Tagged in: agree

LB Anthony Barr, Dallas Cowboys agree to one-year deal

After talks that covered a couple of months, the Dallas Cowboys reached a one-year agreement with veteran linebacker Anthony Barr on Wednesday.

The deal is for $2 million but can max out at $3 million, a source told ESPN’s Todd Archer.

With the Cowboys keeping Micah Parsons in a multifaceted role between linebacker and pass-rusher in 2022, the team wanted to add some veteran help alongside Leighton Vander Esch with no other uber-experienced linebacker on the roster.

The Cowboys have second-year linebacker Jabril Cox coming off a torn anterior cruciate ligament. While he has gotten off to a good start, he has missed the past two days of work, although there does not seem to be concern over his status.

Barr, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, had a career-high three interceptions to go along with 2.5 sacks and 72 tackles last season, the latter of which was his third-highest output in his eight seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

The 30-year-old linebacker appeared in 11 games after undergoing a procedure on his right knee that forced him to miss the first four matches of the 2021 season.

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He reworked his contract last March to allow himself to hit free agency after the 2021 season.

After missing the final 14 games of 2020 upon tearing a pectoral muscle versus Indianapolis, Barr’s salary and bonuses were reduced from $12.9 million to $10 million with a fully guaranteed base salary of $9.4 million.

Barr has a background with Cowboys senior defensive assistant George Edwards, who coaches the linebackers, from their time together in Minnesota.

The former UCLA standout was former Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s first draft pick in 2014 (ninth overall). Barr, a 3-4 outside linebacker in college, transitioned to a nontraditional off-ball role in Zimmer’s 4-3 scheme, where he was used strategically on blitzes designed around his skill set. According to Pro Football Focus data, Barr was ranked as the 12th best pass-rusher at his position and 14th in coverage in 2021.

Barr wore the green dot on his helmet for the majority of his time in Minnesota and played a critical role in calling defensive plays on the field.

The last time Barr hit free agency in 2019, the linebacker verbally agreed to a deal with the New York Jets that would have paid him $15 million per season for five years, but he returned to the Vikings less than 24 hours later to sign for far less money.

He has 495 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 5 interceptions in eight campaigns.

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New England Patriots and punter Jake Bailey agree to four-year, $13.5 million contract

Punter Jake Bailey, a 2020 first-team All-Pro, agreed to a four-year contract with the New England Patriots worth $13.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal runs through the 2025 campaign and includes $6.5 million fully guaranteed, per Schefter.

Bailey, 25, was entering the final year of his rookie contract, and carried a salary-cap charge of $4.05 million — the second highest of any punter in the NFL.

“I’m just so happy and blessed I get a few more years here,” Bailey stated after Monday’s practice, adding that it is a “huge milestone” in his life.

“Any time there is uncertainty, it’s always something in the back of your head. But at our position, you have to be able to compartmentalize and execute, and if you’re not able to do that with whatever is distracting you, you’re not going to play very long.”

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The extension is expected to lower his cap charge by about $1.85 million, increasing the Patriots’ overall cap space to about $4.75 million.

While the team gains cap relief, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Bailey — who entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft choice out of Stanford — earns some long-term security.

He punted 49 times last season and posted a 47.3-yard average (eighth in the NFL) and 39.6 net (21st in the NFL). He also handles kickoff and holding duties.

Bailey’s powerful leg is especially helpful to the Patriots when weather conditions turn colder and windier later in the season in New England.

Coach Bill Belichick places a notable emphasis on winning the field-position battle, and Bailey has often been effective in helping the team do so.

In 2020, when he was named first-team All-Pro, Bailey punted for a 48.7 average and 45.6 net, with just five touchbacks.

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New Orleans Saints QB Andy Dalton and RB Mark Ingram agree to deal on jersey number

New Orleans Saints veterans Mark Ingram II and Andy Dalton have completed a jersey swap that can only be described as a win-win.

Dalton, who signed with the Saints this offseason, will get the No. 14 that he has worn throughout his career as a quarterback with TCU, the Cincinnati Bengals, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.

Ingram, meanwhile, gets to wear a more slimming No. 5 jersey.

Last season, Ingram hilariously tried to describe his angst over the unappealing jersey number options he had when he returned to New Orleans in a midseason trade.

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Not only was his former No. 22 not an option, but nothing in the 20s or single digits was available either. So Ingram very reluctantly decided to go with 14 “because it seemed the best of the worst.”

Ingram stated he didn’t like numbers in the 30s because “it’s too big of a number for me.”

“I don’t want no 30s,” Ingram said. “It’s just too wide. I’m short, stocky. I gotta have a number that fits me a little bit.”

The 40s were even worse, in Ingram’s sartorial opinion. Ingram said he contemplated asking kicker Wil Lutz if he could wear his No. 3 while Lutz was on injured reserve last year.

He even considered reaching out to former Saints quarterback Archie Manning about wearing No. 8 in his honor (both Manning’s 8 and Drew Brees’ 9 aren’t officially retired, but they never get assigned to new players).

Coincidentally, the No. 5 that Ingram has now landed in is the same one that former Saints running back Reggie Bush was unable to acquire as a rookie in 2006 before the NFL permitted running backs to wear single digits.

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Phoenix Suns, coach Monty Williams agree to long-term extension

The Phoenix Suns and Monty Williams, the NBA’s reigning coach of the year, have agreed on a long-term contract extension, sources told ESPN on Saturday.

Williams, who was voted the National Basketball Coach’s Association’s coach of the year in consecutive seasons, had two years left on his original five-year deal, and now moves under contract for several more years.

Williams’ impact on the Suns’ organization has been deep, including a trip to the 2021 NBA Finals and a franchise-record 64 regular-season victories last season.

Williams has gone 149-78 (.656) in his three seasons and delivered accountability and purpose to a wayward Suns’ program, transforming a team that had won 19 matches prior to his arrival into one of the league’s best teams.

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The Suns last season joined the 1969-70 New York Knicks as the only teams to finish with a better road victory percentage than every other team’s home victory percentage in a season.

The Suns were 47-0 when leading after three quarters — the best in the shot-clock era.

The only two other teams that went undefeated in that scenario in the regular season both included LeBron James — the 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers and the 2019-20 Los Angeles Lakers.

Among the Suns’ regular-season dominance last season: a franchise-record 18-game winning streak and three separate winning streaks of nine-plus games in a season when the rest of the NBA had a combined four streaks of nine or more victories.

The Suns were the only team to rank in the top five in offensive and defensive efficiency and went 33-9 in clutch-time games — the best record in such situations in the NBA since the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors.

Despite the league-best and franchise-record 64 victories, the Suns were blown out in a Game 7 at home to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference semifinals.

Phoenix reached the NBA Finals in 2021, losing in six games to the Milwaukee Bucks. Through the past season, Williams’ leadership was tested by the distractions of an NBA investigation into owner Robert Sarver’s behavior, stemming from an ESPN investigation.

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Justin Houston, Baltimore Ravens agree to one-year deal

Justin Houston and the Baltimore Ravens have reached an agreement on a one-year deal for the four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker to return to the club, it was announced Thursday.

The Ravens tendered Houston after the draft — much as the Kansas City Chiefs did with Melvin Ingram — to try to ensure his return to Baltimore.

In his first campaign with the Ravens, Houston led the team with 17 quarterback hits but was credited with only 4.5 sacks, his fewest ever for a full season and the second consecutive season in which his sack production has decreased.

Houston, who turned 33 in January, became the 39th player in NFL history to reach 100 career sacks. His 102 sacks is tied for the fourth most in the league since he entered the NFL in 2011.

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His return helps to address the thinnest position on the Ravens defense.

There’s doubt whether starting outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, who tore an Achilles in the season finale, will be ready for the start of the regular season. Outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died on June 21 from the combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine.

Before the Ravens brought back Houston, the other remaining experienced outside linebackers — Odafe Oweh, Steven Means and Vince Biegel — have combined for 13.5 career sacks.

Houston has made an impact in Baltimore as a leader, repeatedly staying after practice to help the Ravens’ young pass-rushers on moves. He was nicknamed “Yoda” by Oweh, a rookie first-round pick.

A 2011 third-round pick by the Chiefs, Houston has totaled 484 tackles, 165 quarterback hits, 18 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries and 4 interceptions in 11 seasons for the Chiefs, Indianapolis Colts and Ravens.

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Washington Commanders, Terry McLaurin agree to three-year extension with $28M signing bonus

Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin is signing a three-year extension worth up to $71 million in new money that places him among the NFL’s five highest-paid WRs.

Agents Buddy Baker and Tony Bonagura of Exclusive Sports Group concluded the deal Tuesday with Washington senior vice president of football operations Rob Rogers.

The three-year extension for McLaurin includes a $28 million signing bonus, the largest given to any wide receiver, and also has 76.4% of the new money in the deal guaranteed.

The deal contractually ties McLaurin, 26, to Washington through the 2025 season. McLaurin’s rookie contract had been set to expire after the 2022 season.

McLaurin acknowledged the extension on Thursday, thanking the organization and its fans.

“While I am both humbled and ecstatic about this contract, it motivates me to work even harder,” he wrote in the statement posted on Twitter. “I understand and embrace the responsibility that comes with signing this extension. To whom much is given, much is required. There is no other place I would rather be on fan base I would want to represent.”

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He had skipped the three weeks of voluntary OTAs as well as the team’s mandatory three-day minicamp.

The deal ends what would have been a headache for a franchise that didn’t need another one. McLaurin’s popularity both in the locker room as a leader and with the fan base would have resulted in more displeasure directed at the Commanders.

Washington coach Ron Rivera stated on June 15 that they started to have more talks about a week earlier. One source told ESPN’s John Keim that Rivera reached out to McLaurin — not to negotiate but to reiterate his importance to the organization. Washington didn’t waver on its desire to sign McLaurin and did not consider trading him.

McLaurin’s contract is the latest in a wide receiver market that has exploded this offseason. Davante Adams (five years, $140 million), Tyreek Hill (four years, $120 million) and A.J. Brown (four years, $100 million) each signed deals worth at least $100 million. Other wide receivers to sign major contracts include Stefon Diggs (four years, $96 million), Cooper Kupp (three years, $80.1 million), Mike Williams (three years, $60 million) and Chris Godwin (three years, $60 million).

McLaurin surpassed 1,000 yards receiving in two of his first three seasons after being selected in the third round of the 2019 draft despite playing with nine different starting quarterbacks.

He caught 77 passes for 1,053 yards and five scores last season after grabbing 87 for 1,118 yards and four touchdowns the previous season. He finished with 919 receiving yards as a rookie. He has missed just three games in his career.

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Las Vegas Raiders agree to 4-year contract extensions with kicker Daniel Carlson, punter AJ Cole

Las Vegas Raiders place-kicker Daniel Carlson, who tied for the NFL lead in scoring last season with 144 points, has agreed to a four-year contract extension, his agent tweeted Wednesday.

The deal is worth $18.4 million with $10.2 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It makes Carlson the league’s third-highest-paid kicker.

Raiders punter AJ Cole also received a four-year extension Wednesday that will make him one of the league’s top-four-paid punters, his agent told NFL Network. Cole’s new deal is worth $12.4 million, including $5.9 million guaranteed, a source told Schefter.

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Cole leads the NFL with 51.1 yards per punt. His 42.8-yard net average ranks seventh.

Carlson, 26, was initially a fifth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2018 but was cut after two games when he missed three of his first four field goal attempts. The Raiders signed him Oct. 23 of that season.

With the Raiders, Carlson has made 95 of 108 field goal attempts, including 12-of-15 from 50 yards or longer, and 120 of 126 point-after attempts. His 104 points scored this season — 27-for-30 on field goals, 23-for-25 on extra points — are tied for third in the NFL with Los Angeles Rams kicker Matt Gay, behind New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk (128) and Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (108).

Carlson’s combined 60 field goals the past two seasons are the most in the NFL, while his 92.3% conversion rate over that time frame ranks fourth in the league.

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Boston Celtics, Dennis Schroder agree on 1-year, $5.9 million deal

Free-agent point guard Dennis Schroder is headed to the Boston Celtics, he announced Tuesday on his Instagram account.

The deal is for one year and will be for the $5.9 million taxpayer midlevel exception, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Schroder, who turns 28 in September, was the last remaining significant unrestricted free agent on the market. He turned down a lucrative extension offer from the Los Angeles Lakers during the regular season, worth north of $80 million, to pursue a bigger contract this summer.

In Boston, Schroder joins a Celtics team with a hole at point guard in the wake of Kemba Walker being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, giving him an opportunity to boost his value when he will hit the market again as a free agent next summer.

“I’m proud to announce that for the 2021-22 season I’ll be playing for the Boston Celtics!” Schroder wrote on Instagram. “This is one of the best franchises in NBA history and it will be a honour to put on the green and white and do what I love! I’m going out there every night and leaving it all on the floor for the city!! Who’s ready?”

The Lakers had acquired Schroder in a trade with the Thunder at last year’s NBA draft in exchange for Danny Green and last year’s first-round pick.

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Schroder averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists in 61 games — all starts — for the Lakers, but he was mired in controversy after he missed 11 days late in the regular season after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

He told a German publication that he and LeBron James were the only Lakers players to not get vaccinated, before then telling local reporters upon his return that, “I’m the only guy that didn’t get vaccinated. I’ll just leave it at that.”

He then averaged 14.3 points but shot just 40% from the field and 30.3% from the 3-point line in the Lakers’ loss to the Phoenix Suns in six matches in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

“You got to go through the bulls— to get to the good s—,” Schroder told reporters in his end-of-season news conference after the Suns series.

By signing Schroder for the taxpayer midlevel exception, along with signing center Enes Kanter for a one-year minimum deal, Boston now is sitting a little over $4 million over the luxury tax line with 15 guaranteed contracts on its roster.

The Celtics are coming off a disappointing season that saw them conclude seventh in the East and lose in five games to the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

After the season ended, longtime president of basketball operations Danny Ainge stepped aside, longtime coach Brad Stevens took his place and the Celtics hired Nets assistant Ime Udoka to replace him.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, is facing a massive payroll and luxury tax bill of close to $200 million even without Schroder, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks, after trading for Russell Westbrook, signing Kendrick Nunn to a two-year deal worth $10 million, re-signing Talen Horton-Tucker to a three-year, $32 million deal and filling out the rest of the roster with one-year minimum deals, including contracts for future Hall of Famers Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.

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Indianapolis Colts, Darius Leonard agree to 5-year, $98.5M extension that makes him top-paid ILB

The Indianapolis Colts and linebacker Darius Leonard have agreed to an extension, the team revealed Sunday.

Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter it is a five-year, $98.5 million extension that will make Leonard the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history.

Leonard passes San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner, who signed his new deal at the outset of training camp that made him the NFL’s highest-paid inside linebacker at the time.

“I’m a competitor. If you’re not first, you’re last,” Leonard said of besting Warner’s deal. “To have my name at the top, that’s something I don’t take for granted. I have to continue to go out and prove that. You’ve seen the [linebacker] rankings; I think I was sixth, I was No. 8 on Madden.”

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Leonard joins offensive tackle Braden Smith as the two players the Colts have locked up to long-term extensions during training camp.

Leonard stated he hopes to make his training camp debut this week after offseason ankle surgery.

The 26-year-old Leonard was a first-team All-Pro for the second time in 2020, when he had 132 tackles, three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries while helping the Colts return to the playoffs after a one-year absence. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, when he led the NFL with 163 tackles and also recorded seven sacks.

A second-round draft selection in 2018, Leonard has 416 tackles in three seasons and also has 15 career sacks and seven interceptions. “We all know Darius, that chip has served him well,” coach Frank Reich said.

“Whatever level of disrespect he felt from all that, he’s used that as a motivator in [his] own way, but what I’ve learned to appreciate about Darius is he’s going to be motivated no matter what to be the very best. He’s going to hold himself to those standards.”

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Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers agree on 5-year, $95 million extension

The San Francisco 49ers took care of their final piece of big offseason business Wednesday, agreeing to terms with Fred Warner on a contract that will make him the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in NFL history, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Warner and the Niners agreed to a five-year, $95 million deal that contains $40.5 million guaranteed, sources told Schefter. The $19 million average annual value surpasses the previous high of $18 million per year held by Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner.

Warner’s $40.5 million is the second-highest guaranteed total for an off-ball linebacker, trailing only the New York Jets’ C.J. Mosley’s $51 million, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

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The deal comes six days before the 49ers are booked to report to training camp and 10 days before they start practice on July 31, which was always viewed as an unofficial deadline for Warner and the team to complete a deal.

Warner, 24, left little doubt that he wanted to get a deal done this past May during organized team activities, when he said he wants “to be a Niner for life.”

A third-round pick in the 2018 draft, Warner ranks seventh in the NFL in tackles (366) and is one of two players with 250-plus solo tackles (252) and 15-plus pass breakups (16) in that time, along with Wagner.

Warner ended last season with 125 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two interceptions as he earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods along with the Niners’ two most prestigious team awards.

Warner joins tight end George Kittle and left tackle Trent Williams in landing record-setting contracts for their position in the past year.

Kittle re-signed just before last year’s training camp, and Williams agreed to his deal with the Niners in March.

Getting Warner’s deal done now also helps reset the market for his position, as the Indianapolis Colts’ Darius Leonard and Chicago Bears’ Roquan Smith are also due for lucrative extensions.

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