19 games at Northwestern State (La.) the past two seasons, recording 5.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.

—The Seattle Seahawks signed sixth-round draft pick Kristjan Sokoli, a college defensive lineman they are going to convert to center.

It is a standard four-year deal, Sokoli’s agent said via Twitter. The deal is expected to be worth around $2.3 million.

Sokoli — one of the top pound-for-pound athletes in the draft — played defensive tackle at Buffalo, but the Seahawks said they are going to move him to center.

—The Washington Redskins announced the signing of 11 undrafted free agents, including Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday and Texas A&M running back Trey Williams.

Halliday, the Cougars’ record-setting passer, was rated the No. 8 quarterback in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com. He likely went undrafted due to a broken ankle that prevented him from working out at the Combine.

Williams, who is 5 feet 7 and 195 pounds, was rated the No. 22 back in the draft by NFLDraftScout.com. He could fill a role as a change-of-pace runner and return man.

Washington also signed BYU tight end Devin Mahina, wide receivers Reggie Bell (San Diego), Tyler Rutenbeck (Dubuque) and Tony Jones (Northwestern); Arkansas offensive lineman Brey Cook; Clemson defensive end Corey Crawford; linebackers Terrance Plummer (Central Florida) and Dyshawn Davis (Syracuse) and UAB kicker Ty Long.

—The New England Patriots released defensive lineman Michael Buchanan and wide receiver Kevin Dorsey.

Buchanan, 24, was a seventh-round pick of the Patriots in 2013. The 6-foot-6, 255-pounder played in 18 games and registered four tackles and two sacks. He was limited to three games last season, placed on injured reserve on Oct. 7.

Dorsey, 25, was a seventh-round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2013. He spent his rookie season on injured reserve and played in just three games last season before landing on IR again. He had signed with the Patriots on March 11.

—Mark Sanchez expects to compete with Sam Bradford for the starting quarterback job with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Popular opinion might be the Bradford is the starter, Sanchez said, but coach Chip Kelly also opened with Michael Vick two years ago, when Nick Foles came on to have a season for the record books.

Sanchez, who signed a two-year extension as an unrestricted free agent in March, is guaranteed $5.5 million and, he says, a shot at the starting job.

“Absolutely,” Sanchez said. “That’s the way I understand it.”


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