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The predraft obfuscation reaches its zenith right about now, days before the draft. And the Browns, who have the No. 1 and No. 4 picks — and a dire need for a franchise quarterback — have yet to tip their hand. Common sense suggests they’d take a passer, though we still don’t know who they favor. But common sense was nowhere to be found in 2016, when they passed on Carson Wentz, or in 2017, when they passed on Deshaun Watson.

I thought we made a good push here tonight, created a lot more zone time and made Fleury work a little harder than he had to this point in the series, Los Angeles coach John Stevens said. But (we) had some critical errors at critical times along the wall (that) ended up costing us.

Vegas’ offensive burst broke open a third straight game of tense, defense-dominated playoff hockey between a franchise that won two Cups with that attitude and another that didn’t exist a year ago.

Some of the possible conflict between Rodgers and the Packers is Kirk Cousins ‘ fault.

It’s not that the new Minnesota Vikings quarterback did anything wrong by leveraging the free agency market into an unprecedented, fully guaranteed contract worth $84 million over the next three seasons. It’s that by signing it, Cousins set a standard for what a premium passer will cost.

While the Kings are down, they know they’re not out: They rallied from an 0-3 series deficit in the first round in 2014 against San Jose.

Oh yeah, we trust in ourselves, and it’s been done before, said Iafallo, whose goal gave Los Angeles its first lead of the series. We look at each other, look across the room, and we trust each other. We can definitely do it.

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Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday the team continues to negotiate with quarterback Matt Ryan’s agent but reiterated there’s no timetable on getting a contract extension completed for the one-time MVP.

I’m definitely excited to go in there and share my wisdom as being a professional in this business and also learn, too, from the younger guys as well, Stewart said Wednesday. There is always room for growth and I’m excited to be a part of that running-back group. The sky is the limit and I’m excited to meet those guys and be a part of the team.

It is not yet determined who Stewart will share the room with. Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins are holdovers for the Giants at running back but there is a much bigger prize waiting out there. The Giants own the No. 2 pick in the NFL draft and could use it on Saquon Barkley, the Penn State star considered by many talent evaluators to be a once-a-decade talent.

Stewart spent the first 10 years of his career with the Panthers and turns 31 next week. He is coming off a career-worst 3.4-yard-per- carry average and signed a two-year deal worth $6.9 million, with $2.95 million in guaranteed money, so it can realistically be viewed as a one-year commitment for around $3 million. For that money, general manager Dave Gettleman is not viewing Stewart as the starting running back.

I’ve got a lot left, Stewart said. The only reason why I would be playing is if I knew I could play and I know I can play, Dave knows I can play — there is a lot that I feel I want to prove and writing my own story as far as how things shape up moving forward for me.

It played a significant role, said Stewart, who visited with the Seahawks and Lions before signing with the Giants. Dave believes in me, and it’s just good to know that the GM believes in what you can do on the field, and Mike Shula, there is a familiarity with the offense and the scheme.

There’s no time frame on it right now, Dimitroff told reporters gathered at Georgia’s pro day. I think the biggest thing for [Ryan’s representation], at one time, was probably waiting to see what was going on in the market. That’s kind of come and gone now, right? So we’ll continue to talk about how to get it finalized.

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The man whose blind side Orlando Brown protected at Oklahoma is defending Brown after an ugly Combine performance.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, says Brown’s poor showing at the Combine shouldn’t hurt his draft stock. Instead, Mayfield says, it’s Brown’s play on the field that matters.

Gronk signed an extension two years into his pro career as a hedge against the back injury that cost him his final year at Arizona. The future Hall of Famer still might retire this offseason, but if he continues his career, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Gronkowski pick up a new deal next offseason handing him in excess of $10 million per year. If not Gronkowski, the next big deal is going to take a while, given that guys such as Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce are under contract through the 2021 season. By then, someone like Evan Engram might be in the discussion.

To get Solder to leave the comfort of New England and head down I-95, the Giants had to reset the left tackle market. Trent Williams previously held both these marks at $13.6 million and $42.3 million, respectively. The leap from Williams’ deal to Solder’s would be like if Cousins picked up a three-year, $98.6 million deal from the Vikings. It’s an enormous outlay from a team that desperately needed offensive line help for a tackle who has never been voted to a Pro Bowl during his seven years in the NFL.

An effective long-term solution has not been found among such luminaries as: DeShone Kizer (2017), Johnny Manziel (2014), Brandon Weedon (2012), Brady Quinn (2007) and Luke McCown (2004).

This has not simply been a streak of bad luck. Yes, more was expected of Quinn, but that’s about it. Both Kizer and Manziel were too immature to handle being the face of this woebegone franchise. Consider those two to be bad draft picks. But also consider that the Browns did not invest heavily in uncovering their franchisequarterback either.

Big Blue has drafted three quarterbacks in the Eli Manning-era: Ryan Nassib (2013), Rhett Bomar (2009) and Davis Webb (2017). Nassib and Bomar were clearly considered back-ups. Still, they weren’t hugely successful.

On the other hand, Webb is being considered as an heir to Manning. Based upon Cleveland’s track record though, drafting a franchise quarterback means investing a high draft pick. That places the odds of Webb becoming a franchise quarterback at worse than 50/50.

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Plans for Muhammad Wilkerson to visit the Packers were reported before Wilkerson was officially cut by the Jets on Monday and that visit is now taking place.

Word earlier this week was that the visit was scheduled for Wednesday and Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that is when Wilkerson arrived in Green Bay. He was set for dinner with Packers coaches before moving on to a formal visit at the team’s facility on Thursday.

Cassel joined the Titans in 2016 and spent the last two seasons backing up Marcus Mariota. He started one game in each season and completed 55-of-93 passes for 446 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.

Brandon Weeden is set for free agency and the Titans also have Alex Tanney and Tyler Ferguson on the roster. They may be in the market for another experienced backup to Mariota once free agency opens next week.

Weems saw most of his time on special teams during his one season with the Titans. He caught one pass, returned two punts and two kickoffs.

Cassel’s release clears $2.5 million in cap space while dispatching Weems opens another $1.35 million. Along with the space gained by cutting Murray and Searcy, the Titans have created over $13 million in space this week.

Price partially tore a pectoral muscle during the bench press Thursday. Now comes word that Lewis has the flu.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports the flu is spreading around the combine and could keep Lewis from participating in Sunday’s defensive line drills.

Lewis started 36 of his 55 games played, making 112 tackles, 36.5 tackles for loss and 23.5 sacks. His sack total ranks fifth in school history.

Assuming Bell stays healthy, the Steelers won’t be able to justify franchising him for a third time at a rate of nearly $21 million in 2019. The former second-round pick will either hit free agency or sign an extension with the Steelers, which should easily top McCoy’s $27.3 million figure. The interesting question is whether Bell will set a running back record. Seven of the eight largest running back deals are dead and buried, led by the three-year, $42 million deal Adrian Peterson negotiated as part of a restructure from the six-year, $86.3 million contract he agreed on with the Vikings before 2011. They remain the only two deals to top $31 million over three seasons and did so by a considerable margin, topping $40 million.

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University of Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea hurt his hamstring on Sunday in Indianapolis, but, assuming it’s not a major issue, he hasn’t done anything to hurt his draft stock during the Scouting Combine.

Vea is ranked at the top of the list of interior linemen entering the NFL this year and helped cement his case as a first-round pick over the last two days. Vea did 41 reps on the bench press Saturday and ran a 5.10 40-yard dash on Sunday.

Hand, who weighed in at 297 pounds at the scouting combine, is someone to watch closely. There’s massive potential there. At the combine, he ran the seventh-best 40-yard dash among defensive linemen at 4.83 seconds. His second run wasn’t bad, either, clocking in at 4.92 seconds.

That makes him a big man who can run fast. And that potential likely will cause him to be drafted in the early rounds. Bleacher Report draft guru Matt Miller predicts Hand will go in Round 3.

Given that he is nearly a sure thing during draft weekend, I also asked Hand how playing at Alabama prepared him for the NFL.

The big thing is structure, he said. [Head coach Nick] Saban teaches you how to be ready for anything…the NFL throws your way. That’s what Coach Saban does for you.

After training with four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson, Chark said he hoped to run in the low 4.4s and anything faster than that would be an accomplishment.

Chark’s college teammate, LSU cornerback Donte Jackson, also trained with Johnson in McKinney, Texas, and said he hopes to run lower than 4.27.

Alabama cornerback Tony Brown also has a track background and could run under 4.3.

The two quarterback contracts about to come down the pike are the extensions for Rodgers and Matt Ryan. It wouldn’t be shocking if Ryan got the larger deal, if only because he’s 2 years younger than Rodgers, but I do think Rodgers’ status as a future Hall of Famer makes it more likely he’ll end up with the larger annual average, though likely on a shorter contract.

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Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t have much time left in his NFL career, and what time he has he wants to spend catching passes from a good quarterback. And so Fitzgerald is recruiting Kirk Cousins to Arizona.

Cousins posted on Instagram a picture of himself and Fitzgerald, with a message that Fitzgerald has been recruiting him.

Wynn converted from left guard to left tackle as a senior and excelled. At 6’3 and 313 pounds, he’s a natural fit along the interior. The versatile blocker plays with exceptional balance and almost always manages good run fits and square pass sets. He is quite difficult to beat because he’s a patient blocker…until he needs to bury an opponent. He’s also athletic enough to excel in the Seahawks’ zone blocking-heavy scheme.

A consistent and well-coached offensive lineman is exactly what Seattle needs after it’s relied on multiple projects during the last few seasons.

The incoming wide receiver class is underwhelming. Only one or two prospects are even considered first-round prospects. That doesn’t matter as long as a franchise selects the right prospect.

But that has been hard to do recently, with an awful three-year stretch of first-round draftees: Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller V, Josh Doctson, Laquon Treadwell, Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Seahawks have told the veteran cornerback he would be released today, setting him into the market before the start of the league year next Wednesday.

Even though he’s coming off a torn Achilles and a cleanup surgery to the other one, Sherman should be sought-after commodity, particularly for teams close to contention.

And while the Seahawks defense had already begun to fade, seeing so many big names discarded still pulls a startling curtain on what was one of the league’s top defenses.

Patterson is an interesting guy. He has elite speed and playmaking ability as a kickoff returner. He can scare people on some catch-and-runs or jet sweeps, but really isn’t a consistent weapon for an offense. He has an eye-opening statistic in that he’s averaged more yards per rush in his career (10.3 avg.) than on receptions (10.0 avg.). Now, he’s obviously had about four-times as many catches and rushes, including 30-plus in four of five seasons, but the reality is that he’s just not a consistent, reliable option on offense. So, his first role in his new home with the Patriots will likely be returning and covering kicks.

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As the Rams reshape their defense in an effort to get to the proverbial next level, the Chargers run the risk of getting left in the Southern California dust.

With both teams sharing the nation’s second-biggest market (and, soon, the NFL’s newest stadium), the Rams and Chargers currently are in a competition for hearts, minds, and wallets in L.A. The Rams are winning.

Here’s a good start, suggested in Thursday’s PFT Live: Sign cornerback Richard Sherman, reuniting him with former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and bringing Sherman home to L..A. The good news is that, with the Rams trading for Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, the Chargers wouldn’t have to compete with their cross-town team to get Sherman.

The better news is that Sherman would bring sizzle to a Chargers team that needs to be treating each game of each season as a chance to build the fan base.

I didn’t think it was going to be this dramatic, Avril said. You’ve seen it with the coaching staff a little bit. But I didn’t expect this many guys to even be considered to be leaving. Some of these guys have been playing at a high level for a long time. And to kind of see this playing out the way it’s playing out right now is, again, interesting. We’ll see how it plays out, though.

Avril’s own future with both Seattle and as an active player remains up in the air due to the neck injury that sent him to injured reserve last year. Avril said he’s meeting with his surgeon in the next few days to see where things stand and reiterated his hope to continue playing.

If he is cleared, Avril could wind up on the discard pile as this week has made it clear that it won’t be the same old Seahawks in 2018.

These two quarterback prospects are diametric opposites. Mayfield is undersize yet extremely efficient and won the 2017 Heisman Trophy, whereas Allen is a ball of unmolded clay with every physical tool an NFL team wants. Mayfield is the better choice and scheme fit.

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Alex Ovechkin has reached 600 career goals, but how well do you know the details of the Washington Capitals star’s scoring dominance? Test your knowledge here!

I just have to put the puck in and do my job, Ovechkin said after scoring his 40th goal of the season at the Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3. Forty is nice, but 50 is better.

Greeting Ovechkin in the locker room, owner Ted Leonsis took the moment to express his gratitude for 600 goals over the past 13 seasons.

I told him I loved him and respected him and was very grateful and appreciated everything he’s done for the fans and for our team and looking forward to the next 100 goals, Leonsis said. We should never take Alex for granted. It’s really remarkable what he’s accomplished.

Ovechkin was drafted first overall by Washington in 2004. Since entering the NHL in 2005, no one has come close to matching Ovechkin’s goal totals, as he has nearly 200 more tallies than the next highest scorer, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins (404). Ovechkin has scored more than 50 goals in a season seven times and more than 40 goals nine times.

Dec. 15: Galvis should remain a starter in San Diego and maintain NL-only middle-infield value, but this deal was about clearing shortstop for J.P. Crawford in Philadelphia. Crawford is the better fantasy pick thanks to his speed.

Dec. 14: Ozuna, who was likely due some regression anyway, is about as valuable in fantasy in St. Louis as he was in Miami. The ballpark factors are similar for righty power and the Cardinals (4.7) scored almost the same rate of runs per game in 2017 as the Marlins (4.8). Alcantara is a prospect to watch in Miami, where he’s more likely to make the team out of spring training. Read more from Tristan H. Cockcroft.

All jokes set aside, the Clippers would either have to hit on one of those 15th-pick-caliber future superstars and have him develop into that superstardom relatively quickly or hit a home run in free agency to bring in the upper-level talent to lead their quality depth back to contention. So … where does this Clippers Process leave the fantasy prospects of the Clips, both this season and next?

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At 5-foot-9, Wilson isn’t the classic big receiver who typically finds big paydays. But in today’s spread-oriented schemes, he can eat up a lot of yards between the 20s. — Seifert

He could be of value elsewhere, too. He can play inside or outside, at least in a 4-3 base scheme, and has missed only four games in his four-year career. — Seifert

A surprise Oakland run would probably send Billy Beane in search of a rental or two, and he has the supply of young arms to make something happen.

Duffy is on a team-friendly deal that has four years remaining on it, providing a lot of future WAR to a team willing to help provide a boost to Kansas City’s farm system.

As for a surprise Royals run … it wouldn’t be boosted much by dealing prospects from the barren system. More likely, it would be a lower-tier prospect or two and a willingness to take on some money.

Towns shot 13 for 17, including making all three of his 3-point attempts, and showed no ill effects after getting knocked in the face with about a minute left in the first half.

Entering the fourth quarter in this defense-optional contest, the Wizards were ahead 90-82. The hosts stretched that to a game-high edge of 10 points, at 95-85 with 10 minutes left.

But a 20-3 run capped by an inside basket from Andrew Wiggins off Towns’ assist put Minnesota up 105-98 with less than 5 1/2 minutes to go. After the Wizards got within 111-109, Towns sank a corner 3 with 29 seconds left to push the visitors’ lead back up to five.

Every starter scored at least 10 points for the Timberwolves, who were coming off a victory over the Golden State Warriors in their previous game. Wiggins scored 16, and Nemanja Bjelica had 17, plus eight rebounds and seven assists.

Miller opened the scoring 4:19 into the game, but Ottawa roared back with three goals to close the period as Paajarvi scored his seventh of the season, Dzingel notched his 20th while on the power play and Pyatt tipped in Cody Ceci’s shot at 11:24.

Miller scored his second of the game on the power play 2:03 into the second period to cut the margin to 3-2, but the Senators answered that with goals by Hoffman — who also got his 20th of the season — and Gaborik to grab a 5-3 lead at 13:44.

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LA Clippers guard Avery Bradley underwent surgery to repair adductor and rectus abdominis muscles on Tuesday and will likely miss the rest of the regular season.

Six to eight weeks is the recovery time for the surgery, which means the Clippers would need to make the postseason for Bradley to have a chance to return this season.

The Clippers are 36-29 and holding on to the seventh seed.

Towns was back out there to open the second half, and he kept getting the ball down low — and kept putting it in the hoop. Wizards starting center Marcin Gortat, in particular, put up little resistance while trying to guard the All-Star known by his initials, KAT.

Both teams are without All-Star guards at the moment. The Timberwolves are missing Jimmy Butler, who had surgery on his right knee on Feb. 25, while the Wizards don’t have John Wall, out since late January because of an operation on his left knee.

If you’re skeptical about what a guard can get on the open market, recall the deal Kevin Zeitler received last year from the Browns: five years, $60 million, with $31.5 million guaranteed. And Norwell, unlike Zeitler, was a first-team All-Pro in his contract year. — Seifert

Reasonable people can debate whether Solder is an upper-tier player, but no one can argue the value of even a competent left tackle in free agency. In 2017, the Rams gave Andrew Whitworth — at age 35 — a deal that averaged $11.25 million per year. Solder could cash in if he decides to leave the Patriots. — Seifert

Inciarte is a joy to watch in center field. He also had a nice season at the plate in 2017 and has four years and an option remaining on an extremely team-friendly deal. If the Giants had the prospects to deal, they would be wearing out the smartphone of Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos.

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