Titans become latest team to ink TE, sign Delanie Walker to extension

With Mike Mularkey doubling down on “exotic smashmouth” by drafting Derrick Henry to pair with DeMarco Murray (and adding Jack Conklin to help pave the way), the Titans look like a team that could be leaning on a tight end in the passing game.

It’s why the Walker extension, part of a larger trend of big tight end contracts this offseason, makes a lot of sense.

Don’t be surprised if Mariota leans on his top receiver from last year again in 2016.

For the first time in 10 years, ESPN’s Monday Night Football will have a new play-by-play man in the booth when the NFL season kicks off.

The network announced on Monday that veteran sportscaster Sean McDonough will be replacing Mike Tirico as the play-by-play guy on Monday nights.

Tirico, who had been in the Monday night booth since 2006, is leaving ESPN after spending 26 years with the company. The announcer is headed to NBC, where he’ll begin on July 1.

AFC North

I have a feeling this is the year the Steelers get back on top. The Martavis Bryantsuspension hurts, but if there is any position where the Steelers could withstand that blow — and find plenty of candidates to step up — it’s at receiver.

It would be hard to imagine them having the same run of bad injury luck as a year ago and I believe this defense is making baby steps. Big Ben will have a monster season.
If the Steelers stay healthy, watch out.

Meantime, the Bengals have lost ample talent and suffered a lot of brain drain to their coaching staff in recent years and that takes a toll. They are a little old in key spots on defense and I was never a big Andy Dalton guy even when he had his full array of weapons. The Bengals are accustomed to having starting hot and having others chase them, but the schedule is a beast this time around with four of the first six games on the road. Not only that, they to face the Jets, Steelers, Broncos,Cowboys and Patriots in that span.

The Ravens are on the rise but I believe they are still one more draft away from being back to their usual place in the pecking order. If the youngsters lead the way and this draft is a home run, they’ll push for the playoffs again, but having so many older players coming off significant injuries (Steve Smith, Terrell Suggs) is a concern. Is there a fourth team in this division? I forget sometimes.

Ansah, who hails from Ghana, believes the game is growing in his home continent, which would be an important factor for the NFL when deciding where to take the game next (because money).

“I think now that there’s a lot of Africans playing this game, I know the young guys coming up have been picking up on the game,” Ansah said. “When I went there I met a few guys that are eager to learn the game. It’s evolving in Africa.”

It’s worth noting that back in February, Marshawn Lynch went to Africa to ride some camels and help spread football. And now, just two months later, Africa is being mentioned as a possible NFL destination, which can only serve as proof that Marshawn Lynch can do anything he sets his mind to.

Now, if only he’d set his mind on an eventual NFL comeback.

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LOOK: Are these the Browns’ new orange jerseys?

Mike Silver of NFL.com reported Friday the Bengals tore up Lewis’ current contract — set to expire after the 2016 season — and replaced it with a two-year deal that will take the long-time Cincinnati coach through 2017.

For one, it’s an actual jersey. All of the leaks up until this point had been artistic renderings or drawings. This is the first physical jersey.

The second reason this could be real is because the “Cleveland” typeface on the front of the jersey matches the team’s new typeface that was unveiled in February.

The collar of the purported new jersey also says “Dawg Pound,” which makes it even more believable that these could be the jerseys. The Browns said they were going to emphasize the 30th anniversary of the Dawg Pound this year.

He lost Brock Osweiler but he didn’t pay $72 million for Brock Osweiler, which is usually a win. He’s not budging on the 49ers’ demands for Colin Kaepernick, and he’s not overpaying for Ryan Fitzpatrick or another average-ish quarterback in the free agent market.

Elway might not be sitting on a franchise quarterback right now, but he’s not stuck in purgatory either. Which is precisely why he’s not going to sign Manziel, regardless of what the best player on his roster wants.

Finally, the jerseys are orange.

WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL US DONTE? This definitely could be a sarcastic tweet, implying the jerseys haven’t been leaked. It could also be that Whitner is actually surprised that they were leaked. WHO KNOWS.

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