Broncos' stadium gets temporary name

Broncos' stadium gets temporary name

DENVER — The home of the Denver Broncos will be known as Broncos Stadium at Mile High while the team continues to look for a new naming-rights sponsor.

The team announced the temporary name change Wednesday following a vote by the district that oversees the taxpayer-built stadium.

The stadium has had two naming-rights sponsors since it opened in 2001, most recently Sports Authority. Both names included a reference to the Broncos’ original stadium. The team took down large signs with Sports Authority’s name earlier this year after the company declared bankruptcy and stopped making payments.

In a statement, Broncos Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman said the team has had “many productive conversations” and is confident it will find the right partner.

A deal would help pay for stadium maintenance.

NFLPA names ex-GM Whaley to scouting role

NFLPA names ex-GM Whaley to scouting role

WASHINGTON — Former Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley is taking over as the NFL Players Association’s director of college scouting.

Whaley will oversee the recruitment, evaluation and selection of draft-eligible prospects to compete at the annual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. He replaces Tony Softli, who left to become the Alliance of American Football’s scouting director.

Whaley was hired Wednesday, a little over a year after being fired by the Bills. He spent eight seasons in Buffalo, including four as GM.

The Bills fired him as part of a major organizational shake-up which began with Sean McDermott replacing Rex Ryan as coach.

Whaley has 22 years of NFL scouting experience, including an 11-year tenure with his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brady, Shiffrin, LeBron to vie for ESPY awards

Brady, Shiffrin, LeBron to vie for ESPY awards

When it comes to winning the ESPY award for best male or female athlete, a championship helps but the hardware is not necessarily required.

Jose Altuve of the World Series champion Houston Astros and Alex Ovechkin of the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals are both first-time nominees for the award. But so are New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

Brady, a three-time ESPY best male athlete nominee, lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. Harden, also a first-time nominee, extended the champion Golden State Warriors to seven games before being eliminated in the Western Conference finals.

Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin will contend for the ESPY for best female athlete for a second time. Her competition includes three first-time nominees — Sylvia Fowles of the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim and soccer player Julie Ertz.

The ESPYS, which honor the past year’s top sports achievements and moments, will be hosted by newly retired racecar driver Danica Patrick when the show airs July 18 from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant, who won last year, again received a nod for best championship performance. He goes against Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles, World Series MVP George Springer and Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo, who was the most outstanding player of the men’s Final Four.

Brady is also nominated for record-breaking performance, along with tennis star Roger Federer, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge and Diana Taurasi of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury.

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James earned his 14th consecutive nomination for best NBA player and will be going for his third straight trophy. He is up against Harden, Milwaukee‘s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis of the Pelicans.

The nominees for breakthrough athlete are Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Utah‘s Donovan Mitchell, New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara and tennis player Sloane Stephens.

Winners of most categories will be determined by online fan voting that ends before the show airs.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bauer sues trainer for using him in YouTube clips

View photos

Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Monday, June 18, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Cleveland Indians pitching Trevor Bauer is suing a Louisiana-based trainer for unauthorized use of his likeness and image through posts on his website, biomechanical breakdowns on YouTube and multiple mentions in a program that pledges significant gains in pitching velocity, according to court documents obtained by Yahoo Sports.

The suit, filed June 4, accuses Brent Pourciau, who owns and runs the training academy TopVelocity, of violating state and federal laws that intend to protect individuals’ right of publicity. Perhaps more than any player in baseball, Bauer has been an adherent to, and evangelist for, analytics-based learning in pitching. “Bauer has established a well-recognized and valuable identity arising from his baseball pitching abilities and other professional accomplishments,” the suit says, arguing that Pourciau’s use of his likeness was an implied endorsement of TopVelocity and thus its product line.

“It’s important to me that people use the Internet as a tool to learn,” Bauer told Yahoo Sports in an interview. “I wish I had YouTube when I was growing up, and it’s the reason I have videos on my website. I want people to understand baseball and pitching better, but I also want to make sure they don’t think I’m endorsing something that I wasn’t.”

Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali and Joe Montana are among the scores of athletes to invoke their right of publicity in lawsuits. The most famous case involved Michael Jordan, who won an $8.9 million judgment against Dominick’s, a Chicago-area grocery store, which had used his name, number and a silhouetted basketball player in an advertisement that included a $2-off coupon for a steak inside a commemorative Sports Illustrated issue.

The growth of baseball’s biomechanical-analysis subculture adds a twist to the classic intellectual-property case. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Pourciau said his references to Bauer were for educational purposes, not commercial. The 41-year-old Pourciau, a former college and independent-ball pitcher who has worked with the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations as well as former major league pitcher David Aardsma, says that his 3X program can help pitchers gain 5 to 10 mph on their fastballs in 16 weeks – a claim Bauer and others believe to be unrealistic and potentially dangerous.

“This is an industry problem,” Pourciau said. “If it was just me, or something I maliciously did and felt guilty, I’d be hiding it. But I only did what the industry has been doing for years, which is talking about elite pitchers and analyzing them.

“I think this should fall under education. I know it’s commercial. Well, you’re making money. [Expletive], we’re all making money. If I was up there making fun of Trevor in comedy, I could be protected by parody. All I can do is educational. If you can prove your product is strictly there to educate, you should be protected for using someone’s likeness.”

The case – in which Bauer is requesting damages under the federal intellectual-property law, the Lanham Act, as well as through the states of Louisiana and Texas, where he lives – could hinge upon whether the use of Bauer’s likeness is seen as educational, as Pourciau contends, or as part of a design to sell TopVelocity products.

“The way I look at it is it really was trying to get people to sign up for the program and make money on it,” said Edward Rosenthal, an intellectual-property expert and partner at the Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz law firm in New York. “It wasn’t just this really interesting subject out there. If you use the name or likeness of a person to help sell your product or your service, you’re going to have to pay for it. The fact that it has an educational point of view is nice, but it’s not going to carry the day.”

In a number of places on the TopVelocity website the use of major league players’ likenesses blends with the sale of 3X products. One piece, headlined 10 Steps to Pitch Like Marcus Stroman, includes four pictures, three animated GIFs and a YouTube video of the Toronto Blue Jays starter. Underneath the video, it says: “Now that you have a full list of steps to pitch like Marcus Stroman, you will need a program that gives you the roadmap to implement each step. This is why I developed the 3X Extreme Pitching Velocity Program.” Clicking the buy-now button that follows the paragraph offers the 3X program for $497.

Similarly, a TopVelocity logo is overlaid on a photo collage of Aroldis Chapman, the hardest-throwing pitcher in baseball history. Pourciau, whose program advocates Olympic-style weightlifting, asked readers “to help make this photo go viral” and called 3X an “Aroldis Chapman Style Training Program” while offering a link to purchase it.

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Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Trevor Bauer wipes his face during the sixth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Chapman and Bauer were two of seven players whose likenesses were ordered removed from the TopVelocity website in a February letter from the Major League Baseball Players’ Association, according to a copy of the letter Pourciau provided.

“While we appreciate TopVelocity’s interest in celebrating the success achieved by these Players,” the letter read, “we trust you can understand that the … activities violate (players’) rights.

Pourciau said he ultimately did strike all references to Bauer as part of an effort to avoid litigation. Bauer, who has been among the best pitchers in the American League this season and could make his first All-Star Game, first asked for the excision of any materials related to him Jan. 26, according to court filings. Two months later, he sent another cease-and-desist letter, and in an April 9 letter from his lawyer, Bauer threatened to sue Pourciau. By April 19, Pourciau’s lawyer said TopVelocity had scrubbed Bauer’s name from the site and 3X training materials. Bauer’s request for an affidavit to affirm their removal went unanswered.

“There are well-established laws that protect against using someone’s image without his or her consent,” said Tim Slavin, the MLBPA’s chief of business affairs and senior counsel. “Trevor is not creating those laws; he’s simply enforcing them.”

Other major league players who are not affiliated with TopVelocity continue to dot its website, even after the union’s letter. Beyond Stroman and Chapman, there are video breakdowns of Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez, Sonny Gray and Chris Archer, plus in-uniform photographs of Chris Sale, Salvador Perez and Yadier Molina. Under the Products tab at the top of TopVelocity’s website are 18 options related to 3X, ranging from a one-on-one camp for $3,197 and a speaking fee of $1,997 to a $47 video of pitching grips with Aardsma.

“TopVelocity is running a business to make money,” Slavin said. “Their product includes an analysis of pitching styles. It’s not a surprise they would want to market and promote themselves by using the image of one of the best pitchers in the game. But keep in mind that they could still have a product without using the image of a real big league player. They could just as easily use avatars of generic players to sell their points of instruction and analysis. That wouldn’t sell as well, and they know it, which is why they are in this dispute.”

Pourciau has steeled for the Bauer fight, as well as potential ones with the union and even Major League Baseball enforcing the copyrighted logos featured on uniforms, by launching a GoFundMe page. On it, he posted a video, where he frames the case as one that cuts to the heart of a modern intellectual-property debate: Does the law properly reflect the openness of the Internet? In hopes of drumming up support for his cause, Pourciau started a hashtag: #SupportFairUse. The campaign has received $1,320 of the $100,000 he hopes to raise.

“I know I’m provocative,” Pourciau said. “I know I put myself out there. I know I’m a big voice. I understand why it’s me, and I’m accepting of that. I actually like the role. I’d be glad to help the industry come to terms with it. We need rules. We need to know what we’re allowed to do and not to do as coaches, as baseball trainers. We need to know what we’re allowed to do. It feels like the Wild West online.

“I don’t think there’s any way possible you can prove I implied that he trained with me or worked with me. Everything was just very clinical in the analysis that I did.”

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What Brandon Marshall must do to stick with the Seahawks

What Brandon Marshall must do to stick with the Seahawks

Brandon Marshall is no lock to make a Seahawks team that has a history of signing veterans only to cut them before the season begins. 

RENTON, Wash. — Before you pencil Brandon Marshall onto the Seattle Seahawks‘ roster, let alone into the No. 3 spot in their wide receiving corps, it’s important to remember Antoine Winfield.

Or Jahri Evans. Or Eric Winston. Or Barrett Ruud.

All four fit a similar profile. They were well-known veterans either nearing or over 30 years old, whom the Seahawks signed well into free agency as inexpensive insurance at positions where they lacked experience. None of them ended up making the team once general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll decided that their younger players were the better options.

In April of 2012, the Seahawks signed Ruud only to trade him after rookie second-round pick Bobby Wagner showed he was ready to start at middle linebacker.

In April of 2013, Winfield was viewed as an addition that could put Seattle’s secondary over the top, but he was cut when Walter Thurmond — finally healthy after missing 26 games over his first three seasons — beat him out to be the team’s fifth defensive back.

Winston, signed early in training camp in 2014, was the veteran who became expendable once Seattle was comfortable going with rookie second-round pick Justin Britt as the starter at right tackle and undrafted rookie Garry Gilliam as the cheaper backup.

Evans, signed early in training camp in 2016, met the same fate when the Seahawks went with rookie first-rounder Germain Ifedi at one guard spot and first-time starter Mark Glowinski on the other side.

This is not to predict that the same thing will happen to the 34-year-old Marshall, whom the Seahawks signed last month. Kevin Williams, Tony McDaniel (in his second stint) and Austin Davis are a few notable examples of veteran stopgaps who stuck around with Seattle after being signed under similar circumstances.

The point is that Seattle’s history, not to mention a contract that includes only $90,000 guaranteed, suggests that Marshall is no lock to make the team.

Here are three things he must to do stick around:

Get healthy and stay healthy

Marshall must be healthy. It’s a fairly obvious point but one that’s worth stating given that Marshall, in his own estimation, has a ways to go before he’s back to 100 percent.

He’s coming off a season in which he played in only five games because of an ankle injury that he had surgically repaired. That led the New York Giants to waive him with a failed-physical designation in April. Marshall also revealed to the media after signing with Seattle that he had another surgery to fix a toe injury that had been bothering him since 2015.

He did only some light work during organized team activities, then didn’t take part in any of the Seahawks’ three minicamp practices. Carroll said that was to prevent any reaggravation of a hamstring injury.

Speaking frankly about his own health, Marshall said late last month, “I’m not where I want to be, not even close, but my goal is to be in midseason form come camp.”

Carroll also said the team expects Marshall to be ready for training camp. But with all his recent injuries, and at his age, it’s hard to know how he’ll be health-wise.

Outperform the youngsters

Marshall’s addition made receiver perhaps the most crowded position group on the Seahawks’ roster. They have 12 in all and will likely keep only five or six on their 53-man roster.

There’s plenty of potential but not much in the way of NFL production for the eight receivers behind Baldwin, Lockett, Marshall and Jaron Brown. Three of the eight (Amara Darboh, Marcus Johnson and Tanner McEvoy) have combined for 27 NFL receptions while the other five (David Moore, Cyril Grayson Jr., Damore’ea Stringfellow, Keenan Reynolds and undrafted rookie Caleb Scott) don’t have any.

The Seahawks spent a 2017 third-round pick on Darboh, but he has yet to pop. They’re high on Moore, a seventh-rounder from last year. Johnson (acquired in the Michael Bennett trade from Philadelphia) has seemed to click with Wilson, while Stringfellow (signed after taking part in rookie minicamp as a tryout) caught almost everything thrown his way.

Those four may represent Marshall’s biggest challengers for a roster spot. He’ll have to convince the Seahawks that what would likely be only one season from him will outweigh whatever longer-term value there would be in going with one of the younger receivers instead.

Show he can be Russell Wilson‘s big target

Tight end Jimmy Graham led the team with 10 touchdowns last season but departed during free agency, leaving the Seahawks without their biggest pass-catcher.

They signed Brown (6-3, 204) in free agency, adding a veteran option with some size behind starters Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, who are both 5-10 and less than 200 pounds. It should help Marshall’s prospects that Brown didn’t distinguish himself during the offseason program, though Brown’s two-year contract includes an $800,000 guaranteed salary for 2018.

At 6-5 and 232, Marshall is bigger than every Seahawks receiver except for McEvoy (6-6, 230).

Carroll sounds excited about what Marshall could bring to Seattle’s offense as that big receiver, but his wording left the impression that nothing is a given.

“He’s a big receiver, he’s a physical guy, he works well in close areas, working off of defenders and all that,” Carroll said. “The fact that he’s been a go-to guy in his past, there’s those kinds of thoughts out there. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. We’ll see how he fits in. Really, he’s like the rest of the guys. He’s got to battle for every step of the way, and he knows that. I was very emphatic about how this is going to work out, and he was fired up about it and ready to go.”

NFL bubble watch: 32 veterans who could be cut before Week 1

NFL bubble watch: 32 veterans who could be cut before Week 1

Could the Steelers and Packers part ways with two talented quarterbacks they drafted? Will the Bills and Titans move on from two promising pass-rushers? Will the Seahawks have room for Brandon Marshall on their Week 1 roster?

NFL Nation reporters pick 32 veterans who might not make opening-day rosters in 2018.

AFC West | AFC South | AFC North | AFC East
NFC West | NFC South | NFC North | NFC East


AFC WEST

Offensive tackle Menelik Watson

The Broncos signed Watson last season with high hopes he would be the team’s solution at right tackle. That plan did not work out, as Watson missed nine games with injuries and struggled at times, especially in pass protection, when he was in the lineup. Watson’s athleticism is clear, and he flashes potential. But Jared Veldheer is set to be the new right tackle, and the Broncos tried Watson at guard for much of the offseason program. If Denver believes one of its younger tackles, like Elijah Wilkinson or Cyrus Kouandjio, is ready to be the backup swing tackle, or that Billy Turner could be the swing player at guard and tackle, Watson’s roster spot could be on shaky ground. — Jeff Legwold

Linebacker Frank Zombo

The Chiefs have Justin Houston and Dee Ford as their starting outside linebackers and drafted backups Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks in the second round in each of the past two years. The team might keep Zombo around because of his experience, but that may be a luxury they decide they can’t afford — his contract calls for a base salary of $920,000. — Adam Teicher

Linebacker Kyle Emanuel

Drafted in the fifth round in 2015, Emanuel has primarily been a starter the past two seasons. Emanuel played just 290 defensive snaps last season , and the Chargers selected outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu in the second round in 2018 because he offers more versatility as a pass-rusher in obvious passing situations. Emanuel finished with 33.5 sacks in college for the Bison, but he has just three sacks in three NFL seasons. Emanuel, however, could stick around because of his ability to contribute on special teams. — Eric D. Williams

Wide receiver Seth Roberts

This is with a caveat, of course. If newly acquired receiver Martavis Bryant is indeed slapped with a suspension by the NFL, as feared by the Raiders, then Roberts’ footing as Oakland’s No. 3 receiver, behind Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, would seemingly be strengthened. Still, Roberts, who is entering his fourth NFL season as an undrafted player, has much to prove to new coach Jon Gruden and his staff after having consistency issues last season. Roberts signed a three-year, $12 million contract extension with $6.45 million guaranteed at the start of training camp last season, and responded with 43 catches, on 65 targets, for 455 yards and a touchdown in 2017. The Raiders are 10-0 in games in which Roberts scores, but his relatively decent-sized contract could be on the market. Also, keep an eye on Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn, who is entering his 12th season, especially with Oakland using the No. 15 overall draft pick on Kolton Miller. — Paul Gutierrez


AFC SOUTH

Guard Jeff Allen

Allen certainly wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot entering the Texans’ offseason program after he and the rest of the team’s offensive line struggled last season. Houston attempted to fix that weakness by gutting the offensive line this offseason and adding three potential starters in free agency: tackle Seantrel Henderson and guards Zach Fulton and Senio Kelemete. In May, the Texans put Allen on the physically unable to perform list, making it more uncertain that he will be on the roster to open the 2018 season. The Texans have an out in Allen’s contract this offseason, and he’s owed more than $7 million in 2018, which would make him the team’s highest-paid offensive lineman — one more reason the Texans could take a hard look at his roster spot. — Sarah Barshop

Defensive end John Simon

Simon, who played outside linebacker in 2017, was one of the Colts’ best defensive players last season, despite missing seven games because of injury. Now he’s joining a crowded defensive line after moving to defensive end in their transition to a 4-3 defense under new coordinator Matt Eberflus. Simon, entering his sixth season, hasn’t played on the defensive line since he was in college at Ohio State. One of his biggest issues is that he’s considered an undersized — 6-foot-1, 250-pound — defensive end. “I hope I’m competing for a starting job,” Simon said. “They want to make it very competitive, and as a player, as a competitor, that’s what you want.” — Mike Wells

Offensive tackle Jermey Parnell

The roster is pretty much settled, and Parnell is really the only notable veteran who fits here, mainly because of his age and the fact that the team drafted his eventual replacement. Parnell has played well the past two seasons when he wasn’t bothered by an injury and is a big reason the Jaguars have cut their sack totals in each of the past two seasons (34 and 24). However, the right tackle turns 32 in July, and the Jaguars drafted Will Richardson in the fourth round in April. Richardson worked with the second and third teams behind Parnell throughout OTAs, and it doesn’t appear the Jaguars are going to give him a lot of first-team reps (if any). Parnell should be the starter in 2018, but that could change if he gets hurt or Richardson has a monster camp. — Mike DiRocco

Outside linebacker Kevin Dodd

“Where is Kevin Dodd?” was one of the most popular questions among local reporters during the Titans’ voluntary OTAs. The 2016 second-round pick has been a big disappointment in his first two seasons, but new coach Mike Vrabel seemed to give him a clean slate to impress in Year 3 under a new regime. Dodd hasn’t been around to prove himself much this spring, and the Titans drafted outside linebacker Harold Landry in the second round to essentially become what Dodd hasn’t — their next young, explosive pass-rusher. Dodd has gotten bigger this offseason and appears to be more of a defensive lineman than an outside linebacker. Dodd declined multiple requests for comment from reporters during mandatory minicamp. Vrabel has been reluctant to criticize Dodd, but he did allude to conditioning being a reason they kept him out of some minicamp drills. Young, versatile outside linebackers like Aaron Wallace, Josh Carraway and Sharif Finch might make Dodd expendable. He isn’t doing himself any favors and the Titans might soon decide it’s time to cut ties with him. — Cameron Wolfe


AFC NORTH

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman

Perriman is perhaps the biggest first-round bust in team history, and he is due a $649,485 bonus on the third day of Baltimore’s training camp. That means the No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft could be traded or released this summer. Baltimore added Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead, all of whom are ahead of Perriman on the depth chart. Perriman’s career has been derailed by injuries, inconsistency and dropped passes, a habit that has continued in offseason practices. — Jamison Hensley

Defensive end Michael Johnson

The logical answer here would be former first-round pick Cedric Ogbuehi, who has lost his starting role to Cordy Glenn, but the Bengals would save money against the cap by releasing Johnson instead of Ogbuehi. Johnson, the Bengals’ selection for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2017, means a lot to the team, however, his snap counts have been falling with the team using him a lot as a defensive tackle on third down as opposed to on the edge. With the addition of Sam Hubbard, and young players like Jordan Willis and Carl Lawson needing to find playing time, Johnson might not have the role he once had. That could make him expendable. — Katherine Terrell

Defensive end Carl Nassib

Injuries to Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah meant that Nassib started 12 games in 2017. His most memorable play was when he lined up offsides in Chicago, negating an interception return for a touchdown by Garrett. Ogbah’s return to health combined with the drafting of Chad Thomas puts Nassib, a third-round pick in 2016, at risk of not making the roster. — Pat McManamon

Quarterback Josh Dobbs

The most clear-cut positional battle on the Steelers roster takes place at quarterback, where third-round rookie Mason Rudolph joins the fold. The Steelers have four quarterbacks for three spots, placing the onus on Dobbs to show a sizable jump in Year 2. He’s off to a good start in offseason workouts, throwing with confidence. But veteran Landry Jones might prove too valuable for a contending team unless the team creates trade value for him. — Jeremy Fowler


AFC EAST

Defensive end Shaq Lawson

The Bills’ first-round pick in 2016 has thus far failed to emerge in the defensive schemes of either former coach Rex Ryan or current coach Sean McDermott. Comments from both Lawson and his coaches this offseason has made it clear he is at a crossroads with the team, which has prompted Lawson to shed extra weight and take a more disciplined approach to his game. The problem for Lawson is the Bills stocked up on defensive ends this offseason, signing former Redskins pass-rusher Trent Murphy to a three-year, $22.5 million deal while also bringing aboard Terrence Fede and Owa Odighizuwa. Once Murphy fully returns from a knee injury that kept him limited in practices this spring, Lawson will be competing for a rotational role, if not for his 53-man roster spot entirely. It also seems possible the Bills could trade Lawson after they dealt several draft choices by the Bills’ former management — including Marcell Dareus, Sammy Watkins and Reggie Ragland — last year. — Mike Rodak

Wide receiver Leonte Carroo

The Dolphins’ third-round pick in 2016 was limited to seven catches for 69 yards last season despite playing in 14 games. He has a chance to earn a role in a jumbled Dolphins wide receiver group that lost Jarvis Landry this offseason, but he must also contend with free-agent acquisitions Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson. With DeVante Parker and Kenny Stills also in line for playing time and 2017 seventh-round pick Isaiah Ford catching eyes this spring after missing last season with an injury, Carroo must make an impression this August. — Mike Rodak

Running back Mike Gillislee

The Patriots had signed Gillislee to a two-year, $6.4 million offer sheet as a restricted free agent last offseason, and he opened 2017 as the No. 1 option on the depth chart before losing the job to Dion Lewis in Week 6. The Patriots’ locks at running back this season are Rex Burkhead, James White and first-round pick Sony Michel, and the Patriots wouldn’t have any dead money on their salary cap if they release Gillislee. He is scheduled to earn $1.9 million in base salary and count $2.1 million against the salary cap. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s not on the roster. — Mike Reiss

Linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin

The former third-round pick flashed pass-rushing potential as a rookie (four sacks in limited play), but he regressed in 2016 and missed last season due to back surgery. He still has a chance to salvage his Jets career, but it won’t be easy as a classic ‘tweener who lacks ideal explosiveness. — Rich Cimini


NFC WEST

Wide receiver Brice Butler

The sixth-year veteran signed with the Cardinals to be their WR2 behind Larry Fitzgerald, but a shaky offseason hasn’t solidified Butler’s job. If Butler can’t secure that spot, he could find a place in the rotation, but the question will then become: Will Butler be happy with that? Arizona brought back Greg Little for a tryout in minicamp, a sign that it feels depth is still needed at receiver. — Josh Weinfuss

Defensive lineman Dominique Easley

Easley suffered a torn ACL during training camp last year, ending his fourth season before it began. The Rams signed Easley to a one-year deal this offseason, with the hope that the former first-round pick in 2014 can return to form. But Easley, who had 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2016, is facing an uphill battle as he attempts to come back from a third serious knee injury and is in a position group that includes All-Pros Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh and returning veteran Michael Brockers. — Lindsey Thiry

Wide receiver Aldrick Robinson

Robinson signed with the Niners in the 2017 offseason as a steady, reliable veteran who knew coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense, and he went on to post 19 catches for 260 yards and two touchdowns. With Pierre Garcon returning from injury and the addition of second-rounder Dante Pettis and intriguing seventh rounder Richie James, the Niners’ receiver group now looks pretty crowded. Robinson still offers some veteran guidance and is a Shanahan favorite, but the numbers game could still leave him on the outside looking in. — Nick Wagoner

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall

The one-year deal Seattle gave Marshall in May includes only $90,000 guaranteed, which is reflective of his age (34) and uncertain health as he comes off surgeries on his ankle and toe. The Seahawks’ ideal scenario would have the 6-foot-5 Marshall getting back to full speed before the season and giving Russell Wilson the big target he lost when Jimmy Graham left in free agency. But if Marshall isn’t progressing as well as hoped and/or if the Seahawks decide there’s more value in keeping a younger receiver instead, they could move on relatively painlessly before the season begins. — Brady Henderson


NFC SOUTH

Guard Andy Levitre

Levitre, who already took a pay cut, wasn’t on the field much this offseason while recovering from triceps and knee injuries. He has been the starter at left guard the past two seasons, but the Falcons have to prepare both Ben Garland and Wes Schweitzer in case Levitre’s body can’t keep going at age 32. The Falcons signed veteran Brandon Fusco to step in at right guard. — Vaughn McClure

Defensive tackle Kyle Love

There’s really no veteran in big danger of not making the roster, but let’s just say one of the young tackles (Drew Iddings, Kendrick Norton, Ashaad Mabry) proves good enough to be a part of the four-man rotation that begins with Kawann Short, Dontari Poe and Vernon Butler. That could make the 31-year-old Love, primarily an early-down run stopper, expendable. He’s in the last year of his contract and has a $1.3 million cap number that could be applied to extending other long-term players. — David Newton

Linebacker Manti Te’o

Te’o had a good debut season with the Saints in 2017, returning from a torn Achilles to play in all 18 games (including the playoffs) and stepping up down the stretch after A.J. Klein went down with an injury. The Saints, however, added yet another inside linebacker when they spent big money on Demario Davis in free agency. So Te’o projects as a backup behind Davis, Klein and Alex Anzalone — and he doesn’t bring added value on special teams. That would probably make him a weekly inactive, barring another injury. — Mike Triplett

Running back Charles Sims

The Bucs’ running back competition is just heating up, and a virtual unknown in rookie Shaun Wilson could push veteran Sims out the door. Wilson, an undrafted free agent out of Duke, showed during minicamp that he has some solid hands and special-teams ability. Considering the team re-signed Sims late this offseason and it’s only a one-year deal, his roster spot is far from guaranteed as the Bucs’ third-down back, a spot that Jacquizz Rodgers could also hold. — Jenna Laine


NFC NORTH

Wide receiver Bennie Fowler

The Bears signed a pair of wide receivers — Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel — in free agency and drafted Anthony Miller out of Memphis in the second round. Fowler, and fellow veteran wideout Marlon Brown, face stiff competition to make the roster. The Bears are also hoping for a bounce-back year from former seventh overall pick Kevin White, who further complicates Chicago’s picture at wide receiver, if he stays healthy. — Jeff Dickerson

Safety Miles Killebrew

The Lions drafted Tracy Walker in the third round, re-signed Tavon Wilson and have Glover Quin and either Quandre Diggs or Wilson as likely starters. Killebrew, meanwhile, is entering his third season and might be the fifth safety on the roster. He’s talented and could serve a role in Patricia’s defense, but there also might not be room for him, particularly since he has struggled in coverage during the practices open to the media this spring. He still has a real chance, but unlike in prior years, there’s no guarantee Killebrew will be on Detroit’s 53-man roster. — Michael Rothstein

Quarterback Brett Hundley

How could a quarterback go from starting nine games last season to possibly out of a job — even as a backup? For starters, he could fail to throw a single touchdown at home while throwing seven interceptions in those games. Yes, Hundley kept the Packers’ playoff hopes alive (barely) while Aaron Rodgers recovered from his broken collarbone, but by trading this offseason for former Browns starter DeShone Kizer, the Packers sent the message that Hundley’s performance wasn’t good enough after spending three years in their system. — Rob Demovsky

Defensive end Brian Robison

The veteran edge rusher took a $2 million pay cut to return to the Vikings for his 12th season and has logged a lot of reps this spring with the first-team D-line in place of an injured Everson Griffen. Along with Stephen Weatherly, Robison played an important rotational role last season (56.7 percent of defensive snaps), but given the expectation that younger linemen like Tashawn Bower will grab hold of a spot with the reserve unit, Robison could see his playing time diminish further and have to battle for a job in training camp. Another veteran on the bubble is kicker Kai Forbath, who signed a one-year contract extension this offseason with no guaranteed money. Minnesota traded up into the fifth round to draft kicker Daniel Carlson, who will compete with Forbath. — Courtney Cronin


NFC EAST

Offensive lineman Chaz Green

Green has worked with the first team at guard for most of the organized team activities with Zack Martin not in attendance and has been fine, but he was drafted in the third round in 2015 to be the right tackle of the future. He was given the left guard spot a year ago out of camp but was unable to hold down the job. Green played as the swing tackle for a good part of the season and struggled mightily against the Falcons, giving up four of the six sacks to Adrian Clayborn. The Cowboys signed Cameron Fleming to be the swing tackle this summer and drafted Connor Williams in the second round to be the left guard with Marcus Martin and Joe Looney as potential depth players. — Todd Archer

Guard John Jerry

Jerry reworked his contract this offseason and lost his starting job. The Giants now have Patrick Omameh and second-round pick Will Hernandez entrenched as their starters. Even veteran Jon Greco appeared to be ahead of Jerry on the depth chart this spring. Jerry’s place on the roster is in jeopardy. — Jordan Raanan

Running back Wendell Smallwood

The former fifth-round pick has flashed at times over his first two pro seasons, but injuries and inconsistency have held him back. Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement and Darren Sproles hold the top three roles in Philadelphia. Smallwood will be fighting it out with the likes of Donnel Pumphrey and Matt Jones for a roster spot this summer. — Tim McManus

Quarterback Kevin Hogan

The Redskins traded for Hogan in the offseason, giving them three quarterbacks. Hogan is a distant third behind starter Alex Smith and backup Colt McCoy so he’ll need an impressive preseason to warrant a roster spot. He’s learning a new system, and adapting to new teammates, but it wasn’t as if he made a strong case in the spring that he should be on the 53-man roster. Coach Jay Gruden went with two quarterbacks last season, though they wanted to keep Nate Sudfeld on the practice squad. Going with two passers allows the Redskins to keep an extra player elsewhere, and that might be necessary with the new kickoff rules that will highlight the need for smaller, faster players. — John Keim