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Clay Matthews Turns Down Broncos Offer

The Broncos inquired on veteran edge rusher Clay Matthews after losing Von Miller to injury, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). According to a league source, the Broncos were informed that Matthews is “not going to play.” However, that’s not quite the case. Agent Ryan Williams says he was “unable to come to an agreement with Denver,” but his client “remains open to playing in the NFL in 2020, provided it’s the right opportunity for him and his family” (Twitter link via Mike Garafolo of NFL.com).

[RELATED: Return Possible For Broncos’ Von Miller?]

Matthews, 34, racked up eight sacks in 13 games (all starts) last year, despite missing some time with a broken jaw. In the interest of equal time, the sacks may not tell the whole story – Matthews had just eleven QB hits in 2019, similar to his 12 QB hits in 2018 with the Packers, when he finished out with just 3.5 sacks.

Regardless, Matthews would have been a strong last-minute pickup to bolster the Broncos’ edge rush. They’ll be without Miller for three months at minimum, or the entire season at maximum. They might also have to get by without former first-round pick Bradley Chubb for a bit as he works his way back from last year’s ACL tear.

Matthews has 91.5 career sacks, putting him at the doorstep of the century mark. If he returns and hits 100 sacks, he’d be the 35th player in league history to join the club.

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Browns Officially Re-Sign Rashard Higgins

The Browns have re-signed Rashard Higgins, per a club announcement. The wide receiver will return on a one-year deal, giving him an opportunity to prove himself before trying his hand in free agency next year. 

Higgins came into the league as a fifth-round pick of the Browns and he’ll return to Cleveland for his fifth pro season. Over the past four years, he’s tallied 76 catches for 1,016 yards and seven touchdowns. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, necessarily, but he did shine in 2018 when he finished out with 39 grabs for 572 yards and four scores.

Last year, a knee injury kept him from building on that performance, but a healthy season could put him back on the right track. Most of Baker Mayfield‘s targets will be going to the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and new addition Austin Hooper, but Higgins could benefit from the double teams against those stars.

In addition to Landry and OBJ, the Browns’ WR depth chart also features JoJo Natson and sixth-round rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones. Higgins is the longest-tenured player of the group.

In a corresponding move, the Browns have also waived defensive tackle Brandin Bryant.

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Browns To Re-Sign WR Rashard Higgins

The Browns are expected to re-sign wide receiver Rashard Higgins, per Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. It will be a one-year, $910K deal for the 25-year-old.

We heard back in March that Cleveland was likely to let Higgins test the open market but was interested in re-signing him if the price was right. Cabot says the Colorado State product received more lucrative offers from other clubs, but he elected to re-up with the Browns because he loves playing with quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The Browns selected Higgins in the fifth round of the 2016 draft, and after setting career highs in 2018 with 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns, he appeared primed for a key role in 2019 behind star wideouts Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham. Unfortunately, he battled knee injuries early in the 2019 campaign and fell out of favor with prior head coach Freddie Kitchens upon his return. He ultimately caught just four passes for 55 yards and a score.

But with a new regime in place, Higgins will presumably have a good chance to rebuild his value. He will compete with sixth-round rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones and returning pieces like Damion Ratley for playing time.

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Jets Waive Rashard Robinson

On Friday, the Jets waived cornerback Rashard Robinson. Pink slips were also handed to wide receiver Stacy Coley and defensive lineman Charles Tapper

[RELATED: Jets Sign 16 Undrafted Free Agents]

The Jets acquired Robinson prior to the trade deadline in 2017 and gave up a 2018 fifth-round choice in the deal. Robinson went on to appear in 16 games for the Jets between ’17 and ’19, but tallied just nine tackles in total.

The Jets still need veteran help at the cornerback position, but they were unwilling to keep Robinson around at a paltry $2MM cap hit. By cutting him, the Jets will take that entire obligation off of the books.

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Browns To Tender Rashard Higgins

The Browns will tender restricted free agent Rashard Higgins, according to GM John Dorsey (via Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer). However, Dorsey did not indicate whether the Browns will employ the first- or second-round tender to cuff the wide receiver. 

[RELATED: Teams Interested In Browns’ Duke Johnson]

The first- or second-round tender will determine what pick a team would have to give the Browns if they were sign him. The first-round tender in 2019 is worth $4.407MM and the second-round tender is worth $3.095MM. It stands to reason that the second-round tender would be enough to scare away interested teams, even though this year’s wide receiver group in both free agency and the draft is underwhelming.

Higgins caught 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns in 13 games. More importantly, he developed a nice rapport with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield in the second half of the season. With Jarvis Landry entrenched in the slot, Higgins should have an opportunity to start outside next year.

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Browns’ Rashard Higgins Wants Extension

Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins could receive some significant interest on the open market this offseason, but the young wideout is making it clear he wants to stay in Cleveland. “I want to be in Cleveland, no other team. Tell (John) Dorsey, Tell Lonzo (Alonso Highsmith) to get it done”, Higgins said this week at the Super Bowl, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.

Dorsey, the Browns’ GM, said last week that the team had talked to Higgins’ representatives about a new contract, and it sounds like the interest is definitely mutual. Higgins is only scheduled to be a restricted free agent anyway so the Browns could match any offer he receives from another team, but it doesn’t seem like it’ll get to that point.

Higgins’ agent Michael Swensen told Kay Cabot “we’re getting there”, meaning a deal could be close. The Browns drafted Higgins in the fifth round out of Colorado State back in 2016. They cut him before the 2017 season, but quickly re-signed him. He didn’t do much as a rookie, but showed signs of progress last season before breaking out in 2018.

This past year he caught 39 passes for 572 yards and four touchdowns in only 13 games, and showed a nice rapport with rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield. With Jarvis Landry entrenched in the slot, Higgins should have an opportunity to start outside next year. Higgins sounded excited to help turn around the Browns, raving about Mayfield, new coach Freddie Kitchens, and the organization in his comments to Kay Cabot. At this point it would be surprising if he’s not locked up by the time free agency rolls around in March.

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Browns Want To Re-Sign WR Rashard Higgins

Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins will likely hit the free-agent market, but that does not mean a reunion with Cleveland is out of the question, according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. In fact, Cabot adds that, per a league source, the team would still like Higgins back “‘at the right price.”

Higgins fell out of the Browns rotation this past season after a falling out with the previous coaching staff. However, now that Freddie Kitchens has been replaced by Kevin Stefanski as head coach, the new regime appears to have interest in a reunion.

A fifth-round pick in 2016, Higgins progressed into larger and larger roles in Cleveland’s offense over his first three seasons and seemed poised to be the team’s third receiver behind Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham last season.

After hauling in 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns in 2018, Higgins managed just four catches for 55 yards in all of 2019. At just 25, Higgins is not far from being a solid young prospect, but his dip in production could very well dampen his market.

Rashard Mendenhall Retires

Free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall is retiring, reports ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Mendenhall, 26, spent his first five seasons with the Steelers, then started 13 games last year for the Cardinals, rushing for 687 yards and eight touchdowns.

A first-round draft pick from Illinois in 2008, Mendenhall totaled 4,236 yards and 39 touchdowns in his six-year career. He surpassed 1,000 yards rushing in the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Mendenhall hinted at retirement in a February 25 column for Huffington Post: “And as I write this, today is the day that the journey is over and I am fully at peace. Eagerly looking to a new way, which lies ahead.”

PFR’s Luke Adams ranked Mendenhall in the second tier of free agent running backs.

NFL Suspends Jets’ Rashard Robinson

Jets cornerback Rashard Robinson has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He’ll be eligible to return to the active roster on October 1 after the team’s Week 4 contest against the Jaguars. In the interim, he’ll be allowed to participate in all preseason practices and games.

The Jets acquired Robinson in a pre-deadline trade in 2017, giving up a 2018 fifth-round choice in exchange for the former fourth-round pick. Robinson appeared in six games but recorded just two tackles.

Robinson’s suspension stems from a December incident in which he was pulled over by cops and found to have marijuana-laced candy in his possession. Apparently, that was not the cornerback’s first instance of off-the-field trouble. The 23-year-old reportedly also had an “embarrassing and troubling incident” on a Niners team flight in 2017. He had words with SF coaches in the midst of that outburst, and that prompted the team to ship him to New Jersey.

Robinson’s first game with the Jets in 2018 – if he sticks on the roster – will be against the Broncos on October 7.

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Browns Aren’t Interested In Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

The Browns are still showing interest in Jadeveon Clowney, but they’re not quite as keen on the market’s other top edge rushers. Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews do not seem to be on their radar, according to Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer.

[RELATED: The NFL’s Top 10 Available Edge Rushers]

Griffen’s market has been slow to develop so far. Earlier this summer, he was linked to the Cardinals, but there hasn’t been any movement on that front, to our knowledge. Griffen, 32, has 74.5 sacks to his credit over ten NFL seasons. And, since Clowney came into the league in 2014, Griffen has registered 55 sacks. Still, Clowney is six years younger and the Browns likely see him as having better upside for 2020.

Matthews, 34, racked up eight sacks in 13 games (all starts) last year, despite missing some time with a broken jaw. In the interest of equal time, the sacks may not tell the whole story – Matthews had just 11 QB hits in 2019, similar to his 12 QB hits in 2018 with the Packers. In his final season with Green Bay, Matthews finished out with just 3.5 sacks.

Ultimately, it sounds like the Browns are open to replacing Olivier Vernon as their No. 2 DE, but only if they can find an edge rusher who represents a clear upgrade. And, from the sound of it, Clowney is the only available pass rusher who fits the bill.

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Rams To Release Clay Matthews

Todd Gurley isn’t the only Rams star on his way out. The Rams have released linebacker Clay Matthews, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

[RELATED: Rams Cut Todd Gurley]

Matthews, 34 in May, wasn’t easy to let go. Last year, the veteran racked up eight sacks in 13 games (all starts), despite missing some time with a painful broken jaw.

Jaw aside, Matthews has been durable throughout his pro career. That’s part of what helped Matthews earned six Pro Bowl nods through his ten seasons in Green Bay and he seemed on pace for a seventh before that setback.

The Rams will have to find edge pressure elsewhere as they remake their entire defense. So far, they’ve watched Eric Weddle retire while Cory LittletonMichael Brockers and Dante Fowler have all departed in free agency. They also turned down their option on slot corner Nickell Robey-Coleman. Meanwhile, they’ve added a handful of players, including former first-rounder Leonard Floyd and A’Shawn Robinson.

Thanks to his re-emergence under Wade Phillips, Matthews figures to draw some degree of interest on the open market. Matthews, however, did not live up to the extension he signed with the Packers. He failed to produce a double-digit sack season from 2015-18, recording just 3.5 and 12 quarterback hits in 2018. Matthews managed just 11 QB hits last season.

While the former Pro Bowler’s career is winding down, he still has a chance to reach 100 sacks. The former Packers first-round pick is up to 91.5 for his career. Matthews getting there would make him the 35th player in NFL history to do so. The third-generation NFLer will need to find a third team to help him reach this milestone, however.

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Jets CB Rashard Robinson Facing Charges

Jets cornerback Rashard Robinson was charged with drug possession following a December arrest, as Manish Mehta of the Daily News writes. Robinson no-showed his court date on Monday, Darryl Slater of NJ.com hears, and he is now scheduled to appear in front of a judge on Jan 29. If he does not show up at the end of the month, an arrest warrant will be issued. Rashard Robinson (vertical)

The Jets acquired Robinson in a pre-deadline trade this year, giving up a 2018 fifth-round choice in exchange for the former fourth-round pick. Robinson appeared in six games but recorded just two tackles.

Police say that they found a marijuana-laced candy in Robinson’s possession after pulling him over for careless driving. Apparently, this is not the cornerback’s first off-the-field incident. Mehta hears that the 22-year-old (23 in July) had an “embarrassing and troubling incident” on a Niners team flight in 2017. He also had words with SF coaches, an outburst that prompted the team to ship him east.

Mike Maccagnan‘s Jets have rolled the dice on players with iffy track records in the past, but they might not have patience with Robinson given his lack of on-field performance.

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FA CB Rashard Robinson Banned 10 Games

The Jets cut Rashard Robinson in May, and a clearer picture as to the possible reason for that move emerged two months later. The NFL suspended the free agent cornerback 10 games on Wednesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

This marks Robinson’s second suspension. He began his 2018 season in October because of a four-game substance-abuse ban to start it. The former fourth-round 49ers pick has not participated in a visit or a workout since the Jets waived him.

I would like to to take this opportunity to apologize and take full responsibility for the 10-game suspension I have received from the National Football League. I have no one to blame for my actions,” Robinson said in a statement (Twitter link). “I will work during my time away to better myself and be ready to contribute when I am eligible this coming season.”

The Jets gave up a fifth-round pick at the 2017 trade deadline to acquire Robinson from the 49ers, and the LSU alum played in 16 games for the franchise over the next two seasons. Robinson has started 15 games, but 13 of those came as a 49er. He registered eight tackles in 10 2018 contests, playing mostly special teams.

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49ers Trade CB Rashard Robinson To Jets

The 49ers made their second deadline deal in two days, this time agreeing to send cornerback Rashard Robinson to the Jets, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Jets gave the Niners a 2018 fifth-round pick in exchange, a source tells Manish Mehta of the Daily News (on Twitter). Rashard Robinson (vertical)

Robinson, a fourth-round pick last year, has started seven games for San Francisco this season. The Jets are hurting in the secondary presently, but the 22-year-old corner is under contract through the 2019 season. So, this represents a possible long-term piece for Gang Green.

The LSU product has started 13 games over the past two seasons. He’s deflected eight passes, forced a fumble and intercepted a pass during his sophomore NFL campaign. Robinson, though, ranks among Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded corners this season. This could be a short-term depth addition and a long-term developmental project.

New York is currently dealing with injuries to Morris Claiborne and Buster Skrine, making this an interesting way to go about patching up a secondary.

49ers Cut Jordan Matthews

Veteran receiver Jordan Matthews is looking for a new team yet again. Matthews was released by the 49ers earlier today, the team announced. San Francisco needed the roster spot for LS Kyle Nelson, who they activated from his suspension. 

Matthews signed a one-year, $1.8MM deal with a $300K signing bonus earlier this offseason, but was released at final cuts. After Jalen Hurd was placed on injured reserve a few weeks ago, the 49ers re-signed Matthews. The Vanderbilt product is approaching journeyman status, as he’s been with four team in just the past three years. Originally drafted by Philly in the second-round back in 2014, Matthews had some very productive years with the Eagles. He got traded to the Bills, and then injuries started to pile up.

After getting released by San Fran right before the start of the season he had workouts with the Vikings and Saints, so maybe he can latch on with one of those teams. Still only 27, he should be able to resurface at some point soon and he could get brought back by the 49ers.

After rejoining the Eagles last year, he had 20 catches for 300 yards and two touchdowns in 15 games. Nelson was suspended ten games for PEDs toward the end of last season, but the team clearly never lost confidence in their long-snapper. Back in March, they signed him to a four-year extension.

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Eagles Waive WR Jordan Matthews

Jordan Matthews‘ third stint with the Eagles is over. Philadelphia made the decision to waive its on-again, off-again wide receiver on Monday.

An Eagle from 2014-16, Matthews caught on with his original NFL team in 2018 and again this season. This reunion did not produce much statistically. The sixth-year veteran caught four passes for 33 yards, serving as insurance for an injury-battered Philly wideout corps.

DeSean Jackson has missed most of this season, and Alshon Jeffery missed another game on Sunday. The Eagles lost to the Seahawks, dropping to 5-6. They did so with a wideout skeleton crew. This latest Matthews departure could point to Jeffery being ready for Week 13.

The 27-year-old wideout has not recaptured the form he showed during his first Philadelphia stay, when he surpassed 800 yards in three straight seasons. He also failed to make an impact in Buffalo, following a 2017 trade, or San Francisco. Given Matthews’ history with the Eagles, it cannot be assumed he’s done with the franchise. But Philly’s Week 13 crew against Miami is not set to include him.

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Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews Restructure Deals

Up against the cap this offseason, the Falcons made three lower-level signings Sunday. They have also restructured a few contracts.

The Falcons restructured the deals of Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews and Allen Bailey, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. This marks an interesting move for Ryan, who restructured his deal at the end of last season. He was already set to have cap figures north of $39MM in 2021 and 2022.

Ryan was to comprise $24.1MM of Atlanta’s 2020 cap, while Matthews was to account for $16MM of it. Bailey’s two-year deal included a $5.9MM 2020 cap number.

The Falcons and Ryan agreed on a five-year, $150MM extension in May 2018. He is under contract through 2023. Prior to the revised figures from this latest restructure, Ryan’s 2023 cap number sat at $34MM. Signed to a five-year extension worth $72.5MM in July 2018, Matthews is also under contract through 2023. His next four cap numbers are north of $16MM, so it should be expected some of them will rise as a result of this adjustment.

Atlanta added Laquon Treadwell and offensive lineman Justin McCray on Sunday and also re-signed Blidi Wreh-Wilson. They added Todd Gurley on Friday and authorized a $16MM-AAV deal for Dante Fowler. Considering the Falcons’ minimal cap room, these Ryan and Matthews restructures were surely necessary to accommodate the Fowler pact. The Falcons also cut Desmond Trufant and Devonta Freeman to clear space.

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Eagles To Sign WR Jordan Matthews

The Eagles have agreed to sign wide receiver Jordan Matthews after working him out on Tuesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).

Matthews began his career in Philadelphia after entering the league as a second-round pick in 2014. The Vanderbilt product went on to post the best three seasons of his NFL tenure, averaging 75 receptions, 891 yards, and six scores per year. The Eagles shipped Matthews to the Bills as part of the Ronald Darby trade in advance of the 2017 campaign, and he’s bounced around ever since.

Matthews landed with the Patriots in 2018, but he was released with a settlement after suffering a knee injury. The now-27-year-old then started his second stint in Philadelphia, but played sparingly and managed only 20 receptions for 300 yards. This year, Matthews has already had two stints with the 49ers, and was most recently released in late October.

The Eagles’ offense has struggled since losing DeSean Jackson in Week 1; Jackson was just placed on injured reserve, so he won’t be returning this season. Matthews certainly isn’t a like-for-like replacement, as he’s hardly a downfield threat like Jackson. But Matthews can offer a familiarity with Philadelphia’s offense while likely seeing time in the slot.

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Jordan Matthews Worked Out For Eagles

The Eagles’ search for a new wide receiver could lead them to a familiar face. On Tuesday, the Eagles brought in Jordan Matthews for a work out, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter).

Matthews had a pair of stints with the 49ers this season, appearing in a single game (Week 7 vs. the Redskins). He’s also had workouts with the Vikings and Saints, and at only 27-years-old, there’s apparently some hope that the receiver can emerge from his current journeyman status.

Matthews had his best three seasons with Philly between 2014 and 2016, hauling in 225 receptions, 2,673 yards, and 19 touchdowns. However, since suffering a knee injury with Buffalo in 2017, he hasn’t had the same production.

The former second-rounder spent the 2018 season with Philly, hauling in 20 catches for 300 yards and two scores. With DeSean Jackson ailing, the Eagles are predictably in the market for some receiver help. Matthews’ familiarity with the offense could make him a somewhat reliable target for Carson Wentz down the stretch.

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Rams Rumors: Kupp, Goff, Gurley, Matthews

The latest on the Rams:

  • With one year left on his deal, wide receiver Cooper Kupp says he isn’t sweating the Rams for an extension. “There’s so much going on in the world right now,” Kupp said (Twitter link via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times). “It’s not really a priority at this time.” Cupp, 27 in June, managed 94 catches, 1,161 yards, and ten touchdowns last year – all career highs.
  • If the Rams need additional cap room, Jared Goff is open to a restructuring of his deal. “I don’t see why not,” said the quarterback, who added that it’s a matter to be discussed between his agent and Rams COO Kevin Demoff (Twitter link via Omar Ruiz of NFL.com). Thanks to the four-year, $134MM extension he signed last fall, Goff is under contract with L.A. through 2024.
  • After parting ways with the Rams, running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews said that the team was late on money they were still owed. In an interview on the NFL Network, GM Les Snead said that they will, in fact, get their bonus checks. However, the Rams disagree with Gurley and Matthews on the language of the contracts – the Rams believe that they’re not due to pay for some time. The Rams, in theory, could wait until other clubs pick up part of the tab via offset language.
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