Week In Review

5 Key Stories: 6/27/21 – 7/4/21

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

Dan Snyder status with WFT uncertain: This week’s $10MM fine levied against the Washington Football Team as a result of a problematic workplace culture, which stemmed from 2020’s sexual harassment allegations, has led to a change at the top of the franchise’s power structure — for the time being. Dan Snyder is no longer running the day-to-day matters for the franchise, ceding that control to his wife (co-CEO Tanya Snyder). Tanya will represent the WFT at league meetings for the foreseeable future. Dan Snyder, however, may be prepared to contest whether Roger Goodell must approve his return to full-fledged responsibilities.

Lamar’s negotiations raising eyebrows: Lamar Jackson continues to negotiate a potential record-breaking extension without an agent. His negotiating team, to some degree, includes his mother. Jackson’s mother played a key role in negotiating his admittedly less complex rookie contract. While advisers are also involved, the NFLPA has attempted to intervene to help the former MVP quarterback. Thus far, Jackson has resisted the union’s efforts. This has tripped alarms in the agent community.

Broncos sale becoming real possibility: A key trial pitting the Pat Bowlen Trust and two of the late owner’s daughters — Amie Klemmer and Beth Bowlen Wallacehas been delayed indefinitely, leading to expectations a Broncos sale is moving closer to reality. Prospective buyers have surfaced, with the trustees receiving offers — or, indications true offers will come if the franchise is put up for sale — over the past few months. NFL intervention may impede a potential sale, but the Broncos may be on the verge of changing hands for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Saints lock up Ryan Ramczyk: The right tackle market moved this week, with the Saints giving their All-Pro starter a five-year extension that averages $19.2MM per season. One of two Saints who previously were attached to the fifth-year option, joining Marshon Lattimore, Ramczyk is now signed through 2026. His future position may be uncertain, with this contract including an interesting clause that would provide a raise if Ramczyk becomes an All-Pro at left tackle. Longtime New Orleans left tackle Terron Armstead is going into a contract year.

No 2021 opt-outs expected: The NFLPA secured the right for players to opt out due to COVID-19 concerns for a second straight year. While the opt-out only pertains to players deemed high risk for developing coronavirus complications, the deadline for players to notify teams came and went without any news. With the vaccines changing the virus landscape, nothing has surfaced on any players opting out. However, official word on opt-outs is not due until Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

5 Key Stories: 6/20/21 – 6/27/21

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

  • The drama between Aaron Rodgers and the Packers continues. Lately, there’s been speculation that the quarterback could opt out of the season, saving him millions in fines should he choose to skip 2021. However, that’s not likely to happen. The deadline for Rodgers and the rest of the NFL players will come this week, on July 2.
  • The Jets made a serious upgrade to their offensive line this week, signing longtime Washington starter Morgan Moses to man the right tackle positionRon Rivera & Co. chose cap room over having the veteran, but the Jets got him at a reasonable rate — it’s a one-year, $3.6MM deal with incentives that can take him up to $5.3MM. According to Pro Football Focus, 2020 might have been Moses’ best year yet — he placed top-20 for tackles, up from so-so scores across 2017-2019. Barring any surprises, he’ll start at RT across from Mekhi Becton with George Fant and Chuma Edoga coming off the bench.
  • The Steelers also continued their offensive line shakeup, parting ways with longtime guard David DeCastro. In his place, they signed former Pro Bowler Trai Turner. Turner, 28, comes to Pittsburgh with 89 career starts, making him the most senior member of the offensive line. The Steelers saved about $8MM by cutting DeCastro and spent ~$3MM to ink Turner. DeCastro, by his own admission, is still struggling with a chronic ankle issue. If Turner is healthy, it’s a clear win for the Steelers — they’ll have upgraded their interior while pocketing about $5MM in savings.
  • Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard hasn’t backed down from his contract demands. He’s “dug in,” per one report, even though he has four years to go on his contract. Last year, Howard graded out as the second-best corner in the league, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. Meanwhile, his $15MM AAV places him as just the sixth-highest paid cornerback in football, one spot behind teammate Byron Jones.
  • The Browns also have some business to take care of with Baker Mayfield, but they’ve yet to exchange figures. For what it’s worth, both sides are preaching patience. Besides, Mayfield would be comfortable waiting — fellow draft classmates Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson could be on the verge of $40MM/year extensions, raising the roof on his own asking price.

5 Key Stories: 5/2/21 – 5/9/21

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

  • Aaron Rodgers wants out, and he’s said to be eyeing the Broncos, Raiders and 49ers. Still, those familiar with Rodgers’ thinking are split on whether he’s heading for divorce with the Packers. Rodgers has reportedly refused to play for GM Brian Gutekunst, but even that notion has been challenged by old teammate James Jones. Meanwhile, the Browns won’t get into the Rodgers mix, preferring to stick with the younger Baker Mayfield instead.
  • The Broncos are set to go another season without high-priced right tackle Ja’Wuan James. On Tuesday, James suffered a torn Achilles tendon, which puts his $10MM base salary in jeopardy and leaves the team with a major hole to fill on the offensive line. After passing on Rashawn Slater in the draft, the Broncos are scouring what’s left of the open market. For James, this may cap his Denver tenure at just 63 total snaps.
  • The Lions inked center Frank Ragnow to a record extension, making him the highest-paid center in NFL history. Ragnow will receive $70MM in total with $25.5MM fully guaranteed, vaulting him ahead of Chargers center Corey Linsley for the richest contract at the position. Ragnow has started every game for the Lions ever since he was taken with the No. 20 overall pick in 2018, save for three missed games due to injury.
  • Kerryon Johnson was cut by the Lions, but he didn’t make it to free agency. Instead, the Eagles swooped in to claim the once-promising Auburn product. As a rookie, Johnson averaged 5.4 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns in ten games. If he can put his history of knee trouble behind him, he could be a solid contributor alongside starter Miles Sanders.
  • The Dolphins bounced Bobby McCain late last week, nixing the final two seasons of his four-year, $27MM deal. The 2015 fifth-rounder started in 55 of his 87 games for Miami, collecting seven interceptions and four sacks along the way. However, he ranked just 55th out of 94 qualified safeties last year, per Pro Football Focus. Now, he’ll hit the free agent circuit and meet with the Washington Football Team.

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.