Category Archives: NFL

Bears release TE Trey Burton

The Chicago Bears are releasing tight end Trey Burton, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

According to The Athletic’s Adam Jahns, the Bears plan to designate Burton as a post-June 1 release, which means that it will save money against the salary cap. But Burton will cost the Bears $7.5 million in dead money and free up just $1.05 million in cap space, according to Over The Cap.

In 2018, Chicago signed Burton to a four-year, $32 million contract, which included $22 million guaranteed. While Burton had a career-best season with the Bears in 2018 — 54 catches for 569 receiving yards and six touchdowns — it was ultimately his lack of availability that was his downfall.

After warning the team that he had a groin injury the night before Chicago’s wild-card playoff game versus the Eagles, Burton never recovered. In 2019, he only played in eight matches, tallying 14 catches for 84 yards, before landing on injured reserve.

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The Bears had the worst group of tight ends in the NFL last season, and it’s no wonder the position has been an area of focus for general manager Ryan Pace.

Chicago signed former Packers tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year deal last month, and that raised a question about Burton’s future with the Bears.

The Bears now have nine tight ends under contract, and it wouldn’t be shocking for Pace to add another in the NFL Draft next week.

Burton, 28, had been the third and fourth tight end with the Eagles and a special teams standout. But he took advantage of his opportunities on offense during the 2017 season and became part of Eagles lore when he threw a touchdown pass to quarterback Nick Foles on a play called “Philly Special” in the Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots.

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Broncos star Von Miller tests positive for coronavirus

Super Bowl hero Von Miller of the Denver Broncos has tested positive for the coronavirus after having come down with flu-like symptoms, the player and the team stated Thursday.

Miller, 31, a superstar linebacker, “elected to share his diagnosis publicly to emphasize that anyone can be afflicted with coronavirus,” according to a team statement.

“It’s true,” Miller told NBC affiliate KUSA of Denver. “I’ve just been here in the crib, and I started to get a little cough. You know, I have asthma, and I started getting a little cough a couple days ago. My girlfriend, she told me when I was asleep, she said, my cough, it didn’t sound normal.”

Miller stated he’s still in a good mood and not in any obvious pain.

“I’m not sure what’s going on, but I tell you what, I’m in good spirits. I’m still Von,” he told KUSA. “I’m not feeling sick or hurting or anything like that.”

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The Broncos stated he’s the first person in their organization to have tested positive for the virus.

“Von is doing well and recovering at home in self-isolation,” the team said. “He remains under the care of team doctors, who are following all coronavirus treatment procedures to ensure a safe environment for Von and our community.”

Miller is among only a handful of defensive players ever to win the Most Valuable Player award in pro football’s ultimate game, leading his Broncos to a 24-10 triumph over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, 2016.

Miller was asked April 6 how he was adjusting his offseason schedule, given the restrictions of Colorado’s stay-at-home guidelines. He gave no indication that he was ill, said he felt good about his offseason and said he had canceled his travel plans for the foreseeable future, including a trip to the Kentucky Derby.

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Rams center Brian Allen tested positive for coronavirus

The 24-year-old is the first active NFL player to publicly recognize that he tested positive for the virus.

Allen, who is preparing for his third campaign in the league, was spending his offseason at the Rams’ training facility to undergo rehabilitation treatment on a knee injury when he started to feel symptoms three weeks ago.

The Rams’ training facility was closed for two weeks and cleaned thoroughly, according to a Rams spokesperson. Players who must undergo rehabilitation returned this week.

Allen told Fox Sports that he lost his sense of smell and taste and had a sore throat, fatigue and headaches. He is expected to be cleared of the virus this week.

Rams coach Sean McVay told Fox Sports that he has spoken with Allen, adding that the offensive lineman is “feeling good, he’s healthy, and he’s on the road to recovery.”

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McVay said the team’s facility was closed as soon as Allen notified the Rams that he had tested positive for the virus in an effort to ensure no one else was potentially exposed.

The symptoms lasted for three or four days when he decided to return to his doctor last week and was re-tested.

Allen tested positive again, but because of how long he has had it, doctors say he should be in the “all clear” this Thursday. Doctors have reportedly told Allen that he will regain his sense of taste and smell in the next six or eight months. 

A fourth-round pick from Michigan State in 2018, Allen played a limited role on offense as a rookie. Last season, he took over as the starting center and started nine matches before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He has appeared in 22 games in his two seasons.

Although no active NFL players previously said they tested positive, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and one unidentified member of the Los Angeles Chargers organization tested positive, and two others on the Chargers have shown symptoms.

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Panthers make Christian McCaffrey NFL’s Highest-paid RB

Days after indicating the Carolina Panthers were “obviously” aiming to extend Christian McCaffrey with a new contract, general manager Marty Hurney has done just that. As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers have signed McCaffrey to a new deal worth $16 million per season, resetting the RB market and making McCaffrey the highest-paid back in NFL history.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport has echoed Schefter’s report, noting that McCaffrey’s new contract is a four-year, $64 million deal. While the total value of the extension doesn’t top that of the six-year, $90 million deal Ezekiel Elliott signed with the Dallas Cowboys ahead of the 2019 season, the $16M average annual salary ranks first in the league, just ahead of Elliott ($15M).

Lucrative RB contracts have become increasingly polarizing as the league seemingly devalues the position, what with the New York Jets apparently looking to trade Pro Bowler Le’Veon Bell less than a year into a $52.5M deal and the Los Angeles Rams this offseason cutting ties with Todd Gurley two years after providing him $45M guaranteed.

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McCaffrey, however, might be one of the few exceptions when it comes to RBs worth a big-money extension.

The Stanford product has demonstrated just as, if not more, dangerous as a pass catcher than as a traditional ball-carrier, breaking the NFL record for receptions by a RB in back-to-back campaigns. Drafted eighth overall by the Panthers in 2017, he’s had two straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons to go along with two straight 100-catch performances, totaling nearly 2,400 total yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019.

Still just 23, McCaffrey figures to be a centerpiece of new coach Matt Rhule’s rebuild.

“I’m so excited to continue my career in Carolina,” the RB told ESPN. “I want to thank Mr. (David) Tepper, Marty Hurney, and Coach Rhule for the opportunity to help lead this great franchise, and to all my teammates for their help along the way.”

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Free-agent RB LeSean McCoy wants to play 2 more years

LeSean McCoy isn’t ready to retire despite his decline in production the past two campaigns. In fact, he believes he has multiple seasons left in the NFL.

“I really just want to play two more years,” McCoy said Friday in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I talked to Frank (Gore) about this. He always tells me, ‘never put a ceiling on your career. Hey, if you feel good and you do well, do another one year and vise versa. If it doesn’t go well, just let your body talk to you.’ My body feels fine.”

The 31-year-old free-agent running back, who finished his 11th NFL season in 2019, added: “My body feels good. So I will let my body speak for when I want to be done.”

McCoy, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, said he has “a couple teams that I’m looking at” as possible fits for himself.

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“I’m just waiting for the right moment. This stuff is tricky now, because there’s no visits. There’s no real activities with the teams as much as it used to be. The thing I can control is just making the right choice, going to an offense that fits. I want to go to a team that’s a winning franchise that has all the right pieces that’s waiting for me. That veteran running back to help the room out. To add a spark. The teams I’m looking at right now are those teams,” he said. “I won’t discuss who they are. I look forward to probably after the draft or right before the draft, signing on with a team.”

McCoy’s playing time with the Kansas City Chiefs diminished as last season went on and he was inactive for the AFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LIV but that didn’t diminish his satisfaction at finally being on a Super Bowl winner and he said in the interview he was happy to cross that off his “bucket list.”

McCoy said he embraces his role as a veteran mentor just like Brian Westbrook did for him when he was a rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009.

“If I could be that guy to help that young superstar to emerge into that superstar superstar, I would love to do that,” he stated.

After rushing for 465 yards last campaign, McCoy is ranked third among active players with 11,071 career rushing yards, behind only Gore and Adrian Peterson. Gore also is a free agent and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told NFL Network last month that his client plans to play in 2020.

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Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans

The Los Angeles Rams are trading receiver Brandin Cooks to the Houston Texans, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the teams hadn’t informed the trade. The NFL Network reported the Rams will get a second-round pick while sending a future fourth-rounder to Houston.

Cooks will help the Texans replace DeAndre Hopkins, who was shockingly traded to the Arizona Cardinals last month for running back David Johnson and two draft picks.

While Cooks hasn’t matched Hopkins’ superstar play, Cooks is a fast, steady deep threat who has five 50-reception seasons over his six-year career. Cooks posted 1,000-yard seasons for each of his first three NFL teams: New Orleans, New England and Los Angeles.

Cooks, a California native who spent his first three campaigns with the Saints, played the past two years for the Rams after they acquired him from the Patriots. Los Angeles gave him an $81m contract extension through 2023 before he played a game for the team.

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Cooks played in back-to-back Super Bowls, suiting up for New England in early 2018 and for the Rams in early 2019.

He caught 80 passes for 1,204 yards and five touchdowns in 2018 with the Rams’ NFC championship team.

But Cooks managed a career-low 42 catches for just 583 yards last season while overcoming the latest in a series of concussions. He had only 15 catches after Week 7, and he sat out for two games after incurring a concussion during the Rams’ game against Cincinnati in London.

Cooks has incurred at least five concussions during his NFL career. He didn’t play for four weeks after his most recent concussion, seeking additional medical help during that stretch.

Although Houston still has receivers Kenny Stills, Will Fuller and Randall Cobb, the Texans clearly wanted another veteran target for Deshaun Watson after they moved on from Hopkins and his steadily spectacular production. Hopkins, who has five career 1,000-yard seasons, caught roughly one-third of Watson’s completions over the past three years.

Cooks joins running back Todd Gurley in the offseason exodus of veteran talent from the Rams. Cooks and Gurley, the former AP Offensive Player of the Year, were essential components of coach Sean McVay’s offense over the past two seasons.

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Arizona Cardinals’ trade for DeAndre Hopkins will be official by draft

No, the DeAndre Hopkins trade to the Cardinals isn’t yet finalized, with physicals for the players involved remaining a holdup for now in this world turned sideways by the coronavirus.

But Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, during a Zoom press conference Tuesday morning, said he is not concerned that the trade wouldn’t be completed before the April 23 draft.

With 2020 draft picks being swapped as part of the agreement, reaching a conclusion to the trade is important.

“Those (moves) aren’t official as far as I know at this point, but we’ll get it done,” Kingsbury said. “There is obviously the medical (part) and medical personnel have much bigger fish to fry at this point, so it’s been slower than it would be, but I have no doubts it will be done before the draft.”

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The trade, which has been approved by both the Cardinals and Texans pending those physicals, will send Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Both Hopkins and Johnson need to pass physicals for the trade to be officially finalized. That remains an expectation of when and not if.

“I don’t want to get too far into it because it’s not official yet,” Kingsbury stated in a session after he gave blood at State Farm Stadium. “But obviously, (Hopkins) is a tremendous player, been healthy, played at a high level for a long time. We’re all excited about it.”

The Cardinals and Texans agreed to the trade on March 16, two days before free agency started. The deal came together quickly, Kingsbury said.

“Steve [Keim, the team’s general manager] called me down to his office and said we had something in the works,” Kingsbury added, “and they worked through it and got it done.”

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NFL confirms virtual draft with team personnel at their homes

The NFL draft will be performed in a virtual format, with team personnel working from their homes.

In a memo sent to the 32 teams Monday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined procedures for the April 23-25 draft. The guidelines contained no group gatherings.

“We have reviewed this matter in the past few days with both the competition committee and CEC (a group of league executives),” Goodell wrote, “and this will confirm that clubs will conduct their draft operations remotely, with club personnel separately located in their homes.”

All team facilities were closed on March 26 and Goodell has ordered them to stay shut indefinitely.

“We will reopen facilities when it is safe to do so based on medical and public health advice, and in compliance with government mandates,” he wrote.

The draft initially was scheduled to be held in Las Vegas, but the NFL canceled all public events last month as a safeguard against the coronavirus.

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On Monday, Goodell instructed the teams on how they should plan to make their selections.

“We have made this decision for several reasons,” he wrote. “All clubs will not have access to their facilities, which is contrary to the fundamental equity principle that all clubs operate in a consistent and fair way.

“Moreover, we want all NFL personnel to comply with government directives and to model safe and appropriate health practices. Our staff will carry out its responsibilities in the same way, operating in separate locations outside of our offices. And after consulting with medical advisers, we cannot identify an alternative that is preferable from a medical or public health perspective, given the varying needs of clubs, the need properly to screen participants, and the unique risk factors that individual club employees may face.”

Several team general managers had sought a delay in the draft, basically citing an unfair playing field.

But the owners pushed for the draft, the NFL’s biggest offseason event, to take place as scheduled.

It is up to each team to ensure not only safe and healthy conditions, but to offset any perceived competitive imbalance under the directions set forth by Goodell.

“We are operating in an environment unlike anything we have experienced before,” Goodell added, “one that requires flexibility, patience, and cooperation.”

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Eli Apple remains free agent after deal with Riders falls through

Eli Apple is back on the open market. Apple, who reportedly came to terms on a contract with the Raiders back on March 18, is once again a free agent after the two sides were “unable to finalize a contract,” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. 

Before coming to terms with Apple, the Raiders reportedly had a two-year contract offer for former Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr., but ultimately determined to instead sign Apple, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. Harris, a four-time Pro Bowler, has signed a two-year contract with the Chargers. 

The 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Apple, a boundary cornerback, began his career with the Giants before being traded to the Saints midway through the 2018 campaign.

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Apple has logged 48 career regular season starts in 55 games.

He has 233 career tackles, three interceptions, 33 passes defensed, three forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries. Last season, his only full season with the Saints, Apple tallied 53 tackles along with one forced fumble and four passes defensed in 15 games. 

Apple was set to join a Raiders team that had already signed former Bears linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, former Rams linebacker Cory Littleton, former Cowboys defensive tackle Maliek Collins, former Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, and former Buccaneers defensive end Carl Nassib during the first two weeks of free agency. 

With Apple off the table, the Raiders may decide to look into signing Dre Kirkpatrick, a veteran cornerback who was released by the Bengals earlier this week.

In 99 regular season matches with the Bengals, Kirkpatrick received 67 starts while recording 302 tackles, 10 interceptions, two interceptions returns for touchdowns, and 65 passes defensed. His play helped the Bengals move forward to the playoffs four consecutive years from 2012-15.

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Ravens’ Lamar Jackson working out with Antonio Brown

Last year, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson drew attention for his offseason work with teammates Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore.

On Wednesday, his company was a little more famous.

In an afternoon session in Fort Lauderdale, Florida — county seat of his native Broward County — the NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player worked out alongside Ravens wide receiver and close pal Marquise “Hollywood” Brown; Alabama wide receiver and future first-round pick Jerry Jeudy, another Broward County native; and, most notably, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, a cousin of the Ravens’ Brown.

Responding to a tweet Wednesday showing Antonio Brown catching passes from Jackson, the Ravens star tagged the six-time All-Pro wide receiver and stated that they would do it again.

Brown, 31, a free agent, missed most of last campaign after two ugly departures.

The Oakland Raiders, who voided the guaranteed money in his contract after Brown missed nearly all of training camp, cut him in early September when he requested to be released.

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After quickly signing with the New England Patriots, Brown was named in a lawsuit by his former trainer, who alleged that he had sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions. Less than a week later, another woman accused him of sexual misconduct.

The Patriots cut Brown after just one game, and the NFL started an investigation into the allegations against him.

Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Brown and Jackson have been active this week. On Tuesday, Brown appeared in social media posts alongside former Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson and Antonio Brown at his cousin’s Florida gym. On Wednesday, both Brown cousins and Jackson worked out on a football field in what Jeudy told “The Rich Eisen Show” was Fort Lauderdale.

It could be their last public workout for a while. On Wednesday afternoon, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statewide stay-at-home order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The order will go into effect at midnight Thursday and last for at least 30 days.

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