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Browns, Nick Chubb Agree On $36MM Extension

We’ve heard a lot about a potential Nick Chubb extension this offseason, and now it’s officially happening. The Browns and the running back have agreed to terms on an extension, a source told Mike Jones of USA Today (Twitter link).

Jones said four years, but it’s actually a three-year extension worth $36MM with $20MM guaranteed, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets. Veteran NFL reporter Josina Anderson was first to tweet that a deal was close. It had always been up in the air whether something would get done before the season started, but they managed to get it done with plenty of time to spare.

As a second-round pick in 2018, Chubb was previously set to enter the final year of his rookie deal. He’s been one of the best running backs in the NFL since entering the league, and has made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons.

The Georgia product led the league in rushing in 2019 and led the league in rushing touchdowns last year with 12 despite playing only 12 games. Impressively, Chubb has averaged at least five yards per carry in each of his three pro seasons.

Chubb is now one of the league’s highest-paid running backs, and he should have at least another opportunity to break the bank. As a result of this relatively short-term deal, Chubb will get to re-enter free agency in the spring of 2025 when he’ll still only be 29.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski loves to run the ball, and he wasn’t about to let the engine of his offense go anywhere. The deal will keep Chubb tied to the Browns through the 2024 campaign. Cleveland also has Kareem Hunt in their backfield, but that didn’t appear to make them at all hesitant about paying Chubb.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans Trade Randall Cobb To Packers

He’s back. On Wednesday, the Texans agreed to send veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb back to Green Bay (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). The deal will see the Packers send a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Texans, who will also pick up $3MM of Cobb’s salary in 2021.

The trade came at the request/demand of MVP Aaron Rodgers, who agreed to return to the Packers earlier this week. Without Rodgers’ insistence, it’s unlikely that this trade would have ever materialized. Cobb never played for Matt LaFleur and third-round wide receiver Amari Rodgers was already ticketed for much of the team’s slot work. Still, Rodgers wanted his old pal back and the Packers weren’t about to say no to him, or Cobb’s wealth of experience. Now, Cobb will join Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Allen Lazard, Devin Funchess, and the other A. Rodgers on the WR depth chart.

Cobb played eight seasons with the Packers, totaling 41 receiving touchdowns and more than 5,500 yards. He secured a $10MM-per-year extension in 2015 — a decent sum at the time — but the Packers let him walk in 2019. Cobb signed with the Cowboys and performed better than anyone else left in Wisconsin.

The 5’10” receiver parlayed that success into a three-year, $27MM contract with the Texans, but that deal was authorized by since-fired HC/GM Bill O’Brien. Cobb was also limited to just ten games. Now that they have slot receiver Anthony Miller, the new administration was willing to part with him.

Cobb, 31 in August, is scheduled to earn a base salary of $8.25MM in 2021 — partially paid by Houston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Dolphins CB Xavien Howard Requests Trade

Xavien Howard wants out of Miami. The All-Pro cornerback revealed on Instagram this evening that he’s requested a trade from the Dolphins (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter).

This trade demand follows Howard’s previous decision to skip mandatory minicamp in pursuit of a new contract. We recently heard that the defensive back was “dug in” on the contract issue, and it was anticipated that he’d stay away from the organization until the situation was resolved. Instead, the apparent standoff has evolved into a full-blown trade request.

In his statement, Howard said the “business side of the NFL proves organizations don’t always have a player’s best interest at heart,” citing the extension that he didn’t “feel comfortable” signing a few years ago. Howard also noted that he’ll continue to attend training camp to avoid any fines.

“We wanted things to work out with the Dolphins, and brought solutions to the table – like guaranteeing more money – that we felt were win-wins for both sides,” Howard continued. “These were proposal of adjustments that wouldn’t just make me feel more respected, but were also cap friendly. But the Dolphins refused everything we proposed.

“That is why I don’t feel the organization has dealt with me in good faith. I don’t feel valued or respect by the Dolphins. Just like they can take a business-first approach, so can I…That’s why I want to make it clear that I’m not happy and have requested a trade.”

Howard is coming off a tremendous season, intercepting a league-leading 10 passes (the second time in three seasons he has paced the NFL in INTs), and grading out as the second-best CB in the league per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. Though the five-year, $75MM pact Howard signed with the Dolphins in 2019 made him the highest-paid corner in the league at the time, his $15MM AAV is now the sixth-highest mark in football (one spot behind teammate Byron Jones, who is not as good as Howard but who was lucky enough to sign his free agent contract one year later). We learned late last month that Howard was seeking a deal that would at least exceed his teammate’s contract.

Howard’s situation is different than standard contract standoffs considering he has four years remaining on his contract. Whereas a player with one or two years left on his deal would be an easy candidate for a renegotiated pact, a player with Howard’s term would be eyeing a practically unprecedented reworking. Head coach Brian Flores seemed to hint at that “unique situation” back in June.

After one year, it’s honestly something that hasn’t been done before,” Flores said of Howard’s then-request for a new contract. “Not saying we’re drawing a line in the sand, but different players set the market every year.”

While the Dolphins would surely rather have Howard in uniform, not all is lost, as teams would surely be willing to trade for a player of his caliber. We’ve already heard that the Saints could be a potential landing spot, and Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com tweets that the Cowboys previously reached out about the cornerback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers, Aaron Rodgers Nearing Agreement To Play 2021 Season, Potentially Part Ways In 2022

It appears an unprecedented agreement is on the horizon. Just a couple of hours ago we heard that Aaron Rodgers was telling those close to him that he planned to play for the Packers in 2021, and now we know why.

The two sides are “close to an agreement” that would ensure Rodgers plays this season for the team, but would “help set up” his “departure from Green Bay after this season,” sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Packers have offered “concessions” to Rodgers to get him to agree to play, but the new agreement will not include any additional money, Schefter tweets.

In return, Rodgers will “abandon plans he had to skip training camp and instead return for it.” The 2023 year, the last one on Rodgers’ current contract, would void as a result of this agreement, Schefter tweets. The Packers would then “agree to review” Rodgers’ “situation at the end of this season” (Twitter link).

Schefter additionally reported that Rodgers’ contract will be adjusted to keep him with the same income but increase Green Bay’s cap space, and that “mechanisms will be put in place to address Rodgers’ issues with the team.” It sounds like this is setting up an incredible ‘Last Dance’-esque situation, where Rodgers is playing for the Packers but everybody acknowledges his days are numbered.

Under this agreement, Rodgers would become a free agent after the 2022 season with the year getting voided. However, Schefter writes in a full piece for ESPN.com that Green Bay’s agreement to “review” the situation next offseason “implies that the team will trade Rodgers if he still feels the way he has about the Packers’ culture and decision-making.” Schefter later confirmed in a tweet that the truce will in fact give Rodgers the “freedom to decide where he wants to play in 2022.”

As such, it sounds like Rodgers will be allowed to leave after this season if he still wants to. It’s bizarre and unusual all around, but perhaps also the only fitting conclusion to what has been a wild ride all offseason. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Washington, Jonathan Allen Agree To $72MM Extension

Washington shockingly won the NFC East last season thanks to the strength of their young defense, and now they’re locking up a key member of that defense. The team reached agreement on a four-year extension worth a whopping $72MM with defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, his agency Team IFA announced on Twitter.

Per his agents, the deal comes with a massive $30MM signing bonus. We heard in early June that the two sides had commenced extension talks, and things came together relatively quickly. The 2017 first-round pick was previously set to enter the final year of his rookie deal under the fifth-year option.

Allen became a starter immediately after getting drafted 17th overall, but was limited to five games as a rookie due to a Lisfranc injury. He bounced back in a big way in his sophomore season, starting all 16 games and racking up eight sacks. Since his rookie campaign, he’s missed only one game.

An interior lineman who can be a wrecking ball in the run game, Allen has also shown a good amount of pass-rushing upside. After notching eight sacks in 2018, he had another six the following year. He only had two this past season as he didn’t play quite as prominent a pass-rushing role, but he still had 14 quarterback hits.

The $18MM average annual salary for his new pact ranks him fifth in the league among interior defensive linemen, as Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post tweets.

Allen only turned 26 earlier this year, and is now signed through the 2025 season. With fellow youngsters Chase Young, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat all still on their rookie deals, Washington’s defensive front has a very bright future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aaron Rodgers Plans To Play For Packers In 2021?

The Aaron Rodgers saga may be nearing a (temporary) conclusion, and he isn’t retiring. Green Bay’s star quarterback has “indicated to people close to him that he does plan to play” for the Packers this season, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Rapsheet adds that it’s “the expectation.” It’s not quite definitive, but it certainly sounds like Rodgers has made up his mind that he’ll be running it back with the Pack for at least one more year. With Green Bay’s steadfast refusal to trade him, Rodgers only had two real options. Show up soon, or retire. There were reports that he would seriously consider retirement, but they never rang true.

Rodgers is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, and since he’ll turn 38 in December he can’t afford to waste too many years as he chases an elusive second Super Bowl ring. Shortly before Rapoport’s report, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst spoke to the media and said the team was still “hopeful for a positive outcome” with respect to Rodgers, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets.

Gutekunst likely knew what was about to hit the news wire. While Packers fans (and head coach Matt LaFleur) will now be able to breathe a bit easier, the drama is far from over.

Rodgers’ status will loom large all season, and things could go south in a hurry if the Packers don’t play as well as they did last year. Either way, this will once again become a big issue next offseason at the very least. This feels like a band-aid solution, and Rodgers very well may demand another trade next year when he’ll only have two seasons left on his contract.

For what it’s worth, Packers president Mark Murphy spoke right after this report broke, and said he still didn’t know whether Rodgers would be at training camp on Wednesday. But for now, don’t expect to see 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love take the field anytime soon. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we have any more clarity on Rodgers’ plans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bears Trade Anthony Miller To Texans

The NFL dead period is officially over, and things are heating up as training camps open. The Bears have agreed to trade receiver Anthony Miller to the Texans, sources told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Here are the details of the deal, via ESPN.com’s Field Yates (on Twitter):

Texans Receive

Bears Receive

  • 2022 fifth-round pick

A divorce between Miller and Chicago has seemed likely most of this year, and now it’s official. Back in March we heard the team was shopping him, and about a month later it was reported the Bears had held trade talks with a number of teams. The 51st overall pick of the 2018 draft, Miller has flashed lots of potential at times but was a big disappointment in 2020.

The emergence of rookie Darnell Mooney last year made Miller expendable in Chicago. It never really kept him off the field, but Miller dealt with significant shoulder issues in both 2018 and 2019. His rookie season he caught seven touchdowns, and he had 656 yards as a sophomore. But he took a step back last season, only finishing with 49 catches for 485 yards despite playing all 16 games.

From the Texans’ perspective, it makes a lot of sense. They’re almost certainly entering a rebuilding year in 2021, so it can’t hurt to take a look at a young player entering the final season of his rookie deal. Miller has shown some promise in the past, and Houston has a pretty uninspiring receiving group outside of Brandin Cooks after letting Will Fuller walk in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers, Fred Warner Agree To Record-Breaking Extension

The 49ers have agreed to a five-year, $95MM extension with All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). The new deal will lock him up through 2026 and make him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. 

Warner, a former third-round pick from BYU, was previously set to hit the open market next spring. The Niners refused to let him get away, giving him a whopping new deal to top Bobby Wagner as the league’s highest-paid ILB. At least, that’s the mantle he has right now — Colts star Darius Leonard may top him in the coming weeks.

I want to get it done personally,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan in May when asked about a new deal for Warner. “I kind of feel like I’d say the same about him as I did about [George] Kittle when we were talking about it [last year]. I just see that kind of as a matter of time.

I know he’s not going into his free agent year or anything like that, so that’s why it’s not always on my mind. But Fred’s a guy that I plan on being here forever and who has earned that. I’d be surprised if that doesn’t start sooner than later.”

Wagner has a perfect attendance record as a pro, playing 95% of the team’s snaps over the last three years. He earned first-team All-Pro acclaim in 2020, notching 125 tackles and grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 1 off-ball linebacker (by far).

All along, Warner has said that he wants to be a “Niner for life.” Now, at minimum, he has a deal to cover much of his NFL prime.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Allen Robinson, Bears Won’t Agree On Extension

It’s been trending this way for a while, but now it’s more or less official. The Bears and receiver Allen Robinson are not expected to agree to an extension, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

As a franchise-tagged player, Robinson had until July 15th to work out a long-term deal with Chicago or decide to play 2021 under the tag. It appears he’ll go with the latter option, which will pay him about $17.9MM for the upcoming season. We just heard safety Marcus Maye won’t be inking a new contract with the Jets, which leaves five other tagged players up in the air.

We’ve still yet to hear for sure about Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, Panthers tackle Taylor Moton, Washington guard Brandon Scherff, Saints safety Marcus Williams, or Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson. We haven’t heard much at all about Scherff, Williams, or Robinson. As of a couple weeks ago the Panthers were hoping to extend Moton, while we heard just this past week Tampa wasn’t particularly close with Godwin

Robinson and the Bears have been at a stalemate for most of the past year, outside of last September when it briefly looked like things were headed in the right direction. There were rumors of a possible tag and trade this offseason, but nothing materialized.

Robinson opted to attend mandatory minicamp, and appears content to play this season out. He’s often been the lone bright spot on a struggling Bears offense the past couple seasons, and has proven to be immune to poor quarterback play. Despite last year’s anemic passing game and the shuffling between Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky, the Penn State product still finished with 102 catches for 1,250 yards and six touchdowns.

Now that an extension is off the table, the only question left to be settled is if it’ll be Justin Fields or Andy Dalton throwing him the ball in 2021.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marcus Maye Pulls Offer Off Table, No Deal With Jets Likely

Well it looks like we have our answer to another one of the unextended franchise tagged players. It does not appear safety Marcus Maye will be getting a new contract from the Jets before the July 15th deadline.

The team has not responded to the latest proposal from Maye’s camp, and Maye has now pulled that offer off the table, sources told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). “No deal is expected,” Rapsheet adds. That would seem to conflict with the Jets’ stance from May that they were “working relentlessly” to get a deal done.

A source also told Rapoport that “negotiations went south weeks before the tag deadline” after New York offered a contract that had an average annual value “about 20% below even the tag amount for 2021.” No wonder he rejected it. Maye is currently set to make about $10.6MM playing under the tag this season. 

We heard a couple of weeks ago that the Florida product could be looking for a deal with an AAV of around $14MM, while the Jets viewed the deal John Johnson got from the Browns ($11.25MM AAV over three years) as a better comp.

Rapoport says that Maye understandably turned down the Jets’ offer, and “had significantly more in APY and guarantees from multiple teams heading into FA.” It sounds like he’s content to now play out this season in New York, and look to cash in with one of those other team’s in next year’s free agency.

Drafted 39th overall in 2017, Maye has never made a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, but was graded as the league’s fifth-best safety in 2020 by Pro Football Focus.

The 28-year-old was productive last season, finishing with 88 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, 11 passes defended, and two interceptions. He’s started all 54 games that he’s appeared in over his four years with the Jets.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.