Browns Sign RB Eli McGuire

The Browns signed running back Elijah McGuire, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. McGuire will provide roster depth as a fill-in for Dontrell Hilliard, who has been ruled out with a concussion for tonight’s game against the Jets. 

Of course, while McGuire’s there, the Browns just might pump him for intel. McGuire spent the last couple of seasons with the Jets, up until his recent release.

The tailback drew solid reviews in Jets practice over the last two years, but his career 3.3 yards per carry average isn’t much to write home about. He’ll hope for an opportunity to break through in Cleveland, where he sits behind Nick Chubb and D’Ernest Johnson.

Latest On Adam Vinatieri, Colts

Following an uncharacteristically-poor performance in Week 1, Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri struggled again during today’s win over the Titans. Following the game, owner Jim Irsay acknowledged that the team’s struggles at kicker are a concern.

“Breaks my heart to see it because I know how hard (Vinatieri) works,” Irsay said (via ESPN’s Mike Wells). “Of course it’s a concern. I can’t lie to you guys. Anyone would tell you it’s a concern. Adam, coach (Frank Reich), (general manager) Chris (Ballard), me. Yeah, I mean, in this league, it’s professional football. We all have to produce.

“The expectation is to win when you’re a professional. So we have to figure out where we’re at there and see what coach and Chris think is the best direction. And I know Adam will be the most self-honest person of all, so we’ll see where we’re at.”

Meanwhile, while Vinatieri didn’t say much following the victory, he did indicate that we’d hear from him on Monday. When told by reporters that tomorrow was a day off, the veteran had the same response: “Yeah, you will (hear from me).”

We’re all familiar with the future Hall of Famer’s accolades. Vinatieri made a name for himself by converting game-winning field goals during Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII, and he’s earned another two rings during his career with the Patriots and Colts. He currently holds NFL records for most points scored (2,600) and most field goals made (582). He also holds the distinction of being the oldest active NFL player at 46 years old.

While Vinatieri’s field goal percentage dropped each year between 2015 and 2018, he was still more-than-reliable. However, the 24-year veteran has struggled mightily in 2019. He missed a pair of field goal attempts and one extra point attempt in Week 1, and he followed that up by missing a pair of extra point attempts today.

While Reich seemed to place Vinatieri’s struggles on the “snap and hold,” there’s no denying that the veteran may simply be ready to call it a career.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Drew Brees “Concerned” About Thumb Injury

Quarterback Drew Brees left the Saints’ loss to the Rams today after injuring the thumb on his throwing hand. Following the game, the future Hall of Famer didn’t sound particularly optimistic about his ailment.

“Yeah I am concerned,” Brees told reporters (including ESPN’s Mike Triplett). “I’m hoping it’s not too significant.”

Brees revealed that he injured his thumb after hitting the hand of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The veteran didn’t return to the game, and he was seen with a lower hand/wrist wrap as he stood on the sideline. Brees told reporters after the game that he already underwent x-rays and is set to visit a hand specialist, and he warned that his status is “all up in the air right now” (via Katherine Terrell of The Athletic on Twitter).

As Triplett notes, the durable quarterback has missed only one single game since high school: a 2015 matchup against the Panthers when he was recovering from a shoulder injury. Brees also suffered a major shoulder injury towards the end of the 2005 season, but he managed to return in time for the start of the 2006 campaign.

While losing Brees would naturally have a significant impact on their season, the Saints believe highly in their backups. Teddy Bridgewater is the highest-paid backup in the NFL, and the team gave up relatively-significant draft capital to acquire him in the first place. The 26-year-old finished Sunday’s game having completed 17 of his 30 attempts for 165 yards and no touchdowns. The Saints are also rostering quarterback Taysom Hill, although the coaching staff seems to prefer him in his Swiss-Army-knife role.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

LT Joe Staley Breaks Leg In 49ers Win

49ers LT Joe Staley is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks after breaking his left fibula against the Bengals today, as ESPN’s Nick Wagoner relays.

“From what I hear so far, we’ll find out more tomorrow but it should be less than eight weeks, so I don’t think he’ll be an IR candidate,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “But we’ll find out more tomorrow. I think it’s something he’s had before.”

The team had a tremendous game, dominating the Bengals on all fronts, but they lost Staley near the end of the third quarter. He was seen in a walking boot after the contest.

“I’m going to do everything I can to be part of this team for an end-of-season run,” said Staley. “I have a lot of years and knowledge. I’ve always thought that after my football career ends as a player, I’d give coaching a try. Now maybe I’ll have some time to try it. I’m bummed.”

Sam Darnold Hopes To Return After Week 4

The Jets may not be without Sam Darnold for as long as initially expected. FOX’s Jay Glazer (Twitter link) caught up with Darnold and the QB told Glazer that he was feeling much better. Darnold, who was diagnosed with mono, said that he hopes the doctor allows him to re-join the team sometime this week.

Darnold’s been told it should take him 21 days to completely recover and with that timeline, the former No. 3 overall pick expects to return to Jets’ starting lineup after the team’s Week 4 bye.

It’s worth noting that previous reports have pegged this timeline as optimistic, instead, presenting Week 9 as a viable return date. However, hearing from Darnold (through Glazer) is encouraging.

The Jets have been uploading information and sending it to Darnold in hopes that he stays mentally sharp and up-to-date with the playbook. Yet, without game reps in Adam Gase’s offense, Darnold will certainly face an uphill battle in getting back up to speed once he returns.

Backup QB Trevor Siemian will start Monday’s game against the Browns and likely Week 3 vs. the Patriots.

Saints, Sean Payton Agree To Extension

The Saints and head coach Sean Payton have agreed to a five-year extension, according to Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (on Twitter). Prior to the new deal, Payton was in Year Four of a five-year, $45MM deal. 

The financial terms of the new deal are not yet known, but it’s likely that Payton has received a bump over his previous $9MM/year salary. The 55-year-old coach will now be tied to the Saints past the age of 60, lining him up to retire in New Orleans.

In recent years, several teams have made overtures towards Payton, including the Cowboys, where Payton previously cut his teeth. As the Saints’ head coach, Payton has coached his way to a 119-74 overall record, including one Super Bowl ring.

This year, he’s aiming for more jewelry in his 13th season on the sidelines for the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Foles, Ansah, Badgley

Nick Foles, who remains out indefinitely due to a broken left clavicle bone that was suffered last week against the Chiefs, had surgery this past Monday. During the procedure, Foles had plate and screws utilized while fixing the clavicle to ensure long-term health, and a source said it was a clean, straight-forward break, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

In preparation for his return, Foles will have multiple scans before setting foot on the field, with all parties wary of a re-break. Assuming everything heals properly, he’ll begin practicing the week before the Houston game in Week 9, then have the bye, then be back with the Jaguars Week 11.

Filling in for Foles is rookie Gardner Minshaw, who was named the league’s Rookie of the Week for his admirable performance against the Chiefs last week. Minshaw will remain the starter for the foreseeable future.

Lets’ check out some more injury notes from around the NFL:

Latest On Trent Williams

Disgruntled Redskins left tackle Trent Williams, who has been holding out in hopes of a trade, has already accumulated some hefty fines estimated to be “millions of dollars”, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Despite reports stating that Williams was not concerned about any potential fines, Williams finds himself in a challenging position, as he has a $150K workout de-escalator that kicked in that lowered his base salary from $11MM to $10.85MM. Adding to that, Williams failed to cash in on $653K of salary this past week by continuing his holdout.

The Redskins refused to comment, but league sources told Schefter that Washington will not forgive the fines and will not give Williams a new deal. As previously reported, Washington has no plans to trade Williams.

In Williams’ absence, the Redskins signed veteran Donald Penn to a one-year deal. Penn, who played well in his first start for Washington last week against Eagles, will serve as the starter for the foreseeable future until Williams returns.

Dolphins Discussing Kenyan Drake Trade?

The Dolphins may trade second-year DB Minkah Fitzpatrick before next week, and one report this morning suggested that a Fitzpatrick trade, if completed, would represent the end of Miami’s extensive teardown.

But not so fast. Per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports, the Dolphins have engaged rival clubs in trade talks concerning running back Kenyan Drake (Twitter link). If the team were to deal Drake, it would make a little more sense than the recent trade of Laremy Tunsil and the potential trade of Fitzpatrick. After all, Drake is eligible for free agency in 2020, and quality running backs are easier to find than high-quality left tackles.

But while Drake has not been heavily-utilized in his three-plus years in Miami, he has shown plenty of promise. He has averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry in his young career, and he has also been a contributor in the passing game. Although he would not likely yield a major return in a trade, it’s easy to see why other teams would be sniffing around the Dolphins’ carcass in the hopes of finding worthwhile talent.

However, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald hears from a team source that the Dolphins have had zero conversations about a Drake trade, and he’s also heard that Drake has not asked to be dealt (Twitter links). Though this is purely speculation, it could be that rival clubs have placed calls just to see if Drake is available, and the Dolphins have rebuffed those overtures.

After getting just four carries in the team’s Week 1 loss to Baltimore, Drake reportedly had a great week of practice and is primed for a larger workload going forward.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Saints, Sean Payton Agree To Five-Year Extension

The Saints and head coach Sean Payton have agreed to a five-year extension, per Jay Glazer of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Payton was already under contract through 2020, and it sounds as though his extension will replace the final year of his prior deal. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Payton will now be under club control through 2024 (Twitter link).

Although salaries for coaches are generally not officially disclosed, Payton was already believed to be one of the highest-paid coaches in the game, with multiple sources suggesting he was pulling down an annual income of about $9MM. It could be that his new contract will also increase his compensation.

And for good reason. Payton has compiled a 119-74 regular season record since he was hired in 2006, and though he has had the distinct privilege of working with Drew Brees since that time, he has developed some elite offensive units during his tenure. He is the winningest HC in franchise history, and he coached the Saints to their only Lombardi Trophy in 2009. Like Brees, Payton came to New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, so Saints fans are especially fond of him.

After three straight 7-9 finishes from 2014-16, Payton has righted the ship with back-to-back division titles. Though Saints fans don’t need to be reminded, his club came within a missed PI call of advancing to Super Bowl LIII last season.

The Saints have captured five NFC South titles during Payton’s tenure and have qualified for the playoffs seven times. This extension should also quiet the Payton-to-Dallas rumors that have persisted for some time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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