Tagged in: WR

Agent requests WR N’Keal Harry be traded by New England Patriots

Wide receiver N’Keal Harry’s agent said in a statement Tuesday that he has formally requested the New England Patriots trade his client.

“For the past several months, I have been working in cooperation with the Patriots behind the scenes to put a plan in place to let N’Keal to thrive in New England. Through two seasons, he has 86 targets, which obviously hasn’t met the expectations the Patriots and N’Keal had when they drafted a dominant downfield threat who was virtually unstoppable at the point of attack in college.

Following numerous conversations with the Patriots, I believe it’s time for a fresh start and best for both parties if N’Keal moves on before the start of training camp. That is why I have informed the Patriots today I am formally requesting a trade on behalf of my client,” agent Jamal Tooson said in the statement.

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“N’Keal understands a key ingredient to production is opportunity. He will continue to work hard to develop and refine his craft after missing a large portion of his rookie year to injury. His draft-day expectations for his NFL career have not changed. We are confident success is just around the corner for him and will aggressively pursue it.”

The Patriots picked Harry with the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Injuries limited him to seven matches in his rookie season, in which he caught 12 passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Last season he had 33 receptions for 309 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.

The Patriots added receivers Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency, pushing Harry further down the team’s depth chart. He appears to be set to compete for the No. 4 or 5 role behind both those players and Jakobi Meyers, who led the Patriots in receptions (59) and receiving yards (729) last season.

Also Tuesday, rookie quarterback Mac Jones, selected 15th overall by the Patriots in the 2021 draft, officially signed his four-year, $15.6 million deal that also includes a fifth-year option.

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Chicago Bears WR Allen Robinson resigned to possibly playing NFL season on one-year deal

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson sounded resigned to possibly playing the 2021 NFL season on a one-year deal in advance of the July 15 deadline for franchise-tagged players to receive long-term contracts.

“I don’t have any [contract] updates or nothing like that,” Robinson stated on a videoconference call Wednesday.

“That’s not in my control, if I don’t [get a long-term deal]. That being a possibility [of playing on the one-year franchise tag], then, I mean, that is what it is and I’m comfortable with that. Obviously, that’s a possibility. That’s fine. It is what it is. As I said before, my main focus now is continuing to be better and get better.”

The Bears placed the $17.98 million franchise tag tender on Robinson after the two sides were unable to agree to an extension last year. The veteran receiver led the team with 102 catches for 1,250 yards in 2020.

Robinson, 27, skipped the Bears’ voluntary offseason workout program but reported to this week’s mandatory three-day minicamp. Robinson added on Tuesday that he will be on time to training camp when it opens next month.

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“At the end of the day, [the offseason workouts] are optional things, and I think I have a pretty good routine I’ve been working through and progressing in certain areas at the pace that I want,” said Robinson, who focused on creating more muscle endurance in the offseason to be more effective after the catch.

Since joining the Bears in 2018, Robinson has been far and away the team’s top wide receiver.

Despite playing on some of the league’s lower-rated offenses, Robinson has caught 255 passes for 3,151 yards and 17 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

“It was really good [to have Robinson rejoin the team this week],” head coach Matt Nagy said.

“You guys know I have a really good relationship with A-Rob, and anytime you have that quality of player that shows back up and gets out here in the huddle and just that experience that he brings, he just has such a quiet calm and confidence to him that you can see the guys out there throwing him the football and the things he’s doing, he just slides on in.

The one sneaky thing about A-Rob that I think is pretty cool is, No. 1, even if he’s not here, you know he’s working his tail off, and No. 2, he’s always in great shape, and we noticed that.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Seattle Seahawks giving WR Tyler Lockett a $69.2M extension

The Seahawks are giving wide receiver Tyler Lockett a four-year, $69.2 million contract extension that incorporates $37 million guaranteed, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday.

Lockett was entering the final season of a three-year, $31.8 million extension he signed in 2018. He has had his three best seasons since then, with 28 receiving touchdowns (fifth among NFL wide receivers) and 3,076 yards (13th).

The $17.3 million new-money average in Lockett’s extension ranks 10th among NFL wide receivers, according to Spotrac.com.

Lockett, 28, was a third-round pick by Seattle in 2015. He made the Pro Bowl and was a first-team All-Pro as a returner in his rookie season, then came back from a compound leg fracture late in the 2016 season to start every game in 2017.

He has since supplanted the retired Doug Baldwin as Seattle’s No. 1 receiver. Last season, Lockett and DK Metcalf became only the second pair of Seahawks receivers in team history to each top 1,000 yards in the same year.

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With Metcalf a year away from becoming eligible for what is expected to be a massive payday, there was no guarantee that Seattle would reinvest in Lockett with a third contract.

Lockett was set to have the third-largest cap hit of any Seahawks player in 2021 at $14.95 million. His extension lowers that number to around $7 million, a source told ESPN.

That gives Seattle some needed breathing room against the cap and is one reason for the timing of Lockett’s extension, which comes much earlier in the offseason than when the Seahawks typically do new deals for players who are under contract.

Lockett has shown a knack for improbable catches. Among players with at least 200 targets, he has the second-highest catch percentage over expectation since 2018 at plus-12%, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

That ability was on display during an overtime loss to the Arizona Cardinals last campaign, when Lockett turned in the most productive game of his career with 15 catches for 200 yards and three touchdowns.

“It’s one thing to make a catch like that some time in your life, but to do it every time you get a chance, it’s pretty crazy — and particularly under pressure and the stress of the game and the situation, all that,” coach Pete Carroll said after that game.

“He’s a phenomenal, phenomenal football player.”

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Houston Texans WR Will Fuller, CB Bradley Roby suspended six games under NFL’s PED policy

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller V and cornerback Bradley Roby have been suspended for six matches for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Fuller stated the violation was a result of his taking prescribed medication not permitted under the policy.

“Earlier this year, I sought treatment from a medical professional who prescribed medication that he believed to be permitted under the NFL’s drug policy,” Fuller wrote on Instagram.

“As it turns out, my trust in this professional was misplaced because this medication was NOT an acceptable substance under the NFL Policy on Performance Enhancing Substances.

“As a result of this mistake, I have been suspended for six games for taking this prohibited medication. I want to sincerely apologize to the Texans organization and all of my fans for this mistake. I am looking forward to putting this all behind me and returning better than ever in 2021.”

“His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”

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Roby, in a tweet Monday night in which he apologized to his family and teammates, stated that a “few months ago, I unknowingly used a product that was contaminated with a banned substance by the NFL. I recognize that it is my job to know, and be responsible for, everything I put in my body.”

Both suspensions will start with the final five games of this campaign and end with the first of the 2021 season.

Fuller, 26, is coming off his best game of the season — in a year full of impressive performances — versus the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, when he added six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns to his impressive 2020 totals.

Fuller has 53 receptions for 879 yards and eight touchdowns this season. Through 11 games, Fuller has more receiving yards and touchdowns than the Texans’ former No. 1 wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, had for Houston at this point last season.

After missing 22 games in his first four seasons in the NFL, Fuller had not missed a game this season.

He was playing on his fifth-year option and will be a free agent after the season. With Fuller suspended, Randall Cobb on injured reserve and Kenny Stills recently released, the Texans (4-7) are left with four wide receivers: Brandin Cooks, Keke Coutee, Isaiah Coulter and Steven Mitchell, who is on the practice squad.

With Roby, 28, suspended, the Texans lose their top cornerback and are left with Vernon Hargreaves and Phillip Gaines as their top two remaining players at the position. Cornerback Gareon Conley, acquired for a third-round pick during the 2019 season, has been on injured reserve all season.

In 10 games this season, Roby has 37 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery. He signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract in March.

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New Orleans Saints WR Mike Thomas returns to practice

New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas returned to practice Thursday, giving him an opportunity  to return to the lineup for the first time since Week 1.

It’s still unclear if Thomas (ankle/hamstring) will be able to play Sunday at Chicago. But he was participating in individual drills during the early portion of practice open to the media Thursday — which is something he did not do last week or on Wednesday of this week.

Thomas, the NFL’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year, was initially sidelined by a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Week 1. He appeared close to returning in Week 5, but then he was benched for team disciplinary reasons after a practice altercation in which he punched teammate C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

Then Thomas returned to practice after New Orleans’ Week 6 bye — only to suffer a new hamstring injury. Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that an MRI exposed a Grade 1 hamstring strain that was expected to sideline Thomas for one to two weeks.

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The Saints could certainly use him at Chicago.

Their No. 2 receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, is on the reserve-COVID list. And undrafted rookie receiver Marquez Callaway, who led the team with 75 yards on eight catches last week, has been dealing with an ankle injury of his own.

Thomas and Callaway were formally listed as limited in Thursday’s practice.

Sanders could technically be eligible to return to activity for the first time on Sunday after testing positive last Thursday. But he stated that he will miss two games on Uninterrupted’s “17 Weeks” podcast on SiriusXM/Pandora.

Callaway was present for the start of Thursday’s practice but did not participate in the portion open to the media.

The Saints (4-2) have won three consecutive games despite their depleted WR corps, with Drew Brees and the passing offense finding a better rhythm by the week. They converted 12 of 14 third-down attempts and never punted in last week’s 27-24 triumph over the Carolina Panthers.

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Cleveland Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. has torn ACL in left knee

Odell Beckham Jr.’s season is officially over.

The Cleveland Browns revealed the star wide receiver suffered a torn ACL in his left knee. Beckham underwent an MRI on Monday morning, which confirmed the tear.

He was injured on the Browns’ second snap Sunday while attempting to chase down a Cincinnati Bengals defender following a Baker Mayfield interception.

“Obviously it’s a big loss,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski stated Monday. “He’s a huge part of what we do. So now we’ll just have to huddle up, and find some different ways and find some different people and put them in that role. “You never replace a player of Odell’s caliber with one player. It’s going to take multiple guys,” Stefanski added. “That’s the challenge we have and I think our guys will be up to the challenge.”

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On Mayfield’s first passing attempt versus the Bengals, he tried to force a throw to Beckham down the sideline.

The ball, however, was underthrown and picked off by Darius Phillips. Beckham turned around to chase the Cincinnati defensive back the other way, but crashed into Phillips and Cleveland fullback Andy Janovich, who also was trying to make the tackle.

After going 0-of-5 in the first quarter, Mayfield bounced back without Beckham to complete a franchise-record 21 consecutive passes and five touchdowns, including a game-winning, 24-yard scoring strike to rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones with 15 seconds left.

Afterward, Mayfield confessed to feeling guilty for the underthrow that led to Beckham’s injury.

“I’m probably going to beat myself up about that one for a long time,” Mayfield said. “He’s a guy who fights for this team, and in doing that, he got hurt. … it sucks.”

Mayfield stated that at halftime Beckham told him to “go be great” in the second half. Mayfield went on to become just the second quarterback in NFL history to throw three go-ahead touchdown passes in a fourth quarter in Cleveland’s 37-34 victory.

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Green Bay Packers WR Allen Lazard out indefinitely after core muscle surgery

Allen Lazard, who caught six passes for 146 yards and a score in the Packers’ Week 3 victory over the Saints, is out indefinitely after undergoing core muscle surgery this week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Green Bay, without Lazard, will look to keep its unbeaten start intact Monday night versus the winless Falcons.  A former undrafted rookie out of Iowa State, the 6-foot-5, 227-pound Lazard signed with the Packers in December of 2018 after spending most of his rookie season on the Jaguars’ practice squad.

After catching just one pass that campaign, Lazard caught 35 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns last season. Lazard is now the Packers’ leading receiver, with 254 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions.

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Lazard’s 19.5 yards per catch this season is over four yards over his career average. 

With Lazard out, that will lead to more playing time for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Darrius Shepherd and Malik Taylor. Valdes-Scantling has caught eight passes for 165 yards and a score through three games, while Shepherd and Taylor have yet to catch a pass. 

The Packers did receive some positive news on Thursday when receiver Davante Adams, who missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury, was a limited participant during practice. Adams is hoping that his hamstring will let him to face the Falcons on Monday night. 

Regardless, it appears that the Packers’ offense may rely more on running back Aaron Jones, who has rushed for 303 yards and four touchdowns. He has also caught 10 passes for 95 yards and a score through three games.

The Packers signed two receivers to the practice this week, adding Caleb Scott and Juwann Winfree. The team also has Reggie Begelton and Robert Foster on the practice squad.

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Dolphins sign former Colts WR Chester Rogers to one year deal

Over the last several days, many NFL players have decided to opt-out of the 2020 campaign. And through this process, the Dolphins have lost veteran wide receivers Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson.

Sure, many consider Miami’s WR room is littered with young, talented players. However, it was only a matter of time before Chris Grier and Brian Flores started scouring the list of NFL free agents for a veteran presence.

Saturday, the Dolphins re-signed veteran WR Ricardo Louis, the former 2016 fourth-round draft pick.

However, that wasn’t the only veteran WR that recently earned a new contract with the team.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Miami Dolphins have agreed to a one-year deal with former Indianapolis Colts WR Chester Rogers. Rogers, 26, appeared in 53 matches with the Colts combining for 111 receptions, 1,221 yards, and five touchdowns. The UDFA from Grambling State had his best season in 2017 catching 53 passes for 485 yards and three touchdowns.

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He suffered a season-ending knee injury versus the Tennessee Titans in Week 13 of the 2019 season, finishing with 16 catches for 179 yards and two touchdowns.

It seems extremely unlikely that both Louis and Rogers make the Dolphins’ final roster. But as we quickly learned with Coach Flores and his staff, the best players will play.

It’s now up to Chester Rogers to prove he belongs.

He will be entering a young wideout group in Miami, which includes WR1 DeVante Parker, veteran Jakeem Grant, fourth-year player Isaiah Ford, and sophomores Preston Williams and Gary Jennings, among others. He hopes to take advantage of the undermanned offense in order to have a greater role produce better numbers for the team.

The Fins will open their 2020 campaign as they visit their division rival New England Patriots on September 13 at Foxborough.

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