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Bill O'Brien probably prefers Blake Bortles; would Bob McNair overrule?

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If it comes down to primarily the decision of new Texans coach Bill O'Brien on the first overall pick, I would put my money on Blake Bortles from Central Florida. He has all the physical tools you could look for, fits the bill of the big, strapping quarterbacks in the Tom Brady mold O'Brien espouses, and I continue to hear O'Brien has been impressed with him.

Now, we could see a situation where Houston owner Bob McNair falls in love with Johnny Manziel, perhaps. And especially on decisions as big as this -- the first overall pick -- you are kidding yourself if you think owners don't have an opinion and aren't personally invested in the choice. But it doesn't sound like O'Brien is a huge Johnny Football guy. O'Brien is a QB guru and, with him coming in there making $6 million a year, it would be naïve not to think he has the owner's ear.

Obviously, the front office and scouts will have a role in the decision, and in the end, you will hear plenty about the Texans' overall decision to go in whatever direction they end up going with the pick.

I still believe some sort of trade scenario could arise that gives them reason to consider, but now, still a couple of months out, I'm penciling in Bortles based on what I've heard thus far.

• • • • • • • • •

It will be interesting to see how quickly John Fox gets his contract extension from the Broncos. The sides began discussions in Indianapolis and there are some in the coaching community who can't help but wonder that if Fox were not to land a new deal more in line with how well the Broncos have fared under his guidance, perhaps the timing works out where he is available at the same time Tom Coughlin ends up retiring from the Giants. I would expect the Broncos to pay the man, sooner rather than later, but Fox's ties to the Giants organization from his time there are obvious.

• • • • • • • • •

The Dolphins are trying to lure esteemed long-time Jaguars trainer Mike Ryan out of retirement, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. Miami parted with former head trainer Kevin O'Neill following the revelations in the Ted Wells report -- which has spurred some negative reaction from former players and comes at a time when O'Neill was just honored as the NFL's trainer of the year. Given the various unique issues involved in this situation, landing an experienced, well-respected replacement would be imperative and Ryan's reputation fits that description.

• • • • • • • • •

Initially after the Wells report came out, I figured that would kill the chances of starting center Mike Pouncey getting a big-time contract extension from the Dolphins. Now I'm not so sure.

Cleveland center Alex Mack is going to get paid big time. The Eagles need to get a new deal with their stud center -- Jason Kelce is in line for a payday. As bad as the Wells report reflects on Pouncey, salaries for centers will continue to grow, he is the team's best player, and his agent, Joel Segal, has showed in the past he is not afraid to hold a client out. That could come to a head sometime between now and training camp, and Pouncey might end up getting a huge deal anyway.

• • • • • • • • •

It seems inevitable that the NFLPA will be filing a joint grievance for Jimmy Graham and Dennis Pitta when both are hit with the franchise tag. The union will argue they should be tagged as receivers, the cases would go before the arbitrator together, and I think the union has a helluva case for both of them. There is always the possibility a side deal is cut between either team and said player while all of that plays out, but I fully expect all of that to play out this offseason.

• • • • • • • • •

I reported back during the playoffs that the likelihood of Colin Kaepernick taking anything less than a top-five quarterback deal were more or less nil. I believe that even more strongly now. If he takes a deal worth less than $20 million a year, I would be stunned, and he is the type of cat who would pull a Joe Flacco and leave a ton of money on the table to play out his rookie contract and gamble on himself. I don't see that changing, and the 49ers have to know that even at this very early stage in the process.

• • • • • • • • •

I bet Dolphins corner Nolan Carroll ends up doing well in free agency. He has great size and coverage skills and plays physical. I don't think $5 million a season is out of the question at all for him and guys like Walter Thurmond. Alterraun Verner will set the pace at that position, I'm figuring somewhere around $8 million a season.

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