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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.

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.

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.

Dolphins Give Minkah Fitzpatrick Permission To Seek Trade

Minkah Fitzpatrick has received permission from the Dolphins to seek a trade, multiple sources tell Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com.

Fitzpatrick, who projected to be a cornerback/safety coming into the league, is unhappy with how the organization making him play multiple positions on defense. During training camp, Fitzpatrick’s mother tweeted that he was being used incorrectly and Fitzpatrick confirmed that he agreed with her assessment.

“She feels very strongly. She’s not wrong,” Fitzpatrick said. “Coach has asked me to do something right now. I got to do what they ask me to do. If we have to have some discussions in the future, we’ll have those discussions.

“I’m not 215 pounds, 220 pounds. So playing in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what Coach is asking me to do.”

The Dolphins are not actively shopping Fitzpatrick, according to Mortensen. If a deal gets done, it’ll be on Fitzpatrick’s camp to find a suitor. Fitzpatrick’s agent, Joel Segal, has been in contact with several teams and Miami’s asking price appears to be high, as it involves a first-round pick.

Mortensen spoke with a personnel man from a rival team who said it would be surprising if the Dolphins netted a first-rounder for Fitzpatrick. The source was high on Fitzpatrick’s skills, though the pessimism had to do with the 22-year-old’s projected position. He told Mortensen that Fitzpatrick was an “ideal slot corner who can cover, blitz off the edge, [is] intelligent, a good tackler and a good special-teams player.” Another rival GM told Mortensen that Miami is being unrealistic about what their players will get in trades after coming away with two first-rounders in the Laremy Tunsil deal.

The former No. 11 overall pick is expected to play against the Patriots this week.

Hunter Henry Out Indefinitely With Knee Injury

Chargers TE Hunter Henry has suffered a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee, Eric Williams of ESPN relays (Twitter link). Henry suffered the injury during Sunday’s contest against the Colts.

The tight end will continue to be evaluated and the timeline for his return has not yet been set. However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the Chargers believe Henry will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.

Los Angeles worked out Luke Wilson today, which makes sense given Henry’s ailment. Last season, Henry suffered an ACL injury and missed the entire season, which prompted the franchise to pry Antonio Gates out of retirement.

Latest On Patriots’ Antonio Brown

Bill Belichick faced the media on Wednesday afternoon to discuss Antonio Brown but, as expected, he was light on details regarding the embattled wide receiver. The Patriots’ head coach said that he expected Brown to practice on Wednesday, but would not say whether Brown would be permitted to suit up on Sunday.

Brown was accused of rape in a federal lawsuit, which could result in NFL discipline, among other more serious consequences. That is to say, Brown could be barred from playing by the league office via paid leave, taking the decision out of the Patriots’ hands.

Here’s the latest on Brown:

  • In an interview on ESPN, agent Drew Rosenhaus came to the defense of his client: “I wouldn’t be doing this interview if I didn’t believe Antonio. These allegations are false. He denies everyone of them. I’m very confident his legal team has facts that will prove this.”
  • Rosenhaus went on to say, “I’ll repeat this. This is a money grab. I believe this: this is a money grab.” The phrase “money grab” also appeared in an official statement from Brown’s attorney on Tuesday night.
  • Here’s a snippet from Belichick’s less-than-informative presser: “On Antonio’s situation, both Antonio and his representatives have made statements, so I’m not going to be expanding on any of those. They are what they are. We’ve looked into the situation. We’re taking it very seriously, all the way through the organization. I’m sure there are questions but I’m not going to be entering into any discussion about that.”
  • The language of Brown’s contract may allow the Patriots to escape his guarantee, as to Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. Reportedly, $10MM of Brown’s $15MM 2019 salary is, or was, locked in.

Jets’ Quincy Enunwa Done For Season

Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa will miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury, Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets. Sadly, given Enunwa’s previous neck injury, this could be a career-ender for the 27-year-old. 

This is the second time in three seasons that Enunwa’s season ended prematurely due to a neck injury. In 2017, it cost him the entire campaign.

Enunwa suffered the injury in the first quarter of the Jets’ season-opening loss to the Bills. Somehow, he managed to return to action later on, but was targeted just three times in total.

The Jets inked Enunwa to a four-year, $36MM extension back in December. There is no good news here, but the silver lining is that Enunwa will collect on at least $10MM, the fully-guaranteed amount of the pact. He also has $6MM guaranteed for injury in 2020.

The Jets traded for Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas this week, a move that was a bit of a head-scratcher at the time. Now, we know that the deal was about more than Adam Gase reuniting with an old friend – Thomas will attempt to step in for Enunwa, one of the Jets’ most talented offensive players.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Considering Paid Leave For Antonio Brown

The NFL will give serious consideration to placing Antonio Brown on paid leave via the commissioner’s exempt list, multiple people tell Mark Maske of the Washington Post. Brown has been accused of rape and sexual assault in a federal lawsuit filed in Florida and the NFL may take action against him as the legal process begins.

[RELATED: Antonio Brown Accused Of Rape In Lawsuit]

If placed on the exempt list, Brown would be barred from playing. It’s a decision is expected to come this week, after some investigating by the league office, before the Pats take on the Dolphins in Miami. Then again, the NFL could theoretically allow Brown to play for the Pats while the investigation is underway, then later decide to place him on paid leave.

Brown reported to the Patriots’ facility on Wednesday with the expectation that he would participate in practice and meetings. The wide receiver, though his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing and termed the lawsuit as a “money grab.”

The league has used the commissioner’s exempt list to park other notable players in recent years, including Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Trade Demaryius Thomas To Jets

The Patriots have traded wide receiver Demaryius Thomas to the Jets, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). In exchange, the Jets will send a 2021 sixth-round pick to New England. 

It’s a rare intra-divisional trade for two teams that have a storied history together. But, after the Patriots used draft capital to strengthen their offensive line in August, they were eager to recoup some ammo. Meanwhile, head coach Adam Gase was eager to reunite with Thomas, who was among the league’s best receivers during their time together in Denver.

Thomas is now on to his fourth team in the past year after being traded for the second time in 2019. The first swap saw him traded from the Broncos to the Texans just prior to the 2018 trade deadline. Now, after a cup of coffee with the Pats, he’s on to the Jets.

The Jets believe that Thomas can help them move the chains, even though he’s clearly not the player that he once was. The Patriots, meanwhile, will have the services of newcomer Antonio Brown, one of the game’s greatest receivers of all-time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars’ Nick Foles Out Indefinitely

Jaguars quarterback Nick Foles suffered a broken left clavicle against the Chiefs, the team announced. There’s no timetable for his return, but this figures to be a lengthy absence for the club’s new signal caller. He’ll go under the knife on Monday and, after the operation, doctors should know more about his status moving forward.

Foles’ debut wound up lasting less than one quarter. Early on, Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones broke through the O-Line and slammed Foles to the ground, where he suffered the injury. Foles’ ball was caught by DJ Chark for a touchdown, but the club was forced to turn to sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew on the next drive. The Jaguars went on to lose 40-26 without Foles, and it didn’t help that they also lost linebacker Myles Jack along the way following his ejection.

For now, Minshew projects as the club’s starter for next week’s game against the Texans, as he is the only QB on the active roster. His backup, in all likelihood, will be practice squad member Chase Litton.

The Jaguars inked Foles to a four-year, $88MM deal in March, including $50MM+ in guarantees. The club, of course, still has high hopes for the 30-year-old and one-time Super Bowl MVP.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.