Tagged in: one year

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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Julio Jones signing deal with Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Veteran wide receiver Julio Jones has a new home, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

The seven-time Pro Bowler gives soon-to-be 45-year-old Tom Brady another weapon in Tampa, Florida, as Jones looks to rebound from a down season with the Tennessee Titans.

Jones joins a receiver group with the Bucs that contains holdovers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Tyler Johnson, Scotty Miller and Breshad Perriman, and welcomed Russell Gage — like Jones, another former Falcon — this offseason. Godwin had offseason surgery on a torn ACL suffered late last season.

The Bucs opted not to put him on the PUP list to start training camp, but a source told ESPN that they will be careful with him before letting him practice.

Tampa Bay also brought on veteran Kyle Rudolph last week, a move to shore up its tight end spot in the wake of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement.

The Titans released Jones in March, just one season after getting him in a trade from the Falcons.

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Tennessee dealt two draft picks to acquire him last year, hoping he would provide much-needed balance to its passing attack.

However, he appeared in just 10 games because of injuries and had career lows with 31 receptions for 434 yards and just one touchdown reception. It was the second consecutive season in which Jones was limited by injury. He appeared in just nine games for the Falcons in 2020.

The Falcons drafted Jones sixth overall in 2011, sending multiple picks to the Cleveland Browns to be able to take the Alabama standout. Atlanta, when it moved up to acquire Jones, traded its first-round pick in 2011 (No. 26), its second-round pick, two fourth-round picks and its 2012 first-round pick.

Jones, 33, is the Falcons’ career leader in catches (848) and yards (12,896) and is second to Roddy White in touchdown receptions (63). His 91.9 receiving yards per game is the best per-game average in NFL history.

He also leads the NFL in receiving yards since 2014, and Evans leads the NFL in touchdown catches (75) during that span. Now, they’re both on the same team.

Also Tuesday, the Bucs waived tight end Codey McElroy with an injury designation. A source told ESPN that McElroy will undergo foot surgery this week after dealing with the injury during the offseason.

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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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Cleveland Browns reach deal to re-sign Jadeveon Clowney to one-year, $11 million deal

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has agreed to re-sign with the Cleveland Browns on a one-year, $11 million contract after experiencing one of the best seasons of his career with the franchise, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Clowney concluded with nine sacks and two forced fumbles for the Browns last season while playing opposite All-Pro pass rusher Myles Garrett, who, like Clowney, also was a former No. 1 overall draft pick.

Clowney, 29, signed with the Browns last April on a one-year deal worth up to $10 million, which included $750,000 in sack bonuses.

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Before last season, he had battled injuries throughout his career. Clowney struggled in 2020 with the Tennessee Titans, finishing without a sack in eight matches before suffering a season-ending knee injury, which required surgery.

This past season, however, Clowney largely stayed healthy, playing 14 games.

He finished strong, getting two sacks and a forced fumble in Cleveland’s regular-season finale.

Afterward, Clowney expressed an interest in returning to Cleveland, but added that he wanted to capitalize financially off the banner year.

“You play at a high level,” he said, “you want to get paid.”

The Houston Texans made Clowney the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 draft. A three-time Pro Bowl selection, he has 41 sacks in eight seasons. By any measure, it was a career renaissance for Clowney.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection hadn’t played that many games in a season since he appeared in 15 in 2018 or compiled that many sacks since he posted nine the same year.

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Ex-New York Giants CB James Bradberry reaches one-year deal with Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles took a big step in filling out their secondary, agreeing to a one-year contract with cornerback James Bradberry, the team revealed Wednesday.

The deal will pay him $7.5 million, including $7.25 million guaranteed, and has another $2.5 million in upside, bringing the total possible value of the deal to $10 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Eleven teams reached out about Bradberry after he was released by the New York Giants on May 9, with that number being whittled down to three before Bradberry chose the Eagles, according to Schefter.

He is anticipated to slide right into a starting role opposite Darius Slay, creating what on paper looks like a formidable cornerback trio with Bradberry, Slay and slot corner Avonte Maddox.

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The Eagles were in need of another starter after Steven Nelson signed with the Houston Texans this offseason. General manager Howie Roseman previously indicated such a move could come after the draft, when the team and veteran free agents had a clearer idea of what the roster would look like.

The Giants released Bradberry after not being able to find a trade partner for the veteran cornerback.

The move for the Giants was more about the money than an indictment of the player. Bradberry, 28, had been set to make $13.5 million this season and would have counted $21.9 million against the Giants’ cap.

Bradberry was one of just five players on the current Giants roster to make a Pro Bowl in their careers. He was their top cornerback last campaign and made the Pro Bowl in his first year with the Giants in 2020, when he had a career-best 79.8 Pro Football Focus grade. He has graded in the 60s all the remaining years of his career.

He had a career high with four interceptions and recovered a pair of fumbles this past season.

Bradberry spent the first four years of his career with the Carolina Panthers and has 15 interceptions and 82 passes defended in his six NFL seasons.

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Buffalo Bills agree to deals with Duke Johnson, Jamison Crowder

The Buffalo Bills made two moves to bolster their offense Monday, agreeing to a deal with veteran running back Duke Johnson while also reportedly signing receiver Jamison Crowder to a one-year contract.

Johnson is signing a one-year deal with the team, his agents, Drew Rosenhaus and Robert Bailey, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The moves comes after Buffalo had lost out on running back J.D. McKissic to the Washington Commanders last week.

The Bills originally agreed to terms with McKissic last Tuesday, but the Commanders ended up swooping in, and — after initially not offering McKissic a deal — gave him a two-year contract worth up to $7 million, similar to what Buffalo was offering.

“I’ve had it before where the agent has agreed with you on something and then someone else calls and says, ‘Hey, what if I add a million dollars? Or what if I do this? What if I guarantee this?'” Bills general manager Brandon Beane said last week, expressing his frustration with how Washington handled the situation.

“Once you have an agreement the agent’s supposed to say it’s over. And this agent did that. And this agent told the other club it’s over. But the other club didn’t back off.”

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Similar to McKissic, Johnson, 28, has had success as a receiving back in the past, starting his career with five consecutive seasons with 400-plus receiving yards. He has 12 career receiving touchdowns after spending four seasons with the Browns, two with the Texans and one with the Dolphins.

The 2015 third-round pick played in five games for the Dolphins last year and had some success on the ground.

Johnson had two 100-yard rushing performances in the last four games of the season and 330 total rushing yards and three touchdowns on 71 carries for Miami.

Buffalo needed to add depth to the running back room after Matt Breida hit free agency following one season with the Bills and signed with the New York Giants on Monday. Breida saw limited action with the Bills, playing on 13.1% of the team’s offensive snaps. Johnson will likely be in a similar position on the roster and will have to earn his snaps.

Crowder, who turns 29 in June, led the Jets in receptions in each of the last three seasons, becoming the first player since Jerricho Cotchery (2007-09) to do that. On the downside, his production dropped each year, as he went from 78 catches to 59 to 51, with injuries as a big factor.

Plagued by soft-tissue leg injuries, Crowder missed nine matches over the last two seasons. He was on the reserve/COVID-19 list for one of those games while recovering from a groin injury.

Despite the injuries, Crowder has been one of the league’s most productive slot receivers. From 2019 to ’21, the 5-foot-9, 177-pound Crowder caught 132 passes out of the slot, eighth-most in the NFL.

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Eric Bieniemy returning as Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator for 2022 season

Eric Bieniemy is returning to the Kansas City Chiefs as offensive coordinator for the 2022 season, a source confirmed to ESPN on Thursday.

The news was first reported by NFL Network, which also reported he will be returning on a one-year deal.

Bieniemy’s contract expired after last season, and he and head coach Andy Reid recently met to discuss his future with the team. Bieniemy also worked on an expiring contract in 2020.

He had contemplated coaching in college, listening to other offers or even taking off a year after a physically and mentally draining season in which the Chiefs fell one game short of the Super Bowl and Bieniemy was again bypassed in the head-coach hiring cycle, ESPN’s Adam Schefter had reported.

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The Chiefs still have to fill their quarterbacks coach job after Mike Kafka left to become the New York Giants’ offensive coordinator.

Bieniemy has been on the Kansas City staff since 2013 and has spent the past four seasons as the offensive coordinator. His tenure as coordinator has coincided with Patrick Mahomes’ four-year stretch as Kansas City’s starting quarterback, and the Chiefs’ offense has ranked no worse than sixth in the NFL each season under Bieniemy.

Bieniemy, 52, has been a candidate for multiple head-coaching jobs in recent seasons and had interviewed for the Denver Broncos’ and New Orleans Saints’ positions this year.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores included a section on Bieniemy’s inability to land a head-coaching job despite his success as an NFL assistant in his lawsuit versus the NFL and three teams (the Broncos, Giants and Dolphins) that alleges racial discrimination in the league’s hiring practices.

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Baltimore Ravens fire defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale

The Baltimore Ravens have fired defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale with one year left on his contract.

This surprising shake-up represents the first move made by the Ravens since they lost six consecutive games to end the season and failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh issued a statement Friday saying he and Martindale “agreed to move forward in separate directions.”

“We have had a great run on defense, and I am very proud of what has been accomplished and the work he has done,” Harbaugh said in his statement.

“Don has been a major contributor to the success of our defense since 2012, and especially since he became defensive coordinator four years ago. He has done a great job. Now it is time to pursue other opportunities.

“Sometimes the moment comes, and it’s the right time. I am personally grateful for our friendship and for everything he has done in Baltimore.”

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According to a source, the sides couldn’t reach an agreement on a one-year extension for Martindale through 2023.

There were members in the organization who were caught off guard by the parting of ways with Martindale. The decision came 12 days after the Ravens’ season-ending, 16-13 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and came after Martindale had participated in personnel meetings last week.

Martindale also was asked to address the players in the final team meeting a day after the season ended.

The move was revealed while the Ravens’ brain trust — Harbaugh, owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Eric DeCosta — was holding its annual organizational summit.

Baltimore ranked No. 25 on defense last season, the first time the Ravens had finished out of the top 10 in Martindale’s four seasons as defensive coordinator. The Ravens also permitted the second-most yards (363.4) in the franchise’s 26-year history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Martindale, 58, had been with the Ravens since their 2012 Super Bowl season and was known for his ultra-aggressive style. The Ravens regularly ranked among the highest-blitzing teams.

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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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LaMarcus Aldridge cleared after heart concerns, re-signing with Brooklyn Nets

After retiring with heart concerns five months ago, seven-time All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is returning to the Brooklyn Nets on a one-year, $2.6 million deal, his agent, Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports, told ESPN on Friday.

Aldridge, 36, has been medically cleared by a number of doctors — including those both independent and Nets-affiliated — to make a return for his 16th season, Schwartz told ESPN.

“I retired in April based on what I believed was the wisest precautionary decision for my personal health at the time, but further testing and evaluation by several top physicians has convinced the doctors, myself and the Nets that I’m fully cleared and able to return to the rigors of the NBA,” Aldridge told ESPN in a statement.

“I loved my brief time with Brooklyn and am excited to rejoin the team in pursuit of a championship.”

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The Nets have a deep rotation of former All-Star frontcourt players, involving Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap.

ESPN reported Aug. 4 that Aldridge was considering a comeback, and his conversations on a return centered largely on the Nets. Aldridge played five matches with Brooklyn last season after agreeing to a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.

Aldridge experienced an irregular heartbeat during a game versus the Los Angeles Lakers in April, and that soon led to a decision to announce his retirement.

“For 15 years I’ve put basketball first,” Aldridge wrote on Twitter at the time. “And now, it is time to put my health and family first.”

Aldridge signed with the Nets on March 28 after agreeing to a buyout with the Spurs, with whom he had spent the previous 5½ seasons. He played the first nine years of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers.

He has averaged 19.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in his career.

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