Lamar Jackson Requests Trade

In the latest development in the ongoing Lamar Jackson saga, the former MVP has made a major announcement. Jackson tweeted Monday morning that, as of earlier this month, he requested a trade from the Ravens.

In an open letter to his fans, Jackson acknowledges that on March 2 he formally asked to be traded from the Ravens. The reason, he adds, is that the organization “has not been interested in meeting my value” with respect to a new contract. The issue of full guarantees in his newest deal has produced a major stalemate between the two sides, and now this public admission that Jackson wishes to continue his career elsewhere.

The 26-year-old has been at the center of speculation in Baltimore for several years now, as a mega-extension has never seemed to be particularly close to being finalized. It has long been believed that Jackson is seeking a fully guaranteed pact matching (if not exceeding) the value of Deshaun Watson‘s five-year, $230MM contract signed last offseason. The Ravens’ decision to not reach that level of compensation was hinted at last summer by owner Steve Bisciotti, and has been confirmed by the subsequent deals they have offered the agent-less Jackson.

The impasse between club and player made it no surprise that the Ravens placed the franchise tag on the two-time Pro Bowler. Since they went the non-exclusive route, other teams are eligible to negotiate with Jackson on a new deal, but Baltimore would have the right to match any offer sheet he signed with an interested suitor. In the event they didn’t, Jackson’s new team would lose its first-round pick in the next two drafts as compensation.

That price has led to several teams bowing out of the running for a pursuit of Jackson via the offer sheet (with the Colts representing a potential exception). Now, however, a tag-and trade possibility exists. Jackson could sign his franchise tender (valued at $32.4MM) to pave the way for a deal sending him to a new team which, presumably, would appeal to him because they would be able to meet his contract demands. The Ravens and the acquiring team would be free to negotiate trade compensation of any kind, but this latest news doesn’t guarantee that a blockbuster deal is on the horizon.

Jackson’s reveal of his trade request came at exactly the time Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was scheduled to speak at the league’s meeting taking place this week. Amidst his reaction to the news of Jackson’s desire to be dealt, Harbaugh reiterated multiple times that he still fully expects Jackson to be the team’s quarterback in 2023 (Twitter links via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo).

This latest development comes just days after it was reported that Ken Francis – a business associate of Jackson’s, but not a certified agent permitted to negotiate trade or contract terms – was speaking with potential new teams. It was also reported at that time that Jackson was ready to move on from the Ravens, something confirmed by his actions today.

Never in NFL history has a former league MVP under the age of 30 been traded. That would make a move in which the Ravens meet Jackson’s request an historic one, though a somewhat familiar path to the one taken last spring with wideout Marquise Brown. The latter was traded at the draft in 2022, and it was soon learned after that deal that Brown had asked to be moved. Jackson’s situation is different, of course, but a swap involving him would obviously mark another major alteration to the team’s offense.

This situation could, on the other hand, play out more similarly to the one concerning 49ers star Deebo Samuel last year. Samuel requested a trade after contract talks initially failed to produce a new deal, but the team made it clear they were not interested in dealing him. The two sides later came to an agreement on a big-ticket extension, though a repeat of that would involve a much larger pact in Jackson’s case. How the Ravens (and potential Jackson destinations) react to this news will steer this saga into its next phase.

Seahawks, Bobby Wagner Agree To Deal

One year after linebacker Bobby Wagner departed the Seahawks, he is now set to return to his original NFL home. Seattle is reuniting with Wagner on a one-year, $7MM deal (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network).

The 32-year-old spent the first 10 years of his career in the Emerald City, establishing himself as a franchise icon along the way. A key member of the ‘Legion of Boom,’ Wagner was at the heart of the team’s defensive success and consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Now, he will rejoin his original team after a short-lived excursion within the NFC West.

Wagner had his latest Seahawks extension terminated last offseason, which opened the door to him departing in free agency. He elected to join his hometown Rams on a five-year, $50MM deal in the hopes of helping the veteran-leaden team repeat as champions. Nothing went according to plan in Los Angeles in 2022, however, and they have now turned their attention to clearing many of their burdensome contracts. That included granting Wagner’s request to be released at the start of the new league year.

That move immediately led to speculation that a Seattle return could be in the cards. Both GM John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll spoke with Wagner earlier this month to discuss a potential deal, though the Seahawks had a number of other moves planned to augment their defense. That included the signing of former Steelers first-rounder Devin Bush on a prove-it deal, one which gave the team a starting-caliber option but in no way precluded them from luring Wagner back. This deal for the latter marks another notable defensive addition for Seattle.

The Seahawks have added defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and safety Julian Love in free agency, giving all three levels of their defense an upgrade when combined with this Wagner reunion. The latter will once again be able to team with 2020 first-rounder Jordyn Brooks, who has filled the statsheet over the past two seasons after becoming a full-time starter at the LB position. Given Wagner’s production last season, a repeat of his peak performances may not be out of the question.

The 2010s All-Decade team member was one of a few key players able to remain healthy for the Rams in 2022, and he proved to be a valuable member of the team’s defense. Wagner totaled 140 tackles, six sacks and a pair of interceptions in his lone Los Angeles campaign. On what should be a substantially improved Seahawks defense, he will be well-situated to post another highly productive season in 2023.

A text from Wagner confirms that he is “happy to be back” (Twitter link via Pelissero’s colleague Ian Rapoport). His return should set the Seahawks up for a significant step forward in terms of their run defense in particular, after they ranked 30th in the league in yards allowed on the ground in 2022. Presuming the unit improves, a repeat of their playoff appearance from last year would come as little surprise, something which would give Wagner the opportunity to add even further to his legacy in Seattle.

Panthers To Sign WR DJ Chark

Both the Lions and Panthers continued their DJ Chark pursuits this week. Carolina already bringing in Adam Thielen will not deter the team from adding Chark as well.

Chark agreed to terms on a one-year Panthers deal Friday, The Score’s Jordan Schultz tweets. ESPN’s Field Yates subsequently tweeted that Chark, who will join Thielen and a to-be-determined rookie quarterback in Charlotte, will earn a fully guaranteed $5MM, which is comprised of a $3.92MM signing bonus and a $1.08MM base salary. The deal also includes four void years for cap purposes.

One of the better wideouts to hit the market, Chark joined Mecole Hardman and Nelson Agholor in agreeing to terms during free agency’s second week. While Thielen will provide the Panthers with a possession receiver, Chark stands to sign on as a field-stretching presence. Injuries have interrupted Chark’s progress over the past two seasons, likely leading to the one-year deal. But the Panthers, shortly after including D.J. Moore in their trade for the No. 1 overall pick, hosted both Thielen and Chark on visits.

The Lions expressed interest in re-signing Chark just after the 2022 season ended, and the former second-round pick also indicated a Detroit return would be on his radar. The sides could not come to terms, however, leading to the Panthers adding another starter. This will position Chark to either prove a fit in Carolina ahead of a potential long-term extension or hope for a more lucrative deal on the 2024 free agent market.

Over the past few months, Carolina had lost both its top receivers — Moore and Chosen Anderson — with the latter being traded after a sideline incident before last year’s deadline. Chark and Thielen may not represent long-term pieces for Carolina’s next quarterback to target, but Thielen is signed to a multiyear deal (worth $14MM guaranteed) and Chark is only going into his age-27 season.

Chark broke through back in 2019, totaling 1,008 receiving yards while teaming with Gardner Minshew in Jacksonville. The Jaguars reached their franchise nadir over the next two seasons, earning the No. 1 overall pick in 2021 and ’22, but Chark still contributed 706 yards to their cause in 2020. He suffered a fractured ankle early in the team’s 2021 season, but the Lions thought enough of the 6-foot-4 pass catcher to give him $10MM last year.

Although Chark ran into more ankle trouble that landed him on IR, he showed promising form upon returning. En route to a 508-yard season for a surprising Lions squad, Chark played a role in Detroit’s late-season surge by producing three 90-plus-yard receiving games in a four-week span in December. Chark reached a season-high 108 yards during a Week 16 loss to the Panthers, and GM Scott Fitterer will bring him aboard to help Frank Reich‘s team.

The Panthers now have two former LSU wideouts on their roster, in Chark and 2021 second-rounder Terrace Marshall. It cannot be ruled out Carolina looks to this position again in the draft, but Thielen and Chark give the team some veteran options in case it prefers to look elsewhere with its early- and mid-round picks.

Ravens, WR Nelson Agholor Agree To Deal

Nelson Agholor‘s Baltimore visit will produce a deal. The former first-round pick is signing with the Ravens, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reports (on Twitter).

While the one-year contract could max out at $6.25MM, Zrebiec adds the base value will come in at $3.25MM. The Ravens will be Agholor’s fourth NFL team. Agholor will reunite with Ravens assistant coach Tee Martin. While Martin is now the Ravens’ quarterbacks coach, he was USC’s wide receivers coach throughout Agholor’s time with the Trojans.

As expected, Agholor’s fourth NFL contract will not be worth anywhere near his Patriots pact. During an uncharacteristic 2021 spending spree, the Pats gave Agholor a two-year, $22MM deal. At the time, the 2015 first-rounder was coming off a bounce-back Raiders season that featured career-high receiving yardage (896) and touchdown (eight) numbers. Agholor was unable to replicate that showing in New England.

Agholor, who will turn 30 in May, did not match that 2020 Las Vegas yardage or touchdown total in two Patriots seasons. He topped out at 473 yards and five touchdowns in New England, which had Jakobi Meyers in place as its lone reliable wide receiver over the past two seasons. Meyers has since joined the Raiders on an $11MM-per-year deal, while the Patriots have brought in JuJu Smith-Schuster for slightly less.

This Ravens deal can be categorized as a flier for a team perpetually in search of receiver help. Agholor joins 2021 first-rounder Rashod Bateman as the biggest names in Baltimore’s receiving corps, though last year’s No. 2 wideout — Devin Duvernay — is under contract for one more season. Both Bateman and Duvernay suffered season-ending foot injuries last year. The Ravens added DeSean Jackson last year as well, but the 36-year-old deep threat is no longer under contract.

Agholor has earned the inconsistent label attached to him, but he has done well for himself financially and made impacts for successful squads. The 6-foot wideout combined for 1,504 receiving yards and eight TD catches for the Eagles from 2017-18. He came through during Philadelphia’s Super Bowl LII upset, hauling in nine Nick Foles passes for 84 yards. The time between then and this agreement limits that game’s reference material regarding Agholor’s current form, however.

The Ravens will see what the ninth-year veteran has left in the tank, though everything non-Lamar Jackson looms as a secondary matter until the franchise determines a resolution with its disgruntled quarterback.

Eagles To Extend RT Lane Johnson

The Eagles entered the offseason with just one of their four cornerstone linemen under contract, but Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Jason Kelce have since signed new deals. The other member of this quartet, Lane Johnson, has since followed suit.

Philadelphia’s 11th-year right tackle agreed to a fourth contract with the team Friday morning. Johnson signed an extension that runs through 2026, Adam Schefter of tweets. The former first-round pick was already under contract through 2025, making this a one-year bump. But Johnson will collect a chunk of guaranteed money and reduce his 2023 cap hit in the process.

Johnson’s new deal includes $30MM guaranteed, Schefter adds, noting this can be classified as a one-year, $33.45MM accord. The agreement will reduce Johnson’s 2023 cap hit by more than $9MM, according to’s Mike Garafolo (on Twitter). The All-Pro blocker was set to carry a $24.2MM 2023 cap number. This new signing bonus will drop that cap figure to approximately $14.8MM. The next two years of Johnson’s contract are now guaranteed, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane tweets.

Graham, Cox and Kelce each agreed to new one-year contracts this month. Johnson is the only member of Philly’s core four signed beyond 2023, and his agreement will help the team afford the deals for his veteran teammates. The Eagles are the rare team with four players drafted 10-plus years ago still on the roster, and this contract does not necessarily lock in Johnson through 2026, as that will be his age-36 season. But it rewards a player who played at a high level through a significant injury to close last season.

Johnson, 32, is recovering from offseason adductor surgery. The Oklahoma alum played through a torn adductor in the playoffs, tabling surgery until after Super Bowl LVII. Although Johnson’s 2022 regular season wrapped after 15 games, he earned his second first-team All-Pro honor. The dominant right-sider has not given up a sack in two seasons.

The Eagles had already adjusted Johnson’s contract — a four-year, $72MM deal agreed to in November 2019 — a whopping four times. Three void years are already attached to the deal. While one of those is no longer a dummy year, Johnson’s deal technically runs through 2028 for cap purposes.

Graham, 35, agreed to a one-year deal worth $5MM. Kelce, 35, is back for a 14th season, signing a one-year extension worth $14.25MM. The Eagles let Cox, 32, hit free agency, but he is back on a one-year, $10MM accord. Although injuries and early-career PED issues have interfered with Johnson’s NFL path, he has managed to remain an elite lineman into his 30s. Johnson has missed six regular-season games over the past two years, bouncing back after missing nine in 2020. The Eagles, who lost veteran starter Isaac Seumalo to the Steelers late last week, will still return four starting O-linemen.

Jets Trade WR Elijah Moore To Browns

Shortly after agreeing to terms with Mecole Hardman, the Jets have a trade in place involving one of their holdovers. They are sending Elijah Moore to the Browns, Adam Schefter of reports (on Twitter).

A former second-round pick, Moore will head to Cleveland in a deal involving a Day 2 pick swap. The Browns will send their No. 42 overall pick for Moore and the Jets’ No. 74 overall choice, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Two years remain on Moore’s contract; he is going into his age-23 season.

As the Jets’ wide receiver room became crowded, the Browns were connected to wideout interest. The team was looking into Jerry Jeudy, but the Broncos have continued to set a high price for teams regarding their top pass catcher. Instead, Cleveland will add Moore to its receiving corps as a slot piece to pair with Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.

This will be a nice vault up the draft board for the Jets as well. Moving up 32 spots, the Jets now hold the Nos. 42 and 43 overall picks. Although the Packers have been seeking a first-round pick and change for Aaron Rodgers, the Jets now having two mid-second-round choices figures to come up in the Joe DouglasBrian Gutekunst trade talks involving the superstar quarterback.

Moore voiced frustration about his role last season and asked the Jets to trade him. The 2021 second-rounder, who was sent home after a heated argument with then-OC Mike LaFleur ahead of a midseason hiatus, did not match his rookie-year numbers in 2022. But Zach Wilson‘s presence hindered Jets receivers, hence the all-out Rodgers pursuit. In reaffirming the team’s desire to retain Moore, Douglas issued strong support for the disgruntled wideout in November. Four months later, Moore has a new team.

As a rookie, Moore showed immediate promise coming out of Ole Miss. The 5-foot-10 target caught 43 passes for 538 yards and five touchdowns, reaching these numbers despite Wilson’s inconsistency and despite missing six games. The Browns will bet on Moore’s upside with Deshaun Watson targeting him, and the team will move out of another early draft slot to do so. The Watson trade cost the Browns their first-round picks in 2022, 2023 and 2024. Cleveland’s first 2023 draft choice will now arrive at No. 74.

Moore, who clocked a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at his pro day two years ago, is due base salaries of just $1.5MM and $1.9MM this season and next. This bet on potential notwithstanding, it does invite some risk for the Browns. Cleveland has now traded out of the first and second rounds of the draft, and the Watson swap also will send the Browns’ 2023 third-rounder (No. 73) to the Texans. Cleveland does have a compensatory third-rounder — No. 98, acquired from the NFL for the Vikings hiring ex-Browns exec Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as GM — but sliding down from No. 42 to No. 74 will make for a long wait on draft night.

The Jets targeted Moore on just 13% of his routes run last season, per’s Jake Trotter, who adds that was a league-low number for players who ran at least 400 routes. Paired with Cooper and Peoples-Jones, Moore should have a clear-cut opportunity in Cleveland. His exit will also free up space in a Jets receiver room that has seen both Hardman and Allen Lazard added since free agency started.

Gang Green’s receiver cadre now includes Hardman, Lazard, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and Denzel Mims. While Mims is an obvious candidate not to be part of a Rodgers-led receiver room, it will be interesting to see if the Moore trade allows for Davis to avoid cap-casualty status — the Jets can save $10.5MM by cutting him — or enables the team to pursue Odell Beckham Jr. and/or Randall Cobb. Rodgers is believed to have encouraged the Jets to sign both players, and they have begun doing so. Hardman’s arrival throws a wrench in both OBJ and Cobb coming to the Big Apple, but the Jets still have some space to add another weapon soon.

Jets To Sign WR Mecole Hardman

The Jets’ receiver room has become quite crowded. After bringing in Allen Lazard, the team intends to sign former Chiefs speedster Mecole Hardman, Jeremy Fowler of reports (on Twitter).

Thought to be on track for a decent payday, Hardman will settle for a one-year deal, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Hardman’s Jets pact can max out at $6.5MM. Equipped with some new information compared to when free agency started, Hardman will join a Jets team expected to make a rather notable quarterback upgrade.

Aaron Rodgers is likely coming to the Jets, which will put Hardman on the opposite path ex-Chiefs teammate Marquez Valdes-Scantling traversed when he switched from Rodgers to Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback. A former second-round pick drafted during Tyreek Hill‘s second major off-field scandal — when it was not certain if the All-Pro would return to the Chiefs — Hardman teamed with Hill for three seasons and was part of Kansas City’s attack after the elite speed merchant left for Miami.

The Chiefs did not have Hardman’s services for Super Bowl LVII, after he reinjured his groin in the AFC championship game. But he played a key role in helping the team along toward another No. 1 seed. Hardman, 25, never became a surefire No. 2 wideout for the Chiefs, but he showed flashes and remains one of the NFL’s fastest wide receivers. The Chiefs often used the Georgia product in the return game and on gadget plays; he displayed his penchant for gadget success last season, scoring three touchdowns (two rushing) in a blowout of the 49ers.

Hardman proved inconsistent in Kansas City, but he still ripped off three straight 500-plus-yard receiving seasons from 2019-21; this included a 693-yard showing in 2021. The Chiefs have now lost Hardman and JuJu Smith-Schuster. While Kansas City was planning on letting Hardman walk, the defending champions were hoping to re-sign Smith-Schuster. And they expected Hardman to fare better on the market. Coming off groin surgery, the 5-foot-10 pass catcher did not command a hefty commitment. The Chiefs are planning to carve out a bigger role for Kadarius Toney, and Skyy Moore will likely see his responsibilities increase. But the team remains on the hunt for a higher-profile receiver.

As far as the Jets go, Hardman gives the presumptive Rodgers team five notable wideouts. He joins Lazard, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis and Elijah Moore. As of now, it seems like one of the holdovers will not be part of Gang Green’s 2023 equation. With the Jets being able to save $10.5MM by cutting Davis in the final year of his contract, the former top-five pick has been the player most often connected to a departure. Though, Moore did request a trade last year. Hardman’s arrival also stands to impede a Jets pursuit of Odell Beckham Jr., who appeared on Rodgers’ wish list. Rodgers has also been connected to wanting Randall Cobb — ahead of what would be a 13th season — to join the Jets.

As it stands, however, the Jets are making big commitments at receiver — something the Packers did not do last year after they let Valdes-Scantling walk and traded Davante Adams. Rodgers is on track to have an array of options, some of which were held back by the Jets’ QB situation last year, to target as he (assuming this trade crosses the goal line) prepares to change cities.

Vikings Sign DE Marcus Davenport

MARCH 20: This $13MM deal includes $10MM guaranteed, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. A $4.5MM signing bonus represents part of that guarantee, and Wilson adds the Vikings used void years (2024-27) to further help them against the 2023 cap. Similar to the language in Dalvin Tomlinson‘s deal — one Minnesota restructured to move the void date back — Davenport’s contract will void 23 days before the 2024 league year. If the Vikings do not agree to terms with Davenport on an extension by that February date, they will be tagged with $6.8MM in dead money.

MARCH 13: Soon, the Vikings will have three starter-caliber edge rushers on their roster. They are adding Marcus Davenport on a one-year deal, according to

The former Saints first-round pick signed for $13MM, making this a well-compensated “prove it” deal for the off-and-on pass rusher. Davenport joins Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith on Minnesota’s roster. Smith, however, has requested to be released. Thus far, the Vikings are not indicating they will oblige.

Former Saints co-DC-turned-Falcons DC Ryan Nielsen wanted to bring Davenport to Atlanta, Mike Garafolo of tweets. But a Davenport-David Onyemata package deal will not be in the cards for the Falcons.

On the subject of Smith, Garafolo adds the Vikings are planning to move on. The 2022 Minnesota pickup made an unusual move to say his goodbyes to the Vikings, who previously were not believed to be readying to release him. It is uncertain if Smith will be released or traded, but Davenport pairing with Hunter looks like the direction the team is heading.

If they are planning to make Smith a Minneapolis one-and-done, the Vikings will be entrusting their edge-rushing responsibilities to two injury-prone players. Although Hunter rebounded from a stretch of significant injury trouble from 2020-21, Davenport missed 12 games during that span. He also underwent five surgeries during the 2022 offseason. He missed two games in 2022 and recorded only a half-sack, leading to this “prove it” arrangement.

However, the pass rusher has shown an ability to get after the QB. He had a career-high nine sacks and 16 QB hits during the 2021 season, and he added another 10.5 sacks through his first two seasons in the NFL. While the former first-round pick has dealt with his fair share of injuries, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him return to form during his age-27 season.

Cowboys Acquire WR Brandin Cooks From Texans

MARCH 20: Upon acquiring the oft-traded wideout, the Cowboys restructured his deal. They moved $8MM of Cooks’ $12MM 2023 base salary into a signing bonus, Todd Archer of tweets. Cooks’ cap number will drop to $6MM in 2023, per Archer. It had resided at $12.4MM. Two void years are now attached to the 10th-year receiver’s deal, Archer adds (on Twitter). Cooks’ 2024 base salary is now $8MM — down from $13MM.

MARCH 19: Wide receiver Brandin Cooks has been traded once again. The Texans have agreed to send the 29-year-old to the Cowboys, as Adam Schefter of reports (via Twitter). Schefter’s ESPN colleague, Jeremy Fowler, first reported that the two sides were working on a deal, and Ian Rapoport of adds that Dallas is giving up a 2023 fifth-round choice (No. 161) and a 2024 sixth-rounder in the swap (Twitter links).

Cooks is under contract through 2024, and he is due a fully-guaranteed $18MM base salary in 2023. That number — along with the Texans’ ask of a second-round pick — became an obstacle in trade talks involving Cooks at last year’s trade deadline, as interested clubs wanted Houston to pay down a significant portion of Cooks’ salary. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2, the Texans will pay $6MM of Cooks’ $18MM salary to facilitate the deal (Twitter link).

Cooks, a first-round pick of the Saints in 2014, was traded to the Patriots in March 2017, to the Rams in April 2018, and to the Texans in April 2020. In six of his nine professional seasons, the Oregon State product has topped 1,000 receiving yards, and his career 13.7 yards-per-reception rate is indicative of his status as a vertical threat. Over his first two seasons with the Texans, Cooks averaged roughly 85 catches and 1,100 yards per year.

However, things began to go south in 2022. Clearly frustrated by the Texans’ lack of competitiveness during his tenure in Houston, Cooks publicly expressed his frustration that he was not dealt to a winning club at the deadline, and he stepped away from the Texans for a week, missing the team’s Week 9 contest against the Eagles. At the time, he also made reference to organizational changes that upset him — which may have included the dismissal of former EVP Jack Easterby — and he said, “I don’t know everything that goes through [GM Nick Caserio’s] head.”

Even though Cooks remained on the Texans through the end of the 2022 campaign, it was reported in January that Houston was expected to accommodate his standing trade request this offseason. And the Cowboys, who made a push for Cooks at the deadline in an effort to supplement a WR corps that was clearly missing Amari Cooper — who was traded himself in March 2022 — finally got their man. ESPN’s Ed Werder says multiple teams were in pursuit of Cooks and appeared close to acquiring him, but Dallas was Cooks’ preferred destination (Twitter link).

Cooks, who has 58 receptions of 25+ yards downfield since he entered the league in 2014 — second only to Tyreek Hill during that span, as Werder tweets — should serve as a quality complement to CeeDee Lamb in a potentially explosive offense in Dallas. Although it appears that the team is parting ways with tight end Dalton Schultz, the Cowboys have 2022 fourth-rounder Jake Ferguson on the roster and could further supplement the position in a TE-rich draft. Lamb, Cooks, and Michael Gallup form a quality WR trio, and franchise-tagged Tony Pollard is a terrific weapon in the backfield.

The Texans, meanwhile, gain additional draft capital to aid in their rebuilding efforts in exchange for a player who wanted out. Houston — which coincidentally signed former Cowboy Noah Brown a few days ago — presently houses Robert Woods, Nico Collins, and 2022 second-rounder John Metchie III atop its WR depth chart.

Lions To Sign DB C.J. Gardner-Johnson

The Lions have added a huge piece to their secondary tonight, agreeing to a new deal to bring in former Saints and Eagles safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The contract is reportedly a one-year, $8MM deal with $6.5MM fully guaranteed at signing.

Gardner-Johnson was a versatile defensive back out of Florida, playing at both nickel and safety for the Gators. The Saints selected him in the fourth round, and despite his status as a later round pick, it didn’t take long for Gardner-Johnson to make an impact. He was starting and performing a crucial role on the Saints’ defense by Week 7 of his rookie year. He became a full-time starter in New Orleans after that.

Gardner-Johnson’s ball skills seemed to improve every year. After a rookie season that saw him intercept one pass and break up eight, he improved that in 2020 with one interception and 13 passes defensed. In his final year as a Saint, Gardner-Johnson converted some of those pass breakups into picks, recording three interceptions and seven passes defensed. After being traded to the Eagles days before the season started, Gardner-Johnson became an immediate starter and led the NFL with six interceptions while adding eight passes defensed.

The Lions have made some strong moves to improve a defense that ranked fourth in points allowed while allowing the most yards in the NFL last year. This included allowing the third-most passing yards and the fourth-most rushing yards in the league. While allowing cornerback Mike Hughes and safety DeShon Elliott to walk in free agency, Detroit has reloaded, bringing in former Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton, former 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, and Gardner-Johnson.

How Gardner-Johnson ended up in Detroit is a common example of gambling in free agency. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Eagles offered Gardner-Johnson a multi-year contract early in the free agency period. Gardner-Johnson and his agent turned the offer down as they were seeking a higher value. Philadelphia moved past the rejection and signed James Bradberry while extending Darius Slay. This also seems to explain why Gardner-Johnson ended up with only a one-year deal. Apparently unhappy with any of the long-term deals he was presented, Gardner-Johnson opted for a one-year “prove it” deal that would allow him to increase his value for next year’s free agency.

Gardner-Johnson’s arrival in Detroit will be a reunion with head coach Dan Campbell and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn. Both were in New Orleans at the same time, with Glenn coaching his position group with the Saints. So not only did the Lions get one of the top-remaining free agents available, they also signed one they were very familiar with.