Category Archives: NFL

Cardinals re-sign cornerback Kevin Peterson to 1 year deal

The Cardinals have filled out their roster by bringing back many of their own free agents this offseason despite letting them reach the open market – and they did it again Tuesday, re-signing reserve cornerback Kevin Peterson to a one-year deal.

Peterson played in 14 matches, starting three, for the Cardinals in 2019. He had 16 tackles and two passes defensed, as well as six tackles on special teams. To make room on the roster, the Cardinals released cornerback Andre Chachere.

The Cardinals will have essentially their entire secondary returning. They didn’t spend a draft pick at either cornerback or safety. Veterans Patrick Peterson and Robert Alford are likely to be the starters outside, with Byron Murphy in the slot.

At safety, they have Pro Bowler Budda Baker and second-year man Jalen Thompson. Kevin Peterson and Chris Jones would be the top reserves at cornerback right now, with Deionte Thompson and Chris Banjo the top safety reserves.

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Patrick Peterson (suspension) missed the first six games last campaign, and Alford was out the whole year with a broken leg.

“Having Patrick back Week One and having Robert back healthy Week One that’s going to help us,” defensive coordinator Vance Joseph stated after the draft. “It was really tough on our young guys and our reserve corners to go out there against some good teams early. I thought Budda Baker had a hell of a year last year … He has room to grown. I thought Jalen Thompson the last month of the season played really good football. As the defense played better, I thought he played better.

“We had a young secondary, with (Byron) Murphy playing the most snaps of any defensive back in the league. It’ll pay dividends. I’m looking forward to those young guys taking huge steps.”

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49ers WR Pierre Garcon drawing interest from teams as trade deadline approaches

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan recognized Sunday that wide receiver Pierre Garcon has drawn interest from several teams around the league as Tuesday’s trade deadline approaches.

The 49ers have fielded calls from at least three teams in the past week inquiring whether Garcon is available, and San Francisco has listened to what others are offering as talks are expected to continue following Sunday’s match against the Arizona Cardinals, sources told ESPN.

“Teams call about a lot of people,” Shanahan stated after the game. “I think every team around the league is doing a ton, so I know there was a report on Pierre. That is true. He’s one of the guys that people have asked about and we have talked about, but nothing is going down right now. We’ll see how these next two days play out with Pierre and a lot of people.”

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Garcon, 32, is the type of veteran receiver whom some teams covet because of his talent and leadership.

He also is programed to make $6.6 million in base salary this season and $5.6 million next season, making him even more attractive to teams.

“We’d love Pierre back, he’s just trying to get his knee healthy, which he’s very close to,” Shanahan said. “We expect him to be good for Thursday night. We have looked into everything. Teams have talked about him, and it is a possibility, but nothing for sure right now.”

Shanahan also said he has kept Garcon informed of trade discussions. San Francisco is not expected to reach the postseason and could be willing to part ways with Garcon in the hopes of receiving a draft pick in return. Garcon has 21 receptions for 230 yards in seven matches this campaign, his second with the 49ers.

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NFL to release regular-season schedule Thursday

The NFL will release its regular-season schedule on Thursday night, the league reported Monday, as it continues conducting business mostly as usual amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The schedule will be disclosed in a three-hour telecast on NFL Network starting at 8 p.m.

Thus far, the league has not announced any major updates to its schedule as a result of the pandemic, which has brought most organized sports around the globe to a halt. NFL training facilities are closed because of the pandemic, leading to the league’s first-ever “virtual offseason,” but the league still plans to start the campaign on time while playing in teams’ home stadiums.

Opening day for the 2020 season is Sept. 10, with the season set to finish with Super Bowl 55 on February 7, 2021. The NFL also held last month’s draft on time while canceling all in-person events. The draft had been set for Las Vegas; instead, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced picks from his home.

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Should the pandemic force major changes to the season, the league is considering alternatives including empty stadiums, neutral sites and getting rid of bye weeks, league executive Troy Vincent told The Associated Press last week. Any such changes would have to be approved by the players union.

Earlier Monday, the NFL announced it was moving its five matches scheduled for London and Mexico City this season back to U.S. stadiums.

The league has evaluated contingency plans should the pandemic intensify, working in conjunction with the NFL Players Association and medical experts on a set of protocols.

The league is evaluating when players can re enter team facilities. The NFL and NFLPA have agreed to keep buildings closed until every state in which a team resides lifts its stay-at-home mandate. Teams are conducting organized team activities virtually.

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Jets Quincy Enunwa still can’t play, out for 2020 campaign

New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who played only one match in 2019 because of a neck injury, won’t play in 2020 after being placed Tuesday on the physically unable to perform list, the team reported.

This was the expected outcome for Enunwa, 27, whose once-promising NFL career could be over. The Jets also placed wide receiver Josh Bellamy (shoulder) on the season-ending PUP list.

Enunwa missed the 2017 season because of neck surgery, and then re-injured his neck in the 2019 opener. When the season ended, he stated he wanted to continue playing but wasn’t sure if he would be medically cleared. He continued his rehab into the offseason, but the signs remained ominous. The organization never factored him into its offseason plans.

After a promising 2018, Enunwa landed a four-year, $33.4 million contract extension, but he has played only one match on that deal.

It put the Jets in a difficult position from a salary-cap standpoint.

Because of the potential cap ramifications, they have to carry him on their payroll.

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Enunwa’s 2020 salary ($6 million) is fully guaranteed, and he will count $7.8 million toward the cap. In 2021, $4.1 million of his $7.8 million is guaranteed for injury.

His situation is the same to that of former Seattle Seahawks star Kam Chancellor, who suffered a neck injury in 2017 but remained on the PUP list for the 2018 season because of the cap consequences of releasing him. The Seahawks waited until 2019 to cut him.

Barring a financial settlement, Enunwa’s outcome probably will be similar.

Enunwa, a sixth-round pick in 2014, has 119 career receptions for 1,617 yards and five touchdowns. He sparked a controversy last season by using social media to rip team management for fining him $27,900 for missing two mandatory rehab sessions.

Bellamy, due to make $2.25 million in 2020, played only seven matches last season because of his shoulder injury. He played mainly on special teams, concluding with two catches for 20 yards.

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Monti Ossenfort leaving Patriots to join Titans as Director of player personnel

Former New England Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort is joining the Tennessee Titans as their director of player personnel, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Titans general manager Jon Robinson worked with Ossenfort for eight years in New England. Now they’ll join forces in their quest to bring a championship to Tennessee.

The news was first reported by Sports Illustrated.

Hiring Ossenfort is one of many Patriots-to-Titans moves since Robinson took over, which began with hiring former Patriots player Mike Vrabel to be head coach. Vrabel played for the Patriots when Ossenfort joined the organization as a personnel assistant in 2003.

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Ossenfort recently interviewed for the Cleveland Browns’ GM job, which went to Andrew Berry.

The Patriots blocked Ossenfort from interviewing for the Houston Texans’ GM job last year.

Ossenfort just concluded his 18th season in the NFL and 15th with the Patriots. He spent the past six years as director of college scouting, and has been on other teams’ radar for general manager jobs.

Ossenfort’s contract with the Patriots was set to expire after the draft, and with no opportunities for upward mobility in New England, where director of player personnel Nick Caserio is entrenched as Bill Belichick’s top personnel executive, his best opportunity for advancement was to look elsewhere.

Ossenfort has a strong connection with Robinson, who worked for the Patriots from 2002 to 2013, elevating from area scout to director of college scouting.

Ossenfort was a four-year letterman and two-year starter at quarterback for the University of Minnesota-Morris, graduating from the school in 2000. His first NFL encounter came as a training camp intern with the Minnesota Vikings in 2001.

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Bears Decline Fifth-Year Option on QB Mitchell Trubisky, Reports Say

In a not-so-surprising move, the Chicago Bears are apparently declining their fifth-year contract option for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Trubisky, the team’s first round draft pick in the 2017 draft, could possibly become a free agent at the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

“The team has liked Trubisky’s attitude since the Nick Foles trade, and it’ll be an open competition,” Pelissero said. “A chance for Trubisky to make himself a lot of money before his contract expires next March.”

The Bears were fast approaching a deadline to determine whether they would pick up Trubisky’s fifth year option.

By declining the option, the Bears quarterback could potentially become a free agent after the 2020 season, but if he has a successful year, the Bears still have options to keep him, as they could either re-sign him to a new extension or apply the team’s franchise tag to him, preventing him from seeking a contract with another team.

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In three campaigns with the Bears, Trubisky has compiled a 23-18-0 record, completing 63.4 percent of his passes for 8,554 yards and 48 touchdowns. He has also thrown 29 interceptions and been sacked 93 times.

The 2019 season represented a step back for Trubisky, as he completed a lower percentage of his passes and threw for seven fewer touchdowns than he had in the previous season, despite throwing 82 more passes.

Earlier this offseason, the Bears sent a fourth round draft pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars to acquire Foles, who will compete with Trubisky for the team’s starting job.

Bears G.M. Ryan Pace has drafted four players in the first round of the NFL Draft, and is now 0-for-3 on keeping players beyond their first contract. The team also declined the options on wide receiver Kevin White and linebacker Leonard Floyd, and will face a decision next season on the contract of linebacker Roquan Smith.

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Dolphins agree to trade edge rusher Charles Harris to Falcons

When Brian Flores took the reins as head coach of the organization in 2019, things didn’t exactly get off to a roaring start. The end of the campaign showed a sparky Dolphins team that could actually make some waves in the AFC East, but they would have to move around some pieces to become actual contenders. Their latest one comes at the expense of Charles Harris, a veteran pass rusher who was the team’s first-round pick in 2017 out of Missouri. 

Harris has allegedly been traded to the Atlanta Falcons, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, ending his time in South Florida and starting his next chapter in North Georgia, and in exchange for only a seventh-round pick.

The Dolphins are trading Harris only one day after they released Taco Charlton, another disappointing first-round pick from the 2017 draft class — a selection that hangs like an albatross around the neck of the Dallas Cowboys — as Flores and the Dolphins look to juice up their defensive front.

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They signed both Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson in free agency and grabbed three defensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft, hinting at more changes to come.

The NFL deadline for exercising a former first-round pick’s fifth-year option was rapidly approaching, but the Dolphins opted to move on instead. Harris joins a Falcons defense looking to bolster its pass rush, but one that also waved off exercising the fifth-year option on its own former first-round pick in Takkarist McKinley, making it a rough go as of late for pass rushers taken in that round, that year — although McKinley has had much more success at the NFL level than Charlton and Harris combined.

Harris and McKinley are slated to now be teammates in Atlanta for at least the 2020 campaign, assuming the Falcons don’t eventually ship the latter away down the road via trade. The former is set to earn $1.943 million in base salary this coming season, barring any changes to his roster spot or contract with the Falcons.

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Bengals release Andy Dalton after drafting Joe Burrow

The Cincinnati Bengals reportedly released quarterback Andy Dalton on Thursday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Cincy drafted LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft last week.

Dalton threw for 3,494 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2019. As the season wore on, the writing was on the wall regarding his future in Cincinnati.

The Bengals benched Dalton for their Week 10 matchup with the Baltimore Ravens, which proved to be a 49-13 loss. They were 0-8 by that point, so it made sense to give Ryan Finley, the team’s fourth-round pick last year, a few starts to see if he might be Dalton’s long-term successor under center.

Following three consecutive defeats, Cincinnati turned back to Dalton for the rest of the year.

The 32-year-old spoke of how his demotion made him approach the game a little differently.

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“It feels good,” he told reporters in November. “Just as a player who has started basically every chance I’ve been able to without being hurt, it gives you a different perspective being on the other side. I’m glad to be back out playing. I feel I can help us win, so I’m excited to be going these last five games.”

The Bengals’ 33-23 victory versus Cleveland Browns in Week 17 had an air of finality. Fans cheered Dalton off the field as he walked back to the locker room, and he said after the home match he knew it might have been his last game with the team.

Cincinnati is in need of a reboot after going 2-14 in 2019. The team’s selection of Burrow was forecast for months beforehand, and now the path is clear for him to take over the starting job as a rookie.

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Saints re- sign QB Taysom Hill to deal through 2021

While the New Orleans Saints are closing in on a deal with quarterback Jameis Winston, they doubled down on their investment in current backup Taysom Hill.

The Saints and Hill agreed to a two-year deal, which will take the place of the one-year, $4.641 million tender they had already offered him as a restricted free agent.

The deal is worth $21 million, including $16 million fully guaranteed at signing, plus $1 million more in performance incentives, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

“I’ve felt a lot of love from the organization and the fan base. … My wife and I always wanted to stay in New Orleans, so this worked out perfect,” Hill said on a conference call Sunday.

Hill said the idea of a two-year deal “made the most sense for everybody” because it gives him an opportunity to become Drew Brees’ successor if Brees retires in the next year or two — but also gives him freedom if that doesn’t happen.

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Hill posted a message on Instagram on Sunday, stating, “I’ve had this dream since I was a little kid of playing in the NFL. The New Orleans Saints made that dream a reality. … Thank you NOLA.”

Hill, 29, did not sign an offer sheet with any other NFL teams before last week’s deadline for restricted free agents, which gave the Saints exclusive negotiating rights. Depending on how they structure the new deal, they could create some extra salary-cap space to help make room for Winston.

Regardless of Winston’s pending arrival, Saints coach Sean Payton has made it clear he considers the versatile Hill could potentially succeed Brees as New Orleans’ starting quarterback.

Hill got a late start to his NFL career because he went on a two-year church mission to Australia after high school, then spent five years at BYU, where he suffered a total of four season-ending injuries. But he was impressive enough as a dual-threat QB at BYU to finish his career with 6,929 passing yards, 43 TD passes, 2,815 rushing yards and 32 rushing TDs.

He started his NFL career as an undrafted rookie with the Green Bay Packers in 2017 before the Saints claimed him off waivers on cut-down day.

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Joe Burrow ready to compete to be Bengals’ starting QB

The Cincinnati Bengals have their next franchise quarterback. And the duty ahead of him could not be any clearer.

Months of speculation concluded Thursday night when the Bengals selected former LSU standout Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. With this year’s event taking place virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, Burrow celebrated with his family and put on a Bengals hat from his home in Athens County, Ohio.

Shortly after Cincinnati officially added Burrow, Bengals coach Zac Taylor stated the QB will be expected to compete for the team’s starting job. Cincinnati’s new quarterback also had the same understanding.

“That’s exactly how I expect to do it as well,” Burrow stated during a teleconference with local reporters. “I’m going to come in and compete and try to be the best player I can be.”

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Burrow is coming off a historic season at LSU during which he threw for an FBS-record 60 touchdowns as he led the Tigers to a national championship.

He also completed 76.3% of his passes and won the Heisman Trophy.

He inherits a team with an unsure future at the starting quarterback spot. Veteran Andy Dalton, who has been the team’s primary starter since he was drafted in 2011, is entering the final year of his contract. Dalton’s $17.7 million salary will put the Bengals over the cap limit.

Taylor didn’t want to go as far as naming Burrow as the team’s Week 1 starter. Taylor said one of the biggest challenges for Burrow and the rest of the incoming rookie class is adapting to the speed in the NFL, even for players such as Burrow who played at college football’s highest level.

Burrow is the 318th No. 1 overall pick in NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, WNBA and MLS history. But he’s the first to win national player of the year and a national title, and break a single-season NCAA record in his final college season.

Burrow stated he isn’t worried about being burdened by the pressure of leading the Bengals back to playoff success.

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