Week In Review

5 Key Stories: 7/13/20 – 7/19/20

Been busy? Let’s get you caught up with a look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

Titans, Derrick Henry Reach Deal: They took it right up to the buzzer, but they got it done. With less than an hour to go before the deadline, the Titans inked running back Derrick Henry to a four-year, $50MM deal with $25.5MM guaranteed. At $12.5MM/year, Henry is now the fifth-highest paid RB in the NFL. More importantly for Henry, he effectively has two full years of the deal guaranteed. 

Chiefs, Chris Jones Hammer Out Extension: Henry was just one of two players to agree to terms before the deadline. The other was Chiefs standout defensive tackle Chris Jones, who returns on a four-year, $80MM deal with $37MM guaranteed at signing. Among interior D-linemen, Jones now sits third in guaranteed money and fourth in fully guaranteed funds. It was a sharp turnaround from just a couple weeks ago, when Jones hinted at a potential holdout via social media.

Jaguars Receive Trade Offers For Yannick Ngakoue: The Jaguars got another batch of trade offers for defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, but none of them were to their liking. The disgruntled defensive end isn’t necessarily stuck in Jacksonville, however – the Jags still have the option to trade him at a later date, and Ngakoue’s willingness to play out the year on his current deal could help facilitate a deal down the line.

Browns Give Myles Garrett Record Extension: On Wednesday, the Browns officially made Myles Garrett the league’s highest-paid defensive player. The five-year, $125MM deal guarantees Garrett a whopping $100MM in total, including $50MM at signing. Garrett’s resume isn’t at the same level as Khalil Mack‘s just yet, but he’s roughly five years younger than the Bears superstar. Last year’s ugly incident sidelined Garrett for the home stretch of the season, but he’s expected to get back to form this year. In 2018, the former No. 1 overall pick registered 13.5 sacks and 29 QB knockdowns.

Jason Peters Returns To The Eagles: Jason Peters is back with the Birds. This time around, the legendary tackle will try his hand at guard to help replace the injured Brandon Brooks. The 38-year-old doesn’t have much experience on the interior, but the Eagles don’t think it’ll take long for him to get the hang of it.

5 Key Stories: 7/5/20 – 7/12/20

Chiefs give out record contract: Patrick Mahomes stunned the NFL world by signing a 10-year, $450MM extension. The Chiefs quarterback raised the league’s per-year salary bar by $10MM, but it took him agreeing to a through-2031 commitment to do so. Mahomes’ deal can net him up to $503MM. Not everyone was on board with the 24-year-old superstar’s decision to tie himself to a team for so long. The contract trails other well-paid QBs’ pacts in fully guaranteed money but includes a number of player-friendly roster bonuses. Andy Reid also motivated to work with his top pupil for the duration of the contract.

College football making major changes: Certainly showing the kind of trouble that could be ahead for the NFL, college football saw seismic decisions take place this week. The Ivy League began the tide turn, announcing it would postpone its fall sports. Then, the bigger dominoes fell. Two of the Power 5 conferences — the Big Ten and Pac-12 — announced they will only play conference games this season. While no official word has come from the ACC, Big 12 and SEC, the COVID-19 pandemic has the NCAA landscape in an a chaotic state.

NFL continues to navigate coronavirus crisis: NFL training camps are still scheduled to begin by July 28, but the league and the NFLPA have key issues to sort out at the 11th hour. The sides have not agreed on preseason length, testing frequency or an opt-out policy, but a key meeting looms Monday. Protocols for positive tests are in place, but clarity on how positive tests will affect teams’ rosters remains elusive. Rosters will likely decrease soon, with the NFLPA proposing an 80-man maximum for camp. Practice squads are likely to expand, however. On the financial side, the league and the union have not agreed on how to handle the expected loss of billions. They exchanged proposals this week, with both sides preferring the 2021 cap does not decline.

Inaction on franchise tag front: Due largely to the uncertainty the pandemic has created for the NFL’s financial future, no franchise- or transition-tagged players have been extended. And news is not great here. Dak Prescott‘s two-offseason saga appears unlikely to produce a long-term deal by Wednesday’s deadline. A.J. Green, Brandon Scherff and Hunter Henry are not believed to be close on terms with their respective teams. Neither are edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Bud Dupree, but both 3-4 outside linebackers are playing the grievance game in hopes of being tagged as defensive ends. The Chiefs and Chris Jones are negotiating again, at least.

More steam for Washington name change: It appears Washington’s “Redskins” moniker is on its last legs. The franchise is not planning to play as the Redskins for another season, with owner Daniel Snyder now intent on changing the name. The franchise plans to keep the same color scheme, but a new identity could come to pass this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key NFL Stories: 6/28/20 – 7/5/20

Been busy? Let’s get you caught up with a look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

Chiefs’ Chris Jones Threatening Holdout?: Chris Jones wants a multi-year deal worth at least $20MM/season. If he doesn’t get it, he says he “won’t play.” The two sides have until July 15th to hammer out an extension. Otherwise, they’ll have to table talks until next year. If Jones follows through on his threat, he’ll give up more than $16MM for the 2020 season and lose out on a year of credit towards free agency. 

NFL To Cut Preseason Schedule In Half: After 86’ing the Hall of Fame Game, the NFL has moved to cut the preseason in half. Instead of the standard four-game slate, teams will now play a two-game exhibition schedule. Rather than cancelling Weeks 1 and 2, the league will drop Weeks 1 and 4, giving players extra time to prepare before the start of the regular season. The revamped preseason schedule is expected to be released in the coming days.

NFL Cancels Supplemental Draft: The NFL held its annual draft remotely in April, so it was a surprise to see the supplemental draft – which is always held remotely – cancelled. Players who would have been eligible for the second-chance draft will have to wait until 2021 to join the pros.

Antonio Brown Interested In Seahawks Deal: Antonio Brown would love to play with the Seahawks and workout partner Russell Wilson. And, for what it’s worth, the Seahawks are considering AB internally. The Buccaneers and Ravens, meanwhile, will pass.

Redskins Expected To Change Name: For years, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has resisted calls for the team to change its name. Now, it sounds like change could be on the way, and it could happen soon. Under pressure from sponsor FedEx, Snyder says he’ll work in concert with head coach Ron Rivera and others to conduct a “thorough review” of the matter. Meanwhile, sources tell the Washington Post that they expect the process to end with a new name and a new mascot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key NFL Stories: 6/22/20 – 6/28/20

Been busy? Let’s get you caught up with a look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

NFL Cancels Hall Of Fame GameLast week, the NFL 86’d the annual start to the preseason. This year, the game between the Steelers and Cowboys was set to take place on August 6. Instead, the league is taking a more cautious approach. More changes could be on the way, including a delay to the scheduled start of training camp (currently July 28) and a shorter preseason schedule

AB Off Ravens’ Radar?: Even though Lamar Jackson and other Ravens stars have advocated for him, the Ravens have reportedly cooled on the idea of signing Antonio Brown. The Seahawks have also been connected to Brown, but, for now, the 32-year-old is still out of work and still in a gray area with the league office.

No Progress In Contract Talks Between Chiefs, Jones: The Chiefs have just over two weeks to hammer out an extension with Chris Jones, but there hasn’t been much momentum as of late. Jones, who is one of five franchise-tagged players yet to sign his franchise tender, has been vocal about his desire for a new deal.

Adam Gase A Factor In Adams’ Trade Request?: Jamal Adams isn’t just mad at the Jets’ front office. This week, it was reported that the Pro Bowl safety also has beef with head coach Adam Gase.Gase, meanwhile, says his relationship with Adams “has been good” since he arrived in New Jersey.

Latest On Kaepernick: Colin Kaepernick has drawn interest from NFL teams, but none of those clubs have reached out to him or his camp directly. Instead, those teams are looking to do their homework on the quarterback and gauge his interest in playing for them before potentially putting an offer on the table.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key NFL Stories: 6/15/20 – 6/21/20

Been busy? Let’s get you caught up with a look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

Jets’ Jamal Adams Demands Trade: Jamal Adams wants out. After dropping some pretty big hints on social media, the Pro Bowl safety told the Jets to trade him. He also listed out the teams that he’d be willing to play for, a list that includes the Chiefs, 49ers, Cowboys, Ravens, Eagles, Texans, Seahawks, and Buccaneers. For now, the Jets say that they have no intention of trading him, but Adams could force their hand. Adams’ camp reportedly wants the Jets to give him a deal worth $20MM per year to make him the league’s highest-paid defender. But, depending on the team he’s with, he’s willing to put extension talks on hold. 

Cowboys’ Dak Prescott To Sign His One-Year Tender: Dak Prescott is set to sign his one-year tender, which will pay him upwards of $31MM for the coming year. Now, the two sides will work to hash out a long-term arrangement. They’ve got until July 15 to ink a deal, one that would likely make him the richest player in the NFL.

Zeke Elliott Among NFL Players To Test Positive For COVID-19: Players on the Texans and Cowboys – including Ezekiel Elliotttested positive for COVID-19. The Rams, Broncos, 49ers, and Buccaneers have also players diagnosed with the coronavirus and it’s believed that roughly a third of the league’s teams had at least one player test positive. The NFL still intends to go forward with the season, though they’re less optimistic about having fans in the stands.

Josh Gordon Applies For Reinstatement: Josh Gordon formally requested reinstatement from the league office. The 29-year-old has been working out in Seattle with his fingers crossed and it’s safe to say that teams will reach out to him if he’s cleared to play. Of course, it’s not a given that he’ll be allowed to retake the field, given his track record with Roger Goodell.

49ers Sign Kyle Shanahan To Extension: The Niners’ head coach inked yet another six-year deal. With the new arrangement, Kyle Shanahan is now tied to SF through the 2025 season.

5 Key NFL Stories: 6/8/20 – 6/14/20

A look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories over the past week:

Dalvin Cook To Wage Holdout: Dalvin Cook won’t show up for team activities until he receives a “reasonable” deal from the Vikings. The fourth-year running back is still waiting for talks to actually get underway and the clock is ticking fast. For now, Cook is is set to make just $1.3MM in 2020. In the past, the Vikings have not been shy about handing out extensions. However, the sky-high comp of Christian McCaffrey‘s deal coupled with Cook’s own injury history may have the Vikings feeling skittish. 

Antonio Brown Pleads No Contest To Criminal ChargesAntonio Brown pleaded no contest to criminal charges stemming from his January scuffle with a delivery driver. Now that AB has avoided jail time for that incident, he’s dropping hints that an NFL deal could be just around the corner. A deal may or may not be imminent, but Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson says that he would “love” to play with Brown and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson hasn’t been shy with his affection either.

Jamal Adams Frustrated With Jets: Jamal Adams took to Instagram last week to congratulate Myles Garrett on the start of his contract talks with the Browns and let the world know that he’s less-than-thrilled with the Jets. Adams says the Jets told him that they’d put an offer on the table in January. Now, it’s June, and the Pro Bowl safety still hasn’t received their proposal.

Teams Viewing Logan Ryan As Nickel CB?: Logan Ryan‘s prolonged journey through free agency makes a little more sense now. Ryan, who is said to be seeking $10MM per year, is being seen as more of a slot man than a high-caliber outside corner by some teams. For reference, Lions corner Justin Coleman leads the way for inside specialists at $9MM/year on average, and Ryan wouldn’t be likely to top that if he’s pigeonholed as a nickelback. The Jets and the Dolphins have shown interest in Ryan, but it doesn’t sound like anything is imminent on either front.

NFL Cancels In-Person June MinicampsThe NFL confirmed that teams will not be permitted to hold in-person minicamps this month. This was, more or less, the expected move. The league is also weighing a shorter preseason with two exhibition games rather than the usual four.

5 Key NFL Stories: 6/1/20 – 6/7/20

A look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

Clemson WR Justyn Ross Out For Season: NFL scouts have been drooling over the potential of Clemson’s Justyn Ross, one of the top receivers in the 2021 draft class. The early projections had him as a top 10 or 15 pick, but a troubling diagnosis has ruled out his 2020 season and put his football future in jeopardy. On Friday, Ross went under the knife to help correct the abnormal fusion of two bones in his neck.

Devonta Freeman‘s dragging market: Former Falcons star Devonta Freeman says he’s going to wait for the right deal. So far, he hasn’t gotten an offer to his liking, but he maintains that “a number” of teams have interest in signing him. Last week, Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said that he would have interest in signing Freeman if his asking price was in the right ballpark. The Jets and Eagles have also considered Freeman, but he lost a suitor when he rejected the Seahawks’ one-year, $3MM offer – they’ve since filled their RB need by signing Carlos Hyde.

Ditto for Jadeveon Clowney: The Browns’ $12MM offer wasn’t good enough for Jadeveon Clowney, but he might not have much in the way of alternative options. The Jets do not have serious interest in the former No. 1 overall pick, and the same reportedly goes for the Giants and Eagles.

Jets Hoping To Pull Kyle Long Out Of Retirement?: According to one report, the Jets have reached out to former Bears Pro Bowler Kyle Long to gauge his interest in returning to the field. Meanwhile, the retired veteran guard claims that he has not heard from Gang Green.

Coaching Staffs Permitted To Return To Facilities: Last week, coaches were given the greenlight to return to team facilities. The NFL was giving some thought to staging minicamp in June, but that does not appear to be part of the plan at this time. For now, the league is focusing on the start of training camp in July.

5 Key NFL Stories: 5/10/20 – 5/17/20

A look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

Giants’ DeAndre Baker, Seahawks’ Quinton Dunbar Arrested For Armed Robbery: Baker and Dunbar, two high-profile cornerbacks, were allegedly involved in a disturbing incident at an illegal dice game on the evening of May 13. According to the arrest warrants, Baker held participants at gunpoint while Dunbar looted them. Further, Baker allegedly directed a third man to shoot someone who entered the party in the midst of the robbery, though no shots were fired. Both players surrendered to police over the weekend and have been released on bond. They are both facing four counts of armed robbery with a firearm, and Baker is facing an additional four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.

Bills’ Ed Oliver Arrested On Gun, DWI Charges: The crime blotter was not kind to the NFL this week. In addition to the Baker and Dunbar allegations — and the felony charges that Redskins WR Cody Latimer is facing — Oliver, the No. 9 overall pick of the 2019 draft, was arrested on Saturday night. A Houston citizen observed Oliver driving dangerously, which prompted police to pull him over. When they did so, they noticed an open beer container and a pistol, and Oliver failed a field sobriety test. The Buffalo D-lineman, who turned in a promising rookie campaign and who looked primed for a 2020 breakout, will forfeit his remaining $6.8MM in guarantees if he is suspended under the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Team Facilities Allowed To Reopen: The league took a small but important step in its efforts to return to normalcy in the wake of COVID-19. Teams are permitted to reopen their facilities on Tuesday, May 19, provided that the state those facilities are in is not imposing lockdown measures. Players undergoing medical treatment are permitted to be at team sites, but otherwise, no players or coaches are allowed to be at facilities at this time. That will probably remain the case until all states have relaxed restrictions or until teams find alternate solutions. Certain clubs are already exploring out-of-state options for training camp, and states like Florida and Arizona may end up playing a key role in that regard. Despite some promising developments, the league is preparing for a major financial hit and perhaps a decrease in the 2021 salary cap.

Changes To The Rooney Rule May Be Forthcoming: In its efforts to promote fairness in the hiring process for minority coaches and executives, the league is considering drastic changes to the Rooney Rule. Part of those changes would see certain draft incentives for teams that hire minorities for prominent coaching/front office positions, and even teams that lose a minority coach or exec to another club would stand to receive a compensatory draft pick. Additionally, the proposed changes would scrap a team’s rights to block its assistant coaches from taking interviews for other coordinator jobs between the end of the regular season and March 1. A vote on the proposal, which many regard as a well-meaning but ultimately short-sighted gambit, will take place soon.

Aaron Rodgers Discusses His Future: After the Packers made the surprising decision to trade up for Utah State QB Jordan Love in the first round of this year’s draft, most fans and pundits knew that Rodgers would not be happy that the team — which advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 2019 — invested so heavily in his potential replacement instead of a weapon that would aid in a 2020 Super Bowl run. And Rodgers concedes that he was not thrilled about the decision, and he also noted that it may not be feasible for him to finish his career with the Packers. From a salary cap perspective, it makes the most sense for Green Bay to move on from the two-time MVP after the 2021 season if Love is ready, but the timeline is always subject to change.

5 Key NFL Stories: 4/5/20 – 4/12/20

A look back at some of the NFL’s biggest stories from the past week:

Rams trade Brandin Cooks to Texans: Cooks will don his fourth NFL jersey. Or, to put it another way, that’s uni for every 1,000-yard season he’s had as a pro. Cooks, who won’t turn 27 until September, will do his best to fill the shoes of DeAndre Hopkins in Houston. In a deal that has been widely panned, the Texans gave up a second-round pick to acquire Cooks and a future fourth-round choice, despite Cooks’ troubling history of concussions. Meanwhile, the second round figures to have tons of young WR talent – all for a fraction of Cooks’ cost.

The NFL Draft goes fully virtual: In accordance with travel restrictions and social distancing measures, this year’s NFL Draft will be unlike any other draft we’ve ever seen. Early on, the league planned to have executives submit picks from their respective war rooms. Now, every official will be asked to conduct the draft from their respective homes. Some league figures say they’re concerned about security and potential glitches. Meanwhile, because of the muddle draft process, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has proposed an additional three rounds for this year’s draft. With days to go before Day 1, Colbert’s idea is unlikely to be instituted, but other aspects of the draft may still be tweaked.

Dolphins favoring Herbert over Tua?: The chatter surrounding the Dolphins and Tua Tagovailoa has only gotten louder and louder in recent weeks. Still, there are conflicting reports on the Dolphins intentions. Recently, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report heard that Oregon’s Justin Herbert could be Miami’s real target at No. 5. Of course, this is still smokescreen season, so everything should be taken with a grain of driveway salt.

The end of the XFL?: This time, the XFL could be finished for good. After already calling off its (re)inaugural season midway through, the XFL laid off its entire staff and shut down operations entirely. Officially, Vince McMahon‘s league has not ruled out the chance of a return, but there has been zero discussion about a reboot in 2021.

Antonio Brown hires new representation: Brown hasn’t given up hope of an NFL return. This week, the controversial wide receiver hired a new agent to help make his case to teams. At this time, Brown remains barred from playing and there has been no real momentum towards reinstatement. There’s no telling when the league office will rule on his case, but it’s safe to assume that he will not be cleared to take the field by September.

5 Key NFL Stories: 12/8/19 – 12/15/19

Odell Beckham Jr. wants out: Just when you thought the Browns’ 2019 season couldn’t get any more dysfunctional, reports emerged this past week that Beckham wasn’t happy in Cleveland. The star receiver allegedly wants out, and has been telling opposing players and coaches to come get him. The Browns were the subject of endless hype this offseason due to their retooled roster and new coaching staff, but things fell apart quickly and they started the year 2-6. They’ll be missing the playoffs this season, and will be dealing with a lot of drama this offseason. Beckham is under contract through the 2023 season, and it’ll be very interesting to see what happens with him this spring. Beckham has been having a disappointing season, and hasn’t been nearly the elite top option the Browns were hoping for.

Alshon Jeffery done for the year: The Eagles are still very much alive in the pitiful NFC East, but they’re going to be making their final push without a key piece of the offense. Their best receiver was placed on injured reserve after going down with a foot injury on Monday Night Football last week, and he won’t play again this season. He’ll finish 2019 having only appeared in ten games, making 43 catches for 490 yards and four touchdowns.

Giants cut Janoris Jenkins: Jenkins was waived by New York after insulting a fan on Twitter. He had also publicly blasted the coaching staff in recent weeks, and the team finally felt it was right to move on. Jenkins is capable of being a solid corner and he has a lot of starting experience, so it’ll be very interesting to see if a contender claims him on Monday. He has no guaranteed money on his deal beyond this year, so a prospective new team wouldn’t be risking much. We heard earlier this morning that he was expected to join a contender for Week 16.

Cardinals cut Terrell Suggs: Jenkins wasn’t the only veteran defender to hit the waiver wire this week, as Suggs will be joining him. After spending the first 16 years of his career with the Ravens, the pass-rusher signed with Arizona this offseason on a one-year, $7MM deal. He had been reasonably productive for the Cardinals, finishing with 5.5 sacks and four forced fumbles in 13 games. Suggs’ waiver situation is going to be very interesting, as his team has put it out there publicly that he doesn’t want to play for any team other than Baltimore. Suggs wants to return home to finish his career as the Ravens get ready for a playoff run, but they are also last in the waiver priority list. There’s apparently at least one team other than Baltimore planning on claiming him, and it’ll be interesting to see if he changes his mind and reports.

Dolphins extend DeVante Parker: What was supposed to be a dreadful season for the Dolphins has surprisingly produced a bunch of nice moments. There have been many bright spots, and the Parker redemption arc is certainly one of them. The former first-round pick finally has begun to deliver on his potential this season, and Miami rewarded him by handing him a four-year extension worth around $40MM. He’ll get an $8MM signing bonus, and will now be under contract through the 2023 season.