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Chargers Acquire Cardale Jones

The Bills announced that they have traded quarterback Cardale Jones to the Chargers for a conditional draft pick. It’s a seventh-rounder in either 2018 or ’19, reports Albert Breer of The MMQB (on Twitter).

Cardale Jones (Vertical)

The Chargers had been in the market to acquire another quarterback to compete for a spot behind starter Philip Rivers, having worked out veteran Robert Griffin III on Tuesday. While the Bolts’ meeting with RG3 went well, they’ve elected to go with Jones, who’s only a year removed from joining the Bills as a fourth-round pick. As a rookie, the former Ohio State star worked with Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who was the Bills’ offensive coordinator last year. On the heels of Rex Ryan‘s firing, Lynn served as the Bills’ interim head coach in Week 17 – a 30-10 loss to the Jets in which Jones saw his first pro action. The 24-year-old completed 6 of 11 passes for 96 yards and an interception.

The offseason regime change in Buffalo clearly helped lead to Jones’ demise with the club. The general manager who selected Jones, Doug Whaley, lost his job after the draft this year. Before that, the Bills, led by new head coach Sean McDermott, used a fifth-round pick on ex-Pitt standout Nathan Peterman. With Tyrod Taylor entrenched as the starter and veteran T.J. Yates also in the fold, there was no longer room for Jones in Buffalo. He’ll now push for a place behind Rivers, whose primary backup is Kellen Clemens. The Chargers also have developmental QBs Mike Bercovici and Eli Jenkins on hand.

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Akiem Hicks Seeking $10MM Per Year

Having just hired Rosenhaus Sports to represent him, Bears contract-year defensive end Akiem Hicks is seeking $10MM per year on a new deal, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (on Twitter).

Akiem Hicks (vertical)

Formerly with the Patriots and Saints, Hicks joined the Bears in March 2016 on a two-year pact totaling $10MM. That contract has been a steal thus far for the Bears, with whom Hicks played like one of the NFL’s premier defensive linemen last season. Hicks tied a career high with 16 starts, led Bears defensive linemen in snaps (930) and piled up 54 tackles, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. Additionally, the 27-year-old ranked 15th among Pro Football Focus’ 127 qualified interior D-linemen in overall performance.

Given both Hicks’ showing last season and the deals given out to similarly productive players in recent years, it’s no surprise that he’s looking to double his annual income. As PFR suggested earlier this month, the contracts Giants nose tackle Damon Harrison (five years, $46.25MM, including $24MM guaranteed) and Packers DT Mike Daniels (four years, $42MM, including $12MM guaranteed) signed over the past couple years are among those that look like reasonable benchmarks for Hicks.

Without a new deal by next year, the Bears could theoretically place the franchise tag on Hicks, but the $17MM cost would be far higher than his current asking price. With that in mind, it would seemingly behoove general manager Ryan Pace to get to work on extending one of his key defensive contributors. Hicks, for his part, isn’t looking to leave Chicago.

“I just enjoy my time here and I’m completely open to ending my career here,” he told Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com and other reporters Wednesday.

It may help Hicks’ cause that Pace has long had an affinity for the defender, having been part of two front offices that have acquired him. When Hicks entered the NFL as a third-round pick of the Saints in 2012, Pace was their director of professional scouting.

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Raiders Sign Rookie Obi Melifonwu

The Raiders and second-round pick Obi Melifonwu have agreed to terms on a contract, agent Sean Stellato tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Obi Melifonwu (vertical)

Melifonwu, the 56th pick, went to the Raiders on the heels of a stellar four-year career at Connecticut, where he tallied eight interceptions. Four of those picks came last year for Melifonwu, who also notched a personal-best 118 tackles. There are some questions about Melifonwu’s instincts, but the 6-foot-4, 224-pounder should be effective around the line of scrimmage, per NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, who likens him to the Bengals’ George Iloka.

With Melifonwu in the fold, every rookie from the second round down in the 2017 draft has now been signed to a contract. The only unsigned rookies left are 49ers defensive end Solomon Thomas, Titans wide receiver Corey Davis, and one of Melifonwu’s soon-to-be Raiders teammates, cornerback Gareon Conley. The Raiders’ hope is that he and Melifonwu will immediately boost a defense that finished just 25th in DVOA against the pass last year.

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Eagles Trade G Allen Barbre To Broncos

The Eagles aren’t cutting Allen Barbre after all. Upon learning that the Eagles were planning to release the veteran guard, the Broncos reached out to the Eagles to work out a trade. A deal has been agreed upon, with Philly sending Barbre to Denver in exchange for a 2019 conditional draft pick (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). It’s a conditional seventh-rounder, tweets Mike Klis of 9News.Allen Barbre (vertical)

The Broncos already made one major upgrade on the interior line this offseason by signing former Cowboy Ronald Leary. Barbre could now compete with Max Garcia for the other starting guard spot or potentially push Menelik Watson at right tackle. Alternatively, he could be the Broncos’ super sub, filling in where needed at four different positions.

In Barbre, Denver gets a player with 76 appearances and 36 starts on his resume. The 33-year-old has started all 28 of his appearances dating back to 2015, including 12 last season, when he ranked an excellent 16th among Pro Football Focus’ 73 qualified guards. Barbre will earn $2.05MM this year and will have a chance at another $300K in playing time incentives, according to Klis (Twitter link).

The cap implications did not change for the Eagles when they flipped from releasing Barbre outright to trading him. After the deal, the Eagles will still save $2.1MM in cap space while leaving $500K on the books in dead money.

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Jets Claim WR Lucky Whitehead

Lucky Whitehead has been claimed by the Jets, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. After a bizarre week, he’ll do his best to try and forget about everything in a new city. Lucky Whitehead (vertical)

Whitehead, a return specialist, had a warrant issued for his arrest earlier this week in connection with a shoplifting charge and a missed arraignment. Trouble is, the cops had the wrong man. The alleged robber apparently gave the police Whitehead’s date of birth and social security number, allowing him to skip town. Whitehead swore to the Cowboys that he had nothing to do with what he was being charged for, but the team waived him before allowing things to shake out.

On Wednesday morning, Whitehead’s agent said that his client did not want to play for the Cowboys anymore after they effectively called him “a liar.” He got his wish and he’ll now go from one of the league’s most talented squads to one of it’s least talented teams.

I can’t speak for Lucky, we’d have to have a conversation about it because he loved being a Cowboy so much. I can’t put into words — this dude loved it, loved it as much as I’ve ever had a player love an organization. Loved it,agent David Rich said. “This guy was arguably the most popular player on the team, which is interesting to have this happen to him, but I don’t think so. . . . [Whitehead and coach Jason Garrett] basically sat across the table, eye to eye, man to man, and he said, ‘I need you to believe me, coach.’ And they said, ‘We think you’re a liar.’”

Between 2015 and 2016, Whitehead averaged 25.6 yards per kick return and 6.9 yards per punt return. Jets fans shouldn’t expect to see him do much on offense, however. He had just nine receptions for 64 yards.

Whitehead’s place on the Jets’ 53-man roster is not a certainty, but he has a better chance of making the final cut than he did in Dallas.

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Eagles Release Marcus Smith

The Eagles have released former first-round defensive end Marcus Smith, according to a team announcement. Meanwhile, linebacker Steven Daniels has been inked to a three-year deal. "<strong

[RELATED: Eagles Cut LG Allen Barbre]

The Eagles declined Smith‘s fifth-year option for 2018 earlier this offseason, fueling speculation that he might not make the roster this year. By cutting Smith now, the Eagles have ostensibly given him a better chance to hook on elsewhere. The team also avoided paying out a $594K roster bonus on the third day of camp. By waiving Smith, the Eagles will clear roughly $1.5MM in cap space.

Smith, a Louisville product, hasn’t started in any of his 37 professional appearances and he has just four career sacks to his name. The 25-year-old is coming off his first 16-game season, but he mustered only 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks in his 268 defensive snaps. He was contributor on special teams, playing over 40% of the unit’s snaps, but that wasn’t enough to justify his salary.

The Eagles claimed Daniels off waivers from the rival Redskins in May only to waive him in early June. Nearly two months later, he has circled back to the Eagles. Nigel Bradham, Jordan Hicks, and Mychal Kendricks project as the starting linebackers for Philly with Kamu Grugier-Hill, Najee Goode, Joe Walker, Alex McCalister, fifth-round pick Nate Gerry, and Daniels among those pushing for reserve jobs.

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Eagles Cut LG Allen Barbre

As training camp gets underway, Allen Barbre will have to find work elsewhere. The Eagles announced that they have released the left guard.

Allen Barbre (vertical)

[RELATED: Eagles Eyeing Veteran Cornerbacks]

Allen Barbre is a pro’s pro,” said top executive Howie Roseman in a statement. “Not only did he help the team with his solid play as a starter at left guard, but his ability to step up and play multiple positions helped us battle through some difficult situations. We had a conversation yesterday and agreed it made sense to allow him to pursue some other opportunities, but the door is open for him to return here as well.”

By releasing Barbre, the Eagles will free up $2.1MM in cap space while leaving $500K on the books in dead money. Roseman’s statement seems to imply that Barbre could potentially return to the team at a lesser rate, so it’s a situation to keep an eye on as we head into August.

Barbre has been talked about as a potential cap casualty for much of the offseason, so the move doesn’t come as a big surprise. Still, the move will leave the Eagles with a lot less experience on the starting offensive line. Now, 23-year-old Isaac Seumalo will practice with the first team at left guard, per offensive coordinator Frank Reich.

The Eagles are also losing some of their versatility on the offensive line by cutting Barbre. The 33-year-old filled in at right tackle for Lane Johnson during his suspension in 2016. The good news in that regard is that the Eagles still have a handful of linemen that can play at different spots along the line. Seumalo and Stefen Wisniewski can fill in at any of the three interior spots while Matt Tobin offers experience at both tackle and guard.

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Vikings Sign Everson Griffen To Extension

The Vikings and defensive end Everson Griffen are finalizing a massive four-year extension, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Griffen confirmed the deal in a Wednesday morning scrum with beat reporters. Griffen’s previous deal had him signed through 2018. The new pact should keep him in Minnesota for the remainder of his career. Everson Griffen (vertical)

The extension is worth a whopping $58MM with $34MM in guarantees, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The “new money average” on the deal comes out to $14.5MM. We should have a better handle on the value of the deal when information comes out about the cash flow and the amount of money guaranteed at signing.

Griffen, 29, is coming off of his second consecutive Pro Bowl appearance after posting 48 tackles, 8.0 sacks, and three fumble recoveries. Since becoming a full-time starter for the Vikings in 2014, he has notched 30.5 sacks in total. The former fourth-round pick has gone from a rotational piece to an indispensable part of the team’s defensive line and he’ll now have a contract to reflect his importance to the team.

Pro Football Focus has graded Griffen as a top-30 defensive end in each of the last three seasons. He has also been remarkably durable, missing only one game in the past six seasons.

Griffen’s old deal called for him to earn $6.9MM in 2017 and $8.4MM in 2018. Those years may be revised in the new deal that takes him through the 2022 campaign.

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Lucky Whitehead Won’t Return To Cowboys

After a bizarre mixup led to his release from the Cowboys, Lucky Whitehead‘s agent says he is not interested in a return to Dallas. David Rich told Mike Florio of PFT that his client is hurt by the events that transpired earlier this week. Lucky Whitehead (vertical)

I can’t speak for Lucky, we’d have to have a conversation about it because he loved being a Cowboy so much. I can’t put into words — this dude loved it, loved it as much as I’ve ever had a player love an organization. Loved it,” Rich said. “This guy was arguably the most popular player on the team, which is interesting to have this happen to him, but I don’t think so. . . . [Whitehead and coach Jason Garrett] basically sat across the table, eye to eye, man to man, and he said, ‘I need you to believe me, coach.’ And they said, ‘We think you’re a liar.’”

Whitehead is now on waivers and the league’s 31 other teams will have an opportunity to claim him this afternoon. Even if everyone passes on him, it doesn’t sound like we should expect a reunion for Whitehead and the Cowboys.

It sounds like the Cowboys probably aren’t looking to re-sign Whitehead anyway, choosing instead to move on from the situation as quickly as possible. Coaches reportedly have had issues with Whitehead in the past and fourth-round pick Ryan Switzer figures to handle a lot of Whitehead’s responsibilities this season.

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Ravens’ Kenneth Dixon To Miss 2017 Season

Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon will miss the entire 2017 campaign after undergoing surgery on a torn meniscus, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Kenneth Dixon (vertical)

Baltimore had been hopeful that Dixon, a 2016 fourth-round selection, would only need his meniscus trimmed, which would’ve lead to a much shorter recovery period. Instead, Dixon underwent a full repair, per Rapoport, which means he’ll miss five-to-six months. With the regular season fast approaching, Dixon won’t be able to make it back on the field in time to play this year.

Entering his age-23 campaign, Dixon had been slated to compete for carries alongside Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, and the rest of the Ravens’ backfield crew. A four-game PED suspension was already set to temper Dixon’s 2017 outlook, but now he won’t play again until 2018. Last season, Dixon managed 4.3 yards per carry on 88 rushes, and also added 30 receptions out of the backfield.

With Dixon sidelined, the Ravens made a move to add running back depth earlier today, agreeing to terms with veteran Bobby Rainey.

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