The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upgraded their struggling offensive line, trading for six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins instead of offering a contract to free agent Richie Incognito.
That doesn't mean, however, that the Buccaneers have closed the door on the prospect of giving Incognito, one of the players at the center of the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal, a chance to resume his career.
After acquiring Mankins from the New England Patriots in exchange for second-year tight end Tim Wright and an undisclosed draft pick Tuesday, Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht said Incognito remains an option if they decide to make more changes to an overhauled line that will begin the regular season with four new starters.
"We try to not to talk about putting a period behind many things. Everything is ongoing. If a player is available out there, there's still possibilities," Smith said. "But we like our football team where we are right now. We've made a lot of improvements. We feel like we're in pretty good shape going into the season."
The deal came less than 24 hours after the Buccaneers met with Incognito to try to determine if the 31-year-old, who's coming off serving a suspension for his role in last season's bullying scandal, might be an answer to their problems at guard.
Smith described Incognito's visit as "informative," adding that the 2012 Pro Bowl selection with the Dolphins was able to answer "all of the questions I had" in the face-to-face meeting.
Incognito was cleared by the league Tuesday to play this season, according to multiple reports.
Mankins was a first-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2005 and has been selected for the Pro Bowl each of the last five seasons. He has appeared in two Super Bowls and started all 130 regular-season games and 17 postseason games he's played in during a nine-year stay with New England.
The Seattle Seahawks will forfeit two days of on-field mini-camp practices next off-season after being penalized by the league for excessive physical contact during their 2014 mini-camp.
Seattle was fined about $300,000, will be docked the first two days of its 2015 mandatory mini-camp and will be permitted one 2 1/2-hour practice on the final day. The mini-camp this past June was highlighted by a fight between All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman and wide receiver Phil Bates that was caught by TV cameras.
Seattle also lost a pair of organized team activities during the 2012 off-season due to excessive contact.
Raiders' Hayden out again
Oakland Raiders cornerback DJ Hayden will miss at least the first six weeks of the season after being placed on the physically unable to perform list with a stress fracture in his right foot.
The move is the latest setback to Hayden since being drafted 12th overall in 2013 with General Manager Reggie McKenzie's first first-round pick in Oakland.
Hayden missed the entire off-season and part of training camp his rookie season recovering from abdominal surgery related to surgery for a near-fatal heart injury in college.
He started two of the eight games he played last season before having season-ending sports hernia surgery. He was overmatched when he did play, allowing 26 catches on 40 throws with him in coverage for 376 yards and three touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus.
Meriweather to appeal
Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather will appeal the two-game suspension for his latest helmet-to-helmet blow, a hit his coach called a "legitimate football play" while teammates stood up for him with much stronger words.
Coach Jay Gruden said Tuesday he hopes the team can get the NFL to revoke or reduce the sanction for the hit on Torrey Smith in Saturday's exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens. It is the sixth time Meriweather has been cited for a violation of player safety rules.
The New York Jets have suspended cornerback Dimitri Patterson for the rest of the preseason after he left the team last week for 48 hours without speaking to anyone in the organization. ... San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith still has no indication from the NFL about a possible suspension for his off-field legal issues. Just before training camp began last month, the 24-year-old Smith was sentenced to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges.
Thad Lewis is out and Jordan Palmer is in following the Buffalo Bills' late preseason shuffle of backup quarterbacks. Palmer was signed Tuesday, two days after being cut by the Chicago Bears, where he lost the backup competition to Jimmy Clausen. ... Quarterback Brady Quinn was among the cuts made by the Dolphins on Tuesday, when the team made 11 moves in order to meet the NFL's deadline for paring the roster down to 75 players. ... New Orleans outside linebacker Victor Butler, who was seen as a key free-agent acquisition and projected starter in 2013, was among eight cuts made by the Saints.
Receiver Dez Bryant figures he has about a week left to work out a contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys because he doesn't want negotiations going on during the season. ... Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said he has not given any thought to breaking off negotiations on a long-term contract, though that remains a possibility with the start of the regular season just over a week away. ... The New York Giants traded first-year kicker Brandon McManus to the Denver Broncos for a conditional draft pick next year. Giants guard Geoff Schwartz has a dislocated right big toe and will be in a walking boot for a week to 10 days.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times