Tagged in: draft

Las Vegas Raiders’ Richie Incognito announces retirement

Richie Incognito, who stated he found acceptance with the Las Vegas Raiders after a star-crossed and controversy-filled career as one of the more physical offensive linemen of his era, announced his retirement on Friday.

Incognito, 39, signed with the Raiders in 2019 and played in just 14 games with them because of injuries. He last appeared in Week 2 of the 2020 season.

“It felt like home the minute I got here,” Incognito said in letter posted on the Raiders’ website, “and I’d gotten this ‘bad boy’ reputation, but it just fit with the Raiders. They trusted who I was, and they let me play. And I played my ass off just to repay them for the opportunity.

“I love the Raiders organization, and Mr. [Mark] Davis means the world to me. It’s why after four teams and 15 years, I’m retiring a Raider.”

Incognito was a third-round draft pick of the then-St. Louis Rams in 2005 and also spent time with the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills. He earned the first of his four Pro Bowl selections with the Dolphins in 2012, but his involvement in a bullying scandal with fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin led to Incognito being suspended for half of the 2013 season and he did not play in 2014. He signed with the Bills in 2015 and went to three consecutive Pro Bowls before first retiring after the 2017 season, saying his liver and kidneys were “shutting down.”

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In 2018, Incognito was placed on an involuntary psychiatric hold after he allegedly threw a dumbbell at a person in a gym and was also arrested for threatening to shoot employees at a funeral home where his late father was being held.

He also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors after an incident involving his 90-year-old grandmother.

The Raiders signed him in the spring of 2019 with then-general manager Mike Mayock saying at the time, “You can’t have all boy scouts.”

Incognito stayed out of trouble with the Raiders, even if he had a hard time staying on the field.

He played 12 games that first year — he had to serve an NFL-mandated two-game suspension for the funeral home incident — and earned a two-year, $14 million extension.

But Incognito suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 2 of the 2020 campaign, and after suffering a calf injury in a joint practice last August, he never played again. Still, he was seen as a positive influence in the Raiders’ offensive line room as several offensive linemen attended Incognito’s retirement media conference.

“He created such a fierce leadership mentality amongst these young guys, that he’s teaching them how to become football players and how to become Raiders,” owner Mark Davis stated Friday. “That’s the thing about being a Raider, they’re badasses on the field, but they’re kittens off the field.”

Incognito also became a vocal advocate for mental health.

“I’ve dealt with injuries the last two years I never had before in my career,” Incognito said. “My body told me it was time, and I knew I was ready to hang them up. And though some in my inner circle might not believe me — I’m ready. There’s no turning back. “I came back. I set my mission. I accomplished my goal.”

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New Orleans Pelicans draft pick E.J. Liddell suffers torn ACL in right knee, out indefinitely

New Orleans Pelicans second-round pick E.J. Liddell suffered a torn ACL in his right knee during Monday’s summer league contest and will be out indefinitely.

Liddell went down in the third quarter of the game against the Atlanta Hawks when his right knee buckled underneath him. In two games in Las Vegas, Liddell averaged 4.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.

The Pelicans feared the worst as soon as the injury happened on Monday as he was carried off the court by teammates.

An MRI on Monday night in Las Vegas confirmed the injury.

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Liddell, who spent three years at Ohio State, had a first-round grade for the 2022 NBA draft from many draft experts including ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, who had him as the No. 21 overall prospect. However, Liddell slid to the Pelicans at No. 41 overall.

Liddell was a third-team All-American during the 2021-22 college season while also being named to the All-Big Ten first team and All-Big Ten defensive team first team. He averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.6 blocks per game in 32 games for Ohio State last year.

New Orleans has 15 guaranteed contracts on its roster after 14 carried over from 2021-22 and the team selected Dyson Daniels with the No. 8 pick in the draft.

The Pelicans could free up a space for a contract for Liddell or slot him into one of their two-way spots.

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Chicago Bears acquire New England Patriots WR N’Keal Harry for seventh-round pick

The Chicago Bears have obtained wide receiver N’Keal Harry from the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round draft choice, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

Harry, the final selection in the first round of the 2019 draft (32nd overall), never truly panned out in New England after becoming the highest drafted receiver in Bill Belichick’s tenure (2000-present).

He totaled 57 receptions for 598 yards and four touchdowns in 36 regular-season matches. The 24-year-old joins a receiver room in Chicago led by Darnell Mooney, who led the Bears in receiving last season, and features plenty of new faces that will compete for playing time.

The Bears signed former Kansas City wideout Byron Pringle to one-year deal worth $4.125 million and used a third-round pick on Velus Jones Jr. Chicago also brought in Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, Tajae Sharpe and David Moore to fill out its receiving corps this offseason.

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Harry, who had requested a trade prior to the 2021 season, faced an uphill climb to earn a roster spot this season after New England traded for veteran DeVante Parker.

In addition to Parker, the Patriots have Nelson Agholor, Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne locked into the top spots on their depth chart.

Harry had not been a participant in the team’s voluntary offseason program, and during June’s mandatory minicamp, had been leapfrogged by others who had previously been behind him on the depth chart.

The Patriots, who are tight to the salary cap, receive roughly $1 million in much-needed relief by trading Harry.

In 2019, Harry had been a highly-touted prospect coming out of Arizona State, where he had appeared in 37 career games and totaled 213 receptions for 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns. The Patriots had been excited about his physical makeup (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) and knack for making contested catches.

While that didn’t manifest itself in New England, Harry now gets a fresh start in Chicago. The Bears still have an estimated $23.037 million in salary cap space to work with, which is the second-most in the NFL.

Chicago starts training camp on July 26 at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, Ill.

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Orlando Magic shut Paolo Banchero down for remainder of 2022 NBA summer league

Paolo Banchero showed the Orlando Magic plenty in his two Summer League contests. And the Magic decided that was enough.

The No. 1 pick is getting the rest of summer league off, after averaging 20 points, six assists and five rebounds in his two matches in Las Vegas.

The Magic made the decision so they could evaluate other players who are with them this summer and see who may merit a roster spot or G League opportunity.

“I want to give these other guys an opportunity to play, to kind of be able to show what they’re capable of doing,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said.

“That’s the point of summer league, you know, give them a chance … an opportunity for these other guys to see what they’re capable of doing. And we’ve seen what Paolo was capable of doing.”

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The Magic are also expected to give Admiral Schofield and R.J. Hampton the remainder of summer league off, which opens up even more minutes for players to get opportunities in Las Vegas. Mosley stated Banchero got all he needed out of the summer experience.

“His understanding of what he needs to do in certain situations, the concepts that we’re preaching offensively and defensively, he’s grasping on to those,” Mosley said.

“Watching film together, he’s observing those things. He explains to me the things that he sees on the floor. It’s only two games, but you’re watching those film sessions and you realize how he’s registering all of it. So that’s how you can make the judgment that it’s time let these other guys get those moments.”

Meanwhile, San Antonio Spurs guard Josh Primo was ruled out of Monday’s game versus the Houston Rockets after he entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

Primo, who averaged 15 points and 4.5 assists in two games in Vegas, will likely miss the remainder of summer league

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Cleveland Browns trade Baker Mayfield to Carolina Panthers for 2024 conditional NFL draft pick

The Cleveland Browns agreed to trade quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday for a 2024 conditional draft pick.

The Panthers will pay $4.85 million of Mayfield’s salary, while the Browns will pay $10.5 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Mayfield accepted to convert the remainder of his $18.8 million salary into incentives to facilitate the deal, which is pending a physical. Mayfield can earn back that money based on team performance, a source said.

The Browns will get a fourth- or fifth-round pick in 2024, depending on Mayfield’s playing time in Carolina, a source told ESPN. For the pick to go to a fourth-rounder, Mayfield would have to play 70% of the snaps, a league source told ESPN’s David Newton.

Mayfield, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, joins a Panthers team that already has Sam Darnold, the No. 3 overall selection in 2018, on its quarterback depth chart. The Panthers also selected Matt Corral in the third round of this year’s draft.

The Panthers have no intention of trading Darnold after acquiring Mayfield, a league source told Newton.

Now Mayfield and Darnold, who competed with each other to become the No. 1 pick in 2018, will compete again in training camp to vie for the right to be the Panthers’ starter this season, a league source told Schefter.

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If Mayfield gets the job, his first starting assignment will be versus the Browns, who are scheduled to visit Carolina in Week 1. The Browns are currently 1-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook.

Panthers quarterbacks posted a 30.3 QBR last season, which was ranked 30th in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Mayfield had a 35.1 QBR last season, ranking 27th of the 31 qualified quarterbacks, while Darnold was the only non-rookie with a lower QBR.

With the trade, Carolina’s Super Bowl odds went from 125-1 to 100-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, while its odds to win the NFC jumped from 60-1 to 50-1 and to win the NFC South from 12-1 to 11-1.

“We want to thank Baker for all his contributions to the Cleveland Browns,” owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. “From the moment he was drafted, he gave his all for this organization and this city. With his fierce competitive spirit, he excited the fanbase and accomplished things that no player at his position had done in Cleveland for a very long time. He also made a difference in the community, whether it was hosting events at the Boys and Girls Club, honoring our troops, supporting the Special Olympics as well as countless other charitable endeavors. We are grateful for everything he did for this organization and wish him and Emily well in the future.”

The Mayfield trade comes on the heels of Cleveland’s blockbuster deal with the Houston Texans that landed quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns gave Watson a new five-year deal worth $230 million fully guaranteed, the richest deal in guaranteed money in NFL history by an $80 million margin.

Cleveland also surrendered three first-round picks in the deal, the first team to do so for a single player since the Minnesota Vikings traded three first-rounders to the Dallas Cowboys for running back Herschel Walker in 1989. With Mayfield gone, the Browns now have starter Watson along with Jacoby Brissett and Josh Dobbs at quarterback.

Watson, however, might not be available to the Browns at all this season. He has been accused in civil lawsuits by 25 women of actions ranging from sexual assault to inappropriate behavior during massage sessions.

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Orlando Magic make Duke’s Paolo Banchero No. 1 pick in 2022 NBA draft

After months of speculation, Duke’s Paolo Banchero was a surprise selection by the Orlando Magic with the top overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday night at Barclays Center.

The Oklahoma City Thunder started a busy first round by taking Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren with the second pick, then got 11th pick Ousmane Dieng of France in a trade with the New York Knicks and took Santa Clara’s Jalen Williams at No. 12.

Auburn forward Jabari Smith Jr. went No. 3 overall to the Houston Rockets.

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Smith had been widely expected to be the top selection. But the Magic turned things upside down by taking Banchero, who sported a bright purple suit with sequins, along with even brighter shoes, as he took to the stage and shook hands with NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

“I had a feeling, from the information I was being told, that it was just kind of up in the air,” Banchero told ESPN of going first. “Orlando wasn’t really sure yet, and just to be ready for whatever.

“I didn’t find out, though, that I was actually getting picked until about 20 seconds before the commissioner got on the stage. I didn’t even have time to really think about it or anything. It just kind of happened. I can’t believe it, but I’m ready. I’m ready.”

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Banchero, a 6-foot-10 forward from Duke, averaged 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists across 39 games for the Blue Devils, who reached the Final Four before losing to their forever rival in North Carolina.

Banchero, who might be the most NBA-ready prospect in this draft, will now be looked to as the anchor of Orlando’s nascent rebuild, which includes guards Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony, forwards Franz Wagner and Jonathan Isaac and center Wendell Carter Jr.

While Banchero was a surprise at No. 1, Holmgren was always expected to go to Oklahoma City with the second pick. A 7-footer from Gonzaga, Holmgren flashed a wide array of skills in his lone season in college, averaging 14.1 points on 60% shooting overall and 39% from 3-point range while grabbing 9.9 rebounds and blocking 3.7 shots in 26.9 minutes across 32 games.

Oklahoma City now has an interior anchor to go with its promising young backcourt of rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Australian Josh Giddey, the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft and a first-team All-Rookie selection.

The Thunder also got Dieng, the 11th pick, by sending three conditional first-round picks to the Knicks. Dieng, who turned 19 last month, averaged 8.8 points for the New Zealand Breakers in Australia’s National Basketball League this past campaign.

Oklahoma City then took Williams with the 12th pick, making him the first player drafted from Santa Clara since Hall of Famer Steve Nash in 1996. And the Thunder rounded out their first-round selections by taking UCLA’s Peyton Watson with pick No. 30.

Smith, a sweet-shooting 6-foot-10 forward from Auburn, averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 42% from behind the 3-point arc. After drafting Jalen Green, Alperen Sengun, Josh Christopher and Usman Garuba in the first round of last year’s draft, the Rockets kept their rebuild in the wake of moving on from franchise icon James Harden at the start of the 2021-22 season by selecting Smith. Houston also took LSU forward Tari Eason with the 17th pick.

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Orlando Magic still evaluating all options with No. 1 pick in NBA draft

College basketball season ended almost three months ago, the NBA draft lottery was more than a month ago and the draft itself is later this week.

Seems like the process should be winding down.

Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman sees it differently.

“I tell you, it’s still early in the process,” Weltman stated Monday.

Translated: The Magic haven’t decided yet what they’ll do on Thursday night when the draft rolls around and they have the No. 1 pick. Other teams have called to gauge what the asking price would be if they want to trade for that selection, and the Magic have evaluated all the top candidates.

But Weltman sees no reason to decide anything before it’s absolutely necessary, especially given the opportunity that Orlando has by holding this No. 1 pick.

“Dialogue is always ongoing,” Weltman said. “But most importantly, we get to do what we want. That’s the real benefit of having the No. 1 pick.”

The top candidates for the pick are well-known: Auburn’s Jabari Smith Jr. worked out for Orlando earlier this month, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren met with the Magic for multiple days last week and Duke’s Paolo Banchero has been working out with former Magic guard Mike Miller.

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Holmgren stated he came away convinced that “great people” are leading the Magic.

“They’ve got a vision for what they’re trying to put together in Orlando,” Holmgren said.

Weltman wouldn’t say that those are the only three candidates Orlando would consider at No. 1.

“It’s confirmed that there are a lot of talented players at the top of this draft, that’s for sure,” Weltman said.

This is the fourth time that Orlando will be making the No. 1 pick. The Magic took Shaquille O’Neal with the top selection in 1992. Chris Webber was the No. 1 pick by Orlando in 1993, and he got traded that same night for Penny Hardaway and a package of future picks that were eventually turned into Vince Carter and, later, Miller. And in 2004, the Magic selected Dwight Howard with the first pick.

The No. 1 pick on Thursday will join a young core in Orlando that already involves 2017 top pick Markelle Fultz, a pair of top-eight picks from the 2021 draft in Franz Wagner and Jalen Suggs, and Cole Anthony — the No. 15 pick in the 2020 draft.

Orlando also has the No. 6 picks from the 2017 and 2018 draft, Jonathan Isaac and Mo Bamba. It’s possible that when next season starts Orlando could have as many as six lottery picks, nine top-16 selections and 12 first-rounders on its roster.

This is all part of the challenge for the Magic — who also have the No. 32 and No. 35 picks this year — going into Thursday: Finding more youth that fits with the current core, finding ways to be better next season and sustainably better for years to come.

“We do want to get better, but not at the expense of rushing back to mediocrity,” Weltman said.

“And we do want to have something sustainable. But you have to elevate the standard to do that. You can’t just stay at the basement level, you know, interminably. So those are conversations that we’re having, which players do that for us.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt retiring after 8 seasons

After eight years in the NFL, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Stephon Tuitt announced his retirement Wednesday.

Tuitt, 29, didn’t play during the 2021 season following the death of his brother in a hit-and-run crash.

“After the tragic loss of my brother Richard, and upon completing my degree from the University of Notre Dame, I know I am being called to move beyond the sport of football,” Tuitt said in a statement released by the Steelers.

Selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, Tuitt spent eight years with the organization. During his tenure, Tuitt was a regular starter at defensive end for six of his eight seasons.

Tuitt’s status with the organization has largely been a mystery since the 2021 offseason. Following the death of Richard Bartlett III in June, Tuitt took time away from football to grieve.

He also had knee surgery early in the 2021 season, but the Steelers elected not to start him on the physically unable to perform list to start the season.

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Still, the Steelers were optimistic he would return.

“We’ve been in contact with Stephon and we’re very open to continue to help him and we will continue to evaluate that position and his availability to us,” former general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this year. “We just hope for the best for him as he tries to come back and be a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

With Tuitt’s retirement, the Steelers lose an important player in their defense. Though he didn’t play last season, when healthy, Tuitt was a force. He had a career-high 11 sacks in 2020 along with two forced fumbles.

“His success both on and off the field speaks volumes for who he is as a person and a player,” general manager Omar Khan said in a statement. “Stephon had always handled himself with class and maturity as he continues to be a great husband, father, son and family man in his personal life.”

The Steelers didn’t use any of their top picks to bolster the defensive line, leaving Chris Wormley and Isaiahh Loudermilk as the top contenders to fill Tuitt’s spot.

Tuitt had one year left on his contract and leaves behind nearly $10 million in dead cap money, but it could be spread over multiple years if the transaction is processed on or after June 1.

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Miami Dolphins reach deal with Melvin Ingram to bolster pass rush

The Dolphins and defensive end Melvin Ingram have agreed to a contract, adding quality depth to a pass rush that ranked as one of the NFL’s most aggressive last campaign.

Ingram agreed to a one-year, $5 million contract, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Earlier this month, the Kansas City Chiefs had placed the unrestricted free agent tender on Ingram, meaning his signing with the Dolphins will count against the NFL’s compensatory-pick formula.

If Ingram had gone unsigned by July 22, the Chiefs would have retained exclusive negotiating rights to him at 110% of his 2021 salary, which would have been $4.4 million.

The three-time Pro Bowler visited the Dolphins before the draft in April. He joins Miami pass-rushers Emmanuel Ogbah, Jaelan Phillips and Andrew Van Ginkel on a rotation that blitzed on 38% of opponents’ dropbacks in 2021 — the second-highest rate in the league. The Dolphins’ sack rate of 7.3% was ranked seventh in the league last season.

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While the majority of the Dolphins’ major additions this offseason have come on the offensive side of the ball, Ingram represents their biggest defensive addition to date.

Miami re-signed most of its defensive free agents, including Ogbah and linebackers Elandon Roberts, Brennan Scarlett and Duke Riley. It spent fourth- and seventh-round picks on linebackers Channing Tindall and Cameron Goode, respectively.

NFL journalist Jordan Schultz was first to report Ingram’s agreement with the Dolphins.

Ingram, 33, joined the Chiefs last campaign after being dealt by the Pittsburgh Steelers shortly before the trade deadline.

After posting one sack in six matches with the Steelers, Ingram added three more in 12 games with the Chiefs.

In one of the biggest defensive plays of the season for the Chiefs, Ingram forced Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon to fumble, which was returned by linebacker Nick Bolton for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of a 28-24 win in the regular-season finale.

Ingram was drafted by the Chargers in 2012, and in his nine seasons there, he had 49 sacks, including a career-high 10.5 in 2015 and 2017. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the 2017, 2018 and 2019 seasons.

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Las Vegas Raiders trade WR Bryan Edwards, 7th-rounder to Atlanta Falcons for fifth-round pick in 2023 NFL draft

The Las Vegas Raiders have traded wide receiver Bryan Edwards and a conditional seventh-round pick in the 2023 draft to the Atlanta Falcons for their fifth-round selection next year, the teams revealed Friday.

Edwards, 23, has 45 catches for 764 yards and four touchdowns in 28 career games (15 starts) since being selected by the Raiders in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft.

Las Vegas, under the direction of new general manager Dave Ziegler and new coach Josh McDaniels, saw Edwards as expendable after getting two-time All-Pro wideout Davante Adams in March to join Pro Bowler Hunter Renfrow.

The team also signed Mack Hollins, Demarcus Robinson and Keelan Cole in free agency as part of the overhaul of the wide receiver room.

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Cole on Thursday signed a one-year, $1.2675 million deal with Las Vegas that included a $150,000 signing bonus, a source told ESPN’s Field Yates.

With the departure of Edwards, the Raiders now have just two of their seven picks from the 2020 draft still on the roster:

Offensive lineman John Simpson, a fourth-round pick who started all 17 games at left guard last season, and cornerback Amik Robertson, who was taken 30 picks after Simpson and has started two of 18 career games.

First-rounders Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette were both cut. Lynn Bowden, who was taken one spot after Edwards, was traded before playing in a regular-season game, and Tanner Muse, drafted 19 picks after Bowden, spent his rookie campaign on injured reserve and was released before playing a match.

The Falcons, meanwhile, needed to add to their receiving depth after drafting Drake London with the No. 8 pick last month. Edwards could end up being No. 2 on the depth chart, as Auden Tate and Olamide Zaccheaus are their most experienced receivers.

Atlanta, in the past two years, traded Julio Jones to Tennessee, had Calvin Ridley suspended indefinitely for gambling and lost Russell Gage in free agency to Tampa Bay.

The Falcons also have one of the tallest group of pass-catchers in the NFL. Tight end Kyle Pitts is 6-foot-6, London is 6-5, running back Cordarrelle Patterson is 6-2, Tate is 6-5, and Edwards is 6-3.

In corresponding roster moves, the Falcons released cornerback Kendall Sheffield and tight end Ryan Becker

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