5 Key Stories: 4/7/24 – 4/14/24

The countdown to the draft continues, and teams around the league remain busy hosting prospects set to be selected at every point in the order. Plenty of intrigue is building regarding the teams positioned to add a potential franchise quarterback in particular, though some notable developments concerning established players have also taken place. Here is a quick recap of the NFL’s top stories from the past week:

  • Jags Extend Allen: Another franchise tag recipient landed a long-term deal when the Jaguars inked Josh Allen to a five-year extension. Falling in line with the deal Brian Burns landed upon arrival with the Giants, Allen secured $28.25MM in annual base value and $76.5MM guaranteed at signing. That places him near the top of the edge market and cements his status as a foundational member of Jacksonville’s defense for the foreseeable future. Allen, 26, set a new franchise record with 17.5 sacks in 2023 after failing to reach double digits in that regard each of the past three years. Repeating last season’s success would represent a major development for the Jaguars’ front seven.
  • Chiefs’ Rice Facing Eight Felony Charges: As expected, Rashee Rice now faces charges stemming from his involvement in a hit-and-run incident during which two vehicles which were racing were involved in a six-car crash. The Chiefs wideout – who was driving one of the cars – has been charged with eight felonies (seven counts related to collision involving bodily harm and one count of aggravated assault). Rice turned himself in to police and posted a $40K bail. The 23-year-old’s situation therefore remains one worth monitoring closely in terms of legal developments and the potential league discipline which could accompany them. Theodore Knox, a former teammate of Rice at SMU, was driving the other vehicle; he has been suspended from the Mustangs’ football team and he now faces the same charges as Rice.
  • Daniels Likely Commanders’ Selection At No. 2? The Commanders represent a key turning point in the upcoming draft by owning the second overall pick. With Caleb Williams likely to come off the board first, Washington will have a choice of Drake Maye, J.J. McCarthy and Jayden Daniels at the No. 2 slot. Many around the league expect the latter to be the Commanders’ ultimate selection, although the team has ‘top-30’ visits lined up with all three passers. Daniels won the Heisman in 2023, his second season at LSU. The Arizona State transfer has drawn praise for his processing as a passer along with his rushing abilities, but concerns over his age and build have been raised. Whichever rookie heads to the nation’s capital this summer will likely have the chance to compete for the starter’s gig right away, and Daniels’ floor could position him well to see early playing time in 2024.
  • Bucs, Winfield Making Progress On Market-Setting Extension: Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. remains on track to play on his franchise tag in 2024. That one-year pact carries a value of $17.12MM, but a more lucrative long-term agreement could be on the horizon. Optimism exists Winfield and the Buccaneers could work out a deal making him the league’s highest-paid player at his position. While the veteran safety market took a notable hit ahead of this year’s free agent period, keeping Winfield in place for years to come would likely prove to be a valuable move on Tampa Bay’s part. The second-generation defensive back earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2023, and at the age of 25 he is positioned to be a staple of the team’s backend for years to come. GM Jason Licht is confident a deal with both Winfield and standout left tackle Tristan Wirfs can be hammered out.
  • Eagles Begin Smith Extension Talks: Like Winfield, DeVonta Smith could soon have a second contract in hand. The latter is now negotiating an Eagles extension, and optimism exists an agreement can be worked out relatively soon. Smith has been a key figure in Philadelphia’s passing game during his three-year tenure, reaching the 1,000-yard mark in each of the past two campaigns. The Eagles’ offense already features a number of lucrative commitments (from quarterback Jalen Hurts to offensive linemen Landon Dickerson, Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson as well as fellow receiver A.J. Brown). Smith – who will no doubt have his fifth-year option picked up this spring, keeping him in place through 2025 – could be in line to command a sizable raise compared to his rookie pact, though. No wideouts have been extended in their first offseason of eligibility during the era of fifth-year options, so it will be interesting to see if a Smith pact can be finalized this spring or summer.
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