Here's a look at some of the top rumors for Monday, Feb. 1:
The Green Bay Packers have made it clear to running back Eddie Lacy that he must play at a lower weight in 2016, but how much do they want him to lose? Per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the answer is 30 pounds, and Rapoport adds that Lacy is "committed to it." It's unclear what that means for Lacy's target playing weight -- his listing on the team's website, 234 pounds, is likely a conservative estimate -- but it's reasonable to guess the team wants him in the 220-pound range. We heard last week that P90X creator Tony Horton has offered to personally train Lacy this offseason, though there's been no word whether or not the running back will accept. One way or another, such a significant drop in weight could be a huge boost for Lacy. Many bigger runners have made huge strides after shedding a few pounds, including Pittsburgh Steelers back Le'Veon Bell. After playing above 240 pounds at Michigan State, Bell dropped down to 225 and promptly became one of the league's most dangerous weapons. Though Lacy's running style is less dependent on lateral agility than Bell's, it wouldn't be unreasonable to expect a similar breakout from Lacy if he can meet the team's target for his weight.
As for a running back who is on the other end of the size spectrum, Philadelphia Eagles scatback Darren Sproles could be on the move this offseason. Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com suggests that Sproles could be traded for a mid-round pick, especially because the Eagles have invested heavily at the position with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews. Shorr-Parks thinks it's "unlikely" Sproles would be released, as he's still shown himself to be a useful back and returner who could help out another team. Still, Sproles will be 33 by the time training camp arrives, so it may be tough to find a suitor for his $3.5 million salary. Philly might be better served keeping Sproles for the final year of his contract, featuring him in spread formations and bunch sets that new head coach Doug Pederson loves to run.
Many have suggested that new San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly puts too much stress on his defense by playing so fast on offense, but it sounds like linebacker NaVorro Bowman isn't worried. "I think people are blowing it out of proportion," Bowman told NFL Media over the weekend. "I think any defense you play in, if your offense is getting off the field quicker, then you gotta get off the field quicker. You gotta hold yourself to that standard." Kelly has rightfully countered criticisms of his team's time of possession with numbers about plays run, in which the Eagles' offense typically ranked highly. However, Kelly's fast-paced style inherently increases possessions for both teams, so Bowman and the Niners' defense should see more work regardless of how successful Kelly's offense is in 2016.
In other 49ers news, Michael Chammas of the Sydney Morning Herald offered an update on the status of running back Jarryd Hayne, who will give the NFL another shot this season after struggling in 2015. Niners GM Trent Baalke told Chammas that Kelly is "excited to get his hands on" the former rugby league star, meaning Hayne will have plenty of opportunities to prove himself worthy of a roster spot. "They always say the biggest jump for a player is between year one and year two," Baalke added. "We expect the same for Jarryd." Perhaps Kelly's scheme can find ways to get Hayne in space, but it's unfair to expect the 27-year-old to suddenly break out in his second year of playing the sport. Still, this will be a storyline worth watching in training camp.
The Miami Dolphins' defense drastically underperformed preseason expectations in 2015, and new coordinator Vance Joseph will be tasked with turning the unit around. The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson suggests the team could help Joseph by bringing in two of his former pupils from the Cincinnati Bengals: impending free agent DBs Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson. The Dolphins' secondary was a huge liability a season ago, and top cornerback Brent Grimes -- who will be 33 before next season begins -- showed some serious regression, so help would certainly be welcome. Miami has a history of making a splash in free agency, but the team's cap space is limited after last year's mammoth signing of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Additionally, Joseph is confident that he has plenty of talent to work with already on the roster, so perhaps it will be a quieter free-agency period in South Beach. Of course, we'll believe it when we see it.
It appears the Washington Redskins are still waiting on a retirement decision from defensive end Jason Hatcher, according to CSN Mid-Atlantic's Tarik El-Bashir, who was told as much by GM Scot McCloughan at last week's Senior Bowl. The 33-year-old has seen his sack totals fall in two seasons with Washington, but he's graded out highly in Pro Football Focus' assessments. If Hatcher does call it a career, perhaps the team would explore moving linebacker Trent Murphy to defensive end. The 2014 second-round pick could wind up fourth on the depth chart at outside linebacker next season, with Ryan Kerrigan, 2015 second-rounder Preston Smith and pending free-agent Junior Galette all potentially in the mix.