Week In Review

6 Key NFL Stories: 8/6/17 – 8/13/17

Jay Cutler to the Dolphins. After starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill went down with another ACL injury, Miami turned to former Adam Gase pupil Jay Cutler, luring the veteran signal-caller out of retirement with a one-year, $10MM deal. Cutler was the Dolphins’ primary target from the get-go, but he wasn’t the only candidate discussed, as Miami also talked about Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III, Teddy Bridgewater, and others. Tannehill, meanwhile, is fully expected to be ready for the 2018 season.Sammy Watkins (vertical)

Buffalo takes over the trade market. The Bills are squarely looking towards the future, as they shipped out two of their best players last week in exchange for lesser players plus draft picks. First, Buffalo sent wide receiver Sammy Watkins and a sixth-round choice to the Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines and a second-rounder. Then, the Bills dealt cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles in exchange for wide receiver Jordan Matthews and a third-round pick. Buffalo now earns two selections in the first, second, and third round of the 2018 draft.

Zeke finally gets a resolution. The NFL officially brought the hammer down on Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott, suspending him for six games as punishment for his involvement in a domestic violence episode. The ban, which is lengthier than most expected, reportedly made Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “furious,” and Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension (he has until Wednesday to do so). Elliott is also not ruling out using the court system to fight the penalty.

Falcons extend their running back. Atlanta finally reached a long-term deal with running Devonta Freeman, extending him through the 2022 campaign. The new five-year pact is worth $41.25MM, which means Freeman is now the NFL’s highest-paid running back in a multi-year pact (Le’Veon Bell is earning north of $12MM on the one-year franchise tag). Freeman, 25, received more than $18MM in full guarantees, and will now attempt to top 1,500 total yards for the third consecutive season.Branden Albert (vertical)

The Branden Albert saga is over. Finally fed up with his antics, the Jaguars officially released left tackle Branden Albert from the reserve/retired list last week. Jacksonville acquired Albert from the Dolphins in the spring, but won’t have to sacrifice a pick now that Albert won’t make the roster. Albert, who un-retired last week and attempted to report to camp, is now a free agent and can sign immediately. The Jaguars will move forward with rookie Cam Robinson on Blake Bortles‘ blindside.

The trials and tribulations of Roberto Aguayo. Just 16 months after trading up in the second round to acquire him, the Buccaneers waived kicker Roberto Aguayo after only one NFL season. Aguayo, who will arguably go down as one of the NFL’s worst draft picks, converted only 71% of his field goal attempts during his rookie season. Luckily for Tampa Bay, the Bears claimed Aguayo today, relieving the Bucs of $428K in guaranteed money owed to Aguayo.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key Stories: 7/30/17 – 8/6/17

Dolphins lure Jay Cutler away from FOX: A lot happened in Miami over the past few days. Ryan Tannehill went down with what now looks like a season-defining injury, and although an initial report indicated the 29-year-old starter dodged a bullet by avoiding ligament damage, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald notes Tannehill suffered another partially torn ACL. Three days after the injury, the Dolphins brought Jay Cutler out of retirement. Adam Gase made an aggressive pitch for the FOX analyst-to-be, and Miami raised its offer to entice the 34-year-old quarterback. The Dolphins considered Colin Kaepernick for this post but went with familiarity; Cutler and Gase worked together on the 2015 Bears.

Impact NFC defenders sign third deals: Kam Chancellor angled for a new Seahawks contract as early as the start of the 2015 season, when the safety staged a holdout. He finally signed a third Seattle deal this week. The Vikings have been on an extension bender for defenders, and Linval Joseph‘s re-up followed Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes. Chancellor’s future Seattle years will have $12MM salaries associated with them; the impact defender is now among the highest-paid performers at his position. The Vikes, meanwhile, continue to lock down cornerstone members of their stellar 2016 defense.

Gareon Conley cleared of charges: The Raiders rolled the dice by using a first-round pick on a player accused of sexual assault, but the Ohio State cornerback won’t face charges for that alleged April incident — an accusation Conley vehemently denied. As a result, Oakland snagged a value pick and will bring a highly touted young talent into the fold for a team that didn’t have much in the pipeline. Although the Raiders still have veteran starters, Conley joins an ascending Raiders team that now has more options in the secondary than in previous years.

Ravens divided on Kaepernick: Joe Flacco is without a definitive timetable to return to practice, and the Ravens are light on quarterback depth. Steve Bisciotti confirmed the team was considering Colin Kaepernick to join a contingent that also includes Ryan Mallett. The owner said Robert Griffin III was a consideration, but the former No. 2 overall pick was dropped from that group soon after. Kaepernick, though, may have Baltimore’s brass divided. Diana Russini of ESPN.com reported Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh are in favor of the polarizing quarterback, but Bisciotti is not as warm to the idea. The Ravens have done extensive temperature measurement on a Kaepernick addition this week, but key Baltimore veterans would be on board.

Camp injuries strike: Several teams lost key players either for the season for extended periods of time. Already operating without their first-round pick for the time being, Chargers saw their second-round pick go down. Forrest Lamp is out for the year with a torn ACL. The 49ers lost starting outside linebacker Malcolm Smith, whom they signed to a five-year deal to come over from the Raiders, to a season-ending torn pectoral. The Ravens, after losing Dennis Pitta, saw another tight end go down in Crockett Gillmore. They subsequently waived him to clear roster space for Austin Howard. The Rams planned to give Dominique Easley an increased workload but lost the defensive lineman for the season. It’s Easley’s third torn ACL. Texans No. 2 wideout Will Fuller will miss months because of a broken collarbone, and Jets No. 1 target Quincy Enunwa is out for an uncertain period of time with a neck injury.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images and Pro Football Rumors on Instagram

5 Key Stories: 7/23/17 – 7/30/17

Holdouts from star players. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald didn’t report to training camp last week as he seeks a new contract, and he wasn’t the only player to fail to report. Left tackle Donald Penn didn’t show at Raiders camp, and the veteran offensive lineman is reportedly looking for top-10 positional money. Donald, meanwhile, presumably wants to be paid like the NFL’s best defender, but Los Angeles controls his right for two more years.

Ravens hit hard by injuries. Having already witnessed Dennis Pitta and Tavon Young go down with serious injuries, Baltimore lost several more significant players to health questions this week. Running back Kenneth Dixon is out for the year with a torn meniscus, leading the Ravens to sign Bobby Rainey. Tight end Crockett Gillmore also has a meniscus injury (severity unknown), so Baltimore added Larry Donnell, while quarterback Joe Flacco‘s back issue could lead the Ravens to bring in Colin Kaepernick.Everson Griffen (vertical)

Extensions galore. With the regular season fast approaching, many clubs are working on long-term deals that will lock in key players for the years to come. Among the players who’ve signed new pacts over the past weeks: Cowboys tackle La’el Collins (link), Jaguars center Brandon Linder (link), Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (link), Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva (link), Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey (link), Viking cornerback Xavier Rhodes (link), and Lions safety Glover Quin (link).

Not so Lucky WhiteheadWhitehead had one of the more eventful weeks for an NFL player in recent memory, and it all began with a case of mistaken identity. An arrest warrant was issued for the former Cowboys wideout after he failed to appear for an arraignment, but Whitehead wasn’t actually involved in the case. Nevertheless, he was still waived by Dallas. The Jets subsequently picked him up, but Whitehead is understandably miffed about the entire incident.

AFC retirements. Patriots defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich and Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel both announced their retirements over the past week, but each player is an entirely separate case. While Ninkovich is 33 years old and perhaps nearing the end of his road, Urschel is just 26. The former Baltimore center acknowledged a recent study showing the prevalence of CTE in ex-NFLers played a role in his decision, and could also be affecting the status of Steelers safety Daimion Stafford, who is also mulling retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key Stories: 7/16/17 – 7/23/17

Panthers make a front office change. Carolina shocked the NFL world last week by firing general manager Dave Gettleman and re-hiring former GM Marty Hurney in an interim capacity. Gettleman was known to be a “brusque” contract negotiator, and his personality often rubbed others the wrong way. Hurney has worked quickly, as he’s already finalized a contract extension for guard Trai Turner and released tackle Michael Oher. New deals for linebacker Thomas Davis and tight end Greg Olsen could also be on the table, as Gettleman wasn’t inclined to address either veteran’s pact before his ouster.

No deals for remaining franchise players. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson all failed to reach extensions with their respective clubs by last week’s deadline, meaning all three will play out 2017 under one-year tenders. Washington claimed it offered Cousins $53MM in guarantees, but Cousins wants more time to evaluate the organization following this year’s front office changes. Bell, meanwhile, reportedly rejected a five-year, $60MM proposal from Pittsburgh.Ezekiel Elliott (Vertical)

Ezekiel Elliot saga nears a resolution. The NFL is wrapping up its investigation into Elliott, and has already shared its findings with the NFLPA and the Cowboys running back. A suspension would not only cost Elliott games, but money, as Dallas would have the right to recoup a portion of his signing bonus. Earlier today, Elliot’s domestic violence accuser addressed her allegations against the second-year pro. Meanwhile, Elliott was reportedly involved in a recent bar fight, but Dallas police are dropping their investigation due to a lack of evidence.

RG3 drawing free agent interest. Robert Griffin III could soon be joining a new club, as teams have reportedly expressed “mild” interest in the veteran quarterback. The only team to express public intrigue in Griffin so far this season had been the Seahawks, but they went in another direction by signing journeyman Austin Davis. Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report indicated NFL clubs are curious to see what RG3 has left to offer after numerous injuries have limited him in recent seasons.

Anquan Boldin takes a visit. The Bills are planning to work out Boldin on Monday as they seek a another receiver to add to their uninspiring pass-catching unit, which is currently lead by Sammy Watkins and second-round rookie Zay Jones. Boldin, 36, reportedly may seek to sign with a club that plays closer to his Florida residence. Perhaps seeking to avoid the grind of training camp, Boldin is apparently willing to wait for a new deal, and could look to ink a contract later in the offseason.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key Stories: 7/9/17 – 7/16/17

Ezekiel Elliott could face suspension: Allegations from a woman in 2016 claiming the Cowboys running back hit her on multiple occasions could result in a multi-game suspension for the second-year player. Although no charges were filed nor was an arrest made, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter senses that Elliott could be facing a two-game ban as a result of this allegation. The league’s ugly recent history with domestic violence may cause this ban, especially considering less evidence is required to produce an NFL ban than a legal punishment. The Cowboys host the Giants in Week 1 then travel to Denver for a Broncos tilt in Week 2.

Broncos working to extend John Elway: Denver’s GM is entering his contract year, but several reports came out late this week that the team and its top front office executive are in talks about a new deal. Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) reported nothing was imminent, but the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Woody Paige reported a deal could get done as soon as next week. And Paige reported the deal is expected to make Elway the league’s highest-paid pure GM. Affiliated with the Broncos in a front office capacity since 2011, Elway will see his contract expire in March if no new deal is reached.

Chiefs hire next GM: The Chiefs promoted Brett Veach to succeed John Dorsey. The 39-year-old Veach worked with the team for the previous two years as co-player personnel director and initially made the move to Kansas City from Philadelphia in 2013, along with Andy Reid. Veach interviewed for the job in late June, shortly after the Chiefs fired Dorsey after a successful four-season tenure. Despite working under both Dorsey and now-Colts GM Chris Ballard during his time in K.C., Veach will become the franchise’s seventh GM. Other candidates — like the Chiefs’ other co-player personnel director, Mike Borgnozi, along with Seahawks co-player personnel director Scott Fitterer and Titans director of player personnel Ryan Cowden were in the running for the job.

Sam Darnold might stay not turn pro in 2018: Potentially the No. 1 overall pick should he declare for the 2018 draft, the USC quarterback said that’s not a certainty at this time. Darnold said he is taking this one year at a time. This comes after a report surfaced last week indicating Darnold might play out his tenure with the Trojans. While the temptation to be paid for playing football might turn out to be too great for Darnold, it won’t be the first time this century a USC passer expected to go No. 1 balked. Matt Leinart was viewed as the 2005 top pick before waiting a year and going No. 10 in the 2006 draft.

Kirk Cousins impasse approaches second tag deadline: The name that dominated the week from a volume standpoint, Cousins remains unsigned and is expected to play another season on the franchise tag. Schefter reported Cousins and the Redskins aren’t expected to agree to a deal by 3pm CT Monday, but the sides are having more productive talks that could produce an agreement in early 2018. Mark Jones of the Washington Post reported the gradual numbers the Redskins proposed over the past two years; the franchise continually isn’t comfortable with the demands coming out of Cousins’ camp. Jason Cole of Bleacher Report noted former GM Scot McCloughan was not on board with paying Cousins $20MM per year after the 2015 season, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported there’s been disagreements internally in Washington about Cousins’ value this offseason.

5 Key Stories: 7/2/17 – 7/9/17

Veterans hope to continue careers. With the regular season fast approaching, three well-known players are vying to keep their NFL tenures active. Running backs DeAngelo Williams (link) and Rashad Jennings (link), plus cornerback Darrelle Revis, are all intent on playing in 2017 despite the fact that they all remain unsigned. At this point, it’s hard to imagine any of that trio earning much more than a minimum salary, but each of the three can still contribute in the right role.

Jeff Fisher not ready to give up coaching. Like the three veteran players listed above, Fisher also wants to keep his NFL career alive. Fisher, 59, is tied for the most losses in NFL coaching history with 165, and owns a lifetime winning percentage of .512. He’s never won a Super Bowl, and hasn’t guided a team to a postseason appearance in nearly a decade.Sam Darnold (Vertical)

Sam Darnold could wait until 2019. Darnold, considered one of the top quarterback prospects in the country and a contender for the first overall pick in the 2018 draft, could potentially hold off declaring for the draft until 2019. The USC product tossed 31 touchdowns and nine interceptions a year ago, and teams eyeing a quarterback upgrade surely hope he’ll enter the league in 2018.

Chiefs GM search ongoing. While Kansas City has yet to find a new general manager after firing John Dorsey two weeks ago, incumbent co-director of player personnel Brett Veach is increasingly viewed as the favorite for the position. In fact, Veach could be promoted to GM before the start of training camp. While Veach has a working relationship with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, Reid reportedly isn’t involved in KC’s GM hunt.

Dorial Green-Beckham clears waivers. After being waived by the Eagles last week, Green-Beckham cleared waivers, meaning every NFL team declined the chance to pick him up. Any club that claimed DGB would have been on the hook for a base salary under $1MM, but even a cheap contract wasn’t enough to entice teams. Green-Beckham is now a free agent and can sign at any time.

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5 Key Stories: 6/25/17 – 7/2/17

Raiders continue to lock up core players: The Raiders now have two players from their excellent 2014 draft class signed long-term after the team and Gabe Jackson agreed on a five-year, $56MM contract. This makes Jackson the sixth member of the $10MM-AAV club for guards, and he joins fellow Raider blocker Kelechi Osemele in that group. The Raiders already have Rodney Hudson signed to a top-market center contract and Donald Penn on the books for $7.15MM in 2017. But Reggie McKenzie said the team wanted to extend Jackson despite Derek Carr (and almost certainly Khalil Mack) set to take up a sizable percentage of future Raiders caps, and the parties completed a deal that keeps Oakland’s interior line together. Carr left money on the table to help the Raiders sign Jackson.

But Mack will have to wait: Despite being the most accomplished of the Raiders’ three standout 2014 picks, with two first-team All-Pro distinctions and the 2016 defensive player of the year honor, Mack will have to wait until 2018 to receive his landmark extension. This could end up costing the Raiders in the long run due to the annual cap spikes, and it’s likely Mack will be in line to surpass Von Miller‘s six-year, $114MM deal and set a new benchmark for defenders. Mack not having a fifth-year option would make him a higher priority, but with the dominant defensive end signed through ’18, his extension may be delayed by a numbers game.

Zach Orr to unretire; several teams inquire: From a volume standpoint, Orr became the week’s centerpiece news item. The former Ravens linebacker announced he was considering unretiring after receiving more positive medical news on his congenital spine condition that initially forced him to retire. Then, the Lions, Colts and Jets each set up visits. Orr’s agent also said about half the league’s teams contacted him about the 2016 Baltimore tackles leader. The Ravens are divided on whether to renew interest in Orr, whom they did not tender as an RFA. However, the process is moving slowly. The Colts visit was more of an exploratory session, and the team has concerns about Orr’s condition. For his part, Orr said he’s feeling better than ever. Teams will obviously be careful in this pursuit, though.

Nick Fairley to miss 2017 season: After speaking with at least three doctors, the Saints defensive tackle will not play in 2017. The team placed the seventh-year veteran on the NFI list due to his heart condition, and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports Fairley’s career may be over. The 29-year-old defender played well for the Saints in 2016 and signed a four-year, $28MM deal to stay in New Orleans after agreeing to one-year pacts in both 2015 and ’16.

Franchise tag drama persists: Three tagged performers remain unsigned, and this week brought updates on each’s status with his respective team. Kirk Cousins and the Redskins don’t appear to be much closer to a deal, with Schefter reporting an extension by July 17 looms as a long shot. However, he adds that the tone of the talks improved, even if progress hasn’t accompanied it. ESPN’s Diana Russini noted later that the sides aren’t particularly enamored with one another but realize they need to work together. Meanwhile, Le’Veon Bell and the Steelers are likely going down to the wire. Schefter estimates this could go either way. The fifth-year running back is recovered from his groin surgery and didn’t seem stressed by the tag deadline being two weeks away. Trumaine Johnson, however, doesn’t look to be set to sign a Rams extension. The odds are now incredibly slim the cornerback and his team will agree on a contract before the deadline, meaning Johnson would again play a season on the tag.

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5 Key Stories: 6/18/17 – 6/25/17

Chiefs make a leadership change. On the same day that Kansas City extended head coach Andy Reid, the club decided to fire general manager John Dorsey. While the reasons for Dorsey’s dismissal are still murky, it’s possible Kansas City wasn’t happy with how Dorsey managed extensions for star defenders Eric Berry and Justin Houston. Additionally, Dorsey’s own contract with the Chiefs may have played a role in his firing. KC is expected to start its search for a new GM immediately.Derek Carr

Raiders lock up their QB. While the Chiefs are going through some minor turmoil, things are all smiles elsewhere in the AFC West. After much negotiation, the Raiders agreed to a five-year, $125MM extension with quarterback Derek Carr that makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL on an annual basis. Carr could have conceivably pressed for more money or better cash flow, but he wants Oakland to have funds for other long-term deals with Khalil Mack, Gabe Jackson, and Amari Cooper.

Patriots land an ex-Jet. The rich got richer last week, as the Patriots agreed to terms on a two-year deal with former Jets linebacker David Harris. The contract will pay Harris $5MM over the two-year term, and comes with $1.25MM guaranteed. That’s reportedly more money than New York offered Harris on a restructured pact. Harris, 33, figures to start in base packages for New England alongside Dont’a Hightower.Eric Decker

Titans continue to add pieces. Eric Decker is heading home, as he agreed to a one-year contract with the Titans that can pay him as much as $5.35MM. Decker lives in the Nashville area, and the prospect of playing near his residence likely played a role in his decision. Tennessee has brought in several addition weapons to an offense that already ranked ninth in DVOA a year ago, including wide receivers Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor and tight end Jonnu Smith.

Jarvis Landry sets a deadline. Although Landry has no plans to holdout for a new contract, he won’t negotiate with the Dolphins once the regular season begins. That gives Miami less than three months to work out a new deal with their star slot receiver. The Dolphins, of course, have already handed a four-year deal to Kenny Stills and spent a first-round pick on DeVante Parker in 2014, so it’s unclear if they’re willing to invest in another wideout.

Photos courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram and USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key Stories: 6/11/17 – 6/18/17

Ravens land a wide receiver. After surprisingly not adding a wideout during either free agency or the draft, Baltimore finally signed a pass-catcher last week, agreeing to terms on a two-year deal with former Chief Jeremy Maclin. Because Maclin was released, his addition won’t affect the Ravens’ 2018 compensatory picks. The Eagles were reportedly the runner-up for Maclin’s services, while the Bills and Browns also expressed interest. Maclin will earn $6MM in 2017.Greg Robinson (vertical)

A former No. 2 overall pick is traded. Offensive tackle Greg Robinson, the second selection in the 2014 draft, was dealt from the Rams to the Lions in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round pick, a trade that brings the (to this point) draft bust’s tenure with the Rams to an end. Robinson, selected over other offensive linemen such as Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan, and Zack Martin, had recently lost his starting job with Los Angeles. Detroit, meanwhile, also signed former Bill Cyrus Kouandjio in an effort to make up for the loss of left tackle Taylor Decker.

Saints lose a key offensive piece. The Lions aren’t the club that could be without its blindside protector for some time, as Saints left tackle Terron Armstead is down for 4-6 months after suffering a torn labrum in practice. Armstead missed nine games in 2016, so New Orleans is used to getting by without him, but his absence will undoubtedly be felt. Former first-round pick Andrus Peat, who’s recently lined up at guard, is a candidate to take over at tackle, as is 2017 No. 32 overall selection Ryan Ramczyk.Melvin Ingram (Vertical)

Chargers lock up their franchise player. Roughly a month before the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign long-term extensions, Los Angeles inked defensive end Melvin Ingram to a four-year, $66MM deal.Ingram, who’s managed 18.5 sacks over the past two seasons, will transition from outside linebacker to end in new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme. With Ingram under contract, Kirk Cousins, Le’Veon Bell, and Trumaine Johnson are the only franchise players who don’t have extensions in place.

Eric Decker officially hits the market. The Jets released Decker last week after failing to find a trade partner, and Decker has now garnered interest from several clubs. Decker, who lives near Nashville, met with the Titans and has also reportedly been linked to the Browns. Meanwhile, the Broncos are not interested in a reunion with Decker, and the Eagles aren’t pursuing him, either.

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5 Key Stories: 6/4/17 – 6/11/17

Eric Decker‘s Jets tenure to end. Three seasons into the wide receiver’s five-year contract, the Jets are planning to move on from Decker — either by trade or release. The 30-year-old wideout missed most of last season due to hip and shoulder injuries but has been cleared to return to action, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Ravens have expressed interest. They also met with UFA Jeremy Maclin for two days this week, indicating the team’s desire for pass-catching help. Baltimore’s cap situation (less than $7MM in space) could be an issue, though. It’s possible the Jets wait until Maclin signs before moving on from Decker, however. Either way, two years after Gang Green saw both of its starting wideouts catch at least 12 touchdown passes, both Decker and Brandon Marshall will be gone. The Jets are in full-scale rebuilding mode, with just about every veteran the 2016 team employed no longer in the picture.

Taylor Decker‘s 2017 season could be shortened. After a standout rookie season, the Lions left tackle’s sophomore slate could be delayed. The 6-foot-7 edge blocker suffered a serious shoulder injury during OTAs and underwent surgery. After a four- to six-month recovery timetable emerged, Decker could be a candidate for the Reserve/PUP list. That would shelve him for the first six weeks of the Lions’ season. Decker played in all 17 Detroit games last season.

Odell Beckham Jr. contract rumors escalate. Heading into his fourth season, Beckham is still set to make less than $2MM in base salary despite turning in one of the best three-year stretches to open a career in NFL history. The former first-round pick, though, is under Giants control for two more years after they picked up his fifth-year option. Beckham stayed away from Giants OTAs due to the pursuit of a new deal, Schefter reports. Another report indicated Beckham is merely exercising his right to skip these voluntary workouts. Considering his age (24) and production, the three-time Pro Bowler would seemingly be in line to surpass Antonio Brown‘s Steelers extension from earlier this year and become the highest-paid receiver. Beckham could be in line for a contract exceeding $100MM in total value, but that fifth-year option worth $8.46MM could make matters tricky for now.

Patriots lock up Julian Edelman. Entering this summer as a contract-year player, Edelman will be tied to the Patriots through 2019 after a key transaction this week. The 31-year-old wideout signed a two-year, $11MM extension this week. So, Edelman’s reign as the Patriots’ top slot receiver could well match or exceed Wes Welker‘s six-year run. This contract comes with $9MM in guarantees and $7MM in full guarantees, and Edelman will have a chance to earn up to $3.5MM in incentives in 2019

Bills, Ravens make Jeremy Maclin interest known. Maclin spent most of the week in two eastern cities, trekking to both Buffalo and Baltimore for two-day visits. The recently released wideout left both summits without a deal and has not yet visited another team, nor has a third suitor emerged. The Eagles were connected to Maclin, but Doug Pederson — who has a history with the 29-year-old wideout in both Philadelphia and Kansas City — said the team is not interested in Maclin at this time. Despite the prospect of both Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown moving on after this season, Bruce Arians said the Cardinals are not interested. The Browns, who have more than $60MM in cap space, are likely to inquire about Maclin as well. Both the Bills and Ravens possess less than $13MM in space.

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