NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE NFL

COVID-19 Pandemic Not Stopping News From The NFL

March 16, 2020

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Photo: From Sports Illustrated

Tom Brady has only one option if he’s going to leave the New England Patriots. According to Chris Simms of NBC Sports, the San Francisco 49ers were Brady’s preferred destination, but are not interested in Brady and are sticking with Jimmy Garoppolo. Subsequently, Brady’s choices are either to return to the Patriots or sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

ESPN’s Dianna Russini offered fans some insight as to why the market for legendary quarterback Tom Brady doesn’t seem to be as big as well assumed it would be. One of the main reasons? Brady’s insane reported list of demands. Russini claims that Brady wants to have some power when it comes to roster moves, and he wants the responsibility of calling his own plays.

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt and his wife Kealia Ohai are giving back. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the newlyweds are donating $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank, which will provide more than 1 million meals for those who are need.

Except for Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, no player in the NFL was more important to their team than Derrick Henry last season. The Titans All-Pro running back led the league in attempts, yards and touchdowns and was the driving force in the Titans making the AFC Championship Game.

How will he be rewarded? By watching a teammate get an undeserved contract in free agency while he likely gets a franchise tag after playing four years on an undervalued rookie contract. Yeah, I’d be pissed if I were Henry.

The New York Giants are expected to place the franchise tag on defensive lineman Leonard Williams, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, securing the return of the Giants’ in-season acquisition.

The Giants traded a 2020 third-round pick and a conditional 2021 fifth-round selection for Williams in October. He recorded two tackles for loss and 11 quarterback hits in eight games with the Giants. The Giants are expected to use the franchise tag on him, per New York Daily News Pat Leonard, rather than the transition tag.

Williams, a Pro Bowl selection in 2016, was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed the franchise tag on linebacker Shaquil Barrett, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

A source told ESPN’s Jenna Laine that Barrett will be tagged as an outside linebacker. While the franchise tag figures for the 2020 season have not yet been released, the tag for a linebacker in 2019 was $15.4 million.

After signing a one-year prove-it deal with the Bucs for $4 million last offseason, Barrett did just that. In his first year as a full-time starter, Barrett went from fighting for a job in the fourth preseason game to finishing with a league-high 19.5 sacks in 2019.

NFL Free Agency will be a full go in a matter of days as the new CBA dictates the league year will begin on time despite the spread of coronavirus. While the concerns are obvious and legitimate, the NFL is once again expanding its reach, providing news while their main competitors remain dormant. Whether that’s justified, of course, is a question.

In the meantime, the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders are already plotting their first move, as both are interested in former Pro Bowl linebacker Cory Littleton.

The New England Patriots have brought back safety Devin McCourty. He broke the news of his contract on YouTube with his brother, Jason, who’s also a member of the team.

After the McCourty twins announced their news, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media shared that his contract is a two-year deal worth $23 million, with $17 million guaranteed.

Since coach Bill O’Brien took control of personnel, he hasn’t shied away from making big moves, like trading Jadeveon Clowney and acquiring Laremy Tunsil. Now some teams think O’Brien may make another big move.

Peter King reports in Football Morning in America that two teams said Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is a player to watch in a potential trade.

The Houston Texans and Bradley Roby have reached an agreement to keep him with the organization moving into the 2020 and beyond. The deal is worth three years and $36 million which will keep Roby with the Texans until the 2023 season.

Houston Fox 26s Mark Berman first reported the deal with Roby being verbally agreed upon and it was the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo who first reported that the Texans were working to complete a deal with Roby. The Texans took a chance on Roby with a one-year deal worth $10 million during the 2019 off-season.

In the wake of injuries to star wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Bucs receiver Breshad Perriman put together a very impressive showing at the end of the 2019 season. From Weeks 15 to 17, the big-play threat caught 17 passes for 349 yards and four TDs, so he re-enters the free agent market with plenty of momentum.

It’s quite a swing for Perriman, a 2015 first-round pick of the Ravens who busted out of Baltimore due to injuries and inconsistent play and who caught on with the Browns in October 2018 after being cut by the Ravens and the Redskins the month before.

The Vikings are discussing a new contract with kicker Dan Bailey, Ben Goessling of the Star-Tribune reports. Bailey is scheduled to become a free agent. He made 27 of 29 field goal attempts and 40 of 44 extra points last season.

The Falcons are doing a bit of business with their own guys in advance of the start of the league year. According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com, the Falcons are close to a new three-year deal with defensive tackle Tyeler Davison.

The Miami Dolphins have more salary cap space than any other team entering free agency next week, and that means they can make a splash at any position they choose. Should they decide they need an upgrade at the running back position, Melvin Gordon will be a name to watch.

The Dolphins are expected to at least check in with Gordon, and ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe reports that the former Wisconsin star would be interested in signing with Miami depending upon the offer.

The two NFL stadiums due to open later this year, in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, remain on track. With the world quickly coming off track, the stadium plans could change.

If/when the U.S. government (or the California or Nevada governments) impose sweeping restrictions like those in Italy and Spain, progress on both venues likely would slam to a halt.

The NFL’s new collective bargaining agreement is ending suspensions for positive marijuana tests, but that doesn’t mean formerly suspended players are automatically given the go-ahead to return. For example, the new CBA won’t automatically reinstate Josh Gordon.

Near the end of the 2019 season, Gordon was suspended indefinitely for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and substance abuse. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Gordon’s first time being suspended by the NFL for substance abuse.

In the aftermath of NFL players voting to pass a new collective bargaining agreement, the NFL Management Council has informed team officials that the salary cap will be $198.2 million per club for the upcoming 2020 season, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported per sources informed of the situation.

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