Tagged in: agrees

Cleveland Browns QB Deshaun Watson agrees to settle 3 more lawsuits as discipline ruling expected Monday

Sue L. Robinson, the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and players’ union, is expected to issue a decision Monday on whether Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson violated the league’s personal conduct policy following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, Watson has agreed to settle three of the remaining four active civil lawsuits against him, Houston attorney Tony Buzbee told ESPN’s John Barr early Monday morning.

If Robinson, a former U.S. district judge, imposes any punishment, either side will have three days to submit an appeal in writing.

In that case, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL Players Association already made it clear in a statement Sunday night that it won’t appeal.

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“In advance of Judge Robinson’s decision, we wanted to reiterate the facts of this proceeding,” the union said in a statement.

“First, we have fully cooperated with every NFL inquiry and provided the NFL with the most comprehensive set of information for any personal conduct policy investigation. A former Federal Judge — appointed jointly by the NFLPA and NFL — held a full and fair hearing, has read thousands of pages of investigative documents and reviewed arguments from both sides impartially. Every player, owner, business partner and stakeholder deserves to know that our process is legitimate and will not be tarnished based on the whims of the League office. This is why, regardless of her decision, Deshaun and the NFLPA will stand by her ruling and we call on the NFL to do the same.”

Robinson heard arguments from the league, union and Watson’s attorney during a three-day hearing held in her home state of Delaware in late June. The sides conversed a potential settlement all the way up through the hearing but could not agree to a deal.

The league and Watson’s side did engage in further settlement talks in recent days, sources told ESPN’s Dan Graziano, but neither side ever felt they were close to an agreement. The most Watson’s side indicated it was willing to offer was a suspension in the range of six to eight matches, according to sources. The best the league indicated it was willing to offer was a 12-game suspension and a significant fine — in the range of $8 million, sources said.

Watson has been accused of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct during massage sessions in civil lawsuits filed by 25 women.

The encounters cited in the lawsuits took place between March 2020 and March 2021, while Watson was a member of the Houston Texans.

One of the 25 lawsuits was dropped following a judge’s ruling in April 2021 that plaintiffs needed to amend their petitions to disclose their names. In June, Watson settled 20 of the 24 lawsuits he was facing; on Monday, he agreed to settle three of the remaining four, according to Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson.

Last month, the Texans reached settlements with 30 women who made claims or were prepared to make claims against the organization for its alleged role regarding the allegations against Watson.

Although two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson earlier this year, the NFL has been investigating whether he violated its personal conduct policy since last year. The NFL interviewed Watson over multiple days earlier this summer. The league’s investigators also spoke to several of the women.

Watson has continually denied all wrongdoing and stated he has no regrets for any of his actions during the massage sessions. Watson also said he cooperated with the NFL’s investigation and “answered every question truthfully” that he was asked by the league’s investigators.

The Browns traded for Watson in March, sending three first-round draft picks to the Texans. Cleveland then gave Watson a new five-year contract worth $230 million and fully guaranteed, the richest deal in NFL history for any player.

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Serge Ibaka staying with Milwaukee Bucks; agrees to terms on deal

Serge Ibaka is staying with the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks announced Tuesday that they have re-signed the center, who came to Milwaukee as part of a four-team deal at the Feb. 10 trade deadline. Terms of the deal weren’t released.

“Serge is an elite defender and shot-blocker who will continue to add depth for us at center,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement. “He was a valuable acquisition for us last season, and we look forward to having him back in Milwaukee.”

Ibaka, 32, averaged 7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 17.8 minutes in 19 games with the Bucks last campaign.

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The Bucks acquired Ibaka while starting center Brook Lopez was still recovering from a back injury that required surgery and caused him to play just 13 regular-season games this past season. Ibaka’s playing time diminished after Lopez returned.

Milwaukee sent guard Donte DiVincenzo to the Sacramento Kings and forwards Rodney Hood and Semi Ojeleye to the LA Clippers in the deal that brought them Ibaka as well as a pair of second-round draft picks and cash.

Ibaka averaged 6.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 35 games with the Clippers before getting traded. The three-time All-Defensive first-team selection led the NBA in total blocks four consecutive seasons while playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He led the league in blocks per game in 2011-12 and 2012-13. His 1,752 career blocks rank him second among all active players, behind only Dwight Howard.

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Derek Carr agrees to 3-year, $121.5 million extension with Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr signed a multiyear contract extension Wednesday.

The Raiders did not disclose terms of the deal, but a source confirmed to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Carr agreed to a three-year, $121.5 million extension that contains a no-trade clause and runs through the 2025 season.

Carr also mentioned Wednesday that he will be with the Raiders for “four more” years and stated he would have understood had the new regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels wanted “somebody new” at quarterback.

“But the fact that they keep believing in me and watching the tape and saying, ‘Wow, we want you to be here for some more years or some more time,’ that means more to me, way more to me than any of the other stuff it has to do with,” Carr said. “It was very clear to me how they felt about me from day one.”

Carr, 31, is arranged to make $19.87 million in base salary in 2022. He signed a five-year, $125 million extension in 2017 that was, at the time, the richest contract in NFL history.

His new money average per year of $40.5 million (for the extension only) ranks fifth among NFL quarterbacks.

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“Derek Carr has been the leader of this franchise for a long time and we are thrilled to continue that relationship moving forward,” McDaniels said in a statement released by the team.

“He has been a great example of someone who always puts the team first and we appreciate his desire to keep doing that while leading on and off the field. It is clear how much Derek cares about this organization, his teammates and winning. I look forward to the opportunity to work with him this season and beyond.”

Carr reiterated Wednesday that he only wanted to be a Raider and was “crazy enough” and willing to play out the final year of his deal in 2022.

“I told my agent, ‘I’m either going to be a Raider, or I’m going to be playing golf. I don’t want to play anywhere else,'” he said. “That’s how much this place means to me.

Carr is coming off a season with a career-best 4,804 passing yards and had 23 touchdowns, a career-worst 14 interceptions and 40 sacks, the second-highest total of his eight-year career.

The Raiders went 10-7 and played in the postseason for the second time since 2002 despite a turbulent season marked by the resignation of coach Jon Gruden, the arrest of receiver Henry Ruggs III and the release of cornerback Damon Arnette.

Las Vegas lost in the wild-card round at the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals 26-19 as Carr threw a fourth-and-goal interception in front of the goal line with 12 seconds left.

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1B Anthony Rizzo agrees to two-year, $32 million contract with New York Yankees

First baseman Anthony Rizzo, who concluded last season with the Yankees after a trade from the Chicago Cubs, agreed to a multiyear contract Tuesday night to return to New York, pending a physical, a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.

The contract for is two years and $32 million with an opt-out clause after one season, a source said.

During his decade-long career with the Cubs, Rizzo was as reliable as anyone in the batter’s box and in the field. He was a consistent All-Star and Gold Glove winner and garnered MVP votes in five consecutive seasons. But his numbers dropped over the past two seasons, culminating in the trade to New York.

Rizzo got off to a hot start with his new team but a bout with COVID-19 interrupted his second half. He still managed 22 home runs split between the Cubs and Yankees but his .783 OPS was his lowest since 2013.

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Rizzo’s defense hasn’t suffered as he’s aged and a perennial back ailment hasn’t kept him out of the lineup for more than a few days at a time. He’s still a reliable left-handed bat but may never again be an MVP-caliber player.

Rizzo is just one of five left-handed hitters in the long history of the Cubs to hit 30 or more home runs in a season.

And he’s just one of two players to do it multiple times. He averaged 29 home runs over a seven-year span, helping the Cubs to the postseason from 2015 to 2018.

He was also the de facto leader of the team, signing a long-term contract with the Cubs in 2013. That ended last year after the Cubs picked up two team option years in 2020 and 2021.

The sides discussed another deal as recently as this past spring but after an agreement couldn’t be reached, Rizzo was traded to the Yankees the day before the trade deadline this past summer.

New York, after a slow start, rallied with Rizzo and Co. to make the postseason, where the Yankees were eliminated by the Boston Red Sox, another team that was mentioned prominently in trade rumors once Rizzo became available.

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DeMarcus Lawrence agrees to 3-year deal with Dallas Cowboys

DeMarcus Lawrence has agreed to a new three-year deal worth $30 million guaranteed, sources told ESPN, with the new contract providing the Dallas Cowboys salary-cap relief this year.

Lawrence’s future with the team had been in question with a $27 million salary-cap figure and the Cowboys needing to find room just to get under the cap, but the sides were able to work out a deal that keeps him in Dallas through at least 2024.

Lawrence’s $27 million cap figure would have been the fifth-highest hit of any defensive player in 2022.

While the exact figures are not yet known, the Cowboys will have more space to keep their own free agents, like safeties Jayron Kearse and Malik Hooker, as well as defensive end Randy Gregory, who has received early interest from multiple teams, counting the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts, according to sources.

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In 2019, Lawrence signed a five-year, $101 million deal that included $65 million in guaranteed money.

After adding a voidable year on to the deal in 2020, the Cowboys tore up the final three years of the original deal in exchange for the new contract.

Lawrence is the heart and soul of the Cowboys’ defense. Since posting 14.5 and 10.5 sacks in 2017 and ’18 that saw him land the franchise tag twice, he has not had more than 6.5 sacks in a season.

He was limited to seven games in 2021 after undergoing foot surgery following the season opener. He concluded with three sacks, five pass deflections, an interception, two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles with the coaches crediting him with 18 tackles.

Over the last five seasons, Lawrence has the fifth-best pass-rush win rate (24.9%), fifth-best pressure percentage (11.7%) and 206 pressures, which are seventh-best in the league.

The Cowboys hope to have Lawrence back with Micah Parsons, who had 13 sacks as a rookie, and Gregory, who matched his career-high with six sacks, in 2022 in Dan Quinn’s second year as their defensive coordinator.

Without the cap space gained from Lawrence, keeping Gregory might have been more difficult or forced the Cowboys to make more roster moves.

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Odell Beckham Jr. agrees to contract with Los Angeles Rams

Odell Beckham Jr. has agreed to a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Rams, the team revealed.

The free-agent wide receiver joins a high-powered offense led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and adds to a depth chart at the position that already includes Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Van Jefferson.

Beckham became a free agent when he cleared waivers on Tuesday after being released by the Cleveland Browns.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were among the other teams Beckham considered this week, sources had told ESPN.

Stafford stated Thursday he has a lot of respect for Beckham, who he played with at a Pro Bowl. He lauded Beckham for being “outstanding” both when the ball is in the air and after the catch and said he was “excited” to be able to work with him on the Rams.

“It’s an opportunity for us as a team, it’s an opportunity for him to come in here and prove himself to us. What our room is about in the receiver room is pretty special. I know he’ll fit right in and continue to get better and hopefully help us as a team,” Stafford said.

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Stafford said if Beckham wants to win, “that’s what we’re all about,” and he was confident he’ll be able to contribute.

“Everybody on our team carves out their role. They do a great job of figuring out what that role is going to be and going out there and proving it both on the practice field and in games and given the opportunities I know he’ll do the same,” he said.

In Los Angeles, Beckham essentially replaces veteran wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who was released after the trade deadline last week. Jackson signed with the Las Vegas Raiders this week.

Beckham is the second high-profile player added by the Rams this month, after Los Angeles traded for star pass-rusher Von Miller before the deadline last week. Miller welcomed Beckham to Los Angeles on his Instagram Story, posting: “Let’s chase this ring family!!!!”

Beckham was also welcomed to L.A. by Lakers superstar LeBron James, one of his good friends, who tweeted: “Welcome to LA my brother @obj ! It’s GO TIME!!”

The Rams lead the NFL in total offense this season behind a potent passing attack led by Stafford, who is first in the NFL with 2,771 passing yards. Kupp is the team’s No. 1 receiver and leads the NFL in receptions (74), receiving yards (1,019) and touchdown receptions (10).

The Browns excused Beckham from practice last week while the sides negotiated his exit. He had asked to be traded and never developed an on-field connection with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Beckham essentially forced his release last week when his father shared an 11-minute video on social media — hours before the trade deadline — of plays in which Mayfield didn’t pass him the ball.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection has 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six matches this season. Beckham had 1,035 receiving yards in 2019, his first season with Cleveland, but suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2020. He has passed the 1,000-yard receiving mark five times in his career.

Browns safety John Johnson III, who spent the past four seasons with the Rams, was on a Zoom call with Cleveland reporters when the news of Beckham’s signing broke. Johnson wondered how OBJ will fit in L.A.

“They had a good thing going, like a complete offense,” Johnson said. “I don’t know. I just feel, like, from being in L.A., I know for a fact the offense runs through Cooper Kupp; even in the run game, the pass game, the screen game, it kind of runs through Cooper Kupp. So obviously, Odell’s a big name and he’s going to want that attention as well. It will be interesting.

“Coach [Sean] McVay, he’s one of the best doing it. He’ll find a way to get it done, but right off the bat, I really wouldn’t want to go there if I were him. But we’ll see how it goes, and I wish him the best.”

The Rams have been remarkably successful at managing the egos and needs of their elite players, with McVay assuaging almost all public disenchantment with the organization.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey was considered a potential locker room problem after he forced his way out of Jacksonville, but he has been a model citizen and a clear team leader in Los Angeles since arriving in 2019.

The Rams (7-2) play the San Francisco 49ers (3-5) on Monday night.

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WR Jamison Crowder agrees to pay cut to remain with New York Jets

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder, the team’s leading receiver the past two campaigns, evaded the possibility of being released by agreeing to a pay cut, a source confirmed Monday.

Crowder was due to make a non-guaranteed $10 million in base pay for 2021, the final year of a three-year, $28.5 million contract. Details of the renegotiated contract weren’t immediately available, but the new deal is anticipated to significantly lower his $11.4 million salary-cap charge.

The Jets are among the league leaders in cap space (about $27 million), but they approached Crowder recently about a reduction. Crowder, who turns 28 on Thursday, skipped the voluntary portion of the offseason as the two sides haggled over the contract. NFL Network first reported the agreement.

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The Jets’ mandatory minicamp starts Tuesday, and Crowder is expected to attend.

Coach Robert Saleh was optimistic that a deal would get done, saying 10 days ago that “Jamison’s definitely got a role here and we’re excited to have him.”

After signing receivers Corey Davis and Keelan Cole in free agency, and drafting Elijah Moore in the second round, the Jets had the leverage in talks with Crowder.

He led the team with 59 catches and 699 yards in 2020, but his production was down because he missed four matches due to leg injuries. The Jets also finished 32nd in total offense for the second straight year.

Even though Crowder is back, it will be interesting to see if his role diminishes in the regular season. Moore, selected 34th overall, has impressed the coaches in offseason practices.

Like Crowder, he’s a slot receiver. In another contract-related development, safety Marcus Maye reported to the facility Monday ahead of the minicamp. Maye, who signed his franchise-tag tender ($10.6 million) earlier in the offseason, skipped the voluntary practices as the two sides attempt to negotiate a long-term deal.

The deadline is July 15. If they can’t agree to a deal, Maye will play the 2021 season for the amount of the tender.

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J.J. Watt agrees to two-year contract with Arizona Cardinals

Free-agent pass-rusher J.J. Watt has agreed to a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, the team revealed Monday.

Terms were not disclosed, but a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the deal is worth $31 million and includes $23 million guaranteed.

“I’m excited to get started,” Watt said on the tarmac after the plane landed. “Very excited to get started, get to work, get to know the people of Arizona.”

Watt, 31, was released by the Houston Texans, who granted his request on Feb. 12, ending his 10-year run with the franchise.

Four days later, Watt’s former Texans teammate and current Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins posted a photo of himself and Watt photoshopped in a Cardinals uniform on Instagram with the caption: “Let’s finish what we started…” Hopkins reacted to Monday’s news by tweeting: “Life is good in Arizona!”

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Watt will reunite with Vance Joseph, the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, who was the Texans’ defensive backs coach during Watt’s first three campaigns in Houston.

In Arizona, Watt will be paired with fellow pass-rusher Chandler Jones, who leads the NFL in sacks since he was drafted in the first round in 2012 with 97. Second during that span is Watt with 95.5.

Watt’s addition meant minimal variations to the Cardinals’ odds for the 2021 season from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill. Their odds to win the Super Bowl stays 40-1 and to win the NFC remain 20-1. Arizona’s odds to win the NFC West moved from 7-1 to 6-1, still the longest odds of the four teams in the division.

“The one thing I can promise you is I’m going to work my ass off every single day to make you proud,” Watt said. “Very proud to be a part of the ‘Bird Gang’ and the ‘Red Sea.'”

In 2020, Watt ranked 15th out of 119 qualified pass-rushers in pass rush win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He concluded the season with five sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception he returned for a touchdown. He has been plagued with injuries recently, having played 16 games in a season only twice since 2015.

After the Texans drafted Watt with the No. 11 pick in 2011, he became the face of the franchise, winning three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards from 2012 to ’15. Watt is one of three players to collect that award three times. A five-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time first-team All-Pro, Watt was by far the most productive pass-rusher in Texans history with 101 career sacks.

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