Tagged in: Raiders

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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Hunter Renfrow agrees to 2-year, $32M extension with Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow have agreed to a multiyear extension, the team revealed Friday.

The extension is for two years and $32 million with $21 million guaranteed, a source confirmed to ESPN.

“We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with Hunter Renfrow and look forward to seeing him in Silver and Black for years to come,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said in a statement Friday.

“Hunter is one of the true leaders on this team and he exemplifies the values of the organization in how he comes to work every day. He is a tremendous teammate on and off the field and the entire Raider Nation is excited to see what the future holds for Hunter.”

Renfrow was in line for a new deal after catching 103 passes in 2021, the second-highest single-season total by a receiver in franchise history behind the 104 receptions that Hall of Famer Tim Brown had in 1997. Renfrow also caught nine touchdown passes last season.

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Over his career, Renfrow has caught 208 passes for 2,299 yards with 15 touchdowns.

He was selected to his first Pro Bowl after last campaign.

“It was cool getting to play with a lot of players that I grew up watching, and I got to see on film over these last three or four years,” Renfrow said in OTAs. “That’s a huge honor to be voted on for something like that. I’m not a very big individual guy, so I think it was cool and it was a huge honor, but that’s not my goal for this year. My goal is to have the best season we can.”

Renfrow, a fifth-round find out of Clemson by the Raiders in 2019, was set to play out the final year of his rookie contract, earning $2.54 million in base salary.

The extension is the third this offseason handed out by the Raiders to their homegrown talent, following deals to quarterback Derek Carr and defensive end Maxx Crosby.

Renfrow figures to continue to work out of the slot as Davante Adams, whom the Raiders acquired in a blockbuster trade on March 18 after eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, takes over as the No. 1 receiver in the offense.

“He’s an interesting dude because I’ve been around a lot of people that are like Hunter, but they’re never…a fourth-year [player] with the type of football acumen that he has, and his awareness and understanding [of] why he does certain things,” Adams said of Renfrow on Thursday.

“Because there’s people out there with a lot of talent, but they can’t sit there and break it down and tell you why they’re doing what they did with their footwork or the next rep, why they tweaked it a little bit because of the look that they had. So, his awareness and his football smarts, he’s definitely ahead of his time.

“Sometimes I’ll be sitting there just talking to him like in the middle of an offensive meeting and we’ll be talking about releases, and he’ll tell me what he thought and I’m like, This is fun. This is fun being able to be with somebody who’s a lot like me mentally, the way that I approach the game, the way I attack it…I’ve been learning from him; he’s learning from me.”

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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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Star receiver Deebo Samuel asks San Francisco 49ers to trade him

For the past few months, the San Francisco 49ers have repeatedly stated they’d like to keep wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a long time. On Wednesday, it became clear that Samuel and the Niners don’t quite see things the same way.

Samuel, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, told ESPN’s Jeff Darlington that he has asked the 49ers to trade him. Samuel declined to offer specific reasons for requesting the trade but acknowledged that he has informed the team of his desire to leave.

That comes on the heels of what has become an increasingly turbulent relationship between the two sides following Samuel’s breakout 2021 season. In recent weeks, Samuel has scrubbed any mention of the 49ers from his Instagram account, unfollowed the team and removed most photos of him in the team’s uniform from the platform. When the Niners opened their offseason conditioning program on Tuesday, Samuel did not attend, and sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that he was not expected to participate in any on-field work during the voluntary portion of the offseason program.

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Samuel’s trade request comes at a time when the salaries for wide receivers have skyrocketed.

The Las Vegas Raiders gave Davante Adams $28.5 million per season on an extension after trading for him, and the Miami Dolphins rewarded Tyreek Hill with a contract averaging $30 million per season one week later after acquiring him from the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs also received a lucrative contract extension recently.

Despite all of that, at every chance this offseason, San Francisco general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan have stated they intend to keep Samuel with the team well into the future. At the NFL owners meetings at the end of March, both sounded optimistic that deals for Samuel and defensive end Nick Bosa would be forthcoming.

“Like I’ve long said, those guys are going to be a part of us for a long, long time,” Lynch said. “They’re fantastic players. They’re very much at the core of who we are and they’re fabulous players, fabulous people and a big part of who we are.”

Shanahan said he wasn’t involved in the negotiations but was also adamant that Samuel remains a foundational player for the franchise.

“But we need to figure it out,” Shanahan said. “Those are guys who have earned a lot, two guys that I’m hoping that they are Niners forever, or at least as long as I’m here.”

After the 49ers lost to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Samuel was asked about staying with the Niners long term on a new contract.

“That is not my call,” Samuel said then. “That’s out of my hands.”

But Samuel now seems to be taking matters into his own hands. The 49ers have been open to working out a deal with Samuel, but those talks have not gone anywhere. In the meantime, there are other wideouts who are also still in line for big-money deals.

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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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Las Vegas Raiders releasing LB Cory Littleton after 2 seasons

The Las Vegas Raiders are releasing high-priced linebacker Cory Littleton after two underwhelming seasons, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

The Raiders are expected to designate the move with a post-June 1 designation, according to the source.

After spending his first four campaigns with the Los Angeles Rams, Littleton, 28, signed a three-year, $35.25 million free-agent deal with $22 million guaranteed with the Raiders in 2020 and was expected to help in sideline-to-sideline pass coverage. Instead, he lost his starting job to rookie Divine Deablo late last season.

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The post-June 1 designation will save Las Vegas $11.75 million against the cap after that date but will cost the Raiders $4 million in dead money this year and $10 million in 2023.

Earlier Thursday, the Raiders restructured the contracts of foundation left tackle Kolton Miller and versatile running back Kenyan Drake to save $14.525 million in cap space.

They also informed fullback Alec Ingold they were not tendering his contract.

Littleton started 27 of 31 games for the Raiders and had just 0.5 sacks and a fumble recovery. He did not have an interception among his four passes defended. He also had six tackles for a loss among his combined 180 tackles.

The Raiders have a new regime with general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels, who came over from the New England Patriots.

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Las Vegas Raiders coach Josh McDaniels says contract talks with QB Derek Carr yet to begin but could start anytime

While Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is primed to enter the final year of the then-record five-year, $125 million contract extension he signed in 2017, new head coach Josh McDaniels acknowledged Wednesday at the combine that no new extension talks have taken place.

“But that doesn’t mean that’s not going to change,” McDaniels stated. “We are aware of where we’re at on that, in that process.”

Rather, McDaniels said, he has been focusing on getting his new staff assembled since being hired by owner Mark Davis on Jan. 31. “I’ve met and spoken to Derek a number of times now,” McDaniels said.

“Just trying to begin our relationship. I think it’s really an important one — the head coach, the playcaller, the quarterback, getting to know one another as people. Kind of how we think. How we work. The football part of that will come later, which I think is also an important part of the puzzle.”

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Carr, who turns 31 on March 28, is coming off a career-high 4,804 passing yards, though his 23 touchdown passes were only nine more than his career-high 14 interceptions, and he was sacked 40 times, the second-highest total of his eight-year career.

Despite the inordinate amount of turmoil the Raiders experienced both on and off the field last season, Las Vegas went 10-7 and Carr played in the postseason for the first time in his career.

Carr, who last summer said he would “probably quit football if I had to play for somebody else” and would “rather go down with the ship,” insisted after the wild-card round loss at the eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals that he was not a “face-to-face guy” when it came to negotiations and that his “message will be talked about” when it came time.

The Raiders seemingly have three options when it comes to Carr and the 2022 season: 1) Simply guarantee the $19.8-plus million remaining on his deal and see if he would honor the final year of the contract, with the potential of a bigger payday or $35 million or so franchise tag on the other end; 2) Sign him to an extension before seeing if Carr and McDaniels truly mesh, basically sight unseen; 3) Entertain trade offers and start fresh.

Backup Marcus Mariota is scheduled to be a free agent. “[I’m] really happy with the opportunity that I’ve had to get to know him,” McDaniels said of Carr.

“He’s there in Nevada. He stays there in Nevada, so we’re aware of where things are and, again, as I said when I was introduced [as coach], I’m really looking forward to working with him. He’s won a lot of games. I feel good about what we can do with Derek as our quarterback.”

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Las Vegas Raiders hire New England Patriots assistant Mick Lombardi as offensive coordinator

The Las Vegas Raiders have hired New England Patriots wide receivers coach Mick Lombardi as their offensive coordinator, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Saturday.

The Raiders also hired former Patriots offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo for the same job in Las Vegas, a source said.

Lombardi, 33, replaces Greg Olson, who had served as Raiders offensive coordinator since being brought in with Jon Gruden in 2018. Lombardi handled the Patriots’ red zone game plan last season and McDaniels noted that he sees the offense similarly to him.

Lombardi is the son of Michael Lombardi, the longtime NFL front-office executive who served as a senior executive with the Raiders from 1998 to 2007.

Mick Lombardi broke into the NFL as a scouting assistant with the Patriots from 2011 to 2012, before moving on to the San Francisco 49ers from 2013 to 2016 as a coaching assistant on offense and defense. He spent the 2017-2018 seasons with the New York Jets before returning to the Patriots in 2019.

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In addition to working with receivers in New England, he had been an assistant quarterbacks coach.

Lombardi and Bricillo are the latest members of the Patriots staff to follow new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels to Las Vegas. Former Patriots quality control/QB coach Bo Hardegree lately agreed to become the Raiders’ new quarterbacks coach.

This has left some major voids for Patriots coach Bill Belichick to fill, in addition to the expected retirement of running backs coach Ivan Fears. The only new offensive coach the Patriots have revealed they’ve hired is Joe Judge, their former special teams/receivers coach who spent the past two seasons as New York Giants head coach.

Also of note on McDaniels’ staff is Rob Ryan. Previously, the Raiders defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2008, Ryan is rejoining the team as a senior defensive assistant under new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Ryan was the Baltimore Ravens inside linebackers coach last season.

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Green Bay Packers to hire Rich Bisaccia to fix special teams

The Packers will ultimately have an experienced coach running their special teams. They are expected to hire veteran special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who most recently served as the Raiders’ interim head coach.

A source stated Monday that an announcement is coming soon after some final details are worked out. NFL Network was first to report that the Packers were expected to hire Bisaccia.

He will be the third person to coordinate the Packers special teams in as many seasons, but he’s the first one with NFL experience doing so. Bisaccia was in his 20th season as an NFL special teams coordinator when the Raiders made him their interim coach following Jon Gruden’s resignation during 2021.

He joined the Raiders in 2018 after previously coaching special teams for the Cowboys (2013-17), Chargers (2011-12) and Buccaneers (2002-10). The 61-year-old also had 19 years of college coaching experience before entering the NFL.

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Bisaccia will replace Maurice Drayton, who was fired last week following the Packers’ disastrous special teams performance in the NFL divisional playoff loss to the 49ers.

Drayton’s units had a field goal and a punt blocked, the latter of which was returned for a touchdown. The Packers became the first team in 33 years to have both a punt and a field goal blocked during the same playoff game.

The playoff game was not an anomaly. The Packers special teams ranked 31st in ESPN’s FPI and dead last in Rick Gosselin’s widely respected special teams rankings. Drayton was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2021 after serving for two years as an assistant to Shawn Mennenga, whose units ranked 26th and 29th. Neither had been a special teams coordinator in the NFL before coming to Green Bay.

The Packers special teams problem isn’t unique to Matt LaFleur’s tenure.

Dating to the start of Mike McCarthy’s run as head coach in 2006, the Packers have ranked in the top 10 in special teams only once (2007). In that span, they have finished in the top half of the special teams rankings only four times — most recently 16th in 2017. In that same span, Bisaccia’s special teams have six top-10 finishes plus a No. 11 ranking this past season.

LaFleur acknowledged after the season that a coaching modification might not be the only necessary fix for the Packers’ special teams.

“Just one takeaway, just watching that game back, San Francisco had a lot of their starters on special teams,” LaFleur said. “That’s going to be something that I want to do some studies around the league and see how many teams operate that way. Again, does it have some inherent risk? Absolutely.”

Bisaccia interviewed for the Raiders’ permanent head-coaching job, which ultimately went to Josh McDaniels even after quarterback Derek Carr was among the players who threw their public support behind the interim coach.

Bisaccia went 7-5 after Gruden resigned, and the Raiders (10-7 overall) made the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

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Las Vegas Raiders to hire New York Giants’ Patrick Graham as defensive coordinator

The Las Vegas Raiders are hiring New York Giants assistant head coach Patrick Graham as their defensive coordinator, sources confirmed to ESPN.

Graham, 43, joins newly hired head coach Josh McDaniels in Las Vegas after spending the past two seasons as the Giants’ defensive coordinator under Joe Judge.

Graham replaces Gus Bradley, who is heading to the Indianapolis Colts to be their defensive coordinator after one season with the Raiders.

The Raiders have also hired a new quarterbacks coach in former New England Patriots quality control/QB coach Bo Hardegree and are keeping receivers coach Edgar Bennett, sources told ESPN.

McDaniels, in his introductory news conference on Monday, was asked what defensive scheme he planned on using with the Raiders.

“Most of it today is actually built out of the nickel anyway,” he said. “We talk a lot about 4-3, 3-4, [but] 85 percent of the game is now ‘sub’ defense, so your decision-making process might be a little different than it was 15 years ago, when you were playing a lot more base defense.”

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Graham ran a 3-4 base with the Giants, while the Raiders have run a 4-3 scheme.

“We’ll make those considerations and determine how we want to go forward here as we kind of build the staff and move along with the team, but I think right now it’s built in that mode,” McDaniels said.

“But like I said, most of these games you’re playing a four-man line and nickel defense anyway, so that’s almost become your base.

“So, the vision for us is going to need to be — there’s five starting defensive backs now, and there’s two linebackers and so on and so forth. We’ll do the due diligence as we hire our staff and then evaluate our team and decide what’s best as we move forward.”

Graham was with the Patriots from 2009-2015, serving as a defensive assistant as well as the defensive line and linebackers coach in his time there, which coincided with McDaniels’ return to New England in 2012.

Under Bradley, the Raiders defense improved from the No. 25 overall defense in 2020 to No. 17 last season, but was last in the NFL in red-zone defense under Bradley (83.3% touchdowns and 6.29 points per red-zone-zone trip) and was next-to-last in red-zone takeaways per red-zone drive.

Raiders Pro Bowl defensive end Maxx Crosby was asked after the AFC’s practice on Thursday what he wanted to see in a defensive coordinator.

“I love Gus and I feel like he has us going in the right direction,” Crosby said. “Obviously, I don’t know, I don’t have any control of that, but we’ll see. We’ll have to see.”

Graham also worked with new Giants head coach Brian Daboll from their time together (2013-15) in New England. Daboll stated the team had hoped to keep Graham if he did not land a head-coaching job elsewhere.

“I’ve had a good relationship with Pat for some time in this league,” Daboll said at his introductory news conference earlier this week. “He’s very diligent. He’s smart. I think the players respect him. He understands different defenses and I have a good working relationship with him. I did when I was back at New England.

“Certainly, we hope that he has an opportunity to become a head coach. I think that’s everybody’s dream, but selfishly, I would love him to be here. He offers a lot to our program. I think he’d be a great support system for me and I’m hoping that that works out.”

The Giants’ defense was ranked 12th in the NFL in 2020 under Graham. It was 21st this past campaign. Graham is held in high regard by the Giants organization and had interviewed for its head-coaching position.

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