Category Archives: NFL

Seattle Seahawks to face Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Munich on Nov. 13

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL’s first regular-season game in Germany.

The league revealed Wednesday the teams will play at 9:30 a.m. ET on Nov. 13 at Allianz Arena, home of FC Bayern Munich.

The NFL also announced the three 9:30 a.m. ET games that will be played in London next season. The New Orleans Saints will face the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 2 and the Green Bay Packers will play the New York Giants on Oct. 9 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will play the Denver Broncos on Oct. 30 at Wembley Stadium.

In addition, the league stated the Arizona Cardinals will play the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 21 in a Monday Night Football game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City; it will be the fourth NFL game played at that stadium. (The Oakland Raiders beat the Houston Texans 27-20 in 2016, the New England Patriots beat the Raiders 33-8 in 2017, and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17 in 2019.)

The Chiefs were arranged to play the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City in 2019 but the game was moved to Los Angeles because of poor field conditions.

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Arizona lost its lone international matchup in 2017 33-0 to the Los Angeles Rams at Twickenham Stadium in London. The 49ers are 2-0 in international games, beating Denver 24-10 in 2010 and Jacksonville 42-10 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium in London.

The Bucs will be seeking their first victory playing outside the United States.

They’re 0-3 in their three games played in London, losing to the Patriots 35-7 in 2009, the Chicago Bears 24-18 in 2011, and the Carolina Panthers 37-26 in 2019.

This will mark the Seahawks’ third international regular-season game in franchise history. They beat the Buffalo Bills in Toronto in 2012 and the Oakland Raiders in London in 2018.

The Seahawks have a German-born player in linebacker Aaron Donkor, who was allocated to Seattle last year as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. Donkor is from Achern, about 200 miles west of Munich, and spent the 2021 season on Seattle’s practice squad. The Seahawks received another roster exemption for Donkor this week.

The NFL revealed in February that it will play four games in Germany over the next four seasons, two apiece in Munich and Frankfurt.

The Packers were the lone team to have never played in an international game. The Giants are 2-0 overseas, beating the Miami Dolphins 13-10 in the NFL’s first international game played in 2007 at Wembley Stadium and beating the Rams 17-10 in 2016 at Twickenham Stadium.

“Our fan base in the U.K. has always been extremely loyal and passionate,” Giants chief commercial officer Pete Guelli said. “The organization has had two memorable games in front of the London fans, and we look forward to engaging with them leading up to the game this fall.”

The Saints are 2-0 in London, defeating the San Diego Chargers 37-32 in 2006 and the Miami Dolphins 20-0 in 2017 at Wembley Stadium. The Vikings beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-27 in 2013 at Wembley Stadium and the Cleveland Browns 33-16 in 2017 at Twickenham Stadium.

This will be the ninth time the Jaguars will have played a game outside the United States, which is more than any other team. The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami have each played five international games.

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Atlanta Falcons, star DT Grady Jarrett reach three-year extension worth up to $51 million

The Atlanta Falcons are keeping one of their cornerstone defensive players around for the foreseeable future.

The club agreed to a three-year extension with defensive tackle Grady Jarrett on Tuesday that is worth up to $17 million per year in new money and $51 million in totality for the extension if he reaches certain incentives, a source confirmed to ESPN. The extension contains $34.5 million guaranteed.

Jarrett is now signed through the 2025 season at a total value of $67 million, including the money he was slated to earn in 2022.

The news of the terms of the deal was first reported by WSB-TV in Atlanta. The Falcons confirmed that Jarrett agreed to a three-year extension but did not disclose financial terms. Jarrett — who celebrated his 29th birthday Thursday, the first day of the NFL draft — was a fifth-round pick by the Falcons in 2015 out of Clemson.

The player from Conyers, Georgia, became a starter for Atlanta in his second season, in 2016. He made back-to-back Pro Bowls in 2019 and 2020 and has started every game he has played in for Atlanta since the start of that 2016 season.

In all, he has played in 110 games — starting 95 of them — with 359 tackles, 26.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries.

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Jarrett, the son of former Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle, moved around a bit from defensive tackle to defensive end in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ 3-4 scheme last season in an attempt to create even better matchups.

Jarrett (6 feet, 305 pounds) became the focal point of opposing offensive lines, sometimes facing triple-teams as he tried to work off of blocks.

“Based on the way Grady plays and his reputation, I think people will account for him in protection,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “We also move him around a little bit too, but yeah, I mean, if you’re playing us, you’re certainly going to account for him in your protection schemes.”

With Jarrett staying, he will become one of the key leaders for the Falcons as they transition most of their roster.

He’s the second Falcons player to receive a long-term extension this offseason, joining left tackle Jake Matthews. The team also traded quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts and in the past 12 months traded wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans and had receiver Calvin Ridley suspended for at least one year for gambling.

Atlanta is in the middle of restructuring its front seven as well, with Jarrett as the centerpiece. Linebacker Foye Oluokun signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency, and the Falcons signed Rashaan Evans to potentially replace him.

The team has brought in three new edge rushers — signing Lorenzo Carter and drafting Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone — to try to lighten some of the attention opposing teams give to Jarrett every down. Atlanta also signed defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, potentially to offer Jarrett more help on the interior.

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Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins suspended six games for violating PED policy

Arizona Cardinals star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins has been suspended six matches for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs, the league announced Monday.

The suspension comes four days after the Cardinals traded their first-round pick in the 2022 draft to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday for wide receiver Marquise Brown.

Hopkins will be permitted to play during the preseason and practice with the team until the beginning of the 2022 regular season.

Hopkins, a three-time first-team All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowl selection, is set to turn 30 on June 6 and is coming off an injury-riddled season that led to the lowest output of his career.

He missed three games in the middle of last season with a hamstring injury and the final four games of the regular season, plus Arizona’s wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Rams, after suffering an MCL injury in Week 14 on Monday Night Football.

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The knee was surgically repaired in December.

In February, while making interview rounds at the Super Bowl in Los Angeles, Hopkins said on SiriusXM NFL Radio that his rehab was going great and he was ahead of schedule.

Hopkins concluded with 572 yards and eight touchdowns on 42 catches a year after having 1,407 yards. Arizona went 3-4 without Hopkins during the regular season and was then blown out in the playoffs, losing 34-11 to the Rams.

Before his injuries, Hopkins was as good in 2021 as he has been in the past, or better. He had a higher catch percentage, yards per target and yards after catch per reception through Week 8. He was down slightly in yards per route, from 2.1 in his first eight seasons to 2.0 last season.

In two seasons with the Cardinals since they got him from the Houston Texans in 2020, Hopkins has 157 receptions for 1,979 yards and 14 touchdown catches.

Hopkins missed just two games in the first eight seasons of his career before missing seven last season.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft tight end, but GM says that won’t affect potential Rob Gronkowski return

While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did select a tight end to start the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday — taking Washington’s Cade Otton with the 106th overall pick — general manager Jason Licht stated that would not affect the status of Rob Gronkowski, who remains undecided about playing in 2022.

“I’m still giving him that time,” Licht said Friday night prior to the Buccaneers’ selection.

“We still talk. I think it didn’t matter if we drafted two tight ends. It wouldn’t matter. I think Rob welcomes that; the more the merrier for him. So that doesn’t show our hand on or foretell what’s going to happen in the future.”

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Speaking from his “Gronk Beach” party at the NFL draft in Las Vegas, Gronkowski told TMZ that he was still undecided on his future but that the Buccaneers are the only team he would contemplate playing for next season.

“It’s just the Bucs,” Gronkowski said. “Love that organization, man. Love the guys there. It’s family over there.”

Gronkowski is still living in Tampa, Florida, and has worked out at the Buccaneers’ facility this offseason two days per week to stay in shape.

Otton, who had 695 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 39 matches for the Huskies, helps offset not only the potential loss of Gronkowski but also the loss of former first-round draft pick O.J. Howard, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency.

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New York Giants won’t exercise fifth-year option on QB Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have elected to decline the fifth-year option on quarterback Daniel Jones’ rookie contract, a source told ESPN’s Dianna Russini. It would have guaranteed the team’s starting quarterback $22.39 million next season.

The Giants did opt to pick up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, the team revealed. The 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft is now guaranteed $10.8 million for the 2023 season.

Jones, 24, was the sixth overall selection in the 2019 draft out of Duke. But while the Giants still think he can be their quarterback into the future, he hasn’t yet shown it consistently on the field. Jones has missed matches because of injury each of his first three professional seasons and has thrown just 21 touchdown passes in the past two seasons combined.

Jones’ 24 touchdown passes as a rookie remains a career high.

That made the decision on the young quarterback rather obvious. The Giants didn’t want to guarantee Jones more than $20 million before they saw him perform consistently at a level where there was no doubt that he was a franchise quarterback. They might have high hopes, but it hasn’t happened in the first three seasons playing under three different offensive coordinators.

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General manager Joe Schoen mentioned the cautionary tale of the Carolina Panthers and Sam Darnold not long after he was hired. Darnold is guaranteed $18.9 million this season after the Panthers traded for him and picked up his fifth-year option before he ever played a game for the team. Meanwhile, Carolina spent this offseason trying to land an upgrade at quarterback and are stuck with Darnold on their books.

Cleveland, which ultimately landed Deshaun Watson, is in an alike position with Baker Mayfield, who also had his fifth-year option picked up last year.

It’s not that the Giants don’t have confidence and high hopes for Jones; they do. But if he performs as they expect — under the new regime led by coach Brian Daboll — they can always use the franchise tag next year at around $30 million or sign Jones to a long-term deal. They don’t feel the need to make any commitments at this point.

Jones will remain the Giants’ starter to start this season, and the organization has high expectations despite signing veteran Tyrod Taylor to a two-year deal this offseason.

“We do feel Daniel can play,” co-owner John Mara said earlier this year. “We’ve done everything possible to screw this kid up since he’s been here. We keep changing coaches, keep changing coordinators, keep changing offensive line coaches. I take a lot of responsibility for that. But let’s bring in the right group of coaches now and give him some continuity and try to rebuild the offensive line and then be able to make an intelligent evaluation of whether he can be the franchise quarterback or not.”

Mara added later this offseason that either you have your quarterback or you don’t, and he considered the Giants had theirs. In the meantime, Taylor is signed for $5.5 million next year and could potentially serve as a relatively inexpensive bridge option should Jones not pan out.

Lawrence, 24, has been a three-year starter in the middle of the Giants’ defense. He had 52 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.

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LB Robert Quinn says he hopes Chicago Bears don’t trade him

Chicago Bears edge rusher Robert Quinn stated he experienced disbelief and shock when Khalil Mack, the other half of Chicago’s dominant pass rushing duo, was traded to the Los Angeles Chargers last month for a 2022 second-round pick (No. 48) and 2023 sixth-round selection.

The Mack trade was the first major move executed by new general manager Ryan Poles before the start of free agency. The Bears eventually parted ways with more than 25 players in March via expired contracts or roster cuts.

Quinn, who set the franchise’s single-season record for sacks in 2021 with 18.5, has been the subject of trade speculation this offseason after the Bears dealt his Pro Bowl teammate for draft capital while starting a massive overhaul of the roster.

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The defensive end, who turns 32 in May, faces insecurity about his own future in Chicago, even though he remains under contract through 2024 after the Bears gave him a five-year, $70 million extension in 2020.

“The only thing I thought of was hopefully my résumé or my production from last year gives me a little weight to keep my foot in the building,” Quinn said Tuesday after being presented with the team’s Brian Piccolo Award.

“At the end of the day, it’s a business. Again, you see Khalil Mack getting traded. Again, it’s just a business. Don’t dwell on it, too crazy.”

Quinn then reiterated his desire to stay with the Bears in 2022.

“I didn’t expect to go anywhere, or want to go anywhere, but again, this is a crazy business,” Quinn said.

At the NFL owners meetings last month, Poles was asked whether considering trading Quinn was an option.

“That hasn’t come up,” Poles said in March.

For now, Quinn remains with the Bears, but he’s not particularly a fan of the phrase most would use for the state of the Bears: a rebuild.

“I don’t think that’s the right way we should phrase it, because people in — the guys in the building are professionals and I think everyone carries themselves to high expectations,” Quinn said.

“I believe, me personally, no player is better than me, and I believe everyone else should carry themselves the same way. So to say, ‘a rebuild’ is, I guess, a funny word. I think it’s just getting guys to believe who they truly are, and perform at their high level of expectations, because everyone’s talented enough, because they’re here. Now you’ve just got to go prove it.”

Speaking ahead of his first draft as general manager, Poles addressed the situation the Bears are currently in with a roster that only has 64 players under contract and a host of needs they hope to address with the NFL draft this week, most notably along the offensive line and at wide receiver and cornerback.

The way Poles describes it, the Bears view the state of the team as a remodeling project, not a rebuild.

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Russell Wilson ‘feels great’ after first minicamp with Denver Broncos

Year 1 of the Russell Wilson experience for the Denver Broncos officially got underway Monday as the team went through the first day of a three-day voluntary veteran minicamp.

The Broncos completed the blockbuster trade to obtain Wilson in March, and he has since quickly found his way around the city at sporting events and the Children’s Hospital. His purchase of a suburban Denver mansion became a viral sensation.

But Monday was the first time Wilson and the rest of his teammates were on the field with Broncos first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett and the team’s staff.

It was a heavyweight battle of enthusiasm and energy with Hackett filling in at running back to work through some play-action scenarios when many of the team’s players were in special-teams drills.

“I told him at the end, congratulations on our first practice together,” Wilson said. “… To give him little handoffs here and there, somebody called him ‘White Lightning,’ I don’t know, but he looked good over there.”

“I always wanted to play running back,” Hackett said. “… There was some special teams going on … we’ve got to get out there and give them a look, I feel like I have it a realistic look.”

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Asked about his 40 time, Hackett added “let’s not talk about that.”

Wilson has spent time with the team’s pass-catchers and running backs in recent weeks, first at throwing sessions in San Diego shortly after the trade to go with some workouts locally as the Broncos opened their offseason program April 16.

But the existing minicamp, though still limited by the league’s offseason practice rules, was the first practice with all of the coaches mingling with all of the players. And it was clear Wilson’s presence has changed the dynamic of things.

“This guy loves practice, out there at there at the end, he’s like ‘We’re done, can’t we do more?’ I’m like, ‘Man, I’d love to, but baby steps,'” Hackett said of Wilson.

“To be here, standing right here, now that I’m here, it feels right,” Wilson said. “It feels great, I’m excited about it, and also too, at the same time, there’s a lot more to do.”

Hackett stated the Broncos are in the beginning of the installation of the playbook on offense.

“[Monday] was just kind of the very basics of what we do,” he said. “Then we’ll slowly start expanding that with the guys through Phase 2 and the OTAs.”

The Broncos have missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons, and Wilson, when he starts Week 1, will be the 11th different quarterback and 12th different player to start a game behind center for the Broncos since Peyton Manning retired after the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win.

Running back Phillip Lindsay started behind center versus the New Orleans Saints during the 2020 season. “Been an amazing experience so far,” Wilson said. “… If I was going to go somewhere, I had to go somewhere that wanted to win. And this is one of those places that definitely wants to do that.”

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Cincinnati Bengals WR Tee Higgins to miss offseason workouts following shoulder surgery

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins is expected to miss offseason workouts while he recovers from shoulder surgery, coach Zac Taylor stated Monday.

Higgins had the procedure following the team’s trip to the Super Bowl and was sporting a protective brace on his left shoulder during an appearance at the Cincinnati Reds’ home opener.

Taylor stated he expects Higgins to be out for a couple of months.

“Made a decision to get it fixed,” Taylor said. “[I] don’t expect him to be part of the offseason.”

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Higgins missed the third and fourth games of the regular campaign because of a shoulder issue.

He returned to play in every remaining game for the AFC champions, aside from the regular-season finale in which Cincinnati rested nearly all of its starters.

The team’s second-round pick in the 2020 NFL draft is coming off his best season as a pro. In 14 matches, he had 74 catches for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns. Higgins appeared in all four playoff games.

In the team’s Super Bowl LVI loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Higgins had four catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns in the team’s first championship appearance in 33 years.

The Bengals will start offseason workouts on May 2 and hold six voluntary organized team activities. Cincinnati will not have a mandatory minicamp, Taylor said on Friday.

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Kansas City Chiefs not in ‘rebuilding mode’ despite losing key players, GM says

The Kansas City Chiefs traded Tyreek Hill and opted not to re-sign Tyrann Mathieu. They have some seemingly obvious holes on their roster just a few days before the 2022 NFL draft.

General manager Brett Veach still resisted the idea the Chiefs are in any kind of rebuilding effort.

“When you have Pat Mahomes, we’ll be wired to go after it every year,” Veach said. “Even though you may make moves and you may trade really good players, it doesn’t mean [there won’t] be another counterpunch and that we [won’t] try to be aggressive in another way. You just have to be smart and flexible in what you do. What’s needed to do that is draft resources and cap space.

“Just because you trade away a great player doesn’t mean we’re in a rebuilding mode by any means. It just means we’re going to find a new set of resources and we’re going to try to be aggressive.”

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The Chiefs after losing Hill, Mathieu and starting cornerback Charvarius Ward look to need help at wide receiver and in the secondary. They also need edge rushers to improve a pass rush that was 29th in the league last season in sacks.

The Chiefs did sign wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and safety Justin Reid. But after losing Hill and two of last season’s other top receivers, and being without Mathieu, Ward and one of last season’s top defensive backs in terms of playing time in Daniel Sorensen, the Chiefs could still use help.

They have a league-high 12 draft picks, counting two in each of the first four rounds.

As for replacing Hill, Veach stated, “On one end, it’s very hard to replicate a talent like Tyreek Hill. But I also think there’s a mindset or idea forgetting how good a coach Andy Reid is. He’s won with all types of quarterback and all different types of offensive schemes.

“Our staff is very dynamic and, look, we had Tyreek Hill and we were able to implement a lot of RPO stuff and a lot of vertical attack stuff, but it doesn’t mean when you have a talent like Pat Mahomes and a Hall of Fame coach like Andy that you can’t rewire and retweak your offense and how you do things. There are multiple ways we scored points over the years.

“Would you like to find someone like Tyreek? Yeah, but I think every team would. If you don’t, there are many ways to win games. Our offense is I think extremely flexible, a lot more flexible than what people think. For us and what we do, we’re going to go out there and collect good players.

They might not be 4.2 guys but if they’re good football players, we’re going to put them into position to make plays and win a lot of games.”

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WR DeVante Parker says he ‘chose’ to be traded from Miami Dolphins to New England Patriots

DeVante Parker was granted his wish; the Miami Dolphins received the draft capital they were looking for; and the New England Patriots got a player they hope will be a top wide receiver for quarterback Mac Jones.

That’s how the primary people involved in the rare intradivision trade — the Dolphins shipping Parker and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Patriots for a 2023 third-rounder — described what unfolded. There have been just six intradivision trades in the NFL over the last five years, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“I chose to get traded here,” Parker said Thursday in his first interview since the April 2 deal. “My agent [Jimmy Gould] hit me up, just telling me what the situation was, and the options I had for the teams to go to. The first on my list was the Patriots. I’m just excited we were able to get everything done.”

Dolphins general manager Chris Grier confirmed Wednesday that that’s how it went down, noting that once Miami traded for Tyreek Hill after signing free-agent receiver Cedrick Wilson, Parker’s status with the team changed.

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“When you have an opportunity to do right by the player and the organization — both sides feel good about it. This was never anything where we [had] planned to trade DeVante,” Grier said, highlighting how trading for Hill altered the dynamic.

“Multiple teams called; the Patriots were the most aggressive. We worked with the agent, talked to DeVante, we wanted to do right by him as well. Getting that third-round pick was very important to us. We were fine if it was this year or next year.”

Parker, who played the first seven years of his career with the Dolphins, has spent the past week participating in the Patriots’ voluntary offseason program.

He stated he enjoyed playing in front of Patriots fans as an AFC East rival and said that is one reason he decided being in New England was “just something I want to be a part of.”

The 6-foot-3, 219-pound player added that he likes playing different spots, which is a staple of the Patriots’ offense, and that he hopes to add a down-the-field presence who can high-point deliveries from Jones, the second-year quarterback.

Parker has previously spent time working with Jones in Tampa, Florida, along with fellow Patriots receivers Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers.

“My impressions of Mac: He has a nice arm on him. He was zipping it,” Parker said. “It was a great workout for all of us. It was good for me to come down and start throwing with him early, get the timing down.

“Mac is a good quarterback. The way he throws the ball, it’s not tough. He throws a catchable ball. It’s something I’m looking forward to during the season.”

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