Category Archives: NFL

Lamar Miller, Patriots agree to one-year deal

The Jacksonville Jaguars are down two more defensive linemen, bringing their total Lamar Miller is heading to New England. The veteran running back is signing with the Patriots pending a physical, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It’ll be a one-year deal for Miller.

It was just about one year ago that the 29-year-old tore his ACL in a preseason contest while playing for the Texans. As Schefter notes on Twitter, the running back is “said to he fully recovered and ready to play this season.” Miller had been with the Texans since 2016, and he earned a Pro Bowl nod during his last healthy season.

During that 2018 campaign, the veteran rushed for five scores and 973 yards on 210 carries (4.6 yards per carry) while adding 25 receptions for 163 receiving yards and one touchdown. While he only rushed for 18 yards during that season’s playoff loss to the Colts, he did add eight receptions for 63 yards.

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Prior to his stint with the Texans, the former fourth-rounder spent the first four seasons of his career with the Dolphins. This included 2014 and 2015 campaigns where he averaged 985.5 rushing yards and eight touchdowns per season.

Miller is joining a very crowded depth chart in New England, and today’s signing makes it even more uncertain. 

Sony Michel disappointed during his sophomore campaign (and he’s currently sitting on the PUP), but he still managed to finish the 2019 season with 912 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

The team is also rostering versatile veterans like James White and Rex Burkhead, and there was some hope that 2019 third-rounder Damien Harris could contribute following a pseudo-redshirt year. Of course, that running game should also feature plenty of Cam Newton.

While Miller’s path to a roster spot is more uncertain than the quarterback’s, the duo could be called on to lead a revamped New England offense in 2020.

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Dolphins sign former Colts WR Chester Rogers to one year deal

Over the last several days, many NFL players have decided to opt-out of the 2020 campaign. And through this process, the Dolphins have lost veteran wide receivers Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson.

Sure, many consider Miami’s WR room is littered with young, talented players. However, it was only a matter of time before Chris Grier and Brian Flores started scouring the list of NFL free agents for a veteran presence.

Saturday, the Dolphins re-signed veteran WR Ricardo Louis, the former 2016 fourth-round draft pick.

However, that wasn’t the only veteran WR that recently earned a new contract with the team.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Miami Dolphins have agreed to a one-year deal with former Indianapolis Colts WR Chester Rogers. Rogers, 26, appeared in 53 matches with the Colts combining for 111 receptions, 1,221 yards, and five touchdowns. The UDFA from Grambling State had his best season in 2017 catching 53 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns.

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He suffered a season-ending knee injury versus the Tennessee Titans in Week 13 of the 2019 season, finishing with 16 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

It seems extremely unlikely that both Louis and Rogers make the Dolphins’ final roster. But as we quickly learned with Coach Flores and his staff, the best players will play.

It’s now up to Chester Rogers to prove he belongs.

He will be entering a young wideout group in Miami, which includes WR1 DeVante Parker, veteran Jakeem Grant, fourth-year player Isaiah Ford, and sophomores Preston Williams and Gary Jennings, among others. He hopes to take advantage of the undermanned offense in order to have a greater role produce better numbers for the team.

The Fins will open their 2020 campaign as they visit their division rival New England Patriots on September 13 at Foxborough.

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Giants lose third opt-out player with CB Sam Beal’s decision

The New York Giants took another hit at a position of concern when cornerback Sam Beal decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL campaign.

According to the NFL’s daily transaction wire, linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was also removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list one day after being placed on it.

Beal becomes the third Giants player to take the opt-out route, joining offensive tackle Nate Solder and wide receiver/kick returner D’Mari Scott. Under the agreement reached between the NFL and NFLPA, players had the option of opting out of the upcoming season without penalty by 4 p.m. on Thursday.

The opt out is irreversible. The Giants already had question marks at cornerback prior to Beal’s decision. Cornerback DeAndre Baker is on the commissioner’s exempt list and faces charges of armed robbery and aggravated assault with a firearm. He is unlikely to play another snap with the Giants.

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Baker was a first-round pick last year. Beal was a third-round supplemental pick out of Central Michigan in 2018 who missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. He played in six games with three starts last season and finished with 25 tackles and one pass defended.

Beal missed the campaign finale with a shoulder injury.

Beal was a third-round supplemental pick out of Central Michigan in 2018 who missed his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury. He played in six games with three starts last season and finished with 25 tackles and one pass defended. He missed the campaign finale with a shoulder injury.

Beal, 23, was expected to be in the mix, along with second-year cornerback Corey Ballentine, for a starting spot opposite offseason acquisition James Bradberry. Rookie fourth-round pick Darnay Holmes also appears to be in serious contention for the job.

Beal’s absence now leaves the Giants with an obvious void and a lack of depth. A source indicated recently — even before Beal’s opt out — that the team was searching for cornerback help on the waiver wire or via free agency.

Among the alternatives on the open market are veterans Logan Ryan, Aqib Talib and Dre Kirkpatrick. New coach Joe Judge has firsthand experience with Ryan and Talib from their time in New England. Ryan appears to be the most likely option, especially since the Giants will gain $13.55 million in salary-cap space from Solder’s decision to sit out the 2020 NFL season.

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Denver Broncos’ Von Miller considered opting out of season

Dozens of players have decided to opt out of the 2020 NFL campaign due to COVID-19 concerns, and Denver Broncos pass-rusher Von Miller considered doing so as well.

The eight-time Pro Bowler was the second NFL player to reportedly test positive for the coronavirus back in May, but he feels as though the job the Broncos are doing to keep their players safe is enough for him to feel ready to return to the field.

“I weighed the positives and negatives and came to my own decision and felt like I could play,” Miller said during a video conference, per the Denver Post. “The job the Broncos are doing to keep us safe was enough for me to not opt out.”

Miller stated earlier this offseason that he was “shocked” to learn that he had tested positive for COVID-19 since he had been taking safety provisions seriously.  “It was hard for me to get my wind back for probably two or three weeks after the virus,” Miller said.

“Everybody’s symptoms aren’t the same, but for me, I lost my taste and smell. I couldn’t really eat because when you can’t taste or smell food, you lose your appetite.”

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The former first-round pick was an early advocate for daily testing and said that it was the key to the NFL being able to host a safe and successful season. The league ended up taking Miller’s advice, as players are required to register multiple negative tests before they are permitted to take their physicals and hit the practice field. 

If there was one positive thing to come from his COVID-19 experience, Miller said that it has definitely started conversations among his teammates in the locker room. Since he takes it seriously, Denver’s other players will as well. 

“From my teammates, I get all types of questions about the virus,” Miller said. “I feel like it’s me pushing (the conversation) out there and saying, ‘This thing is serious. It’s very, very serious.’ … We see the types of things happening in baseball (with outbreaks) and we just don’t want that to happen in the NFL.”

While Miller will not be opting out this year, players have until Thursday at 4 p.m. ET to opt out of the 2020 season.

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Vikings GM Rick Spielman agree to multi year extension

The Vikings have locked up Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer for the next four campaigns.

The team informed Monday the General Manager’s multiyear contract extension is done. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reports that Spielman’s extension runs concurrent with that of coach Mike Zimmer, who signed his multiyear year two weeks ago.

That means both are signed through the 2023 season.

“It’s great,” Zimmer said Monday on a conference call, via Tomasson. “Rick’s done a phenomenal job with me here, and I think it’s a good team. I think . . . ownership, the coaching staff, the management, I think all that stuff is really good, and it’s been really good for all of us.”

Spielman and Zimmer both were entering the final year of their contracts. “Wanted to start off by thanking the Wilf family,” Spielman said in conference call. “My family and I have been blessed for 15 years to be a part of this organization and very excited about the future and what lies ahead for us.”

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Spielman became the Vikings’ General Manager in 2012, six years after arriving in Minnesota as vice president of player personnel.

The team has made the postseason four of his eight seasons as G.M. and reached the NFC Championship Game in the 2017 season.

Minnesota ranks ninth in the NFL with a .570 winning percentage (72-54-2) during that eight-season span.

“We appreciate Rick’s work ethic, diligence and commitment to the Vikings,” Vikings owner/chairman Zygi Wilf said in a statement. “We continue to have the utmost confidence in him as we work to assemble championship-caliber teams to reach our ultimate goal of winning a world championship.”

During the 2020 NFL draft, Spielman turned 12 picks into a seven-round NFL-record 15 selections with two additional picks gained for the 2021 NFL draft through trades. The Vikings’ 2020 class is the largest since the NFL condensed its annual draft to seven rounds in 1994.

It also marked Minnesota’s first 15-member class since 1985, tying for the largest overall draft class since 1976, when the team added 17 players over 17 rounds.

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Jets release veteran starting right guard Brian Winters

The New York Jets have released Brian Winters, who started at right guard until being sidelined by an injury last year and was the team’s longest-tenured player.

The timing of the release is surprising because general manager Joe Douglas said lately that Winters would be given a chance to go to training camp and compete for the starting job.

Winters was due to make a non-guaranteed $7.3 million in the final year of a four-year, $29 million contract. There will be no cap hit for the Jets; the entire $7.3 million comes off the books.

The Jets overhauled their offensive line in the offseason, including signing guard Greg Van Roten to a three-year deal.

Van Roten is expected to be the team’s starter at right guard this campaign.

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The Jets also re-signed starting left guard Alex Lewis and signed center Connor McGovern and tackle George Fant to multiyear contracts. In addition, the Jets used their first-round draft pick (11th overall) on offensive tackle Mekhi Becton.

A starter since his rookie year in 2013, Winters suffered a shoulder injury last training camp but started the regular season in his familiar right guard position and lasted nine matches before succumbing to the pain. He underwent surgery and was placed on injured reserve.

Winters, 29, is known for his toughness. In 2017, he missed only three games despite an abdominal tear, which required surgery after the season.

The following year, he didn’t miss a single snap on offense. He entered the league in 2013 as a third-round pick out of Kent State. He was second to running back Bilal Powell as the longest-tenured Jets on the 2019 team. Winters has appeared in 89 games, including 79 starts, over nine seasons.

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Chiefs RB Damien Williams will opt out of 2020 season

The Kansas City Chiefs have stated that RB Damien Williams has informed the team of his decision to opt-out of the 2020 campaign.

Per the NFL’s opt-out agreement, Williams will receive an advance on his salary, commensurate with the high-risk or voluntary opt-out designation. He’ll receive no credited season for 2020. His contract will toll, or pause, and resume in 2021.

That means the Chiefs will have some instant salary-cap relief, but they’ll add that amount back to the 2021 salary cap. Williams, 28, joined the Chiefs as a free agent in March of 2018. He took a backseat to former Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt initially but would earn the starting role after Hunt’s dismissal from the team.

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In 2019, Williams was named starting running back by offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy ahead of training camp.

They’d bring in LeSean McCoy to split time with Williams in a committee approach to the backfield. Williams would separate himself late in the season, appearing in 11 matches, rushing for 498 yards and five touchdowns on 111 carries. In Super Bowl LIV, Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown and the touchdown that would put the game on ice for Kansas City.

The Chiefs are uniquely prepared for this opt-out with a deep running back room that added Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the draft and DeAndre Washington in free agency.

Still, this means that the most veteran running back on the Chiefs’ roster is Darrel Williams, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018. They’ll have to get the new players up to speed and ready in a short amount of time.

Williams scored six touchdowns in the Chiefs’ three postseason games.

Starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif also opted out of the 2020 season.

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Giants OT Nate Solder opts out, cites family’s health concerns

New York Giants offensive tackle Nate Solder stated Wednesday he’s opting out of the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our family has health concerns, most notably our son’s ongoing battle with cancer, as well as my own bout with cancer,” Solder said in a Twitter post. “We also welcomed a new addition to our family this spring, a baby boy. With fear and trembling, we struggle to keep our priorities in order and, for us, our children’s health and the health of our neighbors comes before football.”

Giants general manager Dave Gettleman voiced his support for Solder’s decision. “We have great respect for Nate as a person and player,” he said in a statement on the team’s official site. “When he called today, I told him it is faith, family and football. He is doing what’s best for his family.”

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Solder and his wife, Lexi, welcomed their son Hudson in July 2015.

He was diagnosed with kidney cancer that October, and the disease has persisted over the years.

According to NJ Advance Media’s Matt Lombardo, Solder could qualify as “high risk” in the eyes of the NFL. That would allow him to obtain a $350,000 salary advance instead of $150,000 for a standard voluntary opt-out. Any player who opts out will have his contract toll as well.

Solder’s absence will likely mean 2020 first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas will be the Giants’ starting left tackle. New York selected Thomas fourth overall in April, and he was tentatively slated to start on the right opposite Solder.

Now, the former Georgia star will have to play a crucial role in protecting quarterback Daniel Jones’ blind side, leaving the team in need of a new right tackle. Having signed a one-year contract with the team in March, Cam Fleming would be the logical substitute.

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Patriots’ Dont’a Hightower to opt out of 2020 season

A huge piece of the New England Patriots’ defense has decided to opt out of the 2020 season.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower will opt out of the season, NFL Network’s Michael Giardi confirmed Tuesday.

Hightower became a first-time father on July 16. His mother also has Type 2 diabetes.

According to an agreement approved by both the league and the NFL Players Association, players considered high risk for COVID-19 can earn $350,000 and an accrued NFL season if they choose to opt out. Players who voluntarily opt out of the campaign will receive a $150,000 salary advance and their contract will toll.

“Me and my fiancée are just more concerned with the health of our family than football — especially the new addition to our family,” Hightower told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

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Hightower’s foundation annually raises money for the American Diabetes Association, which has important meaning to him as his mother, L’Tanya, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Hightower keeps a picture of his mother at his locker.

Hightower was booked to earn a base salary of $8 million in the final year of his contract, which will roll over to 2021.

The decision is a big blow to a Patriots defense already undergoing a transition with Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts leaving via free agency.

Hightower is a thumper in the middle of the Pats defense who has the flexibility to rush the passer. Per Pro Football Focus, Hightower led all off-ball linebackers in total pressures over the past three seasons with 80. The loss is important from an on-field production and a locker-room leadership standpoint for Bill Belichick’s squad.

Hightower is the fifth Patriots player to opt out of the 2020 season. Running back Brandon Bolden will also not play in 2020, per Giardi. Right tackle Marcus Cannon, fullback Danny Vitale and guard Najee Toran also opted out.

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Giants release Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas

The New York Giants are moving on from former Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas previous to the start of training camp. Rosas confirmed his release on Instagram — just a day after he was reportedly scheduled to arrive at the team’s practice facility for camp. 

“I wish I could have performed at the level I know I can play at,” Rosas wrote. “I have nothing but love towards the New York Giants. The values of character, love, and family are seen in everyday life at the facility within staff and management. Thank you to all my fans who showed love and support through the years.”

The Giants, who had no kickers on the roster after cutting Rosas, have reportedly already added a substitute. Per Matt Lombardo of NJ.com, the Giants signed former New York Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro — who had retired from the NFL last August.

In his five-year career, Catanzaro converted 83.8 percent of his field goal attempts with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and New York Jets. He was 10 of 16 (62.5 percent) on kicks over 50 yards. 

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Catanzaro surprisingly retired last August following a forgettable preseason opener in which he missed two extra points in a Jets preseason loss to the Giants.

Catanzaro missed a kick to the right and one to the left on his first two attempts before finally converting one with 14 seconds left in the game. He finished 1 of 3 on extra points and made his only field goal attempt, a 34-yarder, in the second quarter. 

Rosas was already on thin ice with the Giants and it wasn’t all because of his unfortunate 2019 season, when he hit just 12 of 17 field goal attempts (70.6%) and 35 of 39 extra point attempts (89.7%).

Rosas was charged with three misdemeanors stemming from a high-speed hit-and-run in June: Reckless driving on a highway, hit and run and property damage, and driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a previous DUI of alcohol or drugs. Rosas’ first court appearance is arranged for Sept. 4. 

The charges from June likely were the last straw for the Giants, who actually placed a second-round tender on Rosas earlier this offseason. Rosas converted 82.7% of his field goal attempts in his three seasons combined, but was under 71% in two of those three campaigns.

His 2018 Pro Bowl season was the outlier, as Rosas hit 32 of 33 field goal attempts (97.0%) and 31 of 32 extra point attempts (96.9%). Rosas was just 1 of 5 on field goal attempts from over 40 yards last campaign.

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