NFL latest: Praise for Michael Sam, set to be NFL's first openly gay player

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The NFL season may be over, but the news around the league continues to flood in.

The whole of the American Football world has been reacting to the stunning news that Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam, who is set to enter the NFL Draft in May, announced that he is gay, making him the first publicly gay player in the history of the NFL.

The responses have mostly been crediting Sam for his courage and bravery, but many are worried about what teams will think of adding a gay player into their locker room, despite many players voicing on Twitter that would support any gay team mate.

The news shouldn't affect Sam's draft stock, who looked to be a 4th/5th round prospect despite winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year award.

Elsewhere, free Agency is fast approaching, and the rumours and speculation have already started in anticipation of a spending frenzy across the league.

Broncos wide receiver Eric Decker, who played an important role in Denver's journey to the Super Bowl, is set to hit the open market and reports suggest that he will look for around $9m a year. Decker wants to be paid as a No. 1 receiver, but could be seen as the fourth most important receiver to the Broncos moving forward, with Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas arguably more valuable, placing a big “buyers beware” sign above Decker's head.

Another wide receiver on the move could be Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys. Austin, 29, has been with the Cowboys since 2006 and has often flashed great ability, but injuries have really curtailed his career in recent years. As a result, Dallas are now expected to cut the receiver in order to save $5.5m. Rookie Terrance Williams was certainly impressive in his first season in the NFL, and could now see an increased role with Austin seemingly on the way out.

Finally, the New Orleans Saints still have some work to do before they tie down All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham. The 27-year-old has been a star since he arrived in the league in 2010, but with his contract set to expire, the Saints obviously want to keep the former Miami Hurricane. But with New Orleans currently $12m over the salary cap, there will be a lot of work for general manager Mickey Loomis to do in order to free up enough cap space to sign Graham to a long-term deal.

image: © Matt McGee

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