NFL Notes: Falcons sign 2-time Pro Bowl DT Dontari Poe

NFL Notes: Falcons sign 2-time Pro Bowl DT Dontari Poe

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons have bolstered their defensive line by agreeing to terms with two-time Pro Bowler Dontari Poe.

The 6-foot-3, 346-pound tackle joins All-Pro Vic Beasley Jr. and Grady Jarrett, who had three sacks in the Super Bowl.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff announced the signing Thursday. He describes the 26-year-old Poe as a "big guy that can push the pocket."

Poe has played for the Kansas City Chiefs since being a first-round pick. He started 76 games and recorded 13 sacks over five seasons, while claiming Pro Bowl spots in 2013 and 2014.

This past year, Poe had 1.5 sacks, three passes defensed and one forced fumble.

The Falcons have been looking to add depth on the defensive line since releasing Tyson Jackson at the beginning of free agency.

VIKINGS: Former Raiders RB Murray signs
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray.

The team announced the signing early Thursday morning. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

Murray spent his first four NFL seasons with the Raiders. He ran for 788 yards and a career-high 12 touchdowns last season.

Murray was a sixth-round draft pick of the Raiders out of Central Florida in 2013. He has rushed for 2,278 yards and 20 touchdowns. Murray made his first Pro Bowl in 2015 after taking over as the Raiders' No. 1 back and rushing for 1,066 yards and six TDs.

His arrival could signal the end of Adrian Peterson's time in Minnesota. Peterson is a free agent who visited last week with Seattle.

The Vikings declined their option on Peterson's contract for 2017 and made him a free agent for the first time. Minnesota previously stated its openness to re-signing its all-time leading rusher -- but for the right price.

BENGALS: OL Smith comes back to Bengals
CINCINNATI (AP) -- The Bengals signed offensive lineman Andre Smith on Thursday to shore up a line depleted in free agency.

Smith played right tackle for seven seasons in Cincinnati before going to Minnesota last season. He missed most of the season with a triceps injury that required surgery.

The Bengals have lost left tackle Andrew Whitworth to the Rams and right guard Kevin Zeitler to the Browns in free agency, leaving them with little experience at tackle. They plan to move Cedric Ogbuehi to left tackle -- he struggled on the right side last season -- and start Jake Fisher at right tackle. Smith hasn't played guard but could fill in at Zeitler's spot.

Smith told the Bengals he's willing to move to guard.

JAGUARS: LB McNary signs
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed free agent linebacker Josh McNary, adding another backup expected to bolster special teams.

McNary appeared in 49 games for Indianapolis after signing an undrafted rookie in 2013. During his four seasons with the Colts, McNary totaled 60 tackles.

Last year, McNary appeared in all 16 games -- three starts -- for the first time in his career. He had 14 tackles as well as a team-high nine special teams tackles.

The Jaguars previously signed linebackers Lerentee McCray and Audie Cole to beef up special teams, which were a mess last season. The units had at least one major meltdown every week during an eight-game losing streak.

Jacksonville hired veteran assistant Joe DeCamillis to turn its special teams around.

NFL Notes: NFL looking to speed up games via officiating and breaks

NFL Notes: NFL looking to speed up games via officiating and breaks

NEW YORK -- The NFL is making plans to speed up the pace of games, including changing how video replays are handled and using a time clock for extra points.

The league also is discussing with the TV networks how to make commercial breaks less intrusive.

For officiating replays, the referee no longer would go under a hood to watch a play. Instead, a tablet will be brought to him on the field and he will consult with league headquarters in New York. The final call will be made in New York.

Support by 75 percent of the 32 team owners would be needed at next week's annual meetings for passage of the proposal.

In addition to a time clock for PATs when there is no TV break, the league is considering instituting a play clock after a touchdown.

Also, to improve the flow of games on the field and for television audiences, commercial breaks would be reduced from 21 per game to 16, although each would last 30 seconds longer.

Giants: RB Shaun Draughn signs
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have signed veteran running back Shaun Draughn.

The Giants announced the signing Wednesday, a little more than a month after releasing veteran Rashad Jennings in a salary cap move.

Draughn has played for six teams in six years, most recently the San Francisco 49ers. He has played in 57 games with seven starts. His career totals include 225 carries for 723 yards and seven touchdowns, plus 80 receptions for 597 yards and two scores. He also has 17 special teams tackles.

Draughn says the Giants were interested in his versatility. He says: "I don't know exactly how they'll use me. I'm sure they'll use me to the strengths that I have."

Draughn played in all 16 games last season with one start for the 49ers. He scored a career-high four touchdowns while rushing for 194 yards on 74 carries. Draughn also had career-best totals of 29 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

He joins a backfield that includes second-year pro Paul Perkins, the team's top returning rusher, Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen.

Bengals: 'Pacman' Jones faces misdemeanor charges
CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones faces three misdemeanor charges, including assault, but no longer is charged with a felony.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE'-turs) announced Wednesday that a felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance was dismissed at the prosecuting attorney's request.

Deters said the misdemeanors also include disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

The 33-year-old veteran whose career has been marked by off-the-field legal issues was jailed Jan. 3 after a confrontation with a hotel security employee was followed by a struggle with Cincinnati police and a sheriff's office report Jones spit on a nurse's hand.

Deters says the criminal charge won't be pursued, given that the nurse has been pursuing a possible civil remedy.

A Bengals spokesman said the team has no comment.

Two Eagles question why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned

Two Eagles question why Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned

Two weeks into NFL free agency and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains available. He decided to test the market in free agency after not picking up the player option on his contract.

While there's still a chance Kaepernick gets signed, a couple of Eagles players are pointing out that some of the quarterbacks to get contracts recently aren't as good.   

On Monday, Geno Smith signed with the Giants, Josh McCown signed with the Jets and E.J. Manuel signed with the Raiders.

Kaepernick has a better record and completion percentage than those three quarterbacks. He's also second in touchdown passes, trailing only McCown by seven, 79-72, despite playing nine fewer seasons.

So, why aren't teams giving the quarterback who nearly won the Super Bowl against the Ravens in 2013 a chance?

It could be because of his protest of the national anthem last season.

According to Bleacher Report, about 20 percent of teams around the league believe he can play, but the others are simply using showing no interest as punishment for his protest:

"He can still play at a high level," one AFC general manager said. "The problem is three things are happening with him.

"First, some teams genuinely believe that he can't play. They think he's shot. I'd put that number around 20 percent.

"Second, some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him. They think there might be protests or [President Donald] Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.

"Third, the rest genuinely hate him and can't stand what he did [kneeling for the national anthem]. They want nothing to do with him. They won't move on. They think showing no interest is a form of punishment. I think some teams also want to use Kaepernick as a cautionary tale to stop other players in the future from doing what he did."

And of course, President Donald Trump chimed in on Kaepernick's status in free agency.

Last year, Trump commented on Kaepernick's decision not to stand for the national anthem saying, ​"maybe he should find a country that works better for him."