Tagged in: Buffalo Bills

New Orleans Saints again to be without RB Alvin Kamara vs. Buffalo Bills

Running back Alvin Kamara has been ruled out for the third consecutive week with his knee injury as the New Orleans Saints prepare to host the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving night.

Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (knee) and defensive ends Marcus Davenport (shoulder) and Tanoh Kpassagnon (ankle) were also ruled out for Thursday’s game.

Running back Mark Ingram II (knee) and left tackle Terron Armstead (knee/shoulder) are listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis Wednesday.

If Ingram is out or limited, the Saints will obviously be short-handed at running back. Second-year pro Tony Jones Jr., RB/WR Ty Montgomery and backup quarterback Taysom Hill would likely be among those who fill the void.

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Kamara is not expected to be sidelined long term, and he was not placed on injured reserve after he first started experiencing knee soreness during the Saints’ Week 9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

The Saints will play another Thursday night match at home versus the Dallas Cowboys in Week 13 before having three extra days between games in Week 14.

Kamara has obviously been missed in a depleted Saints offense that has been short on playmakers in the passing game all season.

He leads the team with 840 yards from scrimmage, 7 touchdowns and 32 receptions this season.

The Saints (5-5) have battled injuries all season — but especially over the past month (including quarterback Jameis Winston’s season-ending ACL tear and receiver Michael Thomas’ season-ending setback with an ankle injury).

The Saints have hit a three-game losing streak for the first time since 2016

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Veteran WR Chris Hogan opts to retire from NFL, ending 10-year career

After a brief return to the NFL this season with the New Orleans Saints, wide receiver Chris Hogan decided to retire.

The 10-year veteran, who collected two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, was placed on the reserve/retired list Saturday.

Hogan had flirted with retirement earlier this year, when he switched careers and joined the Premier Lacrosse League. But the Saints lured him back in late July, and he earned a roster spot with the team — catching four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown in five matches.

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It’s unclear exactly why Hogan decided to retire.

He was not dealing with any known injuries. But the Saints have added depth to their wide receiver corps in recent weeks.

They signed veteran Kenny Stills last month and designated veteran Tre’Quan Smith to return from injured reserve this week. All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas could also return soon, though he has not started practicing after having ankle surgery in June.

Hogan began his career as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and bounced around from San Francisco to the New York Giants to the Buffalo Bills before finally making his NFL debut in December 2012 and catching his first pass in 2013.

He then played for the Bills until 2015 before spending three seasons in New England from 2016 to 2018 and winning two championships. He also spent one year each with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

He caught a total of 220 passes for 2,836 yards and 19 touchdowns in the regular season, plus another 34 catches for 542 yards and four touchdowns in the playoffs.

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Buffalo Bills restructure contract of WR Stefon Diggs

The Buffalo Bills converted more than $11.7 million of wide receiver Stefon Diggs’ base salary into a signing bonus, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates, saving the team roughly $8 million of salary-cap space.

Diggs was scheduled to make roughly $12.7 million in base salary in 2021; that figure is now down to $990,000. Buffalo, meanwhile, now has $11,084,995 in cap space, per Spotrac.

The timing of Diggs’ restructured deal comes as teams can take on less dead cap money after a June 1 trade or release — and will create some curiosity as multiple players, including Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz and Atlanta’s Julio Jones, are expected to be moved from their current teams.

It also creates more breathing room for the Bills, who have yet to sign first-round pick Greg Rousseau or third-round pick Spencer Brown.

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There’s also the matter of an upcoming extension for quarterback Josh Allen, who concluded as the league’s MVP runner-up in 2020.

Bills GM Brandon Beane has publicly expressed interest in signing Allen long term — interest Allen has reciprocated over the past year.

Beane said a deal likely won’t be done until this summer at the earliest but didn’t rule out negotiations extending into next offseason. Either way, Spotrac estimates Allen’s market value at $42.2 million per year, which would make him the second-highest-paid player in the league

Diggs, the NFL’s leader in receptions and receiving yards last season, is not the only Bills player to rework his contract this offseason. Buffalo has also agreed to restructures or pay cuts with Mitch Morse, Vernon Butler and Mario Addison.

Last season with the Buffalo Bills, Stefon Diggs had 1,525 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in the regular season. He also had 311 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the postseason.

This is the reasoning as to why some big names will get traded or drafted at this time of the calendar year. The teams that make trades for players will have large salaries, and won’t have a negative effect on their cap space.

The Buffalo Bills have been very vocal about their plans to sign quarterback Josh Allen to a long-term extension. Most specifically, to do it by the summer, before or during training camp. The Bills could also be one of the many teams interested in players like Julio Jones and Zach Ertz.

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Kansas City Chiefs LT Eric Fisher out for Super Bowl LV with torn Achilles

Left tackle Eric Fisher will not play for the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after he tore his Achilles tendon in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs shifted right tackle Mike Remmers to Fisher’s spot after he left Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills, and Remmers is the likely starter at left tackle against the Bucs, who concluded the regular season tied for fourth in sacks with 48.

The Bucs have seven sacks in their three playoff games, including five Sunday in their NFC Championship Game victory over the Green Bay Packers.

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The Chiefs have had to dig deep into their offensive line depth this season.

They will play versus the Bucs with three starting offensive linemen out with injuries, including both starting tackles (right tackle Mitchell Schwartz has been sidelined since Week 6 with a back injury).

The Chiefs also had one starter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and one backup, Lucas Niang, opt out before the start of training camp.

Duvernay-Tardif missed all of 2020 as he, a medical school graduate, returned to Canada to assist with COVID-19 relief and treatment in the medical field.

“They’re talented guys,” Reid said when asked how the offensive line has been able to hold up well through so much depletion. “In some cases we’ve had some young guys step in and … we’ve had some older guys step in. That combination has been able to get us through some games here. Most of all, I think the quarterback trusts them, as do the running backs.”

Fisher started 15 regular-season games for the Chiefs, then both playoff games. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career.

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San Francisco 49ers CB K’Waun Williams suspended 2 games for PED violation

Already sidelined by a high ankle sprain, San Francisco 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams will miss at least the next two matches after the NFL suspended him Tuesday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The earliest Williams can return from the two-game suspension is Tuesday, Dec. 8, after the Niners play the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

Jamar Taylor has handled slot corner duties in Williams’ absence.

Williams is planned to be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Williams, who when healthy serves as the team’s primary nickel corner, has appeared in just six games this campaign as he’s dealt with hip, knee and ankle injuries.

He suffered the ankle sprain in a Nov. 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers, has not played since and, even before the suspension, was not expected back in the next couple of weeks.

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While Williams will remain out for at least the next two weeks, the 49ers are hoping to get some reinforcements back from injured reserve soon. The team opened the 21-day practice window for running backs Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. on Tuesday, which means they could return as early as Sunday’s game versus the Los Angeles Rams.

Mostert and Wilson have been on injured reserve with high ankle sprains; Mostert’s happened in a Week 6 win versus the Rams, and Wilson’s came a week later against the New England Patriots.

Mostert has a team-best 303 rushing yards despite playing in just four games. Wilson has 163 yards rushing in six games.

The 49ers also signed safety Chris Edwards to the active roster on Tuesday. Edwards offers additional depth after the Niners placed strong safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Johnathan Cyprien on injured reserve in recent weeks.

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Bills promote Leslie Frazier to assistant head coach

Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier obtained the additional job title of assistant head coach on Wednesday.

Frazier was hired as the Bills’ defensive coordinator in 2017 and quickly turned around a unit that was ranked 26th in the NFL in yards allowed to top-2 and top-3 finishes, respectively, in the last two seasons.

“Upon taking the job in Buffalo, it was important to me to add a coach with previous head coaching experience like Leslie,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said.

“His fingerprints are all over our operation and I’m extremely grateful for all the years we have worked together. Leslie’s impact on our team is felt every day through his guidance, wisdom, and his genuine care for people. He is a great example to everyone within our organization.”

Frazier, 60, will be an assistant head coach for the third time in his NFL career. He also served in that role with the Indianapolis Colts in 2006 and Minnesota Vikings in 2008.

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Frazier, who was also the head coach of the Vikings from 2010-13, was thrilled with the promotion.

“I’m definitely pleased and honored that Sean along with Kim and Terry (Pegula) would feel moved to place that title alongside my name,” Frazier said. “I don’t know how much it changes my role. I feel like Sean and I communicate on so many things regarding our team. I just appreciate that our ownership along with our head coach felt the desire to put that title next to my name. Just very appreciative.”

Frazier started his NFL coaching career with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 until 2002, where he worked with McDermott on Jim Johnson’s defensive staff. He coached with the Cincinnati Bengals and Colts before joining the Vikings.

Frazier’s prior experience — both as a head coach and with McDermott — made him a priority hire for McDermott when he was named a first-time head coach with Buffalo in 2017.

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Brady, limited in practice again, says age a factor

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has been limited in three of the last four drills and cited his age as part of the reason why.

“Football is a contact sport. I wouldn’t” I say I’m a spring chicken anymore, 42-year-old Brady said with a smile Wednesday. “I’m just trying to feel as good as I can and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow. But I’m feeling pretty good.”

There is little doubt that Brady will play Sunday against the Buffalo Bills in a highly anticipated matchup of 3-0 teams. But his limited practice load seems to be part of “roster management” head coach Bill Belichick, who is referred to the team signing free-agent quarterback Cody Kessler on Wednesday.

With Brady limited to practice twice last week, the only other quarterback on the watch list was rookie Jarrett Stidham. Having Stidham handle the regular offense, besides the scout team, was a heavy burden.

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Brady was one of 10 restricted players in practice Wednesday

A group that included receiver Julian Edelman, who injured his ribs in Sunday’s win over the New York Jets. X-rays were negative, but Edelman seems to be dealing with remarkable pain after being landed by 300-pound defensive lineman Henry Anderson.

“He’s as tough as they come,” Brady said. “He’s going to do everything he can to get ready to go. When he’s not out, it definitely becomes apparent to all of us. Hopefully he can do it. If he can’t, the other guys have to fill in and do the best job they can do. You just have to prepare for both. “

Sunday’s game features the NFL’s two most difficult teams, as the Patriots have allowed an average of 5.7 points per game in wins over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins and Jets, which is a combined 0-9.

The Bills have allowed an average of 15.7 points per game in wins over the Jets, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals, which is a combined 1-8.

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