The NFL and ESPN can’t control each otherand it’s getting ugly

One task on James Pitaro’s to-do list should get a big circle.

The newly named ESPN president must assume responsibility of the network’s longstanding relationship with the NFL, which has reached its nadir in recent months, according to a SportsBusiness Daily report, as negative NFL storylines have made their way into ESPN’s coverage. Pitaro, who took over last Monday after a search that began when John Skipper stepped down in December, has made it one of his top priorities to patch up the points of contention that materialized under Skipper’s leadership.

Day 1 of the free-agency negotiating period did not produce much news on free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins and where he might play in 2018. The Jets are one of the top suitors for Cousins, ready to break the bank for the 29-year-old, but they have competition from the Vikings and Cardinals.

Teams were permitted to contact Cousins’ agent Mike McCartney on Monday. He cannot sign anywhere officially until 4 p.m. Wednesday. Cousins surely was sifting through the offers from teams Monday, trying to figure out what his first choice would be. He is the biggest quarterback domino that the NFL is waiting to fall. Once he indicates where he likely is heading, other quarterbacks such A.J. McCarron and Teddy Bridgewater can start finding homes. Case Keenum, who had a career year for the Vikings, reportedly intends to sign with the Broncos.

Make no mistake, the Giants had serious interest in Norwell and not getting him is a setback. They knew the price would be steep and when it exceeded the value the Giants placed on Norwell, new general manager Dave Gettleman did not raise the ante and assign a greater value to the player.

Gettleman, the Giants’ first-year general manager, ran the show for the Panthers when he signed Nowell as an undrafted free agent in 2014, but that connection did not overcome the pursuit of Norwell by the Jaguars and Tom Coughlin.

The Giants now must look elsewhere, for less-accomplished players who will cost less money. Their great need is to find a starting-caliber offensive tackle, but the pickings are slim in free agency. The best of the bunch is Nate Solder, a mainstay at left tackle for the Patriots, but he is coming off a down year and would be costly. Cameron Fleming, a backup tackle in New England, started 20 games in his four years with the Patriots and could be the type of under-the-radar player Gettleman prefers to uncover as one of his hog mollies for the offensive line. Fleming is 25 years old.

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Inside DRC’s move to safety with ex-Giant who knows best

He understands the logic, believes it can work but, if he had a voice in the decision, Antrel Rolle would not move his friend Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie from cornerback to safety.

I think DRC can do whatever he wants to do,” Rolle, the former Giants safety, told The Post on Monday. I think he’s gonna buy into it. I personally like DRC better at corner. In my opinion he can be one of the better cornerbacks in the league, without a doubt. Can he make the transition to safety? There’s no doubt about it he can.”

It is a big and bold move the Giants are attempting. Rodgers-Cromartie, 31, is entering the fifth and final year of the $35 million contract he signed in 2014 and there was plenty of speculation he might not survive the front office and coaching regime change.

DRC’s been somewhat making a transition, him playing the nickel slot will also further his intellect as far as understanding the entire defense, because now he will be asked to understand what the linebackers are doing, what the defensive linemen are doing, their stunts, their gaps. It’s a lot more cerebral than being out there on a corner island.”

Rolle knows what he is talking about. He was a first-round pick out of Miami as a cornerback and after three years with the Cardinals he was moved to safety, a position he manned for five for the Giants, winning a Super Bowl, before spending his final season with the Bears in 2015.

The Penn State running back put on a show at the Combine and planted himself firmly in the discussion to be drafted No. 1 overall in April. He would be the first running back to go No. 1 overall since the Bengals picked fellow Nittany Lion Ki-Jana Carter in 1995.

The 5-foot-11, 233-pound Barkley — who could be an option for the Giants at No. 2 if the Browns pass with the top pick — ran the 40 in 4.40 seconds, racked up 29 reps at 225 pounds in the bench press and leaped 41 inches in the vertical jump.

Those marks rank right up there with some of the NFL’s best. Barkley benched more than Joe Thomas, ran faster than Devin Hester and jumped higher than Julio Jones.

Barkley ran for nearly 4,000 yards and scored 51 touchdowns from scrimmage over three seasons at Penn State

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Jerry Jones: Eagles’ championship puts pressure on the Cowboys

The Eagles did in 2017 what the Cowboys couldn’t do as the NFC’s top seed in 2016: They won it all.

Dallas went 13-3 in 2016, but home-field advantage didn’t help as the Cowboys lost to the Packers in the divisional round. The Eagles’ ability to finish puts more pressure on the Cowboys.

I think it raises the bar. I think it puts pressure on the Cowboys, Jones said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. They’ve took it down to the bone and brought it back up and have a world championship, and we’ve been doing the same thing. Where is ours? That’s fair. That’s fair.

That probably isn’t going to change between now and the start of the new league year on March 14.

Browns coach Hue Jackson said last week that he would hope not to be starting a rookie at quarterback in 2018 and Peter King of SI.com reports that Jackson’s preference for a starter is McCarron. Per King, the team would also like to select a quarterback in the draft under that scenario and groom him behind McCarron.

One need only look at Mike Glennon’s experience in Chicago to see that such an arrangement offers little security for the veteran half of such a tandem, but it seems unlikely that McCarron will find a team that wants to sign him and isn’t also planning to take a young quarterback in this year’s draft. Given that, playing for Jackson who was once McCarron’s offensive coordinator in Cincinnati might be the preference for McCarron as well.

Yes, absolutely, Veach said. This was a football decision. Again, dialogue that Coach and I had. This wasn’t just one game, wasn’t a month, this was three years of body of work, and we look for consistency. We felt that this was in the best interest of the team. When you process all the information, they’re tough decisions but what you do is you just go. There’s no second guessing. You make a decision you believe in, you have foundations and core philosophies that you believe that yield success. You take all the information and then you go in that direction and you don’t look back.

Veach also was asked whether Peters’ eligibility for an extension was a factor.

You think of everything, Peters said. You think of games, practices, certainly cap. We’re all aware that he was one year, [$]1.7 [million and] an option of [$]9 [million]. That’s two years, [$]10.7 [million], potential of a franchise tag. All those factors. I think the moves that we’ve made over the last year shows that we’re very cap conscious and we know what we want to do in regards to building a roster and maintain flexibility throughout the course of a year, two years, three years. I think everything we do isn’t done for just one year. Even the deals we’ve done I think if you really look into the structure, everything provides flexibility. Every factor is taken into consideration.

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